Well it looks like old man winter showed up a little earlier than usual this year. The unusually large snow was a welcome sight for the local ski areas and the school kids who got to miss a couple of days of school. We are looking forward to a snow-packed, fun filled, water producing year.
A smaller percentage of mortgages were delinquent and the rate of those entering the foreclosure process slowed in the fourth quarter of 2009, possible signs that the foreclosure crisis that has gripped many of the nation’s housing markets is finally starting to ease, a trade group has reported.
“We are likely seeing the beginning of the end of the unprecedented wave of mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures that started with the subprime defaults in early 2007,” said Jay Brinkmann, chief economist of the Mortgage Bankers Association, in a written statement.
The delinquency rate for mortgages on one- to four-unit residential properties was a seasonally adjusted 9.47% of all mortgages outstanding in the fourth quarter, down from 9.64% in the third quarter and up from 7.88% in the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the MBA’s quarterly delinquency survey.
Delinquencies include mortgages that are at least one payment or more past due but not yet in foreclosure.
Meanwhile, 1.2% of outstanding mortgages entered the foreclosure process in the fourth quarter, down from 1.42% in the third quarter and up from 1.08% in the fourth quarter of 2008. The percentage of mortgages at some point in the foreclosure process at the end of the fourth quarter was 4.58%, up from 4.47% in the third quarter and 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The MBA survey covers about 44.4 million loans on one- to four-unit residential properties, or about 85% of all first-lien residential mortgage loans that are outstanding in the country. No doubt, the foreclosure nightmare isn’t over yet.
The percentages of loans 90 days or more past due and loans in foreclosure process set record highs in the fourth quarter, according to the report. Many of those loans more than 90 days past due are in loan modification programs, and some of them have been seriously delinquent for months waiting for modifications to get finalized.
But the good news is there are fewer problem loans actually entering delinquency—likely a result of fewer layoffs, Brinkmann said. “We normally see a large spike in short-term mortgage delinquencies at the end of the year due to heating bills, Christmas expenditures and other seasonal factors. Not only did we not see that spike but the 30-day delinquencies actually fell by 16 basis points from 3.79% to 3.63%,” he said. He added that the non-seasonally adjusted 30-day delinquency rate has only dropped three times in the past between the third and fourth quarter—”and never by this magnitude.”
Depending on the fate of seriously delinquent mortgages—whether they are cured with modifications or ultimately enter foreclosure—the percentage of mortgages somewhere in the foreclosure process could start to see a gradual decline in the second half of the year, he said during a conference call with reporters.
If normal seasonal patterns hold, there could be a bigger drop in the 30-day delinquency rate in the first quarter of 2010, Brinkmann said. That would be a positive sign for the months and years ahead. “The continued and sizable drop in the 30-day delinquency rate is a concrete sign that the end may be in sight,” he said. “With fewer new loans going bad, the pool of seriously delinquent loans and foreclosures will eventually begin to shrink once the rate at which these problems are resolved exceeds the rate at which new problems come in. “It also gives us growing confidence that the size of the problem now is about as bad as it will get,” he said.
According to the MBA data, Florida was the most problematic state, in terms of delinquencies. Twenty-six percent of Florida mortgages were one payment or more past due at the end of the year, and 20.4% of mortgages in the state were 90 days or more past due or already in the foreclosure process.
National average mortgage rates declined from the previous week to 4.72% in the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey released weekly by Freddie Mac on June 10th. Rates have recorded weekly declines in seven out of the past nine weeks. Fixed mortgage rates are now just slightly higher than the all-time low of 4.71% set in December 2009.
Jazzercise instructors and students from South Lake Tahoe will perform in a half time routine during the Sacramento Kings basketball game at the ARCO Arena on Saturday. The group of 25 women will join 100 other Jazzercise enthusiasts during the performance to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Instructor Sherry Baiocchi said each performer was required to raise at least $100 for Make-A-Wish.
“Everyone has been working hard to get as many sponsors as possible,” Baiocchi said. “The donation from everyone participating will be substantial.”
