What Is Going On With The Housing Market In Gilbert AZ

The low inventory in the Gilbert housing market is making it a more competitive market for buyers especially in the lower price ranges.

Most of the activity is occurring in the $100,000 to $199,999 price range which is covering roughly 50% of the Gilbert market.  This is giving buyers less choice and in many cases putting them in multiple offer situations.  It is important for buyers to be aware of this competitive situation in the lower price ranges and work closely with their agent and lender so they are ready to move quickly when the right property becomes available. Sellers and buyers need to monitor this trend to see how the Gilbert market continues to respond to the current inventory.

Bank owned properties and short sales are making up about 70% of the current Gilbert market. A bank owned/foreclosure home is one that the seller no longer owns and it has been taken over by the lender(s) who had a note on the home. Short sales are homes where the seller is negotiating with the bank to “forgive” a portion of the debt in order to avoid foreclosure.   

Properties in Gilbert are staying on the market an average of 96 days and they are selling for an average of 98% of the listing price.

This means sellers are getting very close to listing price and in some multiple offer situations are actually going over the listing price.  The low prices and the low interest rates are making it very attractive time to buy for many wishing to acquire property in Gilbert Arizona.

Underwater?? – Discussions On Refinancing Programs That Lower Homeowner Mortgage Costs

By Steven Craig

There has been some talks over the past few weeks that homeowners may see either new proposals or changes in current underwater home loan assistance programs as rates on mortgages are quite low at present time, but this is obviously unhelpful to homeowners in negative equity position simply because traditional refinancing options may not be in place or available for their specific situation. However, there has been talk that programs like the Home Affordable Refinance initiative will be reviewed and potentially offer more homeowners the option to qualify for assistance from this particular plan or similar programs that would allow homeowner mortgage costs to be lowered despite the fact that negative equity is in place.

Recent speculation has arisen regarding changes in requirements within HARP could be on the rise and, as homeowners are continuing to see issues like property devaluation despite the fact that the program has a cutoff date in terms of mortgages that were originated before June 2009 and requirements that homeowners must have a mortgage on our guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While these requirements have helped some homeowners, it seems that with continued trouble in the housing market and predictions that homeowners may see further problems in the future, in the area of equity value decreases, there are some proposals that have been made to allow homeowners to take advantage of either current programs or there has been a call for new opportunities to be made available.

Obviously, homeowners may be in a position where they can’t meet their mortgage payment and, in some cases, opportunities like mortgage payments or state-specific plans may address homeowner issues in this particular area of negative equity problems, but what some homeowners have grown frustrated with is the inability to take advantage of mortgage rates which are currently between 4% and 5%, for homeowners in the best positions financially. Yet, even homeowners who may not qualify for the lowest of these rates are still seeing situations arise where if they did refinance they may see a drastic reduction in their interest rate on their home loan, which obviously would equate to more affordability in most cases.

It’s because of this inability to refinance because of negative equity that some homeowners have simply walked away from their mortgage payment obligation, which not only poses a great deal of trouble for banks but can do substantial damage to a homeowner’s credit score. There have been some programs like short sales offered to individuals who may be willing to sell their home at a loss, but some servicers have been unwilling to work with homeowners who can make the mortgage payment but are simply unhappy with their negative equity problem.

While the issue of underwater home loans may not have been as severe in the past, it’s clear that as bad as things may have gotten, there are few officials who feel housing prices will return by any drastic measure in the future, so homeowners are still stuck with negative equity problems that in some cases have no solutions. There has been no official word on what, if any, changes may come in the area of underwater refinancing, but many officials are arguing that with the present problems and a somewhat negative outlook, either changes or new programs must be introduced into the housing market to help underwater homeowners with affordability opportunities that may come from simple refinancing options.

Too Many Errors Found in Listing Information?

Some real estate professionals say they are finding too many errors in property information online and that agents need to do a better job of making sure listing details are accurate and up-to-date.

For example, Troy Deierling, a real estate professional in Sedona, Ariz., recalls a client recently asking him to set up appointments for three homes he viewed online for-sale. However, Deierling discovered all three of the properties had been sold and had been off the market for three months, despite the postings online that indicated otherwise.

While more buyers are turning to online home searches, the information they find may not always have the latest information, such as failing to indicate the latest price cut or even whether the home is still on the market.

Nearly a quarter of the data that real estate professionals individually submit for posting on real estate Web sites is never updated when changes are made to the price or when the property is sold, according to a recent report by Trulia.

While real estate listing Web sites say they try to keep a lookout for errors, many of these sites rely on MLS feeds. As such, real estate professionals need to make sure to keep their listings on the MLS current and listing details accurate, industry experts say.

Source: “Where Real Estate Listings Fail,” SmartMoney (June 8, 2011)

More Buyers Turn to Investors for Hard-Money Loans

More and more investors are pulling money out of retirement and saving accounts to use their own money to make mortgage loans to home buyers who banks reject. These hard-money lenders charge borrowers higher interest rates, but are becoming an answer for some home buyers who can’t get approved for a loan otherwise due to tighter credit restrictions.Guy D. Cecala, publisher of trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance, says hard-money loans are up significantly from a few years ago.

Joey Messina, an attorney in Dallas, told The Wall Street Journal that he has funded 20 mortgages — ranging in size from $40,000 to $102,000 — in the past two years. The mortgages carry interest rates of 14 percent, which is more than double what most banks charge in interest.

Some borrowers in particular have had a harder time getting loans since the housing market crash and banks started tightening their lending requirements. For example, other investors and self-employed individuals who can’t fully document their incomes and home buyers with low credit scores may face the most hurdles from banks.

Hard-money lenders must abide by the same mortgage rules as traditional lenders. Still, the nonprofit housing organization NeighborWorks America cautions home buyers considering a hard-money loan to consult with an unbiased housing or credit counselor to analyze the rates and terms to make sure these loans don’t qualify as predatory subprime lending.

Source: “Investors Who Do a Few Mortgages on the Side,” The Wall Street Journal (July 21, 2011)