Articles by Jon Prior

iEmergent Sees First-Time Buyers Taking 22% of 2009 Sales

First time home buyers (FTHBs) will represent 22.3% of all homes sales in 2009, according to estimates from iEmergent, an Iowa-based market research firm. In the forecast, lenders will grant 955,000 loans to first time buyers this year, generating $133bn nationwide. iEmgergent predicts more FTHB loans if the $8,000 first-time home-buyer tax credit is expanded. If that credit is granted but not extended beyond Dec. 31, 2009, FTHB purchases should sharply spike in the later months of 2009.
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Portland Home Sales Drop, Median Mortgage Price Holds

Portland-area’s May home sales fell to that month’s lowest level in 15 years as the pool of discounted foreclosures dried up, but the median sales prices are not shrinking at the rate of most other western markets. According to a report from MDA DataQuick, a San Diego-based firm that watches real estate data across the nation, foreclosure resales in the Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton metro area jumped to 17.2% of all resales. In most western markets, foreclosed homes make up half of all resales.
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TD Bank Offers $2m in Housing Grants

TD Charitable Foundation, the giving arm of TD Bank and TD Banknorth will offer $2m in grants to support affordable housing along the east coast through its 2009 “Housing for Everyone” competition. From Maine to Florida, the operating area of the banks, non-profit programs can submit their creative solutions for a rocky housing market in the hopes of landing one of the 56 grants, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.
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Belo Invests $2m in Real Estate Firm

A.H. Belo [stock AHC][/stock], the Dallas newspaper company, staked a $2m investment in Sawbuck Realty. The Internet-based real estate broker said the capital will fuel their nationwide expansion into the Southern California, Washington DC and Dallas markets. Belo made the investment in 2008 in hopes of finding a solution for its ailing newspaper assets. Not only will Sawbuck receive capital needed for growth, but Belo hopes the real estate company will boost content for its home listings in the Dallas Morning News.
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Refinance Commercial Real Estate with 504

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504 Certified Development Company lending program can now be used to refinance commercial real estate (CRE) investments as well. The news is a welcome development in a real estate sector that's in dire need of financing. The 28-year old program’s new features can be found in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It allows small businesses to borrow up to 90% for purchases of commercial real estate and even heavy equipment or machinery, according to an SBA statement.
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Rates Continue Drop from June High

Average mortgage rates dipped for almost each category in the week ending July 2, according to a weekly survey released today by the mortgage giant Freddie Mac [stock FRE][/stock]. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate (FRM) dropped to 5.32% with an average .7 point, down from 5.42% for last week. 15-year FRMs averaged 4.77% with .7 point, dropping from 4.87% last week.
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Stewart Title Ahead of RESPA Schedule

Stewart Title released the new HUD-1 for its Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) title and escrow production system a full six months before the deadline set by the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA).
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First Federal of California Nears $1bn in Modified Loans

First Federal Bank of California is reporting that the bank saved more than 2,000 homes from foreclosure by modifying $957m in loans beginning in December of 2007. By offering borrowers a fixed interest rate through 2014, which keep payments low for the next five years, four out of every five modified loans are current and performing.  First Federal, which is owned by First Federal Financial Corporation, credits their ability to reach borrowers before they fall behind on their monthly payments for the success of the program.
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ProLogis Raises $840m in Asset Sales

ProLogis [stock PLD][/stock] injected good news into a struggling commercial real estate (CRE) market by raising $840m from asset sales and property fund contributions for the second quarter of 2009. As part of an effort to cut global debt, ProLogis, which leases industrial space to manufacturers and retailers, sold 136 CRE properties from Seattle to Washington DC, in 28 separate transactions. From the sales, ProLogis raised $561m, and they expect to earn an extra $96m in the second half of this year.
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