Sunday, March 31, 2013

US New Home Sales Drop as Prices Rise


Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected in February after hefty gains the previous month, but steady gains in home prices suggested the housing market recovery remains intact.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday sales dropped 4.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 units. Last month's decline followed a 13.1 percent jump in January.

Read more:  US New Home Sales Drop as Prices Rise

US New Home Sales Drop as Prices Rise


Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected in February after hefty gains the previous month, but steady gains in home prices suggested the housing market recovery remains intact.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday sales dropped 4.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 units. Last month's decline followed a 13.1 percent jump in January.

Read more:  US New Home Sales Drop as Prices Rise

Like your credit score? Look closer


PHOENIX -- You can gaze into a mirror to see what you look like to friends, family members, co-workers and acquaintances.

But what image do you project to banks, credit-card companies, insurers and even prospective employers? Your reflection on the piece of glass won't tell.

Read more:  Like your credit score? Look closer

Like your credit score? Look closer


PHOENIX -- You can gaze into a mirror to see what you look like to friends, family members, co-workers and acquaintances.

But what image do you project to banks, credit-card companies, insurers and even prospective employers? Your reflection on the piece of glass won't tell.

Read more:  Like your credit score? Look closer

Title loans hurt poor, critics say

Consumer watchdogs sighed with relief after Arizona voters rejected a permanent extension of payday lending in 2008. Payday loans carried triple-digit interest rates that critics said left low-income borrowers trapped in debt, and those high rates were going away.

But the sunset of payday lending only fueled a surge in another form of quick cash for the financially vulnerable: auto-title lending. Like their payday-lending counterparts, auto-title lenders, which use borrowers’ vehicles as collateral, offer short-term loans at triple-digit interest rates, potentially reaching 204 percent.

Read more:  Title loans hurt poor, critics say

Title loans hurt poor, critics say

Consumer watchdogs sighed with relief after Arizona voters rejected a permanent extension of payday lending in 2008. Payday loans carried triple-digit interest rates that critics said left low-income borrowers trapped in debt, and those high rates were going away.

But the sunset of payday lending only fueled a surge in another form of quick cash for the financially vulnerable: auto-title lending. Like their payday-lending counterparts, auto-title lenders, which use borrowers’ vehicles as collateral, offer short-term loans at triple-digit interest rates, potentially reaching 204 percent.

Read more:  Title loans hurt poor, critics say

Marley Park growth worries neighbors, schools


Neighbors on the western edge of Surprise’s Veramonte can look over their back walls to 153 open acres running all the way to Marley Park.

Within the next few years, Marley Park will run right back at them.

New homes in the Marley Park master-planned community will start to fill that open space next year. The closest Marley Park neighbors will have homes a few feet from the backyards of Veramonte, a 350-home subdivision northeast of Litchfield and Cactus roads.

Read more:  Marley Park growth worries neighbors, schools

Marley Park growth worries neighbors, schools


Neighbors on the western edge of Surprise’s Veramonte can look over their back walls to 153 open acres running all the way to Marley Park.

Within the next few years, Marley Park will run right back at them.

New homes in the Marley Park master-planned community will start to fill that open space next year. The closest Marley Park neighbors will have homes a few feet from the backyards of Veramonte, a 350-home subdivision northeast of Litchfield and Cactus roads.

Read more:  Marley Park growth worries neighbors, schools

Investors buying homes in metro Phoenix at slower pace

Wall Street funds and other large well-funded investors continue to buy houses in metro Phoenix, even though the pace has slowed as sales prices have jumped.

Some of the early investors, who bought in 2009, have flipped the houses for a quick profit, but most of these buyers are holding on to the properties and turning them into long-term rentals.

David Bignoli, president of real estate data research firm Netvaluecentral Inc., recently complted a report on metro Phoenix’s biggest investors. 

Read more:   Investors buying homes in metro Phoenix at slower pace

Investors buying homes in metro Phoenix at slower pace

Wall Street funds and other large well-funded investors continue to buy houses in metro Phoenix, even though the pace has slowed as sales prices have jumped.

