Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Housing News Digest, June 29

Loan assistance available to Colo. homeowners
The Adams County Housing Authority has been selected to administrate the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) across the state of Colorado. EHLP will provide approximately 984 Colorado homeowners at-risk of foreclosure with the opportunity to apply for an interest-free loan to help pay their monthly mortgage for up to two years, or up to $50,000 whichever comes first.

To qualify, homeowners must:

Have experienced a reduction in income due to involuntary unemployment or underemployment due to economic conditions or a medical condition; Be at least three months delinquent on their first mortgage and at risk of foreclosure; Reside in the property as their primary place of residence; Meet other qualifying program criteria including income restrictions as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Making housing affordable
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard reports that between 2001 and 2007, affordable housing stock fell 6.3 percent while affluent housing stock increased by nearly 100 percent. The center further reports that for every new affordable housing unit that is created, two are lost to abandonment, waste, "condominiumization," or expensive rental conversions.

Banks’ Appetite for Jumbos May Soften Blow of New Loan Limits
As competition picks up, lenders including Citigroup Inc. (C), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) are easing credit requirements and narrowing the gap on rates compared with government-backed loans. With deposits costing near zero and demand for commercial loans weak, banks and credit unions see an opportunity in high-end borrowers who haven’t suffered as badly as other Americans as foreclosures mount and unemployment hovers above 9 percent

Denver home prices steady, some sellers on sidelines
Metro Denver heads into the prime summer season with fewer available homes on the market. The monthly inventory of unsold homes in May declined 11.1 percent year-over-year to 19,573 units. The number was virtually unchanged from April, which recorded the lowest level of inventory in nearly a decade.

Home Prices Are Stabilizing
Data reported over the last two weeks offered yet more positive signals for real estate investors. Both the FHFA and Standard & Poor’s real estate pricing metrics have now illustrated positive changes in average home prices in April.

Last week, the FHFA House Price Index produced its first monthly increase since May 2010. The index, which measures only the prices of homes backing mortgages that have been sold to or are guaranteed by Fannie Mae (OTC: FNMA.OB) or Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC.OB), rose 0.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis from March to April. Of course, residential real estate prices were still 5.7% lower than April of 2010, and benefited from the first-time homebuyer tax break.