More On The Officially Ended Housing Recovery

THE DREAM IS DYING … We’ve written extensively about the flagging U.S. housing market, and earlier this week we finally bit the bullet and declared the housing “recovery” to be over … you know, to the extent it ever really began. R.I.P., American dream. Anyway the National Association of Realtors…


We’ve written extensively about the flagging U.S. housing market, and earlier this week we finally bit the bullet and declared the housing “recovery” to be over … you know, to the extent it ever really began.

R.I.P., American dream.

Anyway the National Association of Realtors released its existing home sales data for January 2014 this week – with the big ticket takeaway being a 5.1 percent drop (from 4.87 million in December to 4.62 million last month).

That’s worse than the 4.1 percent decline analysts expected – and marks the slowest month for existing home sales since July 2012.

Cue the reflexive “blame the weather” song and dance …

“Disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

Oh brother …

To his credit, Yun wasn’t in total denial regarding the evaporating strength of his industry.

“At the same time, we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates,” he added. “These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact.”

Ready for the real downer in this report?

“First-time buyers accounted for 26 percent of purchases in January, down from 27 percent in December and 30 percent in January 2013,” the NAR concluded. “This is the lowest market share for first-time buyers since NAR began monthly measurement in October 2008; normally, they should be closer to 40 percent.”

Ouch  …

Meanwhile the number of homes being scooped up by investors empowered by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy continued to climb.

“All-cash sales comprised 33 percent of transactions in January, up from 32 percent in December and 28 percent in January 2013,” the NAR report found.

And the beat goes on …

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Printing=Prosperity February 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

Housing is one of the many reasons it will be QE forever until one day the currency doesn’t work. A substantial part of local government revenue comes from taxes on homes and the Fed knows that. They’ll have no choice but to print money to keep housing interest rates low so the market doesn’t tank/clear to a larger extent which could send the wheels flying off the cart prematurely.

Frank Pytel February 21, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Prematurely? Really?

Printing=Prosperity February 21, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Well, anyone with an ounce of sense knows the current system isn’t sustainable. The big question is “when”, not if.

Those in control will keep the gravy train running as long as possible regardless of the misery it brings upon the little people. When the jig is finally up, they will realize that even they will be eventually subject to economic laws/reality.

Frank Pytel February 21, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I apologize. I don’t disagree with you. I think I did not make my self clear and your comment of when should help me define it.

It’s not when Will it happen but more like when Did it happen.

The economy in general is in the shit. There is no saving this country from what is to come. That is the when we are waiting for and whether or not it will come prematurely.

The current housing problem was premature in the 90’s. Possilby the 80’s.

We agree on this issue, excepting the timing. :)

Rocky February 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

Hey, but trailer sales are probably up in South Carolina.

Been There February 21, 2014 at 11:28 am

No surprise that depressed price housing purchases are being done for cash. Opportunities for acceptable cash-on-cash returns for real estate are extremely cyclical and the opportunity is usually in downturns when: 1) Interest rates are lower (financing cost less for borrowers and opportunities for interest returns on cash are less plentiful for savers) 2) Property prices are lower. Cash-on-cash return is consequently higher and long-term capital appreciation is generally greater as a result.

Purchases made at extreme discounts to new construction costs aren’t dependent on inflation for successful returns . Generally, only normalcy in economic activity is required from such an environment. Higher cash-on-cash returns plus capital appreciation from low risk investments aren’t a hard sell for seasoned real estate investors nor a particularly difficult concept for newcomers.

guest February 21, 2014 at 11:42 am

I would imagine first time buyers are generally younger than average buyer and they aren’t able to buy because they have a ton of student loan debt that prevents them from getting a loan.

Rocky February 21, 2014 at 11:51 am

School loan debt is usually consolidated over 20 years, meaning it has only limited impact to ones overall debt to income ratio. It’s usually less than or equal to a car payment.

SCBlueWoman February 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Student loan debt is not suppose to be considered when applying for a mortgage. Stupid, but true.

Rocky February 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

That’s not true. They consider all debt on your credit report.

SCBlueWoman February 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

You are correct, I had a brain fart.

A Concerned Admirer February 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm

It seems to be chronic with you. Maybe you should try snorting Gas-X.

Frank Pytel February 21, 2014 at 1:22 pm

she is a brain fart

Sarah Palin Forever! February 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Pytel doesnt like SC BlueWoman because she’s a Democrat.He is an “Independent” you know.Even voted for Obama.He says so.

Halfvast Conspirator February 21, 2014 at 11:55 am

This is the fourth year of the Summer of Recovery! wooo wooo!

anonymous February 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Mortgage servicer abuses still plague homeowners

Despite the billions of dollars in fines levied against mortgage lenders and servicers, the mortgage industry continues to mislead and mistreat homeowners

A report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier found that just under half of the 187,818 complaints filed with the agency concerned mortgage problems, with the overwhelming majority of these involving servicing, loan modifications and foreclosure activities by mortgage servicers.

“I remain deeply disappointed by the lack of progress the mortgage servicing industry has made,” Steve Antonakes, the CFPB’s deputy director, told a conference of mortgage service providers this week. “Frankly, the notion that government intervention has been required to get the mortgage industry to perform basic functions correctly — like customer service and record keeping — is bizarre to me but, regrettably, necessary.”

The CFPB is getting complaints about careless paperwork, incorrect fees and illegal evictions. These are the issues that forced the banks to come to a $26 billion settlement with the government two years ago. Now there’s a new source of these abuses: mortgage servicers, the companies whose main business is collecting mortgage payments.

Banks have been eager to not have to deal with servicing issues, and as a result Nationstar (NSM), Ocwen Financial (OCN), Walter Investment Management (WAC) and other servicing companies have been buying up servicing rights as fast as they can. Their share has skyrocketed from 3 percent of the mortgage servicing market in 2010 to 17 percent by last year

The CFPB issued new rules for what the servicing companies must do that went into effect in January. New York State’s Department of Financial Services put an indefinite hold on the transfer of about $39 billion in servicing rights from Wells Fargo (WFC) to Ocwen. The department cited an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct in mortgages the firm is already handling as one reason for the delay.

In December, Ocwen agreed to a $2.1 billion settlement with the federal government and 49 states over claims of charging unauthorized fees, failing to credit borrowers’ mortgage payments in a timely fashion, improperly imposing expensive insurance policies and filing foreclosure documents in courts without verifying the information in them.

“To clean up the mortgage servicing market, we also are taking aim at practices that have given too many consumers the runaround,” said Antonakes. “It’s not just about collecting payments. It’s about recognizing that you must treat Americans who are struggling to pay their mortgages fairly before exercising your right to foreclose. We have raised the bar in favor of American consumers and we are ready, willing and able to vigorously enforce that bar.”



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