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Thursday, December 2, 2010
This article, The Abysmal State Of Mortgage Finance As Shown By One House, Two Foreclosures, absolutely hits the nail on the head and shows that bankers regularly hit their thumbs with hammers. This "lending into sink hole" needs to stop. "Saving" the housing market cannot be defined as artificially propping up housing prices with taxpayers paying up the huge losses on the long way down to the bottom that result from this foolish and reckless policy. I personally know of a very similar situation involving a home in Murfreesboro Tennessee, but this one is even worse. A builder defaulted on a construction loan secured by a vacant lot and the house next door that was 99% complete. On 10/20/2008, the bank (Pinnacle Financial Partners – The "Official bank of the Tennessee Titans"), foreclosed and took the properties back as REO's. On 5/29/2009 the bank resold the house and lot to a home buyer through an online auction company for $264,400 (including the 5% auction premium). At that time I was personally interested in buying the house (not the lot - it has little value in this market), but was only willing to pay in the $190K's including the auction premium. Obviously, I was grossly outbid by this foolish buyer (I wonder if they were a tax credit buyer?). Here is the really scary part. The bank, Pinnacle Financial Partners, loaned that buyer $236,696 (i.e. about 90% of the purchase price) on a "non-qualifying" basis. This means the buyer essentially got a no-doc/stated income type of mortgage loan from Pinnacle Bank. Of course the reason the bank did this was to artificially inflate the price that they would get for the property when they were selling it as an REO. Less than 6 months after this bogus sale closed I received a postcard in the mail from a REALTOR marketing this same house for sale. Apparently, the buyers of this home needed to sell rather quickly after buying it! Their attempt to sell the property failed (they were asking in the low $300K's), and, as a result, on 10/12/2010 the bank foreclosed on the house and lot for the 2nd time in less than 2 years. The really, really scary part is that I personally know that this very same bank did the same exact thing with other properties with the same bad, but, predictable, results. This bank was practicing what I call "incestuous lending", which is very similar to what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA are doing when they offer all types of incentives and special financing to entice buyers to buy their foreclosures so the banks can essentially take a dead asset off one side of their books and replace it with a questionable asset on the other side of their books. It's like saying someone who never repaid the personal loan they owe you and you just say OK and let their brother or sister guarantee the payments even though they are just as reliable. Meanwhile, you still haven't received any actual money, just a promissory note with another name on it. A person who works for a major bank recently told me that once a home is foreclosed on there is an 80% chance that it will be foreclosed on again within 10 years. Now I know why. The banks keep inflating the prices of their REO's by obtaining buyers who are lured into the purchase by the banks' artificially easy to get and artificially cheap financing. In other words, the banks are getting generally unqualified and ignorant buyers who are overpaying for the foreclosed properties. Therefore, it should be no surprise that these same home buyers end up in financial trouble in such a short period of time at such an alarming rate. In addition to the buyers who bought homes at the top of the market, those who bought homes with no-doc/stated/exotic mortgages, those who bought homes with subprime loans, prime borrowers who have lost their jobs or suffered a reduction in income, we now have to add the foolish foreclosure buyers who overpaid in a declining market to the list of homeowners who have a high risk of defaulting on their mortgage loans. This mess just keeps getting worse. Home prices are going to keep declining for quite a while (see: Home Prices Decline Again and The Truth About Home Prices). As a result of all of this, I know there is going to be a lot of short sales and foreclosures over the next several years.
