Author: barthorowitz

Is the Housing Market Actually Recovering?

Everyone wants to know if the housing market is truly showing signs of a recovery. There are conflicting headlines every day. One day, we hear sales are up. The next day it is reported that prices are down. Is the real estate market coming back? The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. There are two aspects that must be evaluated: house sales and house prices. They will not recover at the same time. Sales are already increasing rather nicely while prices will still soften in many markets through 2012. Home Sales The National Association of Realtors (NAR) issues a Pending Home Sales Report each month. We can see by the graph below that sales have been increasing nicely over the last twelve months. Real estate professionals across the country are reporting that activity has increased compared to last year. The sales side of the recovery is starting to show great promise. Home Prices Many price indices have shown that national home prices are continuing to stumble. Even with demand increasing, we must look at where the supply of housing stock stands. Though ‘visible’ inventory (homes currently on the market) is shrinking, there is still a large overhang of ‘shadow’ inventory (foreclosures about to come to market as a result of the National Mortgage Settlement). This increase in inventory will outpace the increase in demand and thereby cause prices to continue to...

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Home-Improvement Showcase Coming This Weekend, March 17 & 18, At Staten Island Mall

   2-day ‘Home Remodeler’s Showcase’ will mark 30th anniversary of the Staten Island Home Improvement Contractors Association; visitors to get a chance at $500 SI Mall gift certificate STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – A highly anticipated home-improvement expo has captured the attention of many New Yorkers, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On Saturday [March 17], one of the leading home-contractors organizations in the region will launch its two-day “Home Remodeler’s Showcase” with a “wood-cutting” ceremony in the center court of the Staten Island Mall. The expo, which runs Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., will mark the 30th anniversary of the Staten Island Home Improvement Contractors Association (HIC), and the group’s first show since aligning with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)  in 2011. ‘TERRIFIC SHOWCASE’ “It is impossible to imagine New York without the contributions of the contractors who make our great city go,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “… and as our population continues to grow, we will rely on these men and women to provide the expertise, elbow grease and timely service that our property owners depend on and deserve. “That is why we are proud to applaud the Staten Island HIC for its hard work and advocacy, and together, we look forward to contractors and their clients alike benefitting from this terrific showcase.” A single visit...

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Another Refi Boom?

There have been a few developing (and some already existing) programs that are worth mentioning, as the newspaper headlines applaud the opportunity. With interest rates remaining at near historic lows for quite some time, many people have been unable to take advantage of these rates because of problems in securing a high enough appraised value. To that end, here are a few thoughts to consider: New FHA Streamline Announcement HUD announced that they will be rolling back the insurance premiums on this program for loans closed prior to June 2009. The Upfront Premium (the one that is added into the loan amount) will be .01% and the annual premium (the one that is paid in the monthly payment) will be slashed to .55%. These cuts could reduce borrowers’ expenses drastically. This program can be done where the lender pays the closing costs – without an appraisal, income verification, or even a credit check. Most lenders will look for a good mortgage payment history. The VA IRRL – (Interest Rate Reduction Loan) For people with existing VA mortgages, this program allows reasonable closing costs to be added into the loan. There is no new appraisal required, nor is there an income calculation. Basically, as long as the veteran is getting a payment at least $50 lower, it is good to go. In some cases, veterans may choose to reduce the term...

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President Expands Housing Relief to Military, FHA Borrowers

President Barack Obama announced two measures Tuesday to expand housing relief to military members and borrowers with loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The two efforts offer a mix of private sector payments and federal intervention. Obama said in a speech Tuesday that he was unwilling to “sit by and wait for the housing market to hit bottom,” likely a reference to past remarks from Republican rival Mitt Romney, who is battled Rick Santorum in Super Tuesday primary elections. Major lenders including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will review foreclosures involving military service members and veterans since 2006 and provide compensation equal to the lost value of their homes, plus interest and an additional $116,785, if the foreclosures are found to be improper.  READ MORE … About The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) The Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest not-for-profit trade association in Staten Island, N.Y. SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically; and to promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property. Comprised of over 1,600 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas.  SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real...

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Housing Market Sets Encouraging Pace For Staten Island in Early 2012

          Pending home sales climbed to 56.5 percent in February, Realtors report  STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.  — Key indicators are sparking increased optimism for the future of Staten Island’s real estate market. According to the latest data released by the Staten Island Board of Realtors (SIBOR) , the number of newly listed homes in the borough jumped 12.2 percent in February, when compared to the same month a year ago. In addition, pending sales, or those under contract, were up 56.5 percent for the same period. “Every arrow seems to be pointing in the direction of a healthier real estate climate on Staten Island,” said Georgianna Diaz, president of SIBOR. “Inventory levels shrank 5.3 percent, compared to February 2011. And, although the days on market increased 7.5 percent [174 days] last month, the median sales price for a home increased 5 percent to $380,500.” ENCOURAGING START When it comes to an improving real estate marketplace, Staten Island had an encouraging start to the year when compared to New York state as a whole. The New York state housing market started 2012 with sales on par with January 2011, according to preliminary single-family sales data accumulated by the New York State Association of REALTORS®. Although Staten Island experienced a nearly 15 percent decline in “closed” sales in January, new listings on Staten Island increased 7.1 percent, when compared to the same...

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