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Archive for the 'Foreclosures' Category

Foreclosures Rise 18%

The epidemic of foreclosures is rising, according to newly released figures from RealtyTrac, despite a slight slowdown in activity during the month of May. Year over year foreclosures rose 18%.

Foreclosure filings, including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions were reported on 321,480 properties during the month, a decrease of 6% from April. The drop apparently developed as a result of moratoriums on foreclosures by the nation’s largest banks and mortgage companies.

“While defaults and scheduled foreclosure auctions were both down from the previous month, bank repossessions, or REOs were up 2% thanks largely to substantial increases in several states, including Michigan, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and New York,” said James Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “We expect REO activity to spike in the coming months as foreclosure delays and moratoriums implemented by various state laws come to an end.”

Ten states represent 77% of foreclosure filings, according to the report. Foreclosures are forecast to rise through the remainder of the year by Housing Predictor as a result of the financial crisis and the tight money supply. Nevada continued to document the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 64 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month.

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Can Government Solve the Foreclosure Problem?

Foreclosures are up nationwide, and will continue to rise as prices continue to go down in many markets.  For some, the problem is painful.  Ask the guy down the block from you whose house is in foreclosure.

Some pundits think the rising foreclosures will bankrupt our economy, causing pain for people who lose their business or job as a ripple effect of all these foreclosures.  Others think that the rise in foreclosures is a healthy adjustment to the end of a long real estate boom, and is nature’s way of taking care of a free-market economic cycle.

Who’s right?  Time will tell, but it’s alarming to see politicians trying to fix this problem.  Here are some of their solutions:

Give People Money

Tax the rich, give to the poor.  The federal government now wants to fund programs to help people stay in their homes.

A new bill in the Senate proposes giving money to people who can’t pay their loans.  We taxpayers are confused.  If these people are in trouble because they never should have been given such a loan, why should taxpayer money be used to keep them in their homes that they could not otherwise afford?

Maybe someone in Washington has the answer to that question?

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Protecting Yourself From Mortgage Fraud

With the large number of foreclosures to hit this country over the last few years, con artists have come out of the woodwork  to prey on those in trouble — including real estate investors.

The number of schemes, and those being caught and charged, can be found in the news and on many internet website like Mortgage Fraud Blog (

This short 2-minute video by Freddie Mac teaches you how to spot a foreclosure scam and find out how to avoid becoming victim to home foreclosure fraud.

Do you know someone who’s been victimized?  Do you think this problem is getting worse?

Where’s the Bottom of the Housing Market?

Speaking in general terms, we may be far from a bottom in the national real estate housing market. Perhaps the government bailout plans and lower interest rates will help, but I remain skeptical that we will reach a bottom by the second quarter of 2009 – today’s general consensus.  Why?

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported that 10% of American homeowners are either behind on payments or in foreclosure. This data has been tracked for over 29 years, and we are at an all-time high, as you might have guessed.

These high numbers suggest that loans to sub-prime borrowers, who perhaps shouldn’t have gained approval, are only part of the problem. The sub-prime market got the ball rolling, but now unemployment is making that ball accelerate at a frightening speed.

The U.S. economy lost 1.55 million jobs in the last 6 months. That’s the biggest loss of jobs in 30 years. To put this in a little more perspective, 1.55 million is nearly the number of jobs that were lost in the 2001 recession including the months following September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately it gets worse.

637,000 people were not counted in the official jobless numbers because they’ve stopped looking for work, effectively removing themselves from the employment pool.

Another 621,000 people have apparently settled for part-time work because they can’t find full-time work. These people count as employed, but it’s pretty obvious they will not be contributing much to the GDP by way of spending.

Where’s the bottom?

We will reach a bottom of the housing market once we have Stabilization.

Stabilization means the end is in sight. The day will come when the rate of layoffs will slow down and corporate cost-cutting has been done.  However, the latest employment numbers suggest we are a long ways off.

What should you do?

As mentioned in our blog post, “Is it a Good Time to Invest in Real Estate?“, there is an abundance of good real estate deals all over the country today. With real estate values and mortgage rates at historic lows, finding property with neutral or positive cash flow is not difficult to do.

Again, be sure to do your research and buy in markets with the strongest economic fundamentals, then hold on for the long term in order to gain the highest returns.

What You Should Know About HUD Properties

imageHUD properties are available all over the United States, and make great investments for anybody that is interested. These homes often get a bad rap for being in bad condition, but in all actuality they are not any worse than other foreclosed homes that are available. Just like anything else, there are some HUD properties that are in good condition, and some that are in need of repairs. It is simply a matter of how well the past owner cared for the home.

HUD properties are homes that had loans which were insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). But when the owner fails to live up to the financial obligations that are expected, the bank then takes over the home and it becomes an HUD property. At this point, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is in charge of repaying the lender any money that they lost on the deal. So as you can see, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sticks their neck on the line when they insure the loans on these homes; if the owner doesn’t pay, they are stuck with owing money to the lender.

