Home Ownership: Up or Down?

united-states-home-ownership-rate

Home Ownership Rate in the United States increased to 63.50 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from  62.90 percent in the second quarter of 2016 which it was the same as in 1965, when the US Census started tracking the metric.  Home Ownership Rate refers to the percentage of homes that are occupied by the owner.

What factors drive Home Ownership rate?

There are several factors that will drive Home Ownership Rate, here are just some of those:

• Income growth

• Higher rents and housing costs

• Constrained credit

• Loss of confidence in wealth through Home Ownership

Nevertheless, owning a home is a financially savvy move because builds wealth over time,  and in general makes “cents”, and indeed there is no place like Home.

 

 

 

 

 

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Real Estate, Is it for Real?

HELOCs the next thing home credit product? Home prices, including distressed sales, rose year-over-year by 5.9% in March, according to data released Tuesday by CoreLogic.

The CoreLogic Home Price Index report found that March was the 37th consecutive month to feature year-over-year increases in home prices across the country. Month-to-month, home prices also rose by 2%, including distressed sales.

CoreLogic’s HPI Forecast estimated that prices will continue to increase month-to-month in April by 0.8% when including distressed sales and 0.7% without these properties

Is HUD delaying Foreclosures? Yes!

HUDThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday announced significant changes to its Distressed Asset Stabilization (DASP) program meant to offer more protections to borrowers facing foreclosure and increase non-profit participation in purchasing distressed loans. This enhancements for HUD’s Distressed Asset Program will provide borrowers more Protection.

Under the new rules, loan servicers are required to delay foreclosure on a home for a year and evaluate all borrowers facing foreclosure for participation in the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or a similar loss mitigation program. Loan servicers could previously foreclose on a home six months after they received the loan and were not required to evaluate borrowers for loss mitigation programs, though they were encouraged to do so.

Number of Foreclosure filings declined once Again!

Number of Foreclosure filings declined once Again!

IndepRevBlogThe number of residential foreclosure filings in the U.S. declined by 9 percent from October to November despite a yearly spike in the number of foreclosure starts. According to RealtyTrac‘s U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for the month of November 2014 released on Thursday 112,498 foreclosure were filed, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions reflecting a decrease of 9% from the previous month and down 1% from a year ago.

This marks the 50th consecutive month with a year-over-year decrease in overall foreclosure activity. The report also reflects that one in every 1,170 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure process were filed during the month.

Among the nation’s 20 largest metros, those with the five highest foreclosure rates were Miami (one in every 394 housing units with a foreclosure filing), Tampa (one in every 432 housing units), Baltimore (one in every 576 housing units), Philadelphia (one in every 625 housing units), Chicago (one in every 716 housing units) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario in Southern California (one in every 725 housing units).

House Passes extension on Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief

House Passes extension on Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief

Mortgage-Forgiveness-Debt-Relief-ActLast night the United States House of Representatives extended the income tax exemption on mortgage debt forgiven in a short sale or a workout for principal residences.

The bill containing the income tax exemption on forgiven mortgage debt and other expired tax provisions passed by a vote of 378 to 46. However, The United States Senate has not yet voted on the measure.

We hope for the best. Let’s get it extended!

Homeowners may be hit with a massive Tax Bills if extension is not granted by Congress.

Homeowners may be hit with a massive Tax Bills if extension is not granted by Congress.

Congress has left unrenewed The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 created to help distressed homeowners; that were faced with taxes after a Principal reduction. Under current federal Pay-Estimated-Taxestax law, when the homeowners accept reductions in what they owe, the amount forgiven by the bank gets reported to the IRS, and the owner is hit with taxes as  if it were ordinary income.

Without Congressional action to renew the breaks, those whom banks allowed to sell their homes for less than the amount of their mortgage would have to pay taxes on the forgiven mortgage debt as if it were income, and it will hit hard on homeowners with a massive tax bills. This Congressional inaction could add $75K  in phantom income.

RealtyTrac estimates that in the first three-quarters of 2014, there have been more than 170,000 short sales representing a mortgage debt forgiveness of $8.1 billion total. The average short sale has a mortgage forgiveness of about $75,000, which if the tax break expires would be counted as income.