Nashville and Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure Help and Assistance for Homeowners and Property Owners in Financial Distress. If you are a Nashville Tennessee, Franklin Tennessee, Brentwood Tennessee, Nolensville Tennessee, Spring Hill Tennessee, Murfreesboro Tennessee, Smyrna Tennessee, La Vergne Tennessee, or Middle Tennessee homeowner, property owner, condo owner, real estate investor, home builder or real estate developer who cannot pay your mortgage payments (due to losing your job, having your income reduced, illness, health problems, adverse business conditions, slow sales, loss of investment property tenants, vacancy issues, lack of funds to complete the project, feuding business partners, etc.), know that you will not be able to pay your mortgage, have defaulted on your mortgage, are already in foreclosure, or owe more than your home is worth, please contact me to discuss your options including a loan modification and a short sale (a real estate short sale occurs when the sale proceeds are not sufficient to pay off all the mortgages and liens on the property/home). I am a Nashville Tennessee and Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure REALTOR, Expert and Real Estate Investor. I primarily help sellers (homeowners, property owners, condo owners, owners of high end homes and properties (estate homes, luxury homes and executive homes), real estate investors, home builders and real estate developers) of distressed real estate, short sales, pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, investment properties, failed new construction projects and struggling commercial real estate developments located in Middle Tennessee (Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Robertson County TN, Maury County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN, Belle Meade TN, Nolensville TN, Spring Hill TN, Gallatin TN, Springfield TN and Mt. Juliet TN). If you do need to short sell your home or property, or you need a quick sale due to being in foreclosure, you can request short sale and foreclosure help and assistance on my website at Get Short Sale and Foreclosure Help and Assistance from a Nashville Tennessee and Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure REALTOR, Real Estate Expert and Real Estate Investor.
Monday, January 4, 2010
According to this Real Estate Economy Watch article, Lender Failures Set New Record, a record 225 mortgage related companies failed in 2009. This is a 36%+ increase over the previous record of 165 in 2007 and a 81%+ increase over the 124 mortgage lenders that failed on 2008. In short, things are only going to get worse. The article states "The annual surge was fueled by a spike in bank failures — which increased more than 400 percent. Banks account for most of the country’s residential originations." 2010 will be the first year of many years of massive bank failures. In my opinion, only banks and mortgage lenders that embrace short sales will have a chance of surviving the coming financial storm. There will be simply be too many delinquent homeowners for banks and mortgage companies to foreclose on even most of them and survive. Short sales will become the preferred method of dead asset disposition taking the place of REO sales.
If you are a Middle TN homeowner, property owner, condo owner, real estate investor, home builder or real estate developer who cannot pay your mortgage payments (due to losing your job, having your income reduced, illness, health problems, adverse business conditions, slow sales, loss of investment property tenants, vacancy issues, lack of funds to complete the project, feuding business partners, etc.), know that you will not be able to pay your mortgage, have defaulted on your mortgage, are already in foreclosure, or owe more than your home is worth, please contact me to discuss your options including a loan modification and a short sale (a real estate short sale occurs when the sale proceeds are not sufficient to pay off all the mortgages and liens on the property/home). I am a Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure REALTOR and Expert. I primarily help sellers (homeowners, property owners, condo owners, owners of high end homes and properties (estate homes, luxury homes and executive homes), real estate investors, home builders and real estate developers) of distressed real estate, short sales, pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, investment properties, failed new construction projects and struggling commercial real estate developments located in Middle Tennessee (Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Robertson County TN, Maury County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN, Belle Meade TN, Nolensville TN, Spring Hill TN, Gallatin TN, Springfield TN and Mt. Juliet TN). If you do need to short sell your home or property, or you need a quick sale due to being in foreclosure, you can request short sale and foreclosure help and assistance on my website at Get Short Sale and Foreclosure Help and Assistance from a Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure REALTOR and Real Estate Expert.
