Bulk of Mortgage-Related TARP Funds Remain Untouched

When Treasury issued the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in October 2008, it designated $45.6 billion for mortgage-related programs.

However, a little more than four years later, when a few of the non-mortgage TARP programs have drawn to a close, more than $40 billion in mortgage relief remains unspent, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GOA).

The three major programs the $45.6 billion was allocated to fund include the Making Home Affordable program with its keystone Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP); the Housing Finance Agency Innovation fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets, or more commonly, the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF); and HUD’s Federal Housing Administration Refinance of Borrowers in Negative Equity Positions, commonly called the FHA Short Refinanceprogram.

With a stated goal of assisting 3 million to 4 million homeowners, HAMP has achieved about 1.1 million permanent modifications as of September 2012. The program will accept applicants until the end of this year.

As a whole, the Making Home Affordable program has spent about $4 billion of the $29.9 billion it was allocated. About $6.5 billion more “could be spent on incentives forHAMP modifications and other MHA interventions that were already in effect as of September 2012,” according toGOA.

That leaves about $19.4 billion untouched.

Treasury allocated $7.6 billion to HHR, of which about $1.5 billion has been dispersed.

Treasury allocated $8.1 billion to the FHA Short Refinance program. Thus far, it has allocated $7.2 million to Citibank in fees for the program.

In a letter to GOA in December, Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability, Tim Massad, said “With respect to our housing programs, we have taken significant steps to expand the reach of our programs and strengthen oversight of servicers.”

“Treasury’s housing programs have directly helped over one million homeowners avoid foreclosure and have indirectly helped millions more by setting new standards throughout the mortgage servicing industry,” he added.

For assistance with HARP and the HAMP programs; or for any assistance with foreclosure prevention programs; visit our site today @ http://www.ksiconsultingco.us; or send me an email @ sbogney12@gmail.com

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Petition to Administration Seeks to Eliminate HARP Cutoff Date

While the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has undergone some tweaks and changes to broaden eligibility, a petition is seeking to make the program available to more underwater homeowners and to allow homeowners to refinance under the program more than once.

The petition specifically states, “We Petition the Obama Administration to: Make a formal request to the FHFA to eliminate the securitization cut off date for HARPeligibility and allow re-HARPing.”

Currently, HARP 2.0 has a cutoff date and only allows mortgages sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009, to be eligible for the program.

The petition was opened January 9, 2013, on the We the People White House website. As of January 21, the petition has received more than 800 signatures. The goal is to reach 25,000 signatures by February 8, 2013, in order for the petition to be reviewed by the Obama administration and receive a response.

A release on the petition explained FHFA’s acting director Edward DeMarco has authority to extend or eliminate the eligibility cutoff date and to remove the one time use limit for the program, which is why the petition is calling on the Obama administration to make a formal request to FHFA.

So far, about 1.8 million underwater homeowners have been able to refinance their mortgage through HARP. According to data from CoreLogic, there are about 10.7 million underwater mortgages as of the third quarter of 2012.

When HARP was revamped in March 2012, the 125 percent loan-to-value ratio cap was removed from the program, which allowed more deeply underwater homeowners to refinance. For assistance with the HARP program or assistance with the HAMP prgogram ( The Making Home Affordable Modification Program); call me today or send me an email @ sbogney12@gmail.com; You don’t have to loose your home to foreclosure.

Capital Economics Says Existing-Sales Now at a ‘Normal’ Level

In a commentary from Capital Economics, economist Paul Diggle declared existing home sales are now at a “historically-normal level” relative to population after breaking past the five million mark.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reportedexisting-home sales in November rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million, the highest level since November 2009 when sales reached an annual pace of 5.44 million. In October, the annual rate for existing sales was 4.76 million.

Furthermore, Capital Economics thinks sales will probably rise even higher in December. Based on pending home sales in November, the firm’s calculation shows existing-home sales in December should increase to an annual rate of 5.15 million. NAR is scheduled to release data on existing-home sales on Tuesday, January 22.

Despite the breakthrough, the firm noted, “sales remain dominated by cash buyers and investors, with mortgage-dependent buyers playing a relatively small role in the recovery.”

In order to have a long-term recovery that can be sustained, Capital Economics says that trend will need to change. The firm remains hopeful that it will.

Survey Finds Agents, Homebuyers Optimistic About Prices in 2013

As home prices continue to climb, real estate agents and homebuyers are maintaining a positive outlook for home values in 2013, a recent survey found.

The survey, which was jointly released by Point2Homesand PropertyShark, reported 71 percent of survey respondents predicted home prices will go up or maintain their current level in 2013.

The survey included nearly 1,500 real estate professionals and homebuyers who were questioned in December 2012 on topics such as prices, sales volume, and inventory, as well as factors that will drive the market.

The view that prices will either stabilize or go up was shared by 59 percent of agents and 37 percent of homebuyers.

