Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Housing News Digest, September 7

Local home sales jump while prices fall
Home sales in the Colorado Springs area during August jumped from a year ago by the biggest percentage in nearly 1½ years, although prices fell for a sixth consecutive month, according to a monthly report from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors.

Sales of new and existing homes totaled 832 in August, up 20.9 percent from a year earlier. That was the largest increase since March 2010, when sales benefited from a federal government income tax credit program for home buyers that expired in mid-2010. The August increase followed an 11.9 percent gain in July, the first signs of improvement after sales fell in 10 of the previous 12 months. So far this year, sales are down 33 homes, or less than 1 percent, to 5,734 from the same period a year ago.

Forum to help connect Northern Colorado veterans to services, programs
Veterans and their families can speak face-to-face with experts who can give information about accessing services and benefits during a Sept. 17 forum in Loveland.

The forum, planned by Sen. Mark Udall in conjunction with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Larimer and Weld County Workforce Centers, set for 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at American Eagle Distributing Co., 3800 Clydesdale Parkway.

Topics include: general services and updated benefits for veterans; job training, education benefits, training programs; medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics, including mental health, transportation and caregivers; veterans’ benefits available from the state; housing benefits

Financial Firms 'Disappointed' FHFA Chose Lawsuits Over Negotiations
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced its plans to pursue legal action against financial firms that sold residential mortgage-backed securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac prior to the bursting of the housing bubble.

Has the Housing Market Finally Found Its Footing?
For those looking for a bright spot amid the barrage of depressing data recently, news that housing prices were up for the third month in a row might have buoyed morale a bit.

The latest data from the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index showed that home prices in the nation's largest metropolitan areas ticked up 1.1 percent, on average, in June, following a 1 percent increase in May. Chicago and Minneapolis saw the largest month-over-month increases, both recording 3.2 percent increases in home values, on average. Even metro areas hit hard by the foreclosure crisis saw incremental gains: Atlanta posted a 1.5 percent increase, while Phoenix saw a 0.3 percent gain

HAMP continues to fall
The number of Colorado homeowners qualifying for the required first-step of the Obama Administration’s flagship program to keep people from losing their homes to foreclosure once again fell to a new low.

Only 1,274 Colorado homeowners were in the required “Active Trials” portion of the HAMP - Home Affordable Modification Program - in July, 7.5 percent below the previous low set in June. Meanwhile, 9,364 people were accepted into the permanent modification program in July, 271 more than in June.