The Most Recent Sales in Smith Farm, Lake Worth Florida...

Going back 30 days...there have been 4 reported sales:
  • Oak Grove, 4/2.5/2, 2428 sq ft, $225,000...Short Sale
  • Oak Grove, 739 model, 3/3/2, 2225 sq ft, $255,000
  • Marbletree, 5/3/3, pool, 1603, 3397 sq ft, $345,000
  • Squirewood, 5/3/3, pool, 1603, 3397 sq ft, $365,000
If you extrapolate the numbers of 4-in-30 days out to an annualized figure, you have 48 home sales projected in a 12 month period...with the current Smith Farm inventory of 19 homes on the market, that gives us about a five month absorbtion rate...which is not high at all.

Six of the 19 are being marketed as short sales...Three are bank owned sales...

Hopefully, the expanded and extended homebuyer tax credit will keep a finger in the dyke long enough to give sellers who are not yet under water who want/need to sell to a chance to get out. But looking forward, as the tax credit expires, and if the Fed follows through on its plans to scale back its purchases of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which will signal the end of these historically low interest rates, I sincerely believe that we will see a resumption of the decline in home values here in South Florida.

Sellers and those thinking of selling take heed…your window of opportunity is the next 6 months…


FHA, 1st time buyers, short sales and perceptions...

  • Nearly 40% of existing homes purchased in November used an FHA-insured mortgage, according to a National Association of Realtors survey.

  • As a result, the FHA is having to defend the program, saying that it is well enough capitalized to avoid any major losses in case of surging defaults. Earlier this month, Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary Shaun Donovan was before Congress defending the FHA, and ensuring the House Financial Services Committee that the single-family insurance program is “not the next subprime.”

  • The increase in demand caused the capital reserve ratio at the FHA to drop below the Congressionally mandated 2% minimum, leaving HUD and the FHA scrambling to ensure the FHA program’s soundness.

  • A number of proposals are being considered, including the raising of insurance premiums, raising the minimum FICO (credit score) requirements, raising the minimum required down payments and reducing the allowable seller contribution...all of which will make it more difficult for buyers to qualify for and obtain financing (and hence, not good for sellers).

  • Other results from the Realtors survey showed first time homebuyers accounted for 51% of all transactions and are actively competing with investors for distressed properties...

  • And, distressed properties aren’t just affecting transaction price, however. The presence of distressed properties is influencing buyers’ perceptions of other homes for sale and many buyers have pricing expectations that treat every property as if it were a distressed sale.

  • Additionally, HUD issued a ruling that borrowers who were in default on their mortgage at the time of a short sale are not eligible for an FHA-insured mortgage for three years...


President Obama signs the 1st time homebuyer tax credit extension into law AND expands it to include NOT only 1st time buyers

More home buyers get tax credit

President Obama signed into law a $24 billion economic stimulus bill providing tax incentives to prospective home buyers.

The tax credits center on extending the $8,000 credit for first-time homebuyers that was included in the stimulus package. The credit, which was to expire at the end of this month, will be available through next June as long as the buyer signs a binding contract by the end of April, 2010.

The program is expanded to include a $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who buy a new place after living in their current residence for at least five years.

The above is only the basic outline of the program…If you would like the full details just give me a quick call at 561-432-5202 or email TaxCredit@5614325202.com


New Govt. plan to delay, not cure, the foreclosure problem...

Fannie Mae to rent out homes instead of foreclosing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of borrowers on the verge of foreclosure will soon have the option of renting their homes from Fannie Mae, under a policy announced Thursday.

The government-controlled company, through its "Deed for Lease" program, will allow borrowers to transfer ownership to Fannie Mae and sign a one-year lease, with month-to-month extensions after that.

The program will "eliminate some of the uncertainty of foreclosure, keeps families and tenants in their homes during a transitional period, and helps to stabilize neighborhoods and communities," Jay Ryan, a Fannie Mae vice president, said in a statement.

