June 2005 Archives

Late Mortgage in California Fall to New Low

Kelly Zito:

The share of California homeowners late on their mortgage payments plunged to historic lows in the first quarter, according to a banking trade group.

Across the state, only 1.82 percent of property owners were 30 days or more past due on their loans as of March 31 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association found. That is the lowest default rate for California since at least 1979, and 0.31 percentage points lower than the default rate in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Title Insurer Sues State Insurance Regulator

Michele Derus:

"A Wisconsin-based title insurer has sued state insurance regulators for alleged failure to enforce a state ban on real estate kickback deals.

Numerous lenders and realty brokers" are steering home purchasers to title insurance policies on which they collect an illegal cut - while regulators essentially stand by, contends the Dane County Circuit Court lawsuit by Harvey A. Pollack, who runs Land Title Services Inc. in Wauwatosa.

How to Short a House

Barry Ritholtz:

One of the comments that came up repeatedly on the Housing is Not a Bubble column was the assertion that "You cannot short a house." As in the stock market, the lack of "informed short selling pressure" removed a source of supply that theoretically) would dampen price rises.

Only now, it turns out to be no longer true.

Avoid Common Real Estate Branding Pitfalls

Kathleen Allardyce:

The competitive environment makes branding for real estate brokers and agents a critical issue. However, there are a few common misconceptions about marketing real estate services. Among the real estate agents I speak to, these misconceptions are often expressed like this:

The 5 Bedroom, Six Figure Rootless Life

Peter T. Kilborn:

Ms. Link and her husband, Jim, 42, a financial services sales manager for the Wachovia Corporation of Charlotte, N.C., belong to a growing segment of the upper middle class, executive gypsies. The shock troops of companies that continually expand across the country and abroad, they move every few years, from St. Louis to Seattle to Singapore, one satellite suburb to another, hopscotching across islands far from the working class and the urban poor.

As a subgroup, relos are economically homogenous, with midcareer incomes starting at $100,000 a year. Most are white. Some find the salaries and perks compensating; the developments that cater to them come with big houses, schools with top SAT scores, parks for youth sports and upscale shopping strips.

California's Agent Growth

Alex Tabarrok:

There are 437,000 agents in California, enough to form the state's eighth-largest city. With only 680,000 home sales a year, competition for listings can be savage.

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