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Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 4:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

December Housing Scorecard Shows Continued Home Affordability

RISMEDIA, December 27, 2010—The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released the December edition of the Obama Administration’s Housing Scorecard. The latest housing figures show continued home affordability in the housing market, with interest rates near record lows, but the market remains fragile, as prices are unsettled. Foreclosure starts and completions dropped significantly in November, as lenders review internal servicing procedures. The housing scorecard is a comprehensive report on the nation’s housing market.

“The Obama Administration’s broad set of programs have helped promote stability for the housing market, neighborhoods, and the nation’s homeowners, but there is much more work to be done,” said HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic. “Since taking office in 2009, the Administration’s efforts have helped millions of families stay in their homes and helped millions more refinance, but the data clearly show that the market remains extremely fragile. That’s why we’re continuing to focus on successfully implementing the programs we’ve put in place—such as additional refinancing assistance and emergency loans to help unemployed homeowners—and ensuring that help is available to homeowners as early as possible.”

“While much work remains to be done to help families that have been hurt by this crisis, the Administration’s programs have benefitted many homeowners directly while setting standards for the entire industry,” said acting Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability Tim Massad. “This is a major reason why there have been more than twice as many modifications and other foreclosure alternatives as foreclosure completions since April 2009.”

The December Housing Scorecard features key data on the health of the housing market including:

-Foreclosure starts and completions dropped significantly in November. As lenders review internal procedures related to foreclosure processing, many foreclosure actions have been delayed, leading to a 21% drop in foreclosure activity in November. While this is the biggest month over month decrease since 2005, the decline is likely to be temporary as lenders eventually revise and resubmit foreclosure paperwork in the coming months.

-As expected with the expiration of the Home Buyer Tax Credit, new and existing home sales have remained below levels seen in the first half of 2010. However, this month’s report also shows that home prices and home equity declined moderately, as prices remain unsettled at this fragile stage of the recovery.

-More than 3.9 million mortgage aid offers were initiated between April 2009 and the end of October 2010—more than double the number of foreclosure completions during that time. These actions included over 1.4 million Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) trial modification starts, more than 600,000 Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions, and nearly 1.8 million proprietary modifications under HOPE Now. While some homeowners may have received help from more than one program, the number of agreements offered were more than double the number of foreclosure completions for the same period (1.7 million).

Data in the scorecard also show that the recovery in the housing market continues to remain fragile. While the recovery will take place over time, the Administration remains committed to its efforts to prevent avoidable foreclosures and stabilize the housing market.

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

2010 a ‘Challenging’ Year With Slowly Improving Economy

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dec. 21, 2010 – The state of the economy remains the top story of 2010, and many of this year’s real estate issues relate to the recovery’s ups and downs. Here’s a recap of this year’s top real estate stories, as determined by editors of Florida Realtors’ News:

Amendment 4: We came, we saw, we conquered
Amendment 4’s defeat at the ballot box in November gave Florida Realtors a stunning victory. The group that introduced the amendment hoped it would short circuit state growth management laws, but it would have done so with a sledgehammer. Had Amendment 4 passed, it would have burdened the courts with a series of lawsuits, and convinced companies to steer clear of The Sunshine State because it was anti-business and anti-growth. At the state level, Florida Realtors fought hard in partnership with The “Vote No on 4” coalition; at the grassroots level, Realtors called lawmakers, posted signs, and explained the reasons to vote no on 4 to neighbors and clients.

We see a light at the end of the tunnelThe real estate market is cyclical and will once again thrive – but when? In 2010, more than supply and demand influenced the market. Each time the market received a bit of good news, something happened. Tax credits ended, banks pulled back on lending and foreclosures stopped closing. But signs continue to point to a stabilizing and slowly improving economy. The market remains solid if not stellar, and most economists predict a positive trend in 2011.

Going, going, gone – homebuyer tax credit
To boost home sales and bolster the economy, Congress created a first-time homebuyer tax credit and extended it three times, tinkering with the rules each time. But the final tax credit – which included more than just first-time buyers – drew to a close on April 30, 2010, for clients under contract. (Note: Military buyers still qualify.) Florida saw a groundswell of signed contracts in April but a drop-off by mid-summer as interested shoppers hurried to take advantage of the contract deadline. By the end of 2010, however, falling home prices and record-low interest rates made homebuying a bargain even without the tax credit, and the Florida housing sector seemed to be tentatively and warily stabilizing.

Florida Open House Weekend – A celebration of homebuyingAs the homebuyer tax credit drew to a close, Florida Realtors introduced the state’s first-ever “Florida Open House Weekend” to highlight all the buying opportunities from Pensacola to Key West, and as a way to help potential buyers sign a contract early enough to take advantage of the homebuyer tax credit. More than 15,000 houses opened their doors to buyers in the largest single open house event across the state, and the largest open housing event of the year.

Those robo-signing, disorganized lenders made mistakesAs the number of foreclosures grew, Realtors took them on and turned them into business opportunities. However, sales in some cities ground to a halt for awhile as more people facing a foreclosure asked a simple question: Who owns my mortgage? As the inner workings of some lenders unraveled, the public found out that banks blindly signed foreclosure docs, called a pseudo-mortgage owner (MERS – Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) the mortgage owner, and turned a blind eye to legitimate complaints, such as “I don’t have a mortgage on my house – I don’t even have a checking account with you.” Paperwork problems cancelled or delayed a number of closings in the fall of 2010, and some buyer’s agents who specialized in foreclosures found their business at a standstill. By the end of 2010, the paperwork problem seemed mostly resolved, but as more foreclosures roll onto the market, 2011 could hold a few more surprises.

