March 2, 2011

California Home Foreclosures Fall 31%

Author: admin - Categories: California Hotel Foreclosures, California Real Estate News

According to figures released today by DataQuick, the number of California homes seized by lenders fell 30.6% in 4th quarter of 2010. Over all, home loan lenders foreclosed on 35,431 homes between October 1st and December 31st.  This was down from over 51,000 in the 4th quarter of 2009.

In addition, DataQuick reported:

  • Default notices issued to homeowners who have missed at least 3 loan payments dropped 17.5% in the 4th quarter of 2010 to 69,799 notices compared to the 4th quarter 2009 when mortgage lenders issued 84,568 default notices.
  • Last quarter’s number of defaults was the lowest in more than three years, the result of shifting market conditions and changing policies on servicing home loans.
  • Least amount of  loan defaults issued by mortgage lenders since the 2nd quarter of 2007, when there were less than 54,000 defaults.
  • A high percentage of loan defaults were originated between 2005 to 2007.
  • Loan modification applications feel 24% in the 4th quarter.

The lenders issuing the most loan default notices in California: Bank of America (16,199) and Wells Fargo (10,287)

DataQuick President John Walsh said: “We don’t know how much of the decline is due to less household financial distress, and how much is due to shifts in lender and servicer foreclosure policies. The level of default activity would certainly be higher if it weren’t for alternative strategies such as short sales, or even lengthening grace periods. The institutions that hold these loans in their portfolios will do whatever it takes to lessen their losses, including waiting.”

January 21, 2011

Best and Worst Cities in 2011 for Home Values

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Florida Real Estate News, Published Real Estate Articles

Poor Florida. The state that is home to Disney World, key lime pie and the Daytona 500 hasn’t had much to crow about when it comes to real estate in recent years. Sorry to break it to Sunshine Staters, but they shouldn’t be expecting a rebound anytime soon either. That’s according to Local Market Monitor (LMM), a Cary, N.C.-based real estate research firm that crunched the numbers for our list of the best and worst cities for home values in 2011. One list includes the 10 cities where home values are expected to rise the most in 2011, and the other the 10 cities where they are expected to fall the most.

Since interest rates have fallen dramatically this year, many homeowners have been able to lower their housing expenses by refinancing in to a loan with a better rate. According to a recent survey of refinance lenders, “Over 50% of applicants surveyed said that they saved over $1,000 a year from finding a more affordable home loan.”

LMM tracks 315 American real estate markets, assessing values and applying Investment Suitability ratings based on multiple factors. For the Forbes lists, LMM President Ingo Winzer and his researchers started with a U.S. Census-defined list of Metropolitan Statistical Areas with populations of 500,000 residents or more. They then analyzed key economic factors that directly affect housing markets: unemployment and job growth rates, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. LMM tracks real estate markets’ valuations based on the theory that markets go through cycles.  “We see a predictable pathway that home prices follow,” explains Winzer. “If you know where in the cycle a market is, you can make some predictions about where it will go in the next one, two, three years.”

Assessing the progression of those market cycles means comparing average “actual” home prices to equilibrium home prices–meaning where prices should be in the absence of market distortions that result from speculation and mismatches between population growth and new home construction. Another tool is peak-to-trough analyses, which factors in the number of single-family and multi-family housing permits active in each city, as recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau. The result is a Top 10 list made up of cities boasting an outlook for job growth and rebounding economies in 2011. Not surprisingly then, Washington D.C. (No. 7), and its nearby hubs make this list, thanks to a steady supply of government jobs.

Southern California HomesSouthern California touts the most metros on the Top 10 list. San Jose (No. 1), Santa Ana (No. 2) and San Diego (No. 5) offer housing markets where property prices are expected to rise steadily over the next three years. Los Angeles didn’t crack the top 10, but this sprawling metropolis does offer the prospect of appreciation, despite a building boom and bust that was similar to Florida’s. “The big difference between Florida and Southern California … is people are moving into Southern California, but they’re not moving to Florida,” asserts Winzer. “It was speculative retirement and vacation condos–things that were bought by people not living there and now not moving there, wanting to sell their empty condos because they can’t rent them out.”  It did not hurt that rates on California mortgages fell to 4% on fixed 30-year loans.

