Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined with community activists and homeowners Thursday to promote a new, anti-foreclosure help line.  The help line is designed to keep more families in their homes as well as reduce fraud in the foreclosure process.  CBS2′s Dave Lopez spoke to people grateful that the help line will help them stay in their homes.  Lopez was there when the mayor talked to the Garr family of 150th Street. He assured them that they were not alone in their foreclosure battle

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

New Jersey’s foreclosed homes are filled with 'vampires'. In this case they aren’t the undead, they’re people living in homes going through foreclosure for years and not paying any bills.  People call them squatters or freeloaders but when you dig deeper, it could be the foreclosure process in New Jersey that may be flawed and not necessarily the homeowner getting a free ride.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Sifting through a massive study of low-income children and their families, Lynch School of Education Professor Rebekah Levine Coley and colleagues have gleaned new insights into the harmful effects of substandard housing on families and children.  Coley, whose research into the housing choices of low-income families is supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, says her new report shows the distinct emotional and educational prices children pay when their families live in run-down apartments and homes.

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Our housing markets are now heading directly into the perfect storm and those in the real estate and mortgage industries would be well advised to get prepared for the downturn now.  I dislike being an alarmist, but I am officially sounding the alarm.  This past September signified the fourth straight month of a decline in existing home sales, while mortgage interest rates hit two-year highs.  The Mortgage Bankers Association index of mortgage activity is now at its lowest point since November of 2008, which was probably the nadir of the financial crisis and resulting Great Recession.

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Southern California home buyers have apparently had their fill of bidding wars, home shortages and double-digit price hikes.  For the third straight month, the median home price across the Southland stayed essentially flat, at $382,000. The September data confirmed expert predictions that waning demand would throw a wet blanket over the white-hot market. The stall is owed to multiple factors: buyer fatigue over skyrocketing prices, higher mortgage rates, an expanding supply of homes and a pullback by investors who had swarmed the market.,0,6...

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Arizona continues to be faulted for its handling of federal money aimed at helping underwater and struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.  The Arizona Republic and Arizona Daily Sun both report this week regarding of federal audits critical of how the state used foreclosure prevention funds.  The Arizona Legislature was slow to approve measures aimed at giving renters more notice when their residences were facing foreclosure. Republican assembly raided $50 million from a national mortgage settlement fund to help pay for other budget needs.

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Five years after the nation's housing and financial meltdown began, foreclosure filings and sales are down substantially in Colorado.  In 2012, there were 15,903 completed foreclosures in the state, down 25 percent from 21,306 in 2008, according to the Colorado Division of Housing.  And through June 30 of this year, foreclosure sales are down 30 percent from the same period last year.

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Foreclosure activity in September was up 2 percent from August, RealtyTrac said today, but the third quarter saw the lowest level of foreclosure related filings since the financial crisis began.  The company's U.S. Foreclosure Market ReportTM covering the two periods showed 131,232 filings in September including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions or completed foreclosures compared to 128,560 in August, but down 27 percent from a year before.

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The 213 foreclosure deeds recorded in August of this year is a decrease of 24% from August of 2012 and a nearly identical number to those recorded in the prior month (July 2013). The cumulative total for the first eight months of 2013 is 26% below the total for the same period in 2012, and lower than the first eight month total in any year since 2007. At the current pace, 2013 will end the year with fewer foreclosures than any of the prior five years. We estimate this number to be fewer than 2,800 foreclosure deeds, a decline of 25% from year end 2012.

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

There are more than 770,000 homes in foreclosure in the U.S. According to the latest data provided by RealtyTrac, roughly one in five of these, more than 150,000 in all, has been abandoned by its owners but remains unclaimed. These properties are referred to by the industry as “zombie” homes.

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Unfortunately, both the Fed and the government want out of the mortgage market at the same time. The Fed wants to taper, and President Obama wants to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance companies taken over by the government a few years back. These entities, along with government agencies, guarantee 90 per cent of all mortgages, as US banks say they can't make money from the low interest rate environment, and provide products like the very low rate 30-year fixed mortgage popular with homebuyers.

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Obamacare’s early problems could recast the debate about mortgage market reform.  What does health care have to do with housing prices? A lot, actually. The stumbles with the website and the individual policy cancellations may or may not get resolved soon. But they have served a purpose. They have highlighted the extent to which health care reform is a “kludge,” as Paul Krugman recently wrote, a jury-rigged and complicated structure that extends social insurance largely through private sector means, leavened by a passel of government regulations and subsidies.

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Even in corporate crime, women hit the glass ceiling.  Just nine percent of those who commit major corporate fraud are women, according to a recent study published in the American Sociological Review. And when they team up with men to commit the fraud, they reap less of a profit than their male co-conspirators.  Far less, based on the study’s review of several years of corporate fraud cases.

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Initial foreclosure filings climbed 144 percent from August in Fairfax County, Virginia, and more than doubled in Prince William, Loudoun and Fauquier counties, the real estate research firm said today. Fairfax’s jump was the biggest in the U.S. among counties with populations of 1 million or more. This year’s across-the-board budget reductions have led to “sequester pain” including work furloughs that began in June, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. Homeowners may be hurt further by the partial government shutdown as President Barack Obama and House Republicans wrangle over spending, said Brian O’Reilly, president of Collingwood Group LLC.

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Five years after Washington bailed out more than 700 banks, the money has become a burden for more than 100 community banks that can't seem to repay it.  About a dozen of those are in California, and they are facing increasing pressure as the federal government looks to close out the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The banks will soon face a big increase in the annual dividend they must pay the government on its investment — to 9% from 5%. Some of the banks will have to sell out or bring in new shareholders — who might demand control of the institution in exchange for the cash infusion.,0,854124....

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

As if rising mortgage rates aren’t scary enough, analysts have identified a lurking threat to housing: “vampire” properties.  These “vampire” properties are bank-owned foreclosed homes in which prior owners continue to live, as defined by RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace.  Former owners live in 47% of U.S. bank-owned properties, according to RealtyTrac. These properties are “sucking the life out of the housing market,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure marketplace.

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Home prices grew by 1% month-over-month in August 2013, according to the latest Corelogic home price index, after growing 1.7% in July.  This figure excludes distressed home sales transactions. which include short sales and REO transactions, in which a lender takes possession of a property following an unsuccessful foreclosure auction.

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Signs of "foreclosure" and "owned by bank" are still common throughout Sin City, and some parts of Nevada, as the silver state is once again taking the lead as the nation's highest in foreclosures., a website of foreclosure listings, reports that the state of Nevada has an average foreclosure rate of 28 percent that is higher than the national average of 1 percent. The unemployment rate is at 9.9 percent.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Starved for scoops, many don’t bother to check the veracity of revenue and profitability numbers for non-public and pre-IPO entities before printing them.  This has been going on for a while. Even though I know most print publications still employ fact-checking, I’m seeing more and more major news media and magazine writers plug in numbers, sometimes unattributed, that no one checks.  ....As a CPA and former internal auditor I’m used to backing up my analytical conclusions or statements of “facts” with sufficient evidence. I was glad to see Forbes would not allow me to make a mistake.

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