Foreclosures Levels Drop 11% In February

Home repossessions hit their lowest levels since mid-to-late 2007, averaging an 11% decrease in February 2013 from January 2013, and showed a 29% drop from last year according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure rates have been cut in half from 2010 when the foreclosure crisis reached its highest level. Rates continue to drop monthly and yearly as home prices increase, and the housing market picks up speed. More here

HARP Refinances Rise Above Projected Amount

According to the HARP report, 297,461 refinances took place last year, and of those refinances 25% had 125% loan-to-value ratios. The Home Affordable Refinance Program stated that approximately 1.1 million of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgages experienced some form of refinancing in 2012, rising above expected mortgage refinances projected for 2012. The Federal Housing Finance Agency reports that 2.2 million loans have been refinanced since the program began in 2009. More here

Housing Market Takes Steps Toward Recovery

According to Reuters, the housing market began its long journey to recovery in 2012. In January of 2012, the housing market began to see an increase in housing starts fueled by rental property demands. January of 2013 proved that the housing market had picked up speed with companies planning to begin construction on approximately 3,000 apartment units. By late February, building permits reached a 4 1/2 year high with home prices expected to increase 3.7% from April-June. More here

Unemployment Rate Drops To 7.7%

New job growth is speeding up in the U.S. This is particularly good news for the recovering housing market. 236,000 net jobs were created in February according to the Labor Department. The nation’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since 2009, averaging at 7.7%. Job growth has slowly inched up this year with an average increase of 205,000 new jobs per month from last October, an increase of 53,000 new jobs per month from the middle of last year. More here

Homeowner Diversity Helps Accelerate Housing Market

A new study suggests that immigrants are fueling the housing market and have been helping growth over the last decade. Experts expect immigrants to continue to accelerate the housing market in the near future. Foreign-born property owners have shown growth each year since 1990. Immigrants have made up 39% of U.S homeowners net growth between years 2000 and 2010. The vice president for the Mortgage Bankers Association, Mike Fratantoni said, “the pool of homebuyers is much more diverse than in the past.” More here

Fixed-Rate Mortgages Show Little Increase

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, fixed-rate mortgages seem to show little to no change from last week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped 3.52% while 15-year fixed-rate mortgages measured in at 2.67%, unchanged from last week. The 5-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage this week averaged 2.63%, a 2.61% jump from last week. Meanwhile, property prices have shown growth. More here

Home Prices Jump In 2013

According to data from the CoreLogic Index, U.S. home prices have increased while foreclosure rates have decreased. Home prices have jumped 0.7% in January from the previous month and soared 9.7% from last year, the biggest home price increase since early 2006. It is forecasted that home prices will fall 0.3% by February as a short slow period is expected to approach before spring selling season. CoreLogic also reported that distress sales rates have normalized in 2013. More here

Home-Buying Plans Gain Momentum

Home-buying plans have shown improvement since 2005, with mortgages remaining relatively affordable and housing starts on the rise. This year’s credit availability has grown substantially compared to availability over the last few years. 30-day delinquency rates have decreased to rates last seen in 2006, while 60-day delinquency rates have also dropped to rates equivalent to those in 2007. Moody’s ResiLandscape said, “home-buying plans are improving, owning a home remains highly affordable, and household formation is rising.” More here

Job Growth Increases Consumer Confidence

The job market this year has steadily grown each month. Last month, 157,000 jobs were added to the recovering economy, and jobless claims have continued to decline weekly. Consumer confidence has also trended upward according to Economist Richard Curtin who said ‚Äúconsumer confidence continued to improve in February due to expected gains in employment.” Curtin also suggested that job growth has eased concerns about federal spending and payroll taxes. More here

Jumbo Loans Return

The National Association of Realtors stated homes worth between $750,000 and $1 million have increased over the last year by 38.7%.  Large mortgage loans over $417,000, called jumbo loans, are directly associated with the growing luxury real estate market. Lenders are again seeing jumbo loans as a positive way to earn revenue with  low  deposits. The publisher at Inside Mortgage Finance, Guv Cecala said, “the jumbo market may fare better than the overall mortgage market in 2013.” More here