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Buyers Get Extended Offer Period on REOs

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced an extension of their “first look” programs, granting buyers seeking a primary residence a full 20 days to submit offers on REO properties ahead of investor competition. 
Previously, the First Look period was 15 days long. Freddie Mac’s program operates under HomeSteps First Look initiative and Fannie Mae’s version operates under the HomePath system. The expanded 20-day program took effect for HomeStep listings on or after Dec. 17. Fannie Mae’s First Look HomePath program is effective for properties listed on or after Jan.

Real Estate Crystal Ball: Economists Predict Job Growth will be Deciding Factor in 2014 Housing Market

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is feeling good about the jobs market in 2014, and that means good news for housing. According to NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, “2 million or more jobs will be created in 2014.” This surge will create a demand for existing homes and create a leap in homebuilding activity. Moody’s Analytics analyst, Celia Chen, said that this original surge will likely be the key to a full economic recovery – assuming it happens – since a rise in homebuilding will “spark even more jobs from construction workers to manufacturers and bring about a greater demand for housing overall.

More “Fancy Foreclosures” Entering the System

Huge, beautiful homes are a great asset to those who own and live in them, but when tough times hit they are hard to maintain. Although many luxury home owners held on through the housing crisis and kept their mortgages afloat, now an increasing number of luxury homes are going into foreclosure at an increasingly rapid rate. Although overall U.S. foreclosure activity is down 23 percent year-over-year, foreclosure activity on homes $5 million and up is up 61 percent year-over-year, reported RealtyTrac this month[1].

Housing Market Heats Up in Warmer Climates

Because of tight inventory, states in the West and South are expected to see home prices jump by 4 to 8 percent over the next 12 months, according to the latest data from the REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.
The highest price growth in the next year is expected in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina, according to the survey of about 3,000 REALTORS®.
Nationally, prices are expected to increase by about 4 percent in the next 12 months, according to the data gathered in November.

Renters Facing Serious Affordability Issues as Renting Population Increases

Historically, it has been true in most cases that renting was more affordable than owning. Even in recent years when housing has been extremely affordable – in many markets making it cheaper to own than rent – there have been some major advantages to renting in terms of mobility and ease of access to housing. However, according to a new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (HJCHS), rental affordability issues have “skyrocketed over the past decade both in number and the share of renters facing them,” ultimately affecting “the health and well-being of U.

Real Estate Scam of the Day: Lawyer Promises Foreclosure Assistance, Keeps Mortgage Payments for Himself

After charging homeowners thousands of dollars in upfront fees for help avoiding their foreclosures, a Chicago lawyer is accused of taking those fees and thousands more in mortgage payments from struggling homeowners for his personal use and not helping them avoid foreclosure at all. Philip Igoe allegedly offered to help his victims stall their foreclosures or avoid them all together by filing for bankruptcy protections or loan modifications. Part of the process is alleged to have involved the homeowners sending Igoe their monthly mortgage payments with the understanding that he would forward that money to the banks with which he was purportedly working.

Borrower Indicted for Falsifying Assets in 2007

If you lied, fudged, or blurred the truth on your mortgage loan application during the boom years of easy, easy credit, then Alberto Solaroli’s recent indictment may have you concerned. Solaroli was recently indicted on charges that he borrowed “on false pretenses” from OneBanc in April 2007. He claimed to be the owner of energy patents that placed his net worth around $170 million and also claimed additional assets in excess of a million dollars. Solaroli used these purported assets to obtain a loan for $1.

Mortgage Rates Fall to Four-Month Lows

Fixed mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels since this summer, giving a lift this week to the housing recovery. "Mortgage rates slid this week as the partial government shutdown led to market speculation that the Federal Reserve will not alter its bond purchases this year,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. Mortgage rates have been dropping since September when the Federal Reserve decided to delay tapering its $85-billion per month bond purchasing program, which has been keeping rates low.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to go after more strategic defaulters

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is pushing Fannie and Freddie to chase down borrowers who can make home loan payments but choose not to.

Anyone thinking of skating on mortgages owned by eitherFannie Mae or Freddie Mac may want to think again. As a result of new government reports, the two companies say they are going to do a better job of going after so-called strategic defaulters.Fannie and Freddie can pursue judgments against borrowers who walk away from their loans even though they have the ability to make their payments.

U.S. apartment vacancy rate falls, rents rise

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Finding an apartment to rent got even harder in the third quarter, as the U.S. apartment vacancy rate fell to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to an industry report released on Tuesday.The national apartment vacancy rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 4.2 percent in the third quarter from the second quarter, according to a preliminary report by real estate research firm Reis Inc.It was the lowest vacancy rate since the third quarter of 2001 when it was 3.9 percent.