Real Estate Archives

Home Buyers Still in the Dark About Buying Process

Home Buyers Still in the Dark About Buying Process-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Despite widespread volatility within the housing market and five consecutive years of home value declines, more than two in five (42 percent) of polled prospective home buyers believe home values typically appreciate by 7 percent a year, according to a recent survey by leading real estate information marketplace Zillow (NASDAQ: Z).

This is an unrealistic expectation as, historically, home values in a normal market tend to appreciate by 2-5 percent a year. (1)

Zillow, with Ipsos®, surveyed prospective home buyers (2), asking basic questions about the home buying process.

Despite the unrealistic expectations about home value appreciation, prospective home buyer respondents seem fairly knowledgeable about the home buying process, answering questions correctly more than half the time (65 percent). However, several important parts of the process confused them.  Two in five (41 percent) buyers think they are required to buy private mortgage insurance (PMI) regardless of the amount of their down payment.  In fact, lenders typically require PMI only when buyers are putting down less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price.

Additionally, more than half of prospective home buyers who were polled confuse appraisals and inspections.  Fifty-six percent said the purpose of an appraisal was to determine if the home is in good condition, when in fact that is the purpose of an inspection.

“It’s troubling that we’re still in the midst of one of the worst housing recessions in history, and yet prospective buyers continue to have such high expectations for home value appreciation,” said Dr. Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. “It’s great that buyers seem to have a fairly solid grasp of the home-buying process, but since this is one of the biggest financial decisions of most people’s lives, it’s even more important that they understand how that investment will appreciate after they sign the papers. Over-estimation of the appreciation potential will lead many to buy real estate when the time in which they plan to live in the house may make renting a better strategy.”

Additional Survey Findings

  • More than one-third (37 percent) of prospective home buyer respondents believe buying homeowner’s insurance is optional.  In reality, lenders require that borrowers purchase homeowner’s insurance. This insurance protects the lender. If catastrophe strikes, the mortgage will be repaid from the insurance proceeds.
  • Nearly half of polled prospective home buyers in the study do not understand when they will actually own the home they intend to buy. Forty-seven percent said a prospective buyer owns a home after the purchase contract is signed.  The purchase and sales agreement merely kicks off the closing phase, which can be a lengthy process.
  • The majority (87 percent) of polled prospective home buyers know that closing costs are negotiable and can vary by bank and lender. Lender fees, like loan-origination fees, administrative costs and other clerical fees, are typically the most negotiable in the home buying process.

 

Interactive Online Quiz and Resources Available

An online version of the Zillow survey, the “Buyer IQ Quiz,” is available at http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-rates/buyer-iq-quiz/ and contains the correct answers. Following the quiz, participants are given a score and resources to learn more about the home-buying process.

About Zillow, Inc.

Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) is the leading real estate information marketplace, providing vital information about homes, real estate listings and mortgages through its website and mobile applications, enabling homeowners, buyers, sellers and renters to connect with real estate and mortgage professionals best suited to meet their needs. More than 24 million unique users visited Zillow’s websites and mobile applications in September 2011. Zillow, Inc. operates Zillow.com®, Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, Zillow Mobile and Postlets®. The company is headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow, Zillow.com and Postlets are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

Ipsos is a registered trademark of Ipsos S.A.

(1)Over the period from 1890 to 2006, the average annual growth in home values was 3.7%.  Source: Irrational Exuberance by Robert Shiller (Princeton University Press 2000, Broadway Books 2001, 2nd edition, 2005)

(2) These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted August 31-September 1, 2011.  For the survey, a national sample of 1,012 adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S. was interviewed via Ipsos’ U.S. online omnibus.  Among them, 177 reported that they plan to buy a home within the next 3 years, which qualifies them as “prospective home buyers.”  A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 1,012 and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled.  The margin of error for a subgrouping of the survey population of 177 individuals would be +/-7.4.  These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

CONTACT: Jill Simmons, Zillow.com, +1-206-757-2794, press@zillow.com

Web Site: http://www.Zillow.com

Secondary Mortgage Market Bill Supported by NAR

Secondary Mortgage Market Bill Supported by NAR

Secondary Mortgage Market Bill Supported by NAR-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Owning a home has had long-standing government support in the U.S. because homeownership benefits individuals and families, strengthens communities, and is integral to the nation’s economy, the National Association of Realtors® said in testimony today.

NAR President-Elect Moe Veissi outlined the association’s recommendations for housing finance reform before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.

