Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 9:27 AM 1 Comment
…at their current pace – courtesy of the Harper Index in the current issue of Harper’s Magazine. Of course the foreclosure pace now is much slower than lenders are capable of. The robo-signing scandal last year and the inability for the 50 state AG’s to come to an agreement with the primary servicers has made the banks slow wayyyyy down and make sure all the paper work is “reasonably” accurate. Realtytrac indicates that it takes a bank in New York an average of 900 days from notice of default to foreclose and sell the property.
You need a Harper’s subscription (I recommend it) to view the entire index of 3 dozen or so but here’s a couple of salient housing-related data points mentioned:
At current pace, it will take 61 years for lenders in New York State to foreclose on all homes currently in default.
In 9 previous recessions, there was an average of 10 months to move from economic recovery to employment recovery – this time its forecast to be 60.
4.3% of the $47B allocated to TARP plan to let homeowner’s refinance was actually used for that.
60% of those who took a mortgage-interest-deduction have not used a government social program.
As an alumni plus all the attention given to Greece lately, 2 items that caught my attention:
Last day ancient Greek was taught at Michigan State University: 4/29/2011
Start date for Greek “rush week” for Michigan State University: 9/11/2011
the day is the only holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. He has stated that during a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. That game took place on June 6, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of D-Day, they chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember.
At first an inside joke between two friends, the holiday gained exposure when John Baur and Mark Summers sent a letter about their invented holiday to the American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. Barry liked the idea and promoted the day. Growing media coverage of the holiday after Barry’s column has ensured that this event is now celebrated internationally, and Baur and Summers now sell books and T-shirts on their website related to the theme. Part of the success for the international spread of the holiday has been attributed to non-restriction of the idea or trademarking, in effect opening the holiday for creativity and “viral” growth.
Forget the history you’ve been taught in school or reading in the paper, matrix celebrates the history that matters to its readers:
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 9:00 AM 2 Comments
Bloomberg Law’s Lee Pacchia interviews Randy Paar, partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP, talks about the market for flood insurance in the United States and business interruption insurance claims resulting from Hurricane Irene. I’m usually one of those people whose eyes glaze over when the topic of insurance is broached. This is not the case and this is an extremely informative interview.
This is an extremely timely interview given the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene along the Eastern coastline and especially inland. I don’t think many foresaw that there would be more flood damage caused by overfilled rivers and streams than from the ocean.
I wrote about flood insurance here on Matrix 6 years ago (42 years ago in blog/dog years). I’ve always marveled at the idea that the federal government was in the business of flood insurance at all. By keeping flood insurance premiums low, it has essentially encouraged more development in high risk areas and charge the same premiums for people who repeatedly file claims and those who don’t.
The program comes up for periodic renewal and FEMA is running out of money to fund it. Hurricane Katrina back in 2005 and the unusually high incidence of natural disasters in 2011 have drained their funds. If Congress does not provide funding, mortgage lending, 90% of which goes through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, may stop guaranteeing or purchasing mortgage paper from banks te housing market may stall in many regions.
….Baltimore area home sales enjoyed their best August in five years as buyers took advantage of affordable prices and record low interest rates. While August pending sales of 2,365 was 1.7% below the July 2011 total of 2,407, the current decline was well below the 6.9% average month-over-month decline of the past 5 years and the 4% average month-over-month decline of the past ten years. Median sales price also outpaced seasonal patterns, rising 4.4% to $235,000 in August from $225,000 in the July . For the past ten years, median sales price has slipped an average of 0.5% from July to August…
…The last month of summer provided an unusual amount of economic uncertainty caused by the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt after July’s raucous political debates on the debt ceiling. There was a widely held expectation that consumers would delay their home purchases until they felt more comfortable with the impact to the economy. For the Washington, D.C. metro area, there was no apparent impact on the volume of new pending sales beyond seasonal patterns. There were 4,169 contracts signed in August 2011, 8.6% less than the 4,563 contracts signed in July, consistent with the 5-year 9% average month-over-month decline and the ten year 7.5% average month-over-month decline. The monthly total was the highest number of August signed contracts in 4 years. New pending sales were 19.9% above the August 2010 level but that increase is exaggerated due to the dearth of activity in the months following the expiration of the federal homebuyers tax credit in April 2010. The median sales price for August 2011 showed a similar seasonal pattern, declining 3.8% to $356,000 from $370,000 in July 2011 but was essentially unchanged from August 2011. Median sales price has averaged a 3.6% month-over-month decline over 5 years and a 2.2% month-over-month decline over ten years…
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Monday, September 12, 2011, 6:00 AM Comments Off
I’ve always viewed the rental market as a leading indicator for the purchase market since rentals are more reactive to changes in the economy than sales are. Rental demand is generally strong across the US right now.
Does this mean higher demand for sales is close behind? No.
The increase in rental demand is not because the economy is improving, it’s because credit is so restrictive right now and getting tighter.
The angle to the rental market story is that people who are unable to sell their home are considering renting them out until the sales market improves. What’s unique in this cycle is that higher quality homes are now on the market for rent causing people on the fence between purchase and rent to consider renting since the available product is of a higher quality.
A friend of mine just sold his big house in our town and decided to rent for a year and look for a smaller home. When he was looking for homes to rent, the market was very tight…just what homeowners want to hear.
A few weeks ago the reporter for this segment, Jeanne Yurman, called me when I was hunkered down in my town library when we lost power at home the day after Irene. Being a good reporter, she “outed” me for using the hurricane as an excuse to work from home since, as it turns out, she lives in my hometown and was perfectly able to go to work in Manhattan. LOL. We had a good laugh about that. On Friday she interviewed me for this segment a few blocks from my house.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Friday, September 9, 2011, 6:30 AM Comments Off
Here’s a few before and after photos we took while inspecting properties for appraisals in downtown Manhattan. I got the idea to share these from Curbed’s post on this (and was taken aback by the unusually nasty reader comments) and from this interesting piece on City Journal called The Vanished Skyline.
< - BEFORE | AFTER ->
[click on any photo to expand]
I took the “before” photo from outside the World Financial Center in Battery Park City. I looked up and was blown away with the scale of the towers and the light. I made it a page on my fledgling web site and embedded the graphic in it. The pink “millersamuel.com” logo on the “after” photo was embedded on all our digital photos back in the day. It was really disorienting to take that photo.
We took this photo from the terrace of a downtown apartment a few weeks before and after.
Taken during an appraisal near the UN looking south on 9/10/01 and then a month later I believe.
Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Thursday, September 8, 2011, 3:00 PM 1 Comment
It’s time to share my Three Cents Worth on Curbed NY, at the intersection of neighborhood and real estate in the capitol of the world.
Here’s a two-fer on mortgages. I was doing some analysis on the market impact of the looming October 1 drop in Fannie Mae’s conforming loan limit to $625,500 from $729,750 and had a mortgage data set lying around (2011 aggregated mortgage data wasn’t yet available) so I thought I’d share. Incidentally, the drop of the loan limit is not catastrophic to the Manhattan housing market, but it certainly isn’t helpful. Based on the sales over the past year, around 7 percent of the sales would have been moved to jumbo, facing higher down payment requirements, higher rates and FICO and other tighter underwriting requirements. Some of the sales could fall apart due to credit but it would be unlikely that all of them would…
Had a fun interview with Tom and Sara this morning on the always MUST watch/listen Bloomberg Surveillance. We talked housing, rentals, vacancy and inventory. An added bonus was the addition of Adam Davidson – co-founder and co-host of Planet Money... Read More