Baiocchi said Jazzercise has been in South Lake Tahoe for more than 30 years, with classes at Kahle Community Center and the South Lake Tahoe
St. Theresa Catholic School is hosting its 16th annual “Claws for Cause” crab dinner and auction at 6 p.m. Friday in Grace Hall, 1041 Lyons Ave.
Proceeds from the event benefit the private school. The event is for adults 21 and over. Childcare is available for $15 per child in the social hall.
No-host cocktails begin at 6 p.m., the crab dinner is at 7 p.m., followed by the live auction at 8:30 p.m.
Every class, from preschool to eighth grade, will sponsor a gift basket for the silent auction.
Volunteers are still needed.
Tickets are $40 per person in advance, $45 at the door.
For information, visit www.stslaketahoe.org/crabdinner10.html or call (530) 544-8944.
Better Homes and Gardens recently revealed proprietary research and insights on what consumers are looking for in their next home and overall priorities guiding current and future home improvement projects.
In a speech at the NAHB International Builders Show, Eliot Nusbaum, Better Homes and Gardens Executive Editor Home Design, presented the results of the Next Home Survey along with reported trends from a nationwide network of field editors, the magazine’s Home Improvement Challenge and editorial coverage.
The survey of nationwide potential new home buyers and existing home owners who are planning improvements in the next few months found top priorities to include price, energy-efficiency, organization and comfort.
“Not surprisingly, we continue to see a ‘cents and sensibility’ approach when it comes to buying or improving a home, with practicality and price being top priorities,” said Nusbaum. “Today’s homeowner is also looking for a home that fits the entire family–from a multi-tasking home office, to expanding storage space needs, to a living room that can adapt to advancements in home entertainment and technology.”
Future Home Buyers
A Smaller and More Energy-Efficient Home
Continuing the “downsizing” trend, more consumers (36% in 2009; 32% in 2008) expect their next home to be “somewhat smaller” or “much smaller.”
A greener home will be a priority, with 87% planning to have high-efficiency heating/cooling in their next home and 86% planning to have high-efficiency appliances; 24.9% will have geo-thermal heat.
When asked how today’s housing market and economic turmoil have impacted priorities for their next home, 76% said energy-efficient heating and cooling systems will be “more important” and for 70%, Energy Star appliances will be “more important.”
Almost half (48%) say green building practices/materials will be “more important” when purchasing their next home.
An Organized, Multi-Tasking Home with No Wasted Space
The home office is a priority as 59% of consumers plan to have one in the home. Of those, only 28% want a separate dedicated home office space (compared to 64% in 2008), with one-third (33%) now wanting a more multi-purposed space, such as combined office/computer/hobby/craft/art room.
A well organized home is key, with 66% of respondents listing “no-space-wasted” design and 62% listing ample storage space as attributes that will take on more importance.
Also on the ‘wish list’ for the next home is: a separate laundry room (85%); an outdoor grilling and living area (68%); a kitchen with eating area (67%); and an extra bedroom with bath (65%).
America’s love affair with the large garage continues to flourish with 37% of consumers now wanting a 3-car or larger garage compared to 29% in 2008.
A Family-Friendly Home
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers consider a comfortable family gathering space to be top priority in their next home.
Of lesser interest this year is a kitchen, family and everyday eating area combined in one space (49% vs 56% in 2008) replaced by significantly greater interest in a family room partially separated from the kitchen (42% vs 27% in 2008).
There is also an increased desire (51% vs 44% in 2008) for a wall-mounted flat screen TV in the main family living area and for networked computers/home entertainment center (48% vs 43% in 2008).
“With the economy still a major concern, right now it’s more about the ‘got to’ improvements than the ‘want to’ improvements,” said Nusbaum. “The focus is now on low-cost improvements that will pack a big punch.”
With only 16% feeling “now is the right time to spend” on home improvements vs 38% saying “now is not the right time to spend,” 52% are focusing their efforts on needed repairs and maintenance.
Three-quarters (76%) say the economy has had an impact on their home improvement plans, with half (50%) having changed their home improvement plans during the last year.
