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BofA tries home rental program – May 26, 2012

Unable to qualify for modifications on Bank of America mortgages, a few of California’s most distressed homeowners are being offered one last chance to stay in their homes: Become renters instead.  Testing a mortgage-to-lease program in the Golden State, Bank of America Corp. sent 300 letters this week inviting borrowers without other options to apply. An additional 1,500 letters will go out in the next few weeks as the bank — which also is testing the program in three other states — evaluates whether a national rollout is feasible…Read the full article

May consumer sentiment highest in more than four years – May 25, 2012

Consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than four years in May as Americans stayed optimistic about the job market, while higher income households expected to see bigger wage increases, a survey released on Friday showed.  The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment rose to 79.3 from 76.4 in April, topping forecasts for 77.8 and an initial May reading of the same.  It was the highest level since October 2007…Read the full article

More than 30% of mortgage borrowers still underwater – May 24, 2012

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Despite rising home prices, more than 30% of borrowers, or close to 16 million homeowners, were underwater on their mortgage during the first quarter, according to Zillow. The percentage of borrowers who owed more on their home than it was worth increased to 31.4% during the quarter, up slightly from 31.1% three months earlier, according to Zillow. In the year-ago period, 32.4% of all borrowers had negative equity on their loan…Read the full article

Speeding Up Short Sales – May 24, 2012

With rules that take effect next month, federal regulators have hopes of greatly streamlining the short-sale process.  Starting June 15, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, will require both agencies to give short-sale buyers a final decision within 60 days. (In a short sale, a lender agrees to accept less than the balance on a mortgage.)… Read the full article

Home Prices Rose Most in Two Decades in March, FHFA Says – May 23, 2012

U.S. home prices jumped 1.8 percent in March, the biggest monthly increase in at least two decades, as the housing recovery builds momentum, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said today. The rise from February exceeded all analysts’ estimates, which ranged from a decline of 0.2 percent to a gain of 0.7 percent. Compared with a year earlier, prices surged 2.7 percent, the FHFA said in a statement. Record-low mortgage rates, job gains and a dwindling inventory of properties available for sale have combined to strengthen demand for homes…Read the full article

Aging Baby and Echo Boomer to Impact Housing – May 23, 2012

The demographic shift of the aging baby boomer generation will soon have an impact on the nation’s housing market.  According to the National Association of Realtors researchers and the new report “Demographic Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Housing Markets,” the next two decades will see a surge in our nation’s senior population by 30 million. We are an aging nation.  It’s not all aging baby boomers either. Their echo boomer children will also significantly impact trends…Read the full article

Foreclosures fall to lowest level since 2007 – May 17, 2012

Foreclosure filings in April fell for the third straight month to the lowest level since July 2007. Total foreclosure activity for April, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions, was down 5% from March, according to RealtyTrac. Bank repossessions declined significantly — there were 51,415 repossessions last month, down 26% from a year ago, and about half the 102,000 monthly repossessions at the peak in September 2010…Read the full article

Shadow Inventory: 46 Months to Clear Distressed Housing Supply – May 14, 2012

It will take 46 months to clear the market’s supply of distressed homes, or the shadow inventory, according to estimates from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services based on first-quarter 2012 data. The agency’s latest estimate came in one month shy of the liquidation timeline determined in the fourth quarter of 2011.  While national residential mortgage liquidation rates appeared stable over the first three months of this year, these rates varied widely between local markets, which prevented any significant reduction in S&P’s months-to-clear estimate, the agency explained in its report…Read the full article

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