“We must be better stewards of the U.S. housing finance system if it is to thrive and effectively serve American home buyers and mortgage investors into the future,” said Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “Repairs to our current housing finance structure must be made, but we must be careful that changes to the system do not come at the expense of homeownership opportunities for middle- and lower income Americans.”

Toward that end, NAR supports H.R. 2413, the “Secondary Market Facility for Residential Mortgage Act of 2011,” introduced by Reps. Gary Miller, R-Calif., and Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y.

“H.R. 2413 offers a comprehensive strategy for reforming the secondary mortgage market and gives the federal government a continued role to ensure a consistent flow of mortgage credit in all markets and all economic conditions,” said Veissi. “Moreover, it supports the use of long-term fixed-rate mortgage products.”

Veissi testified that full privatization of the secondary mortgage market would all but eliminate products like the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and that mortgage interest rates would be unnecessarily higher and unaffordable for many Americans, shutting otherwise qualified buyers out of the market.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the bedrock of the U.S housing finance system, and without government support, there’s no evidence that this type of mortgage would continue to exist,” said Veissi. “Private firms’ business strategies would focus on optimizing their profits, creating mortgage products that are more aligned with the goals of their business than in the best interests of the nation’s housing policy or consumers.”

Veissi said that while the size of the government’s participation in housing finance should decrease if private capital is to return to the market and function properly, the federal government must have a continued role in the secondary mortgage market to avoid losing long-term, fixed-rate mortgage products and keep borrowing costs affordable for consumers.

“Continuing government participation in the secondary mortgage market is critical to ensuring that qualified home buyers can obtain safe and sound mortgage financing products even during market downturns, when private entities have historically pulled back,” Veissi said.

Recent reductions to the conforming loan limits by the federal government are already having an impact on mortgage liquidity according to early data from an NAR survey, which found that consumers who are now above the new lower conventional conforming loan limit are experiencing significantly higher interest rates and the need for substantially larger down payments.

Veissi said that the housing and economic recoveries have been slow and that activities that force economic activity to be constricted further should be resisted.

“For hundreds of years, this country has understood the value of homeownership because it helps families build wealth, supports community stability and contributes to our economy. We need to make sure that future housing policies continue to reinforce our long-standing value of homeownership, for the future of our families and our country,” said Veissi.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Foreclosure Crisis Black Magic Report Released

Foreclosure Crisis Black Magic Report Released

Foreclosure Crisis Black Magic Report Released-Image via Wikipedia

Occupy Wall Street adds another exhibit to the Wall Street Hall of Shame and call it Deconstructing the Black Magic of Securitized Trusts by Oppenheim Law’s foreclosure defense team Roy Oppenheim and Jacquelyn Trask-Rahn.

The banks must be held accountable for their conduct on all levels

The Black Magic article will be published in Stetson Law Review’s Spring 2012 issue and is posted on OppenheimLaw.com. In the article the attorneys analyze the continued failure of the banks to follow the rules, and how their fraudulent documentation involving millions of foreclosures opened the door on an even larger scandal regarding the improper securitization of “mortgage-backed” securities, that were never mortgage-backed. The article chastises a court system that has become a private collection agency for the banks, and which has seen the practice of “lore” rather than law as rules of evidence and civil procedure are blatantly disregarded in order to promote expediency rather than protecting the due process and property rights of homeowners.

The article calls for members of the legal community and implores them to protect the integrity of the judicial system through the foreclosure epidemic: “The judicial system was never meant to be evaluated by how swift justice could be dispensed or by how quickly a particular judge could dispose of cases on his or her docket. As officers of the court, both judges and attorneys are responsible for protecting the integrity of the system, ensuring that the system is never compromised solely for financial expediency.”

Going viral with corporate greed and systematic fraud

Legal documents don’t typically go viral, but this article caught the attention of highly influential consumer advocates and bloggers such as April Charney and Neil Garfield, who both commented on the article.

“Exceptionally well written and I am looking forward to these authors going forward to tackle the negotiable/non-negotiable debate raging right now …,” consumer advocate and attorney April Charney said in an email to legal peers.

Charney is an attorney with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and has been called the “Angel of Foreclosure Defense.” She has been at the forefront of the legal fight against home foreclosures in America.

“Explicitly articulates the basic problem with foreclosures today as well as providing insight into the changing mortgage approval process,” noted Garfield on his highly trafficked website Livinglies. “The authors clearly explain how the system was rigged to provide the appearance of passive entities to avoid tax consequences and in so doing ignored basic requirements of substantive law.” Garfield stated that the article “is balanced and … should be used as an authoritative treatise in memos to the Court.”

