Month: October 2013

Don’t look for changes to housing tax breaks soon

WASHINGTON — Here’s a side effect of the 16-day federal shutdown and debt ceiling crisis that could prove popular among tax-sensitive homeowners: The stalemate removed even the remotest possibility that Congress could undertake fundamental tax changes curtailing housing breaks this year and renders it unlikely next year as well.

This means that the mortgage interest deduction, local property tax write-offs, second-home deductions and capital gains exclusions are safe for the time being — despite a far-reaching tax overhaul package taking final shape in the House. The package may be outlined by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) in the coming weeks and could target these write-offs directly. A parallel effort is underway in the Senate but reportedly is not as far advanced as Camp’s.

Even if the bipartisan special committee appointed last week to resolve differences between House and Senate budgets by Dec. 13 proposes a tax overhaul schedule, the prospects for any serious action appear slim.

As a general matter, Democrats insist that any major reforms produce net new revenue — taxes — to help lower the federal deficit. Republicans counter that by streamlining the labyrinthine tax code and lowering the top marginal brackets for corporations and individuals, the economy will be stimulated and generate more earnings. Those additional earnings, in turn, will yield greater tax revenue for the government and lead to lower deficits and debts.

Through an extraordinary effort, Camp has managed to keep details of his plans secret by excluding Democrats from the bill-drafting process, strictly limiting access by staff members to meetings and imposing a gag order on participants. But given his publicly announced goals of sharply lower top tax brackets — 25% for corporations and individuals — housing analysts can’t see how he can make up the lost revenue without deep cuts to current individual tax deductions.

J.P. Delmore, federal legislative director for the National Assn. of Home Builders, said that “we expect to see changes” to existing real estate and mortgage-related write-offs in the Camp tax overhaul package. The overall plan, according to Delmore and other key tax experts, is likely to touch virtually every industry and taxpayer in some way. Whatever pain a given taxpayer experiences from the loss of deductions or credits theoretically would be balanced out by lower taxes elsewhere. Cutting total write-offs for mortgage interest, for example — whether by eliminating the deduction altogether or capping it — would be counterbalanced by an individual paying taxes at a lower marginal rate.

The idea is that the country would get a much simpler system with lower tax rates on incomes but far fewer tax preferences that favor one group of citizens over another, one of the main critiques of current housing tax breaks.

Reformers often cite real estate property tax deductions as a case in point. These write-offs cost the Treasury about $30 billion a year, and reformers argue that they are heavily skewed toward owners in high-cost, high-tax states such as California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. The mortgage interest deduction costs the government more than twice as much in tax revenue — about $70 billion a year — and also shows geographical differences based on home prices and sizes of mortgages.

Under the current system, only people who itemize on their federal tax returns — a minority of all taxpayers — can claim deductions.

Details about precisely how Camp’s forthcoming bill and the Senate counterpart handle potentially explosive issues such as reining in housing write-offs may not prove to be crucial in the near term. That’s because there’s no sign in the current Congress of the sort of political comity necessary to craft an agreement.

Democrats and Republicans can barely work out temporary solutions for a single fiscal year’s budget, much less fundamentally remold a sprawling tax code that’s been getting more complex and more heavily influenced by special interests year after year.

Homeownership is one of those special interests, of course, but one with millions of current beneficiaries, large numbers of whom vote their pocketbooks.

Bottom line: With 2014 an election year for all 435 members of the House, and with enormous fissures not only between the parties but within their own caucuses on key issues, the odds of major tax changes affecting real estate next year or even well into 2015 are steep, especially in the wake of the latest budget debacle.

Investors sit on the sidelines waiting for housing reform

Private capital may be needed, but attracting it remains a challenge

Regulators and mortgage industry professionals spent part of the day Monday discussing the future mortgage finance market at the 100th Annual MBA Convention & Expo.

Participants continued to argue for more private capital in the space and the gradual reduction of Fannie Mae andFreddie Mac. The housing agencies recent introduction of credit-risk sharing deals shows the market at least trying to move in that direction, the panelists said.

