Monday, February 19, 2007

Hot Real Estate News, Feb. 15, 2007

Hot Real Estate News

February 15, 2007

The Wall Street Journal reports that 100% loans are losing favor with lenders. Typically referred to as an 80-20 loan, the second mortgage rounds out the loan amount to a full 100% for buyers without a down payment. Lenders are having a difficult time reselling these loans on the secondary market, and are wary of upcoming foreclosure rates from the already creative lending practices of the past several years.

'Across the board, everybody is ratcheting up'" the minimum credit score at which they will make particular loans" cites the Journal, further stating that "Borrowers have been rapidly falling behind on loans made in the past year or so."

What happens when you marry the concepts of hiring actors for open houses and providing virtual tours on YouTube? The Chicago Tribune has found it: Webisodes...a video soap opera of sorts where developers hope that home buyers will, literally, buy into the lifestyle they present:

Dougal and Anya are fictional characters. Their onscreen story is "Sex and the City" meets "Will & Grace." But there's another character in the mix, and it is the building.

The building is the Donovan, a soon-to-be-real high-rise in the hip Yaletown neighborhood in Vancouver. It's a major player in "Donovan Life," a professionally produced sitcom introduced online Wednesday.

Forbes pinpoints the "Best and Worst Housing Markets" in America, noting that incredibly expensive real estate markets such as Boston and San Diego have cooled slightly. Their prediction for the Gulf Coast looks brighter, as homes appreciated from 7-15% in post-Katrina cities.

According to Forbes, the strongest real estate markets in America right now are Seattle, El Paso, and Houston, reflecting the relocation trends that Americans have created in search of jobs and an affordable cost of living. Detriot, Miami, and Indianapolis are the loss-leaders at the moment.

Meanwhile, MSNBC reminds American home buyers that the grass is still greener on this side of the pond. Their article "77 sq. feet for $335,000? Welcome to London" describes an unfurnished basement closet with no heating or electricity on the market for an astonishing $4,340 a square foot.

Real estate appreciation in London's poshest districts has been incredible, with an average increase of over 22% in the past year. In places such as Kensington and Chelsea, homeowners have averaged a whopping 60% appreciation.

Ultra high-end property prices in London are the most expensive in the world, with some recent sales hitting $6,000 per square foot....Similar properties in New York can go for about $5,000 per square foot, while those in Hong Kong sell at around $4,000 per square foot.

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