Morning Briefing: Underwater homes still too high says report

by Steve Randall03 Nov 2015
Underwater homes still too high says report
It may be 7 years since the housing market crash but there is still a worryingly high proportion of underwater homes in the US according to a new report. The Center for American Progress says that nearly 1000 US counties have stagnating or increasing levels of underwater homes. It says that 600 counties have improving levels but still have high percentages of underwater homes. The report warns of if there is an uptick of foreclosures in these counties it could derail the positive trend.

Many of the counties highlighted in the report are in non-metropolitan areas but there are also those in metros where house prices are still lower than they were at the height of the market.

Michela Zonta, Senior Policy Analyst at CAP and co-author of the report commented: “While negative equity across the board has decreased since 2011, what these data tell us is that the crisis has not eased in all corners of the country, and policymakers need to pay close attention to these areas.”
Jumbo mortgage market set for shake-up
Canadian bank RBC is set to revamp the jumbo mortgage strategy of its new US acquisition. RBC announced that it has acquired City National Corp. in a $5 billion deal Monday and said that it plans to use the California-based lender to “more aggressively” use jumbo mortgages to leverage its high-net-worth client base. RBC chief executive Dave McKay told the Wall Street Journal that City National has not pushed this area of its business as much as some competitors. City National has a residential mortgage book of just $5.7 billion, making it a relatively small player in the market currently.
Construction spending hits 7.5 year high
Construction spending increased by 0.6 per cent in September to reach a new 7.5 year high. The figures from the US Commerce Department reveal an increase to $1.09 trillion (seasonally adjusted annual rate). There was a 4.9 per cent increase in spending on apartments with a 1.3 per cent rise in single-family home construction.
Realtor to star with Melanie Griffiths
A Colorado realtor is starring alongside one of the world’s most famous actresses in a bid to sell her home. Melanie Griffiths, recently split from Antonio Banderas, is still struggling to offload the couple’s $8.9 million compound in Aspen so she’s advertising it herself. Griffiths stars in a TV ad which will appear on local cable TV soon. The New York Post says that she is seen walking through the 12 acre property with realtor Bob Bowden of Bowden Properties. 
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