Month: November 2011

The Wealthy Are Also Defaulting on Their Mortgages


Real Estate, Newton, MA.

 

The Wealthy Are Also Defaulting on Their Mortgages

There are many who believe that mortgage delinquencies in their region are concentrated in the middle-to-lower income neighborhoods. Actually, the research shows the number of delinquencies in the higher priced sections are currently exceeding the percentages in less affluent areas.

The most recent Mortgage Monitor issued byLPS reports that the largest increase in both delinquencies and foreclosures, as compared to 2008 levels, are in ‘jumbo’ mortgages. A jumbo mortgage, according to Wikipedia, is:

“a mortgage loan in an amount above conventional conforming loan limits…the limit is $417,000 for most of the US.”

In some parts of the country, that limit can be over $625,000. This type of loan finances the higher priced properties in a marketplace.

According to LPS, the percentage increase in jumbo mortgages is as follows:

  • Delinquencies: increased 281%
  • Foreclosures: increased 589%

Again, these numbers are greater than any other type of loan including Option ARMs and Sub-prime loans.

Strategic Defaults

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the more affluent don’t have the money to meet their mortgage obligations. In some cases, they see their home as a depreciating asset and determine that continuing to put money into it makes little sense. The Washington Post recently reported on this. In the article, they explained:

“The ratings agency Moody’s said that based on its analysis of mortgage-backed bond portfolios, homeowners with jumbos now constitute “greater strategic default risk” than any other type of borrowers, including subprime. That’s because an exceptionally high number of jumbo owners — many in high-cost markets hit by real estate deflation over the past several years — are stuck with persistent negative equity.”

Bottom Line

We often explain that the number of distressed properties in a neighborhood adversely impacts values of other homes in that area. It now appears that even the most affluent areas will be dealing with a supply of discounted properties entering the market as foreclosures.  This would have an extreme impact on the Newton and all west suburban Boston markets.  I have not seen any evidence of this so far, but I will let you know if I do!

The Crew at KCM

 

How Much Should I Put Down


Realtor, Newton, MA.  homes for sale

Another great article from the KCM Crew—–

Like most questions, the answer is “it depends”. Today, I thought I’d give you some things to consider.

Let’s begin the discussion with loans that don’t require Mortgage Insurance. The suggestion is to borrow as much as you can afford. As an example, borrowing $310,000, as opposed to $300,000, will increase your mortgage payment by about $51 at 4.5%. Recognize that by doing so, you will have $10,000 in the bank. It is my experience that it is easier to find $50 more every month than it is to save $10,000. Even if you had the discipline to set aside the $50 monthly, it would take you 200 months to re-accumulate the $10,000 in principal (longer with lost interest).

Understand too, that the interest paid on the extra money borrowed is tax-deductible. In a 25% tax bracket the $51 additional has a real cost of about $38!

 

Having the $10,000 liquid has other potential advantages as well:

  1. If rates go up in the future, you could potentially make more interest than you are spending.
  2. If you can avoid using credit cards for furniture, home improvements, etc., you can save a bundle on those non-tax deductible interest rate costs.
  3. In a world where home values have declined, the more you borrow, the less you have at risk. You transfer the risk of the future value of the home to the lender.

Now, many borrowers today will need some sort of Mortgage Insurance, whether it’s a Conventional Loan with less than 20% down or an FHA Mortgage. These borrowers should sit with their loan officer and run the numbers because the cost of the Mortgage Insurance can vary based on loan-to-value and other factors. Examine the costs and the relative benefits.

House Rrices: Where Will They Be in the Spring?


Newton, MA.

Reprinted from The KCM Crew

This post refers to the national real estate market, I believe the market here in Newton, Weston, Wellesley, MA. will remain relatively unchanged thru the spring.  If anything I see a slight dip in the 1st Q of 2012

Many sellers want to wait until the spring before putting their home on the market. This might be for any of several reasons:

  1. They don’t want to be inconvenienced during the holiday season.
  2. They believe that they will see more potential buyers and as a result will get a higher price.
  3. In the northern part of the country, they might not want people walking through the snow and then into their house.
  4. All of the above

In a normal real estate market, this may make sense. However, this market has been anything but normal. This spring will also see some abnormalities. The biggest difference will be the direction prices will take.

