Monday, August 30, 2010

July homes sales fall to 1995 levels

Sales of previously occupied homes plunged last month to the lowest level in 15 years, despite the lowest mortgage rates in decades and bargain prices in many areas.

July's sales fell by more than 27 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. It was the largest monthly drop on records dating back to 1968, and sharp declines were recorded in all regions of the country.

Real estate prices "stickier" in top tier SF neighborhoods

In a sign of the uneven toll the housing downturn has taken on San Francisco homeowners, home values in some of the city's poorer neighborhoods have fallen more steeply than in tonier areas. Median home values fell most sharply in Bayview and Visitacion Valley on the city's southeast fringe, dropping 36% and 28%, respectively, in June from four years earlier, according to real-estate website The declines were less dramatic in more affluent neighborhoods such as Glen Park and Pacific Heights, where median home values dropped 7% and 6% over the same period.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dr. Doom sounding less gloomy

"I believe that the basic scenario is going to be one of a U-shaped economic recovery where growth is going to remain below trend ... especially for the advanced economies, for at least 2 or 3 years," he said at a news conference here.

"Within that U scenario I also see a small probability, but a rising probability, that if we don't get the exit strategy right we could end up with a relapse in growth ... a double-dip recession," he added.

Roubini, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, said he was concerned economies which save a lot, such as China, Japan and Germany, might not boost consumption enough to compensate for any fall in demand from "overspenders" such as the United States and Britain.

"If U.S. consumers consume less, then for the global economy to grow at its potential rate, other countries that are saving too much will have to save less and consume more," he said.

201 Folsom on hold for up to 3 years

Via Socketsite comes news about 201 Folsom, Tishman Speyer's project across from the Infinity:
Tishman Speyer has been granted a 3 year extension to start construction on two approved residential towers of “350 and 400 feet above an 80-foot podium, with up to 725 dwelling units, 750 off-street parking spaces, 38,000 square feet of commercial space, and 272 replacement off-street parking spaces for the adjacent USPS facility” at 201 Folsom.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mortgage rates dip this week

Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.08 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending September 3, 2009, down from last week when it averaged 5.14 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.35 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.54 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.58 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 5.90 percent.

“Bond yields pushed mortgage rates slightly lower this week,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Low mortgage rates are helping to keep housing very affordable. Seven of the top eight most affordable months occurred during this year, according to the National Association of Realtors’® (NAR) Housing Affordability Index, which dates back to 1971. As a result, pending sales of existing homes rose for the sixth straight month in July, a trend not seen since the NAR began reporting data in 2001. Moreover, July’s sales were the strongest since June 2007.

“Overall, inflation remains in check while certain sectors of the economy are experiencing some improvement. The core price index on consumer expenditures, a key indicator tracked by the Federal Reserve, rose 1.4 percent in July from the same time a year earlier and represented the smallest 12-month increase since October 2003. Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry expanded for the first time in 19 months, according to the Institute of Supply Management.”

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Millennium Tower over $100 Million closed

MBA proposes new secondary market framework

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released a new paper outlining a proposed framework for a refined government role in the secondary mortgage market designed to ensure liquidity for mortgages without presenting unnecessary risks for the taxpayer. The paper, Recommendations for the Future Government Role in the Core Secondary Mortgage Market, is the result of work by MBA's Council on Ensuring Mortgage Liquidity, a 23-member task force representing MBA's diverse membership base.

"It's now been more than two years since the secondary mortgage market collapsed," said Michael D. Berman, MBA's Vice Chairman and Chair of the Council on Ensuring Mortgage Liquidity. "Rebuilding the secondary market is critical to restoring liquidity and confidence. The government has an important, limited role to play to ensure a stable flow of funds for mortgages."

The centerpiece of MBA's recommendation is the creation of a new line of mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Each security would have two components - a loan level guarantee provided by a privately-owned, government-chartered and regulated mortgage credit-guarantor entity (MCGE) and a security-level, federal government-guaranteed wrap.

The wrap would be an explicit government guarantee focused on the credit risk of these mortgage securities, similar to that on a Ginnie Mae security. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's infrastructure, including their technology, human capital, standard documents and relationships, could be used as the foundation for one or more MCGEs.