If Congress does not extend the law retroactively thousands of underwater homeowners could be hit with tax burdens that may not be able to handle.

 

Fannie Mae sets new rates effective October 14

Fannie Mae sets new rates effective October 14

Fannie Mae is set to raise the benchmark interest rate for its Standard Modification program. Fannie Mae will raise its required interest rate for standard modifications from 4.375% to 4.5%.  The rate was lowered from 4.5% to 4.375% on Sept. 15, but will now rise again in one week. Fannie Mae announced the change on Tuesday in an email sent to its servicers.

When the program began in Jan. 2012, Fannie’s benchmark interest rate was 4.625%. Fannie lowered the interest rate to 4.25% in Sept. 2012, before dropping it to 4% on Dec. 1, 2012.

“Fannie Mae Standard Modification interest rate is not determined on a preset schedule,” Fannie said in the note to its servicers. “The interest rate is subject to periodic adjustments based on an evaluation of prevailing market conditions.”

Fannie also noted that any loan modification requests that were approved at the previous rate are not eligible to be resubmitted for approval under the new modification rule

Fannie Mae reduces waiting period for distressed borrowers

Fannie Mae reduces waiting period for distressed borrowers

A recent report revising the waiting periods for distressed borrowers with a derogatory credit event such as a foreclosure, bankruptcy, short sale, or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their credit history to obtain a new loan has been released by Fannie Mae. This revised statement reduces the waiting period up to two years for borrowers with a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure on their record if there are extenuating circumstances that borrowers can prove. FannieMae

According to Fannie Mae, extenuating circumstances are defined as “nonrecurring events that are beyond the borrower’s control that result in a sudden, significant, and prolonged reduction in income or a catastrophic increase in financial obligations.”

If a borrower has a foreclosure on his or her credit record, the new minimum waiting period is seven years. Under extenuating circumstances, that period is shortened to three years with some additional requirements for up to seven years. For those with a bankruptcy the waiting period is four years but two years with extenuating circumstances from the discharge date.

Fannie Mae said in the report that it is “focused on helping lenders to provide access to mortgages for creditworthy borrowers while supporting sustainable homeownership” and that the new policy “provides opportunities for borrowers to obtain a loan to Fannie Mae’s maximum LTV (loan-to-value) sooner after the Pre-foreclosure, Short Sale or DIL.”

Bouncing back from foreclosure!

After losing their homes in the foreclosure crisis, boomerang buyers are back!   Since the housing bubble burst, 4.8 million borrowers have lost their homes to foreclosure, and another 2.2 million gave them up in short sales, according to Realty Trac.

Manicured Yard

How quickly someone can bounce back from a foreclosure or a short sale depends on the reasons for the past financial problems and on the person’s current credit score. A would-be borrower who had good credit history before a job loss, for instance, is more likely to qualify for a new mortgage than one who had bad credit and continues to demonstrate poor financial habits.

The FHA introduced a Back to Work loan program in 2013 to address the needs of individuals and families who lost their homes because of the housing crisis and recession. The program requires housing counseling before a new loan can be approved.

The borrowers need to be able to document the reason for the foreclosure or short sale and show that they’ve been responsible with their credit after they lost their home. A drop in credit score is okay as long as they can show they had good credit before the crisis.

No One Should Pay Taxes on Phantom Income

After announcing the details of the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement with Bank of AmMortgage-Forgiveness-Debt-Relief-Acterica, which includes $7 billion in relief to consumers  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder lamented Congressional inaction to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act.

For homeowners meant to be helped by the settlement funds will instead be penalized on their income taxes.  Holder called on Congress  to do the right thing for financially distressed American families who lost homes to foreclosure or short sales this year.

The tax relief expired on December 31 last year,  and unless Congress acts to extend it, every person who has already sold or plans to sell a home in a short sale in 2014, will pay taxes on nonexistent mortgage debt, which is money many don’t have. Taxing forgiven mortgage debt as income is an unfair practice that also incentivizes defaults and foreclosures, which could torpedo the housing recovery.