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Low Mortgage Rates, Low Prices – So Where Are The Buyers?

There’s very little debate over the fact that this is a “Buyer’s” Market” right now.  The thing is that this time around it’s a little different than in past market cycles.  There are plenty of homes to choose from, prices are low (still declining in many areas) and interest are as ever.

By all rights, there should be lots and lots of people buying houses right now.  There aren’t!  There are buyers and they are buying houses but not at the pace that the market conditions should justify.

Why not?

Here’s a short video that may be helpful in understanding part of the reason.

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New “Quality” Guidelines for Fannie Mae Mortgages

I recently received the following doc from William Raveis Mortgage Company* regarding the new guidelines that went into effect on 6/1/20.

As you’ll see there are some new pieces of documentation that will be required for all FNMA loans. These are being adopted by Secondary Market Investors.

This does not necessarily mean that it will be harder to get through the mortgage process.  It does mean that you should be very vigilant in discussing ALL aspects of getting your loan with your lender.   Being prepared lessens the chances of last-minute surprises.

*William Raveis Mortgage Company is an affiliated company owned by the brokerage I work for – William Raveis Real Estate.

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Rick Schwartz,   REALTOR

Homes for sale in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Ridgefield and Redding CT.

Will “Shadow Inventory” Drive Home Prices Further Down?

First to start with a disclaimer: Even if the opinions and predictions in this article are 100% accurate – it does NOT mean you can’t buy or sell a home.  It just means you have to work with a Realtor who is staying on top of the dynamics in the market place.    It’s always been my feeling, in all walks of life, that most bad outcomes are the results of  “flying blind”.

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We all keep waiting for the  market to hit bottom and then rebound.  That may not happen for a while – a long while according to an article from Amy Hoaks of Market Watch.

Most of the theory and forecasting in this article come from a presentation that Stan Humphries, Chief Economist from Zillow.com gave to the National Association of Realtor Estate Editors (an 80 year old organization of Real Estate Journalists) in Austin Texas earlier this month.

SUPPLY ‘N DEMAND

The gist of the forecast is, always, about inventory.  Remember the Real Estate Market runs on the very basics of Business 101 – Supply And Demand.   When inventory is down, prices go up and vice versa.

There is much data to support that inventory is going to continue to go up dramatically over the next 18 – 24 months.  Humphries proejcts than even light of the slight up-tick in the national median home sale price – there are two large sources of inventory that likely will hit the streets soon.

SHADOW INVENTORY

The first is “shadow inventory”. These are homes that banks are currently holding but have not yet put on the active market. In addition there are a lot of homeowners who have not yet been foreclosed upon but likely will be. They are way behind on payments, or they are trying to handle a loan modification, which is still difficult for them to make payments.  There doesn’t seem to be an accurate number for this but the consensus is that it’s a big one.

SIDELINED SELLERS

According to Humprhies the other large group – which he estimate to be as many as 5 million homes – are people who have been putting off selling their homes for the last couple of years as they have waited for the market.  Due the plethora of “signs” that the economy is improving slowly, many of these homeowners will put their houses on the market because they really need to move, for whatever reason.

No one really knows what’s going to happen but I think it’s important to stay as informed as possible so you can make contingency plans to handle whatever is coming.

Here is the link to Hoak’s article.

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Rick Schwartz,   REALTOR

Homes for sale in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Ridgefield and Redding CT.

Danbury CT Summer Concerts On The Green Start 6/12

City Center Danbury CT is kicking off  their 2010 Concerts On The Green tomorrow evening at 7:30 with the Danbury Symphony

Orchestra.  Admission is free.

Concerts will be held all summer long culminating with The Marshall Tucker Band on September 11.

Here is the entire schedule.  Hope to see you there.

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Rick Schwartz,   REALTOR

Homes for sale in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Ridgefield and Redding CT.

Are Foreclosures Really Decreasing?

RealtyTrac – a leading provider of tracking data on Foreclosure Activity, used by many private and public sector organizations to help evaluate foreclosure trends, reported late last week on a national level foreclosure activity dropped 9% in April.

Sounds like good news right?

Well – hold 0n just one minute there, Bucko.   There may, indeed, be more to the story.

What if there were lots and lots of  homeowners, who can’t afford their payments have realized that the banks are taking a long time to take action against them?

What if some of those homeowners just stopped making their payments and are staying in their homes, making no payments for up to a year or more?

Diana Olick of CNBC says these are questions that have to be considered.   Here is her article from May 13, 2010 on this very subject called  “Banks Ignore Delinquent Borrowers”

I’ll hang on here while you go read that.

OK  – Done?

So how does that affect owners that are operating outside of this part of the market.  You know, people who have equity in their house and would like to sell.

While no one knows for sure when those foreclosures are going to hit the market – or if they are in your town, your neighborhood, one thing is for sure.  If they do, it will affect the value of your home in a negative way.

Again – every situation is different and you have to work with your Realtor to determine the best course of action for you.  Having said that, if you are interested in selling, come up with marketing plan and a price point that will move your house quickly.  The idea of  “Trying a high price” for a while – may have passed.

If you have a need to move for one reason of another, such as wanting more space, less traffic, nearer to work or school – just get it done.   Even though the economy shows signs of getting better, the decline in housing prices may not be over – not for quite a while.

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Rick Schwartz,   REALTOR

Homes for sale in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Ridgefield and Redding CT.

Upcoming Foreclosure Prevention Clinics in Hartford

Any of these dates:

  • May 18, 2010
  • June 15, 2010
  • July 20, 2010

Each Seminar will begin at 5:30 and runs for two hours.  They will be held in the Handel Performing Arts Center Community Room at the University of Hartford.  You can get directions here.

They are being presented by the University of Hartford Paralegal Program and the CT Fair Housing Center

In addition to learning about the process and how best to minimize the impact of foreclosure, you will also have the opportunity to meet with volunteer attorneys as well as Paralegal students.

There is no pre-registration required and anyone can attend.

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Rick Schwartz,   REALTOR

Homes for sale in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, New Milford, Ridgefield and Redding CT.

Single Family Homes in Brookfield CT: Units Sales Level but Time on Market Way Down

The most recent data in shows that for the three month period ending 3/2010,  the number of single family homes in Brookfield CT that were sold is about level with the same period a year ago.

The time it took to sell single family homes in Brookfield is actually down quite a bit.