3% Loans Make Strong Debut

Freddie: 3%-Down Loans Make Strong Debut

Freddie Mac’s new mortgage product that allows borrowers to put down just 3 percent is off to a strong start, says Freddie Mac’s Chief Executive Donald Layton.

Read more: 3% Down Payments May Be Game Changer

Layton wouldn’t provide specific numbers on the 3 percent loan performance, but he reported that the mortgage giant netted a $4.2 billion total profit during the second quarter.

Lawmakers had expressed concern about Freddie Mac’s 3 percent down payment option loans, which debuted in March, arguing that it could lead to losses at the government-backed company. The Federal Housing Administration also supports low down payment loans but requires more insurance from home owners than Freddie Mac’s.

Freddie Mac is charging more to guarantee mortgages as they gradually shrink the size of their loan portfolios.

Freddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, remain under government conservatorship and send their profits to the U.S. Treasury.

Freddie Mac reported that more than 40 percent of its net interest income in the second quarter was from management and guarantee fees.

By the end of June, Freddie Mac’s post-2008 business has increased to 63 percent of its single-family credit guarantee portfolio. Also, its single-family serious delinquency rate – loans that have payments late by 90 days or more — stood at 1.53 percent in the second quarter, the lowest since November 2008 and below the national rate of 4.24 percent.

Source: “New 3%-Down Mortgage Off to ‘Good Start,’ Freddie Mac Chief Says,” MarketWatch (Aug. 4, 2015)

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Las Vegas Home Prices Increase

Abq Dream Homes.com
According to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, local home sales and prices posted double-digit increases in June compared to one year ago.

GLVAR reported the median price of homes sold during June 2015 was $220,000, up 10.1 percent from $199,900 one year ago. Meanwhile, the median price of local condominiums and townhomes, including high-rise condos, sold in June was $115,000. That was up 5.5 percent from $109,000 one year ago.

“It’s good for our local homeowners when prices are appreciating at a healthy pace like this and more homes are selling,” said 2015 GLVAR President Keith Lynam. “Of course, we still have some challenges. We’ve been dealing with less than a three-month supply of homes available for sale. That’s less than half of what we’d like to have for a balanced market. We also realize there are too many abandoned homes throughout Southern Nevada, though we see signs that banks may finally be doing more to address this issue.”

According to GLVAR, the total number of existing local homes, condominiums and townhomes sold in June was 3,693, up from 3,274 one year ago. Compared to June 2014, 14.2 percent more homes and 6.3 percent more condos and townhomes sold this June.

Since 2013, GLVAR has been reporting fewer distressed sales and more traditional home sales, where lenders are not controlling the transaction. In June, 6.7 percent of all local sales were short sales – which occur when lenders allow borrowers to sell a home for less than what they owe on the mortgage. That’s down from 10.8 percent one year ago. Another 7.6 percent of June sales were bank-owned, down from 10.1 percent one year ago.

The median price of single-family homes sold as part of a short sale in June was $165,000, down from $170,000 one year ago. The median price of bank-owned homes sold in June was $170,000, up from $150,000 one year ago.

Lynam said short sales could still increase if Congress votes to again extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. In December, Congress voted to retroactively extend the tax break it had allowed to expire at the end of 2013 to help distressed homeowners who sold properties in 2014. Unless Congress extends this act through 2015, any amount of money a bank writes off in agreeing to sell a home as part of a short sale this year may become taxable when sellers file their income taxes.

The total number of single-family homes listed for sale on GLVAR’s Multiple Listing Service in June was 13,740, down 0.7 percent from one year ago. GLVAR tracked a total of 3,474 condos, high-rise condos and townhomes listed for sale on its MLS in June, down 6.5 percent from one year ago.

By the end of June, GLVAR reported 7,432 single-family homes listed without any sort of offer. That’s up 4.3 percent from one year ago. For condos and townhomes, the 2,329 properties listed without offers in June represented a 0.2 percent decrease from one year ago.

