Move My Realty - Real Estate News

Aug. 9 update

August 9th, 2007 11:30 AM by Ron Mastrodonato

Progress for NAR-Backed Terrorism Insurance Bill
Reauthorization of the federal government’s terrorism risk insurance program will help maintain a strong commercial real estate market and the health of the nation’s economy, says the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

The present terrorism insurance is set to expire at the end of this year. NAR, which has long supported the Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision Extension Act, commended the passage of H.R. 2761 by the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.

“If the legislation is not implemented quickly, the potential unavailability of terrorism risk insurance would have a great impact on many commercial financing agreements and would negatively impact the commercial real estate market,” says NAR President Pat V. Combs.

If approved by the Senate after its summer recess, the bill would extend for 15 years the terrorism insurance program that was initiated after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The program makes coverage available for nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attacks; requires the Treasury Department to report on the terrorism insurance market every two years, including an analysis of terrorism insurance pricing impacts on commercial real estate; and establishes a blue ribbon commission tasked with recommending a long-term private market solution.

“Today’s vote recognizes that since Congress enacted the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act in 2002, the essential facts have not changed,” Combs says. “Terrorism continues to be an unpredictable threat. The reauthorization of TRIA will strengthen the economic security of the commercial real estate market by reducing the uncertainty of terrorism coverage availability, and by covering most conceivable forms of terrorist activity.”

Earlier in the year, NAR testified that the “proper” long-term solution should focus on what private markets have been unwilling or unable to do.

“The ideal solution must enable businesses to purchase insurance for the most catastrophic conventional terrorism risks; provide adequate insurance capacity in all major commercial real estate markets, particularly in high-risk, urban areas; and provide meaningful insurance against the so-called NBCR risks,” Combs says. “We believe this bill does that.”

REALTOR Magazine Online


Home Values for the Top 20 Markets
The annual growth rate in prices of existing single family homes across the United States continued to decline for the 18th consecutive month in May, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

Overall, the top 20 cities in the index declined 2.8 percent year-over-year, although five of the cities showed increases.

Cities measured by the index where values have increased in the 12 months are Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Portland, and Seattle. Detroit continues to lead the metro areas in growth rate declines, down 11.1 percent from a year ago.

Here are the top 20 metropolitan areas and the percent of change in their real estate values over the last year:

  • Atlanta: 1.7 percent
  • Boston: -4.3 percent
  • Charlotte: 7 percent
  • Chicago: -0.6 percent
  • Cleveland: -2.8 percent
  • Dallas: 1.8 percent
  • Denver: -1.4 percent
  • Detroit: -11.1 percent
  • Las Vegas: -4.1 percent
  • Los Angeles: -3.3 percent
  • Miami: -3.3 percent
  • Minneapolis: -3.5 percent
  • New York: -2.3 percent
  • Phoenix: -5.5 percent
  • Portland: 5.7 percent
  • San Diego: -7 percent
  • San Francisco: -3.4 percent
  • Seattle: 9.1 percent
  • Tampa: -6.7 percent
  • Washington, D.C.: -6.3 percent

— REALTOR® Magazine Online


New York Offers At-Risk Borrowers Mortgage Relief
The mortgage industry has teamed up with the state of New York to establish a $100 million fund to help home owners who are facing foreclosure to refinance into more suitable loans.

The "Keep the Dream" program, which is administered by the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA), is targeting borrowers with risky, interest-only adjustable-rate loans and will give them an opportunity to obtain new 30- and 40-year fixed terms.

The program — which is expected to provide relief for 500 to 700 families — offers 100 percent financing, has income and loan value restrictions, and requires participants to take a home owners education course.

"We want borrowers to understand the risks and responsibilities of owning a home," says Marian Zucker, executive vice president of SONYMA.

Source: Buffalo News (07/30/07)


Survey: Borrowers Say Lenders Are Less Patient Today
Lenders are less accommodating to mortgage customers who pay late than they were in 2006, according to a consumer survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

The survey measured customer satisfaction with their mortgages company based on four primary areas: the administration of the customer's account, the billing process, the payment process, and the process of contacting the mortgage servicer.

The study determined that mortgage companies are more flexible in rescheduling payments than they were a year ago, but are less likely to be understanding or patient when customers pay late.

The 2007 Primary Mortgage Servicer Study is based on responses from 11,481 home owners regarding their experiences with their primary mortgage servicer. The study was fielded in three waves in November 2006, February 2007, and May 2007.

Here are the 10 mortgage companies that scored highest, based on a 1,000-point scale:

  1. BB&T (Branch Banking and Trust), 860
  2. M & T Mortgage, 828
  3. Citizens Bank, 825
  4. Countrywide Home Loans, 824
  5. SunTrust Mortgage, 822
  6. First Horizon Home Loans, 818
  7. Wells Fargo, 817
  8. GMAC Mortgage, 816
  9. Regions Mortgage, 807
  10. CitiMortgage, 805

REALTOR® Magazine Online



Posted in:General
Posted by Ron Mastrodonato on August 9th, 2007 11:30 AM


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