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Help for America’s Homeowners - You May Be Eligible

by Pistol Tingen

On April 28, the Obama Administration announced details of new efforts to help bring relief to responsible homeowners under the Making Home Affordable Program, including an effort to achieve greater affordability for homeowners by lowering payments on their second mortgages as well as a set of measures to help underwater borrowers stay in their homes.

Continuing to bolster its outreach around the program, the Administration also announced last week a new effort to engage directly with homeowners via MakingHomeAffordable.gov. Starting April 28, homeowners will have the ability to submit individual questions through the website to the Administration’s housing team. Members of the Treasury and HUD staffs will periodically select commonly asked questions and post responses on MakingHomeAffordable.gov. To submit a question, homeowners can visit www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov/feedback.html.  Selected questions from homeowners across the country and responses from the Administration will be available at www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov/asked-and-answered.html.

The consumer website, www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov, provides homeowners with detailed information about refinancing and mortgage modification programs. On the site, homeowners will find self-assessment tools and calculators to empower themselves with the resources they need to determine whether they might be eligible for a modification or a refinance under the Administration's program. Through this website, borrowers can also connect with free counseling resources to help with outstanding questions; locate homeowner events in their communities; find a handy checklist of key documents and materials to have ready when making that important call to their servicer as well as FAQs from borrowers in similar circumstances, and much more.

Below are the two primary categories addressed on the consumer website:
Refinancing - Many homeowners pay their mortgages on time but are not able to refinance to take advantage of today’s lower mortgage rates perhaps due to a decrease in the value of their home.
Modification - Many homeowners are struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments perhaps because their interest rate has increased or they have less income.
Please use the self-assessment tools provided on MakingHomeAffordable.gov to see if you are among the 7 to 9 million homeowners who may be able to benefit from Making Home Affordable. 

Whether you would like more information about this particular program or current information on properties available within the Greenville, NC or Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Below 5% for Fifth Straight Week

by Pistol Tingen

Homebuyers, homeowners and investors are witnessing the fifth straight week where 30-year mortgage rates average below 5%.  Rates dipped this week after rising a week earlier and remain just above record lows.

Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that average rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.82% this week from an average of 4.87% last week.  Rates have been below 5% for five consecutive weeks.

The all-time low of 4.78% was recorded on the week of April 2. Freddie Mac’s survey dates back to 1971.

Low rates have created a surge in refinancing activity, with nearly 80% of new home applications coming from borrowers seeking to refinance.  Freddie Mac’s sibling company, Fannie Mae, refinanced $77 billion in loans last month--nearly double February’s level and the best month for such activity since 2003, when the housing market was still surging.

According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, “The housing industry is starting to exhibit some positive signs.” But Nothaft noted in a statement that the signs were “scarce and too early to tell how permanent.”

Homebuilders are feeling a lot more optimistic that the worst housing downturn in decades may be finally starting to turn around. An index of builders’ confidence released Wednesday posted its biggest one-month jump in five years in April as many homebuyers seized on lower prices and incentives, and took advantage of lower interest rates and tax credits.

Freddie Mac collects mortgage rates on Monday through Wednesday of each week from lenders around the country.  Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a given day.

For the most up-to-date mortgage and real estate information for the Greenville, NC and Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

  2008                                                           2009
 
Single Family Homes
320 Closed                                          189 Closed (-40.9%)
$183,115 Average Sales Price          $168,285 Average Sales Price 
 
Townhomes                                              
102 Closed                                            52 Closed (-49%)  
$90,646 Average Sales Price            $97,044 Average Sales Price
 
Condominiums                                         
20 Closed                                              11 Closed (-45%)  
$97,356 Average Sales Price            $86,609 Average Sales Price

If you would like to know more information about the Pitt County-Greenville, NC real estate market, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Greenville, NC Ranked #2 City by Forbes Magazine

by Pistol Tingen

In a special report released on March 25 by Forbes Magazine, Greenville, NC ranked second in the category of the nation’s Best Small Metropolitan Area for Business and Careers.  Greenville is the 10th largest city in North Carolina. In 2008 Greenville ranked eighth in the same category by Forbes Magazine. 

