Another dichotomous round of economic information released last week. We had a very nice increase in Housing Starts – they were up 14.4% nationally which is the biggest one month jump since December 2004. Especially pleasing is the fact that the jump was in single family homes which show us that there are signs of renewed confidence in the beleaguered building sector. Jobs however are another story. President Obama said last week that things will get worse in the jobs market before it gets better. And as everyone knows by now, Jobs are the crux of the recovery in America… providing the necessary foundation for which everything else is based upon...
In addition to jobs being a major concern, the foreclosure mitigation programs still have a long way to go to be successful. On July 28th the top 25 Mortgage servicers have all been asked to come to Washington to sit down and figure out a way to expedite and simplify the mortgage modification programs. While the intentions of all parties involved have been on the right track, the execution has been unacceptable. If you are a borrower in need of help and have spoken with your Mortgage Servicer and did not get the answer you wanted (and truly believe that you are someone who is not only eligible but can qualify as well) then continue to call back until you speak with someone who you feel is equipped to handle your scenario appropriately. What I believe has been happening is that the mortgage servicers are not only overwhelmed with the volume of calls they are receiving, but a portion of those who are handling those calls are not necessarily trained to handle the complexities of mortgage modifications.
Good news is that home prices rose 0.9% in May but they are still down 5.6% from year over year numbers. Again, it seems as though we’re seeing a glimmer of hope on some data points – but with unemployment nationally at 9.5% and climbing – and NC at 11% - we still have a long way to go to really implement stabilization back into housing, mortgage and economic circles.
One note on the GSE front, Freddie Mac appointed a new CEO – their third this year. Charles Haldeman, Jr. will take the helm in August after second quarter results are announced.
I’ll be bringing you an update on HVCC (Home Valuation Code of Conduct) very soon – on how it has impacted the valuation market and what is being proposed around it in Washington.
Jeremy M. Salemson
Corporate Investors Mortgage Group, Inc.