September, 2014

Freddie Mac Reports Little Movement in Mortgage Rates


Freddie MacHaving hit their lowest level of 2014 last week, mortgage rates barely budged in the latest market report from Freddie Mac.

The company reported Thursday the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) was 4.10 percent (0.5 point) for the week ending August 28, unchanged heading into the Labor Day holiday.

A year ago, the average 30-year FRM was close to half a percentage point higher at 4.51 percent.

The 15-year FRM was up just slightly, climbing to 3.25 percent (0.6 point) from the last survey’s average of 3.23 percent.

Adjustable rates also moved little, Freddie Mac reported. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.97 percent (0.5 point) for the week, up from 2.95 percent in the previous survey. The 1-year ARM averaged 2.39 percent (0.5 point), up barely from 2.38 percent before.

Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist at Freddie Mac, explained the week’s movements—or lack of them—were in response to mixed news in the housing market.home sales

“Existing home sales rose for the fourth consecutive month to an annualized pace of 5.15 million, the highest of the year. On the other hand, new home sales fell for the third consecutive month to an annualized rate of 412,000 units,” Nothaft said.

He continued: “Also, the S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index confirmed the slowing in national house-price appreciation that has occurred in other metrics, with the seasonally-adjusted national index down 0.1 percent in June but on a year-over-year basis up a solid 6.2 percent.”’s weekly national survey was more mixed, though changes were still minor.

According to a release from the site, the 30-year fixed average this week came down 1 basis point to 4.23 percent, while the 15-year fixed moved up a point to 3.38 percent.

The 5/1 ARM average was a little more active, coming up to 3.32 percent from 3.28 percent last week.

Contrary to Nothaft’s analysis, analysts at Bankrate say the big catalyst for rate changes this week was Janet Yellen’s speech at Jackson Hole last Friday, in which the Federal Reserve chair continued to hit on unemployment as a major cause of concern, leading commentators to believe she’s not yet ready to raise interest rates.

“With Yellen not making any unexpected pronouncements, financial markets carried on as usual with the stock market going on to set new record highs and the bond market motoring along,” Bankrate said. “No obvious catalyst for big rate movements exists between now and the release of the August employment report on September 5.”

Posted By Tory Barringer Article printed from DSNews

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Housing Market Maintains Spring Momentum


housing marketHousing market trends kept their spring momentum in July—and are expected to remain solid in the months ahead, said Wednesday in its National Housing Trend Report for the month.

For the first time since the start of the housing recovery in 2012, says the end of the annual peak buying season passed this year without any outside economic influences creeping in.

“In July 2012 and 2013, we saw external economic factors overwhelm the healthy gains established in the housing market during the spring home buying season,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for “This year, we’re ending the traditional season with high buyer and seller confidence demonstrated by price appreciation, increases in inventory and quick home sales.”

The company cited concerns of an economic crisis in the eurozone in 2012 and last year’s upward trend in mortgage rates as two factors in the past that weakened consumer confidence and hurt demand for big-ticket items like homes.

According to data presented by, the number of homes on the market as of the end of July increased 2.3 percent compared to last year and 4.5 percent compared to the previous month, increasing to nearly 1.98 million. That improvement compares to a 6.4 percent drop in inventory recorded in July 2013 and a 14.1 percent drop the year before that. housing-market3

The company attributes the uptick in housing stock to a 7.5 percent year-over-year increase in the median home listing price, bringing it up to $214,900 (a 0.1 percent decline from June) and drawing more sellers to the market.

Despite the rise in prices, buyers continue to snap up available properties at a faster pace than last year: reports the median age of inventory in July was 82 days, down from 85 days in 2013 and 102 days in 2012.

Smoke only expects things to improve through the rest of 2014.

“This is the first time, since the beginning of the recovery that we expect to see positive momentum throughout the second half of the year. While seasonal patterns are emerging in July month-to-month comparisons, all other metrics point to fundamental market health and a build-up of momentum,” he said.

Posted By Tory Barringer DS News


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A Rehabber’s Dream? – Virtual Reality Rooms Coming to Lowe’s

Share House Made of ToolsGeneral contractors, home design specialists, and remodeling professionals oftentimes have a knack for seeing their finished home improvement project in their well-trained mind long before construction even begins.   However, for the typical (or new) investor, the ability to see beyond the urine-soaked 1960’s shag carpet, the floral wall paper design, and the pink tiled bathroom isn’t quite that easy.  Our lack of “vision” is the creative inspiration behind Lowe’s new virtual reality rooms.

The big home improvement retailer recently announced that they are devising an innovative plan to get customers off their computers and back into the stores with their 30 X 30 foot virtual reality room that brings an entire renovation project to life…right before your eyes.  With this new feature at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores, you’ll be able to design your ideal room on an in-store iPad, including flooring, countertops, and other additional appointments, and then view the finished project in virtual reality inside the “Holoroom”.  This special room, which sounds like something out of the Sci-Fi channel movie of the week, will project a realistic 3-D view of what your remodeled room(s) will look like. 