Smaller projects prove to be the most popular, such as painting a room (54%), replacing/adding flooring or carpeting (38%), decorating/redecorating a room (35%) and landscaping the yard (30%).
Energy-efficiency is also a focus of future home projects, with respondents placing importance on installation of Energy Star windows/doors (34%), high-efficiency heating/cooling (31%) and Energy Star appliances (31%).
If your idea of a dream retirement home is a luxury contemporary overlooking a championship golf course in the desert, you better be prepared for some mighty small block parties: When it comes to retirement living, golf courses are out.
And Arizona and Florida aren’t the only retirement-relocation hot spots these days. In fact, North and South Carolina now top the preferences of baby boomers who will be retiring in the next decade, according to a survey to be released from home builder Del Webb. “How times have changed when it comes to the golf course,” said Paul Cardis, chief executive of AVID Ratings Co., a survey research firm. His recommendation to builders: Eliminate it. Bike paths and walking trails are the new greens and fairways.
Blame it all on the economy. The recession has taken its toll not only on nest eggs but also on the traditional concept of a retirement home. That’s the message that attendees at the International Builders Show received in a number of presentations and seminars.
Downsizing is a trend that is taking hold among all housing consumers, but it is particularly evident among the 55-plus crowd that includes the older baby boomers. And that downsizing includes housing aspirations in retirement. While “warmer climate” was the reigning factor in choosing where to retire in the first boomer survey Del Webb conducted in 1996, today “cost of living” is the most important consideration on where to locate. Although Florida, Arizona and California remain Top 10 retirement destinations, the trend is giving other states a chance to draw even more retirees.
Despite the broadening of potential destinations, baby boomers’ desire to move in retirement has remained relatively stable over the years. Between 30-40% plan to move to a new home in retirement, about the same as in 1996, and half of those plan on moving to a new state.
What older buyers want in homes
What kind of houses will be in demand among those 55 and older? According to a consumer survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, the most important design features that 55-plus buyers want in their homes center on the practical:
-Washers and dryers in their units
-Windows that open easily
-First-floor master bedrooms
A lot of the more popular features in new homes these days don’t appeal all that much to older buyers:
-Island work areas
-Private toilet compartments
But a number of items that home buyers don’t find to be of much interest are much more popular with older buyers:
-Bathroom aids such as grab bars
-Light home-repair services
-Outdoor maintenance services
-An entrance without steps
-Accessible public transportation
Among technology features, older home buyers tend to act like younger buyers when it comes to the basics: Both groups have a preference for security systems, energy management, structured wiring and lighting controls. But older buyers had little use for home theaters, distributed audio or home automation, more-expensive items that younger buyers do like. “These older buyers are frugal, probably on a fixed income and so expensive tech items are not that big on their lists,” said Rose Quint, the NAHB assistant vice president for survey research.
The emphasis on services related to home and community is an important one that cuts across many age groups, said John Migliaccio, director of research at MetLife’s Mature Market Institute, which surveys consumers and builders on retirement issues. “Very telling is that the younger group of mature consumers reported enthusiastically that they want services like home maintenance and repair as part of their next home purchase, along with services usually connected to older householders, such as housekeeping, onsite health care and transportation,” he said.
According to Migliaccio, all of those items were ranked higher than the desire for social activities by this group—a surprise given that social activities and amenities have been thought to be valued highly by this group. He said the data support an emerging trend among builders to look for ways to partner with providers of such services to the residents of their active adult/lifestyle communities.
Migliaccio also predicted that universal design—which includes features such as wider hallways, lever-handled doors, roll-in showers and no-stair entries—will catch on as baby boomers watch their own parents age. “The boomers are going to see their own parents age without it and they won’t like what they see,” he said.