Are banks too large to be governed and too big to be caught?

In fact, the article has gone viral due in large part to the notion by a growing segment of the population that the banks have become too large for government to control. “We pinpoint how securitized trusts are emblematic of the problems inherent in the whole system, ranging from robo-signers to fraud-closure,” said award-winning blogger and real estate attorney Oppenheim.

Homeowners finally have a fighting chance in court

The other reason that the article has gone viral is that the court system is finally paying attention to the fact that there are real defenses available to homeowners. Homeowners are now in a better position to bring a defense and fight the banks rather than just walking away. Further, when they fight, they become part of the overall protest movement.

When Oppenheim was asked what should be done with the conclusions drawn from the article, he said, “It’s simple! Like all people the banks must be held accountable for their conduct on all levels. Management must go and the owners and bondholders must be responsible for allowing management to run amuck. Finally, the banks have proven to be too big and powerful to be adequately regulated and governed, taking on the illusion of being a fourth branch of our government. To restore true capitalism and democracy, they must be broken up. It’s just plain common sense!

For a copy of the executive summary or full article submitted to Stetson Law Review, the online versions of the full article are available on OppenheimLaw.com or the Executive Summary on the South Florida Law Blog at http://southfloridalawblog.com/2011/10/25/executive-summary-deconstructing-the-black-magic-of-securitized-trusts/

Oppenheim Law
2500 Weston Rd Ste 404
Weston FL 33331
954-384-6114

Contact:

Lisa Buyer
954-354-1411 x 14

Web Site: http://www.oppenheimlaw.com

Foreclosure Rate Climbs Again

Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS), a leading provider of integrated technology, data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries, reports the following “first look” at September 2011 month-end mortgage performance statistics derived from its loan-level database of nearly 40 million mortgage loans.

Total U.S. loan delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure): 8.09%
        Month-over-month change in delinquency rate: -0.5%
        Year-over-year change in delinquency rate: -12.7%
Total U.S. foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate: 4.18%
         Month-over-month change in foreclosure presale inventory rate: 1.7%
         Year-over-year change in foreclosure presale inventory rate: 8.9%
Number of properties that are 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure: (A) 4,202,000
Number of properties that are 90 or more days delinquent, but not in foreclosure: 1,844,000
Number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory: (B) 2,172,000
Number of properties that are 30 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure:  (A+B) 6,373,000
States with highest percentage of non-current* loans: FL, MS, NV, NJ, IL
States with the lowest percentage of non-current* loans: MT, AK, WY, SD, ND

 

*Non-current totals combine foreclosures and delinquencies as a percent of active loans in that state.

Notes:

(1)  Totals are extrapolated based on LPS Applied Analytics’ loan-level database of mortgage assets

(2)  All whole numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand

The company will provide a more in-depth review of this data in its monthly Mortgage Monitor report, which includes an analysis of data supplemented by in-depth charts and graphs that reflect trend and point-in-time observations. The Mortgage Monitor report will be available on LPS’ Web site, http://www.lpsvcs.com/NEWSROOM/INDUSTRYDATA/Pages/default.aspx, on October 27, 2011.

For more information about gaining access to LPS’ loan-level database, please send an e-mail to LPSAAsales@lpsvcs.com.

About Lender Processing Services

Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) is a leading provider of integrated technology, services and mortgage performance data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries. LPS offers solutions that span the mortgage continuum, including lead generation, origination, servicing, workflow automation (Desktop®), portfolio retention and default, augmented by the company’s award-winning customer support and professional services. Approximately 50 percent of all U.S. mortgages by dollar volume are serviced using LPS’ Mortgage Servicing Package (MSP). LPS also offers proprietary mortgage and real estate data and analytics for the mortgage and capital markets industries. For more information about LPS, visit www.lpsvcs.com.

