Another sign economic recovery – Santa Monica Real Estate News

The home ownership rate is no longer falling…

It remained unchanged from the previous quarter, standing at 65.5 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported. A year ago, the home ownership rate stood at 66.3 percent. The home ownership rate is still far from its 70 percent peak during the housing boom. The rate started to drop soon after as the number of foreclosures began to soar, yet foreclosures are starting to slow. The Commerce Department reported in late October that the home owner vacancy rate dropped to 1.9 percent in the third quarter — the lowest rate recorded. “Some industry watchers expect the home ownership rate to increase again as consumers take advantage of depressed housing prices — down by a third or more nationwide — and interest rates that have made owning a home cheaper than renting in many markets,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it has reached a major milestone: It has guaranteed 20 million home loans since launching its loan program in 1944. “The 20 millionth VA home loan is a major milestone and is a testament to VA’s commitment to support and enhance the lives of Veterans, Service members, their families and survivors,” says Allison A. Hickey, VA’s undersecretary for Benefits. “As a result of their service and sacrifice, as a group, they prove to be disciplined, reliable, and honorable—traits that are ideal for this kind of national investment.” VA loans, which tend to boast low financing costs for home ownership, are available for eligible veterans, service members, and surviving spouses. The VA program has continued to grow, particularly in the last five years, due to its low interest rates. Loans for purchases have jumped 71 percent and loans for refinancings are up 20 times in that period. The Department of Veterans Affairs boasts the lowest foreclosure rate for the past 17 quarters. It also has had the lowest delinquency rate for the past 14 quarters on its loans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Source: The Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Foreclosures continue to fall as the number of short sales inch up, according to CoreLogic’s National Foreclosure Report for September. “The continuing downward trend in foreclosures along with a gradual clearing of the shadow inventory are signs of stabilization and improvement in the housing market,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Increasingly improving market conditions and industry and government policy are allowing distressed home owners to pursue refinancing, loan modifications, or short sales rather than foreclosures.” CoreLogic reports that 57,000 foreclosures were completed in September, down from 83,000 in September 2011. Still, from 2000 and 2006, foreclosures for a more ba! lanced m arket averaged about 21,000 per month — so today’s numbers still remain elevated. Homes lost to foreclosure in September are down about 50 percent since peaking September 2010. Foreclosures are also down 22 percent compared to the beginning of the year, says Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist. “While there is significant progress to be made before returning to pre-crisis levels, the trend is in the right direction as short sales, up 27 percent year over year in August, continue to gain popularity,” Fleming notes. Source: Core Logic

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