Sunday, May 30, 2010

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Market Recap - Week Ending May 28, 2010

The economic data took a backseat to events in Europe again this week. Improved sentiment about the troubles in Europe influenced the willingness of investors to purchase riskier assets such as stocks, hurting bond markets. As a result, after dropping to the lowest levels of the year, mortgage rates ended the week a little higher.

A report on Wednesday that China was considering a move to reduce its holdings of European debt rattled global financial markets. There had been speculation in recent weeks that China, with the largest pool of foreign exchange reserves in the world, might cut its exposure to European debt. Thursday, however, Chinese officials made rare public comments that China was not planning to make any changes to its portfolio of European investments. Relieved global investors responded by embracing riskier assets such as stocks and partially reversing the effects from a flight to safer assets, such as bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS), seen over the last few weeks.

This week's news from the housing sector was mostly positive. April Existing Home Sales rose 8% to an annual rate of 5.77 million units, the highest level in five months. Inventories of unsold existing homes increased a little, but the median home price was 4% higher than one year ago. First-time buyers accounted for 49% of all existing home sales. April New Home Sales rose 15% to an annual rate of 504K units, above the consensus forecast of 425K, and the highest level since May 2008. The homebuyer tax credit helped boost sales before its April 30 deadline.

The biggest economic event next week will be the important Employment report on Friday. As usual, this data on the number of jobs, the Unemployment Rate, and wage inflation will be the most highly anticipated economic data of the month. Early estimates are for an increase of about 500K new jobs in May, of which 300K are the hiring of temporary census workers by the government. Before the employment data, the ISM manufacturing index will be released on Tuesday. Pending Home Sales, a leading indicator for the housing market, will come out on Wednesday. ISM Services will be released on Thursday. Productivity, Construction Spending and Factory Orders will round out the schedule. MBS markets will be closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

http://www.xinnix.com/viewemail/weekinreview.asp

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Banks tout new short-sale processes

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM


Michael Schennum/The Arizona Republic A home is advertised as a short sale this month in Phoenix. While the short-sale process has been seen as a rocky and difficult experience for buyers and sellers alike, banks now hope speeding the transactions will help alleviate confusion and disappointment.
For a financially struggling homeowner, the decision to pursue a short sale does not come easily.

Homeowners who make that choice generally do so after months of searching and pleading for an alternative that would have kept them in the home.

Even when it goes smoothly, the short-sale process is painful for sellers. When it's bumpy and slow, the pain is far worse, said experts who met in Tempe this month for an educational conference on short sales.

Far too many short sales have been plagued by false starts, confusion, delays and disappointments, they said.

Phoenix-area short-sellers' many encounters with insult upon injury stem from a combination of problems, including sellers' lack of experience with the process and lenders' initial reluctance to adopt on a mass scale what they had long considered an obscure means of resolving bad mortgage debts.

Scottsdale resident Mary Purvis, 57, said Bank of America finally approved her short-sale application after 10 months of frustration and uncertainty.

But the pain didn't stop there.

"The sale finally went through last September, but now BofA reported my short sale as a foreclosure on my credit reports, which I have no idea how to fix," Purvis said.

Big mortgage lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still smoothing out the wrinkles in their respective solutions to making short sales faster and more reliable. But they are now taking short sales
very seriously and have made many improvements, one bank representative said.

Just as the average Valley homeowner never imagined losing a home to financial hardship, the average mortgage lender never dreamed the bank would have to set up an assembly line to churn out short-sale approvals.

Purvis did not attend last week's conference to confront her lender directly, but Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America's Matt Vernon, the bank's top executive in charge of foreclosures and short sales, was there to face a roomful of like-minded consumers.

Vernon was quick to admit the bank's flawed handling of short sales, but he said Bank of America has since taken a 180-degree turn.

It has implemented an automated system - the first of its kind - for tracking the progress of short sales and has reduced the average number of days it takes for a short-sale to be approved, from 90 days to just over 50 days.

The bank approved 18,000 short-sale applications in April, Vernon said.

Unfortunately, it received more than 50,000 short-sale applications that month.

"Our system was never designed to handle this kind of volume," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president and chief economist at RealtyTrac, based in Irvine, Calif., which collects and analyzes nationwide data on short-sales and foreclosures. "Short sales were never intended to be a mass-market product."

That's exactly what they have become, said Sharga, who spoke Friday at a Tempe conference organized by the Distressed Property Institute, a San Diego-based business that has developed a certification and training program
for real-estate agents and other buyer and seller representatives in short-sale transactions.

Company founder and CEO Alex Chafen said the institute's twofold purpose is to teach real-estate professionals how to be more effective at negotiating short sales, while giving homeowners who need representation a way to separate the short-sale experts from the novices.

The company created a special designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert, which it hopes will become synonymous with short-sale expertise.

More on this topic

What is a short sale?

In a short sale, a homeowner seeks to sell the home for less than the amount still due on the mortgage. All lenders with a lien on the mortgaged home must agree to the short sale's terms, because they will not be compensated for the full amount of the mortgage when the home sells.