However, some mortgage experts firmly believe private investors will not take a stake in the industry until competitors are established in the market.

“It’s a catch-22 because in the absence of a notion of GSE reform, where it’s headed and what structure it will take, it’s difficult for investors come back in and develop a robust securitization market,” explained Mike Heid, president of Wells Fargo (WFC) home mortgage.

He continued, “The absence of a clear picture and whom you’re competing with hinders the comeback of private capital.”

Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante argued that investors won’t make a comeback in the private sector until they know they are in the right-sized mortgage market.

For instance, on a loan count basis, the FHA was issuing 1.2 million loans in 1999. Currently, the FHA is issuing the same amount of loans, but the market is significantly smaller.

Consequently, it calls into question the roles private capital and the government needs to play when trying to create a solid, secondary mortgage market, Galante explained.

While government-sponsored enterprise reform is inevitable, market participants question which entity should be reformed first: the mortgage giants or the government.

Galante argues that FHA and GSE reform should go hand-in-hand to create less disruption, establishing a safer transition.

However, McCue Mortgage Co. president William McCrue disagreed with the FHA commissioner, arguing that a newly developed secondary market would be “a real disappointment and disservice to the American people.”

McCrue believes the only role the government should serve in the mortgage market is to underserved borrowers.

Regardless of what the FHA and GSE’s roles will be in the foreseeable future, all participants agreed that housing finance reform needs to be at the forefront of Congress’ priorities.

“Reform is absolutely essential,” Galante concluded. “We cannot continue with a system where we have privatized gains and socialized losses.”

Pending home sales fall on declining home affordability

NAR: Contract signings reach lowest level since Dec. 2012

The number of real estate contracts signed and recorded declined 5.6% from August to September, as home affordability receded under the influence of higher mortgage rates, home prices and consumer uncertainty, the National Association of Realtors concluded Monday.

The NAR Pending Home Sales Index – a barometer of real estate contract signings – fell from an index score of 107.6 in August to 101.6 in September. It also declined 1.2% from year ago levels when the index hovered at 102.8.

This is the lowest index level reached since December of last year, and NAR is blaming the influence of declining home affordability, lower consumer confidence and a government shutdown that shook up both construction activity and home sales.

“Declining housing affordability conditions are likely responsible for the bulk of reduced contract activity,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “In addition, government and contract workers were on the sidelines with growing insecurity over lawmakers’ inability to agree on a budget. A broader hit on consumer confidence from general uncertainty also curbs major expenditures such as home purchases.”

The numbers suggest a lackluster fourth quarter, with Yun saying for the first time in 29 months pending home sales failed to come in above year ago levels.

“This tells us to expect lower home sales for the fourth quarter, with a flat trend going into 2014,” he said. “Even so, ongoing inventory shortages will continue to lift home prices, though at a slower single-digit growth rate next year.”

Regionally, the pending home sales index fell the most in the Northeast, declining 9.6% to an index score of 76.7. The Midwest index declined 8.3% to 102.3, but remained 5.7% above year ago levels. The South also saw sales slip 0.4% to an index score of 116.2 even though the index is still 2% above year ago levels.

The West sales index fell 9% in September to an index score of 97.3, also down 9.8% from a year earlier.

However, 2013 was a solid year for home sales overall. Numbers recorded in the first part of the year will make 2013 a high performing 12-month period overall.

NAR says total existing-home sales will end up 10% higher when compared to 2012 levels, with 5.1 million sales expected. This could even hold heading into 2014, the latest NAR report says.

Meanwhile, the national median existing-home price is expected to rise 11% to 11.5% for all of 2013, while experiencing a moderate 5% to 6% gain next year.

September California Foreclosures Press Release

October 22, 2013 DQNews.com

The number of California homeowners entering the foreclosure process fell last quarter to the second-lowest level in seven and a half years. The drop-off is the result of a stronger job market, home price appreciation, and a variety of government foreclosure avoidance efforts, a real estate information service reported.

