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Home Sales Up 9% Year-Over-Year: RE/MAX

Despite falling month-over-month, home sales crept forward by 9 percent year-over-year, according to a recent monthly housing report from RE/MAX. Home sales meanwhile declined 9.8 percent from September to October, even while sales prices fell 5.4 percent year-over-year ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a bipolar trend that portrays the market as one slowly recovering from the financial crisis. The report found home sales rising for the fourth conservative month on an annual basis, as foreclosures plummeted for the sixteenth consecutive month.

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Starts Decline Only 0.3% in October, Beating Forecasts

Steadying homebuilder confidence translated into less bad news for the housing market Thursday, as the Commerce Department reported that housing starts more or less hovered around expectations. October figures for single-family housing starts trumped estimates from September, with a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000 beating expectations for 630,000. On a year-over-year basis, the boost in numbers reflects a 16.5-percent upward revision from a 539,000 housing units. Housing completions hovered around a seasonally adjusted 584,000.

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Europe Debt Crisis Keeps Mortgage Rates at Record Lows

Mortgage rates ran a tepid streak started three weeks ago by hovering at around 4 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac, largely because investors continue to flee European sovereign bonds for the safe haven of U.S. Treasury debt. For Freddie, rates for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched forward by a percentage point, placing it at 4 percent after the loan averaged 3.99 percent. Bankrate.com noted the same difference, reporting that the 30-year loan fell to 4.24 percent this week, down from 4.25 percent last week.

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Blueberry Launches New Point-of-Sale Solution

Technology company Blueberry Systems, LLC, is launching a new product, with the introduction of its integrated point-of-sale solution, dubbed Embark. Through the platform, Blueberry will enable users of the company├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós RELAY loan origination module to access a complete, end-to-end system for loan applications.

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CredAbility’s Q3 Consumer Distress Index Shows Declines

CredAbility has released its third-quarter findings, and the news is less than ideal. The company's consumer distress index displayed the most significant drop in consumer financial health on record since 2008, largely due to increases in mortgage delinquencies, late payments by renters, and an uptick in housing expenses. Citing rising pricing for food, gasoline, and other necessities coupled with the increase in under-employment, CredAbility's final evaluation of distress among U.S. households totaled 66.7 on the company's 100-point scale.

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Mortgage Application Volume Plummets 10%: MBA

With homeowners largely staying on the sidelines, mortgage application volume underwent a seasonally adjusted 10-percent squeeze last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. In releasing the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, the trade group found that declines overwhelmingly led most of the survey components. The MBA found the Market Composite Index declining by 19.6 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis from the week before.

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Homebuilder Confidence Highest Since 2010: NAHB

Homebuilder confidence shot up over November, revisiting a high previously seen in May 2010, according to a recent index. The National Association of Home Builders released a monthly housing market index in association with Wells Fargo that tracks homebuilder sentiment about the market by quantifying it on a 100-point index. The index found a three-point lead on 17 from October, boosting homebuilder confidence in the single-family home market to 20 points, last seen more than a year ago. The surge in confidence nevertheless remains below average.

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Report: FHA Could Require Bailout by Next Year

The Federal Housing Administration submitted an annual actuarial report to Congress Tuesday that suggests diminishing returns from a fledgling growth strategy could lead the agency to a taxpayer-funded bailout next year. The reason why? The FHA currently fails to meet a 2-percent capital reserve ratio mandated by federal law, with cash reserves on hand falling to less than an eighth below the required threshold. The report said that cash reserves on hand fell accordingly from $4.7 billion last year to $2.6 billion over 2011. Estimates predict that it could require $50 billion.

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GSE Leaders Address Bonuses, Profits Before Congress

The GSEs are making headlines, with Fannie Mae's CEO appearing before Congress to address the entity's possible profitability and Freddie Mac's CEO providing testimony on the controversial executive bonuses within the organization. Both leaders spoke to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to field questions regarding various aspects of Fannie and Freddie's practices and financial standing. The high-profile hearing follows considerable outcry by lawmakers over $13 million in bonuses for 10 senior-level executives.

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