Friday, November 6, 2009
In this Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis article, "Wells Fargo Madness" a Reader Reply to Fear and Shame Tactics, a reader replied to an article on that website (Government and Lender Policies of Fear and Shame Help Keep Homeowners Debt Slaves which I referenced in my blog post Why Lenders Push Homeowners Around) and told a very sad, but sobering story regarding his attempt to obtain a loan modification from Wells Fargo. Rather than trying to paraphrase the reply/comment, I have posted almost the complete reply/comment below:
"I bought a house back in 2004, having moved halfway across the country for a new job. It was a house I could comfortably afford - I made a little over $70,000 as a senior manager for a newspaper, and my mortgage was a little under $900 a month (including taxes and insurance), fixed at 5.25% for 30 years with Wells Fargo. In spite of the pressure put on me by a broker when I was buying, I avoided the no money down variable option because I wanted to do what I thought was the responsible thing to lock in my payments at a decent rate I knew I could afford and avoid the reset lotto. In April of 2008, I was notified that the job I had moved across the country for was set to be eliminated, along with the entire staff of my department. The company I worked for was highly levered in an environment where revenues were shrinking, and 'consolidations' were being made across the company. The day I found out that I was going to be out of work, I called Wells Fargo to see if it would be possible to make some alternate payment arrangements until I found work, and was told precisely what the article you reference noted - that they couldn't even discuss the matter with me until I was 30 days in arrears. I was mortified, knowing that being 30 days in arrears would leave me with the dreaded 'mortgage late' on what had been a pristine 800 credit score. I had been prudent and saved a fair sum of money, so I decided to try and keep the plates spinning while I looked for work. I applied myself to the job hunt, but with nearly 50 positions eliminate from my company and a few hundred at other domestic newspapers who shared my area of specialty, it was a tough task finding work. Then in August, Gannett, the biggest newspaper company in the world, announced that they would be laying off 1000 workers, and my sources inside Gannett told me that they were going the 'consolidation' route, meaning that in the course of 3 months nearly a third of the total positions in my field had gone *poof*. My prospects for finding work in the industry where I had experience had just gone from tough to Quixotic. I again called Wells Fargo to see if there was anything they could help me with that didn't involve damaging my credit - I still had a sizable amount of savings to negotiate with - but the answer was the same: 30 days late or no discussion. I decided I'd have to take them up on the offer. When 30 days had elapsed, I contacted them once again, only to now be told that they couldn't work out any arrangements until I had found work. I was angry, as one might imagine. I decided that they had received the last payment they were going to receive from me. Fourteen months later, I have kept the vow. I'm not proud of walking away from my 'responsibility', but in light of the situation - nearly 18 months without finding work - it seems that it was the best thing that could have happened. If I had kept paying all along, I'd have depleted a good deal of my savings, and I'd still be facing losing the unemployment benefits that are keeping the other bills paid. As it stands, I've still got that nest egg to see my family through the rough days that lie ahead. I've been to the housing counselors the state has set up, and the best they were able to do for me was that I could pay off the back payments, penalties and interest, and resume making payments. My house is set to be sold at auction next week, and due to the rules in the state, the minimum price will be well in excess of what I suppose the market price would be. I expect that the bank will be the buyer by default. If my experience is representative, walking away might be the best option. From Wells Fargo's perspective, this was an avoidable situation. I called them when I found out about my joblessness, and I did everything I could to avoid a default. All I wanted was some recognition that I was willing to work with them if they would work with me - maybe only paying interest until I was able to find something. However, once I felt double-crossed, having been told to let it go into arrears so that they could work with me, and then to be told they still couldn't work with me, I did what I thought was prudent. I decided to see how long I could live rent free. As of today, it's been almost 14 months. Assuming that the house sells next week and I get an order to vacate the next, I'll be here through the end of January (it takes a minimum of 60 days to affect an eviction here). More likely, I won't get the order to vacate until the bank sells my house as part of a package foreclosure deal for about 20 cents on the dollar. I might get to live here rent-free for a good spell longer. I could have, and probably would have, paid them nearly 50% of the house's value as a cash settlement 14 months ago if they'd been willing to have a conversation. I've come to the realization that I'm not going to find work in the field to which I'm accustomed and I'm back in school to get another degree. I started in August after the Gannett news came out, as much to avoid a long gap in my resume without an explanation as anything else. I've been doing programming and database work since I minored in computer sciences 15 years ago, but I figured I'd legitimize my skills with a degree - since I have the down time. I've got 8 classes to go and a 4.0 GPA. The big question is: will I find work when I get done this spring?"