Growth and stability continue for the developing city of Pitt County.  Research from East Carolina’s School of Business indicates that the local work force grew by more than 14 percent over the past five years—that’s more than double the growth experienced by the state as a whole.  Employment is essentially spread across these three sectors:  education, healthcare and manufacturing.

Education is the economy’s main engine. With an operating budget of close to $600 million, East Carolina University employs a diverse group of over 5,000 people, while Pitt Community College has more than 800 faculty and staff members.  The 6,000 people who work at University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina include over 400 physicians.  The approximately 100 manufacturing companies in the county employ 9,000 people.

In the larger metropolitan category, Forbes Magazine ranked Raleigh, NC as the nation’s top city for the third straight year -- awarded for its strong job growth, low business costs and highly educated workforce.

If you are interested in learning more about the Greenville, NC - Pitt County area—and especially relocation and real estate information, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

The following is a statement made on March 18 by the National Association of Realtors® President Charles McMillan:

"The National Association of Realtors® applauds the Federal Reserve announcement today that it would purchase an additional $750 billion in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities and up to $300 billion in longer term Treasury securities.  This is great news for American home buyers and homeowners because mortgage interest rates will continue to remain at historic lows."

In addition McMillan said, "NAR has been advocating since last fall that the Fed be more active in buying mortgage-backed securities.  We are excited that the Fed acted on this provision of the stimulus plan that we offered to the government in November".

Further McMillan said, "Greater numbers of home buyers will be able to purchase a home, and homeowners facing challenges will be able to refinance into better terms.  We already are experiencing a great improvement in housing affordability due to historically low interest rates, and the Fed's move will push affordability conditions to the best level in 40 years.  In addition, continued low rates will lessen foreclosure pressure and help stabilize home prices sooner, as more Americans buy homes and draw down inventory."

The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate, "is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

For current real estate information in the Greenville, NC and Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

 

March 16, 2009, marks the long awaited day when thousands of medical residents nationwide receive the news informing them of their residency destination. Each intern will learn the name and location of their teaching hospital—hoping one of their top choices will be their selected match.  To the medical community, this day represents “Match Day” and is organized by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).

The National Resident Matching Program, a private, not-for-profit organization, provides a method for matching applicants for residency positions in the United States with residency programs at various teaching hospitals.  Applicants and hospitals rank each other in order of preference, and a computer matches them based upon those rankings.

According to the NRMP, the number of available residency positions this year was the highest in match history.  This year, 28,737 applicants vied for one of the 22,240  first-year residency positions available--the most ever.  Of those, 135,106  were U.S. medical school seniors.  Other applicants included previous graduates of U.S. medical schools, U.S. citizen and non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates, and osteopathic doctors.  

Whether temporary or long-term, the residents will relocate to the cities of their assigned teaching hospitals.  Several of these residents will receive a match that will bring them to Greenville, NC and Pitt County Memorial Hospital – University Health Systems of Eastern North Carolina, working in conjunction with the Brody School of Medicine.  For over 18 years, The Pistol Tingen Real Estate Team has provided incoming medical residents with their relocation requirements—assisting them in an efficient, seamless transition from their present location to Greenville, NC.  To learn more about our relocation services, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

The first week of March, The National Association of Realtors® reported that pending home sales have declined--with many home buyers waiting for clarity on housing stimulus provisions.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in January, fell 7.7 percent to 80.4 from a downwardly revised reading of 87.1 in December, and is 6.4 percent below January 2008 when it was 85.9.  The index is at the lowest level since tracking began in 2001, when the index value was set at 100.

According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, the downturn in the economy also weighed heavily on the data.  "Even with many serious potential home buyers on the sidelines waiting for passage of the stimulus bill, job losses and weak consumer confidence were a natural drag on home sales," Yun said.  "We expect similarly soft home sales in the near term, but buyers are expected to respond to much improved affordability conditions and from the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit."