Lenders filed 20,314 Notices of Default (NoDs) during the July-through-September period. That was down 21.1 percent from 25,747 during the previous quarter, and down 58.6 percent from 49,026 in third-quarter 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

Last quarter’s NoDs were the lowest since 18,568 were filed in the first quarter of this year, and the second-lowest since 18,856 were filed in first-quarter 2006.

NoD filings plummeted in the first quarter of this year, and especially in the month of January, as a package of new state foreclosure laws – the “Homeowner Bill of Rights” – took effect on January 1. Later in the first quarter and then in the second quarter NoDs trended higher. In California and other states in recent years foreclosure activity has sometimes plunged temporarily after a new law kicked in and the industry took time to adjust.

“Cleanup of the foreclosure mess is ongoing, but it’s difficult to imagine a huge new wave. We still get asked about the long-feared ‘shadow inventory’ of distressed properties that some people predicted would trigger another big surge in foreclosures. Such warnings, which go back years, often reflected a worst-case scenario and didn’t account for the breadth and depth of the government’s eventual intervention in the crisis. Lots of legal, regulatory and political hurdles popped up, slowing the foreclosure rate. Then the economy stabilized and home prices started rising,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

“Still, it’s certainly possible that we could see foreclosure activity edge higher again,” he added. “It will depend on the economy and how lenders manage their remaining distressed properties, and their success with mortgage modifications.”

The sharp rise in home values over the last year has reduced the number of Californians who owe more than their homes are worth. That drives down the number of households vulnerable to foreclosure, given that if they can’t make their mortgage payments they can usually sell their homes or refinance.

The median price paid for a California home was $360,000 during the third quarter, up 4.0 percent from $346,000 the prior quarter and up 26.3 percent from $285,000 in third-quarter 2012.

As has been the case for years, mortgage defaults remained far more concentrated in the state’s most affordable neighborhoods last quarter. Zip codes with third-quarter 2013 median sale prices below $200,000 collectively saw 3.4 NoDs filed for every 1,000 homes in those zip codes. The ratio was 2.2 NoDs per 1,000 homes for zip codes with $200,000-to-$800,000 medians, while there were 0.9 NoDs filed per 1,000 homes for the group of zips with medians above $800,000.

Most of the loans going into default are from the 2005-2007 period. Last quarter the median origination quarter for defaulted loans was fourth-quarter 2006. Prior to last quarter the median origination quarter for defaulted loans had been third-quarter 2006 for four years, indicating that weak underwriting standards peaked then.

On primary mortgages, California homeowners were a median 8.2 months behind on their payments when the lender filed the Notice of Default. The borrowers owed a median $16,327 on a median $300,000 mortgage.

On home equity loans and lines of credit in default, borrowers owed a median $5,342 on a median $64,000 credit line. The amount of the credit line that was actually in use cannot be determined from public records.

The most active “beneficiaries” in the formal foreclosure process last quarter were Wells Fargo (4,134), JP Morgan Chase (2,144) and US Bank (1,187).

The trustees pursuing the highest number of defaults last quarter were Quality Loan Service Corp. (for Wells Fargo, CitiMortgage, US Bank, Bank of New York and others), Sage Point Lender Services (for Nationstar Mortgage, CitiMortgage, Deutsche Bank, US Bank and others) and Trustee Corps (for JP Morgan Chase, OneWest Bank, Bank of America and others).

San Diego-based DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts. Notices of Default are recorded at county recorders offices and mark the first step of the formal foreclosure process.

Although 20,314 default notices were filed last quarter, they involved 19,799 homes because some borrowers were in default on multiple loans (e.g. a primary mortgage and a line of credit).

Among the state’s larger counties, loans were least likely to go into default last quarter in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin and San Luis Obispo counties. The probability was highest in Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Kings and Yuba counties. The analysis is based on the number of NoDs filed for every 1,000 homes in those counties.

Trustees Deeds recorded (TDs), or the final loss of a home to foreclosure, totaled 8,030 last quarter – the lowest for any quarter since fourth-quarter 2006, when lenders foreclosed on 6,078 homes. Last quarter’s Trustees Deed total fell 18.4 percent from 9,840 the prior quarter and fell 65.0 percent from 22,949 in third-quarter 2012.