As for sales volumes, 41 percent of respondents overall said sales should increase, with 52 percent of agents sharing this view and 41 percent of homeowners stating sales will go up.

When it came to inventory, respondents said they don’t expect to see a change.

As for factors that will drive the market in 2013, 31 percent of respondents think that mortgage rates will have the biggest influence on the market. Access to loans placed second as an influential factor 2013 and foreclosuresranked third.

The survey also found Californians were more optimistic than New Yorkers when it comes to home prices.

Half, or 50 percent of California respondents, predicted prices will increase in 2013 compared to 44 percent of New York respondents.

On the topic of foreclosures, 21 percent of California respondents said foreclosures will influence the market in 2013, compared with only 9 percent of the respondents from New York. The survey noted the difference may be due to the higher foreclosure rate seen in California. For assistance with buying a home in Texas and in California; call us today @ 888-351-6727; for all your real estate and legal needs….where we are making your experience pleasurable….

LPS: Foreclosure Inventory, Delinquency Rates Decrease from Year Ago

Lender Processing Services (LPS) offered preliminary data on mortgage performance in December, revealingforeclosure inventory and delinquency rates were both down year-over-year.

The foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate fell to 3.4 percent in December. The figure represents a 2 percent decrease from November and an 18 percent drop from December 2011.

The delinquency rate, or loans past due 30 or more days, stood at 7.2 percent at the end of December, which is a slight 0.7 percent increase from November and a 9.1 percent decrease from a year ago.

Overall, LPS found there are about 5.3 million loans that are not current, or at least 30 days or more past due or in foreclosure. Of that total, about 1.7 million loans are in foreclosure inventory and another 3.6 million loans are at least 30-day delinquencies but not foreclosures.

LPS also found the states with the highest percentage of non-current loans are Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, and New York. The states with the lowest percentage of loans that are past due are Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

The data represents about 70 percent of the overall market.

 

FHFA: Monthly, Yearly Price Gains Continue into November

Consistent with most industry indices, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported continued gains in its most recent House Price Index. The current index is 15.2 percent lower than the national peak reached in April 2007.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices increased 0.6 percent from October to November. This rate matches the previous month’s revised index, which was revised from a 0.5 percent increase to a 0.6 percent increase.

The FHFA has not reported a decline in monthly home prices since January 2012, leaving the build-up of price changes over the past 12 months much more accelerated relative to the monthly rate.

National home prices have increased 5.6 percent over the 12-month period ending in November, according to FHFA’s calculations.

As is always the case, the price index varied from region to region. The Mountain division (consisting of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico) experienced a 2.1 percent increase over the month, the highest of any of the nine Census regions.

The East North Central division (made up by Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio) experienced the greatest price drop over the month, reporting a decline of 1 percent.

The nearby East South Central division (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama) was the only other region to register a price decline for the month. The division experienced a 0.4 percent decline.

All regions posted price increases year-over-year in November, with the Mountain division recording the highest annual price improvement (14.8 percent).

The lowest year-over-year increase took place in the Middle Atlantic division (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), which recorded a 0.5 percent increase.

 

Freddie Mac’s New Short Sale Process ‘Beginning to Take Hold’

Freddie Mac’s Standard Short Sale program has been in effect for close to three months, and the GSE continues to work to publicize the program and inform borrowers of their options, most recently in a blog post Tuesday on Freddie Mac’s website.

“Early results indicate that this program is beginning to take hold with homeowners and realtors,” stated Tracy Mooney, SVP on the Executive Perspectives Blog.

Mooney expressed an expectation that the program will reduce short sale timelines by between 50 and 75 percent.

Under the new program, servicers have more responsibility and more authority.

Servicers are allowed a maximum of 30 days after receiving a completed short sale application to decide whether they will agree to the short sale.

If they must consult third parties before making the decision, they make take at most an extra 30 days.

If the servicer will surpass the first 30 days, it must communicate with the applicant through weekly updates.

“A final decision is required by day 60,” Mooney said.

In order to ensure servicers are able to meet these shortened deadlines, Freddie Mac is now allowing servicers to approve short sales without consulting mortgageinsurance companies.

The GSEs obtained approval from nine mortgage insurers a few months ago to allow servicers to forego their usual approval process in order to reach faster decisions regarding short sales.

Servicers are also responsible for determining financial hardships for short sale applicants.

In March, Freddie Mac will roll out another new program streamline the deed-in-lieu of foreclosure process.

If a homeowner is interested in pursuing a short sale, Mooney encourages him or her to determine whether Freddie Mac owns his or her loan with the Loan Look-up Tool and then reach out to his or her servicer for information on applying.

Homeowners may also visit Freddie Mac’s Avoiding Foreclosure Resource Center online.

Both GSEs worked with their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), last year to establish short sale deadlines and streamline the process.