In years past, the spring market would favor the seller because increased demand would outpace any increase in supply: the number of houses coming onto the market would not be as great as the number of buyers newly entering the market. In most situations, when demand is greater than supply, prices increase.

The reason this spring will be different is that the supply of homes coming to the market will be dramatically impacted by foreclosure properties being released by the banks. Many believe this increase in inventory will far outweigh buyer demand. In situations where supply is greater than demand, prices decrease.

Will This Actually Happen?

RealtyTrac, in their latest foreclosure report, explained:

“U.S. foreclosure activity has been mired down  since October of last year, when the robo-signing controversy sparked a flurry  of investigations into lender foreclosure procedures and paperwork. While foreclosure activity in  September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a  year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to  change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up.

This will impact prices.

What Do Experts Believe the Impact Will Be?

Here are the pricing projections by several major entities:

  • Zillow believes we will not see a bottom in prices until the first quarter of 2012.
  • Standard & Poors thinks prices will drop %5 in the next few months.
  • JP Morgan Chase believes prices will depreciate 6 to 7% over the next six months.
  •  Barclays says prices will fall 7% by the end of the first quarter of 2012.

Bottom Line

You may pay a hefty price for the convenience of not having your property on the market right now.

The Real Estate Ship Appears to be Turning!


Newton, MA.  newtonmasshomesforsale.com

The Ship Appears to be Turning

Ken H. Johnson, Ph.D. — Florida International University (FIU) and Editor of the Journal of Housing Research. To view other research from FIU, visit http://realestate.fiu.edu/D

On October 31, CNN Money reported: “Home prices headed for triple dip”.  Reporting on information provided by Fiserv (a financial analytics company), a 3.6% fall in prices on a national basis is expected by next summer.  This will result in the Case-Shiller Home Price Index falling to 35% below its peak in 2006 and marking a triple dip in U.S. housing markets.[1]

Say it ain’t so!  Is housing set for a third dip in five years?  This depends on factors being in place to lessen the impact from market anxiety brought on by worries over a pending wave of foreclosures and the U.S. debt crisis, which we will start to hear more about shortly.

So, what are these factors and what do they tell us?  These factors are really fundamental drivers that encourage individuals to buy versus rent their personal residences.  They are sometimes referred to as housing affordability measures.  The price to income, mortgage payment to income, and a buy versus rent analysis for various markets provide strong evidence that factors are in place to encourage home ownership or favor renting depending on the resulting measurements.  In ongoing research being performed by Beracha and Johnson, these measures are at record levels in favor of buying.[2]  In fact, the price to income ratios in 23 of the 50 states are at 30-year record lows.  The payment to income ratios are at 30-year record low in all 50 states.  A buy versus rent analysis performed in 23 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas also indicates that hurdle rates (the rates at which potential buyers are indifferent between buying and renting) in all 23 cities are below 25-year average appreciation rates.  All of these results strongly favor purchasing.

What about per capita income and present day prices (relative to past prices)?  Presently, U.S. per capita income is on the rise again and has regained to the level of 2007 (roughly $40,000 per person), while prices of homes on the other hand rest at 2002 levels according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index.  What about mortgages rates?  Presently, 30-year fixed rates are at near record low levels.

So, let’s put this all together.  Housing is presently more affordable than at any time in the last 30 years.  While income is only at 2007 levels, home prices are even lower coming in at 2002 levels.  All of these factors set the stage for many individuals to favor purchasing over renting.  Thus, while there are grave concerns over the overall health of the economy, fundamental drivers now appear in place to staunch any further significant plunges in home prices.

The ship appears to be turning.[3]