NAR President, Charles McMillan, stated it's ironic with the weak housing market that affordability conditions have improved dramatically.  "Housing affordability is at a record high--the buying power of a typical family has risen significantly," he said.  "With the drop in interest rates, a median-income family can afford a home costing $20,000 more than a year ago for the same monthly mortgage payment.  With the strong housing stimulus, we are hopeful inventory will get trimmed and which will help prices stabilize in many areas by the end of the year."

Yun added, "Conditions have been aligning very favorably for home buyers with the exception of consumer confidence.  But I am hopeful that sales will turn around by late spring and early summer because history suggests that home sales can rise even in times of job losses when housing affordability rises."

Understanding Fannie Mae Foreclosures - Questions and Answers

by Pistol Tingen

• What is Fannie Mae?

Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored enterprise chartered by Congress with a mission to provide liquidity and stability to the U.S. housing and mortgage markets.

Fannie Mae operates in the U.S. secondary mortgage market.  Rather than making home loans directly with consumers, Fannie Mae works with mortgage bankers, brokers, and other primary mortgage market partners to help ensure they have funds to lend to home buyers at affordable rates.  Fannie Mae funds their mortgage investments primarily by issuing debt securities in the domestic and international capital markets.

• Why does Fannie Mae have properties for sale?

Fannie Mae works with all of its partners to help homeowners prevent and avoid foreclosure; however, sometimes it is  unavoidable.  When foreclosures occur on mortgages in which Fannie Mae is the investor, their goal is to sell properties in a timely manner in order to minimize the impact on the community.

• What kinds of properties are available in the Fannie Mae HomePath database?

Fannie Mae's HomePath database includes only properties that are owned by Fannie Mae.  There is a wide selection of homes, including single-family homes, condominiums, and town houses--located in a variety of neighborhoods.  The number, types and the sales prices of the homes that are offered for sale may vary substantially.  many of these homes are relatively new; however, older homes are offered in some areas.  Some homes may require repairs.

• How is buying a home owned or managed by Fannie Mae different from other home purchases?

Usually when you buy a home, you deal with a seller who lives in the home.  Fannie Mae has acquired these properties through foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure or forfeiture.

When buying a Fannie Mae-owned home, you should know the condition of the property, the cost of any needed repairs, and the steps in the loan qualification and closing process before you enter into a purchase and sales agreement.

• Has Fannie Mae fixed everything in the house?

Fannie Mae may make some repairs to properties to increase their marketability; however, the buyer should be aware that other repairs may be needed.  Fannie Mae sells each property "as is", which means that the buyer accepts the property "as is".  Fannie Mae is not responsible for fixing any problems after settlement.

Even if the house has fresh paint, brand new carpet, new appliances, perhaps even a new roof or siding--it doesn't mean everything in the house is new, or even works.

Fannie Mae does not warrant or guarantee any work that may have been done on the property, whether as part of its efforts to sell the home or pursuant to conditions in the purchase contract.  Where a home warranty is available, a buyer may wish to buy it at their own expense.

A buyer should also consider hiring a qualified professional to inspect the property, whether it has been repaired or not.  Hiring a home inspector is a recommended practice, no matter what type of home a buyer purchases.

• What can Fannie Mae tell a buyer about a house?

If Fannie Mae knows about any hazards on properties they own or market, they disclose this information through their real estate listing agents.  However, Fannie Mae may not have been informed by the previous owner of all hazards, and they encourage a buyer to have the property inspected by a professional before buying the house.

• What type of sales contract does Fannie Mae use?

Fannie Mae uses a state-specific real estate purchase contract and a real estate purchase addendum for their properties.  If there is anything in the document a buyer doesn't understand or isn't comfortable with, they may want to contact a real estate attorney, the real estate sales professional who has listed the property, or a real estate professional of their choice to review these documents with them.

• Does a buyer have to use Fannie Mae's selected title, settlement or escrow companies?

No.  A buyer may designate the title, settlement or escrow company of their choice--subject to the terms of the contract.

• Will Fannie Mae accept an offer contingent on the sale of a buyer's house?

