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  • Tue, Jul 26 2011
  • 4:26 PM » Behind the Numbers: More Ho-Hum for Housing
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 4:26 PM by Google News
    To get the full experience of this page, please upgrade your Tuesday’s housing data show that things remain tough for both the new and existing markets as they continue limping towards recovery. Still, the downtrodden home builders received glimmers of hope: Inventory is down and prices are up. Early Tuesday, the closely-watched , which measures resales in major metro areas, showed that May’s home prices edged up about 1% when compared to a month earlier. It would be easy to get excited. But, , when adjusted for seasonal factors, the 10-city figure edged up just 0.1%, while the 20-city index came in flat. And when compared with a year earlier, prices fell 3.6% and 4.5%, respectively. That means that price stabilization – essential for the market to begin healing itself – remains elusive. Associated Press A home under construction in Portland, Ore. New-home sales, meanwhile, slipped to 312,000 June from 315,000 in May, disappointing economists who were looking for a 328,000 annual rate. The miss weighed on home builder stocks with none trading in positive territory Tuesday afternoon: Beazer Homes USA fell 2%, while Meritage Homes Corp. was down 1.3%. Still, the seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of June came in at 164,000. According to J.P. Morgan, new-home inventory is 71% below its July 2006 peak, showing builders have done a good job of selling excess inventory – even if they had to slash prices – and curbing overbuilding. Median prices meanwhile, climbed 7.2% from a year earlier to $235,000. To be sure, that could just be a “function of who is buying rather than any tightness or improvement in market conditions,” Nomura writes in a research note. Here’s what industry watchers think about both reports: Ellen Zentner and Aichi Amemiya, economists, Nomura : “Tighter lending standards and widespread expectations of further declines in home values have been depressing home sales on a larger scale than we had expected. In addition, the larger...
  • 4:26 PM » NHC Calls for Elimination of Downpayment Requirement from QRM
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 4:26 PM by National Housing Conference
    NHC submitted comments to regulators on the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule calling for the elimination of the 20% downpayment requirement, focusing instead on defining the QRM pool primarily as safe and sound mortgage products that include responsibly structured low-downpayment options without creating an unintended government underwriting standard. In summary, the recommendations are: 1. Remove downpayment and LTV requirements. (The 10% downpayment requirement offered in the proposed rule would actually be worse.) 2. Consider removing or relaxing debt-to-income ratio requirements. 3. Exempt downpayment assistance and shared equity assistance programs created by government entities and designated, legitimate nonprofits, whether structured as loans, grants, or lower sales prices with resale restrictions. 4. Consider delaying implementation until other aspects of the mortgage finance system are resolved, or making provisions now to require that regulators revisit the rule when other major changes to mortgage finance occur. Regulators are accepting comments through August 1, so there is still time to submit your own. See for a full discussion of the QRM issue.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Housing Conference
  • 4:26 PM » Mortgages With MI Found Less Likely to Default
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 4:26 PM by
    Genworth Financial Inc. has made available the results of an independent study conducted by Promontory Financial Group which found that, among loans originated prior to the collapse of the housing bubble, low downpayment mortgages with mortgage insurance (MI) were significantly less likely to default during and after the housing crisis than uninsured low downpayment loans with a “piggyback” second mortgage.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:26 PM » Mortgage Interest Deduction Big in Budget Play
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 4:26 PM by CNBC
    It's not like the housing market needs any more headwinds, so here's the government potentially giving us another: The mortgage interest deduction is back in big play in the budget deal.
  • 4:26 PM » Mortgage Bankers Reverse Course on Loan Limits
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 4:26 PM by CNBC
    Lowering the current loan limits (a maximum of $729,750 in the most expensive markets) would really affect just 5 percent of the housing market, although that percentage is far higher in certain local markets. David Stevens says that's enough to hurt the overall market right now, and that we still need another year of recovery before we take such a risk.
