Freddie Mac: ‘Vast Majority’ of Housing Markets Still Trying to Get Back to …

home-protectionFreddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index (MiMi) for October 2015 released this week remained in the outer range of stable and continues to slowly improve, but an economist from the GSE says the “vast majority” of housing markets are still trying to return to their long-term “benchmark normal” range.

The national MiMi, which monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market and the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 100 metro areas, had a value of 81.3 as of the end of September, placing it in the low range of stable. It was still an improvement of 0.67 percentage points from August to September, a three-month improvement of 1.85 percentage points, and a year-over-year climb of 5.79 percentage points.

September’s national MiMi value of 81.3 is 37 percent higher than its all-time low of 52.7 from October 2010, but still significantly lower than its all-time high of 121.7 set in April 2006 prior to the recession.

Thirty states plus the District of Columbia had MiMis in the stable range in September 2015, compared with 19 states plus D.C. in September 2014. D.C. had the highest MiMi value in September 2015, at 100; the state with the highest MiMi value was North Dakota at 95.3.

The top 100 metros likewise showed improvement. In September 2015, 50 of the nation’s top 100 metros posted MiMi values in the stable range, led by Fresno at 100.2. By comparison, only 30 of the top 100 metros had MiMi values in the stable range, according to Freddie Mac.

11-25 MiMi GraphDespite the increased number of states and metros that were deemed to have stable housing markets in September 2015, there is still much work to be done, according to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer.

“When we observe MiMi’s annual improvement, it’s clear housing markets continue to recover with some markets firing on all cylinders, others inching along, and the vast majority still working to get back to their long-term benchmark normal range,” Kiefer said. “Regardless, nearly twice as many states and metro areas have entered their stable range of housing activity compared to a year ago. Western markets show little signs of slowing down with their local employment pictures continuing to improve and with applications to purchase a home still showing double-digit growth on an annual basis. In many Southern metro areas home sales are improving, which is good news, but their levels still remain depressed.”

Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Earns Third NAR Platinum Award for …

Cupertino, CA – November 27, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — For the third year in a row, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) has earned the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Platinum Award for Global Achievement. The platinum award is the highest distinction presented by NAR to an association for having demonstrated through its global business council exceptional commitment to building members’ awareness of the global and multicultural business opportunities in their local markets.

SILVAR, a professional trade organization representing over 4,500 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, is the only association in Northern California to achieve platinum council status since the program’s inception in 2011. NAR stated SILVAR’s global council “demonstrated the utmost commitment to helping members capture their share of the global real estate market in the United States.” SILVAR leadership received the prestigious award at a special international dinner during the Nov. 13-16 NAR REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego.

“We are honored to receive the National Association of REALTORS® prestigious platinum award for three years in a row. SILVAR is committed to continuing to provide our members with the proper tools that will help them expand and excel in their business here and abroad,” said SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus.

Under the leadership of 2015 Global Business Council chair Mark Wong, a REALTOR® with Alain Pinel REALTORS® Saratoga, SILVAR’s global business council conducted a number of activities and education programs to raise members’ awareness of global business in their local market, including programs on China, Mexico, India and the Philippines, as part of its “Doing Business With” quarterly series. Also this year, SILVAR conducted its fourth Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute, attended by 31 REALTORS® from around the Bay Area, Southern California and Arizona. The CIPS Institute is a full-week program that includes courses analyzing the international business climate, including capital flow, currencies, government regulations and cultures and conducting real estate transactions with clients from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

SILVAR partners with other real estate associations throughout the year to promote awareness and education in global real estate, and continues its role as NAR Ambassador Association to the Philippines. The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA), SILVAR’s cooperating real estate association in the Philippines and the largest real estate umbrella organization that country, also was honored at the event. SILVAR member Jennifer Tasto is the NAR President’s Liaison to the Philippines.

SILVAR’s commitment to international real estate goes beyond members assisting foreign nationals buying property in Silicon Valley. As a membership benefit, SILVAR REALTOR® members have free access to Proxio, the global networking platform that connects them with real estate agents domestically and abroad and enables them to share their listings, including property developments here and abroad.

Among the 110 REALTOR® global councils operating nationwide, only 17 were named platinum councils. SILVAR is one of three REALTOR® associations that has been awarded the top award for three consecutive years.

Capital One issues $2.6M Freddie Mac loan to refinance RV Park

Capital One has provided a $2.625 million Freddie Mac fixed-rate loan to refinance Palm Drive Mobile Home and RV Park, a manufactured housing community (MHC) in Wickenburg, Arizona, part of the Phoenix MSA. Senior Vice President Chad Thomas Hagwood, head of Capital One Multifamily’s Birmingham, Alabama office, originated the transaction.  The borrowers have over 32 years of experience developing, owning, and managing MHCs, and used the proceeds to retire existing debt.

