HUD Tightens Loan Standards

In Eugene, as in the rest of the nation, lending standards for HUD insured loans—an increasingly popular option for home buyers—are becoming stricter.  The following changes are scheduled or planned to occur this year:

  • Increased mortgage insurance premium—beginning mid-April, the rate will be 2.25%, up from 1.75%

  • Increased down-payment (10% vs. 3.5%) for borrowers with a FICO less than 580

  • Reduction of seller concessions from 3% from 6%

These changes will make it harder for some borrowers to get loans, and will soften demand, somewhat, for house purchases.  However, at least the changes aren’t too drastic.


HUD loans are a bright spot in a thorny lending environment.


Housing Prices Close To Bottom

Experts are saying the prices for houses are close to the bottom—meaning price increases are just around the corner.  And, houses are becoming increasingly affordable.  Nationally, house prices are less than two-years’ salary.  In Lane County, though they’re still higher than that.

However home ownership is part of the American Dream and the net worth of home owners is some 40-times greater than renters.

Is home ownership in your dreams?

Remodeling and Home Improvement

Remodeling and renovating is another area of the market in Eugene and Springfield that fell on hard times during the Great Recession.  We have bottomed-out though—and business is improving.

While home improvements don’t return dollar for dollar on resale, they still make sense if you plan to stay in the house for a period of time.

Rebuilding the housing market brick by brick.

Significant Source of Lane County Employment Slowly Recovering

The logging and wood products industries are recovering, but slowly.  Both are significant sources of employment in Lane County.  Additionally, the housing market is the chief source of demand for wood products.  Construction of more single-family houses is what’s needed, but building of such homes is at low levels around Eugene Springfield—and nationwide.

Before more new home building can start up, the inventory of existing homes for sale needs to decrease.  In the meantime, it’s a great time to buy.

Mortgage Rates Move Higher As Treasury Yields Increase

Treasury yields have been climbing higher since fall 2010.  As a result, mortgage rates have been moving higher as well—and have topped 5% for the first time in months.   Mortgage rates move in tandem with Treasury yields; specifically 30-year mortgages track 10-year bonds. While rates are currently still near historic lows and very affordable, they are predicted to go up in 2011, perhaps to 6%.

Cause of Housing Crisis: DC

So what caused our housing meltdown, which started in 2007? The short answer is policies from Washington, D.C. As a realtor, I occasionally get heat from people saying that I and my fellow realtors are responsible. Other mistaken villains are builders and bankers. Wall Street’s culpability is somewhat less clear.

Two excellent editorials pin the start of the problem on the 1992 GSE Act, which led to the issuance of more sub-prime loans, which as we all saw, default more. The goal of the act was a greater proportion of home ownership; that may or may not be achieved given the high rate of foreclosures.

So, what’s the eventual outcome? Housing will recover as will the economy. It’s just a question of when.

I recently represented buyers in the purchase of this foreclosed home. We got it for 81K, and from showing to closing it was under a month. If you’re interested in foreclosures in Eugene Springfield, give me a call at 517-6543.

Foreclosures are fallout from the housing crisis.

The Housing Crisis is Over–Wall Street Journal

I love reading old papers–it’s easy to see how even the best minds are occasionally wrong. The WSJ headline was from May 26, 2008. In retrospect, we had a bit farther to fall, and the crisis was just getting started. The editorial predicted the bottom of the housing market was 2008. It seems that we may now be at the bottom of housing prices, a year and a quarter after the article was written. Market timing is very difficult to predict, but there are great buys out there. And, don’t forget about the 8K first time home buyer’s credit.

Figuring out where the bottom is isn't easy.

Figuring out where the bottom is isn't easy.