GLVAR said 28.4 percent of all local properties sold in June were purchased with cash. That’s down from 29.1 in May and from 34.7 percent one year ago. It’s well short of the February 2013 peak of 59.5 percent, indicating that cash buyers and investors are still a factor in the local housing market but that their influence is waning with each passing month.

These GLVAR statistics include activity through the end of June 2015. GLVAR distributes such statistics each month based on data collected through its MLS, which does not necessarily account for newly constructed homes sold by local builders or for sale by owners. Other highlights include:

  • The monthly value of local real estate transactions tracked through the MLS during June was nearly $794 million for homes and more than $100 million for condos, high-rise condos and townhomes. Compared to one year ago, total sales volumes in June were up 23.5 percent for homes and up 13.2 percent for condos.
  • In June, 68.6 percent of all existing local homes and 66.6 percent of all existing condos and townhomes sold within 60 days. That compares to one year ago, when 69.4 percent of all existing local homes and 67.3 percent of all existing condos and townhomes sold within 60 days.

– See more at: http://www.worldpropertyjournal.com/real-estate-news/united-states/las-vegas/las-vegas-home-sales-las-vegas-home-prices-2015-greater-las-vegas-condo-prices-greater-las-vegas-association-of-realtors-glvar-housing-report-9211.php#sthash.gjHciuoW.dpuf

Las Vegas on Top

Monopoly homes

Timing matters in life, especially when it involves one of the largest financial decisions you’ll ever make. Buying a home is no longer viewed with rose-colored glasses. The housing crisis of yesteryear shattered long-held beliefs that home values only move in one direction. If you bought right before the bubble burst, you might consider yourself an unlucky victim. However, some homeowners who bought after the meltdown timed their purchases just right.

Home prices have been surging more than three years now, creating pockets of jaw-dropping strength across the nation. In fact, national home prices are still increasing more than 6% on a year-over-year basis. In order to find which areas of the country are seeing the biggest rebound from the housing collapse, Zillow recently analyzed cities with populations over 50,000 to find the luckiest homebuyers in America. These are people who happened to buy in the right place at the right time, and are now enjoying the highest appreciation growth.

Once again, the real estate market proves it’s all about location and timing. For example, Las Vegas homebuyers who bought in 2009 are $66,043 worse off on average today than if they rented and invested in the stock market over the same time period. But those who bought a Las Vegas home three years later made $52,000 more between 2012 and 2015 than they would have if they had rented and invested in the stock market, even without the $8,000 tax credit that enticed many previous buyers.

The Golden State is home to the luckiest homebuyers in America. As the list from Zillow below shows, California is responsible for eight of the 10 cities with the highest appreciation growth. Nevada and Florida also make an appearance on the list. Interestingly, Palo Alto is the top city and the only one to make the list with a pre-crisis purchase date. The gateway to Silicon Valley has benefitted significantly from an influx of wealthy techies.

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“It’s very clear that when it comes to maximizing gains from an investment in real estate, timing really does matter a great deal,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “However, timing isn’t everything, and trying to time the market perfectly is incredibly difficult, even for professionals. There are any number of factors to consider when purchasing a home, only one of which is the potential for financial gain. Potential buyers should always place their personal needs and their family’s needs first, and make the decision to buy only when they are ready to make a significant investment of both their time and money.”

 

LUXURY APARTMENTS IN LAS VEGAS

 

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StoryBook Homes is planning to build an apartment complex at the northwest corner of Grand Canyon Drive and Tropicana Avenue, as seen Sunday, July 19, 2015.

Homebuilder Wayne Laska, who sells smaller, lower-priced houses than other builders, is getting in on Las Vegas’ apartment craze — and infusing his project with a touch of luxury.

