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This Week in Real Estate: Data Revisions, Lawsuits and Student Loans

by Chicago Agent

The headaches involving appraisals were just one of this week's stories.

Is the National Association of Realtors (NAR) finally revising its existing home sales data? What’s going on with appraisals? And how do student loans affect housing? Here’s a quick rundown of stats from this week’s news (Dec. 12 – Dec. 16) by the numbers:

20 – the percentage that the NAR may have been overstating existing home sales the last five years. NAR will be releasing the updated statistics next Wednesday, when it would  have normally released existing home data for November.

60 – the amount of days, within default, that banks must begin upkeep on foreclosed properties, based on a new ordinance adopted by Chicago; the FHFA has sued the city for the ordinance, claiming it unfairly penalizes GSEs for properties before they are officially foreclosed.

11 – the median down payment for homebuyers in 2011. Although media outlets constantly run stories about the “20 percent down payment,” data from a variety of sources reports that such a payment option is far from the norm.

865 – the amount, in billions, of student loan debt, which is more than credit card debt and second only to mortgage debt. Rising much faster than inflation, student loan debt has emerged as a major inhibitor to recent college graduates entering homeownership.

10 – the percentage of Chicago properties that are vacant; as a result, the city has partnered with non-profits and other organizations in an effort to rehab the homes, using strategies that most likely anticipate a national effort from Washington.

0.2  – the minimum interest rate, in some states, that parents can charge their children for home loans. Some prospective homebuyers are unable to secure traditional financing, so they have resorted to unorthodox sources.

38 – the amount of money, in billions, that a new fee hike for GSE loans would generate to pay for the government’s payroll tax cut extension. Universally loathed by housing professionals, the fee hike would most likely raise rates on GSE-guaranteed loans and drive even more homebuyers to FHA financing.

53 – the percent of homebuilders who reported to the NAHB that the appraised value of their properties came in less than the overall cost of building the home. Called a “crisis” by the NAHB, appraisals have been a continuously challenging process for some builders.

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