Thursday, March 24, 2011

Housing News Digest, March 24

Cash Is King in Today's Distressed Marketplace
For many homebuyers, mortgage financing is hard to come by these days. Lenders have tightened up credit requirements in an about-face from the lax lending of pre-crisis days that put people into mortgages they couldn’t afford and fueled record-high delinquencies.

Evidence of constricted mortgage credit was highlighted in the latest HousingPulse report from Campbell Surveys and Inside Mortgage Finance as cash transactions set a new record, accounting for 33.7 percent of home purchases in February.

US Finances Rank Near Worst in the World: Study
In the Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index, the Comeback America Initiative ranked 34 countries according to their ability to meet their financial challenges, and the US finished 28th, said David Walker, head of the organization and former US comptroller general.

"We think it is important for the American people to understand where the United States is as compared to other countries with regard to fiscal responsibility and sustainability," Walker said in a CNBC interview. "Americans are used to rankings and they're used to ranking very high, but frankly in this area we rank very low."

Why Housing Is Going Through a Double Dip

The sales pace of newly built homes is now at the lowest on record.

Sales dropped nearly 17 percent in February after a big drop in January. Put that on top of the nearly 10 percent February drop in existing home sales reported earlier this week and the incredibly low level of mortgage purchase applications, and you get a clear case for a double dip in housing.

Study: Colorado added few jobs in last decade even as labor force grew

Colorado's Western Slope and central-northern mountains created a net 12,200 jobs during the past decade while the rest of the state stagnated, a new study finds.