Unfortunately for these snowbirds, seven Florida cities land on the Bottom 10 list. Deltona-Daytona Beach, Lakeland and Orlando take the top three spots. Expect further home price drops in all of these markets over the next two years, leveling out by 2014.  A lack of jobs–the construction industry had a huge job market presence here–coupled with a deluge of homes on the market, both from owners and banks, means these markets will take a long time to recover.

Many Western states are in the same bind as Florida, thanks to building boom and busts centered around retirement and vacation home speculation. Arizona metros like Tucson (No.8) and Nevada’s Las Vegas (No.5) likely have a few years to go before prices stop dropping.

Yahoo! Buzz”In general they’re attractive markets for retirement, and eventually they’ll recover … but over the next five years or so they’re going to have a tough time filling all the empty pieces of real estate built there,” says the LMM president.

What does all of this news mean for you, the homeowner? If you are living in a market that’s still depreciating in value and intend to stay in that market, don’t panic and sell your home. Wait it out instead.  However, if you live in one of these depreciating markets and already plan on scramming in the next few years, do it now–it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. Just don’t plan on your property selling quickly, since these markets are suffering from an abundance of inventory. If you’ve had hopes of setting up new digs in one of these rebounding markets, do it now. Prices are only going to go up.  The article was written by Morgan Brennan for Forbes.

California Home Sales Up Again

Author: admin - Categories: California Financing, California Real Estate News

Home sales have been increasing but have the average price for a house in California has declined. Clearly the foreclosures have flooded the market. Just a few years ago, many home buyers would get a 1st and 2nd mortgage to avoid having to pay mortgage insurance. These “80-20″ loans were discontinued because so many of the loans defaulted. This is an example of a “high risk” financing program that had a negative impact on the housing crisis.

Once again real estate news remains mixed for California, as home sales rise, but so do new home loan defaults. California home sales rose in December to their highest level since May, according to a report Friday from the California Association of Realtors as the inventory of unsold homes dwindled. December’s sales were up 5.9% from November’s revised figure of 491,590 but were down 6.8% from the revised 558,840 of December 2009. The unsold inventory index for existing, single-family detached homes was 5 months in December, down from 6.2 months in November but up from 3.8 months in December 2009. The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate.

California Home for SaleStatewide, the 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during December were: Beverly Hills, $2.18 million; Los Altos, $1.30 million; Calabasas, $1.17 million; Laguna Beach, $1.10 million; Manhattan Beach, $1.8 million; Newport Beach, $1 million; Santa Monica, $921,000; Cupertino, $904,500; Rancho Palos Verdes, $849,000; Los Gatos, $840,000.Statewide, the cities with the greatest median home price increases in December compared with the same period a year ago were: Beverly Hills, 54.3 %; Calabasas, 39.1 %; Poway, 25.5 %; Ridgecrest, 23.3 %; San Juan Capistrano, 19.2 %; Compton, 17.5 %; Laguna Hills, 15.7 %; Santa Cruz, 14.1 %; Gilroy, 14.1 %; La Habra, 13.2 %.

Read more: California home sales hit 7-month high in December | Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

August 24, 2010

NAR Publishes Existing Home Sales Report for July 2010

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, National Housing Report, New Home Starts

California HomesThe National Association of Realtors today released Existing Home Sales data for July 2010. Existing-home sales were sharply lower in July following expiration of the home buyer tax credit but home prices continued to gain, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 27.2 % to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million units in July from a downwardly revised 5.26 million in June, and are 25.5 % below the 5.14 million-unit level in July 2009.

