Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is There HOPE for Unemployed Homeowners in Ocean County, NJ?

NJ Homekeeper program

Hope for NJ's Unemployed Home-Owners?

I was reading Ask Tara @Trulia, again, when I discovered this potential gem in her post, 5 Mortgage & Foreclosure Myths:

5. Myth: If you’ve lost your job and can’t make your mortgage payment, you might as well mail your keys in. Until recently, this was essentially true – virtually every loan modification and refinancing opportunity required that your economic hardship be over before you could qualify. And documenting income has always been high on the requirements checklist. But there are some new funds available in the states with the hardest hit housing and job markets, which have been designated specifically for out-of-work homeowners.

According to Tara, New Foreclosure-Prevention Programs will be made available to Home-Owners in 18 states and the District of Columbia…yes, New Jersey made the list!

The US Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund has allocated $7.6 billion to 18 states so far– all of which are now using some portion of these funds to offer up to $3,000 per month for up to 36 months in mortgage payment assistance to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure.

According to the official “Fund Site” for the State of New Jersey, The New Jersey Home Keeper Program, is “anticipated to START in the near future”? We will keep you posted as to when the “Fund” becomes available to unemployed home-owners in Ocean County, so be sure to check back here OFTEN!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Move UP in a DOWN Market in Ocean COUNTY...SOON!

In our last post, There May Be a Window of Opportunity OPEN for “Move Up” Home-Buyers in Ocean County, we wrote about the economic and financial conditions that may make the next 90 days the “perfect” time to MOVE UP to your next home in Ocean County, NJ. We are so confident about this “opportunity” for our local residents, that we decided to make a video to better illustrate the benefits of “Moving Up” soon:

If you agree with us and believe that this just may be the opportunity you have been waiting for, please do not lose any more time. Fill out the “Contact Form” at the bottom of this post and we will begin the process of helping you “Moving Up” in the down market here in Ocean County!

Contact Information

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Window of Opportunity OPEN for "Move Up" Home-Buyers in Ocean County, NJ

Open Window

Purchased from istockphoto.com

Both the national and local real estate news is “abuzz” with activity concerning mortgages lately. If you read our last post, you are aware that applications for home mortgages jumped to their highest level in three months last week. But, there was also a lot of “buzz” that many of us, in Ocean County, outside of the mortgage and real estate industries, may not be aware of…

A proposal to phase out the government subsidized entities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has been drafted and is already affecting borrowers even though it hasn’t been finalized. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were created by the government, after the second World War, as a means to increase home-ownership in the United States by requiring lower down payments to make home-ownership more affordable for more Americans.

By phasing out these government entities, the administration has all but guaranteed higher down payments and higher mortgage interest rates in the not too far future. As a matter of fact, effective April 18th of this year (one month from now), the FHA will be increasing their Mortgage Insurance Premium .25 of a percentage point on all registered FHA loans. As an example, a borrower putting down the minimum 3.5% on a $150,000, will see increase in their payment of $32/month.

Ok, so I can see the the window of opportunity for First Time Home-Buyers. Where’s the window for “Move Up” Home-Buyers in Ocean County?

Here it is:

With the rush of First Time Home-Buyers entering the Ocean County real estate market, anyone currently living in a 3 bedroom ranch style home that may be too small for their “growing family” could benefit by “buying UP in a DOWN market”! It is simply the “Law of Supply and Demand”.

There are NOT enough “good” homes on the market for First Time Home-Buyers in Ocean County right now. But, there are PLENTY of “Move Up” homes available! So, a family living in that 3 bedroom Ranch could get a “good” price for their home (provided they purchased it before 2003) and buy that 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath Colonial for a “great” price, with a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, at a historically low rate! Here’s an example of how a “Move Up” Home-Buyer could benefit from this window of opportunity in Ocean County:

CLICK on pictures to ENLARGE!

Move Up Buyer 1


Move Up Buyer 2


Slides courtesy of KeepingCurrentMatters.com

So, the “window” is “open”, Ocean County…who is going to “Move Up” soon?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mortgage Applications Up 15% & Mortgage Rate Forecast

Courtesy of Matthew Guiro, (MBS) [Matthew.Guiro@mortgagefamily.com] Mar 9, 2011 (www.nytimes.com)

Applications for home mortgages jumped to the highest level in three months last week, buoyed by improvements in the job market, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 15.5 percent in the week ended March 4.

It was the highest level since the week ended December 10 and was the biggest increase since June 11.

“An improving job market is beginning to pave the way for an improving housing market,” Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said in a statement.

We wonder; does this increase also reflect the FHA’s announcement that Mortgage Insurance Premiums will increase .25 of a percentage point effective April 18, 2011?

mortgage rates

Courtesy of Bankrate.com


Mar 10, 2011 (Bankrate.com)

Will rates rise or remain relatively unchanged this week?

Industry experts and analysts provide their insights.