The 55-plus age group represents 38% of all U.S. households and is projected to rise every year to be almost 45% of households by 2019. And that group has high homeownership rates: while the U.S. as a whole has about a 67% ownership rate, those 55 to 74 own homes at an 80% clip. “Most buyers in this market are looking for an easy-living lifestyle. They would like easy access to services that will free up their time from maintenance both inside and outside their homes,” said Mike McGowan, a 50-plus builder from Binghamton, N.Y. and chairman of the National Association of Home Builder’s 50-Plus Housing Council. “This data tells builders that the homes they build for older active adults will remain attractive to the consumers who will be entering that market for the foreseeable future.”
After more than a year of talking about it, actual change has finally arrived for the tens of millions of Americans who rely on credit cards.
Come February 22, 2010, card lenders will be barred from raising interest rates on most borrowers’ existing balances—a practice that increasingly irked consumers over the last decade and one of several that federal regulators and lawmakers finally barred as unfair and deceptive.
But the new law already requires banks to give cardholders 45 days’ notice of any change in terms. So if your bank didn’t mail you a rate-change notice by January 7, 2010, you no longer face a doubling or tripling of your interest rate on your current balance—as long as you keep paying and don’t fall 60 days late. The Federal Reserve recently issued more than 1,100 pages of rules telling card issuers how to implement that new prohibition and other elements of the nation’s new credit card law, whose main terms take effect February 22.
If you’re a “convenience user” of credit cards—one of the four in 10 cardholders who pay off your bill each month—you’ll be less affected than those who carry a balance. But pay attention, anyway, because the new rules are forcing the card industry to reevaluate business models that for too long relied on tricks and traps to generate revenue. It isn’t yet clear how the card market will evolve, especially since this is playing out during the middle of a deep and painful recession.
Still, many of last year’s dire warnings don’t seem to be coming true. “Rewards” programs haven’t vanished, nor have annual fees suddenly become the norm. Average rates even dipped in November 2009, which the bankers called evidence that “issuers are working to keep rates down even in these tough times.”
In short, good customers still seem able to enjoy the benefits of paying with plastic without shouldering much more of the costs. And that’s unlikely to change, because of competition and also because of one of the basic dynamics of the credit card business: Since they also get lucrative fees from the companies that accept plastic payments, the last thing card issuers want is to steer you to start paying with cash or checks.
Highlights of the new rules include
-No rate increases on existing balances. The dirty little secret of what card issuers called “risk-based pricing” was that some of the best prices were offered to some of the riskiest customers. The trick was that they knew they could profit by offering lucrative deals to these customers because they could predict that some portion would soon be paying much more—often “default” or “penalty” rates topping 30%—on big balances.
Sometimes the new rate was triggered by a late payment of a few hours. Sometimes it was triggered by a late payment to another creditor. Sometimes it was caused by nothing more than a dip in a consumer’s credit score and contract terms allowing rates to be changed “at any time for any reason.”
What’s changed: Except for introductory rates, which must last at least six months, interest rates cannot be raised on existing balances except in rare situations, such as if a cardholder falls 60 days late.
-Faster payoffs for some borrowers. The new law also ends a trap sprung on cardholders who were lured by low-interest or no-interest balance-transfer offers but didn’t read the fine print. If they subsequently used the card for purchases carrying a higher rate, they soon found that they were accumulating interest no matter how much they paid each month. Card issuers would not allow them to pay off the purchases until the low-rate or interest-free balances had been fully paid. What’s changed: Starting February 22, any payment over the monthly minimum must go toward paying down the portion of the balance carrying the highest interest rate.
-No increases for the first 12 months. When it comes to new purchases, less has changed. You may still face an interest-rate increase based on triggers in your card contract- even for tardiness paying another creditor, the trap that came to be known as the “universal default.” But there are two key differences. The first is that since August 2009, you’ve been entitled to 45 days’ notice and the right to say “no, thanks” to new terms. The second is that, as of February 22, a card issuer cannot raise your rate during the first year an account is open, unless an “introductory rate” is expiring and the “go to” rate was plainly disclosed at the start. Of course, since card issuers can no longer apply new rates to old balances, opting out may no longer be the best solution, in part because the law allows the issuer to double your monthly minimum. You’d be better off if you simply quit using the card. But if the issuer imposes a new annual fee, opting out may be your only alternative.
