Thursday, February 16, 2012
LinkedIN's Report on the Housing Market
Almost 11 million homes are now underwater, says financial information provider CoreLogic, a leading provider of financial, property and consumer information. Around 3.5 million homeowners are behind in their payments and another 1.5 million homes are already in the foreclosure process, according to online marketplace RealtyTrac, the Foreclosure Authority™ , that delivers in bulk the most current and most accurate foreclosure data.
Capital Economics, one of the leading independent macro-economic research consultancies in the world, providing research on the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the UK, and on the property sector expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit. The analytics firm notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is 700. While this is higher than scores required prior to the crisis, it is constant with requirements one year ago.
However, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also a loosening of credit availability.
Banks are now lending amounts up to 3.5 times borrower earnings. This is up from a low during the crisis of 3.2 times borrower earnings.
Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.” In contrast to a low of 74 percent reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV.
While credit conditions may have loosened slightly, some potential homebuyers are still struggling with credit requirements. In fact, Capital Economics points out that in November, 8 percent of contract cancellations were the result of a potential buyer not qualifying for a loan.
Additionally, Capital Economics says “any improvement in credit conditions won’t be significant enough to generation actual house price gains,” and potential ramifications from the euro-zone pose a threat to future credit availability.