TEAM EMPOWERMENT MORTGAGE CHATTER: Dec 21; Americans Eager to Buy, Sellers Aren’t Happy?; Fannie: Economy Ends Year on More Upbeat Note; Does Foreclosure Counseling Work?; Agents, Home Owners Predict Where Prices Will Rise

“Talkers have always ruled. They will continue to rule. The smart thing is to join them.”—Bruce Barton: was an American author, advertising executive, and politician



Nearly 80 percent of home buyers say now is a great time to buy a home, but sellers say it’s not a great time to sell, according to a new study, “The Great Recession and Attitudes Toward Homebuying,” released this week by the Mortgage Bankers Association. In fact, homeselling sentiment has fallen to record lows.

As for home buyers, they certainly have plenty to be happy about — housing prices have fallen and interest rates are at record lows, pushing affordability to record levels and allowing buyers to snag great deals on housing.

But sellers, on the other hand, are getting discouraged that they can’t find buyers for their homes at a desirable sales price as well as the large overhang of mortgages past due or in foreclosure, according to the report.

“In economic terms, as market values have fallen, potential sellers have not adjusted their price expectations downward fast enough to bring buyer and seller sentiment in line with one another,” Gary Engelhardt, a professor at Syracuse University who authored the study, said in a statement.

Sellers still can’t accept that their home values have fallen and they are no longer able to get the prices from the past, according to the study.

Meanwhile, “despite high unemployment and slow economic growth, the bulk of American households believe that now is a good time to buy a home,” Engelhardt said. The strongest positive sentiments toward buying was found among young, educated, white, and Hispanic households, according to the study.

“The pattern of home-buying sentiment during the current recession looks very similar to that of past recessions,” Engelhardt notes. “Home buyer sentiment falls as the unemployment rate increases, and improves as job growth returns and housing becomes more affordable. What distinguishes the current recession, though, is the dramatic decline in home-selling sentiment. From 1992 through 2005, positive home-selling sentiment fluctuated between 40 and 60 percent. Since 2005, sentiment has dropped precipitously, to around 7 percent currently, even while home-buying sentiment remains high.”



Economic growth, an improving job picture, greater consumer spending, and slight improvements in the housing market are all recent indicators that 2011 is ending on a much brighter note, Fannie Mae reports in its fourth-quarter report.

“It’s important to recognize that we’re ending 2011 on a stronger note than we’ve seen throughout the year,” Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said in a statement. “Unfortunately, however, our 2012 outlook is not as rosy as our forecast for the fourth quarter of 2011.”

Fannie Mae’s Economics & Mortgage Market Analysis Group predicts that despite recent improvements, the housing market will remain “subdued next year — a reflection of the winter season, an expected slowdown in economic activity, and a potential increase in distressed sales.” The nation’s fiscal problems as well as the European debt crisis are also expected to threaten the nation’s economic recovery in 2012.



Borrowers who underwent foreclosure counseling are more likely — nearly twice as likely — to receive a loan modification and stay current on their mortgage, according to a new study by the Urban Institute, which analyzed about 800,000 borrowers who participated in the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program from January 2008 to December 2009.

Through the program, foreclosure counselors assist home owners on budgets and guide them in how they can avoid foreclosure.

Home owners who participated in the program were at least 67 percent more likely to stay current on their mortgage within nine months after receiving a loan modification, according to the study. Also, home owners who participated in the program had their mortgage payments, on average, reduced by $176 per month, the study found.

However, the counseling program has been on the chopping block in recent months, HousingWire reports. Earlier this year, Congress cut the funding for HUD’s housing counseling programs, but in November voted to restore $40 million to counselors.



About 43 percent of real estate professionals and 48 percent of home owners say they expect home values to mostly stay flat over the next six months, according to HomeGain’s 4th Quarter 2011 National Home Values survey, based on a survey of 400 real estate agents and brokers and more than 2,000 home owners.

On the other hand, others are more optimistic: 15 percent of real estate professionals and 15 percent of home owners expect home values to increase in the next six months. Where are real estate pros and home owners the most optimistic about home prices rising?

The following are the 10 states where real estate agents say they think home prices will rise in the next six months, according to the survey:

• Michigan

• Arizona

• Colorado

• Florida

• Texas

• Wisconsin

• California

• Maryland

• Washington

• Ohio

The following are the states where home owners say prices will likely go up in the next six months, according to the survey:

• Colorado

• Massachusetts

• Virginia

• Arizona

• Michigan

• New York

• Tennessee

• New Jersey

• Texas

• Florida


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