House Prices Continue Their Ascent Nationally




NEWS RELEASE-                                                                             Daily News Report                         April 23, 2013

House Prices Continue Their Ascent Nationally, house prices continued to rise in February, contributing to the overall recovery in U.S. house prices. According to the most recent release by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, U.S. house prices rose by 0.7 percent on a month-over-month…

FHFA House Price Index Up 0.7 Percent in February Washington, DC – U.S. house prices rose 0.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basisfrom January to February, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index (HPI). For the 12 months ending in February, U.S. house prices rose 7.1 percent.  The U.S. index is 13.6 percent below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the

October 2004 index level. U.S. house prices have not declined on a monthly basis since January 2012. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from January to February ranged from -0.6 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +1.7 percent in the South Atlantic division, while the 12-month changes ranged from +1.9 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +15.3 percent in the Pacific division.

FHFA uses the purchase prices of houses with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae  or Freddie Mac to calculate the monthly index. Monthly index values and appreciation rate estimates for recent periods are provided in the table and graphs on the following pages. See for complete historical data. For detailed information on the monthly HPI, see HPI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). The next HPI release will be May 23, 2013 and will include monthly data for March and quarterly data for the first quarter of 2013. Release dates for 2013 are available at

The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks.  These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $5.7 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions.

Housing Passes One Million Mark !

Housing Passes One Million Mark

Posted By susanne on April 17, 2013  4:39 PM In Business Outlook,Consumer News and Advice,Real Estate Information,Real Estate News,Real Estate Trends,Today’s Top Story,

new_home_construct_roof [1]Housing construction passed the psychological mark of one million starts in March coming in at 1.036 million homes, up 7 percent from an upwardly revised February level of 968,000. The surge was due to a 31 percent increase in apartment construction to a level of 417,000 units, the highest since January 2006. Single-family construction fell 4.8 percent to 619,000 from an upwardly revised February level, which was the highest since May 2008. The first quarter single-family average was 628,000 up 6 percent from the fourth quarter 2012.

HARP Mortgage Refinancing Program Extended by Two Years

HARP Mortgage Refinancing Program Extended by Two Years

Posted By susanne On April 15, 2013 @ 4:05 PM In Consumer News and Advice,Home Buying 101,Home Owner News,Real Estate Information,Real Estate News,Real Estate Trends,Today’s Marketplace,Today’s Top Story – Consumer | Comments Disabled

refinance_mortgage_house_puzzle [1](MCT)—Underwater homeowners with Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed mortgages will be able to try to refinance their mortgages for another two years.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Thursday that Fannie and Freddie’s Home Affordable Refinance Program, which was set to expire Dec. 31, will be extended until the end of 2015.

“More than 2 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP, proving it a useful tool for reducing risk,” FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco said in a statement.

According to the most recent data, in January alone, 1 in 5 refinancings of Fannie and Freddie-backed loans occurred under HARP. Of the loans refinanced under the program that month, 25 percent had a loan-to-value ratio of greater than 125 percent.

Eligibility for the program, announced in early 2009, remain the same. The mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie on or before May 31, 2009, and the current loan-to-value ratio must be greater than 80 percent.

In addition, borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments, with no late payments in the past six months and they cannot have made more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

To apply for the program, borrowers should contact their existing lender or another lender participating in the program. Consumers do not need to use outside companies that bill themselves as “mortgage experts” or “foreclosure specialists,” the agency said.

©2013 Chicago Tribune
Distributed by MCT Information Services [2]

Article printed from RISMedia:

Federal budget projects $943 million bailout for FHA

NAR endorses risk-based premium pricing

By Inman News, Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

Inman News®

The Federal Housing Administration will likely need a $943 million taxpayer bailout in the next fiscal year to cover losses stemming from defaults on loans made both during and after the housing boom, according to a 2014 budget proposal released by the Obama administration today.

