Thursday, January 12, 2012


MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today announced it is giving mortgage servicers expanded authority to provide six months of forbearance to unemployed borrowers without Freddie Mac's prior approval and up to an additional six months with prior approval.   This means unemployed borrowers may be eligible for up to 12 months of forbearance.  Freddie Mac's forbearance options are being expanded at the direction of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and will take effect on February 1, 2012.

News Facts:
  • Mortgage servicers can now approve unemployed borrowers with Freddie Mac owned- or guaranteed-loans for six months of forbearance without prior approval from Freddie Mac.
  • Servicers can extend the forbearance period up to an additional six months with prior Freddie Mac approval, giving eligible unemployed borrowers with Freddie Mac owned- or guaranteed-mortgages up to one year of forbearance.
  • The expanded forbearance options will take effect on February 1, 2012.
  • Delinquent borrowers in an existing short term forbearance plan can be evaluated for an extended forbearance under the new policy.
  • Previously Freddie Mac allowed servicers to grant up to three months of forbearance with no payment and without prior approval, or six months at a reduced payment with prior approval.  Longer forbearance required prior approval and was generally restricted to events such as natural disasters, permanent disability or long-term medical emergencies.
  • According to the latest statistics, nearly 10 percent of delinquencies on Freddie Mac mortgages were tied to unemployment. 
Attribute to Tracy Mooney, Senior Vice President, Single-Family Servicing and REO, Freddie Mac: "These expanded forbearance periods will provide families facing prolonged periods of unemployment with a greater measure of security by giving them more time to find new employment and resolve their delinquencies.  We believe this will put more families back on track to successful long-term homeownership." 

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than five million renters.  For more information, visit


The Chinese New Year...4710.. begins on Jan. 23, 2012..!

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important holiday in China - lasting 15 days! It's similar to Christmas .. as it's a time of gift giving and feasting with family and friends. Traditionally is a time of house cleaning and saying good-bye to things that no longer serve us, and the perfect time to welcome in a new year of PROSPERITY, HEALTH, HAPPINESS and GOOD FORTUNE.

Here are a few "traditional" things (several) Asian cultures do prior to and during the celebration days:

• Space clear and clean the house of sorrows, failures and defeats of the prior year by washing windows, carpets, cupboards and floors.
Pay off all debts.
Resolve differences with relatives, family members, friends, and business associates.
Prepare 'special" dishes for New Years Eve and New Years Day.   
Decorate the home with "live" blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth.
Display oranges and tangerines to symbolize abundant happiness.
Add candy & dried fruit to welcome in a "sweet" year.

Gather with family for a "bountiful" meal and night of fun and games.
Remember to pay respect to ancestors.
Open doors and windows at midnight to LET GO of the old year.
Set off firecrackers to welcome in the New Year!

NEW YEARS DAY -  January 23, 2012
The Chinese believe that events that occur on New Years Day impact the rest of the year, so be mindful of your words, actions and deeds.
Start fresh, wear new clothes and the color RED for a bright future.
Greet & bless relatives, neighbors, and friends.
Gift money and poems to children and unmarried people for good luck.


Unlike the Chinese New Year, the Feng Shui New Year begins on February 4, 2012. The date is determined by the Solar calendar, not the Lunar calendar.

This year is the year of the YANG WATER DRAGON.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Well, gee, let me get out my crystal ball and take a look... No it isn't meant to be a completely flippant statement, but at this point, everyone is guessing, if they're honest about it. But we can make some pretty good calculations, and estimations based on what's actually happened and inventories. First of all, you must remember that home ownership is about a whole lot more than a cash investment. Yes, it's a hedge against inflation (more on that below), and yes, it's the only investment where you can leverage your cash on such a large transaction. Those points alone should make real estate attractive. But houses were never meant to be ATM's, as many have sadly discovered, and they were not meant to be flipped as fluently as trading stocks, which still others have discovered. But for the long term buy and hold mentality, it's hard to beat real estate. And, that philosophy was just discussed by 3 economists in the New York Times in the December 31st Business section. But home ownership is much, much, more. It is where you raise your family, it is your sanctuary, and it is a quality of life embedded in your investment. But maybe most importantly, it's a way to protect your housing dollar from ever rising again...EVER. To find out what next year will look like? Read the whole newsletter, and you should get a pretty good idea. A summary statement might be, look for the beginnings of the turnaround, for prices to bottom out by 2nd quarter, interest rates to stay killer for at least 6 months, and the overall economy to do its part, as it's projected to grow about 4% this year (last year was approximately 2.7%).


This column is not about to make serious predictions, but there are some indicators worth noting. First of all, the slough off of foreclosures last year due to moratoriums and fraudulent robo signing issues should be off the radar and allow foreclosures to ramp back up. That should mean more competition with the short and equity seller, as well as some pent up listing activity of people who didn't want to list during the holidays. The first and second quarter is always when you see the most listing activity. Following are 4 brief statements by various entities about spring pricing. Zillow believes we not see a bottom in prices until the first quarter of 2012. Standard and Poor thinks prices will drop 5% in the next few months. JP Morgan Chase believes prices will depreciate 6% to 7% over the next 6 months. Barclays says prices will fall 7% by the end of the first quarter of 2012. One thing everyone seems to be in agreement on: housing prices will bottom out by mid-2012 and then stay flat, bringing this down market to an end. A long recovery may be in the offing, but it will be hard for buyers to stay on the sidelines with current pricing and interest rates. Don't be fooled by a house that MAY decline another 2%-3%, but be stuck with a higher interest rate on the loan that more than eradicates any savings on the housing price.


The silver lining in real estate is always the future: because the future is where the pent up demand is heading. If you think this overly optimistic, think about the following...
Trulia conducted a survey with Generation "Y", trying to determine future buying trends. One of the questions asked was whether or not they believed in home ownership as part of the American Dream. A staggering 65% said "Yes!" In fact, it was integral to their future plans for family and investment. So where are they? Many are living at home, saving money, and waiting. In fact, the number of young people living with parents in 2003 was approximately 4 million. By 2007 that number had increased to 4.7 million. This year that number is 5.9 million. That's a lot of people who intend to buy, when you figure out 65% of that number. That doesn't include move up buyers of Generations "X" and "Y" who are already in the market. And it doesn't consider the retiring of the "Boomers" and the transfer of wealth. As this year progresses, there will likely be ups and downs. But we planning for an optimistic year ahead. Why not?

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