Thursday, October 6, 2011

Housing News Digest, October 6

CoreLogic: Home Price Index declined 0.4% in August
Notes: This CoreLogic Home Price Index report is for August. The Case-Shiller index released last week was for July. Case-Shiller is currently the most followed house price index, but CoreLogic is used by the Federal Reserve and is followed by many analysts. The CoreLogic HPI is a three month weighted average of June, July and August (August weighted the most) and is not seasonally adjusted (NSA).

Reis: Apartment Vacancy Rate falls to 5.6% in Q3

Reis reported that the apartment vacancy rate (82 markets) fell to 5.6% in Q3 from 6.0% in Q2. The vacancy rate was at 7.1% in Q2 2010 and peaked at 8.0% at the end of 2009.

From the WSJ: Landlords Push Up Apartment Rents

The vacancy rate for the third quarter, which wraps up the prime leasing season, fell to 5.6% from 7.1% a year earlier. That is the lowest since 2006.

Nearly Half of U.S. Lives in Household Receiving Government Benefit
Nearly half, 48.5%, of the population lived in a household that received some type of government benefit in the first quarter of 2010, according to Census data. Those numbers have risen since the middle of the recession when 44.4% lived households receiving benefits in the third quarter of 2008.

The share of people relying on government benefits has reached a historic high, in large part from the deep recession and meager recovery, but also because of the expansion of government programs over the years. (See a timeline on the history of government benefits programs here.)

Federal judge tosses 72 suits against MERS

An Arizona federal judge dismissed 72 lawsuits against Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., which tracks ownership and servicing rights of U.S. mortgages.

U.S. District Judge James Teilborg, relying on a September appellate court decision, rejected the argument by plaintiffs in the consolidated litigation that naming MERS as a beneficiary on deeds of trust means they're unsecured and the properties can't be foreclosed.

Want to refinance your mortgage? Get in line
Mortgage rates near historic lows have sparked a refinancing boom, and lenders are struggling to handle the surge.

“There’s just so much volume,” says Kristin Wilson, a senior loan officer in Bloomington, Minn., for Fairway Independent Mortgage. Clients seeking lower rates now account for about half of her business, up from 20 percent a month ago. “We can’t just ramp up by hiring inexperienced people,” she says, “because they don’t know what they’re doing.”