Wow, that comment is fantastic, and sad all in one. What really angers me is that the government bank bailouts (TARP) combined with the FASB accounting changes that allow banks to count virtually worthless assets such as 2nd mortgage loans collateralized by homes that are no longer worth enough to even cover the 1st mortgage loans let alone the 2nd mortgage loans have allowed mortgage lenders to take this callous approach toward homeowners and reject the lone cure to this financial mess - voluntary mortgage loan principal reductions. In short, the US taxpayer is helping banks artificially have more leverage in their dealings with distressed homeowners and allowing the banks avoid doing what is necessary to solve this financial crisis. Of course, taxpayers will pay again when these lenders ultimately fail after billions and billions more are wasted. The end result will be more and more foreclosures and short sales.
If you are a Middle TN homeowner, property owner, real estate investor, home builder or real estate developer who cannot pay your mortgage payments (due to losing your job, having your income reduced, illness, health problems, adverse business conditions, slow sales, loss of investment property tenants, vacancy issues, lack of funds to complete the project, feuding business partners, etc.), know that you will not be able to pay your mortgage, have defaulted on your mortgage, are already in foreclosure, or owe more than your home is worth, please contact me to discuss your options including a loan modification and a short sale (a real estate short sale occurs when the sale proceeds are not sufficient to pay off all the mortgages and liens on the property/home). I am a Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure REALTOR and Expert. I primarily help sellers (homeowners, property owners, real estate investors, home builders and real estate developers) of distressed real estate, short sales, pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, investment properties, failed new construction projects and struggling commercial real estate developments located in and around Middle Tennessee (Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN). If you do need to short sell your home or property, or you need a quick sale due to being in foreclosure, you can request short sale and foreclosure help and assistance on my website at Get Short Sale and Foreclosure Help and Assistance from a Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure REALTOR and Real Estate Expert.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
According to this CNBC article, Bank of America Ups Its Foreclosure Prevention Efforts, Bank of America "increased the number of customers with a trial mortgage modification by 62% in September to 95,000" and "increased the total number of modification offers under the Home Affordable Modification Program to 156,000 last month, versus 125,338 in August" which is an increase of nearly 25%.
According to the article, "Data on success rates at this point is limited and in a way lagging. The program is barely six months old and its terms require that a modified loan stay current for three months to be considered a success." Personally, I do not think being current for 3 months is successful at all.
The article quotes a Bank of America document as saying "With sustained high unemployment, even the most aggressive loan modification program will not help where there is no income." In my opinion, this is the real issue: unemployment.
The article states "The government program also includes a refinancing component, which is meant to decrease the number of potential defaults. BofA says that as of September it has taken more than 144,000 applications in that category and funded some 60 percent of them. According to August Treasury data, the bank has the largest number of loans that are 60 days or more past due (836,000)—a key benchmark of delinquency and foreclosure barometer. Foreclosures continue to run at a record rate, despite a multitude of government and private programs. The problem has spread well beyond its original flash point, the subprime sector. The program is designed to help homeowners already in trouble (the loans have become delinquent) and those who may be heeded for it. Loan services receive a fee of $1,000 per loan modification. In addition, they receive a $1000 a year for three years if the modified loan stays current. The program also covers underwater borrowers. The loan-to-value ratio, which started out at 105 percent, is now 125 percent, meaning a homeowner with a $250,000 loan on a property valued at $200,000 is eligible for refinancing aid."
There are a few reasons why these increased loan modifications will still fail:
- Job Losses - You cannot pay your mortgage if you do not have a job.
- Number of Foreclosures - The number of foreclosures far exceeds any loan modification efforts.
- Underwater Homeowners - Even if the bank lowers their payments by a few hundred dollars per month many homeowners will still default due to owing far more than their home is worth.
If you need to sell your home fast via a short sale you can my request help on my website at Get Help and Assistance from a Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure Expert and REALTOR.
Monday, October 12, 2009
According to this REUTERS article, Housing risks still lurk even as buyers return, the US housing market will likely decline further due to continued pressure from adverse economic forces. The article proposes that the most significant economic forces which will hurt the real estate market in the near and mid term future are:
- Expiration of the first time home buyer tax credit on Novermber 30, 2009.
