Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sales Of New Houses Plummet

Sales Of New Houses Plummet: "Sales Of New Houses Plummet
Rate Is Lowest In a Dozen Years

By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 29, 2007; D01

New-home sales in November fell 9 percent from the previous month and were down 34 percent from a year earlier, more dismal figures for an industry facing bloated inventory, declining prices and mortgage woes.

'Things remain pretty weak,' said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, a financial publishing group in New Jersey. 'We are still stumbling along in a rough patch. Inventory has to be cleared out.'

The Commerce Department reported yesterday that sales of new single-family houses declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000 in November, compared with 711,000 in October and 987,000 in November 2006. It was the lowest sales rate since April 1995.

The median price of new houses in November was $239,100, up from $229,500 the month before but down from $240,100 a year earlier.

The Commerce Department reported a 9.3-month inventory of unsold new homes in November, up from 8.5 months in October. A six-month inventory is considered a desirable goal.

Industry experts gave little weight to the bump in the median price, saying the figure may not accurately reflect the ongoing price decline."


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tennessee ranks 11th in foreclosures

Tennessee ranks 11th in foreclosures
Nashville Business Journal
The latest foreclosure numbers put Tennessee at No. 11 in the nation, RealtyTrac Inc. says.
The number of properties in some state of foreclosure in November was 3,862 in Tennessee, with one property foreclosed for every 683 households. That's up 7.5 percent from November 2006.

Nevada, Florida and Ohio posted the top foreclosure rates.

Nationwide, foreclosures were up 68 percent from November 2006, but down 10 percent from October. That drop in the past month provides a glimmer of hope that the foreclosure boom might be winding down, RealtyTrac chief executive officer James Saccacio says.

"The 10 percent drop in November is the first double-digit monthly decrease we've seen since April 2006," he says. "This could indicate that foreclosure activity has topped out for the year, but the true test of whether this ceiling will hold will come at the beginning of next year - when we anticipate that a seasonal surge in foreclosure filings and another possible wave of resetting mortgages could place further pressure on the housing market. But, if the trend of flat or decreasing foreclosure activity we've seen over the past three months continues in the first quarter, it would certainly bode well for 2008."

RealtyTrac includes properties that are in default, up for auction or owned by the lender.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rooker to be New Property Assessor

George Rooker is the only person to qualify to run for Property Assessor in the February Democratic Primary. No one qualified in the Republican Primary so he will win by acclamation.

I was surprised that he did not get a late filing opponent.

Anyway congratulations George

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Blue Dog at Christmas

Sorry Jim I just couldn't resist

Nashville-area home prices rise as sales fall - Nashville, Tennessee - Tuesday, 12/11/07 -

Nashville-area home prices rise as sales fall - Nashville, Tennessee - Tuesday, 12/11/07 -

By GETAHN WARD Staff Writer

"Buyers of Nashville-area homes in November paid a median price nearly 3 percent higher than a year earlier, a rebound from the previous month that observers said reflects the stability of the local market.

The median price of a single-family home — the point at which half sold for more and half for less — rose to $179,900 from $174,900 in November 2006, according to figures released on Monday by the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

The gain came despite a 21 percent decline in sales of residential properties and the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year weaker single-family home sales. Inventories of homes on the market also continued to increase.

'It's a pretty good indicator of strength of the market,' said Richard Exton of Manier & Exton, a local real estate appraisal firm. Exton, however, said the median price still could fall in coming months as increased competition leads some sellers to make concessions, although he said results could fluctuate depending on how many sellers pull homes off the market rather than take a lower price.

More than 22,300 properties were on the market at the end of November, up from 17,175 a year earlier."


Friday, December 7, 2007

New York Times - On Mortgage Relief, Who Gains the Most?

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — At least one thing is clear about President Bush’s plan to help people trapped by the mortgage meltdown: it is an industry-led plan, not a government bailout.

Although Mr. Bush unveiled the plan at the White House on Thursday, its terms were set by the mortgage industry and Wall Street firms. The effort is voluntary and it leaves plenty of wiggle room for lenders. Moreover, it would affect only a small number of subprime borrowers.

The plan was the target of criticism from consumer advocates who said its scope was too narrow, and from investment firms, who said it went too far. Others warned that the plan, by letting some stretched homeowners off the hook, could encourage more reckless borrowing in the future.

“The approach announced today is not a silver bullet,” said Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., who hammered out the agreement. “We face a difficult problem for which there is no perfect solution.”

The heart of Mr. Bush’s plan is a cautious attempt to help troubled homeowners by persuading financiers to freeze mortgages at low introductory rates for five years, but without actually forcing the hands of lenders and investors who hold the mortgages.

One of the financial industry’s lead negotiators estimated that at most 20 percent of subprime borrowers whose payments will increase sharply over the next 18 months — 360,000 out of 1.8 million people — would qualify for rapid consideration of a special five-year freeze on interest rates.

The number of people who actually obtain help would be smaller, because each borrower would face tests aimed at weeding out those considered too hopelessly in debt and those who make too much money to justify relief.

In one curious twist, the plan could eliminate many who have good credit scores or managed to improve their credit scores, because the good ratings would be a sign they do not need help.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Home prices start to feel economic pinch - Triangle Business Journal:

Home prices start to feel economic pinch - Nashville Business Journal:

Home prices are rising in most areas of Nashville, but some pockets are taking a hit from high inventory and showing falling prices.

Nine out of 38 ZIP codes in the Nashville area reported price declines in the last six months. The same study a year ago showed only one ZIP code with a price decline, says Jeff Jolly, a Crye-Leike Realtor who did the study.

The ZIP codes that cover Belle Meade and Germantown were the only two areas where sales increased. Those areas had the highest price jump of 27 and 20 percent respectively.
Overall, sales are down 16.6 percent in the six-month time frame.

Agents maintain the numbers show the market is slow, but remains strong when compared to other U.S. cities.

Wealthier buyers in areas such as Belle Meade are less affected by economic downturns, and Germantown has become a hot new spot to live in the downtown area, says Shirley Zeitlin, owner of Zeitlin & Co.

But new homes going up in Germantown which command higher prices and a few high-priced home sales in Belle Meade could have helped bring up the average, says Richard Exton, principal appraiser at Manier & Exton Real Estate Appraisers.

Rural Joelton reported a 9 percent drop, the highest of the 38 areas, and one Franklin ZIP code, 37069 - the most expensive with an average price of $550,300 this year - saw a 3 percent drop in average price from $567,344 last year. MORE

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Deal in the Works To Freeze Rates on Subprime Loans -

Deal in the Works To Freeze Rates on Subprime Loans -

"Mortgage rates for homeowners with spotty credit histories would be temporarily frozen under a nearly completed agreement between top Bush administration officials and a broad alliance of Wall Street's biggest banks, mortgage investors, nonprofits and consumer groups.

The plan, which could be announced next week, is designed to prevent soaring mortgage delinquencies from escalating into a full-blown foreclosure crisis that would threaten the broader economy, according to several people involved in or familiar with the discussions. " MORE