The all-time peak was 79,511 foreclosures in third-quarter 2008. The state’s all-time low was 637 in second-quarter 2005, DataQuick reported.

Foreclosures were again most concentrated in the state’s most affordable communities. Zip codes with third-quarter 2013 median sale prices below $200,000 collectively saw 2.0 homes foreclosed on for every 1,000 homes in existence. That compares with 0.8 foreclosures per 1,000 homes for zips with medians from $200,000 to $800,000, and 0.2 foreclosures per 1,000 homes in the group of zips with medians over $800,000.

On average, homes foreclosed on last quarter took 9.1 months to wind their way through the formal foreclosure process, beginning with an NoD. That’s the same as the prior quarter and up from 7.9 months a year ago.

At formal foreclosure auctions held statewide last quarter, an estimated 48.2 percent of the foreclosed properties were bought by investors or others that don’t appear to be lender or government entities. That was down from an estimated 54.1 percent the previous quarter and up from 39.4 percent a year earlier, DataQuick reported.

Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 7.7 percent of all California resale activity last quarter. That was down from a revised 11.5 percent the prior quarter and down from 20.0 percent a year ago. Foreclosure resales peaked at 57.8 percent in first-quarter 2009. Among the state’s larger counties last quarter, foreclosure resales varied from 2.0 percent in Santa Clara County to 22.3 percent in Kings County.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 13.5 percent of the state’s resale market last quarter. That was down from an estimated 16.5 percent the prior quarter and 26.1 percent a year earlier.

To view the county-by-county Foreclosure and Default Charts, visit this article at DQNews.com.

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

Bay Area Median Price Dips Month-to-Month Again; Still Way Up From Yr Ago

Thursday, October 17, 2013 DQNews.com

La Jolla, CA.–Bay Area home sales dropped more than usual in September compared with August but climbed slightly above the year-ago level thanks to more robust sales above $500,000 this year. For the second consecutive month the median sale price declined month-to-month, though it remained nearly 24 percent higher than a year earlier, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 7,141 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month. That was down 17.1 percent from 8,616 in August and up 3.6 percent from 6,890 in September last year, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

On average, sales between August and September have declined 11.4 percent since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.

Last month’s sales were 16.2 percent lower than the long-term September average of 8,519 sales. September sales have ranged from a low of 5,014 in 2007 to a high of 13,343 in 2003. Bay Area sales have been below average every month since the fall of 2006.

The median price paid for a home in the Bay Area last month was $530,000, down 1.9 percent from $540,000 in August and up 23.5 percent from $429,000 in September 2012. In July the Bay Area’s median sale price hit its highest level so far this year – $562,000 – and the highest level for any month since December 2007. Then the median slipped to $540,000 in August.

The Bay Area median peaked at $665,000 in June/July 2007, then dropped to as low as $290,000 in March 2009. Last month’s median was 20.3 percent below the peak.

The median has increased year-over-year for 18 consecutive months, with those gains ranging from 7.5 percent to 33.5 percent. The annual increases have exceeded 20 percent for the last 11 months. September’s 23.5 percent year-over-year gain was the smallest since the median rose 21.8 percent this March.

“The surprisingly high home price appreciation we saw over the last year stemmed largely from very low mortgage rates, a very slim inventory of homes for sale, and very high levels of investor purchases. But in recent months we’ve seen each of these forces reverse a bit: Interest rates are higher, the inventory has risen, and investors now account for a lower share of all sales. In addition, we’ve seen a normal, seasonal slowing in the market heading into fall,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

He added: “It’s likely we’ll see year-over-year price gains trend lower for the foreseeable future. Housing market impacts related to the federal government shutdown and the threat of default on the nation’s debt would begin to show up in sales data released over the next couple of months.”

The month-to-month declines in the region’s median sale price since July appear to stem from a combination of factors. In addition to the more obvious market changes – higher mortgage rates, more homes for sale, fewer investor purchases – the median appears to also be edging lower because of a more technical reason: Home sales in low- to mid-cost communities have seen their share of the region’s sales activity rise since July, while the most expensive, top third of the housing market has seen a decline in market share since then.