Laska, owner of StoryBook Homes, says he is gearing up to start construction of a stylish, four-story, 175-unit rental complex at the northwest corner of Tropicana Avenue and Grand Canyon Drive, in the southwest valley. It would be his first apartment development.

The partially built site — it already has an underground parking garage — was supposed to have pricy condos years ago, but previous owners lost the project, dubbed the Mercer, to foreclosure during the recession.

Laska bought the roughly 5-acre site for $1.25 million in 2012, county records show, far below the $5.45 million that the failed developers paid in 2006.

He said he hopes to start construction this fall. He said he’s “wrapping up” building plans and expects to submit them to Clark County in the next few weeks and that he’s getting close to finalizing a $22 million development loan. He’s been working on the financing package for the past year.

Project plans call for a rooftop deck; a courtyard with a swimming pool and movie nights; a yoga room; outdoor fire pits and fountains; and ground-floor retail space. Rental rates are expected to be $1,000 to $2,500 per month.

Laska aims to open the Mercer — he kept the name — in the first quarter of 2017.

“It was dead at one point,” he said. “We’re going to resuscitate it.”

The Mercer was one of countless real estate projects in Las Vegas that were abandoned, often midconstruction, during the downturn. And Laska is one of many investors who bought these zombie properties, typically at a steep discount, to complete them.

Condo projects alone included ManhattanWest, now called the Gramercy;Vantage Lofts; and Milano Residences, now called the Lennox.

Like the Mercer, those three developments were designed as for-sale condo complexes but now are rentals offering higher-endamenities.

The Mercer was initially designed to have 113 units. It was more than 50 percent pre-sold by time the developers broke ground in 2007, and asking prices reached $790,000, reports said. Amenities were to include hardwood flooring, stainless steel kitchen appliances, and granite and marble countertops.

Construction apparently stopped in 2009, the same year the project’s lender foreclosed on it.

Failed condo projects were “all over” the valley during the recession, and given their low prices, they were “hard to pass up,” said Dennis Smith, founder of Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research.

“It was a good deal,” he said of Laska’s purchase.

The apartment industry is one of the most-active areas of real estate locally and nationally, especially for development. In Las Vegas, investors have been buying andbuilding multifamily properties as younger residents shy away from homeownership and because many locals — their personal finances wrecked by the recession — haven’t been able to land a mortgage, let alone afford a down payment, and have to rent.

Apartment-complex sales volume is far higher than it was at the depths of the downturn but has fallen the past few years. The drop-off comes amid rising prices and, perhaps, a shrinking availability of lower-priced buildings.

Investors picked up almost 2,800 units in the first half of 2015, a pace of about 5,600 for the year, at an average price of about $84,700 per unit. In 2012, landlords bought 21,840 units for an average of $65,425 apiece, according to Colliers International.

Meanwhile, after opening just 367 rental units valleywide in 2013, developers completed about 1,700 units last year. As of December, they were projected to open roughly 5,750 units this year and almost 2,000 more in 2016, according to CBRE Group.

Not everyone’s cheering the workload. Some people have said developers are piling in too quickly and overbuilding, especially in the southwest valley, where it seems most of the projects are concentrated.

“Apartments have probably gotten a little ahead of themselves right now,” RCG Economics founder John Restrepo said a few months ago.

Laska, who runs day-to-day operations of StoryBook, launched the company with his wife, Catherine, around 2003. They sell 100 to 120 homes annually, mostly in the southwest valley.

Through June, StoryBook closed 68 sales this year, 15th-most in the valley, according to Home Builders Research. (Miami-based powerhouse Lennar Corp. was No. 1 with 667.)

StoryBook, like the rest of its industry, was battered by the economic meltdown last decade. The company, and the Laskas, were on the brink financially as Southern Nevada’s homebuilding sector, which had been white hot during the real estate bubble, all but collapsed.

“We almost filed bankruptcy three times,” Wayne Laska said.

