Are Home Prices Still Falling?

Posted on March 18, 2010 by IC N in Residential

now becoming more anxious to move on with their lives as the economy continues to falter or they are finding new jobs at much reduced salaries or in other parts of the country. More of these formerly high income homeowners are becoming highly motivated sellers.

Housing Prices Continue Decline
Integrated Asset Services (IAS) Housing Price Index (HPI) declined for a sixth straight month in January, a 2.3% decline overall.
IAS speculated that the decline was made worse by extreme weather in the Midwest. Illinois saw a decline of 4.9%, Missouri 4.4% and Minnesota 3.5%. The Northeast saw a drop of .5%, the South a drop of 2.2% and the West a price decline of 2.6%, just like the average decline of the Midwestern states.
The HPI is now down 30% from its high in mid-2007.
The shadow supply of foreclosed houses continues to be a concern to the economists at IAS. They believe, all in all, the housing crisis will be even more protracted than originally anticipated.
Some States Hit Record High Unemployment
The Labor Department has released January unemployment figures and has revealed record jobless rates in five states including South Carolina (12.6%), California (12.5%), Florida (11.9%), North Carolina (11.1%), and Georgia (10.4%).
Nine states saw a decrease in unemployment. Eleven states saw no change, and the other thirty experienced an increase in the jobless rate in January. The states with the highest rates overall are Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and California.
The states with the lowest unemployment rates are North and South Dakota, and Nebraska. States with strong overseas exports seem to be seeing a rebound in employment, while much of the rest of the country is frozen in place or continuing to decline.
Mortgage Foreclosure and Fraud Litigation is Way Up
The fourth quarter of 2009 saw a huge upsurge in court action taken against two types of defendants: homeowners with delinquent mortgages and alleged perpetrators of mortgage fraud. The statistics have been reported by for the period October 1- December 31, 2009. A total of 134 cases were tracked for the 4th quarter compared to 79 cases in the 3rd quarter of 2009.
Most of these cases were alleged instanced of loan modification fraud, which more than doubled compared to the third quarter. In addition, mortgaged-back securities fraud cases jumped by 300% over the previous quarter. Foreclosure lawsuits were up 70% from the previous quarter and four times higher than the fourth quarter of 2008.
One issue that is taking down many mortgage modification specialists is that many states are enacting stiff licensing requirements for those counseling homeowners in loan modification. People without the proper credentials are being prosecuted.
You have to be VERY careful if you’re going to get into loan modifications these days. VERY careful. Before you even think about it, make sure you know your state’s laws and regulations on the subject.
Have a great afternoon!

Bob Massey