Housing....How Bad

Some observations:

CBS.Marketwatch: American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. cut its first-quarter and full-year profit forecast by more than 25% Friday after being hit by problems in the secondary market for home loans and mortgage-backed securities.
The company also said that it's stopped offering some types of so-called Alt-A mortgages because of the high cost of delinquencies on those loans.The warning suggests that problems in the sub prime-mortgage business have begun spreading to other parts of the home-loan industry.

The price of new century stock, a sub prime loan originator, at this time last year the stock was as high as $53, today it is $1.26. Some of the sub prime market is experiencing a dot com type crash.....
Freddie Mac: Frank Hothaft writing for the office of the chief economist of Freddie Mac, "Despite the pullback by sub prime lenders, there are no signs of a general drying up of liquidity that could develop into a broader “credit crunch” in the prime mortgage market. Mortgage rates moved back down in recent weeks, with the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages touching 6.18 percent in early March, equaling the lowest rate of the year". In other words the sub prime markets will feel the pain, but the overall credit markets are still ok.
Note: We see contrary reports indicating that at least some lenders are tightening up their lending requirements for prime loan customers. We think it natural for lenders with higher risk loan portfolios to tighten requirements or offer at higher rates to lower their risk profile. But today, it seems that there is no overall trend in that direction. Our take away: shop your loan and find lenders more able to remain flexible on rates and fees.
San Francisco Chronicle: Helpful news! "There is a mortgage source that is actually expanding its business nationwide for credit-impaired and first-time home purchasers. That source is the golden oldie of the mortgage arena -- the Federal Housing Administration, which recently has seen a doubling of customers refinancing out of private, sub prime loans into its insured mortgage programs."
What's Ahead...

Riskier markets. Uncertainty. These kind of post boom markets are tricky to navigate, but if you are a patient shopper this is when bargains arise. There is no evidence that this is like the stock market crash, however the analogy will keep more buyers away and this can create opportunity for the wise shopper. If you are a first time home buyer then you should do some reading on interviewing real estate agents and how to bid.

Housing tracker is a blog site we look at to see how some of the major markets are doing. These numbers are based on the MLS and we cant vouch for their accuracy but Housing tracker shows inventory up in almost all markets, but not that significantly. This is an unfolding story, but it doesn't yet show disaster anywheres but in the sub prime markets which are the weakest areas. The big question is whether it will spread and that's still an unknown.

Well, What if you Own Now

MANAGEMENT TIP: How do you go about renting a vacancy in your property? You should begin by asking yourself a few questions about how to determine a competitive rental rate. Consider the consequences of picking a number that is too low. It will likely rent fast, but if you have a rent controlled building you will take forever at mandated rate increases to get back to a market rate. This can be very costly.
If you choose a higher rent than the market will bear, its likely to sit vacant for a long time before you lower it to finally fill the vacancy. We like to use craigslist to search a like property in the same area and use it as an MLS for rentals.
Once you have a few prospects its important to establish a tenant screening process.
Always follow this same procedure to a discrimination law suit. Fair Housing rules must be followed...don't be surprised to find plenty of people who are well versed and looking for a little extra money by filing a complaint.

Its Your Property

No comments: