Sunday, October 23, 2011

Housing: Zillow forecast for Case-Shiller, FHFA Refinance Plan and a Rumor

by Bill McBride on 10/23/2011 05:30:00 PM

• On Tuesday, the S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index for August will be released (really a 3 month average of June, July and August). The consensus is for prices to increase 0.2% in August. Here is Zillow's forecast of Case-Shiller:

• Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index
... Not-seasonally adjusted: -3.7% year-over-year, -0.1% month-over-month
... Seasonally adjusted: -3.8% year-over-year, -0.3% month-over-month

• Case-Shiller 10-City Composite index
... Not-seasonally adjusted: -3.4% year-over-year, +0.2% month-over-month
... Seasonally adjusted: -3.5% year-over-year, -0.2% month-over-month
Because of seasonally distortions related to foreclosures, S&P reports the NSA numbers. But even with those distortions, I track the SA numbers - and those will probably show a month-over-month decline in August.

• The FHFA is expected to release changes to the HARP refinance plan this week. From Reuters: U.S. readies stronger lifeline for homeowners
Homeowners who owe more than their houses are worth will get new help to refinance in a government plan to be unveiled as early as Monday to support the battered housing sector ... the Federal Housing Finance Agency, intends to loosen the terms of the two-year-old Home Affordable Refinance Program, which helps borrowers who have been making mortgage payments on time but who have not been able to refinance as their home values have dropped.

HARP is currently open to borrowers whose mortgages are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as long as their loans do not exceed 125 percent of their homes' values.

The sources said FHFA will lift that threshold ... Another change may include the possibility of easing the fees tied to mortgages refinanced under HARP, according to the sources.
• And a rumor: Back in August, the FHFA, Treasury and HUD put out a request for input on the disposition of Fannie, Freddie and FHA REOs. The three entities own about 250,000 properties and approximately 800,000 homes backed by Fannie, Freddie and the FHA are in some stage of foreclosure. I've heard a rumor that an RTC like disposition program for Fannie/Freddie/FHA properties is in the works and might be announced in the next couple of weeks (this is a rumor only!). This would probably involve selling REOs in bulk to investors and include some sort of plan to rent them to the current occupants.

Yesterday:
Schedule for Week of Oct 23rd
Summary for Week ending Oct 21st