Single-family home sales dropped 27.1 % to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.37 million in July from a pace of 4.62 million in June, and are 25.6 % below the 4.53 million level in July 2009; they were the lowest since May 1995 when the sales rate was 3.34 million. Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 28.1 % to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 460,000 in July from 640,000 in June, and are 24.0 % below the 605,000-unit level in July 2009. Single family sales – accounting for the bulk of transactions – are at the lowest level since May of 1995.

Northeast: -29.5 % to an annual pace of 620,000 in July and are 30.3 % lower than a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $263,800, up 4.8 % from July 2009.
Midwest: -35.0 % in July to a level of 800,000 and are 33.3 % below July 2009. The median price in the Midwest was $151,600, down 2.8 % from a year ago.
South: -22.6 % to an annual pace of 1.54 million in July and are 19.8 % below a year ago. The median price in the South was $156,300, down 3.3 % from July 2009.
West: -25.0 % to an annual level of 870,000 in July and are 23.0 % below a year ago. The median price in the West was $224,800, up 3.3 % from July 2009.

California continues to post poor results for the housing sector. Once again California short sales and foreclosure figures rose. Ladera Ranch short sales and REO’s continued to spark interest in South Orange County housing.

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 38 % of homes in July, down from 43 % in June. Investors accounted for 19 % of sales in July, up from 13 % in June; The balance were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales rose to 30 % in July from 24 % in June. Distressed home sales are unchanged from June, accounting for 32 % of transactions in July; They were 31 % in July 2009. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $182,600 in July, up 0.7 % from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $183,400 in July, which is 0.9 % above a year ago. The median existing condo price was $176,800 in July, down 1.7 % from a year ago.

Single-family median existing-home prices were higher in 11 out of 19 metropolitan statistical areas reported in July in comparison with July 2009 (the price in one of 20 tracked markets was not available). However, existing single-family home sales fell in all 20 areas from a year ago. Raw unsold inventory is still 12.9 % below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008. Total housing inventory at the end of July increased 2.5 % to 3.98 million existing homes available for sale. This represents a 12.5-month supply at the current sales pace, up from an 8.9-month supply in June. This is a record amount in terms of months of supply (determined by pace of home sales).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist says: “Consumers rationally jumped into the market before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit expired. Since May, after the deadline, contract signings have been notably lower and a pause period for home sales is likely to last through September,” he said. “However, given the rock-bottom mortgage interest rates and historically high housing affordability conditions, the pace of a sales recovery could pick up quickly, provided the economy consistently adds jobs. “Even with sales pausing for a few months, annual sales are expected to reach 5 million in 2010 because of healthy activity in the first half of the year. To place in perspective, annual sales averaged 4.9 million in the past 20 years, and 4.4 million over the past 30 years” “Thanks to the home buyer tax credit, home values have been stable for the past 18 months despite heavy job losses,” Yun said. “Over the short term, high supply in relation to demand clearly favors buyers. However, given that home values are back in line relative to income, and from very low new-home construction, there is not likely to be any measurable change in home prices going forward.”

HOUSING IS STAGNANT and will likely remain stagnant until mid-term elections pass and housing finance reform takes shape. With home inventory on the rise, the shadow inventory discussion should get more attention from the media now. Perhaps the Administration’s true intentions with HAMP were to slow up the foreclosure process and spread out the disposition of REO over a longer period.

January 8, 2010

California Bank Testing Commercial Real Estate

Author: admin - Categories: California Financing, California Real Estate News, California Real Estate Transactions, Commercial Real Estate, Southern California Real Estate

Southern California’s Inland Empire, a suburban sprawl to the east of Los Angeles, has been among the hardest hit by the real estate crisis.   All the while, the largest bank based in the region, CVB Financial Corp., has survived even as rivals perished. But CVB’s exposure to commercial real estate in the area could still cause problems for the lender. California loan modifications and California Short Sales continue to play a dominant role in state real estate transactions, but now they are affecting the commercial market place.