Some of the early investors, who bought in 2009, have flipped the houses for a quick profit, but most of these buyers are holding on to the properties and turning them into long-term rentals.

David Bignoli, president of real estate data research firm Netvaluecentral Inc., recently complted a report on metro Phoenix’s biggest investors. 

Read more:   Investors buying homes in metro Phoenix at slower pace

Vacant offices in 1985 building could become loft apartments


A vacant Scottsdale office building would be converted to 56 loft apartments under a plan submitted last week to the city.

Joel Broder, Niche Residential chief executive, proposed an adaptive reuse of a 1985 red-brick building of 71,000 square feet southeast of 92nd Street and Shea Boulevard.

It will be a challenge to convert the three-story office building to loft apartments with 12-foot celings but it makes sense to reuse the structure for the Scottsdale 92 residential project, he said.

Read more:  Vacant offices in 1985 building could become loft apartments

Vacant offices in 1985 building could become loft apartments


A vacant Scottsdale office building would be converted to 56 loft apartments under a plan submitted last week to the city.

Joel Broder, Niche Residential chief executive, proposed an adaptive reuse of a 1985 red-brick building of 71,000 square feet southeast of 92nd Street and Shea Boulevard.

It will be a challenge to convert the three-story office building to loft apartments with 12-foot celings but it makes sense to reuse the structure for the Scottsdale 92 residential project, he said.

Read more:  Vacant offices in 1985 building could become loft apartments

Sales price of metro Phoenix homes up 4 percent


The sales price of a metro Phoenix house climbed more than 4 percent in February, bringing the region’s median home-sales price nearly back to what it was in 2004.

Last month, the median sales price of a house hit $170,000, according to the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. That’s up 36.5 percent from the Phoenix area’s median sales price of $124,500 in February 2012.

Read more:  Sales price of metro Phoenix homes up 4 percent

Sales price of metro Phoenix homes up 4 percent


The sales price of a metro Phoenix house climbed more than 4 percent in February, bringing the region’s median home-sales price nearly back to what it was in 2004.

Last month, the median sales price of a house hit $170,000, according to the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. That’s up 36.5 percent from the Phoenix area’s median sales price of $124,500 in February 2012.

Read more:  Sales price of metro Phoenix homes up 4 percent

Scottsdale Councilman Phillips wields ax on apartment rezoning






A south Scottsdale neighborhood is on a mission to stop an apartment complex from being built on the site of a former McDowell Road auto dealership.

Read more: Scottsdale Councilman Phillips wields ax on apartment rezoning

Scottsdale Councilman Phillips wields ax on apartment rezoning






A south Scottsdale neighborhood is on a mission to stop an apartment complex from being built on the site of a former McDowell Road auto dealership.

Read more: Scottsdale Councilman Phillips wields ax on apartment rezoning

5 favorite golf courses in Arizona


With hundreds of golf courses around Arizona, how is a duffer to choose? We asked John Davis, a freelance writer and The Republic’s former golf reporter, about his favorites in the Valley and around the state. Here are five locations he particularly likes. Look for five more in next Saturday’s Explore Arizona section.

Read more:  5 favorite golf courses in Arizona

5 favorite golf courses in Arizona


With hundreds of golf courses around Arizona, how is a duffer to choose? We asked John Davis, a freelance writer and The Republic’s former golf reporter, about his favorites in the Valley and around the state. Here are five locations he particularly likes. Look for five more in next Saturday’s Explore Arizona section.

Read more:  5 favorite golf courses in Arizona

Chandler program clears city of dilapidated buildings


A vacant, dilapidated building is more than an eyesore to residents of the surrounding neighborhood.

That empty building can pose hazards, including fire, safety, crime and illegal dumping. With that in mind, Chandler’s Code Enforcement Unit and other city departments have been attempting to rid the city’s neighborhoods of such structures.

