Banks drag feet on short sales, survey finds

Los Angeles Times  – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR® (C.A.R.) published its findings of a survey this week, which show that tedious lender requirements and poor communication hamper short sales.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY

  • Fewer than three of five short sales close in California, illustrating the complexity and difficulty of navigating lenders’ and servicers’ short sale procedures, according to C.A.R.’s survey, which gauged REALTORS®’ experience in working with short sale transactions – transactions in which the lender or lenders agree to accept less than the mortgage amount owed by the current homeowner.
  • Although not every homeowner or mortgage is eligible for a short sale, those who are able to finalize a short sale avoid a foreclosure on their credit record and can move on with their lives.
  • Banks are taking much longer to respond to short sale offers than those specified in government guidelines for banks. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said banks took longer than 60 days to respond to short sale offers. Often, this results in buyers walking away from the transaction.
  • “Increasing the number of successful short sale transactions is one important way we can help California families avoid foreclosure and move our economy closer to recovery,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.
  • C.A.R. is asking government agencies, such as the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, to force banks to complete all short sales following HAFA guidelines and to comply with the program’s time frames. Read the full story

Without loan giants, 30-year mortgage may fade away

The New York Times – How might home buying change if the federal government shuts down the housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Read the full story

Mortgage practices overhaul proposed

The Wall Street Journal – State and federal officials are pushing to more tightly regulate the way banks and other mortgage servicers treat struggling homeowners in a bid to stem foreclosures. Read the full story

Foreclosure activity drops sharply nationwide

Los Angeles Times – Big banks put the brakes on foreclosure activity last month as the American foreclosure system faced a major overhaul and homeowners challenged their lenders in court. Read the full story

FHA powers what’s left of the home market

The Wall Street Journal – As one of the few backers of low-down-payment mortgages in time of stringent lender underwriting, the Federal Housing Administration has become a primary means of financing for U.S. home buyers. Read the full story

We paid cash for our million-dollar home

CNN Money – Cash buyer are becoming common. The number of homes bought with cash jumped to 32 percent in January compared with 26 percent a year earlier, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Read the full story

Picky first-time buyers losing out on great housing deals

The Washington Post – Are today’s first time home buyers passing up great deals because they insist on flawless “move-in-ready” houses requiring little or no changes – even at the starter-home price levels at which shoppers traditionally have been willing to factor fix-ups and renovations into their offers? Read the full story

New rules for first-time home buyers

SmartMoney – Without a house to sell, first-time buyers have had a field day in the depressed housing market. Until recently, anyway. A series of new rules, regulations, and policies have changed the landscape, making buying that new home harder and more expensive. Read the full story

Underwater mortgages rise as home prices fall

San Francisco Chronicle – The number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth rose at the end of last year, preventing many people from selling their homes in an already weak housing market. Read the full story

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