Maybe we can blame it on the snow storms of last month, but the local DC real estate market continues its recent trends with no sign of a big spring lift from the extended housing tax credits. We can see in the first chart below that the Market Activity Index has picked up a little but not enough to get excited. Lets hope that warmer weather will see the boost in first time buyers similar to last years boost!
Our Median Price index shows that prices continue their year long slide down. Given that most of the activity in the last year has been in entry level first time buyers we should not be surprised that the median price has been dropping.
Inventory levels of homes on the market showed a slight uptick late last month. Assuming that the snowstorms last month kept some folks from listing their homes we should be seeing a bigger increase this month as the spring housing market begins and we expect a pretty good surge in listings as folks look to sell into the housing tax credit market.
Our final chart shows that the average days on market continues to rise in the DC market. We are back up near the high for the last 12 months and this confirms that the market seems to have softened in the last 4 months.
Newly revised plans for the USCG’s new headquarters buildings at Saint Elizabeth’s West Campus recieved a strong encouragement from the Federal Board responsible for supporting the integration of Federal Facilities into local communities. The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) recently reviewed and gave a strong endoresment for the USCG’s new “green” office buildings as well as the accompanying parking Garage.
Some board members almost gushed over the designs and their striving for Leed’s Gold certification and the incorporation of green roofs and walls in the project. One of the most significant changes in the designs was the significant lowering of the parking garage so as to reduce its visibility from D.C. proper.
While NCPC is expecting a “revised” road access plan (which is expected to run over U.S. Park Service lands) for the campus, they were also happy to see that the existing cementry on the West Campus of Saint Elizabeth’s is now going to be included within the USCG campus.
Just wanted to get you an update on the stats for the month of December 2009 here in the greater D.C. market. I know we are all just settling back down after a busy holiday season, but lets see how the housing tax credit impact showed in December after making a significant impact this summer and fall. We can get you more detailed results by zip code if you want to drill down in our local areas from the Metro wide report. As you can see the typical seasonal drop off in homes on the market is evident in the current inventory for sale numbers.
Just got a piece on CNBC regarding the latest news on the HAMP program for offering homeowners in distress an opportunity to modify their defaulted mortgages. The news was a lost worse than many politicians and others had hoped for.
While it is going to probably require another month or two to see the stabilized numbers here is a re-cap (from CNBC report) of the program as of today.
Number of Lenders/Servicers in Program 78
Percentage of Loans they service 85%
Past Due Homeowners 3,000,000
Homeowners Qualified for program 1,000,000
Number Started Modification Trial 759,058
Number Still In Modification Trial 679,026
Number Got Permanent Modification 31,382
Number Failed Modification 30,650
So, what do we have here?? out of 1,000,000 eligible homeowners we have roughly 80,032 that have completed the trial and
31,382 who have successfully modified their mortgage terms or 39%. What makes this seem a little less promising is that since only 1,000,000 out of 3,000,000 qualified we are talking about a projected 13% success rate 1,000,000/3,000.000 equals 33% qualified homeowners of which 39% were successful then 13% of delinquent homeowners have been able to successfully modify their mortgage terms.
I wonder how much costs have been expended to create that less than 1 in 6 result?
The U.S. Treasury department announced a host of new rules this week intended to help jump start sales of homes by homeowners in default on their mortgages in cooperation with their lenders. Short sales occur when lenders agree to accept less than the existing loan balance on houses prior to foreclosures and homeowners will even get $1,500 to help cover their moving costs.
Hopefully this new program might make a difference to Southeast D.C. homeowners unable to sell their homes for a price able to payoff their existing mortgages. Many recent sales in Anacostia and he RiverEast area have been to lenders foreclosing at a price equal to the outstanding mortgage balance and higher than the market price.
This new program is for homeowners who don’t have the income or debt levels to qualify for a loan modification under the Obama administration’s $75 billion Making Home Affordable program.
One of the most significant aspects of the new program is that it sets a standard process and documents, and cash incentives for participation.
Short sales minimize the damage to the borrowers’ credit record and help lenders avoid or reduce the cost of foreclosure.
Some of the important specific requirements are as possible:
1. Must be primary residence
2. Must be either delinguent or likely to default
3. Loan must be less than $729,750 and have been closed before January 1, 2009
4. Monthly mortgage payment must exceed percent of their before-tax income.
It is the Treasury’s objective that this new program will expedite the process between lenders, real estate agents, buyers and sellers. Many real estate firms and agents (like Redfin) refuse to work on Short Sales because they are so time consuming and rarely successful.
Big news to hear that loan defaults at the FHA have continued to grow and consequently the FHA’s financial strength has continued to weaken at the same time. Why is this important to home buyers hoping to take advantage of the Federal Home buyers tax credit program? While there is a pretty wide range of different estimates on the use of FHA financing by new home buyers (depending upon what time period one is talking about) there is no denying that the FHA’s low down payment programs are being used by a large majority of new home buyers who are likely to take advantage of the tax credit program extension.
Expectations are that the Feds will “re-capitalize” the FHA eventually to restore its financial base. In the meantime, if you are thinking of buying a home in the Anacostia area in the next 6 months it is probably a good idea to take advantage of the typical holiday season slow down in buyers and move while FHA financing is available.
Listings prices in Southeast D.C. seem to be nearing a “bottom” as banks clear out REO’s and negotiate short sales, while a buyer might wait and get a little bit better price, the current long term interest rates should clearly out weigh the possibility of getting another 5-10% drop in prices. Figure it out, on a $200,000 home you get a eight thousand dollar tax credit and you can currently “lock in” a rate in the 5% range, the tax credit and the interest savings on a190K+ mortgage are going to be far greater than the potential savings you “might” get if the market drops a little bit more.
Electrical Marketing has a new article this last week announcing the awarding of a major contract on the U.S.C.G. Headquarters project for electrical services.
The award was to Dnyalectric part of EMCOR Group, Inc of Connecticut. It is great to see that DHS is progressing with their development of the 1,300,000 SF new headquarters building for the United States Coast Guard Headquarters. Work commenced last month and hopefully the hiring of local workers will start to make a dent in the very high unemployment rate here in Wards 7 & 8.
Some great news on the housing front today! The U.S. Senate approved a bill extending the housing tax credit till April 30th next spring and they also provided for current home owners (those owning their home for at least 5 years) to also be eligible for a slightly reduced tax credit on the purchase of a new home in the same time period.
I was speaking with some title folks today, and they were mentioning just how much the closings had slowed down in the last week after a tremendous summer fall activity level. I am sure everyone in the real estate industry is releived that the program has been credit, and especially that the senate bill should also increase the demand for “move up” purchasers (we all know how weak that market has been!) and hopefully move the housing recovery into that price range as well.
The house is apparently not far behind on this extension and some feel President Obama could be signing this into law before the end of the month.
We are going to need all the help we can get in 2010 in housing with no end in sight for rising unemployment, thankfully the politicians realize how critical a stable housing market is to our economy.