Among the city’s most-effective tools is the Voluntary Demolition Program.

Read more:  Chandler program clears city of dilapidated buildings

Chandler program clears city of dilapidated buildings


A vacant, dilapidated building is more than an eyesore to residents of the surrounding neighborhood.

That empty building can pose hazards, including fire, safety, crime and illegal dumping. With that in mind, Chandler’s Code Enforcement Unit and other city departments have been attempting to rid the city’s neighborhoods of such structures.

Among the city’s most-effective tools is the Voluntary Demolition Program.

Read more:  Chandler program clears city of dilapidated buildings

Scottsdale's proposed budget hints at better times for city



 New development projects and an uptick in building permits are contributing to a brighter outlook in Scottsdale’s newly released budget.

Read more:  Scottsdale's proposed budget hints at better times for city

Scottsdale's proposed budget hints at better times for city



 New development projects and an uptick in building permits are contributing to a brighter outlook in Scottsdale’s newly released budget.

Read more:  Scottsdale's proposed budget hints at better times for city

Apartment, condo complexes, Fry’s revamp get Scottsdale council OK


An apartment complex that will replace Rural/Metro’s Corp’s billing and call center was approved by the Scottsdale City Council on Tuesday.

The council also gave the go-ahead for an eight-story condominium complex in downtown’s entertainment district and a face lift for an aging Fry’s shopping center.

Wood Partners, a developer of multifamily residences, plans to build a four-story, 218-unit apartment complex at the northeastern corner of Indian School and Granite Reef roads. The site has been home to the Rural/Metro center, which is closing.

The $35 million apartment complex will be named Alta Scottsdale.

 Read more:  Apartment, condo complexes, Fry’s revamp get Scottsdale council OK

Apartment, condo complexes, Fry’s revamp get Scottsdale council OK


An apartment complex that will replace Rural/Metro’s Corp’s billing and call center was approved by the Scottsdale City Council on Tuesday.

The council also gave the go-ahead for an eight-story condominium complex in downtown’s entertainment district and a face lift for an aging Fry’s shopping center.

Wood Partners, a developer of multifamily residences, plans to build a four-story, 218-unit apartment complex at the northeastern corner of Indian School and Granite Reef roads. The site has been home to the Rural/Metro center, which is closing.

The $35 million apartment complex will be named Alta Scottsdale.

 Read more:  Apartment, condo complexes, Fry’s revamp get Scottsdale council OK

JPMorgan Chase Is Reining In Payday Lenders - NYTimes.com


 JPMorgan Chase will make changes to protect consumers who have borrowed money from a rising power on the Internet — payday lenders offering short-term loans with interest rates that can exceed 500 percent.

JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank by assets, will give customers whose bank accounts are tapped by the online payday lenders more power to halt withdrawals and close their accounts.

Under changes to be unveiled on Wednesday, JPMorgan will also limit the fees it charges customers when the withdrawals set off penalties for returned payments or insufficient funds.

 Read more:  JPMorgan Chase Is Reining In Payday Lenders - NYTimes.com

JPMorgan Chase Is Reining In Payday Lenders - NYTimes.com


 JPMorgan Chase will make changes to protect consumers who have borrowed money from a rising power on the Internet — payday lenders offering short-term loans with interest rates that can exceed 500 percent.

JPMorgan, the nation’s largest bank by assets, will give customers whose bank accounts are tapped by the online payday lenders more power to halt withdrawals and close their accounts.

Under changes to be unveiled on Wednesday, JPMorgan will also limit the fees it charges customers when the withdrawals set off penalties for returned payments or insufficient funds.

 Read more:  JPMorgan Chase Is Reining In Payday Lenders - NYTimes.com

Freddie Mac sues 15 banks over LIBOR | The Columbus Dispatch


WASHINGTON — Freddie Mac has sued 15 big international banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, accusing them of rigging a key interest rate and causing huge losses for the government-controlled mortgage giant.

