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New York City Seeing Home Prices Fall as FHA Streamline Rates Go Lower

By: Michael Foster | November 13th, 2012

While many see New York City as one of the most expensive and desirable regions in the country, home values are actually starting to fall in the city. According to a study released by the S&P Case-Shiller, home values fell 2.3% over the previous year in August 2012, although prices were up slightly (0.7%) from July.

The fall was particularly surprising since most of the rest of the country has seen rising home prices. “Nineteen of the 20 cities and both Composites showed monthly gains in August. Seventeen cities and both Composites posted positive annual returns in August 2012,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. The falling property values in the city buck the trend of rising prices in an inverse trend from 2011, when several cities saw their housing stock fall in value while New York City saw its home prices hold or even rise in high-demand areas like Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The city with the highest gain was Phoenix, which saw an 18.8% growth in home prices compared to a year ago, followed by Detroit, with a 7.6% increase. The steep rises in home value in both cities reflects the precipitous fall in home prices that occurred in both cities, which were the hardest hit by the sub-prime mortgage crisis and subsequent crash in property values in 2008 and 2009.

While property values are falling, homeowners are also seeing the rates on FHA mortgages fall as well. As of November 9th, FreeRateUpdate.com tracked a 30-year FHA mortgage rate as low as 2.75%, while 15-year rates were as low as 2.25%. These incredibly low interest rates, combined with falling property values, mean that homeowners might be in a better position to refinance large mortgages instead of trying to sell their property in this current real estate environment in the city.

Since FHA streamline mortgage refinances are offered to homeowners who have FHA-backed loans no matter how much they owe on their home, an FHA streamline loan can be offered on underwater homes where the loan-to-value ratio is excessive since there is no appraisal required as long as there is no cash taken out. To qualify, applicants need to have remained current on their existing loans for the past 12 months. For loans endorsed prior to June 1, 2009, FHA has drastically reduced the upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums to further make this transaction affordable for homeowners.

FreeRateUpdate.com surveys more than two dozen wholesale and direct lenders’ rate sheets to determine the most accurate mortgage rates available to well qualified consumers at about a 1 point origination fee.


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