Archive for April, 2011

Cheaper to buy than rent in 78% of major cities

Trulia: Dropping prices and rising rents boost affordability

It is cheaper to buy a home than to rent one in 39 of the nation’s 50 largest cities, according to a quarterly report released today by real estate search and marketing site Trulia.
Trulia’s rent vs. buy index compared the median list price with the median rent on two-bedroom apartments, condominiums and townhomes listed on Trulia.com as of April 1, 2011, in the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. While 72 percent of the cities favored buying in the previous quarter’s report, 78 percent favored buying in this latest report.
“With home prices nearing a double dip and more foreclosures expected to flood the housing market over the next two years, the decision between renting and buying a home across most of the country has clearly moved in favor of buying,” said Ken Shuman, Trulia’s spokesperson, in a statement.
“As we head into the summer buying season, those looking to buy a home should be encouraged by improvements in the market and feel optimistic about their chances of finding an affordable home — much more so than in previous years.”
more…

Are you getting your money’s worth with appraisal?

Despite Federal Reserve regulations that took effect April 1 requiring lenders to pay appraisers fair fees, many appraisers say they are still offered $200 to $250 by lenders for work billed to consumers at $450 or more.

MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY

  • Last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform law mandated that appraisers receive fees that are “customary and reasonable” for their local market areas, yet the Appraisal Institute says that is not happening.
  • While a portion of the difference between what consumers are billed and appraisers are paid goes to the management companies that connect lenders with local appraisers and take a percentage for their services, often times lenders make a profit from the appraisal as well.
  • Home buyers should care about this for several reasons.  For starters, accurate appraisals are a concern for consumers, as appraisals can be deal-breakers if the appraisal comes in too low. When performed competently, appraisals can be accurate measures of the equity in a home when the homeowner refinances or seeks a second mortgage.
  • Most experienced independent appraisers refuse to work for $200 to $250 because they can’t pay their overhead at that rate, leading less-experienced appraisers, who sometimes travel long distances and are unfamiliar with the area, to conduct the appraisal, which can lead to inaccurate, appraisals.
  • The Appraisal Institute is seeking to persuade the Federal Reserve to tighten its regulations, which created a loophole for lenders and management companies that wanted to keep paying low fees to appraisers.  In the meantime, consumers should demand transparency, asking how the appraisal fee was distributed and why.

Read full story

Chase Chases California Growth

Chase plans to open 100 new branches and add more than 1,500 jobs in California this year. The new branches will extend Chase’s network to more than 900 bank branches and more than 3,000 ATMs across California.
The total represents nearly half of Chase’s new branch plans in 2011. It also plans to add a total of 525 to 700 branches in California by 2015.

Chase will open about 65 branches in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties. About 20 branches in Northern California including San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Delta and
about 15 branches in Central California, including Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Madera counties.

“California is one of Chase’s high-priority growth markets, and we plan to invest significantly in the people, facilities and technology needed to serve California consumers and businesses well,” said Pablo Sanchez, head of Chase’s branch network in the Western United States.

Contributed
By Mark Heschmeyer