housing

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says a quarter of Michigan homeowners are underwater on their mortgages – and that’s a big improvement.

Back in 2012, roughly half of Michigan homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth.

Daren Bloomquist of Realty Trac says Michigan, like the rest of the nation, has seen steady improvement in home values since the end of the recession.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING – Michigan is helping provide lower interest rates to first-time homebuyers in eight cities.

About 300 individual or families in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, and Jackson can take advantage of a program announced Friday.

First-time homebuyers who meet eligibility requirements can get a 3.125% mortgage interest rate without down payment assistance. If they need help with their down payment, the interest rate is 3.625%.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants to increase home sales in five cities hit hard by blight and three other cities needing a boost.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Scott Woosley says most of Michigan's real estate market has bounced back, but some areas are still experiencing significant sales declines.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The number of homes in Michigan in foreclosure has dropped to its lowest level since 2005.

Foreclosure filings in Michigan have been steadily declining for the past three and a half years.

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He says banks are now dealing with the problem of getting former owners or tenants to move out of their foreclosed homes.

“One of the questions we get a lot is ‘why (are) these properties not selling?’” says Bloomquist. “One of the major answers to that is because the former occupants are still living there … nationwide 50% of the time.”

Realty Trac is out with a report on home affordability.

The report shows that rising home prices and interest rates are translating into higher monthly mortgage payments for home buyers.

The report focused on three bedroom, single-family homes.

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac.

He says Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties have seen a 40% to 50% increase in monthly mortgage payments on home sales in the past year.

Bloomquist says home prices in the Detroit metro market are still very low.

michigan.gov

Realty Trac reports nearly a third of Michigan homeowners owe 25 percent or more on their mortgages than their homes are actually worth.   

In December, 31% of Michigan homeowners were deeply underwater on their mortgages.  That’s down from 37% in January of 2013.

Nationally, 19% of homeowners are deeply underwater on their mortgages.

Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says many homeowners have been waiting a long time for their house to gain value.

annarbor.com

Michigan is starting 2014 with its housing market in better shape than it’s been in in years.

The number of new home foreclosures is actually smaller than it was in 2006, before the recession began. Home prices are also improving.

But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says there are still many Michigan homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. He says 2014 may finally turn that around.

Michigan has seen a sharp spike in the number of people paying cash for homes.

Last month, cash sales represented 49% of the home sales in Michigan.  

Nationwide, 42% of home sales in November were all cash.

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He says investors are trying to gobble up a lot of newer, starter homes

“These investors are seeing a window of opportunity when home prices in many markets have been undervalued, especially compared to rent,” says Bloomquist.

One of the common traditions as we end one year and begin another is taking stock — reviewing where we've been and figuring out where we want to go in the New Year.

A good place to focus that review would be finances, and the prospects for the housing market.

A consumer credit forecast was released today that can give us a look into where Michigan’s market may be headed in 2014.

Listen to the full interview above.

Critics say proposed legislation in Congress could hurt many home buyers in Michigan and the nation.

The bills would allow exceptions to new limits on bank fees for mortgages. And it would become easier to give borrowers loans they can't afford.

Gary Kalman is with the Center for Responsible Lending.

He says the so-called "Mortgage Choice Act" would undermine what he calls a fair and balanced compromise.

Erin Marquis / via Facebook

House flippers in Michigan are having a tough time making money these days.

Before the recession, house flipping was a small, but very active part of Michigan’s real estate industry.

House flipping is where a person buys a home and quickly puts it back on the market, hoping to make a profit on the sale. Many homes resell within six months.  Flipping flopped during the recession as plunging home prices took the profit away.

But a large stock of foreclosed homes and rising home prices has once again spurred interest in flipping in Michigan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The federal government shutdown could soon start affecting Michigan’s real estate industry.

The problem is government agencies that verify the identities and tax returns of people taking out mortgages are closed by the shutdown. That means banks and mortgage companies are unable to finish their paperwork on home loans.

Michigan homeowners continue to struggle with underwater mortgages.

Realty Trac reports today that 38% of Michigan homeowners owe at least 25% more on their mortgages than their homes are actually worth.

Michigan trails only Nevada, Illinois and Florida for the percentage of home mortgages that are deeply underwater.

Realty Trac’s Daren Bloomquist says more homeowners in those states may be underwater on their mortgages, but home values are also rising faster than in Michigan.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A new report lists Flint as one of the nation’s fastest recovering housing markets.

Realty Trac is out with a list of the best and worst recovering housing markets in the country.   And for a change, Flint is not on the worst list.

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He says the nation’s housing industry has clearly shifted into recovery mode during the past 18 months. Bloomquist says one of the best recovering housing markets is in Flint.

Bradley Gordon / Flickr

Housing prices in Metro Detroit are up 45% over last year according to data released on Monday by the Realcomp listing service.

Allen Daniels is the director of the Michigan Association of Realtors. He says home prices are up because the number of properties for sale are down.

Daniels says limited supply combined with low mortgage rates and an improving economy are raising home prices.

Sheldon Boyd / YouTube

That's the estimate for a family made up of two parents and two kids.

The numbers are calculated by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank based in Washington D.C.

You can look up your specific living situation with their updated "Family Budget Calculator."

EPI says the calculator estimates the annual income a family needs for a "secure yet modest living standard."

It estimates expenses related to housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. And by their calculations, families at the poverty level set by the federal government are nowhere near the EPI's "getting by" threshold.

The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types (either one or two parents with one, two, or three children)...EPI’s family budgets offer a higher degree of geographic customization and provide a more accurate measure of economic security. In all cases, they show families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by.

Of the 20 areas the EPI examined in Michigan, the Ann Arbor area came out on top as the most expensive place to live.  Rural Michigan was the least expensive.

Here's a look at the Michigan areas EPI put into their calculator, from most expensive to least expensive (for two-parent, two-child families):

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is tumbling. The rate of home foreclosure filings in Michigan is half of what it was six months ago. 

June marked the 32nd consecutive month of “year-over-year” declines in the number of home foreclosure filings in Michigan.

Daren Blomquist is with RealtyTrac.  He expects that trend will continue.

“We’ll see the declines continue at least through the end of this year,” says Blomquist, “But then I would expect in 2014 that’s probably when we’ll see the numbers flatten out.”

www.macombcountymi.gov

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law changes in Michigan's home foreclosure rules but is calling on lawmakers to swiftly enact more legislation to clarify some issues.

Bills signed Wednesday keep intact the redemption period when homeowners can challenge a foreclosure's legality. An earlier version of the legislation would have reduced the period from 6 months to 60 days.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

TROY, Mich. (AP) - Here's a bullish sign: The number of people getting a Michigan license to buy or sell homes is up.

The Detroit News reports that real estate agencies are adding more people as home prices rise and the state's economy improves. Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel in Troy says it recently hired 14 agents.

University of Michigan

A major union is disputing claims by Michigan’s home builders that there are not enough skilled workers to fill all the jobs in the state’s resurgent construction industry.

New home prices are up in Michigan this year. Building permits are also up.

But the Home Builders Association of Michigan released a survey last month claiming a deep gap between the number of skilled trades workers and the jobs available.

That’s not true, according to Mike Jackson.   He’s the Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.

City of Pontiac

Building permits are up by more than a third this year in Michigan.  Home prices are also rising.

These should be great days for Michigan’s homebuilding industry, which nearly ground to a halt during the recession.

But there’s a problem: not enough workers.

A survey finds a third of Michigan homebuilding contractors are having trouble finding enough workers to do the job. 

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