Keep in the know about new FHA rules…

Fannie and Freddie Overhaul Mortgage Insurance Master Policy Requirements

Jann Swanson | Mortgage News Daily | Dec 2 2013 | link

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have completed a major overhaul of their master policy requirements for private mortgage insurance the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced today.  The changes meet one of FHFA’s 2013 Conservatorship Scorecard goals for the two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), aligning their individual policy requirements.  The changes are the first made to the master policies in many years FHFA said

Private mortgage insurance is required of borrowers who provide less than a 20 percent downpayment on a home purchase.   While the premiums are paid by the borrower, the insurance covers losses for the lender or the loan’s owner should the homeowner default on payments.  Mortgage insurance master policies specify the terms of business interaction between seller-servicers and mortgage insurers.  FHFA said the GSEs have worked with the mortgage insurance industry to identify and fix gaps in the existing master policies and the new policies will, among other things, facilitate timely and consistent claims processing.

The changes include a requirement that the master policies support various loss mitigation strategies that were developed during the housing crisis to help troubled homeowners and establishes specific timelines for processing claims, including requests of additional documentation.  The changes also seek to address a frequent source of complaints from homeowners, setting standards for determining when and under what circumstances the mortgage insurance must be maintained or can be terminated.  The changes are also designed to promote better communication among insurers, servicers, and the GSEs.

“Updating the mortgage insurance master policy requirements is a significant accomplishment for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco. “The new standards update and clarify the responsibilities of insurers, originators and servicers and they enhance the insurance protection provided to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which ultimately benefits taxpayers.”

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The Equilibrium House brings passive to the Pacific coast…

San Francisco’s First Passive House Already in Contract

Sally Kuchar | Curbed SF | November 27, 2013 | link

The newly constructed 4564 19th St. in Eureka Valley is the first passive house to hit the market in San Francisco. Dubbed the Equilibrium House, the home was built to Passive House (Passivhaus) standards, a sustainable building method that’s incredibly popular in Germany. A passive house is able to achieve up to 90 percent heating energy reductions over typical homes through a combination of construction techniques, super insulation and high performance European windows and doors that aren’t currently available in the U.S. The 4-bed, 5.5-bath home recently hit the market at $3.8M, and after a successful open house is already in contract. · 4564 19th St. [Official website] [Photos via Open Home Photography]

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Are you ready to buy in the New Year?

Planning to Buy a Home in 2014? Get Ready Now

Christine DiGangi | | December 2, 2013 | link


couple with realator

With big changes coming to the mortgage industry at the beginning of next year, many consumers will want to evaluate their homebuying plans. Regulations drafted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will change the definition of a qualified mortgage for any loan applications received on and after Jan. 10, and many consumers may find themselves unable to meet the new requirements.

Qualified mortgages are loans that meet certain standards designed to ensure that borrowers are highly likely to be able to pay back the amount in question. Facing this challenge, it’s up to the hopeful homeowner to improve their chances of mortgage approval by doing the necessary research, improving their credit profiles and meeting the qualified mortgage standards well in advance of filling out loan applications.

It’s important to meet qualified mortgage standards because government-sponsored enterprises, known as GSEs, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said they won’t buy non-qualified mortgages starting next year, said Joshua Weinberg, senior vice president of compliance with First Choice Lending/Bank. Fannie and Freddie don’t lend to homeowners directly, rather they purchase mortgages from banks and then bundle them into securities and sell those securities to investors.

For lenders that originate mortgages with the intention of selling them to the GSEs, as many do, originating non-qualified mortgages won’t be feasible. Other lenders own the mortgages they originate, meaning they don’t have to worry about selling them to GSEs, and such larger portfolios could probably take on non-qualified mortgages.

What’s Changing? Mortgages must pass tests of sorts to meet the standards of a qualified mortgage: The APR must be within 150 basis points (1.5 percentage points) of the annual prime offer rate, the loan term cannot exceed 30 years, points and fees cannot exceed 3 percent of the loan balance and there can be no negative amortization or interest-only payments. Under these conditions, the mortgage qualifies for safe harbor, meaning the lender is not at risk of being sued by a borrower who is unable to repay the loan.

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Muliti-family coming out strong in 2014…

Building Permits Surge is All Multi-Family

Jann Swanson | Mortgage News Daily | Nov 26 2013 | link

The Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are still playing catch-up from the government shutdown that squashed data reports through much of October.  Today they issued a combined September-October report on permits authorized for residential construction but have delayed the information on housing starts and housing completions that is usually a part of their residential construction summary until December 18.

Permits for residential construction issued in September were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 974,000, a 5.2 percent increase from the 926,000 permits reported in August.  The August number was revised upward from the 918,000 permits originally reported.

Permits in October were stronger still, at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1,034,000, an increase of 6.2 percent over September and 13.9 percent above the 908,000 permits issued in October 2012.

Single family permits in September were at a rate of 615,000 compared to 627,000 in August.  Single family permits in October were at a rate of 620,000, an increase of 0.8 percent.  October’s number was 8.8 percent higher than that of a year earlier. Multifamily permitting accounted for all of the gains, with September and October at rates of 359,000  3414,000 units respectively.  October represents a whopping 24 percent increase from a year earlier.

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Selling in the city at the moment…

Last Week’s Biggest S.F. Sales: Over Asking in Pacific Heights

Sally Kuchar | Curbed SF | Monday, December 30, 2013 | link

12-30-133.jpgListed for: $2,795,000
Received: $2,950,000
Size: 4-bed, 4-bath, 2,899-square-foot condo
Location: 2143 Jackson St., Pacific Heights
The skinny: This home was listed in mid-November and was in contact less than a week later. The condo (in a two unit building) has 2-car parking.