However, the effort is likely to affect a relatively small number of homeowners. In the first half of the year, Fannie Mae took back about 1,200 properties through this process, known as a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. That pales in comparison to the 57,000 foreclosed properties the company repossessed in the period.
While neither option is particularly attractive for the homeowner, a deed-in-lieu does less harm to the borrower's credit record.
The rental program is designed to help homeowners who don't qualify for a loan modification under the Obama administration's plan, but still want to remain in their homes. Fannie Mae is not planning to market the homes for sale during the one-year rental period.
Fannie Mae has hired an outside company, which officials declined to identify, to manage the properties.(where's the transparency...Fannie is owned by the taxpayers for all intents and purposes)
To qualify, homeowners have to live in the home as their primary residence and prove that they can afford the market rent, which would be determined by the management company. The rent can't be more than 31% of their pretax income.

Expanded 1st time buyer $8000 tax credit headed to President Obamas desk for signature

And it's not just for 1st time buyers anymore!

Call me for the details.


Short sale negotiation insider info...

Every day we are dealing with lenders and are involved with negotiations on short sales. A recent hurdle has been the negotiations with 2nd lien holders (2nd mortgages/home equity liens). We thought that the following may be of interest to a lot of folks currently contemplating how or even IF they should do a short sale...

These days many 2nd mortgage companies are now asking for 10% of their principal balance in order to release their lien. Prior to these recent changes, ALL 1st mortgage holders allowed a maximum of $1,000 to 2nd mortgages, period. Once 2nd mortgage holders started demanding 10%, it made obtaining approvals from both mortgages quite challenging. After all, 10% is quite a large number! And most 1st mortgages will only allow a maximum of $1,000 right?

Well luckily for our sellers, some 1st mortgage holders have paid attention to the changing trends and have started to change their policies to match. Now, more and more 1st mortgage holders are allowing a payoff of up to 10% to 2nd mortgages to avoid any complications. And for us short sale specialists, this is helpful to successfully navigating a short sale for our sellers! One of the lenders that have started to be more open to this policy change is ASC.

Keep in mind, not all 1st mortgage holders are doing this, and it is on a case-by-case basis, but, they are at least open to it and some will approve 10% to be paid to 2nd mortgage holders.


1st time homebuyer tax credit extension almost certain to pass this week...

After two weeks of delay, the Senate, last night, cleared the way to pass a seven month extension and expansion of the tax credit for homebuyers... making it virtually certain that the legislation will reach President Obama for his signature this week.

The homebuyer tax credit, due to expire in 28 days, would be extended through April 30 of next year. First-time buyers who are in process of making a purchased would not need to worry about qualifying for the $8,000 credit if they close after the November 30 deadline.

For the first time, the legislation cleared last night makes move-up buyers as well as first-time buyers would be eligible for a credit. The $8,000 maximum first-timer credit will continue and will now available to couples with income up to $225,000, a nearly $55,000 increase above the level in existing law.

A new $6,500 maximum credit would also be available to move-up homeowners who have lived in their current residence for five of the prior eight years... it is virtually certain that the President will sign the legislative package, which contains an expansion of unemployment benefits as well as tax changes.


21% still to go?

I have recently read several news stories regarding predicted home values. The reports indicate that the 2 worst performing housing markets in the country in the next 12 months will be Miami with aprox a 30% drop in "median" value, then Orlando...but not far behind, and of little comfort that we're not number 1, is the report for West Palm Beach area home prices that predicts values to dip another 21.7 percent from a median price of $229,000 to $179,307. The report used the Case-Shiller index of home prices along with foreclosure data to formulate the prediction.

However, I always advise my readers and clients to keep in mind that the "median" can be easily skewed and is not an accurate predictive statistic for individual home values. Along those same lines, the property value sites like Zillow can be wildly innacurate. As it has always been, the undisputed most accurate way to determine a homes value at any point in time is by comparable sales and comparable offerings.

As is especially true in this market, buyers ultmately determine a homes value and they do this by "comparison shopping", as you most likely did when you purchased the home you now own.



Pulling the rug out?

Since the initial decline of the housing market and associated collapse of the banking and mortgage industry, FHA loans have taken over a majority of the lending being done here.

 I have often thought that these FHA loans were going to be our next "wave of defaulting loans" for the following reasons: Most FHA loans made here are with only a 3.5% down payment and allow the seller to contribute up to 6% towards the buyers closing costs. And generally, a lot of the buyers go "FHA" for 2 main reasons...they don't have much cash AND they have lower credit scores than required by conventional lenders.