Today, his sales volume has doubled from the depths of the downturn — his company sold 69 homes in all of 2009, according to VEGAS INC research — and he’s getting into the apartment business in a big way.

Not only is he developing his first project, but he and his wife are planning to move to a 4,000-square-foot, fourth-floor corner unit at the Mercer.

Also, concerned that he might not find tenants for all of the retail space, Laska said he might move his company’s headquarters from Town Center Drive at the 215 Beltway to the ground floor of the apartment complex.

http://vegasinc.com/business/real-estate/2015/jul/24/homebuilder-storybook-las-vegas-apartment-market/

Home sales up fastest pace in 8 Years!

ABQ Mansion

Americans bought homes in June at the fastest rate in over eight years, pushing prices to record highs as buyer demand has eclipsed the availability of houses on the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales of existing homes climbed 3.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, the highest rate since February 2007. Sales have jumped 9.6 percent over the past 12 months, while the number of listings has risen just 0.4 percent.

The median home price has climbed 6.5 percent over the past 12 months to $236,400, the highest level – unadjusted for inflation – reported by the Realtors.

Home-buying has recently surged as more buyers have flooded into the real estate market. Robust hiring over the past 21 months and an economic recovery now in its sixth year have enabled more Americans to set aside money for a down payment. But the rising demand has failed to draw more sellers into the market, limiting the availability of homes and sparking higher prices that could cap sales growth in the coming months.

Some of the recent sales burst appears to come from the prospect of low mortgage rates beginning to rise as Fed officials consider raising a key interest rate from its near-zero level later this year. Past efforts by the Fed officials to reduce their stimulus efforts have led to higher mortgage rates, creating expectations that homebuyers will face increased borrowing costs later this year.

That possibility is prompting some buyers to finalize sales before higher rates make borrowing costs prohibitively expensive, noted Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac, a housing analytics firm.

The premiums that the Federal Housing Administration charges borrowers to insure mortgages are also lower this year, further fueling buying activity, Blomquist said.

It’s also possible that more homebuyers are aggressively checking the market for listings, enabling them to act fast with offers despite the lack of new inventory.

Properties typically sold last month in 34 days, the shortest time since the Realtors began tracking the figure in May 2011. There were fewer all-cash, individual investor and distressed home sales in the market, as more traditional buyers have returned.

Sales improved last month in all four regions: Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

Still, the limited supplies could prove to be a drag on sales growth in the coming months.

Ever rising home values are stretching the budgets of first-time buyers and owners looking to upgrade. As homes become less affordable, demand will likely taper off.

Home prices have increased at more than three times the pace of wages. The average hourly wage has risen just 2 percent over the past 12 months to $24.95 an hour, according to the Labor Department.

Construction has yet to satisfy rising demand, as builders are increasingly focused on the growing rental market.

Approved building permits rose increased 7.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.34 million in June, the highest level since July 2007, the Commerce Department said last week. Almost all the gains came for apartment complexes, while permits for houses last month rose only 0.9 percent.

The share of Americans owning homes has fallen this year to a seasonally adjusted 63.8 percent, the lowest level since 1989.

Real estate had until recently lagged behind much of the six-year rebound from the recession, hobbled by the wave of foreclosures that came after the housing bubble began to burst roughly eight years ago.

But the job market found new traction in early 2014. Employers added 3.1 million jobs last year and are on pace to add 2.5 million jobs this year. As millions more Americans have found work, their new paychecks are increasingly going to housing, both in terms of renting and owning.

Low mortgage rates have also helped, although rates are now starting to climb to levels that could slow buying activity.

The average 30-year fixed rate was 4.09 percent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. The average has risen from a 52-week low of 3.59 percent.

 

Las Vegas-area home prices up 10.1 percent in June

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Las Vegas-area home prices are up by double digits compared with a year ago. The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that the median home price in June was $220,000, which is up 10.1 percent from last June. The number of existing homes sold in June was nearly 3,700, up… Continue reading

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