However, when comparing this September to September last year, the picture is different: The number of homes that sold for less than $500,000 last month was 19.3 percent lower than in September 2012, while the number that sold for more than $500,000 increased 30.9 percent, DataQuick reported.

The impact of distressed property sales on the market continued to fade last month. The combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” made up about 12.2 percent of the resale market, down from about 14 percent in August and around 38 percent a year earlier.

Foreclosure resales – homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 3.6 percent of resales in September, down from 4.3 percent in August and down from 14.1 percent a year ago. The September level is the lowest since 3.5 percent in June 2007. Foreclosure resales peaked at 52.0 percent in February 2009. The monthly average for foreclosure resales over the past 17 years is about 10 percent.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 8.6 percent of Bay Area resales last month. That was down from an estimated 9.6 percent in August and down from 27.5 percent a year earlier.

Lenders provided $2.76 billion in mortgage money to Bay Area home buyers in September, down from $3.32 billion in August and up from $2.37 billion in September last year. The most active lenders to Bay Area home buyers last month were Wells Fargo with 14.4 percent of the purchase loan market, RPM Mortgage with 4.1 percent and Bank of American with 3.7 percent.

Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 49.9 percent of last month’s purchase lending, down from a revised 52.9 percent in August, and up from 37.4 percent a year ago. Jumbo usage dropped to a low of 17.1 percent in January 2009.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), an important indicator of mortgage availability, accounted for 19.5 percent of the Bay Area’s home purchase loans in September. That was the highest since the ARM share was 20.8 percent in August 2008. Last month’s ARM level was up from 19.4 percent the month before and up from 11.6 percent in September last year. Over the last decade ARMs have represented a monthly average of 38.4 percent of all purchase loans. ARMs hit a low of 3.0 percent of all purchase loans in January 2009.

Government-insured FHA home purchase loans, a popular choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 11.1 percent of all Bay Area home purchase mortgages in September, up from 10.8 percent in August and down from 15.7 percent a year earlier. In recent months the FHA level has been the lowest since summer 2008, reflecting both tougher qualifying standards and the difficulties first-time buyers have competing with investors and other cash buyers.

Last month absentee buyers – mostly investors – purchased 20.7 percent of all Bay Area homes. That was up slightly from 20.3 percent in August, and down from 23.9 percent a year ago. The absentee share of all sales peaked at 28.7 percent this February, while the monthly average since 2000 is 15.3 percent. Absentee buyers paid a median $420,000 in September, up 47.1 percent from a year earlier.

Buyers who appear to have paid all cash – meaning no sign of a corresponding purchase loan was found in the public record – accounted for 24.0 percent of sales in September. That was up slightly from 23.7 percent the month before and down from 28.4 percent a year earlier. The monthly average going back to 1988 is 13.2 percent, while the peak was 32.3 percent this February. Cash buyers paid a median $440,000 in September, up 46.2 percent from a year earlier.

San Diego-based DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts. Because of late data availability, sales were estimated in Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo counties.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Bay Area buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $2,146, down from $2,179 in August and up from $1,535 in September last year. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s payment was 24.7 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 44.3 percent below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.

Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains below year-ago levels and far below peak levels reached over the last five years. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.

To view the county-by-county chart, view the article at DQNews.com.

Southland Median Sale Price Dips Month-to-Month, Still Up Sharply From Yr Ago

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 DQNews.com

http://dqnewspressreleases.blogspot.com/2013/10/september-southland-home-sale-press.html

Southern California home sales in September fell more than usual from August but rose modestly above a year earlier as sales gains for mid- to high-priced properties compensated for declines in sub-$300,000 activity. The median sale price remained 21 percent higher than a year earlier, but after holding steady for three months the median dipped month-to-month in September for the first time since February, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 19,112 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 17.1 percent from 23,057 sales in August, and up 7.0 percent from 17,859 sales in September 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

On average, Southland sales have declined 9.3 percent between August and September since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.

