Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Help More than 2.3 Million Homeowners Keep their Homes

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed more than 130,000 foreclosure prevention actions during the first quarter of 2013, bringing the total foreclosure prevention actions to nearly 2.8 million since the start of conservatorship in 2008. These actions have helped more than 2.3 million borrowers stay in their homes, including nearly 1.4 million who received permanent loan modifications. The results are detailed in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s first quarter 2013 Foreclosure Prevention Report, also known as the Federal Property Manager’s Report.

The quarterly report has information on state delinquencies and an updated, interactive Borrower Assistance Map for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, with information on delinquencies, foreclosure prevention activities and Real Estate Owned (REO) properties.

Also noted in the report:
  • Serious delinquency rates dropped from 3.3 to 3.0 percent at the end of the quarter.
  • The number of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers who are more than 60 days delinquent declined 11 percent in the first quarter to the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009.
  • Half of troubled borrowers who received permanent loan modifications in the first quarter had their monthly payments reduced by more than 30 percent.
  • More than one-third of loan modifications completed in the first quarter included principal forbearance.
  • Over 30,000 short sales and deeds-in-lieu were completed in the first quarter, bringing the total to more than 476,000 since the start of conservatorship.
  • Third-party sales and foreclosure sales continued a downward trend in the first quarter while foreclosure starts increased.
  • A new streamlined modification initiative, announced during the first quarter, will take effect on July 1. Although numbers are not available yet, the program is expected to help eligible homeowners who have missed at least three monthly payments modify their mortgage by eliminating administrative barriers associated with document collection and evaluation.
Click here to read the full report at

Foreclosures continue to decline

Foreclosures continued to decline in September according to RealtyTrac's foreclosure report.  In South Carolina, one in 820 homes were in foreclosure proceedings, down 27 percent from last year.  None-the-less, South Carolina ranked 10 in the national in foreclosures.

  • Greenville: one in 603 homes were in foreclosure, down 17 percent
  • Spartanburg: one in 581 homes were in foreclosure, up 5 percent
  • Anderson: one in 1,042 homes were in foreclosure, down 49 percent
Read more at by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

South Carolina ranked 37 among states for business tax climate

According to the State Business Tax Climate Index, published by the Tax Foundation, South Carolina is 37 in the nation in Business Tax Climate.  Factors include corporate tax (No. 10), individual income tax (No. 40), sales tax (No. 22), unemployment tax (No. 30), and property tax (No. 21).

The top five states are, from one to five, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, and Florida.  The bottom five states are, from 46 to 50, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California, New Jersey, and New York.

Read the rest of the report at GSA Business by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NAHB: Shortage of Lots Slows Housing Recovery

A shortage of buildable lots, especially in the most desirable locations, has emerged as one of the key factors holding back a more robust housing recovery, according to the latest survey on the topic conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“In our August 2013 survey, 59 percent of builders reported that the supply of lots in their markets was low or very low—up from 43 percent September of last year, and the largest low supply percentage we’ve seen since we began conducting these surveys in 1997,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “One reason is that many residential developers left the industry, abandoned certain markets or simply stopped buying land and developing lots during the downturn.”

The 59 percent includes 39 percent who characterized the supply of lots simply as “low” and 20 percent who said the supply of lots was “very low.” Another 22 percent said the supply of lots was “normal,” 10 percent said it was “high” and four percent said “very high.” Six percent said they didn’t know or weren’t sure.

The survey found that lot shortages tended to be especially acute in the most desirable, or “A,” locations. Thirty-four percent of builders said that the supply of A lots was very low, compared to 18 percent for lots in B and 12 percent for lots in C locations.
The shortages have also translated into higher prices for builders who are able to obtain developed lots to build on. In the same survey, 34 percent of home builders said the price of developed A lots was somewhat higher than it was a year ago, and 26 percent said the price was substantially higher. In comparison, 15 percent of builders said the price of B lots was substantially higher than a year ago, and 11 percent said the price of C lots was substantially higher. Ultimately, higher lot prices are passed on to buyers in the form of higher house prices.

The shortage of buildable lots has emerged against the backdrop of a housing recovery that is still modest by historical standards. To this point, housing starts have recovered from a low of 550,000 in 2009 to an annual rate of just fewer than 900,000 in the Census Bureau’s latest release. Historically, starts averaged more than 1.5 million a year from 1960-2000, without ever plunging below 1 million until 2008.

“There is still a substantial pent-up demand for housing waiting to be unleashed as the overall economy and labor situation improves,” said Crowe. “Lot shortages are one of several barriers that have arisen, restraining builders from responding completely to increased demand. Other barriers include a shortage of labor in carpentry and other key building trades, limited availability of loans even for credit worthy home builders and home buyers; and, more recently, an uptick in interest rates.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Member Advantage saves members $3.4 million in just 6 months

Did you know the Member Advantage program saved HBA members nationwide $3.4 million in the first half of this year alone? Member Advantage gives members an easy way to reduce expenses, maximize profits and increase efficiency. Through agreements with leading national companies, NAHB offers exclusive discounts on a variety of products and services that can benefit your business, employees and family. Read all about it right here, and get much more great information about the value of your NAHB membership in this handy resource.