Mortgage loan delinquency rates lowest since 2009

Mortgage loan delinquency rates lowest since 2009
The national mortgage delinquency rate (the rate of borrowers 60 or more days past due) declined in the first three months of 2012 to 5.78 percent. This improvement ends two quarters of increases that began in Q3 2011, according to TransUnion.

Prior to Q3 2011, 60-day mortgage delinquency rates had dropped for six consecutive quarters. This latest quarter brings the delinquency rate to its lowest point since Q1 2009.

Between fourth quarter 2011 and first quarter of 2012, all but eight states experienced decreases in their mortgage delinquency rates.

House prices continue to face downward pressure and unemployment remains high, but many see the economic environment beginning to show modest improvement. Therefore, TransUnion’s forecast predicts mortgage delinquency rates to drift downward in 2012 as more homeowners are able to repay their mortgage debt obligations…

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It’s safe to sell your home again

It’s safe to sell your home again
While analysts debate when the housing market will hit bottom, for a surprising number of cities the turnaround has already begun.  In December, prices rose in 109 of the 384 metro areas tracked by data firm CoreLogic.

Making sense of the story

  • There are certain signs to help determine if a particular neighborhood is on the verge of a rebound.  For instance is local employment on the upswing?  That’s a critical factor for a region to get itself on the path to recovery.  Improving jobs picture has led to shrinking housing stock across the country, as investors and bargain hunters have started buying up foreclosures that have been preventing a recovery.
  • For years, buyers were scared of overpaying for a home, but less so now.  Many buyers have grown accustomed to thinking they’ll score deals, so they tend to act slowly, and typically start bidding around 10 percent to 15 percent below list price.  However, a growing number of buyers are beginning to realize that if they wait too long in this market, they may miss out.
  • Sellers can hold firm on price if they’re patient.  The days of having to deal with low-ball offers are coming to an end.  The higher the price, the more patient the seller must be.  Cheaper homes are affordable to more buyers and appealing to investors, so recoveries usually start there. 
  • Sellers should keep in mind that while they don’t have to placate low-ball offers anymore, they also can’t shoot for the moon either.  Working with a REALTOR® and setting a realistic price from the get-go is key.
  • Sellers should know what they’re competing against.  Homeowners should let their home’s value dictate the price.  While this may seem self-evident, some owners may have lost sight of it during the bust.  On the one hand, some sellers clung to the false hope of a return to boom prices, so they set prices unrealistically high.  Others may have gone too far the other way, and set their price too low.

It’s also important that sellers understand they’re no longer competing with gutted foreclosures.  Buyers are tired of looking at worn-down, neglected, distressed properties and often don’t have much extra money to do a lot of fixing up.  REALTORS® often report their clients are willing to pay a little more for a home that’s ready to move into…

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Asking prices rise for third consecutive month in April

Asking prices rise for third consecutive month in April
Asking prices on for-sale homes rose 0.5 percent in April compared with March on seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest report by Trulia’s Price Monitor. Together with increases in March and February, asking prices in April rose nationally 1.9 percent quarter over quarter, seasonally adjusted.

Within the largest metro areas, asking prices rose year on year in some neighborhoods, but fell in others. Rents, however, rose in nearly all parts of these major metropolitan areas.

In Los Angeles, asking prices increased only in the downtown area. Prices fell elsewhere throughout the region, most of all in Long Beach, where rents also fell.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, prices rose most in San Francisco and fell furthest in Alameda County…

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Home values post largest monthly gain since 2006

Home values post largest monthly gain since 2006
Home values nationwide increased 0.5 percent from February to March, according to Zillow’s first quarter Real Estate Market Reports. This marks the largest monthly increase in the Zillow Home Value Index since May 2006, when home values also rose 0.5 percent…

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Locking in peace of mind

Locking in peace of mind
Mortgage rates are near historic lows, but they are rising, leading some borrowers to consider locking in their rate. When borrowers lock in their interest rate, it freezes the terms of the loan while it is being processed, potentially saving borrowers thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.

Making sense of the story

Locking in a rate may be especially important for those who are refinancing, where even a quarter of a percentage point could skew a borrower’s calculations and make a refinancing less financially desirable.

Rate locks can provide buyers with some peace of mind, not to mention one less thing to think about in an otherwise onerous application process.

Lenders typically will give loan rate guarantee agreements when a borrower has a purchase agreement, but a few will provide them to those who are preapproved for a mortgage.

The cost of reserving an interest rate depends both on the duration of the lock and the amount of the loan. The longer the lock, the more costly it is. Most locks are for 30, 45, or 60 days, but some lenders will go as long as six months.

Most lenders offer some version of a free lock, though it may be only for 30 days. Others charge points – or fractions thereof – based on the loan size, which could amount to several hundred dollars. One point is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. Sometimes these charges are refundable at closing.

Borrowers may want to skip a rate lock, or delay taking one, if they are unsure when their home purchase will close.

Knowing how long to lock in a rate requires a clear picture of the mortgage process, and a good estimate from the lender on how long it will take to approve the loan and complete all the paperwork and other requirements. For some lenders handling refinancing, this can be 15 or 20 days; others take longer…

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Elusive bottom for home prices near, forecast says

Elusive bottom for home prices near, forecast says
Bank of America/Merrill Lynch tweaked its forecast from November, when it expected home prices to fall 3.5 percent in 2012. Now, it expects a modest gain of 0.5 percent, a good sign for the sector that continues limping through its worst downturn in generations…

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