Built in 1970, Palm Drive has 67 singlewide spaces, seven doublewide spaces, three apartment units, and 16 RV spaces. The homes include two or more parking spaces each and have well maintained landscaping. The property includes a clubhouse with laundry facility.  The clubhouse has been recently renovated.

The fixed-rate loan has a seven-year term, 6.5 years of yield maintenance, and one year of interest-only payments followed by 30-year amortization payable on an actual/360 basis.

Mortgage Rates Quiet Pre-Thanksgiving: Freddie Mac

Mortgage rates remained steady during the week ending Nov. 25, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

There were dips in the rates of certain products. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95%, down 2 basis points from the previous week. Meanwhile, one-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages dropped 5 basis points to an average of 2.59%.

But, 15-year FRMs remained unchanged at a 3.18% average, and five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages rose just 3 basis points to an average of 3.01%.

“Economic releases over the last week contained no major surprises, and none are expected in the next few days,” noted Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a Nov. 25 press release.

We’re wishing the same can be said for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.

Realtors association announces annual award winners

The Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors announced its 2015 annual award winners at the association’s annual dinner on Nov. 14.

Winners included Mark Ashworth, a Realtor with Transaction Realty, who was named Realtor of the Year for demonstrating high involvement and activity in RSAR, his business accomplishments and activity in local civic affairs.

Ashworth served as president of the RSAR in 2014 and is a distinguished military veteran who has been active in the RSAR as a committee chair and director. In 2016, he will serve as president-elect of the Nevada Association of Realtors. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts and on the National Association of Realtors State and Local Issues Committee.

Kevin Jones with First American Title received the affiliate of the year award, recognizing his outstanding service and commitment to RSAR since 1997. He has served on the boards for the Women’s Council of Realtors, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Reno Chapter and the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority.

The Educator of the Year Award was presented to Helen Graham, a Realtor with Re/Max Premier Properties, in recognition of her outstanding efforts in consistently demonstrating an exceptionally high standard in instructing peers in the real estate industry. Graham has more than 30 years of experience in international sales and marketing and has worked in real estate for more than 12 years. Graham’s activities and accomplishments include serving as the 2013 president of RSAR and being a member of the Nevada Association of Realtors Board of Directors. She has served on the National Association of Realtors Housing Opportunities Committee and the Business Issues Committee. She is also the recipient of the Women of Achievement Award by the Nevada Women’s Fund and is actively involved with the Sparks Rotary Club.

William Process, a Realtor with Homegate Realty of Nevada, was awarded the Mat Gibbons Good Neighbor Award, recognizing his continued service to RSAR, high ethical and professional caliber, and distinguished volunteer service to the community. Process is a distinguished military veteran who served as a Naval Corpsman. He has been active in RSAR as a committee chair and officer. He has volunteered his time and talent to establish the Northern Nevada Chapter for the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals. In less than six months, the chapter was formed and conducting education for Realtors and veterans on veterans’ affairs benefits. Additionally, the chapter received a donated house to be rehabbed for a qualified veteran.

The Abraham Curry Award was presented to Jeni-Eugenia Temen, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Select Real Estate. Abraham Curry was proclaimed to be a visionary and dedicated, forward-thinking Nevada resident. Temen’s bigger vision for northern Nevada has been put into motion with her leadership in working with Realtors to understand cultural differences in buying and selling real estate locally and internationally. She has served five years as the National Association of Realtors Presidential Liaison to Romania. With her help, Romania is one of the first Eastern European countries to adopt the principals of organized real estate including the Realtors Code of Ethics and a Multiple Listing Service. She is involved with the Governor’s Office on Economic Development and the Northern Nevada Development Authority. She serves as the chair of the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors Global Business Committee.

No hike in limits for most federally backed mortgages

The FHFA won’t hike the limits in most markets on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae (OTCQB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTCQB:FMCC) beyond $417K – it’s the 11th consecutive year that number has been in place.

Primo areas like San Jose, San Francisco, and New York will keep their limit of $625K, while 39 other counties will see increases of $5.75K-$34.5K.

It might be good news for roughed-up Redwood Trust (RWT +2.1%), which packages non-conforming mortgages. Through the end of September, jumbo mortgages made up nearly 19% of the market, according to Inside Mortgage Finance – up from a low of 5.5% in 2009 and the highest market share since 2006.

The news is also something builders in high-cost areas are going to have to deal with. Moving a community just a little bit can have quite the effect – in San Bernardino County, the $417K cap is in place, but in neighboring L.A. County, the limit moves to $625K.

California REALTORS® disappointed FHFA did not increase Fannie Mae and Freddie …

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Fannie Mae joins e-document revolution

Fannie Mae is joining the electronic document revolution.

The government-sponsored enterprise announced that it is partnering with DocuSign to provide an “easy, fast, and secure way” to execute agreements with Fannie Mae by allowing electronic signatures on several of its documents.