CONTACT: Media, Michelle Kersch, +1-904-854-5043, Michelle.kersch@lpsvcs.com, or Investor, LPS Investor Relations, +1-904-854-5086, investor@lpsvcs.com

Web Site: http://www.lpsvcs.com

Foreclosure and Mortgage Trends Revealed in New Report

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CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), a leading provider of information, analytics and business services, today released its U.S. Housing and Mortgage Trends, a report that provides data on housing sales, valuation, negative equity, shadow inventory and foreclosure activity and trends.  The latest trends report from CoreLogic shows that homeownership rates for the 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 prime homebuyer age cohorts are down almost 10 percent in 2010 compared to 1980.  The report also shows:

  • Real median income for prime home-buying age segment in 2010 was at the same level as in the late 1970s.
  • Median income fell by 2.3 percent from 2009 to 2010, and real median income has declined more than 7 percent since its peak in 1999.
  • Consumers continue to allocate a higher share of household expenditures to housing, which means they have less money left to spend on non-housing consumption.
  • Of the foreclosure properties that were auctioned in 2006, 66 percent became REO properties. Once in REO, 85 percent have only sold once and have not gone back into REO.
  • The REO recidivism rate within five years of the initial REO sale is only 2 percent.
  • Investors have shifted from buying properties at foreclosure auction to buying properties at the REO sale, increasing the burden of losses on the banks holding REO properties.

The full CoreLogic U.S. Housing and Mortgage Trends report is available at http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/researchtrends/us-housing-and-mortgage-trends.aspx

About CoreLogic

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading provider of consumer, financial and property information, analytics and services to business and government. The company combines public, contributory and proprietary data to develop predictive decision analytics and provide business services that bring dynamic insight and transparency to the markets it serves. CoreLogic has built the largest U.S. real estate, mortgage application, fraud, and loan performance databases and is a recognized leading provider of mortgage and automotive credit reporting, property tax, valuation, flood determination, and geospatial analytics and services. More than one million users rely on CoreLogic to assess risk, support underwriting, investment and marketing decisions, prevent fraud, and improve business performance in their daily operations.  The company, headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., has more than 6,500 employees globally with 2010 revenues of $1.6 billion.  For more information visit www.corelogic.com

CORELOGIC and the stylized CoreLogic logo, are registered trademarks owned by CoreLogic, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. No trademark of CoreLogic shall be used without the express written consent of CoreLogic.

CONTACT: real estate industry and trade media, Bill Campbell, +1-212-995-8057 (office), +1-917-328-6539 (mobile), bill@campbelllewis.com, or general news media, Jordan Hassin, +1-202-232-6601, jhassin@crosbyvolmer.com, both for CoreLogic

Web Site: http://www.corelogic.com

Mortgage Lender Expanding Operations with High Expectations for 2012

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America’s Most Convenient Bank to expand mortgage processing staff, majority to be based in South Carolina

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, will hire 87 employees to support its mortgage operations growth from Maine to Florida.  Fifty of these roles will be based at the bank’s Lexington, South Carolina loan center. The other 37 positions will be spread across the footprint.

These positions will encompass every aspect of mortgage operations, including loan processing, appraisals, underwriting, and customer care.  The roles will support the bank’s mortgage operations throughout its footprint.

“Expanding our mortgage team ensures that TD Bank will continue providing our customers with legendary service and hassle-free lending as our mortgage business continues to grow in 2012,” said Mike Copley, Executive Vice President, Retail Lending, TD Bank. “We are expanding our mortgage lending capabilities thanks to the strength of our credit rating, our commitment to portfolio lending, and the high performance of our employees.”

TD Bank is committed to providing a transparent mortgage procedure, providing consumers with what they need to know to turn a house into a home. TD’s hassle-free mortgage application with no hidden fees makes purchasing a home as smooth and worry free as possible. TD Bank’s loan origination strategy is focused on providing customers with simple products that are easy to understand and conveniently accessible through various channels.  TD offers a simplified product set including FHA and jumbo loans at competitive interest rates with a WOW! customer service experience.

To learn more about TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, stop by a store, visit us at www.tdbank.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/TDMoneyLoungeUS and www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.

About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank

TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 7.4 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,275 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized wealth management services through TD Wealth, and insurance products and services through TD Insurance, Inc. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Portland, Maine. To learn more, follow TD Bank on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US or visit www.tdbank.com.

TD Bank is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America and one of the few banks in the world rated Aaa by Moody’s. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD.” To learn more, visit www.td.com.

CONTACT: Erin Potts, +1-856-470-3002, Erin.Potts@td.com

Web Site: http://www.tdbank.com

 

 On September 28, Blu Homes (www.bluhomes.com), a leading designer and manufacturer of beautiful, green, precision-built homes, unfolded a Glidehouse for the first time since unveiling the Company’s updated, more spacious version of the iconic home last year. The two-bedroom, two-bath home, which is located on Vashon Island, Washington, is Energy Star-rated and LEED certifiable. The home also features a 16-foot detached Glidehouse Pod with an extra bedroom and bath.This is the sixth Glidehouse built in Washington state and the second on Vashon Island, which, with its rugged landscape and multitude of organic farms and wineries, is a stunning location for the eco-conscious Glidehouse. Overall, the Glidehouse is a great fit for the Pacific Northwest’s climate and culture.