  • 2:37 PM » Households Like Yours
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 2:37 PM by The Big Picture
    “Accompanying an article on the, The New York Times provides an that lets you see how many households in America are like yours. You start with the primary residents in your household such as single male or married couple, and then add those who live with you, such as a parent or child. The graphic updates as you do, showing the U.S. count and percentage on top and the breakdown by time, race, and household income on the bottom. Simple and straight to the point of interest.” > Source: Flowing Data, June 20, 2011
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 12:18 PM » Answering Questions on the Mortgage Crisis
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 12:18 PM by
    Gretchen Morgenson, the Fair Game columnist for Sunday Business, will discuss her new book on the mortgage crisis, "Reckless Endangerment," on
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:26 AM » Be careful with the Housing Vacancies and Homeownership report
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 8:26 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    This is more technical for analyst and reporters: On Friday the Census Bureau will release the Q2 . This report is frequently mentioned by analysts and the media to track the homeownership rate, and the homeowner and rental vacancy rates. Unfortunately the report is based on a fairly small sample, and does not track the decennial Census data. Economist Tom Lawler has pointed out the discrepancies in the homeownership rate before, and he points out that the vacancy rates are "silly" too. From economist Tom Lawler: HVS Rental Vacancy Rate Silliness: The Case of Richmond, Virginia In early 2009 the Richmond, Virginia press wrote numerous articles after quarterly HVS data on metro area rental vacancy rates “showed” that the rental vacancy rate in the Richmond, Virginia metro area in the fourth quarter of 2008 was 23.7%, the highest in the country. This shocked local real estate folks, including folks who tracked rental vacancy rates in apartment buildings in the area. The Central Virginia Apartment Association, e.g., found that the rental vacancy rate based on a survey of 52 multi-family properties in the Richmond, VA metro area was around 8% -- above a more “normal” 5%, but no where close to 23.7%. And while the HVS attempts to measure the overall rental vacancy rate (and not just MF apartments for rent), the data seemed “whacky.” When I talked to Census folks back then, they said that there quarterly metro area vacancy rates were extremely volatile and had extremely high standard errors, and that folks should focus on annual data. However, “annual average” data from the HVS showed MASSIVELY different rental vacancy rates in Richmond, Virginia than did the American Community Survey, which also produces estimates of the vacancy rate in the overall rental market. Here are some annual data comparisons of the HVS rental vacancy rate and the American Community Survey (ACS) rental vacancy rate (which is also for the overall rental market) from 2006 through 2009, as...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:25 AM » Lawmakers deadlocked over deal as default looms
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 8:25 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States edged closer on Tuesday to a devastating default as Republicans and Democrats were deadlocked over competing plans to raise the debt ceiling, one week before a deadline to act.
  • 8:25 AM » Vital Signs: Increasing Wariness of U.S. Default
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 8:25 AM by WSJ
    Credit-market investors are becoming warier of a U.S. default. The spread on five-year credit default swaps on U.S. debt rose to 0.57 percentage points Monday — the highest since early 2010 — meaning the annual cost of insuring $10 million in U.S. debt against default is $57,000. But during the financial crisis, spreads in the thinly traded market were much higher.
  • 8:25 AM » New York Hotels Go Hip by Design
    Published Tue, Jul 26 2011 8:25 AM by Google News
    Adrian Wilson Touch-screen check ins and a luggage “Yobot” give a futuristic feel to the new Yotel in New York City. A newly opened Aloft Hotel in Brooklyn, N.Y. features pod chairs, a floating circular front desk and a lively bar. But the most appealing feature might be the price tag: starting at $169 a night. It’s one of four cheap but design-conscious hotels targeted at travelers in their twenties and thirties that have popped up in Brooklyn and Manhattan in recent months, the . (The West Coast got these hip but affordable hotels earlier.) Taking a cue from trendy discount chains, such as IKEA and Target, designers use clean lines and bright colors to create a hip feel even though they use cheaper materials. “We’re not talking about high design, but we’re not doing a four- to five-star hotel,” says Glen Coben, the architect who designed the interiors of the city’s first Tryp by Wyndham, which is set to open this fall. Nearly every detail of the Tryp Times Square South was custom designed to cut costs, from the light fixtures to a breakfast buffet with shutters that conceal liquor bottles for the bar at night. (.) Unlike the cookie-cutter design of a Courtyard by Marriot or Holiday Inn, each hotel has a distinctive vibe. Nowhere is the more evident than the futuristic Yotel at 42nd Street and Tenth Avenue in Manhattan, which plays off the aesthetic of an airport. The hotel features touch screens for checking in, a “Yobot” for lifting luggage and beds that fold into couches. Still, these edgy designs win mixed reviews, especially from older travelers. “They’re trying to be the W, but realize the Ws have a certain price point. You can tell in their furnishings, that it is cheaper,” says Max Chao, a California lawyer in his early 40s, who stayed at the Aloft in Harlem. The bar, he says, can also get “raucous.” “I’m probably at the point where I’m a little too old for it,” he says. Of course, hotels outside of New York are also looking for new ways to pull in today’s travelers...
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Mortgage Rates:
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  • 15 Yr FRM 4.13%
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 4.72%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 103-28 (-0-03)
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 105-22 (-0-01)
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Recent Housing Data:
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  • Refinance Index -3.69%
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  • Purchase Index -1.98%