-New billing and payment terms. Starting in February, your card company must mail or deliver your bill at least three weeks before your payment is due, and give you a consistent monthly due date. Payments must be credited if they arrive by 5 p.m. on the due date. And if that day falls on a Sunday or holiday, you’ll be entitled to an extra day.
-Over-limit charges. As of February 22, a card company has to ask whether you want it to approve charges that push you over your credit limit. If you say yes, the issuer can only charge you one over-limit fee per month. And if you opt out, it can’t charge you a fee if it allows such a purchase.
-Young borrowers. If you’re under 21 and want a credit card, you’ll now need to show that you have the financial resources to make payments, or obtain a cosigner.
-Big changes still ahead. This isn’t the last of the new credit card rules. By August 2010, the Federal Reserve has to decide how to implement two of the trickiest parts of the new law: its requirements that penalty fees be “reasonable and proportional,” and that card issuers who have raised customers’ rates since Jan. 1, 2009, reevaluate those rates to see if they should be reduced, and to do so at least every six months.
I have a unique Tahoe Keys duplex condo for sale. It is in the middle of a remodel so it would have to be a cash offer- although the seller is open to any creative solution. It has a 2 bedroom 1.5 bath unit that is currently rented and a studio with full bath and kitchen. The studio is in the remodel stage. The owner has the new kitchen cabinets, stove/oven, 40k BTU gas fireplace, and dishwasher uninstalled on site. He is tired of the project and just wants out. Not in the MLS yet-
It has one garage space, outside parking, keys amenities (pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, boat launching, private beach), a nice mountain and marina view, and 2 boat slips…… A legal duplex with one APN number….
Offered in the very low $300’s
When you finished with this project you could flip for a nice profit or keep it and rent one unit and keep one for yourself.
Call or email me for more information.
In an effort to stabilize home values and improve conditions in communities where foreclosure activity is high, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan recently announced a temporary policy that will expand access to FHA mortgage insurance and allow for the quick resale of foreclosed properties. The announcement is part of the Obama administration’s commitment to addressing foreclosure. Secretary Donovan recently announced $2 billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants to local communities and nonprofit housing developers to combat the effects of vacant and abandoned homes.
“As a result of the tightened credit market, FHA-insured mortgage financing is often the only means of financing available to potential home buyers,” said Donovan. “FHA has an unprecedented opportunity to fulfill its mission by helping many home buyers find affordable housing while contributing to neighborhood stabilization.”
With certain exceptions, FHA currently prohibits insuring a mortgage on a home owned by the seller for less than 90 days. This temporary waiver will give FHA borrowers access to a broader array of recently foreclosed properties.
“This change in policy is temporary and will have very strict conditions and guidelines to assure that predatory practices are not allowed,” Donovan said.
In today’s market, FHA research finds that acquiring, rehabilitating and reselling these properties to prospective homeowners often takes less than 90 days. Prohibiting the use of FHA mortgage insurance for a subsequent resale within 90 days of acquisition adversely impacts the willingness of sellers to allow contracts from potential FHA buyers because they must consider holding costs and the risk of vandalism associated with allowing a property to sit vacant over a 90-day period of time.
The policy change will permit buyers to use FHA-insured financing to purchase HUD-owned properties, bank-owned properties, or properties resold through private sales. This will allow homes to resell as quickly as possible, helping to stabilize real estate prices and to revitalize neighborhoods and communities.
“FHA borrowers, because of the restrictions we are now lifting, have often been shut out from buying affordable properties,” said FHA Commissioner David H. Stevens. “This action will enable our borrowers, especially first-time buyers, to take advantage of this opportunity.”
The waiver will take effect on February 1, 2010 and is effective for one year, unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by the FHA Commissioner. To protect FHA borrowers against predatory practices of “flipping,” where properties are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers, this waiver is limited to those sales meeting the following general conditions:
-All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.
-In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20% or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions.
-The waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.
For more information, visit www.hud.gov.