“We first fell in love with the Glidehouse after seeing it in the pages of Sunset. With its 60-foot ‘wall of glass,’ 14 foot-high ceilings, and abundant clerestory windows we knew this was a house that would allow us to take full advantage of the spectacular views from our lot,” said Rich Mintz, who with his wife Diana, is the owner of the new Glidehouse on Vashon Island. “We’ve waited to build on our land for 30 years, so we wanted our new home to be perfect. In addition to showcasing our breathtaking views, we love the way the home lets in the light and cool breezes, saving on energy costs as well as creating an uplifting living environment.”

Ami McElroy, who has lived in her Seattle-area Glidehouse for the last six years continued, “Even when I’m inside my Glidehouse, I feel like I’m connected to nature. The floor-to-ceiling windows work in harmony with the clerestory windows on the back wall to balance the natural light inside. Even on the grayest Seattle day—and there are plenty of those—it’s light and bright in my house.”

Making a Great Home Even Better

The new Glidehouse is constructed with Blu’s proprietary steel framing, making the home extraordinarily durable, which is particularly important in challenging coastal and marine climates. The steel framing also results in more spacious, light-filled floor plans that are almost 30% wider with 20% higher ceilings than the original. The Glidehouse, like all of Blu’s homes, is now available nationwide and is durable enough to comfortably handle a wide range of challenging weather conditions—from the snow loads of the Rockies and seismic activity on the San Andreas Fault to high winds of the Coasts. Blu’s proprietary building science technology allows its homes to be finished completely and to precision quality in its weather-controlled factory by trained, well-tooled craftsman. The homes are then folded for quick and cost-effective setting on-site.

“We plan to live in this home for the rest of our lives, so we wanted something strong that requires minimal maintenance. The steel framing and engineering behind the construction of the Glidehouse is remarkable for its durability and precision,” said Mintz, who served in the Air Force and then as an engineering manager for Boeing. “Given my engineering background, the cutting-edge technology used in the building and unfolding of our Glidehouse was of great importance to me. That technology also made the building process so much faster than it would have been with an average home, which was a huge draw for us.”

Customers like Mintz begin the Blu homebuilding process by customizing their own homes for free online and in 3-D with Blu’s proprietary Configurator™, which allows users to style, visualize and spend time in their own Blu Home. After selecting from a wide variety of designs, floor plans, interior design ‘palettes’ and appliance packages, homebuyers are able to visualize their new home in real time—all from the comfort of their home or office. Blu then builds each home with precision tooling and trained craftsman in its climate-controlled factory to meet the highest quality construction standards.

After leaving the factory, Blu’s homes are installed on-site in one day and completed in just two weeks by Blu’s teams of craftsmen. This speed and convenience is a result of Blu’s proprietary building science technology, which allows its homes to be folded for quick and cost-effective setting on site. All of this is done at a pre-agreed, fixed cost.

All Blu finishes, fittings, appliances and systems are selected by Blu designers for their leading environmental performance, resulting in healthy and beautiful living spaces and high indoor air quality. Blu homes offer at least 50% energy savings over comparably sized existing homes and include high-end features like luxurious radiant floor heating, Energy Star appliances, low-flow fixtures, an energy recovery ventilation system, sustainably forested flooring, healthy Greenguard finishes for indoor air quality and a roof with a 50-year life.

For more information on Blu Homes go to www.bluhomes.com, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bluhomes) and Twitter (@BluHomes), or email us at build@bluhomes.com.

About Blu Homes
Blu Homes, Inc. is a Massachusetts- and California-based builder of green, architect-designed, and precision-built homes. Blu has built a variety of residential and institutional eco-friendly home designs for families and organizations across the U.S., from New York to the Colorado Mountains and the California Coast. Blu’s proprietary steel framing and building technology allows Blu to build homes that are as strong as they are beautiful and then fold them for quick and cost-effective setting across the continental U.S. and Canada. For more information on Blu Homes, contact build@bluhomes.com, or visit www.bluhomes.com.

