Homeownership Rates Continue to Decline As Rentals Soar

CNBC reported on Tuesday that homeownership rates continue to decline to historic lows as rentals soar.

According to the news source, the homeownership rate has dropped to 63.4 percent, which is the lowest number we’ve seen since 1967.

Rental prices, meanwhile – as well as the demand for rental properties – continue to skyrocket.

“Our results for the second quarter and year to date exceeded our original outlook,” noted Tim Naughton, chairman and CEO of AvalonBay, one of the nation’s largest apartment REITs, in the company’s second-quarter earnings release out Monday. “For the balance of the year, we expect accelerating apartment demand to support stronger performance across our business.”

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Strong Dollar Deterring Potential Foreign Home Buyers


As the housing market continues to pick up steam nationwide, one group of potential buyers has been noticeably absent.

According to senior economist Frank Nothaft of CoreLogic, the number of foreign buyers has plummeted recently, thanks in large part to the strengthening of the dollar.

Nothaft also pointed out, however, that exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis, making it difficult to project what we should expect from foreign buyers over the next year or so. Especially with the current debt crisis in Greece, it’s nearly impossible to tell whether foreign buying will continue to decline, level off or increase.

“The uncertainties surrounding how the Eurozone will resolve the debt crisis in Greece has made it more difficult to project foreign currency movements,” he said.

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22 Banks Accused of Manipulating U.S. Treasury Auctions in New Lawsuit


Twenty-two financial companies were sued by the State-Boston Retirement System on Thursday in a class action suit that accuses the banks of conspiracy to manipulate U.S. Treasury auctions that harmed both investors and borrowers.

According to Reuters, the pension fund has named Bank of America Corp’s Merrill Lynch unit, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group and 14 other defendants of “illegally trying to profit on the sale of Treasury bills, notes and bonds at investors’ expense.”

“The scheme harmed private investors who paid too much for Treasuries, and it harmed municipalities and corporations because the rates they paid on their own debt were also inflated by the manipulation,” Michael Stocker, a partner at Labaton Sucharow, which represents State-Boston, said in an interview. “Even a small manipulation in Treasury rates can result in enormous consequences.”

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Hamptons Real Estate Sales Cooling Down


Although the luxury real estate market enjoyed a particularly fruitful year last year with a record breaking number of home sales, 2015 is proving to be a whole different ball game.

In the Hamptons, in particular, both sales and median prices are down compared to where they stood during this time last year.

According to a new report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the median sale price for a home in the Hamptons has dropped 6.5 percent over the last year to $849,000, while the number of homes sold is down 15.7 percent.

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Median Existing Home Prices, Sales Set Record Highs


CNBC financial reporter Diana Olick reported on Wednesday that the median existing home price in the United States set a record high in June.

According to Olick, the average home sold for $236,400 last month, up 6 percent from a year ago. That is the highest number ever on record.

Existing home sales were also up, soaring 3.2 percent month-over-month, with 5.49 million (seasonally adjusted) units sold, marking the highest sales volume we’ve seen in eight years.

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America’s Most and Least Affordable Beach Town Revealed 

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With the enjoyment of summer comes the lure of investing in a beach-side property for many Americans.

As such, realtor.com has just released a list of the most and least affordable beach towns nationwide.

According to the site, the most affordable waterfront homes are located in Florida, Mississippi and New Jersey with Port Richey, Fla., taking the top spot. The least affordable locales, meanwhile, are in Northern and Southern California and New York, as Malibu, Calif., requires the largest pocketbook.

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Black Knight to Benefit Heavily from Move to Electronic Mortgage Filing


A new banking ruling set to go in effect in October has Black Knight Financial Services Inc. ready to benefit greatly from the proposed switch to electronic mortgage filing.

Black Knight is the country’s largest mortgage software firm and has already started gaining steam as other lenders prepare to move away from faxing documents and in-person singings and toward electronic automation.

“Mortgage staffers right now are like travel agents before we found out that technology makes travel cheaper,” said Scott Sambucci, vice president at Blend Labs Inc. “New regulations have forced lenders to throw away their fax machines and put larger investments into real technology.”

Image via flickr/Sebastien Wertz

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Wells Fargo Lawsuit Dismissed in Predatory Lending Case

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U.S. District Judge Otis Wright ruled on Friday to dismiss a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo that accused the mortgage lender of violating the federal Fair Lending Act by engaging in predatory lending practices.

According to Wright, there we enough “undisputed facts” to show that Wells Fargo did not violate any FHA rules.

Back in 2013, the city of Los Angeles accused Wells Fargo of luring minority borrowers into high-cost loans they couldn’t afford since at least 2004.

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Housing Supply on the Decline in Phoenix


CNBC reporter Diana Olick revealed on Thursday that the housing supply in Phoenix is shrinking – and that’s a good thing.

Just a few years ago, Phoenix was looked upon as the “poster child for the housing crash,” but these days the market is heating up and homes are not sitting for long.

“The market is moving very fast, especially under $250,000,” said Erik Jensen, a real estate agent with the Caniglia Group. “Homes are lasting one or two days on the market.”

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Two Banking Giants Battling for No. 2 Spot Behind Quicken Loans in Customer Service Index Rating


When J.D. Power released the results of its customer satisfaction study for mortgage originations on Wednesday, there was a clear winner in Quicken Loans, which received 835 points on a 1,000-point scale.

But when it came to second place, the numbers were so close that both Bank of America and Chase claimed to have notched runner up honors.

As it turns out, however, the actual second place finisher was BoA with 807 points, followed closely by Chase with 805. And for what it’s worth, U.S. Bank was right on their heels with 802 points, good for a No. 4 ranking.

Image via flickr/Mike Mozart

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