In essence, all of these newly issued FHA loans are the same "no money down" loans that are currently contributing to the explosion in defaults. It has been shown that homeowners are more likely to default when there is no equity in the home....this seem obvious.

Well, in a declining market, like we are in, it won't take long for all of the FHA loans made in the previous 12 months to be "upside-down". Combine "upside-down", with lower credit scores and what do you get? The recipe for more defaults!

I believe that the above reasoning has prompted the following:
The FHA Taxpayer Protection Act of 2009 — HR 3706 , introduced in Congress Monday would increase the minimum down payment for Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgages from 3.5% to 5% and would also prohibit financing initial service charges, appraisals, inspections, or other fees or closing costs with any part of an FHA mortgage. (seller-paid closing costs)

 The bill’s author, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), said the current policy of allowing closing costs to be rolled into the mortgage effectively reduces FHA down payments to as low as 2.5% (and sometimes greater than 100% financing) because borrowers don’t have to have as much (any) cash on hand at closing.

 “As we have learned repeatedly throughout the mortgage crisis, the amount of equity a homeowner has in their home directly correlates to the credit risk associated to their mortgage.”

 The bill also calls for an examination of the housing market’s dependence on the fund (FHA) since the mortgage crisis began.

 The inspector general for HUD, Kenneth Donohue, also appeared before the House subcommittee calling for more resources. To illustrate the explosion of FHA’s presence in the market since the development of the near-third statistic often exchanged by industry players and media outlets, Donohue said data show the FHA’s endorsements (or guarantees of mortgages) rose from 24% of the single-family market in the first quarter of 2008, to 63% of the market in Q109, including home sales and refinance.

So, if the above bill does pass and the FHA lending criteria "tighten", then I believe that here, locally, the housing market will suffer. When you make it more difficult to obtain the loan that the majority of our buyers are utilizing...there is only 1 conclusion. Then, combine this change with the expiration of the 1st time homebuyer tax credit AND a potential rise in mortgage interest rates! Not good for us homeowners here in South Florida.

Shoot me an email and let me know which way you see the market heading.


Delayed foreclosures ready to hit the market?

A recent HousingWire news release just confirmed what most insiders already suspected...that banks have been holding off on foreclosures-but the day of reckoning must come eventually!

Amherst Sees 7m Foreclosures Poised to Distress House Prices

September 24, 2009 10:34 AM CST

Recent analysis by the Amherst Securities Group indicates the housing industry will not only worsen as a delayed pipeline of foreclosed loans begins to liquidate, but that the Administration’s Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) will have no lasting effect on keeping delinquent loans current.

The early signs of stabilization seen among housing industry observers may soon recede as an overhang of the shadow inventory of foreclosures waits to enter the market.

The general outlook that the housing market has bottomed is “premature” optimism, according to analysis this week from Amherst.

Florida leads the way!

13.16% of Mortgages Delinquent: MBA

Single-family mortgages set a new record delinquency rate of 13.16% in Q209, according to the quarterly survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The delinquency rate includes mortgages at least one payment past due or in foreclosure.

The results were lead by Florida with 12% of mortgages somewhere in foreclosure, another 5% at least 90 days past due and a total 22.8% at least one payment delinquent or in foreclosure at the end of June. Nevada followed Florida with 21.3% at least one payment past due or in foreclosure.

What housing recovery?

Not that Moody's was very accurate in assessing and assigning risk ratings to RMBS, but, if you live in Florida and were thinking of "holding on until prices come back" you'd better have a lot of stamina according to Moody's recent projections!

Moody's predicts that home prices will not reach their previous peak prices of '05/'06 until 2023-2030's (according to the article that accompanied the graph above).

If you have reason or a desire to sell, now or in the near future, you may want to sell sooner rather than later. However, if you're planning to live in your home until the kids are married and on their own, you may be able to weather the storm. Below is the bulk of the original article.

Smith Farm, Lake Worth Florida...Foreclosure tracker

Smith Farm, Lake Worth Florida...Foreclosure tracker
As of 4/1/10 the are 94 Smith Farm homes in some stage of foreclosure.
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