A woman meets an elderly man, moves in with him, and inherits his rent-controlled New York apartment -- except 62-year-old Pamela Becker was not 85-year-old Nicholas DeTommaso's wife or lover. Just weeks before DeTommaso died, he adopted Becker -- as his daughter.
According to the New York Post, DeTommaso (pictured with Becker, left) had lived at the two-bedroom, railroad-flat apartment on 47th Road in Queens his entire life, and paid only $100 a month to live there. One of his neighbors had hired Becker as a cat-sitter, and soon after, Becker befriended the old man.
What's a pocket listing? Essentially it's a private, "off-market" listing, often of short duration. Instead of putting the house on the local Multiple Listing Service, which exposes it to a vast number of shoppers and agents via real estate websites, agents restrict access to information about the house to their own buyer clients or colleagues in the same brokerage, hoping for a quick, full-price sale.
Pocket listings are surging, real estate experts say, because of historically low inventories of homes for sale in major metropolitan areas, along with strong buyer demand and low mortgage rates.
Michael Marchillo, a plumber, has been trying and failing for months to buy a bigger home for his family here in Sin City. He was pre-qualified by a bank for a $130,000 mortgage, which a year ago would have landed a typical three-bedroom home in the area. No more. Now, the 36-year-old says, it's hard to compete with "greedy investors" who come to the table flush with cash for quick deals.
The cost of housing dropped in the Sacramento region from 2008 to 2011, but families struggling with housing costs didn't see much benefit, according to a study released this week by the Center for Housing Policy.
Of all households in the region, 28.8 percent in 2011 spent more than half their income on housing. That was up from three years earlier, when the figure was 27.1 percent, despite declining housing costs.
The U.S. homeownership rate fell to the lowest in almost 18 years, reflecting rising demand for rentals and investor purchases in the housing market.
The share of Americans who own their homes was 65 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.4 percent a year earlier and the lowest level since the third quarter of 1995, the Census Bureau reported today. The vacancy rate for rented homes dropped to 8.6 percent from 8.8 percent a year earlier, while vacancies for owner-occupied houses fell to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent.
Foreclosure activity in Hampton Roads increased 7.1 percent in March compared with the same month in 2012...
Lenders issued 846 foreclosure-related notices last month, up from the 790 issued in March 2012, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure monitoring service in Irvine, Calif. Month-over-month activity increased 22 percent between February and March.
The national mortgage delinquency rate might be “stubbornly high,” according to TransUnion, but the delinquency rate would actually reflect normal levels seen 10 years ago if cure or foreclosure timelines were shortened.
According to TransUnion, the first quarter national mortgage delinquency rate (60-plus delinquencies) was 4.56 percent, which is more than double the pre-crisis norm.
However, when aging, 180-plus delinquencies were taken out of the equation, a new TransUnion analysis found the delinquency rate would actually be around 1 percent.
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 7.25 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 16 basis points from the previous quarter, but down 15 basis points from one year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) National Delinquency Survey.
The delinquency rate for mortgages on one-to-four unit residential properties grew 16 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013 even as the nation’s foreclosure inventory rate dropped to 3.55%, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday.
Mortgages in this category reached a seasonally adjusted delinquency rate of 7.25% of all loans outstanding in the first quarter – a rate that is still down 15 basis points from a year ago, MBA concluded in its National Delinquency Survey.
It is increasingly clear that the ongoing housing recovery is the real deal. But that doesn't mean that homeowners, and the rest of the U.S. economy, is in the clear.
Despite large gains in home prices, foreclosures drying up and millions of homeowners recovering the equity they'd lost during the subprime crash, a few lingering risks are worth keeping an eye one. And the question with some of these threats isn't if, but when, they will actually occur, and what the reaction will be.
Here's a look at the top five threats to the housing recovery:
Oklahoma City foreclosure activity increases 11 percent from year ago. One in every 1,116 Oklahoma City housing units had a foreclosure filing in April, below the national average and ranking No. 105 nationwide among all metro areas with a population of 200,000 or more (209 total). Oklahoma City documented 480 properties with foreclosure filings in April, down 10 percent from March, but up 11 percent from April 2012.