Don’t touch our sugar sand beachesThe economy and lending problems hit Florida real estate sales with a one-two punch, but an environmental disaster kicked the sector when it was down. An oil rig owned by BP exploded on April 10, 2010, and it took three months to cap the flow. In the meantime, millions of gallons of oil tainted the Gulf, with some of it ending up as tar balls on Florida’s famous sugar sand beaches. Eventually BP ceded control of damage payouts to the federal government. As part of that package, Florida Realtors convinced the fund administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, that Realtors’ livelihoods were hurt and, along with other Gulf states, received control of a special fund to reimburse Realtors in Florida who suffered a business loss.

Little interest in mortgage interest deduction?By the end of 2010, a philosophical shift started to occur among U.S. lawmakers. The highest branches of government started to question the value of homeownership for Americans. Many thought the federal push to put as many people as possible into a home – done in part by tax incentives – played a role in the economic slowdown and housing collapse. However, the U.S. tax structure rewards homeownership by allowing taxpayers to deduct mortgage interest paid as well as property taxes – a reward for homeowners. Should that benefit be dropped? Does it even work? Only a handful of people propose a complete negation of the benefit, but expect a fight to water it down heading into 2011, with a tax credit for second homeowners and equity lines of credit in the crosshairs.

© 2010 Florida Realtors®

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.houseofhomesonline@gmail.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011

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Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Foreclosure Update

For the second month in a row, foreclosure activity was impacted by voluntary foreclosure suspensions, after certain practices commonly used during the foreclosure process were called into question. While initially limited to judicial foreclosure states, the so-called robo-signing controversy began impacting foreclosures in non-judicial states, including those in our coverage area in early October.

Foreclosure starts were down across the board in November, ranging from a 9.3 percent month-over-month decline in California to a staggering 31.7 percent decline in Washington. Despite the fact that robo-signing was not directly tied to foreclosure filings in non-judicial foreclosure states, foreclosure starts in our coverage area have dropped 25.5 percent since the controversy began.

Foreclosure sales continued to be impacted by robo-signing related foreclosure suspensions more directly, as Ally (GMAC), Bank of America and PNC all halted foreclosure sales nationwide, contributing to a 38.7 percent drop in foreclosure sales over the last two months within our coverage are. In November, foreclosure sales dropped the most dramatically in Washington, after having seen little impact in October; while California had the least dramatic decline with a drop of 9.0 percent. After having had the largest impact on foreclosure sales, Bank of America slowly began foreclosing again the week of December 6th. Their return will likely lead back to normal foreclosure levels in the months to come.

“Since September 2008 the foreclosure process has seen significant bottlenecks, first due to government intervention and now lender ineptitude,” says Sean O’Toole, CEO and Founder of ForeclosureRadar.com. “Unfortunately the resulting delays will only serve to extend the time it takes to recover and return to a normal housing market.”

Arizona
Continuing downward, Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 24.4 percent from October to November, reaching their lowest level since March 2008. The holidays, and issues around the robo-signing controversy, likely contributed to the significant drop. Foreclosure sales were down 14.8 percent from October to November, following a 26.9 percent decline the prior month resulting in the lowest number of sales since September 2009.
View all Arizona stats by state, county, city or ZIP

California
Foreclosure activity slowed across the board in California. Notice of Default filings dipped 9.3 percent month over month, while Notice of Trustee filings declined a mere 1.0 percent from October. Cancellations of foreclosure sales dropped 8.5 percent in November, down 54 percent from their peak in June, likely due in part to the failure of the Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to help California homeowners. Foreclosure sales are down by 9.0 percent from October, though sales to 3rd parties increased by 7.8 percent.
View all California stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Nevada
Foreclosure activity in Nevada dropped dramatically over the past two months. Foreclosure sales are down 22.1 percent from October to November, and 50.5 percent from September. Notice of default filings are also down for the second month in a row, dropping 12.7 percent from October, and 24.3 percent from September. Clearly, Nevada foreclosure activity was impacted not only by the holidays, but also by the robo-signing controversy.
View all Nevada stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Oregon
Oregon’s Notice of Default filings and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped for the third consecutive month, reaching their lowest point since Q4 2008. Notice of Default filings declined 25.0 percent from October to November, and Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 21.2 percent. Foreclosure sales declined 26.7 percent in November, and have dropped 54.3 percent since September. After a four month decline, cancellations of foreclosure sales increased 34.8 percent from October.
View all Oregon stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Washington
While Washington showed little impact from the robo-signing controversy in October, foreclosure activity dropped substantially in November. Notice of Trustee Sale filings dropped 31.7 percent from October, but are still up 16.2 percent from a year earlier. Similarly, foreclosure sales dropped 38.1 percent from October but are up 29.3 percent from November 2009.
View all Washington stats by state, county, city or ZIP

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817
772-626-1768

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:
http://www.isellpslhomes.com

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011