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The Future of the Housing Market

The Future of the Housing MarketIn some of the worst housing markets in the country, deflation has reached double-digit proportions.  While housing woes have spread around the country, California appears to be poised to rank among the worse.  One of the primary reasons for this is the fact that in the last few quarters California has experienced the largest rate of deflating home prices.  In fact, home prices in California have fallen to levels that have been unprecedented.

Miami, Florida has also proven to be a difficult market at the moment.  The weak mortgage market and record high rates of foreclosures have led to declining home values as well.  In fact, Miami has been among the worst home markets in the country for two years running. The condo boom in Miami just a few years ago has further fueled the problems that have now spiraled into a massive real estate bust.

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Making The Real Estate Recession Work For You

We are currently experiencing the worst real estate recession this country has seen in decades. Property prices in some areas have fallen to the point where many people are paying more on a mortgage than their property is actually worth! In fact housing prices dropped at the fastest rate ever in February indicating that the housing slump is probably gaining momentum. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major cities fell by 12.7% in February versus last year, the largest decline since its inception in 2001. Seventeen of the 20 metro areas reported record annual declines.

Many builders and developers around the country have gone bankrupt, even the large ones that recently appeared financially solid. There are hundreds of developments scattered around the United States that have been left unfinished. And there are thousands of new construction homes that are either in the process of construction or have never been occupied. Read more »

Some Quick Foreclosure Statistics

Here are some quick foreclosure stats I came across recently:

  • Every three months, 250,000 new families go into foreclosure.
  • Foreclosure filings were reported on 234,685 properties nationwide during March, a 57% increase from March 2007.
  • One in every 538 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing during March.
  • One out of every 200 homes will be foreclosed upon. For a city like Washington, that translates to 3,000 Washingtonians losing their homes to foreclosure each year.
  • One child in every classroom in America is at risk of losing his/her home because their parents are unable to pay their mortgage.
  • More than 6 in 10 homeowners delinquent in their mortgage payments are not aware of services that mortgage lenders can offer to individuals having trouble with their mortgage.
  • Foreclosure filings were reported on 64,711 California properties in March, the most of any state for the 15th consecutive month.
  • California foreclosure activity increased nearly 21 percent from the previous month and almost 106 percent from March 2007.
  • One in every 204 California households received a foreclosure filing in March – 2.6 times the national average.
  • According to, a source for foreclosure listings:
    • There are currently 2,934,626 US foreclosure listings.
    • The top 5 foreclosure States are:
      • California leading with 303,777 listings.
      • Florida – 191,706 foreclosure listings.
      • Ohio – 105,880 foreclosure listings.
      • Texas – 79,683 foreclosure listings.
      • Georgia – 52,210 foreclosure listings.

Investing In Real Estate In A Recession

Investing in Real Estate In A RecessionIt can be scary to invest in anything during a recession. We all carry visions of the great depression and bread lines and people selling apples. The idea of putting your money into anything other than your mattress can be frightening for some. However, real estate should never be looked upon as an ordinary investment.

Real estate is one of the few investments that we actually use and need. Everyone needs a place to live and call home. And real estate has systematically and quantifiably proven to have risen in value over the decades. Read more »

America’s Worst-Selling Housing Markets

America's Worst-Selling Housing MarketsForbes recently released their list of the ten worst selling housing markets with very few surprises.  Topping the list was Miami, Florida where the glut of inventory continues to linger.

Of the 40 largest metropolitan markets analysed, not one market showed any sign of price appreciation.  With slow sales and dropping prices the aggressive investor may be able to pick off some very good deals in these markets.  Research, patience and a sharpened sense for value can land you a great real estate investment.

Here are the ten worst markets according for Forbes: Read more »

Short Sales Now Widespread

Roughly 20 percent of all U.S. home sales in March were “short sales” according to a real estate industry survey conducted by Washington-based Campbell Communications. According to their research, two-thirds of short sales are initiated by homeowners and one-third are launched by mortgage lenders (as a foreclosure alternative).

In a typical home transaction the seller gets final say on which buyer gets the home, but in a short sale the lender weighs in on that decision, since it’s the lender who won’t recoup 100 percent of the seller’s mortgage balance as in a “normal” home transaction.

Buying a Short Sale Can Be A Time-Consuming Process

It is important to know where the seller is in terms of discussions with the lender. The lender can drag the short-sale process on for a very long time. An offer may take anywhere from four to six weeks to get a response. But if the buyer is in the market to purchase a short-sale, then patience is going to be vital in order to pick up that good deal.

Foreclosure Activity up 60% from Feb 07

Foreclosure Activity up 60 Percent from Feb 07There is a lot of media attention on foreclosures these days.  It seems everywhere you turn the radio, TV and newspapers have increasingly more negative news.

Although there are many markets offering great real estate investment opportunities, it is true that there is a significant increase in foreclosures, and nationally the housing market has slowed down significantly.

February foreclosure activity was down 4 percent from the previous month but still up 57 percent from February 2007 according to the latest RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report.  That equated to 1 out of every 557 households having a foreclosure filing of any sort.  Nevada, California, and Florida posted the top state foreclosure rates, with California and Florida metro areas accounted for nine of the top 10 metro foreclosure rates in February.

I’ve put together a short list of links if you are interested in more information on the current state of foreclosures: