Tuesday, May 24, 2011

San Rafael Real Estate Overview

Here are some recent numbers for the San Rafael real estate market. From February 11th to April 11th, 2011, the median sales price for homes sold in San Rafael was $500,000, based on 186 homes sold during the period. Read the entire article on my official website blog, LOCATED HERE.

Mill Valley Real Estate Overview

Here are some of the latest stats for the Mill Valley real estate market: From February 11th to April 11th,2011, the median sales price for homes sold in Mill Valley was $874,000. Read the entire article located here.

Agency Asking for Consumer Feedback on Mortgage Disclosure Overhaul

A newly formed consumer watchdog has begun a process designed to make it easier for Americans to comparison shop for mortgages. Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, formed by the Dodd-Frank Act financial reform law, initiated a project it's calling “Know Before You Owe.” The project involves redesigning the mandatory disclosure forms that lenders send out to potential borrowers when they apply for a loan, and the agency is asking for feedback from consumers as part of the process.

The bureau unveiled two prototypes of a new form that will eventually replace the currently used Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending disclosure forms with an easier-to-understand format. The bureau will undergo several rounds of testing and revision on the forms, before one is selected and proposed, possibly as early as September. The agency has asked the public for suggestions on how to make it easier for everyday consumers to understand the costs associated with a mortgage. The ultimate goal of the project is to make it easier for Americans to compare the terms of multiple loans in what for many is the biggest financial commitment of their lives.

Obviously, mortgages differ on the interest rates associated, which vary by lender, but there are several other factors that affect the cost of a mortgage that are not as easy to compare. Some loans carry adjustable rates and there are underwriting fees and closing costs that vary from lender to lender. Insiders say that many of the problems that fueled the mortgage crisis could have been prevented were the disclosure process simpler.

Under the current system, lenders are required to provide loan applicants the Good Faith Estimate and Truth in Lending forms within three days of receiving their application for a home loan. The 3-page Good Faith Estimate, which essentially breaks down closing costs associated with a mortgage, underwent an overhaul last year, as part of a regulation that also required closing costs to remain within 10 percent of provided estimates.

Previous attempts at simplifying the two forms have failed, and they still contain over-lapping information and are quite confusing to consumers, especially first-time buyers. One key piece of information that is still curiously absent from both forms is the amount of money borrowers will have to come up with at closing, a pretty significant figure in the eyes of homebuyers.

The new proposed forms each contain an itemized list of costs on the first page, including closing costs, monthly payments, and projections of monthly payments for future years. Both also contain a second page that provides a detailed explanation of loan terms, making it easier for potential buyers to compare loan offers from multiple lenders.

CFPB will evaluate and revise the forms several times before September, when it is expected to choose one of the two to propose for future mortgage disclosure use. The agency may also look at simplifying other forms used later in the process, and all the new forms should be in use by July 2012. To offer suggestions or feedback on the proposed forms, consumers are asked to go to: consumerfinance.gov

Marin Real Estate

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fannie Mae Requests Another $8.5 Billion

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae has reportedly asked the U.S. government for an additional $8.5 billion in taxpayer assistance after declining home prices led to more defaults on home loans it guaranteed. The government-controlled entity said it lost $8.7 billion in the first three months of 2011, leading it to request 3 times the federal aid it asked for in the previous quarter.

The total cost to taxpayers of keeping Fannie Mae from collapse in now nearing $100 billion, the most expensive bailout price tag of a single company in U.S history. Combined with bailout funds extended to Fannie's cousin, Freddie Mac, the government expects the rescue of the companies so key to the nation's mortgage industry to eventually reach somewhere close to $259 billion, money the companies are using to cover losses from bad loans originated in the midst of the housing boom.

U.S. home prices dipped 1.8 percent on average in the three months ended March 31st, leading to thousands of homeowners abandoning their properties when the values dropped to less than what they owed on their mortgages. Fannie said that the bulk of its losses last quarter were related to loans made before 2009, adding that it fully expects to make money on loans it has acquired since January 2010.

Fannie and Freddie came perilously close to collapsing from mounting losses on loans they purchased between 2005 and 2008. After federal bailout funds kept them from failing, the two companies were placed under government conservatorship, and lending standards have tightened considerably to prevent future losses of that magnitude. Fannie and Freddie purchase home loans from the banks and other lenders, then package those loans into bonds with a guarantee against default and sell them to investors around the globe.

When property value fall, homeowners default, whther because they can't afford payments or because the home's value drops below the outstanding balance on the loan. Because of the guarantees, Fannie and Freddie must pay for the losses associated with these defaults. Washington, D.C.-based Fannie and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie currently own or guarantee about half of all U.S mortgages. These million home loans have a combined value of over $5 trillion. Throw in other federal agencies like the Federal Housing Authority and the government backed nearly 90 percent of all U.S. mortgages originated over the past twelve months.

Marin Real Estate

Recent Posts:
Mortgage Rates Hit 2011 Lows

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Home Prices Increase in Marin County

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I just wanted to let everyone know that I have posted my latest findings about the Marin real estate market. The article's focus is on home prices and sales showing an increase in Marin County. The entire article can be found at this location.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Program to Allow Residents Access to Studios of Novato Artists

A new outreach program of the Novato Arts Center will allow the public to enter their artists’ studios between the hour of 11AM and 4PM on the first Sunday of every month except May. First Sunday Open Studios begins in December and will allow visitors into the studios of more than 40 working artists in three buildings located at the historic, former Hamilton Air Force Base. The individual buildings are located at 500 Palm Drive, 501 Palm Drive and 781 Hamilton Parkway.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Marin County Transit Bus Route Changes

Several Marin Transit bus routes will undergo changes in March, 2010. The majority of the changes involve reduction of operating hours of certain routes, generally by an hour. Midday service is also being discontinued on some routes. Routes to be affected by the changes include: Route 17 (Mill Valley - San Rafael), Route 19 (Tiburon - Marin City), Route 22 (San Anselmo - Sausalito), Route 23 (Fairfax-San Rafael), Route 29 (San Anselmo-San Rafael), Route 36 (Canal-San Rafael Transit Center-Marin City), Route 45 (San Rafael Transit Center-Terra Linda), Route 49 (San Rafael Transit
Center-Hamilton), Route 51 (Novato), and Route 52 (Novato-San Rafael).