Read more: Freddie Mac sues 15 banks over LIBOR | The Columbus Dispatch

Freddie Mac sues 15 banks over LIBOR | The Columbus Dispatch


WASHINGTON — Freddie Mac has sued 15 big international banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, accusing them of rigging a key interest rate and causing huge losses for the government-controlled mortgage giant.

Read more: Freddie Mac sues 15 banks over LIBOR | The Columbus Dispatch

DMB resumes projects in the Northwest Valley

DMB Associates Inc. is preparing to roll out a new neighborhood in Surprise’s Marley Park, signaling another turning point in the housing recovery.

The new Marley Park neighborhood, combined with the resumption of work in Verrado, another DMB master-planned community in Buckeye, represents a return to work in the West Valley for the developer, which put a number of projects on hold in the wake of the housing crash more than five years ago.

Read more: DMB resumes projects in the Northwest Valley

DMB resumes projects in the Northwest Valley

DMB Associates Inc. is preparing to roll out a new neighborhood in Surprise’s Marley Park, signaling another turning point in the housing recovery.

The new Marley Park neighborhood, combined with the resumption of work in Verrado, another DMB master-planned community in Buckeye, represents a return to work in the West Valley for the developer, which put a number of projects on hold in the wake of the housing crash more than five years ago.

Read more: DMB resumes projects in the Northwest Valley

A Look Behind The Curtain: How To Choose A Mortgage Lender - Forbes

 
 
Last week I saw a restaurant review on a local blog that touted “The New York Times says . . .” and I thought, wait a minute, the Times didn’t “say” anything, somebody that works for the Times did! One person, one opinion, not the entire staff and their collective opinion, but one individual. Invoking the mighty Times just because the reviewer works for the NY Times, transfers the credibility and credentials of the institution to the individual and turns an individual opinion into a powerful endorsement.

When someone refers to this writing, chances are they will say; “forbes.com said ” and not “Mark Greene said on forbes.com . . .” See what I mean? “Who’s Mark Greene” is replaced with the towering credibility of the forbes.com brand. Unknown uncertainty instantly transformed into concrete factual evidence.

Read more: A Look Behind The Curtain: How To Choose A Mortgage Lender - Forbes

A Look Behind The Curtain: How To Choose A Mortgage Lender - Forbes

 
 
Last week I saw a restaurant review on a local blog that touted “The New York Times says . . .” and I thought, wait a minute, the Times didn’t “say” anything, somebody that works for the Times did! One person, one opinion, not the entire staff and their collective opinion, but one individual. Invoking the mighty Times just because the reviewer works for the NY Times, transfers the credibility and credentials of the institution to the individual and turns an individual opinion into a powerful endorsement.

When someone refers to this writing, chances are they will say; “forbes.com said ” and not “Mark Greene said on forbes.com . . .” See what I mean? “Who’s Mark Greene” is replaced with the towering credibility of the forbes.com brand. Unknown uncertainty instantly transformed into concrete factual evidence.

Read more: A Look Behind The Curtain: How To Choose A Mortgage Lender - Forbes

Friday, March 29, 2013

Delinquent Loans Rolling into Foreclosure Inventory after Settlement

Foreclosure inventory seems to be making a comeback after experiencing steady declines following the national mortgage settlement, RealtyTrac revealed in a report Thursday.

In the first quarter of 2013, the number of properties that were in the foreclosure process or bank-owned rose 9 percent year-over-year to 1.5 million, according to data from the online foreclosure marketplace.  

Delinquent Loans Rolling into Foreclosure Inventory after Settlement

Foreclosure inventory seems to be making a comeback after experiencing steady declines following the national mortgage settlement, RealtyTrac revealed in a report Thursday.

In the first quarter of 2013, the number of properties that were in the foreclosure process or bank-owned rose 9 percent year-over-year to 1.5 million, according to data from the online foreclosure marketplace.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Changes to California’s Principal Reduction Program Attract More Mortgage Servicers

In the wake of the housing crisis and economic downturn, many people are in need of mortgage assistance. And one of the best ways to help financially strapped, underwater homeowners may be through a mortgage loan principal reduction.  

