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Best of the Blogs, Real Estate: Average Homeowner Owes $75,644 More on Mortgage Than Their Home Is Worth

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Plus, Zillow predicts that the Case-Shiller Composite Home Price Indices for March will show a decline from last year.

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful financial commentary on real estate from around the Web every Friday.
Zillow Real Estate Research
Link: Despite Home Value Gains, Underwater Homeowners Owe $1.2 Trillion More Than Homes Worth

"According to the first quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report, 31.4 percent of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage are underwater. This is nearly flat on a quarterly basis, up only 0.3 percent, but down 1 percent since the first quarter of 2011. On average, U.S. homeowners owe $75,644 more than what their house is worth, or 44.5 percent more. Almost 5 percent of homeowners with a mortgage in the nation owe more than twice what their house is worth. While a third of homeowners with mortgages is underwater, 90 percent of underwater homeowners are current on their mortgage and continue to make payments."

Dr. Housing Bubble
Link: Foreclosure amnesia - California distressed inventory still larger than non-distressed properties. The psychological push to buy with low interest rates. The new marketing to purchase homes.
"There is a danger with keeping mortgage rates artificially low for such a long time. I've seen countless marketing pitches from those in the industry now using the historically low interest rate as the major impetus for people to buy. Ignore the weak income growth or massive budget deficits both at the state and federal levels because low interest rates are the elixir for all the ills in the world. Little analysis is even conducted on the transition between baby boomers that currently own homes to a younger less affluent generation. Rates are reaching rock bottom levels and as you are witnessing in Europe with the credit markets, rates can turn up quickly. Nationwide housing prices might be at a bottom but this aggregate trend is being applied to regions in states like California that still have bubbles. No need to look too far in the past to see how much buying leverage is being injected into the market by lower rates. The problem happens when the market gets addicted."

HousingWire
Link: Freddie Mac mortgage portfolio decreases 14.1%

"Freddie Mac's (FMCC.OB) total mortgage portfolio declined at an annualized rate of 14.1% in April, according to the GSE's latest monthly summary report.

"That compares to a 2.9% annualized rate reduction in March."

NuWire Investor
Link: Best Florida Real Estate Markets For 2012

"The real estate market is coming back around after years of getting hammered, and the markets leading this recovery are the very ones that were damaged most by the collapse. Florida was one of the hardest hit states when the real estate market tanked, but now things are looking much better in the sunshine state. I'll start with the disclaimer, though, that certainly not every market in Florida is worth investing in. To help investors, I've put together a little list of the best Florida real estate markets for 2012. Keep in mind that this is not a list of the best places to live in Florida, but rather a list of what I believe to be the best places for investors to buy real estate in Florida this year. The following locations are not ranked in any particular order."

Calculated Risk
Link: Zillow's forecast for Case-Shiller House Price index in March, Zillow index shows prices increased in April

"On Tuesday, May 29th, the Case-Shiller Composite Home Price Indices for March will be released. Zillow predicts that the 20-City Composite Home Price Index (non-seasonally adjusted [NSA]) will decline by 2.6 percent on a year-over-year basis, while the 10-City Composite Home Price Index ( NSA) will decline by 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. The seasonally adjusted (or SA) month-over-month change from February to March will be 0.3 percent for both the 20 and 10-City Composite Home Price Index ( SA)."

Curbed
Link: Bring Drachmas: Luxe Greek Properties for Sale Amidst Crisis

"Still locked in the throes of an economic crisis, Greece has it too preoccupied with the duel between pro- and anti-austerity camps, with the possible exclusion from the European Union, and a possible return to the drachma to worry too much about its luxury real estate. Just like last year, that leaves some deals open to investors willing to brave the coming political firestorm to land a luxe vacation home for cheap. On the market in Santorini, a stunningly beautiful island that will retain its appeal as a chic tourist destination no matter what happens in Athens, this casual compound comprises 11 properties, with nine villas and two restaurants, and is dubbed a "Premium Real Estate Greek Village" in the brokerbabble. With a total of 16,000 square feet, the property boasts 18 bedrooms and 14 baths and could easily serve as a glamorous B&B if the buyer opts not to covert it into a sprawling single family home. The price is available upon request and, with the way things are going, buyers should be prepared to fork over drachmas, rather than Euros, for this cliffside pad."

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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