During a December presentation for CVB’s investors, Chief Executive Christopher Myers described a bleak commercial property market in Ontario, a city in the heart of the Inland Empire and the site of CVB’s headquarters.  “You go up our street — there are 10 buildings of 50,000 to 150,000 square feet with 75% vacancy,” Myers said of the town’s main artery, Haven Avenue, according to a transcript of the presentation. “We have zero loans against those 10 buildings.”   However, an office building at 800 N. Haven Ave. in Ontario was part of collateral for a $16.575 million revolving line of credit that Citizens Business Bank, the banking unit of CVB, extended in March 2008, according to the deed of trust. In August of that year, the property partly secured a $16 million promissory note issued by the bank, another deed of trust shows.  > Read the entire California Real Estate Article.

October 13, 2009

California Home Markets Driven by Short Sales and Foreclosures

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Foreclosure Prevention, Home Financing News

For California short sales we are anticipating at another two or three years of strong activity,” said Jim Satterwhite, chief operating officer of National Quick Sale, a Jacksonville, Florida-based company that negotiates short sales on homes that are valued less than what they are mortgaged for.  Loan modification agreements, foreclosure prevention and bad credit refinancing continue to drive up the traffic for loan applications.  “Some mortgage refinance markets have seen better price stability, but they are not going up yet. But it will still be two or three more years before housing even starts to appreciate in some other markets,” he said.

August 27, 2009

Has California Housing Recession Come to an End?

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Housing Spotlight

Mortgage rates are at all time low levels and people in California are buying houses again…So what is the problem? To start, home foreclosure rates continue to break records and California loan modification filings are rising each month. Yale University economist Robert Shiller, co-author of the now closely monitored S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and, to be sure, no friend of realtors, says the data suggests the housing market is on the mend. “The sense that something is changing is definitely in the air,” Shiller told Bloomberg News after the release of June’s housing data. “After three years of decline, we might be seeing a turnaround.” Shiller, along with economist Karl Case, developed the index, which tracks housing data in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas. In June, only two cities, Detroit, hard hit by auto lay-offs, and Las Vegas, slumping as consumers nix trips to the gambling capital, registered May-to-June price declines.

L.A., Miami, Phoenix Start to Rebound?

Meanwhile 18 cities registered May-to-June price increases. Just as telling: the hard hit metro-areas registered price gains: Los Angeles, up 1.1 %; Miami, up 0.5 %; Tampa, up 0.4 %; and Phoenix, up 1.1 %. Economists says that because the California, Florida, Arizona/Nevada regions sustained the largest and most extensive home price declines, they’ll probably snap-back first and telegraph the start of the broader U.S. housing sector recovery.

Also, nationally, U.S. home prices increased 2.9 % in Q2 compared to Q1 — the first quarterly gain in two years, according to Case-Shiller data. On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices rose 1.4 % in Q2 compared to Q1.

Another data point to support the housing recovery thesis? U.S. new home sales increased in three U.S. regions in July, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. Sales surged 32 % in the Northeast, jumped 16 % in the South, and rose 1 % in the West; they fell 7.6 % in the Midwest, a region that, again, is still coping with large structural changes stemming from the U.S. auto sector’s downsizing and restructuring.

A third metric supporting a housing rebound? Inventories of new homes fell to 271,000 in July, the Commerce Department said — a 35.4 % decline since July 2008. That’s a 7.5-month supply at the current sales rate, down from an 8.8-month supply in June. The 7.5-month supply is still above the normal three-to-five month supply, but economists and housing statisticians say the rate of inventory decline is just as important as inventory levels now. If inventories continue to drop by a 1-month supply each month, it won’t be long before home construction firms say ‘It’s time to start building some homes before our inventory gets too low and we lose sales because of lack of choice for customers.’