The new e-document process will also allow for the electronic tracking and handling of documents, Fannie Mae said.

Fannie Mae made the announcement in an email on Tuesday sent to lenders and servicers.

According to Fannie Mae, the new e-signature process will roll out in early December.

In its initial phase, Fannie Mae will implement e-signatures for its lender master agreements, master selling and servicing contracts, and “certain custodial documents.”

Fannie Mae said that other documents “may be impacted” at a later date.

According to Fannie Mae, the DocuSign software is “intuitive and simple to use and automatically walks the user through the process,” with no training required.

In the email to lenders and servicers, Fannie Mae also included an infographic that explains the new process, and how it “improves operational efficiency for all parties.”

On the infographic, which can be seen here, Fannie Mae says that in the “old way” of signing documents, there were 11 steps to signing documents, involving multiple e-mails, printing documents, signing documents by hand, scanning those same documents, and re-emailing them.

According to Fannie Mae, the new process is reduced to four steps, all of which are done electronically.

With the new process, it is, in the words of Fannie Mae, “Click. Sign. Done.”

Click here to see the infographic from Fannie Mae on the new e-signature process.

Freddie Mac: Mortgage rates drift lower

Mortgage rates reported little change for the week, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate staying just barely below 4%, Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey said.

The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has been below 4% since the week of July 23rd of this year, which is helping homebuyer affordability in the face of rising house prices due to low levels of inventory in many markets, the report stated.

Click to enlarge

(Source: Freddie Mac)

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95% for the week ending Nov. 25, 2015, down from 3.97% last week. A year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.97%. 

Remaining frozen, the 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.18%. Last year, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.17%. 

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.01%, up from 2.98%, but the same as a year ago.

In addition, the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.59%, down from 2.64% last week. In 2014, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.44%.  

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti noted that it’s a quiet week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Economic releases over the last week contained no major surprises, and none are expected in the next few days,” Becketti said. “The year is winding down, and the only remaining market dates of note are December 4—the last employment report of the year—and December 15-16, the long-awaited FOMC meeting.” 

Bob Khlasa: Freddie Mac Warns Buyers of Credit Scam

Freddie Mac issued a warning recently for prospective homebuyers about scams that try to entice them with promises of raising their credit score in exchange for money.

Consumers eager to buy a home — especially those hurt by the housing crisis of last decade — are too easily lured by the promise of an improved credit score, which can yield reduced monthly payments and a lower interest rate on a home loan.

It’s easy to be lured by the promise of a raised credit score.

Yet schemes that falsely claim to raise credit scores complicate life for borrowers, while costing them time and money to combat origination fraud and servicing-related fraud.

Freddie Mac highlighted three types of common scams:

• Disputing credit with credit bureaus. A legitimate new program called FICO Score Open Access for Credit Financial Counseling was created to help borrowers who have credit management problems. It provides FICO scores along with credit education material to help consumers understand credit scoring and learn more about financial management.

However, some con artists use the program in a scam.

The con artists direct a borrower to contact credit repositories repeatedly to dispute previously defaulted debt, Freddie Mac warned.

The hucksters hope the creditor will miss responding to one of the disputes and the defaulted debt will disappear – temporarily triggering a jump in the borrower’s credit score.

The borrower may qualify for — and close on — a new mortgage before the credit report correctly reflects the defaulted debt and the borrower’s true credit score, which could trigger a probe by the lender.

• Claiming identity theft falsely. Some companies encourage buyers to falsely claim identity theft on their loan application in order to have debt removed from their credit report.

Borrowers who falsely claimed identify theft have gone as far as providing affidavits of identity theft and police reports. Lenders take identity theft claims seriously and investigate.

In some instances, they discover that the “police report” was a fake, never actually filed, or is from a police department that does not exist.

• Misusing credit protection numbers. Using a nine-digit credit privacy or secondary credit number — an alternative for a Social Security number that is most commonly used by celebrities and politicians to hide previous credit issues — can be a dangerous move.

Some consumers with poor credit acquire a CPN with the intent of creating a new, clean, yet often misleading, credit profile, Freddie Mac notes.

CPNs were not created for this purpose, and mortgage loans originated using a CPN are ineligible for sale to Freddie Mac.

Borrowers who use a CPN with the hope of leaving their bad credit histories in the rearview mirror are in for a rude awakening.

The Federal Trade Commission bluntly states that by using a stolen number as a borrower’s own, the con artists will have involved the borrower in identity theft, for which the borrower could well face legal trouble.

Bob Khalsa is president of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the 9,100-member Southland Regional Association of Realtors. David Walker, of Walker Associates, co-authors articles for SRAR. The column represents SRAR’s views and not necessarily those of The Signal. The column contains general information about the real estate market and is not intended to replace advice from your Realtor or other realty related professionals.