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Delinquencies Down Nearly 10% in 2013

Delinquencies picked up slightly in December, according to early data released by Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS)--but overall trends indicate 2013 was a year of improvement. As of month-end, BKFS puts the total U.S. loan delinquency rate at 6.47 percent, an increase of 0.26 percent from November. The figure includes loans that are 30 or more days overdue but not in foreclosure. On an annual basis, however, delinquency was down 9.85 percent in 2013.

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Home Prices Push Up, Remain 14% Down from Peak

The latest Home Price Index (HPI) report from Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) shows prices rising in November to a national index value of $232,000, up 0.3 percent from October. Compared to November 2012, the recent index was up 8.5 percent. Nationally, home prices remained down 13.9 percent compared to their peak of $270,000 in 2006. At the state level, Florida experienced the biggest increase at 1.0; the Sunshine State also dominated at the local level, accounting for nine of the top 10 markets for appreciation.

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Report: Slow December Growth Paints Promising Picture

Home price growth bucked recent trends in December as sales numbers continued on a slower course, analytics provider DataQuick reported Monday. The firm's Property Intelligence Report (PIR) for December show month-to-month home price growth was positive in 36 out of 42 reporting counties, a downturn from months of growth across all markets. While the slowdown in growth was a change from the last few months, it's not necessarily a bad sign, says DataQuick's VP of analytics, Gordon Crawford. In the latest report, Crawford maintains that the previous pace of growth "was not sustainable given the fairly weak underlying economic drivers."

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FDIC Marks Second Bank Collapse of 2014

The Bank of Union in El Reno was forced to shutter its doors Friday by the Oklahoma State Banking Department, which appointed FDIC as receiver. To protect depositors, FDIC announced a purchase and assumption agreement with Oklahoma City’s BancFirst, which will assume all of the failed bank’s $328.8 million in deposits (as of Q3 2013) and $225.5 million of its assets. The collapse was the second one in the United States so far in 2014 and the first one in Oklahoma since June 2012.

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Decline in Foreclosures Outpaces Decline in Loan Modifications

Mortgage Debt Relief

An estimated 44,000 homeowners received permanent loan modifications from mortgage servicers during the month of November under both proprietary servicer programs and the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), HOPE NOW reports. While that total represents a 12 percent decrease from the 50,000 loan mods completed in October, the most recent data show a steeper 20 percent decline in foreclosure sales and a 17 percent decline in foreclosure starts between October and November.

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Recovery Expected to Enter ‘Middle Innings’ in 2014

home prices

While the housing market is still far from “normal,” it is inching that way, according to a report released Thursday from Zillow. Last year’s skyrocketing home price appreciation, frenzied demand from investors, and high tide of negative equity are all expected to subside somewhat this year, according to the real estate company. A number of unsettling trends started to emerge as a result of rapid and ultimately unsustainable appreciation last year, according to Zillow, but markets that posted the highest price gains in 2013 are already slowing.

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Housing Recovery Unmoved by Rising Interest Rates

Mortgage rates may be rising, but the housing market doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, several indicators have improved alongside rising rates, according to the HousingPulse Tracking Survey released this week. The lending atmosphere is becoming friendlier, especially to first-time buyers. Simultaneously, the average time on market for non-distressed properties and the average sales-to-list price ratio both improved year-over-year in December.

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December Existing-Home Sales Up 1%

Total existing-home sales--including all completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops--increased 1.0 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 4.87 million last month, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). November's sales rate was revised down to 4.82 million. Even with prices and mortgage rates slated to rise, NAR president Steve Brown says sales should hold strong in 2014 as job numbers improve. That doesn't mean the year won't be without challenges, though.

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