Housing starts fall 16.5% in April, but building permits jump!

By Jim Puzzanghera

May 16, 2013, 7:39 a.m.

WASHINGTON —  Housing starts dropped 16.5% in April to the lowest level since November, but permits for future construction rose to a nearly five-year high, providing mixed signals for the red-hot real estate market.

Construction on privately owned homes, condominiums and apartments started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000 units in April, down from the revised rate of 1.02 million the previous month, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Analysts had expected a more modest falloff to an annual rate of  about 970,000 units. Still, the April figure was up 13.1% from a year earlier.

Fannie Mae Announces New HomePath for Short Sales Escalation Process

Expanded Tool Will Help Prevent Foreclosures and Stabilize Neighborhoods

by: Keosha Burns


WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) recently introduced an expanded HomePath for Short Sales tool to resolve short sale challenges.  The tool, a new short sale escalation process, is open to any real estate professional working on a short sale involving a Fannie Mae-owned loan.  Once a case is escalated, Fannie Mae will directly engage with the agent or servicer to address challenges such as valuation disputes, delays by servicers or uncooperative subordinate lien holders.  Agents can also use the new escalation process to receive a recommended list price from Fannie Mae prior to listing the property for sale.

“Our goal is to prevent foreclosures and help stabilize communities,” said Jay Ryan, vice president for real estate sales, Fannie Mae.  “By giving agents a straightforward, transparent way to escalate short sale issues to Fannie Mae, we will close more sales, prevent foreclosures and help neighborhoods continue to recover.  Getting short sales done benefits everyone involved and we’re committed to doing our part.”

Real estate professionals across the country have already begun using the HomePath for Short Sales escalation tool to resolve challenging short sale issues.

“I was working on a short sale recently with a servicer who was not being responsive, so I used the HomePath for Short Sales site to escalate the case to Fannie Mae,” said Kelby Teer, a real estate professional with HomeSmart in Phoenix, AZ.  “I heard back very quickly and within two days the sale was approved.  My clients will now be able to avoid foreclosure.”

“Fannie Mae has taken a serious step to address common issues with short sale files,” said Maryann Little, vice president for short sale mitigation with AA Premier Properties, LLC and Short Sale Mitigation, LLC in Stoneham, MA.  “I’ve found HomePath for Short Sales to be an easy tool to communicate with Fannie Mae.  Recently I escalated a file to work out a difference in valuation and in less than 24 hours it was resolved.  I appreciated that I could send comps directly to Fannie Mae and let them know what we were seeing on our side of the short sale.”

Real estate professionals can visit www.homepathforshortsales.com for information on Fannie Mae’s short sale process and www.homepathforshortsales.com/hpshortsaleinquiry.html to raise an issue on a particular short sale with Fannie Mae directly.

Previously, Fannie Mae has taken steps to reduce short sale timelines, expand eligibility for short sales and to prohibit servicers from reducing an agent’s commission.  Fannie Mae also secured delegation agreements with mortgage insurers to streamline the short sale approval process.  The company completed 58,376 short sales through the first nine months of 2012.