Real Estate Information Archive


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New HUD Policy to Allow Quicker Foreclosure Re-sales

by Masha Halpern

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)announced that effective February 1, 2010, they will relax FHA rules that prohibit insuring mortgages on homes that are owned by the seller for less than 90 days. This is a positive move, one that can help to expedite the rehabilitation and resale of foreclosure properties.

This news comes at a time where recent tighter lending requirements have made FHA financing the only option for some buyers. The 90-day policy has kept some
homebuyers from being able to purchase affordable homes. In addition this has also prevented the quick resale of foreclosed properties, which affects the ability of communities to stabilize and rebuild.

This temporary waiver will be in effect for a period of one year, unless extended or withdrawn by the FHA. "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."

To ensure FHA borrowers are protected from inflated prices, the policy has certain restrictions, including:

  • All transactions must be arms-length and there can be no identity of interest between the buyer and seller.
  • If the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller's acquisition cost, the lender must meet specific conditions for the waiver to apply.
  • The waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and cannot be used under the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) purchase program.

Read more specifics on this waiver, visit the release.

North Carolina Real Estate Remains Steady

by Masha Halpern

As USA Today stated It was — note the past tense — the worst housing recession anyone but survivors of the Great Depression can remember. 

Regarding an article in USA Today today The housing market is beginning to stablize, with the exception of foreclosure and many areas are now recovering according to a spate of data released in the past two weeks. Nationwide, home resales in June are up 9% from January, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Sales of new homes have climbed 17% during the same period. And construction, while still anemic, has risen almost 20% since the beginning of the year.

The real estate market in the South remains one of extremes.

Taken as a whole, home resales in the 17-state region rose 10% in the first half of this year on a seasonally adjusted basis, and are off just 4% from June of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

"Generally speaking, the rate of decrease, both in sales and prices, has started to bottom," says the University of North Carolina's Cumbie. "But that doesn't mean it's going to come roaring back."

Mass layoffs at Bank of America and Wachovia, for example, have taken their toll in their home state of North Carolina. Home price declines in Charlotte accelerated this year, and home resales in June were off nearly 30% from last year.

Home and apartment construction, a key economic engine, will also vary widely across the region. Parts of the South, notably Florida and Atlanta, were vastly overbuilt during the housing boom. So construction in the region rose a meager 7% in the first half of the year, the lowest of the four regions, according to the Commerce Department.

There was little reason for builders to start laying new foundations. New-home sales fell 2% from January to June, the only region in the country to post a decline.

"In the longer term, I'm confident that the real estate market is going to shift where buyers are coming out not only because of attractive interest rates and low prices, but because more people are getting jobs," says Les Simmonds, president of L.G. Simmonds Real Estate Corp. in Longwood, Fla. an Orlando suburb. "But, as we speak, it's not right. It's going to take more time."

Southeast states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia

Data compares June vs. January and June vs. June 2008:

• Home resales: up 10%; down 4 percent

• Median price: $163,200 up 14%; down 12 percent

• New-home sales: down 2%; down 34 percent

• New home construction: up 7%; down 44 percent

• Mortgage delinquencies as of March: 12.7 percent

Regional outlook: The southern market has several characteristics that could help it recover, Cumbie says. The population continues to grow and businesses continue to move into the region. But the weight of foreclosures and job losses stretching into next year could delay any meaningful recovery.

To read this article in it's entirity - USA Today Nowhere to go but up? Housing begins slow rebound

To receive a full market analysis on your home's value in today market, please contact me.  You might be surprised.

HUD Lifts FHA 90 Day Seasoning Policy

by Masha Halpern

In a measure to help bring stability to home values and accelerate the sale of vacant properties, HUD takes action to speed resale of foreclosed properties to new owners. HUD hopes to improve home values and conditions in communities where foreclosure activity is high. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced last month that a temporary policy will  expand access to FHA mortgage insurance and allow for the quick resale of foreclosed properties. As part of the  Obama administration's commitment to addressing foreclosure, $2 billion in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants will be given to local communities and nonprofit housing developers to combat the effects of vacant and abandoned homes.

Currently, the FHA 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. In today's market, FHA research finds that acquiring, rehabilitating and the reselling these properties to prospective homeowners often takes less than 90 days.

This new policy change will allow homebuyers to use FHA-insured financing to purchase HUD-owned properties, bank-owned properties, or properties resold through private sales. This will help homes to resale quickly and thus stabilize real estate prices and help to revitalize neighborhoods and communities.

This new policy waiver will take effect on February 1, 2010 and is effective for one year, unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by the FHA Commissioner. To view specific conditions and other details of this new temporary policy, the details are available on HUD's website.

U.S. Economy Grows Stronger Than Forecasted

by Masha Halpern

A recent article from Marketwatch announces that the U.S. Economy grew at 5.7% in the 4th quarter.  This will strongly fuel perceptions that recovery is underway.

With consistent negative new reports on the worst recession in generations, the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in six years during the fourth quarter of 2009.

According to data released last week by the Commerce Department, the real gross domestic product increased at a 5.7% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the final three months of the year.  The 5.7% increase was in line with the 5.4% gain expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. Even with this increased growth, the economy shrank 2.4% in 2009, the worst drop since the 10.9% decline in 1946.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4




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Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty
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Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty provides real estate services in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area including real estate services for buyer, sellers and those relocating to the surrounding areas of Apex, Bahama,Cary, Efland, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, Mebane, Raleigh, and Wake Forest. Search for homes in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or the surrounding communities.  Request a market analysis for your North Carolina property.  I list and sell residential real estate, investment property, vacant land, lots for sale in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area.

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina real estate and homes for sale in North Carolina - Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team