Tips for prospective short sellers

• Do not wait until foreclosure is imminent to initiate a short sale.

• The seller's agent bears the brunt of responsibility for making sure the sale is completed. When choosing an agent, ask for references from previous short-sale clients and other proof of expertise, such as Certified Distressed Property Expert certification.

• Be prepared to prove financial hardship. Lenders usually require the two most recent tax returns, bank statements, loan statements, pay stubs or other proof of income, along with a hardship letter explaining your circumstances, a detailed description of the home's current condition, closing documents from the home purchase and authorization for your representative to negotiate with the lender.

• Contact the primary mortgage lender for instructions on submitting a short-sale application. Be sure to include every document the lender requires.

• The seller or representative should call the lender every day until a short-sale negotiator is assigned, and then call the negotiator every day until he or she orders an appraisal or broker price opinion of the home's value.

• With an appraisal and comparable buyer's offer in hand, negotiate with the lender for approval.


Banks tout new short-sale processes

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

Associated Press May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - The housing slump isn't over.

Tax credits and historically low mortgage rates have failed to lift home prices so far this year. Prices nationally fell 0.5 percent in March from February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday.

That marks six straight months of declines - a sign that the housing market is going in reverse.

"It looks a little like a double-dip already," economist Robert Shiller said in an interview. "There is a very real possibility of some more decline."

Home prices in Phoenix, one of the 20 indexed cities, mirrored the national trend with a 0.5 percent monthly decrease. In terms of ranking from most improved to biggest decline, Phoenix was in the middle at No. 10.

The co-creator of the Case-Shiller index, who predicted in 2005 that the housing bubble would burst, says he worries that home prices rose last year only because of the federal tax credits.

That fear is shared by other economists.

They note that weak job growth, tight credit and millions more foreclosures ahead will weigh on the home market.

All that is discouraging for homeowners who have seen the value of their largest asset
deteriorate sharply over the past three years. Falling home prices tend to curtail consumer spending. And they make it harder for struggling borrowers to refinance into an affordable home loan.

Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.

In the first quarter of 2010, U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent compared with the fourth quarter.

The numbers are especially disturbing because they show that improved sales due to the tax credits didn't translate into higher prices, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee.


Falling home prices stir fears of a new bottom

New index forecasts housing prices

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

Phoenix-area home prices will climb slightly in June, take a small dip in July and then start to climb again in late August.

This prediction on home prices doesn't come from a crystal ball or an economic forecast. Metropolitan Phoenix has a new pending-sales index compiled by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. The index, a leading indicator for the housing market, can give homebuyers and sellers an accurate view of home prices a few months out.

ARMLS' Pending Price Index tracks home-purchase contracts signed but not yet finalized. But the purchase price is usually set when the contract is signed. ARMLS began testing the index in January, and since then, it has been 96 percent accurate on price fluctuations.

ARMLS is the only group that has access to all of the data from homebuying contracts signed but not yet recorded as public records. The group's tens of thousands of real-estate agent members enter contract purchase prices into the ARMLS system. The Price Index is updated with data from home sales after they close.

"Everyone wants to know where Phoenix home prices are headed," said Bob Beamis, chief executive of ARMLS. "We are in the unique position of having in our system information on home prices that no one else has, and now we are able to use that information to predict with great accuracy where home prices are heading 30, 60, 90 and 120 days out."

According to the Price Index, metro Phoenix's average home price will climb to $177,000 in June, fall to $167,000 in July and then start climbing again in late August. The upward/downward trend for median home prices is similar for the next two months.

ARMLS is unveiling its Price Index and other real-estate data, including home sales, foreclosures and listings, to its members this month through the "STAT" newsletter.

Homebuilding boost

The federal tax credit helped new-home sales increase enough in April to beat last year's pace. There were 823 new-home sales in metro Phoenix last month, according to the "Phoenix Housing Market Letter." That compares with 789 in April 2009. It's the first month this year that new-home sales have topped last year's closings.

Homebuilding in the region slowed last month as builders prepared for demand from the tax credit to wind down. There were 604 single-family permits issued in April, compared with 908 in March.


New index forecasts housing prices

New index forecasts housing prices

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

Phoenix-area home prices will climb slightly in June, take a small dip in July and then start to climb again in late August.

This prediction on home prices doesn't come from a crystal ball or an economic forecast. Metropolitan Phoenix has a new pending-sales index compiled by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. The index, a leading indicator for the housing market, can give homebuyers and sellers an accurate view of home prices a few months out.

ARMLS' Pending Price Index tracks home-purchase contracts signed but not yet finalized. But the purchase price is usually set when the contract is signed. ARMLS began testing the index in January, and since then, it has been 96 percent accurate on price fluctuations.

ARMLS is the only group that has access to all of the data from homebuying contracts signed but not yet recorded as public records. The group's tens of thousands of real-estate agent members enter contract purchase prices into the ARMLS system. The Price Index is updated with data from home sales after they close.

