Stacie Hartman

The Mortgage Blog of Stacie Hartman

First-Time Buyers Half Of All Home Sales

From July 2009 to June 2010, first-time buyers accounted for 50 percent of all home sales, up from 47 percent in 2009. The 2010 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows a record number of entry-level buyers, largely due to the success of the home buyer tax credit. The survey also found that the typical seller who purchased a home eight years ago experienced a median equity gain of $33,000, a 24 percent increase. Sellers who were in their homes for 11-to-15 years saw a median gain of 40 percent. Vicki Cox Golder, NAR’s president, said despite turmoil in the housing market, most long-term owners saw an increase in the value of their property. 85 percent of buyers said buying a home is a good investment. More here.


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The Tax Credit and Price Stabilization

Jim Gillespie, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, says without the homebuyer tax credit home prices would not have stabilized and there would’ve been far more foreclosures this year.

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Purchase Demand Up, Rates Down

According to The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, purchase demand reached its highest level since the expiration of the tax credit last week. The Purchase Index gained 9.3 percent due to a 17.2 percent increase in FHA applications and a 3.6 percent jump in conventional purchase applications. Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s chief economist, said the spike in FHA applications may have been driven by borrowers hoping to get applications in before new FHA requirements took effect October 4th. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.25 percent from 4.38 percent a week earlier. More here and here.

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Housing Market Outlook Begins To Brighten

Recent economic forecasts from industry insiders and expert analysts call for modest improvements in the housing market and overall economy in the next year and beyond. Respondents to the September 2010 MacroMarkets Home Price Expectations Survey expect home prices to fall by just 0.8 percent in 2010 and to gain 0.8 percent next year. It was the first time since the survey began in May that didn’t show increasing pessimism among the responding analysts. In a survey of bank executives done for Bank Director magazine, 60 percent said the economy will remain the same over the next six months and 49 percent of bank CEOs and CFOs said they don’t believe there will be a double-dip recession. Casey B. Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, argues that the homebuyer tax credit wasn’t propping up prices as much as reported. Mulligan believes the market will proceed at the same pace as it did when the credit was in place and expects little, if any, reduction in home prices.

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Signs of Stabilization In Latest Price Report

Home prices rose 0.6 percent in July over June and were 3.2 percent higher compared with a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s said, based on the recent behavior of the housing market, home prices are more likely to remain stable than to return to the heights reached in 2005-2006. Blitzer feels the strength of the housing market will become clearer in the next few months. Prices rose in 12 of the 20 largest metropolitan areas in July and half saw year-over-year gains. More here, here, and here.

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Residential Construction Rises To 4-Month High

Housing starts rose 10.5 percent in August, reaching their highest level since April. The unexpected jump is a sign that the housing market is beginning to stabilize after the summer slump that followed the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. According to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, building permits and housing completions were also up in August. Stuart Miller, Lennar’s chief executive, said there’s been an increase in activity after a tough summer for the housing industry. More here, here, and here.

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Housing Shows Signs Of Stability In 2nd Quarter

According to The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s second quarter U.S. Housing Market Conditions report, housing showed signs of stabilization during the second quarter but the recovery, overall, remains fragile. During the second quarter of this year, existing home sales were up, while sales of new homes fell; building permits and housing starts both dropped; the national homeownership rate was down to 66.9 percent and inventories of available homes increased. HUD expressed concern about the shadow inventory, while noting government efforts, such as the Making Home Affordable program, have helped keep the number of foreclosures down. More here.

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Home Prices and The Foreclosure Crisis

The continuing foreclosure crisis is fueling concerns about another drop in home prices. According to analysts at Barclay’s Capital, there are as many as 4,000,000 loans either in some stage of foreclosure or at least three months late. How fast those foreclosed homes hit the market, and at what price, will have a large role in determining how quickly the housing market recovers. Government programs aimed at stoking sales and slowing the rate of foreclosures had some success in stabilizing the market earlier this year. But now that many of those programs have expired, the remaining inventory poses a potential risk for home prices. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, predicts home prices will fall further. He feels the market should be allowed to dictate how low prices drop, rather than having a gradual decline aided by government intervention. More here and here.

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Encouraging Signs For The Housing Market

David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s, feels recent price increases, though partly driven by the lingering effects of the homebuyer tax credit, are a positive sign that the housing market is returning to a more normal cycle.

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HAMP Dropouts Rise In July

The Treasury Department’s monthly report on the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, shows 48.1 percent of the 1.3 million homeowners enrolled in the government’s mortgage aid program had been dropped by the end of July. The dropout rate at the end of June was 41.2 percent. Launched in April 2009, HAMP was intended to lower mortgage payments of homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Assistant Treasury Secretary Herb Allison said the cancellations were mostly the result of servicers working through a backlog of trial modifications accepted before the program required income verification. Both borrowers and the banking industry have complained of bureaucratic and paperwork problems associated with the troubled foreclosure-prevention effort. More here, here, and here.

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About Me:

Stacie Hartman is a wholesale mortgage Account Executive working with loan officers in Oregon and SW Washington. She has 18 years in the mortgage industry, an extensive knowledge of financing options, and a commitment to open communication and client service that make her stand out in her field. Her goals begin with uncompromising service and end with excellent results and repeat business.


Stacie Hartman
360 Mortgage Group
Account Executive
Oregon and SW Washington
Phone: 503.757.9565

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