Last month’s sales were 19.9 percent below the average number of sales – 23,862 – in the month of September. Southland sales haven’t been above average for any particular month in more than seven years. September sales have ranged from a low of 12,455 in September 2007 to high of 37,771 in September 2003.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the six-county region last month was $382,000, down 0.8 percent from $385,000 in August and up 21.3 percent from $315,000 in September 2012. The $385,000 median in June, July and August was the highest in more than five years.

The median price has risen on a year-over-year basis for 18 consecutive months. Those gains have been double-digit – between 10.8 percent and 28.3 percent – over the past 14 months, and they have been greater than 20 percent for the last nine months.

September’s median remained 24.4 percent below the peak $505,000 median in spring/summer 2007.

“We’ve seen a fairly normal downshifting in the housing market this fall. Couple that with the rise in inventory, higher mortgage rates and the ongoing, gradual drop in purchases by investors and cash buyers and it’s no wonder prices have leveled off in recent months. What’s not clear is how well the market can weather the job losses related to the federal government shutdown and the blow to consumer confidence caused by fears of a default in the national debt. Those impacts would start to show up in data released over the next couple of months,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

It appears that most of last month’s 21.3 percent year-over-year increase in the Southland median sale price reflects rising home prices, while a small portion reflects a change in market mix. (This mix change consists of a big increase in mid- to high-end sales over the last year and a big decline in sales of lower-cost distressed properties.)

In September, the lowest-cost third of the region’s housing stock saw a 23.2 percent year-over-year rise in the median price paid per square foot for resale houses. The annual gain was 24.8 percent for the middle third of the market and 18.5 percent for the top, most-expensive third.

Sales activity in the middle and upper price ranges continues to far outpace sales in the more affordable markets.

Last month the number of homes that sold from $300,000 through $800,000 – a range that would include many move-up buyers – rose 25.5 percent year-over-year. The number that sold for $500,000 or more jumped 42.1 percent from one year earlier, while $800,000-plus sales rose 43.4 percent.

In September, 32.7 percent of all Southland home sales were for $500,000 or more, down from a revised 33.3 percent of sales the month before and up from 23.9 percent a year earlier.

The number of Southland homes that sold below $200,000 last month dropped 36.5 percent year-over-year, while sales below $300,000 fell 25.3 percent. Low-end sales have been relatively weak largely because of an inadequate supply of homes for sale. Many owners still can’t afford to sell their homes because they owe more than they are worth, and lenders aren’t foreclosing on as many properties, further limiting supply.

In September, foreclosure resales – homes foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 6.3 percent of the Southland resale market. That was down from a revised 6.9 percent the month before and down from 16.6 percent a year earlier. Last month’s foreclosure resale rate was the lowest since it was 5.5 percent in May 2007. In the current cycle, foreclosure resales hit a high of 56.7 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 13.1 percent of Southland resales last month. That was the lowest level since it was 12.9 percent in May 2009. Last month’s short sale figure was down from an estimated 13.3 percent the month before and down from 28.0 percent a year earlier.

Absentee buyers – mostly investors and some second-home purchasers – bought 26.3 percent of the Southland homes sold last month, which is the lowest share for any month since it was 25.1 percent in November 2011. Last month’s level was down from a revised 26.7 percent the month before and down from 27.7 percent a year earlier. The absentee share has ratcheted down gradually each month this year since hitting a record 32.4 percent in January. The monthly average since 2000, when the absentee data begin, is 18.4 percent. Last month’s absentee buyers paid a median $305,000, down from $310,000 the month before and up 27.6 percent from a year earlier.

After hitting a peak earlier this year, the share of homes flipped had generally trended flat to lower, but rose modestly in September. Last month 6.2 percent of all Southland homes sold on the open market had previously sold in the prior six months. That’s up from 5.9 percent in August and up from 5.5 percent in September 2012. (The figures exclude homes resold after being purchased at public foreclosure auction sales on the courthouse steps).