 

Buying a Home Shouldn’t be This Hard

Buying a Home Shouldn't be This Hard

Buying a Home Shouldn't be This Hard-Image via Wikipedia

Mortgage rates are low, real estate is at rock-bottom prices and there are plenty of qualified buyers looking for a home; so why is it so difficult to buy a home?

“The biggest challenge facing home buyers is often they don’t know if their mortgage has been approved until a few days before closing,” said David Kent, President, National Buyer’s Agent Alliance.  “This creates stress for buyers as they try to arrange movers and get utilities transferred.” It also affects sellers too because they need to know that the loan will be approved to plan their move out.

One of the results of the banking crisis is that mortgage lenders have become very diligent in their review of mortgages. Understandably, the lender wants to make sure that every loan requirement is reviewed and verified. What makes this especially challenging is that mortgage underwriting guidelines are subject to interpretation. This not only slows down the process, but it can bring it to a grinding halt. The anxiety in the market and the pressure on underwriters to not miss anything has made the home-buying process extremely challenging for even the most qualified buyers.

The difficulty became all too real for one couple trying to purchase a condo in South Carolina. In this case, they thought their closing would proceed as scheduled after being told that their financials had been approved by the underwriter. However, a different underwriter with the same financial institution determined that they needed additional information regarding the condominium association. The information was provided and the buyers again thought they were ready to close. Just prior to their closing date, the buyers were shocked to learn that a mortgage insurance underwriter did not approve the insurance and thus the loan was not approved. Fortunately, their buyer’s agent sent their information to another financial institution where a different underwriter approved the loan and the couple was able to move into their new home. This is not an isolated case. These types of underwriting problems are echoed across the country.

Luckily, “the buyers were fortunate to have an exclusive buyer’s agent, one whose total focus is on the buyer, representing them,” said Kent. To avoid conflicts caused by agents trying to represent both the seller and the buyer and to help buyers overcome the hurdles of mortgage underwriting, the National Buyer’s Agent Alliance helps home buyers find a buyer’s agent in their desired location that will help them move through the process successfully.

http://buyersagent.net

Press Contact

David Kent, President, National Buyer’s Agent Alliance
Phone: 843-367-0388
Email: david@buyersagent.net

Web Site: http://buyersagent.net

General Growth Properties, Inc. (NYSE: GGP) (“GGP”) today announced the refinancing of four shopping malls representing $966 million of new mortgages. These four new fixed-rate mortgages have a weighted average term of 9.1 years and a weighted average interest rate of 4.63%, as compared to the 5.66% rate on the prior maturing loans. After adjusting for GGP’s ownership interest, the Company’s pro-rata share of the new four non-recourse mortgages totals $483 million.

The four newly refinanced malls have the following terms:

Natick Mall (Natick, MA—Boston): $450 million at 4.60% due 2019
Galleria at Tyler (Riverside, CA—Los Angeles): $200 million at 5.05% due 2023
First Colony Mall (Sugar Land, TX—Houston): $185 million at 4.50% due 2019
Northbrook Court (Northbrook, IL—Chicago): $131 million at 4.25% due 2021

Year-to-date, GGP has completed nearly $3.9 billion ($3.1 billion at GGP’s pro-rata share) of new property level non-recourse financings with a weighted average term of 9.9 years and an interest rate of 5.1%. These mortgages successfully conclude GGP’s 2011 financing plan and replace $3.2 billion ($2.5 billion at GGP’s pro-rata share) that had a weighted average term of 2.4 years and an interest rate of 5.81%.

“At the start of 2011, one of GGP’s stated goals was to strengthen the Company’s balance sheet and liquidity while also reducing interest rates and extending the average debt maturity profile,” said Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive officer of General Growth Properties. “We have accomplished our 2011 goals and are now focused on 2012 financing opportunities.”

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the results suggested by these forward-looking statements, for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, our ability to refinance, extend, restructure or repay our remaining debt (including that of our Unconsolidated Real Estate Affiliates) with maturities in the short to intermediate term, our ability to raise capital through equity issuances, asset sales or the incurrence of new debt, retail and credit market conditions, impairments, our liquidity demands and retail and economic conditions. Readers are referred to the documents filed by General Growth Properties, Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which further identify the important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this release. The Company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

ABOUT GGP

General Growth Properties has ownership and management interest in 166 regional and super regional shopping malls in 43 states. The Company portfolio totals 169 million square feet of space.  A publicly-traded real estate investment trust (REIT), GGP is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GGP.

CONTACT: David Keating, vice president of corporate communications, +1-312-960-6325, david.keating@ggp.com

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