A Peek Inside Successful Lending Shops

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The Latest SERVICING Or ig i nat ion Cuts and Losses Wells Fargo shutters eight joint ventures, costing hundreds of jobs. Bubble fears abate as asking prices drop. F or the first time since November 2012, asking home prices decreased month-over-month, slipping 0.3 percent from June to July, Trulia reported. "If you were worried about a housing bubble, July's asking-price slowdown will probably be the best news you've heard this year," said Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist. Factors such as rising mortgage rates, growing inventory, and declining investor demand led to the dip in asking prices, according to Trulia. While monthly changes can be volatile, Trulia explained the quarterover-quarter change in asking prices confirms the slowdown, with July asking prices improving just 3.3 percent over the last quarter compared to the peak of 4.2 percent in April. Over the last year, asking prices were still strong, rising 11 percent, though Trulia noted the change won't be as apparent since the annual average is based on a longer time period. At the same time, 98 out of 100 metros saw prices appreciate compared to a year ago, but on a quarterly basis, prices declined in 64 metros. "The biggest price slowdowns have come to some of the hottest local markets," added Kolko. "California and Nevada remain the Wild West for asking home prices, with some of the sharpest drops during the bust, strongest rebounds over the past year, and now biggest slowdowns in the past quarter." Las Vegas saw asking prices slip 5.2 percent quarter-over-quarter, while three California metros— Oakland, San Francisco, and Sacramento—experienced decreases between 3.3 and 3.6 percent. After tracking rent for July, Trulia reported an increase of 3.9 percent year-over-year. Even though asking prices weakened, growth was still much stronger compared to rents. In the 25 largest rental markets, asking prices actually outpaced gains in rent, a first since Trulia started tracking rent trends in March 2011. It was the first double-digit increase since the peak of the bubble. I n its first-quarter report, the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes experienced a double-digit national price gain for the first time since the housing bubble that took place seven years ago. Prices increased an average of 10.2 percent from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year across the 380 metro markets tracked. "Record levels of affordability, a slow improving job market, and very small inventories of new and existing homes for sale will continue to drive U.S. home price appreciation during the summer," said David Stiff, chief economist for CoreLogic Case-Shiller. However, the economist does predict a slowdown in appreciation during the next year. From the first quarter of this year to the first quarter of next, the Case-Shiller Indexes predict a 6.5 percent price gain. Markets currently experiencing the greatest price appreciation are some of those that "were at the center of the housing bubble," according to CoreLogic. Several California markets are among the top markets for price gains over the past year. San Jose, California, posted a 23.7 percent price gain; San Francisco posted a 21.1 percent price gain; and Sacramento, California, experienced a 21.0 percent price gain. Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas recorded price increases of 22.8 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively. However, of these notable markets, San Francisco is the only one where price gains are expected to continue in the double digits over the next year. Case-Shiller predicts a 10.5 percent gain in the metro. Additionally, Stiff staves off any concerns of growing bubbles, saying, "there is less need for concern now since home prices remain 26 percent below their peak nationally and are even lower in many metro markets." The cause of many of the doubledigit price increases across the country is low inventory. Phoenix, Sacramento, and Detroit all have just three months' supply. At the other end of the spectrum, a few metros did experience price declines over the year ending in March 2013, but "it is likely that home prices in these cities will turn positive by the end of the year," Stiff said. CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indexes rely on a combination of their own data along with information from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Moody's Analytics. The M Report | 39 se c on da r y m a r k e t Not So Fast… Home Prices Up 10.2% in Q1 a na ly t ic s "This decision reflects our response to new operating realities and our commitment to continuously improving our business model," said Franklin Codel, EVP and head of mortgage production, in a statement. "As a leader in home lending, we want to ensure we're always in the best position to help Americans achieve the dream of homeownership." The company also stated joint venture customers with a pending loan application will continue to have their applications processed by the joint venture. Wells Fargo Ventures is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. s e r v ic i ng W ells Fargo Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Co., will exit from its eight mortgage joint ventures in mortgage lending due to "the current regulatory and market environment," the company announced Thursday. More specifically, Wells Fargo stated "state and federal oversight have increased the complexity and difficulty of operating mortgage joint ventures." The wind down, which will take place during the next 12 to 18 months, will impact about 300 mortgage workers.

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