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Best of the Blogs, Real Estate: First Horizon May See More Losses as Mortgage Buybacks Continue


Plus, housing prices may reach their nadir by 2013.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful financial commentary on real estate from around the Web every Friday.

Link: First Horizon extends loss reserve account as buyback risk grows

"First Horizon National Corp. (FHN) said it will incur $272 million in pre-tax charges in the second quarter as the firm ups its loss reserves to cover pending mortgage repurchase claims from Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC), the company reported in a securities filing.

"Buybacks or putbacks occur when the government-sponsored enterprises force an originator to repurchase a loan that contains material underwriting or origination deficiencies."

Real Estate Research
Link: Most Economists Agree Home Prices Will Bottom by 2013, But Majority Surveyed Expect Homeownership Rate To Dip Further

"The June 2012 Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey reveals that economists agree that home prices will decline only slightly in 2012 and expect to see a bottom in home prices by 2013. This is the first time the individual economists surveyed were largely in agreement on the trajectory of home prices nationally, signaling that a true bottom may be imminent. The survey, compiled from 114 responses by a diverse group of economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists, records expectations about the projected path of the S&P/Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index over the next five years."

Builder Magazine
Link: Standard Pacific Strides Into the Black in Q1

"Standard Pacific (SPF) released first-quarter earnings post market close last night that beat Wall Street analysts' posted predictions. After a near brush with death in 2008, and life-support from MatlinPatterson's real estate funds, Standard Pacific's strategic, operational, and tactical planning and execution are playing well in what continues to be an adverse market environment in most of its competitive arenas.

"The company's topline reads like one that knows what it's doing to make strides in a tough-as-nails market, a $24-million swing to the good on year-on-year earnings."

Link: A Big Hint for Brokers: Being a Digital Tycoon

"I have scrutinized hundreds of real estate brokerages online now. Offering slicing constructive criticisms this last year, giving examples of 'how to,' even barbequeing a few impertinent old school practitioners, all these genuine efforts have only showed moderate successes. Some nice emails, sincere questions about how to make things better for broker and client, but still the home buyer or seller has little or no great representation online. And forget about mobile.

"So, it's time for a wake up call. Oh ye of tiny listing thumbnails and lip service social engagement, hark! The following is a for real instructional, even a challenge to 'would be' investor types. Take it from an old Internet hand, everything I say below can be done. I know, you are a bit curious, and my writing style, while flowing, is wordy, so here is a one minute instructional for taking over real estate online one-market-at-a-time."

Bubble Meter
Link: S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index falls again

"'Data through March 2012, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of US home prices, showed that all three headline composites ended the first quarter of 2012 at new post-crisis lows. The national composite fell by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2012 and was down 1.9% versus the first quarter of 2011.'"

Link: Here's a Selection of Absurd Statements About Dog Houses

"Today the New York Times runs exactly 309,483 words about high-end dog houses: the world's most extravagant ones, the most architecturally advanced ones, the one Frank Lloyd Wright designed, and so on. As you can imagine, exactly 309,482 words about such a topic are utterly ridiculous. Here now, the best lines:

"'Take, for instance, the Palladian-style mini-mansion that Glenna and Ed Hall bought at a charity auction three years ago for about $300. With Jeffersonian columns that match the ones on their home in Roanoke, Va., the two-foot-tall doghouse makes a perfect accent for the garden.'"
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