Changes to California’s Principal Reduction Program Attract More Mortgage Servicers

In the wake of the housing crisis and economic downturn, many people are in need of mortgage assistance. And one of the best ways to help financially strapped, underwater homeowners may be through a mortgage loan principal reduction.  

Veros Releases Price Forecast, Predicts Appreciation in 75% of Markets

Veros, a leader in enterprise risk management, collateral valuation services, and predictive analytics, released Monday its VeroFORECAST update for the next 12 months, predicting price appreciation in 75 percent of markets.  

Veros Releases Price Forecast, Predicts Appreciation in 75% of Markets

Veros, a leader in enterprise risk management, collateral valuation services, and predictive analytics, released Monday its VeroFORECAST update for the next 12 months, predicting price appreciation in 75 percent of markets.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Metro Phoenix real estate now a seller's market

It’s a seller’s market in metro Phoenix real estate, with so few moderately priced houses on the market that typical buyers have to scramble to make a deal.

Last week, about 13,000 houses and condominiums across the region were listed for sale. In 2008, there were four times as many houses for sale in the Phoenix area, according to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.

Houses, particularly those priced below $200,000, are selling faster than they have since mid-2006, at the peak of the housing boom. The typical house now sells within 72 days, almost half the time it took five years ago.

Read more: Metro Phoenix real estate now a seller's market

Metro Phoenix real estate now a seller's market


It’s a seller’s market in metro Phoenix real estate, with so few moderately priced houses on the market that typical buyers have to scramble to make a deal.

Last week, about 13,000 houses and condominiums across the region were listed for sale. In 2008, there were four times as many houses for sale in the Phoenix area, according to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.

Houses, particularly those priced below $200,000, are selling faster than they have since mid-2006, at the peak of the housing boom. The typical house now sells within 72 days, almost half the time it took five years ago.

Read more: Metro Phoenix real estate now a seller's market


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Valley Home Values 2013 : Median home prices for 2011-12 by city in Maricopa County

The following is a sampling of median home prices for Maricopa County municipalities with at least 50 sales of single-family detached houses during the past two years. (Some municipalities overlap into Pinal County.) See how your community's median home price for 2012 compared to last year's price and which municipality had the biggest overall increase:

Read more: Valley Home Values 2013 : Median home prices for 2011-12 by city in Maricopa County

Valley Home Values 2013 : Median home prices for 2011-12 by city in Maricopa County

The following is a sampling of median home prices for Maricopa County municipalities with at least 50 sales of single-family detached houses during the past two years. (Some municipalities overlap into Pinal County.) See how your community's median home price for 2012 compared to last year's price and which municipality had the biggest overall increase:

Read more: Valley Home Values 2013 : Median home prices for 2011-12 by city in Maricopa County

Rising home values in metro Phoenix spur refinance boom

Climbing home values are sparking a surge in refinancing across metro Phoenix. With the overall median sale price up nearly 40 percent since January 2012, most homeowners trading in loans for lower rates don’t need help from a federal program to get it done.

Tens of thousands of homeowners, underwater on their loans a year ago or less, now have enough equity to refinance with interest rates below 4 percent. The new mortgage loans can save hundreds of dollars a month, freeing money for other expenses or to pay down debt.

Read more: Rising home values in metro Phoenix spur refinance boom

Rising home values in metro Phoenix spur refinance boom

Climbing home values are sparking a surge in refinancing across metro Phoenix. With the overall median sale price up nearly 40 percent since January 2012, most homeowners trading in loans for lower rates don’t need help from a federal program to get it done.

Tens of thousands of homeowners, underwater on their loans a year ago or less, now have enough equity to refinance with interest rates below 4 percent. The new mortgage loans can save hundreds of dollars a month, freeing money for other expenses or to pay down debt.