  • 0% of respondents expect rates to fall in the coming weeks
  • 53% predict a further increase in mortgage rates while the remaining
  • 47% forecast that mortgage rates will remain more or less unchanged

So, the question you have to ask yourself is; “Do I feel lucky?” or “Do I understand my window of opportunity may be closing?” Well, DO YOU?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Does the current administration want us to own or rent our homes?

And while we believe that all Americans should have access to affordable, quality housing, our goal is not for every American to become a homeowner.

Those are the exact words of Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, in his prepared testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services!

Photo purchased from istockphoto.com

What does this mean?

In short, it means the current administration is shifting its “Housing Focus” from one of “Pro-Homeownership” to one of “Pro-Renter”. Mr. Geithner, and his peers, want to privatize the mortgage market, through the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and subsidize the rental market through the FHA.

The Administration will explore ways to provide greater support for rental housing. One option would be to do so by expanding FHA’s capacity to support lending to the multifamily market.

What does that mean?

That means, if the current administration has its way, it will become almost impossible for people with low incomes, and more difficult for people with moderate incomes, to own homes. On the flip side; those wealthy enough to afford the new, privatized mortgages will benefit immensely by their new ability to purchase “multi-family” housing (subsidized by the FHA) and collect rent from those less fortunate. Now that’s the true definition of Redistributing Wealth!

Is there still hope of one day realizing the American Dream?

Of course there is. These things have not happened yet and they may not happen at all. But, to be on the safe side; if you are ready, willing and able…DON’T HESITATE! For the rest of us; we, as Americans, must decide which America we want. For a more thorough and informative post on this subject, please read Redistributing Wealth to the Rich?

What are your thoughts, beliefs and/or opinions?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How is the market in Ocean County?

We are just over 2 months into 2011 and about to enter the traditional “Spring Real Estate Market” here in Ocean County, NJ. So, how is the market in Ocean County looking so far?

Looking back at January and February of this year, Ocean County saw 199 and 194 Single Family Homes sell (respectively). The median sales price averaged $260,000 for both months and the sales to list price ratio averaged 93%. We currently have over 21 months of inventory available in Ocean County, which means; at the current pace of sales, if no other homes were to come on the market, it would take over 21 months to sell off the existing supply of homes for sale!

Different Market Dynamics

Slide courtesy of Keeping Current Matters!

As we can see, based on the chart above, we are experiencing an Extreme Buyer’s Market here in Ocean County. Home prices will continue to fall as inventory levels continue to increase (not including the Shadow Inventory wild card). Last year, at this time, the HomeBuyer Tax Credit was driving demand. What factors may affect this year’s “Spring Market” in Ocean County?

Well, according to some industry experts, 2011 could be the end of the housing crash! What are the economic factors in play signaling this possibility? Let’s take a look:

  • Mortgage Interest Rates remain at Historic Lows
  • Housing “Affordability” is the best it has been in decades
  • Unemployment reached its lowest level in 2 years
  • Consumer Confidence is growing
  • The Stock Market is re-bounding
  • Inflation is looming

Any, and or all, of these factors may be behind the recent “spurt” of buyer activity we are currently experiencing here in Ocean County…not to mention the snow finally melted!

Large Chart

In a nutshell; if you are in the market to buy a home in Ocean County, BUY NOW! If you are in the market to sell a home in Ocean County this spring, DO IT NOW! If you don’t WANT to buy and don’t NEED to sell, please stay off of and out of the market in Ocean County! Thank you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Could 2011 be the End of the Housing Crash in Ocean County,NJ?

A good friend of mine just called to tell me about an article he saw on YAHOO, concerning the real estate market, Why 2011 May Be the End of the Housing Crash. I don’t know which interested me more; the fact that the Wall Street Journal published something positive about real estate or the amazing amount of “comments” attempting to discredit the author, the Wall Street Journal and everyone and anyone who ever had anything to do with real estate?

Now, I don’t know anything about them (the commenters) but I do know that the sources used by Simon Constable are not exactly known for agreeing with the terminally optimistic perspective of the National Association of REALTORS. I’m specifically talking about the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the analysts from Moody’s Analytics; both of which have historically opposed the “sunny” outlook of NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun.

Housing is the most affordable it has been in decades, according to analysts at Moody’s Analytics. They don’t just look at house prices. They also look at incomes.

So, why then, is it so difficult to believe the “end” of the housing crash may be near? Perhaps it is because many of these “commenters” suffered some sort of financial setback as a result of the “Housing Bubble” or just because of the economy in general? Or is it just too easy for anyone with a computer and too much time on their hands to “comment” on anything and everything?

So as not to be lumped in with the latter, I’ll let the local real estate market speak for itself:
Large Chart

The “activity” we are currently experiencing in Ocean County, NJ, would tend to agree with Mr. Constable, the Wall Street Journal and Moody’s Analytics. But, I would be interested in the “comments” of our local community here in Ocean County…so, if you have a computer and a little time on your hands, be my guest!