12-30-132.jpgListed for: $2,695,000
Received: $3,000,000
Size: 3-bed, 3-bath, 2,645-square-foot condo
Location: 2259 Clay St., Pacific Heights
The skinny: Sales records are fuzzy on this property, and there is no listing description. That said, there are 18 photos to gawk at, and this place is beautiful.

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Some words of real estate wisdom for the young…

The Top 10 Mistakes 20-Somethings Make Regarding Real Estate

Huffington Post | November 22, 2013 | link

You probably think I’m just a bit crazy for including the phrase “20-something” and “real estate” in the same title.

Okay, maybe you have a point. At this point in life, many 20-somethings are more interested in when the next game of Call of Duty will start than the best way to start building their financial future. However, there are those of us who want more out of life and understand the immense power of time that we have in building wealth.

As a real estate fan, and one who acquired dozens of properties in my early twenties, I want to focus specifically on the mistakes that I see many young people making today regarding real estate and offer some real world strategies for overcoming these concerns.

Whether or not you own any property yet, these tips should help you navigate the often muddy (but often profitable) world of real estate.

1.) Living With Mom And Dad Too Long

Admit it, as you are reading this, someone’s face is coming to mind.. and maybe it’s yours?

If you are staying with Mom and Dad simply to escape the reality that you are grown up, it’s time to grow up and get a job, start paying your bills and meet the world. The only exception I make to this rule is if you are living at home to save money or get out of debt.. but if that’s you, don’t use your freed-up cash to spend on frivolous things or work less hours. Accomplish your goals as quickly as possible and get on with your life.

2.) Not Doing Your Homework

Many 20-somethings believe homework ended when school ended, but when it comes to buying real estate, as either a home or as an investment, it all begins with homework. Knowing what makes a good deal a good deal, what makes a good location a good location and so on are extremely valuable skills to have. These skills are not impossible to obtain, as there are thousands of books, podcasts, blogs and more that can teach you how to invest in real estate at a young age.

3.) Believing “Real Estate” Is For The Old, Rich, And Boring

Yes, real estate is for old boring folks with a lot of money.

However, it’s also for the young, the hip, the middle-aged and every other kind of person who wants a killer smart way to use real estate to build serious wealth. With hundreds of ways to invest in real estate, from buying your own home to buying investment properties, there is no shortage of options for you.

4.) Not Buying With Flexibility In Mind

Those young people who do buy real estate often times buy real estate without realizing that the life they live now is VERY different from the life they’ll probably live next year or in the next decade. As a result, they often buy homes that don’t accommodate change. For example, buying a small, one-bedroom condo may fit your budget.. but how long can you live in a one-bedroom condo?

This same mistake often causes people to buy real estate too early. If you are confident that you’ll be moving out of the area in a short time, think hard about buying any real estate unless you plan to rent the property out using a property manager.

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Prepared for a population boom?

San Francisco at 1 million: City’s population is booming once again

Dan Schreiber | SF Examiner | December 29, 2013 | link


Most U.S. cities have only just begun to crawl out of the trenches of the Great Recession, but San Francisco has been charging back to the front lines.

Reverberations from the 2008 housing market collapse put a four-year hold on most local projects, creating a colossal backlog of stalled buildings and renovations. But looking at The City these days, signs of a sustained boom are on the horizon — quite literally.

Any clear view of the skyline is strewn with gangly construction cranes as developers scurry to build more housing and offices that can accommodate the labor needs of cash-heavy companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley alike.

In less than four years, following the largest fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, San Francisco’s downright depressing 10.1 percent unemployment rate in January 2010 has been nearly halved to 5.2 percent, according to November numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The City’s impressive rebound outpaces the 8.3 percent jobless rate across California, the 8.5 percent level in New York City and the 9.4 percent of workers unemployed in Los Angeles.

Unsurprisingly, San Francisco’s population has skyrocketed, especially for an already-dense 47-square-mile metropolis with little horizontal space left to grow. The City added 28,500 new residents between 2000 and 2010, for a grand total of 805,263. Then, in just the following two years alone, an additional 20,600 folks wedged themselves into The City’s superlatively expensive living space.

And although the City by the Bay now appears poised to become an economic recovery model for the Western world, big questions remain on whether it can prove nimble enough for such rapid growth and ultimately avoid becoming a victim of its own success.


The population of roughly 825,000 in 2012 will have steadily increased to a milestone by 2032, when a projected 1 million people will make their home inside city limits, according to an upcoming report from the Association of Bay Area Governments. By 2040, the report speculates that the growth rate will begin to level out at 1,085,700.

Sounds crowded for just the upper tip of a narrow peninsula, right? If the sidewalks and buses seem busier even now, and it begins to feel like San Francisco just can’t get any more crowded, doubters need look in only one direction — up.

“The future is tall,” said Richard DeLeon, a San Francisco State University political science professor and close observer of The City’s “anti-Manhattanization” movement of the 1980s and ’90s. “There has been a shift from the anti-high-rise movement. … These new progressive politicians, they have no problem with going tall and vertical.”

If the current population projections hold steady, The City will have grown in population by 35 percent between 2010 and 2040 — the fastest 30-year rate of increase in nearly a century. San Francisco has not seen droves like this since the post-agrarian period between 1920 and 1950, over which the population grew by 53 percent before abruptly losing tens of thousands of residents to the 1950s suburban boom.

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