Category Archives for "For Buyers"

Information for buyers of short sale properties in North Carolina.

Bailout Watchdogs Call Mortgage Program a Bust

 Bailout watchdogs on Wednesday raised a red flag over the Obama administration’s program for helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, saying the multibillion-dollar fund is not working and the Treasury Department refuses to fix it. 

Warning that the inefficiencies could hold the economy back, the officials told a Senate panel that changes should be made and that Treasury needs to come clean. One official called the program “one of the greatest failures in transparency and accountability” in the $700 billion bailout. 

A $50 billion fund was carved out of the Wall Street bailout for the mortgage program. The housing market being a root cause of the 2008 economic crisis, the money was pitched as a way to help millions of homeowners avoid foreclosure and get the economy back on track. 

But a fraction of that money, $248 million, has been spent. 

Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the congressional TARP Oversight Panel, said that for every one family that wins a permanent mortgage modification, “10 more have been moved out through foreclosure.” 

“This is a program that’s just — it’s behind the curve,” she told the panel on Wednesday. 

Special inspector general for the financial bailouts Neil Barofsky said the program has not “put an appreciable dent in foreclosure filings” during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the $700 billion bank bailout. He also said the Treasury Department has ignored earlier demands that it set clearer goals for the program.  A Treasury official said Wednesday that the bailout program has had “a major effect on the ability of people to stay in their homes.” The official argued that before the program was launched, it was not designed to prevent all foreclosures and not designed to help investors or speculators — or those with vacation homes or million-dollar homes.

More foreclosures could force down home prices and further hurt the ailing housing industry. 

Part of the problem with the Home Affordable Modification Program has been that plenty of homeowners are being accepted into a trial period, but relatively few are having their loan changes made permanent. Warren said just 165,000 have moved into permanent modifications with help from the TARP program, though more than that have advanced through a similar program administered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Barofsky said Treasury is giving mortgage companies too much leeway to decide which homeowners will qualify for a program to reduce the principal balance of their mortgages

The program relies on voluntary cooperation from mortgage companies, Warren said. She said many of the mortgage debt collectors make more money when they foreclose than they do when helping homeowners. 

“We can’t have a program in which, in effect, we put incentives on the table paid for by the taxpayers to say, ‘Please do the right thing here,'” she said. “We have a crisis, and the consequences of not having cooperation from the servicers … (is) felt by this entire economy . We need a program with far more urgency and some real teeth in it.” 

Article contributed by Fox News


30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages Hit New Record Low

Because of current economic conditions, mortgage rates have been on the decline, however did you know that the 30-year fixed-rate mortagages have hit an all time low? Continue reading the article below to find out more information about this situation:

“The weekly mortgage rate reports released Thursday by Freddie Mac and Bankrate were mixed. But one thing was certain: the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hit a new record low.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.57 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 8, 2010, inching down from last week’s average of 4.58 percent. Freddie Mac said this rate marked yet another all-time low in its 39-year survey.

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Housing and Economic Update for the Charlotte, NC Metro Market

As a listing broker, I thought it would be helpful to provide an update on the local housing trends and economics. Here is an update for May/June 2010 to assist with evaluating our inventory for the Charlotte Metro Area:

Articles/Press Releases:

New Home Sales Plunge 33% Nationally in May

The sales of new homes fell in May to their lowest level ever, decreasing 33 percent from the previous month.  Additionally, a report provided earlier in the week stated that the sales of existing homes dropped as well.  Because of this situation, the Federal Reserve has repeated their pledge to hold interest rates at record lows to help stimulate economic growth.  Besides the issues with homebuyer tax credits, high unemployment and slow job growth also add to the housing market’s condition.  On Wednesday, June 23rd, the Commerce Department stated that new-home sales for May came in at a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 300,000, which was the slowest in the 47 years recorded.  Also, this was the largest monthly drop on record and sales have decreased 78 percent from their peak five years ago.