Read more: Rising home values in metro Phoenix spur refinance boom

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Foreclosures Back Up



By most measures the U.S. housing market is still in a state of recovery, but reports that new foreclosure numbers are rising may add a darkening cloud to its long-term prospects. New foreclosures may be up 2.26% in February from the previous month, but analysts at the research firm also note that actual repossessions have dropped by 25%. Even so, government officials warn of foreclosure flare-ups and point to many states that have seen rapid ballooning in the number of new foreclosures, with some spiking as much as 300% over the last month. For more on this continue reading the following article from TheStreet.

Read more: Foreclosures Back Up

Foreclosures Back Up



By most measures the U.S. housing market is still in a state of recovery, but reports that new foreclosure numbers are rising may add a darkening cloud to its long-term prospects. New foreclosures may be up 2.26% in February from the previous month, but analysts at the research firm also note that actual repossessions have dropped by 25%. Even so, government officials warn of foreclosure flare-ups and point to many states that have seen rapid ballooning in the number of new foreclosures, with some spiking as much as 300% over the last month. For more on this continue reading the following article from TheStreet.

Read more: Foreclosures Back Up

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Industry Experts Predict Price Growth into 2017

If projections hold out, home values will rise 22 percent cumulatively by the end of 2017, according to Zillow’sfirst-quarter Home Price Expectations Survey.

“The panel expectations are consistent with continued strong home value growth this year fueled by tighter-than-normal inventory of for-sale homes and robust demand attributable to high affordability and a stronger general economy,” he added.

The most optimistic quartile of panelists predicted a 6.1 percent increase in home values this year, on average, while the most pessimistic predicted an average increase of 3 percent. Expectations for cumulative growth projections ranged from 34.2 percent among the most optimistic panelists to 11.7 percent among the most pessimistic, on average.  





Industry Experts Predict Price Growth into 2017

If projections hold out, home values will rise 22 percent cumulatively by the end of 2017, according to Zillow’sfirst-quarter Home Price Expectations Survey.

“The panel expectations are consistent with continued strong home value growth this year fueled by tighter-than-normal inventory of for-sale homes and robust demand attributable to high affordability and a stronger general economy,” he added.

The most optimistic quartile of panelists predicted a 6.1 percent increase in home values this year, on average, while the most pessimistic predicted an average increase of 3 percent. Expectations for cumulative growth projections ranged from 34.2 percent among the most optimistic panelists to 11.7 percent among the most pessimistic, on average.  





More than One-Third of Listed Homes Sold Within 2 Weeks: Redfin

More than one-third of homes were taken off the market in two weeks or less last month, Redfin revealed in its most recent monthly housing report.

On average, 34 percent of homes were under contract within 14 days of their debut in February, an increase from 30.3 percent in January, the online real estate broker reported.  

Read more...  




More than One-Third of Listed Homes Sold Within 2 Weeks: Redfin

More than one-third of homes were taken off the market in two weeks or less last month, Redfin revealed in its most recent monthly housing report.

On average, 34 percent of homes were under contract within 14 days of their debut in February, an increase from 30.3 percent in January, the online real estate broker reported.  

Read more...  




Monday, March 18, 2013

Meredith Whitney: This Is the Most Bullish I've Been In My Career - MarketBeat - WSJ

Another one-time bear has turned bullish on U.S. stocks.

Meredith Whitney, the banking analyst who accurately predicted Citigroup's C -2.16% woes prior to the financial crisis, said U.S. stocks are a safe place for investors park their money, especially as the Cyprus bailout rekindles worries about Europe's debt crisis.  

Meredith Whitney: This Is the Most Bullish I've Been In My Career - MarketBeat - WSJ

Another one-time bear has turned bullish on U.S. stocks.

Meredith Whitney, the banking analyst who accurately predicted Citigroup's C -2.16% woes prior to the financial crisis, said U.S. stocks are a safe place for investors park their money, especially as the Cyprus bailout rekindles worries about Europe's debt crisis.  

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