Monthly Archives: July 2016

Requirements for condos

When President Obama signed the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016” into law a few months ago, many celebrated because it changed the Federal Housing Administration’s rules for condominium financing, among other changes.

At the time, the National Association of Realtors said that law would “dramatically improve long-fought restrictions on FHA financing for condominiums.”

And Wednesday, the FHA announced that it is indeed changing some of its rules around condo financing, lowering its owner-occupancy requirements on certain condo developments.

Under the FHA’s current rules, approved condominium developments must have a minimum of 50% of the units occupied by owners.

The new rules, which go into effect immediately, would lower this requirement to 35% for existing condo developments provided the project meets “certain conditions,” the FHA said.

“While having too few owner-occupants can detract from the viability of a project, requiring too many can harm its marketability,” the FHA said in a statement. “It is FHA’s position that owner-occupants serve to stabilize the financial viability of the projects and are less likely to default on their obligations to homeowner associations than non-owner occupants.”

According to the FHA, for some condominium projects, the existing owner-occupancy requirement is “necessary” to maintain the stability of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.

But the FHA said that it in certain instances, it now believes that it would be possible to protect the MMIF while allowing a lower percentage of owner-occupants.

“(The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s) experience shows that higher reserves, a low percentage of association dues in arrears, and evidence of long-term financial stability allow for a lower owner-occupancy percentage without undue risk to the MMIF,” the FHA said.

To be eligible for the lower owner-occupancy rules, the condo development must be more than 12 months old. Additionally, the requirements for the lower owner-occupancy rules are:

  • Applications must be submitted for processing and review under the HUD Review and Approval Process (HRAP) option
  • Financial documents must provide for funding of replacement reserves for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance in an account representing at least 20% of the condo development’s budget
  • No more than 10% of the total units can be in arrears (more than 60 days past due) on their condominium association fee payments
  • Three years of acceptable financial documents must be provided

Replacement program of industry experts

The Home Affordable Modification Program will expire at the end of this year, and experts from the industry talked about its replacement: One Mod: Principles for Post-HAMP Loan Modification at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual conference this week.

The MBA revealed its new program proposal at the end of September. While the Federal Housing Finance Agency already created a new program to replace the Home Affordable Refinance Program, nothing is in place to take over for HAMP.

“One Mod is a universal framework designed to provide the customer meaningful payment relief early in delinquency,” JPMorgan Chase Product Executive Erik Schmitt told HousingWire. “This is achieved through the creation of a simplified customer experience and a product designed to provide meaningful payment relief, which is the key driver of re-performance.”

“Additionally, the product is durable, in that it is designed to provide customers with assistance across a broad range of economic environments,” Schmitt said.

One Mod will be an improvement from HAMP as experts analyze what worked and what didn’t.

“We’re taking the lessons that we learned from HAMP and finding ways to only require the specific documentation used to drive payment reduction,” Alex McGillis of Quicken Loanstold HousingWire. “The data from HAMP shows that payment reduction is the biggest driver in reducing re-defaults.”

There will be several changes to the new program as the industry shifts towards what Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac vice president of servicing performance management, calls a non-crisis program.

One of the major shifts includes an increase in the program’s availability.

“The focus of One Mod is to maximize the number of homes saved, which is achieved through increasing program accessibility and providing more sustainable solutions to prevent default,” Schmitt said.

Also, the proposed program will differ when it comes to the regulation that controls it. At the session, the MBA asked Laurie Maggiano, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureauprogram manager, what the industry can expect when it comes to new regulation for loan modification.

“We just published a 900-page rule, what else do you want?” Maggiano joked. Then, on a more serious note, she added, “Because the rule doesn’t say what a modification should look like, and I don’t expect to go there, I don’t expect any more regulation.”

McGillis summed up the goals for the new program:

“Everyone should have the ability or chance to save their home no matter what they’re going through,” he said at the session.

How much that you take for house prices

unduhan-43Home prices are continuing to rise; now mere basis points below the all-time highs for prices, set in 2006.

According to the latest data released Tuesday by S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.3% annual gain in August, up from 5% in July.

Per the report, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index is currently at 184.42, which is within 0.1% of its record high of 184.62, set in July 2006.

The increase in August represents the 52nd consecutive month of positive gains.

According to the Case-Shiller report, the 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.1% in July, while the 20-City Composite posted a 5.1% annual increase, up from 5.0% in July.

The report states that Portland, Seattle and Denver turned in the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities for the seventh consecutive month, with year-over-year increases of 11.7%, 11.4% and 8.8%, respectively.

“Supported by continued moderate economic growth, home prices extended recent gains,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“All 20 cities saw prices higher than a year earlier with 10 enjoying larger annual gains than last month,” Blitzer continued. “The seasonally adjusted month-over-month data showed that home prices in 14 cities were higher in August than in July.”

Blitzer also noted that other housing data including sales of existing single-family homes, measures of housing affordability, and permits for new construction also point to a “reasonably healthy housing market.”

Additionally, the Case-Shiller report showed that before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.5% in August.

The report also showed that both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite posted a 0.4% increase in August.

After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.6% month-over-month increase, and both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite reported 0.2% month-over-month increases.

After seasonal adjustment, 14 cities saw prices rise, two cities were unchanged, and four cities experienced negative monthly prices changes, the report showed.

Ralph McLaughlin, the chief economist at online real estate listing service Trulia, cautions that the increase to a near-record high isn’t quite as drastic as it may seem.

“The numbers suggest housing price trajectory is picking up again, as it was the second month where price growth was larger than the previous month,” McLaughlin notes.

“Earlier this year, price growth slid for five consecutive months and raised questions about where home prices were heading,” McLaughlin continues. “We’re now seeing a reversing of that trend. While the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index is an important metric to watch, it’s worth noting that the measure is more reflective of price movements in premium homes rather than middle or lower-tier homes.”

Reflecting on the latest Case-Shiller results, the chief economist for online real estate listing service, Zillow, said that the while the market seems relatively healthy right now, it can’t stay on the same track into perpetuity.

Continues to hover near 50

Homeownership rates changed very little in the third quarter, and remain near lows not seen since 1965.

The homeownership rate decreased slightly from last year’s 63.7% to 63.5% in the third quarter, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is up just 0.4 percentage points from last quarter.

National vacancy rates for rental housing decreased to 6.8%, down 0.5 percentage points from last year and the same as the second quarter this year. The homeowner vacancy rate remained unchanged from last quarter and last year at 1.8% in the third quarter.

“Given other evidence from the release, my views swing more with the optimists than the pessimists,” Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin said. “Household formation surpassed 1.1 million, climbing from 944,000 last quarter. About 560,000 – or nearly half – of these households were owners, up from a loss of 22,000 last quarter.”

“I think this is good news in light of the fact that millennials now make up the largest pool of potential new households,” McLaughlin said. “Though many are still living with their parents, they eventually will move out.”

“First, they will rent, and as they settle down, and then they will buy,” he said. “While we can’t know for sure they will own at rates of older generations, our survey work at Trulia shows 80% of Millennials want to own a home – the highest share of any cohort and the highest in the seven years we’ve run the survey.”

A chart from First American shows Millennials have a higher percentage of people with a college degree than any other generation. Historically speaking, homeownership rates are much higher among those with college degrees.