- Continued job losses.
- High rates of foreclosures.
The article states "California led the United States when housing prices soared early this decade, spurred by an array of public policy incentives to encourage home ownership. The boom fueled a frenzy of lending and spending that drove the U.S. economy. But California proved to be the epicenter of reckless lending that pushed housing throughout most of the United States over a cliff in 2007, triggering a credit crisis that plunged the world economy into recession. The sobering view now from ground zero of the U.S. property market underscores the problems faced by President Barack Obama as he tries to fix the U.S. economy. Washington is trying to stem rising numbers of homeowners who cannot afford their mortgages as job losses mount. Housing prices have fallen to levels not seen since 2003. But even investors pouring millions of dollars back into real estate say it may take up to four more years for California's housing market to settle. The reasons why -- rising foreclosures, joblessness and tight credit -- are not unique to the state and may have already slowed a recent recovery in places like Florida."
Tax Credit Threat
The article describes how the potential housing rebound will be challenged by the expiration of the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit on November, 30, 2009. According to the article, the "(tax credit) plan has resulted in 357,000 home sales so far in 2009, out of a total 3.88 million, according to a survey of realtors by research firm Campbell Communications Inc." The article quotes John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, California as saying that ending the tax credit "will likely cause a drop-off in buyers, or a "false peak" of the budding housing recovery."
Recent rumblings in Washington indicate that the government is considering extending and/or expanding the home buyer tax credit due to their concern that the housing market is still not stable. I have to say that the housing market is definitely not stable.
According to article, "Helped by government measures and a sense that the worst of the price slump is over, U.S. home prices have risen nearly 4 percent from their low point in April. But the bounce was preceded by a 33 percent slide since the peak in July 2006. The nascent housing recovery has combined with stronger data in other sectors to suggest the U.S. recession is over. This has helped thaw credit markets that are the lifeblood of the economy. Bidding wars are breaking out in some areas. Sales are now routinely above asking prices in California, from wealthy Orange County towns like Irvine to harder-hit San Bernardino County in the high desert east of Los Angeles." Apparently foreclosed houses are selling for 25-30% less than their 2007 market peaks, but still about 40% more than their original new construction prices of 2002. To me, those prices are still too high. Ask yourself, did incomes of the buyers for these types of homes increase 40% from 2002 to 2009? The answer is "No". Therefore, those homes are still priced too high.
Job Loss Threat
According to the article, "Efforts by the government and by banks to help struggling homeowners cut payments and stay in their homes are outpaced by mortgages going bad. The mortgage-modification programs risk being swamped by rising unemployment." A recent mass loan modification event in Los Angeles "drew 50,000 people over five days, hoping for mortgage-reduction deals to help keep them in their homes." The article quotes JC Ferebee, manager of Wells Fargo's team at the mass loan modification event, as saying "When you look at the whole culture right now and the economy with the jobs situation, it's a domino effect." We already know that the September 2009 US unemployment rate hit a "26-year high of 9.8 percent and is likely to head into the double-digit levels already suffered in California. The jobless rate is usually considered to be a lagging economic indicator because employers are slow to hire after a recession as they wait to be sure a recovery is for real. Economists fear that a protracted and high unemployment rate this time will deter Americans from spending more again on houses and goods, raising the prospect of a slow recovery." In short, jobs drive consumer spending and home purchases. With the economy shedding over 500,000 jobs each month there can be no real and meaningful housing market recovery. What we are seeing now is more mirage than substance.