No, Fannie Mae will not accept offers contingent on the sale of a buyer's home.  Other types of contingencies will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

• Why does Fannie Mae require a lender's prequalification statement before negotiating a home purchase offer?

Fannie Mae wants to be sure that prospective buyers will be able to complete the sales transaction, including obtaining financing when needed.  Prequalification allows a buyer to see how much house they can afford and the mortgage amount they may be able to qualify for before they make an offer on a home.   It also helps the buyer focus on homes in an affordable price range.

A loan prequalification doesn't mean a buyer's loan is approved.  A buyer must apply for a loan separately, after they are prequalified and their purchase offer is accepted.

• Does Fannie Mae provide special financing?

Special financing is available on many properties through HomePath® Mortgage and HomePath® Renovation Mortgage.  A buyer may obtain more information on HomePath® through the Fannie Mae real estate listing agent.

• Can a buyer purchase a house directly from Fannie Mae without going through a real estate sales professional?

No.  Fannie Mae depends on the expertise of local real estate sales professionals and accepts offers only through Fannie Mae's real estate listing agents.  A buyer may work with any real estate sales professional to submit an offer to the real estate agent who has listed the property for Fannie Mae.

• What happens if Fannie Mae gets more than one offer?

All interested parties may be asked to submit their best offer in writing through the listing agent no later than a specified date and time.  Fannie Mae may accept or provide a counteroffer that they determine to be in their best interest.  Fannie Mae requires real estate sales professionals to submit an offer to the real estate agent who has listed the property.  Fannie Mae is not obligated to accept any offer submitted.


For the Pitt County and Greenville, NC area, The Pistol Tingen Team has represented Fannie Mae as their exclusive real estate sales professionals for over 17 years.  All local Fannie Mae foreclosures (not outsourced to third party REO vendors) are listed by The Tingen Team.  They are also the designated real estate agents  who receive and present all offers for submission to Fannie Mae.  If you would like more information regarding Fannie Mae foreclosures -- or other properties in Pitt County or Greenville, NC area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Strong Rising Sales for Existing-Home Sales Shown in December

by Pistol Tingen

 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales showed an unexpectedly strong rise while inventory declined.  Sales were led by a surge of sales in the West.

In 2008 there were 4,912,000 existing-home sales, which was 13.1 percent below the 5,652,000 transactions recorded in 2007.  These figures represent the lowest volume since 1997 when there were 4,371,000.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home prices continue to fall significantly.  "It appears some buyers are taking advantage of much lower home prices," he said.  "The higher monthly sales gain and falling inventory are steps in the right direction, but the market is still far from normal balanced conditions.  Buyers will continue to have an edge over sellers for the foreseeable future."

Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.7 percent to 3.68 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.3-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 11.2-month supply in November.

Yun said the market is underpeforming and hurting the broader economy.  "We've added 25 million people to our population over the past decade and housing affordability conditions are the best we've seen since 1973, but household formation is much lower than expected," he said.

The NAR chief economist added, "Consequently, there is a pent-up demand which could be unleashed with the right stimulus, including a non-repayable home buyer tax credit.  The Obama administration and Congress need to move fast to stimulate a spring sales upturn which will help stabilize home prices and set the foundation for a sustainable economic recovery."

If you would like more information on the current existing-home sales in the Pitt County and Greenville, NC area, please contact the top producing real estate experts--The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Mortgage Rates Drop to a 38-Year Low

by Pistol Tingen

According to a survey released January 15 by home funding company Freddie Mac, interest rates on U.S. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped for the 11th week to a 38-year record low.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.96%, with an average 0.7 point, for the week ended January 15, down from the previous week's 5.01%, according to Freddie Mac.  15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 4.65% the week ended January 15, up from 4.62% the previous week.

For the most current mortgage and real estate information in the Greenville, NC and Pitt County area, please contact The Pistol Tingen Team at (252) 321-6161.

Displaying blog entries 21-30 of 58

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HomeServices Prime Properties,   Greenville, NC, 2625 Charles Blvd.

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