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Speedier Short Sales Coming

The short sale process is expected to get shorter starting June 15. New guidelines issued under the Federal Housing Finance Agency will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to give homebuyers of short sales notice of their final decision within 60 days. The new guidelines also will require the mortgage giants to respond to initial short-sale requests within 30 days of receiving an offer.

The speedier process is expected to be a boost to the housing market, Michael McHugh, president of the Empire State Mortgage Bankers Association, told the New York Times. Homebuyers and sellers often have to wait months before they receive a short sale decision from a lender. Some deals fall apart just from the wait alone.

Short sales have been increasing in recent months as many lenders find them more appealing than foreclosures, which can cost more and take longer to remove from their books.

Short sales now outpace foreclosure sales in many parts of the country. Short sales represent more than 14 percent of existing-home sales, according to CoreLogic housing data from March, the most recent month available.

McHugh says that a faster short-sale process may be particularly helpful in speeding the recovery in judicial states, where foreclosures must go through the courts before they are approved. Now short sales may be viewed by defaulting homeowners as more of an option if they want to avoid foreclosure.

“There should be a significant improvement in the turnaround,” McHugh said regarding housing markets with judicial foreclosure processes.

Source: “Speeding Up Short Sales,” The New York Times (May 24, 2012)
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