Publication Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Publication Title: Charlotte Observer
Author: Alan Zibel
Article Link:
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Mecklenburg County Home Losses Surge

The foreclosure situation in Mecklenburg has doubled so far this year.  By June, Mecklenburg citizens had lost 2,185 homes to foreclosure and this increase can be accredited to the high unemployment rates and extensive federal efforts to stem foreclosures by modifying home loans. These foreclosures do not just affect the home owners, but the homes lost also drag down nearby property values, which makes it hard for neighbors to sell their homes as well. In order to help stop this vicious cycle, North Carolina created new laws including one that allows county courts to extend foreclosure sale dates to give homeowners more time to work with their lenders.  Additionally, in February of last year, President Obama made a foreclosure prevention effort with Home Affordable Modification Program.  Lastly, there are nationwide efforts to provide bridge loans and other stopgap measures for the unemployed.

Publication Date: Sunday, July 4, 2010
Publication Title: Charlotte Observer
Author: Stella M. Hopkins
Article Link:
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Delinquencies Inch Up in May, Foreclosure Inventories Remain Flat: LPS

Lender Processing Services has reported that the seasonal improvement period for delinquencies and foreclosure inventories has come to a halt.  According to the article, the total U.S. delinquency rate jumped to 9.2 percent in May, which is 7.9 percent higher than May of 2009.  The foreclosure inventory rate has remained stable from the month prior at 3.18 percent, but it was 13.5 percent higher than May of 2010.  Also, the national noncurrent loan rate came in at 12.38 percent and if including REO properties, the number of noncurrent loans in May increases to almost 7.4 million.

Publication Date: Friday, July 2, 2010
Publication Title:
Author: Brittany Dunn
Article Link:
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Charlotte Area Statistics for May 2010:

Average List Price of Sold Properties $238,736
Average Sales Price $212,454
Average Days on Market 116
Average Residential Closing Price $212,454
Total Number of New Listings 4,744
Total Residential Closings Reported 2,537
Total CMLS Listings on Market 26,008
Mortgage Rates 4.79 %
Charlotte/Gastonia/Rock Hill Unemployment Rate 10.9 %
National Unemployment Rate 9.5 %
Sold price vs. List Price 88.99%
June 4, 2010

Mortgage Rates Remain Virtually Unchanged, Linger at Historical Lows

Rates are at a historic low, check out the article that recently published about it!

“After weeks of continuous declines, mortgage rates remained nearly flat for the week ending June 3, 2010, Freddie Mac and Bankrate reported Thursday.

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.79 percent with an average 0.8 point this week, barely inching up from last week’s average of 4.78 percent. However, this week’s average was significantly lower than last year at this time when 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.29 percent.

Freddie Mac said 15-year fixed-rate mortgages continued to decline, but only slightly. According to its PMMS, rates averaged 4.2 percent with an average 0.7 point this week, nudging down from 4.21 percent the week prior and considerably lower than this same week last year when 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.79 percent. Breaking last week’s record, Freddie Mac said rates have not been lower since it started tracking 15-year fixed-rate mortgages in August of 1991.

“The economy grew at a slower rate than originally reported in the first three months of the year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which suggests inflation

will remain tame in the near term,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac VP and chief economist. “As a result, mortgage rates held at historic levels this week. In fact, rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages set another record low for the third week in a row.”

Bankrate reported the same trend of rates nearly level with last week’s averages, saying nervous investors and tenuous financial markets kept a lid on mortgage rates this week.

According to its weekly national survey, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.95 percent with an average 0.45 point this week, a minor uptick from 4.92 percent last week. In addition, Bankrate said 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.36 percent with an averaged 0.49 point, a slight jump from last week’s average of 4.34 percent.

Bankrate said mortgage shoppers—whether homebuyers that are aiming to close by June 30 and capture the tax credit or current homeowners refinancing—have been direct beneficiaries of the global uncertainty surrounding financial turmoil overseas. And although the Federal Reserve is expected to leave short-term interest rates low for the time being, the tracking company said evidence of continued improvement in the U.S. economy will eventually lead to higher mortgage rates as the year progresses.

Complementing Bankrate’s survey is its weekly Rate Trend Index, in which mortgage experts predict which way rates are headed over the next week. According to the panelists, rates have bottomed, but they may not be headed anywhere right away, as 62 percent expect mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged over the next seven days. The remaining 38 percent said mortgage rates will likely increase in the coming week.”