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CEO’s Corner: A New Year for Our Industry

Ed Delgado, CEO of our parent company, the Five Star Institute, reflects on 2011 as we enter a New Year. He takes into account events from around the economy over the last year to forecast a period of hoped-for renewal in 2012.

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New Home Sales Crawl Forward by 1.6%

New single-family home sales offered to end the year on a hopeful note by crawling forward by 1.6 percent in November, arriving at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 315,000 units. The Commerce Department reported the data via the Census Bureau, which releases new-home sales numbers on a monthly basis. New home sales arrived at a median sales price of $214,000 in November, while the average sales price came closer to $242,900, according to the agency.

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A Year of Mortgage Fraud, and the New Year

Mortgage fraud proved its staying power in headlines for 2011, even with incidents for fraudulent loan applications reportedly on the decline from the year before. MReport offers a year in review and a look at how lenders and servicers continue to fight fraud into the New Year.

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HARP 2.0 Continues to Progress Throughout the Industry

As the new version of the Home Affordable Refinance Program takes effect, lenders large and small are joining the government's effort to boost assistance to underwater homeowners. HARP 2.0, which went into implementation on December 1, has already garnered support from the country's four major financial institutions and companies like United Wholesale Mortgage.

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SEC Investigation Puts Additional Heat on GSEs

The head of Fortress Investment Group has left his position with the company and has simultaneously stepped down from the company's board of directors. Daniel Mudd, who has previously served as the CEO of Fannie Mae, is currently one of six former GSE executives under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud-related charges. The SEC's accusations encompass fraudulent actions regarding the GSEs' exposure to subprime loans.

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Housing Numbers Show Happy New Year for Some States

Statistical tallies for fourth-quarter home sales seem to support the idea that 2012 will represent a period of growth in some regions, and throughout the U.S., the National Association of Realtors reported a 12.2 percent jump in November sales on a year-over-year basis.

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Ahead of 2012, Home Sales Rise 4% in November

Home sales followed a rocky road in 2011, as concerns over credit ratings, mounting public debt, and the potential for a double-dip recession forced homebuyers to the sidelines. MReport takes a look back at this year├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós home sales ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô and looks forward to figures in 2012. This week the National Association of Realtors reported home sales leaping forward 4 percent to crest at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.42 million in November, up from 4.25 million in October and 12.2 percent above 3.94 million-unit figures recorded in November last year.

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Fitch Says U.S. Debt Rating Precarious

Fitch Ratings revealed some bad news for the U.S. recently, releasing updated statistics that indicate the country's AAA sovereign debt rating could be in jeopardy as early as 2013. The agency stated in its report that, should policymakers fail to make strides in curbing the federal deficit, the nation will lose its current rating. The company is now forecasting a possible downgrade if the fiscal picture in the country grows more precarious over the next 12 to 18 months.

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Study Shows Enduring Rise in Consumer Sentiment

Consumer sentiment is on the uptick, at least according to a new index released by Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan. During the month of December, U.S. consumers showed a 2.2-point increase in positive economic sentiment, representing the highest recording since June of this year. The index's mid-month evaluation of consumers' attitudes rang in at 69.9, and the current figure demonstrates the fourth consecutive month of growth.

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Home Prices Fall 0.2% Over October: FHFA

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released a house price index Thursday that tracked a 0.2-percent shortfall in prices on a seasonally adjusted basis from September to October. The FHFA releases home price indices each month to denote figures for home prices from across the country. September├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós 0.9-percent upswing entered a downward revision that saw home prices fall 2.8 percent, with the U.S. index 19.2 percent below a peak seen in April 2007. Census divisions from the report included regions from across the country, which by and large saw marginal downward revisions from September to October.

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