If required, the bailout would be the first in the federal agency’s 79-year history. The FHA has been hard-hit by defaults from housing bubble-era loans made from 2005 through 2008, with future losses estimated at $70 billion for loans made in 2007, 2008 and 2009 alone.

The agency has until Sept. 30 to decide whether it will need a cash subsidy from the U.S. Treasury. FHA Commissioner Carol Galante said the agency still might be able to avoid taking the bailout, Reuters reported.

“FHA, while still under stress from legacy loans, has made significant progress and is on a sound fiscal path forward,” Galante said.

In its last annual report, released in November, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), of which FHA is a part, reported a $16.3 billion deficit for the agency, raising the specter of a taxpayer bailout. Since then, the agency has taken several steps to bolster its capital reserves, including tightening underwriting standards, raising insurance premiums, and shuttering FHA’s standard reverse mortgage program.

In testifying today before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity, National Association of Realtors President Gary Thomas applauded the FHA for taking steps to improve its financial stability.

“These changes combined with an improving national economy and rising home prices will surely help stabilize the fund so that FHA can continue to serve the needs of hardworking American families who wish to purchase a home,” he said.

He credited the FHA for stepping in when private lenders fled the market and thereby preventing home prices from dropping an estimated 25 percent further.

“FHA did not offer risky mortgage products. FHA did not engage in exotic underwriting. FHA did not have accounting problems or other unscrupulous behavior. Instead, FHA stepped in during our housing crisis, and provided access to mortgage credit to millions of responsible Americans who wanted to purchase homes,” Thomas said.

“Many of the mortgages FHA entered into during the crisis were in declining markets. Lending in declining markets increases risk. However, had FHA not stepped in to fill that market void, our economy would still be far from recovered.”

NAR recommended additional reforms to FHA, mainly centered around giving the agency more freedom, including emergency authority, to make changes to protect its reserves. The trade group suggested FHA have greater flexibility to set premiums and change loan policies, citing losses the agency racked up when Congress would not allow it to discontinue seller-funded downpayment assistance.

“We believe FHA should have to go through some public notice process for significant changes, but don’t believe the agency should have to go to Congress for every program change,” Thomas said.

The trade group also endorsed risk-based premium pricing for FHA-backed loans, improved enforcement and oversight of lenders, and the elimination of the owner-occupancy ratio requirement for FHA condo mortgages.

The administration’s budget proposal projects FHA will insure $178 billion in mortgage loans in 2014, including new purchase loans and refinancings.

The proposal has other implications for housing. It suggests reducing the value of itemized deductions, the mortgage interest deduction included. High-income taxpayers (the top three percent) would be able to reduce their tax liability to a maximum of 28 percent. Right now, there are three tax brackets above that threshold.

“Currently, a millionaire who contributes to charity or deducts a dollar of mortgage interest enjoys a deduction that is more than twice as generous as that for a middle-class family,” the proposal said.

“The proposed limitation would return the deduction rate to the level it was at the end of the Reagan Administration,” the proposal added.

The proposed budget for HUD asks for $47.6 billion, up 9.7 percent, or $4.2 billion above the 2012 level. More than 90 percent of the increase will be used to maintain current levels of rental and homelessness assistance for low-income families, HUD said.

The budget includes $37.4 billion in rental housing assistance to more than 5.4 million families; $18 billion for neighborhood stabilization, including reducing blight in communities hit hard by the foreclosure crisis; nearly $2.4 billion in homeless assistance grants; $400 million to revitalize 30 high-poverty neighborhoods; $526 million for rental assistance and to produce about 4,100 new supportive housing units for the elderly or disabled; $726 million for the housing needs of Native American tribes; $332 million for a housing program for people with AIDS; and $1 billion to the Housing Trust Fund for extremely low income families.

The proposal reduced funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program by 5 percent to $950 million. At that funding level, the program will provide grants to state and local governments to provide nearly 40,000 additional units of affordable housing for low-income families, the proposal said.

HUD is also allocating $132 million for housing and homeowner counseling, more than half of which will go toward foreclosure assistance.