Buyers paying with cash accounted for 27.6 percent of last month’s home sales, down from 28.4 percent the month before and down from 32.2 percent a year earlier. The cash share of purchases has declined each month since hitting an all-time peak of 36.9 percent this February, and in September was at its lowest level since it was 26.2 percent in September 2010. Since 1988 the monthly average for cash buyers is 16.2 percent of all sales. Cash buyers paid a median $335,000 last month, up 35.6 percent from a year ago.

Credit conditions showed little change last month.

In September, 11.9 percent of Southland home purchase loans were adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) – the highest for any month since ARMs were 12.6 percent of the market in July 2008. Last month’s ARM level was up from an ARM share of 11.7 percent the prior month and 5.8 percent a year earlier. Since 2000, a monthly average of about 31 percent of Southland purchase loans have been ARMs.

Jumbo loans, mortgages above the old conforming limit of $417,000, accounted for 26.5 percent of last month’s Southland purchase lending. That was down from 27.6 percent the prior month and up from 20.7 percent a year earlier. In the months leading up to the credit crunch that struck in August 2007, jumbos accounted for around 40 percent of the home loan market.

The most active lenders to Southern California home buyers last month were Wells Fargo with 8.7 percent of the purchase loan market, Bank of America with 2.6 percent and JP Morgan Chase with 2.5 percent.

All lenders combined provided $6.02 billion in mortgage money to Southern California home buyers in September, down from $6.58 billion in August and up from $4.47 billion in September last year.

Government-insured FHA loans, a popular low-down-payment choice among first-time buyers, accounted for 19.0 percent of all purchase mortgages last month. That was down slightly from 19.1 percent the month before and down from 25.7 percent a year earlier. In recent months the FHA share has been the lowest since spring 2008. The decline reflects tighter FHA qualifying standards implemented in recent years as well as the difficulties first-time buyers have competing with investors and cash buyers.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The typical monthly mortgage payment Southland buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,547, down from $1,555 the month before and up from $1,144 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s typical payment was 35.5 percent below the typical payment in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 47.2 percent below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.

Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and far below peak levels. Financing with multiple mortgages is very low, and down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.

To view the county-by-county chart, visit DQNews.com.

California September Home Sales

Thursday, October 17, 2013 DQNews.com

http://dqnewspressreleases.blogspot.com/2013/10/september-california-home-sale-press.html

An estimated 36,027 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month. That was down 15.3 percent from 42,546 in August, and up 5.9 percent from 34,011 sales in September 2012, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

The sales count was the highest for any September since 40,216 homes sold in September 2009. September sales have varied from a low of 24,460 in 2007 to a high of 69,304 in 2003. Last month’s sales were 16.7 percent below the average of 43,253 sales for all the months of September since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin.

The median price paid for a home in California last month was $355,000, down 1.7 percent from $361,000 in August and up 23.7 percent from $287,000 in September 2012. September was the 19th consecutive month in which the state’s median sale price rose year-over-year, and the 10th straight month with a gain exceeding 20 percent.

In March/April/May 2007 the median peaked at $484,000. The post-peak trough was $221,000 in April 2009.

Of the existing homes sold last month, 7.0 percent were properties that had been foreclosed on during the past year. It was the lowest level for foreclosure resales since June 2007, when they represented 6.6 percent of the resale market. Last month’s figure was down from 7.8 percent in August and 18.0 percent a year earlier. Foreclosure resales peaked at 58.8 percent in February 2009.

Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 13.1 percent of the homes that resold last month. That was down from an estimated 13.3 percent the month before and 27.5 percent a year earlier.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that California buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,429, down from $1,456 the month before and up from $1,027 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s payment was 38.1 percent below the typical payment in spring 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 49.9 percent below the current cycle’s peak in June 2006.

DataQuick monitors real estate activity nationwide and provides information to consumers, educational institutions, public agencies, lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

Indicators of market distress continue to decline. Foreclosure activity remains well below year-ago and peak levels reached in the last five years. Financing with multiple mortgages is low, while down payment sizes are stable, DataQuick reported.