"Everyone wants to know where Phoenix home prices are headed," said Bob Beamis, chief executive of ARMLS. "We are in the unique position of having in our system information on home prices that no one else has, and now we are able to use that information to predict with great accuracy where home prices are heading 30, 60, 90 and 120 days out."

According to the Price Index, metro Phoenix's average home price will climb to $177,000 in June, fall to $167,000 in July and then start climbing again in late August. The upward/downward trend for median home prices is similar for the next two months.

ARMLS is unveiling its Price Index and other real-estate data, including home sales, foreclosures and listings, to its members this month through the "STAT" newsletter.

Homebuilding boost

The federal tax credit helped new-home sales increase enough in April to beat last year's pace. There were 823 new-home sales in metro Phoenix last month, according to the "Phoenix Housing Market Letter." That compares with 789 in April 2009. It's the first month this year that new-home sales have topped last year's closings.

Homebuilding in the region slowed last month as builders prepared for demand from the tax credit to wind down. There were 604 single-family permits issued in April, compared with 908 in March.


New index forecasts housing prices

New index forecasts housing prices

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

Phoenix-area home prices will climb slightly in June, take a small dip in July and then start to climb again in late August.

This prediction on home prices doesn't come from a crystal ball or an economic forecast. Metropolitan Phoenix has a new pending-sales index compiled by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. The index, a leading indicator for the housing market, can give homebuyers and sellers an accurate view of home prices a few months out.

ARMLS' Pending Price Index tracks home-purchase contracts signed but not yet finalized. But the purchase price is usually set when the contract is signed. ARMLS began testing the index in January, and since then, it has been 96 percent accurate on price fluctuations.

ARMLS is the only group that has access to all of the data from homebuying contracts signed but not yet recorded as public records. The group's tens of thousands of real-estate agent members enter contract purchase prices into the ARMLS system. The Price Index is updated with data from home sales after they close.

"Everyone wants to know where Phoenix home prices are headed," said Bob Beamis, chief executive of ARMLS. "We are in the unique position of having in our system information on home prices that no one else has, and now we are able to use that information to predict with great accuracy where home prices are heading 30, 60, 90 and 120 days out."

According to the Price Index, metro Phoenix's average home price will climb to $177,000 in June, fall to $167,000 in July and then start climbing again in late August. The upward/downward trend for median home prices is similar for the next two months.

ARMLS is unveiling its Price Index and other real-estate data, including home sales, foreclosures and listings, to its members this month through the "STAT" newsletter.

Homebuilding boost

The federal tax credit helped new-home sales increase enough in April to beat last year's pace. There were 823 new-home sales in metro Phoenix last month, according to the "Phoenix Housing Market Letter." That compares with 789 in April 2009. It's the first month this year that new-home sales have topped last year's closings.

Homebuilding in the region slowed last month as builders prepared for demand from the tax credit to wind down. There were 604 single-family permits issued in April, compared with 908 in March.


New index forecasts housing prices

New index forecasts housing prices

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic May. 26, 2010 12:00 AM

Phoenix-area home prices will climb slightly in June, take a small dip in July and then start to climb again in late August.

This prediction on home prices doesn't come from a crystal ball or an economic forecast. Metropolitan Phoenix has a new pending-sales index compiled by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. The index, a leading indicator for the housing market, can give homebuyers and sellers an accurate view of home prices a few months out.

ARMLS' Pending Price Index tracks home-purchase contracts signed but not yet finalized. But the purchase price is usually set when the contract is signed. ARMLS began testing the index in January, and since then, it has been 96 percent accurate on price fluctuations.

ARMLS is the only group that has access to all of the data from homebuying contracts signed but not yet recorded as public records. The group's tens of thousands of real-estate agent members enter contract purchase prices into the ARMLS system. The Price Index is updated with data from home sales after they close.

"Everyone wants to know where Phoenix home prices are headed," said Bob Beamis, chief executive of ARMLS. "We are in the unique position of having in our system information on home prices that no one else has, and now we are able to use that information to predict with great accuracy where home prices are heading 30, 60, 90 and 120 days out."

According to the Price Index, metro Phoenix's average home price will climb to $177,000 in June, fall to $167,000 in July and then start climbing again in late August. The upward/downward trend for median home prices is similar for the next two months.

ARMLS is unveiling its Price Index and other real-estate data, including home sales, foreclosures and listings, to its members this month through the "STAT" newsletter.

Homebuilding boost

The federal tax credit helped new-home sales increase enough in April to beat last year's pace. There were 823 new-home sales in metro Phoenix last month, according to the "Phoenix Housing Market Letter." That compares with 789 in April 2009. It's the first month this year that new-home sales have topped last year's closings.

Homebuilding in the region slowed last month as builders prepared for demand from the tax credit to wind down. There were 604 single-family permits issued in April, compared with 908 in March.


New index forecasts housing prices

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