Florida Consumer & Real Estate Attorney Blog
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Where does the housing market stand? According to FNMA’s News Releases dated 6/7/12 and 6/19/12, there is “cautious optimism for the gradual healing of housing”. Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan has stated that we are experiencing a spring lull in economic activity for the third year in a row. “Loss of momentum in labor market conditions, sluggish income growth and decreasing saving rates suggest that consumers may need to moderate spending unless income picks up” according to Fannie Mae Newsletter dated June 19, 2012. Consumers appear to be in a “wait and see” mode regarding buying or selling homes at this time.
The much needed housing recovery is currently impeded by “weak employment growth, rising student loans and a continuing stream of foreclosed homes.” Although the market has seen less distressed sales which resulted in a more stable pricing, “the Group continues to expect that home prices on a national basis will show a slight additional decline before bottoming in the beginning of the year.” This is further asserted within the consumer survey results found at Fannie Mae News Release dated June 7, 2012. The survey, while showing some improvement over the past few months, still cites the following consumer sentiment regarding the economy and household finances:
* 38% believe the economy is on the right track
* 46% expect their financial situation to remain the same over the next 12 months
* 12% expect their financial situation to worsen
* 15% say their household income has decreased significantly over the past 12 months
* 32% say their expenses have increased significantly over the past 12 months
While these figures are improved since the last survey, these numbers do not exude overwhelming consumer confidence.
HUD Scorecards – January 2012 (Tampa Bay Area MSA) and April 2012 (General, National)
April 2012, HUD Scorecard: “Market data shows progress on home sales and mortgage delinquencies, but continued fragility overall.” Indicators showed Home prices remain soft in many markets due to distressed sales; existing homes on the market at low level while number of units held off the market remain high; foreclosure starts and completions are down overall – however refer to January 2012 HUD Scorecard regarding the Tampa/St. Petersburg MSA – may be due the time to complete a foreclosure in florida – 806 days versus 348 days national average. The total of owner’s equity in their homes appears to have dropped to equal or slightly exceed the lowest numbers for January 2009.
January 2012, HUD Scorecard: Tampa/St. Petersburg MSA depicts slower growth and recovery for Tampa with a higher unemployment rate lower homes sales than national figures. LPS data showed an increase risk of 6% for foreclosures (from November 2010 through November 2011) compared with a national decline of 6% for the same period. Distressed mortgages in Tampa had increased to 16.3 while national rates fell to 6.7%. Corelogic reported that 47% of mortgages in the Tampa MSA are currently underwater – representing additional risk for homeowners and loans.
What this means to you…
As a homeowner and resident of Tampa, we are not recovering as quickly as the rest of the country. There is improvement albeit it slow and vulnerable. If you are looking to buy a home, it is a great time to do so. Mortgage interest rates are down and so are sales prices. If you are looking to sell your home, you may be one of those named in the “withheld from the market” homes. Currently, there are nearly twice as many vacant units being withheld from the market as there are pre-owned homes for sale. Many factors cause units to be withheld; but included with these are foreclosed homes that lenders are sitting on for now. You may also be within the 47% of “underwater” homeowners. What solution is available? Short sales are quite common nowadays and the lenders have become accustomed to dealing with them.