What’s driving the turnaround in home prices? Most economists say the federal government’s $8,000 income tax credit for first-time home buyers and comparatively low interest rates have played a role, but the large factor remains the market pricing mechanism. Home prices have dropped so much that, those home buyers with decent job security and good credit are calculating, given the slim chance of picking an absolute bottom for home prices, that now represents a decent time to purchase that home.

Housing Analysis: The $64,000 question – make that the $210,000 question, given the median price of a new U.S. home – is: should prospective home buyers purchase now?

Unless you’ve found your dream house or are otherwise forced to buy, I’d wait until late fall. Summer data typically distorts home sales to the upside, as many families move then, when school is out. The $8,000 tax credit, which applies to homes bought before November 1, also is aiding sales. In other words, prices could retrench. However, if home prices and sales continue to rise into the autumn season in your region of the U.S., that’s a sign that a housing bottom is forming, and a home purchase then would make sense, from a price standpoint.

August 11, 2009

Pick the Right Loan Modification Company

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Foreclosure Prevention, Published Real Estate Articles, Real Estate News

Real Estate Related News recommends finding a foreclosure prevention company that provides a refund policy and can document a succesful track record negotiating with your specific lender.  Federal and state agencies took 189 actions today against modification and foreclosure-rescue firms, the Federal Trade Commission announced.

Realtytrac: Foreclosures Up 11% in Last Qtr.


The coordinated actions were part of a national law-enforcement effort by 2 federal and 23 state agencies to crack down on loan modification scams.  “Operation Loan Lies,” has targeted loan modification companies that allegedly promised to obtain modifications or stop foreclosures, but the companies actually did nothing. Advance fees charged by the loss mitigation firms were equal to one or more mortgage payments, but no loan negotiations ever took place.  See the original article at FTC Shuts Down Loan Modification Scams.

Loan Modifications and Foreclosure Prevention

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Real Estate Marketing, Real Estate News - Tags:

Greg Rand of Better Homes & Gardens’ Rand Realty discuss foreclosures and the latest real estate news. They consider the housing crisis and why homeowners are making it difficult to realize foreclosure prevention.

Homeowners, Loan Modifications and Foreclosure Prevention?

Loan modification plans are disputed as nearly 50% of homeowners re-default on their mortgage after their lender reduces the interest rate and lowers the home loan payment. Where do we go from here?

July 2, 2009

Real Estate Markets Reporting Slow Recoveries

Author: admin - Categories: California Real Estate News, Jason Cardiff, Published Real Estate Articles, Real Estate News, Uncategorized - Tags: , , , , , ,

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Chicago-based Realtors’ group “The rising home foreclosures that sell at discounted prices are flooding the real estate market and depressing property values. Kelly Media Group, Founder Jason Cardiff weighed in, “Home sales will rebound strongly if we can keep the interest rates low for the next 12 months, but the trend of rates seems to be increasing.” Many realtors and mortgage brokers seem to agree that industry needs to keep conventional mortgage rates low until the local and national c can recover.

Existing U.S. home sales in May rose 2.4 % to an annual rate of 4.77 million, lower than forecast, and the median price was down 16.8 % from the same month in 2008, according to the Realtors. It would take about 9.6 months to sell the nation’s 3.8 million unsold homes at the current sales pace, according to the Realtors. “The worst is behind us but we’re a long ways off from a recovery in housing,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Inventories are still elevated. We’re not expecting any strength in housing until the second half of 2010.” About 20.4 million of the 93 million houses, condos and co- ops in the U.S. were worth less than their loans as of March 31, according to Seattle-based real estate data service

Home Builders Continue to Struggle

Builders including Los Angeles-based KB Home are slashing prices and reducing the size of houses to compete with foreclosures. KB Home’s revenue fell 40 % last quarter to $384.5 million and net orders dropped 31 % to 2,910 homes, the company said June 26. The Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association’s loan survey, compiled every week, covers about half of all U.S. retail residential mortgage originations.