Thursday, January 19, 2012

Housing News Digest, January 19

Ag housing was ‘worth the wait’
The grand opening of Alta Vista de la Montaña in North Delta last week culiminated four years of effort to provide safe, decent and affordable rental housing for agricultural workers in the area.

During the grand opening ceremony on Jan. 12, funding partner Jamie Spakow, USDA Rural Development, acknowledged the challenges in finding the right location, the right funding sources and the best development team for the project.

Housing starts fell in December, capping a grim year
U.S. housing starts fell in December as groundbreaking on rental properties posted a big decline, splashing some cold water on hopes the still-weak housing sector could boost economic growth this year.

The Commerce Department said Thursday housing starts fell 4.1 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000 units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts edging down to a 680,000-unit rate in December.

Pueblo, Fort Collins lead economic comeback in Colorado
Pueblo and Fort Collins — which suffered lighter job losses in the downturn than much of the rest of the state — are expected to be the first metro areas in Colorado to recover their lost jobs.

But it could take another three years before Denver and Colorado Springs do so, and Grand Junction may not regain peak employment until after 2017, according to a study released Wednesday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Mortgage rates hit another record low, housing struggles
WASHINGTON – The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell again this week to a record low. The eighth record low in a year is attracting few takers because most who can afford to buy or refinance have already done so.

Some real estate pros take aim at anti-piracy legislation
Think of all the shared information: multiple listing services, photos, videos. Can you verify the copyrights of all the content? One unknown copyright infringement, like finding a needle in a sky-high haystack, could mean your whole site being removed, blocked, if this legislation passes, critics say.

Dr. Jim Gaines, a researcher at Texas A&M's Real Estate Center, said that this legislation could have severe ramifications for the real estate industry. He mentioned possible data-sharing restrictions, like multiple listing service info on Craigslist, as an example.

Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage dipped to 3.88% this week, down from the old record of 3.89% one week ago.

Housing May Turn the Corner in 2012: CoreLogic
CoreLogic’s chief economist Mark Fleming says housing statistics and the duration of the downturn to date indicate 2012 may be the year the housing market begins to turn the corner.

In the first release of CoreLogic’s new MarketPulse newsletter Wednesday, Fleming explained his rationale for such an assessment.

He notes that housing is an industry with long business cycles. Regional housing recessions have typically taken anywhere from three to five years to find their bottom, and Fleming says the national housing recession has behaved similarly in that it has bounced along a bottom for the past two years.