Fixed rates stable, ARM rates up on Fed uncertainty

Fixed rates stable, ARM rates up on Fed uncertainty
Freddie Mac reports that rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.45 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending June 26, up from 6.42 percent last week but down from 6.67 percent a year ago. The rate was the highest since Aug. 23, 2007, when it averaged 6.52 percent. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.04 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from 6.02 percent last week but down from 6.34 percent a year ago.

Fixed-rate mortgages remained stable this week while adjustable-rate mortgages rose slightly due to uncertainty about this week’s Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meeting, Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said.

Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) averaged 5.99 percent, with an average 0.7 point, up from 5.89 percent a week ago but down from 6.30 percent a year ago. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs averaged 5.27 percent, up from 5.19 percent a week ago but down from 5.65 percent a year ago.

Foreclosures, short sales boost existing-home sales
Sales of existing homes picked up 2 percent from April to May to an annual rate of 4.99 million units as the median home price for all housing types fell 6.3 percent from a year ago to $208,600, the National Association of Realtors reports.

"Foreclosures and short sales appear to be a larger part of the market, particularly in California, and are creating a drag on current home prices." NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. In the West, the median home price was down 16 percent from a year ago, to $286,600. The median price slipped 2.4 percent in the Northeast, to $278,000; 4.3 percent in the South, to $175,000; and 0.7 percent in the Midwest, to $165,300.

While the rate of sales picked up nationwide from April to May, they were down 15.9 percent from a year ago, when homes were selling at an annual rate of 5.93 million units. Condos and co-op sales picked up 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units, but were down 24.6 percent from a year ago. By region, existing-home sales were up 5.5 percent in the Midwest from April to May, 4.6 percent in the Northeast, and 2 percent in the West. Sales slipped 0.5 percent in the South.

More California homes sell in May, but at lower prices
A report released Wednesday by the California Association of Realtors showed that while home sales in the state rose in May from their year-ago level the median price of an existing home fell sharply.

The median price of an existing, single-family detached home plummeted 35.3 percent between May 2007 and May 2008 — from $594,530 to $384,840 — and was down 4.7 percent from April’s median of $403,870.

Sales of existing, single-family detached homes climbed to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 423,700, up 18.1 percent from the revised 358,640 sales pace recorded in May 2007. The sales figure represents what the total number of homes sold during 2008 would be if sales maintained the May pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

"Home sales exceeded 400,000 last month for the first time since early 2007," C.A.R. President William E. Brown said in a news release. "While this is a welcome sign for the market, it was due in part to the large share of distressed homes for sale in many parts of the state."

Senate puts off vote on FHA expansion plan
The Senate has put off debate of a bill that aims to expand FHA loan guarantee programs by $300 billion and create a new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until after the July 4 holiday, after a failed attempt by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., to attach an amendment providing tax breaks for renewable energy, Bloomberg reports. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said the amendment would have jeopardized the bill’s chances in the House.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that about 400,000 troubled borrowers might take advantage of the opportunity to refinance into FHA-backed loans if Congress passes the "Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008" over the objections of the Bush administration.

Three Oklahoma brokerages merge
In what’s being billed as the largest real estate merger in the state’s history, three Oklahoma brokerages are merging into a single company, Coldwell Banker Select, with 20 offices and 700 agents. The three firms involved in the merger are Tulsa Coldwell Banker Rader Group, Terry Gartside Realtors and Marolyn Pryor Realtors.

Sam Rader, chairman of the board of the newly created company, said he expects Coldwell Banker Select to reach $1 billion in sales in 2008. Rader’s company, Coldwell Banker Rader Group, has 420 sales agents and a staff of 50 with offices in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Claremore Owasso, Skiatook and Sand Springs. Gartside has 70 agents and offices in Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Jenks and Glenpool. Marolyn Pryor Realtors has a sales staff of more than 125 people with offices in Oklahoma City, Yukon, Mustang, Tuttle and Moore.

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