You’ll be able to make changes in the design of your project right from the holoroom, saving you time and money…and preventing one of those purchases that “looked a lot better in the store”.  From tile to faucets to lighting fixtures, you will be free to mix and match construction materials to achieve the overall décor or interior design that will enhance the look of your renovation project.  Once you’ve made your desired modifications, Lowe’s will produce a list of the necessary materials for your project, and you can then purchase them either in the store or online.

The Holoroom service will begin with bathroom remodels only.  However, over the coming twelve to eighteen months Lowe’s will be adding new rooms that include kitchen and living room projects, as well as outdoor spaces such as lanais and covered porch areas.  The initial launch of this service is set to begin in Toronto, but is sure to spread to a location near you, as customers enjoy seeing their renovation projects virtually come to fruition in just minutes.  It’s an excellent tool that investors can use to be one step ahead of the remodeling process and to remain on budget.

On a personal note, I CAN’T WAIT until this service hits my hometown.  Do you know of any other “rehab hacks” or time savers that you use in your investing business?  Take a few minutes and share below, or let me know what you think about Lowe’s new technological innovation.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Other recent posts from The Professional Investors Guild:
Short Sales – A Great Source for Rehab Inventory
A Picture is Worth a Thousand…Dollars?
Replace Your Income Renovating Homes

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Zombie Properties Continue to Linger Nationwide


Zombie property 1Zombie properties serve as a lingering reminder of a housing market still in the midst of self-correction. They serve as a legacy of the recent housing crisis, a byproduct of lengthy foreclosure timelines and mercurial state foreclosure statutes. RealtyTrac [1] recently released [2]a nationwide analysis of zombie properties, examining both states and institutions that have the most zombie properties.

The company considers a zombie property any property that has “started the foreclosure process but never been foreclosed and the homeowner has vacated the property.”

RealtyTrac found that nationally, zombie properties totaled 141,406 in the second quarter of 2014, accounting for 21 percent of properties in foreclosure. All told, one in every five foreclosures has been vacated by the homeowner before the foreclosure has been completed.

Sequentially, zombie properties have been declining. Zombie properties are down 7 percent from roughly 152,000 in Q1 2014 and are down 16 percent from approximately 167,000 in Q2 2013.

However, not all states are seeing a drop in the number of zombie properties—24 states and the District of Columbia saw an increase from the previous quarter. States experiencing the largest gain in zombie properties from Q2 2013 include Mississippi (2,450 percent), The District of Columbia (300 percent), Wyoming (100 percent), New Jersey (58 percent), and Delaware (56 percent).Zombie property 2

Florida accounted for more than one-third of all zombie foreclosures with 48,630. Rounding out the top five states were New York (12,666), New Jersey (12,170), Illinois (11,925), and Ohio (7,390).

Not surprisingly, states with some of the most zombie properties also had some of the longest average times that homes have been foreclosed: New York (418 days), Florida (411 days), New Jersey (378 days), Illinois (272 days), and Hawaii (249 days).

Financial institutions listed as the beneficiary on the foreclosure documents with the most zombie foreclosures were Wells Fargo (18,695), Bank of America (15,175), Chase (10,312), and US BankCorp (10,141).

Posted By Colin Robins DSNews

Other Recent Posts to Professional Investors Guild:

Vampire & Zombie Foreclosures – The Spooky Side of Real Estate

Shadow Inventory – Big Opportunity for Investors

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Are HUD/REO Contracts Assignable?


Ask the Pig





I recently had a student ask me if I flip HUD and/or REO foreclosures, and whether the bank contracts are assignable.  Since it’s a question that I’m asked fairly often, I thought it would make for a great “Ask the PIG” post for all of my subscribers.  The short answer is no, bank foreclosures (REO’s) and HUD/VA foreclosures do not allow assignments.  The answer to the 2nd question is also no, I don’t flip REO’s and HUD foreclosures, but it has nothing to do with the assignability (or lack thereof) of the contract.

My problem with bank owned properties and HUD foreclosures is that they are listed on the MLS with a Realtor.  Now, don’t get me wrong…I don’t have anything against Realtors.  I was an active real estate agent for over 10 years, and still hold an active license to this day.  However, the Realtor’s job is to get top RETAIL value for the property, which is in complete contradiction to my goal of getting the property DIRT CHEAP!

Additionally, the MLS brings into play the arch nemesis of creative real estate investors, or those trying to get a deal on just about anything…and that is, COMPETITION.  When you place a property on the MLS, you have one house being viewed by thousands of people, which is inevitably going to drive the price up.  Whereas when you find a property “off the radar”, it’s typically just you and the seller, or you and one other investor and the seller.  It’s just simple supply and demand.

Add to that the fact that the Realtor is going to go “by the book”, and require an earnest money deposit, proof of funds letter, etc…and you start to see why flipping foreclosures isn’ the easiest way to make a buck in the investing game.  However, if by chance you do find a killer deal on the MLS (needle in a haystack), and can jump through the hoops necessary to get it under contract, don’t allow the assignment issue to kill your deal.  If you have a decent spread on the deal, you can easily do a double closing and use no-qualifying transactional funding to purchase on the front end.

PIG members…check out the answers to more great questions like this in the “Audio Recordings” section of the Member site for all of our past Q&A calls.

Not a Member yet?  Then get signed up today, and start taking advantages of all the benefits available to our members.  More information available by clicking here!

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