The annual increase in overall Oklahoma City foreclosure activity was driven largely by an increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions (up 63 percent) and bank repossessions (up 72 percent). Foreclosure starts in Oklahoma City decreased 65 percent during the same time period.
Homes are more affordable now than they have been in decades, but that could turn more quickly than expected, because the affordability is based entirely on mortgage rates.
Home prices are actually rising faster than expected, but the gains are being masked for buyers by historically low rates. These rates allowed U.S. homeowners to pay almost 37 percent less in monthly mortgage payments at the end of last year than pre-housing–bubble norms, according to a new report from online real estate portal, Zillow. This as homes today cost 14.5 percent more compared to historic averages, relative to median incomes.
A California man, accused of operating one of Cleveland's largest foreclosure scams, refused Wednesday to accept a plea deal on corruption charges following an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation.
Marc Tow, 62, was indicted by a Cuyahoga County grand jury on Aug. 22, 2012 following a series of reports that aired on NewsChannel5 linking him to what prosecutors called one of the largest foreclosure scams in Ohio.
It will now be up to Cuyahoga County prosecutors, along with Cleveland housing court officials, to determine whether or not they will throw the book at Tow or, if they will try to find a way to indict any of Tow's alleged co-conspirators.
The U.S. spring homebuying season has been marked by a frenzy of demand fueled by the Federal Reserve’s drive to push down borrowing costs, a scarcity of listings and Wall Street’s new appetite for foreclosed homes. While values remain well below their peak, economists including Stan Humphries of Zillow Inc. (Z) and Mark Vitner of Wells Fargo & Co. assert prices in some areas are rising at an unsustainable pace -- a dramatic shift from early 2012, when billionaire Warren Buffett said housing “remains in a depression.”
“It’s a big change from a year ago,” said Paul Willen, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. “You’ve gone from hearing horror stories about people losing money to hearing stories of frenzy -- lots of traffic and multiple offers.”
With full-fledged sellers' markets underway in dozens of metropolitan areas around the country, new research has found curious statistical patterns emerging: Even in cities where listings get multiple offers within days or hours, significant numbers of homes are sitting on the market for six months, 12 months or more with no takers.
Call them turnoff listings. Despite roaring sales paces all around them, for one reason or another these houses send shoppers scurrying away, often because of mispricing, excessive restrictions on access to buyers and agents, failure to clean or make repairs and a variety of other marketing bungles.
Housing starts dropped 16.5% in April to the lowest level since November, but permits for future construction rose to a nearly five-year high, providing mixed signals for the red-hot real estate market.
Construction on privately owned homes, condominiums and apartments started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000 units in April, down from the revised rate of 1.02 million the previous month, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
As some of them try to redo their loans and stay in their homes, there are complaints that banks aren't complying with California's recently enacted Homeowner Bill of Rights or the provisions of a National Mortgage Settlement with five major lenders.
"The banks need to do a better job of honoring the settlement and the Homeowner Bill of Rights," said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition.
The coalition released a survey of 84 housing counselors and legal service lawyers which found that homeowners are "continuing to face a plethora of servicing problems," many of which were supposed to be fixed by the mortgage settlement.
While it's a smart time to put ad dollars to use, some critics say that these real estate commercials are skirting a larger responsibility to actually educate people about what's happening in the housing market. Now's the time, they say, because people could be jumping back into homebuying based on the louder and louder message that housing is back -- without knowing what they're doing any better than they did years ago. (But of course it is advertising -- which by its nature is meant to make us want stuff we don't necessarily need or can afford.)
"The banks -- they want all cash and they don't really care," said a frustrated Shannon Masse-Winks, who is searching for a home around Berkeley.
34-year-old Oakland designer, who is soon to be an architect, said she and her husband Peter began house hunting a year and a half ago.
"We totally got outbid at all times," she said. "The homes were going to people paying all cash. It's very frustrating, and now the prices have gone up about $100,000 since last year at this time. It is awful."