REwired
REwired RSS FeedRSS

new REwired blog header
Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.
Lending Real Estate

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Rising HELOC demand is not housing crisis 2.0

Amazon, Microsoft, Google's impact on Seattle housing

March 28, 2016

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

Home equity lines of credit fell to the wayside after the financial crisis as lenders scaled back on giving out second liens and many cut existing credit lines to avoid new defaults, an article in The Wall Street Journal said.

However, lenders are once again starting to push for HELOCs due to increasing property values and the growing number of homeowners who have equity available for withdrawal.

From The Wall Street Journal article by Annamaria Andriotis:

The effort is gaining steam as banks try to offset faltering mortgage originations and a refinancing wave that is fizzling out. Lenders are betting that offers for home-equity lines of credit, or helocs, will resonate with many borrowers whose home values are higher than they were just a couple of years ago and who need cash for renovations or other expenses after holding on to their homes for longer than expected.

But this rise in demand won’t generate problems anywhere near the scale of what we saw during the financial crisis.

The volumes are nowhere near the amounts given out before the housing bust, when lenders were approving more than $300 billion in credit lines a year. And housing analysts said it is unlikely that equity lending will return to those levels at any point in the near future.

The three states holding Democratic caucuses on Saturday gave big wins to candidate Bernie Sanders, with the Vermont senator gaining 142 delegates from Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Although still lagging frontrunner Hillary Clinton by a wide margin, the sweep provides more proof of the depth of anti-establishment sentiment in the electorate right now. 

Sanders continues to make an issue of Clinton's ties to Wall Street, so news last week of the large pay raises that the CEOs of the countries six largest banks received just added fuel to that fire. A Fortune article by Stephen Gandel on the subject points out the discrepancy that bothers so many:

In all, the pay of the CEOs of the nation’s six largest banks—which also includes Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo—rose to $123 million, with an average of $20.5 million for each exec. That comes to roughly 455 times the average American worker salary.

Wall Street CEOs saw their pay rise an average of just under 10% last year. According to the most recent jobs numbers, the wages of the average American worker rose by just 1.6% in 2016.

This isn't a new trend — Wall Street execs have been paid exorbitant sums for years — but the average American is paying attention now, and it seems to be reflected in the voting booth.

Back in January, HousingWire reported that the Playboy mansion was for sale for a whopping $200 million price tag.

At the time, there was one odd string attached to the purchase: whoever bought the mansion would be required to give Hugh Hefner a life estate, meaning he could continue to live in the mansion until he dies.

Now, however, there's a new question bubbling to the surface of the grotto, according to an article from realtor.com: What’s the Playboy mansion worth without Playboy?

From the article by Clare Trapasso:

Reports have emerged that Playboy Enterprises is investigating sales opportunities.

Once the Playboy name and association are stripped (pun intended) from the 5-acre property, would it still be worth anywhere close to 200 million George Washingtons?

That depends, say high-end real estate agents.

“Did they put a crazy price tag on it?” says Matthew Altman, a Beverly Hills real estate agent at Douglas Elliman and a guest star on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing.” “Absolutely. But this is a crazy property.”

Seattle’s housing markets is struggling to keep up with demand generated by a huge influx of technology workers in recent years, according to an article in MarketWatch by Sam Debord.

Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are just a few of the companies relocating employees to the Seattle market, the article said.

Many of the folks in the tech industry work long hours and prefer an in-city lifestyle. They eschew the long commutes and big yards, and prefer walkable neighborhoods and the low-maintenance benefits of condo living.

Unfortunately, there aren't enough condos to keep up and the problem keeps getting more serious. Inventory of condos available for sale in Seattle dropped to 0.97 months in February. That means for every 100 condos being sold, only 97 were being listed for sale.

The city’s population is rapidly growing. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Seattle was in the top 10 metros for most residents gained from July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015. 

The FDIC reported no banks closed for the week ending March 25.

Comments powered by Disqus