In previous blog posts I have stated that the banks are holding back on offering their foreclosures for sale and not taking back homes even when the home owners haven't paid their mortgages for many months. My opinion is that the banks are trying to artificially inflate the market values of their foreclosed assets (i.e. homes). According to the article, "Economists fear a repeat of the flood of foreclosure listings that scared all but vulture buyers -- specialized in assets few others want -- and sped the 2008-09 price slump. More than half of house sales in southern California in late 2008 and early this year involved "distressed" properties, accelerating price drops, according to Thomas Lawler, founder of Lawler Economic & Housing Consulting in Leesburg, Virginia. In response to the slump, banks slowed foreclosure sales to seek other solutions for homeowners and help shore up prices. At the same time, the Federal Reserve's emergency slashing of interest rates to near zero has helped encourage buyers to take advantage of the lowest prices in decades and a rush by the Federal Housing Administration, a U.S. agency, to guarantee more loans is also helping would-be home owners find credit. But the emergency steps by the government and the Fed will be overrun by economic forces, according to many analysts. "We are far from persuaded by a little summer upturn in a sector that the government had endeavored so mightily to support," Deutsche Bank said in a report last month. In California's Inland Empire -- a 27,000 square mile (69,900 square kilometers) region made up of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, prices will likely fall 15 percent from June for a peak-to-trough drop of 66 percent, the most for the biggest 10 U.S. metropolitan areas, Deutsche Bank predicted. Local buyers rely not only the scheduled-to-expire tax credit but almost entirely on funding from the FHA, which in response to rising taxpayer losses may soon tighten access to its credit. One bill would require bigger down-payments." I discussed this FHA insolvency issue in a previous blog post. In short, lending irresponsibly is not a solution for a problem that was caused by lending irresponsibly.
Regarding the failure of loan modifications, the article states "Nearly 43 percent of homeowners whose mortgages were modified in the first quarter fell behind on payments within three months, data from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of Currency shows. For older modifications, the re-default rate is above 50 percent. Postponed foreclosures have created a backlog that banks may have little alternative but to dump onto the market. Foreclosures being processed surged nearly 80 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier to nearly 1 million. But completed foreclosures fell nearly 10 percent to 106,007, the OCC says. Brokers in California bemoan what they say is just a delay in the inevitable pain of people losing their homes and the follow-on boom in sales of cheap properties, something for which there is no shortage of demand today. Bruce Norris, president of property investment firm The Norris Group, said inventory levels are "completely artificial, completely baloney ... The delinquency rate (in California) has exploded, but inventory levels have gone down. In many of these cases the banks have simply avoided foreclosure." I have been saying this for months.
According to the article, "Amherst Securities, a broker-dealer specializing in residential mortgage-backed securities, calculated a mountain of 7 million U.S. housing units is likely to end up on the market -- equivalent to 135 percent of a normal year's supply." Fred Arnold, a broker in Stevenson Ranch, California said "It's going to drip on the market. We don't have the state and federal government that will let the natural supply and demand market occur which is pushing the real estate problem into 2012." Amen, that is what I have been saying for months now. The best way to get the housing market to stabilize is to allow the housing market to hit the real bottom, which will be at prices that buyers can actually afford without government subsidies. Per my previous post, it will take until about 2020 (or longer) for home prices to return to their 2006 peaks. For homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth and who have lost their jobs or suffered a reduction in their incomes 2020 will probably not come quickly enough. Many of these homeowners will need to get loan modifications, sell their homes via short sales, or suffer through a foreclosure.
If you are a homeowner in Middle Tennessee who is unemployed or have seen your income decline and your home is worth less than your mortgage balance, please contact me to discuss selling your home via a short sale. I am a Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure expert and REALTOR. I serve real estate owners, homeowners and investment property owners in Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN.
If you need to sell your home fast via a short sale you can my request help on my website at Get Help and Assistance from a Middle Tennessee Short Sale and Foreclosure REALTOR and Expert.
Friday, October 9, 2009
According to this REUTERS article, Foreclosures mark pace of enduring U.S. housing crisis, in the US there is a foreclosure every 13 seconds which translates into "more than 6,600 home foreclosure filings per day, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonpartisan watchdog group based in Durham, North Carolina. With nearly two million already this year, the flood of foreclosures shows no sign of abating any time soon."
According to the article, "the country's worst housing downturn since record-keeping began in the late 19th century may only get worse since foreclosures, which started with subprime borrowers, have now moved on to the much bigger prime loan market on the back of mounting unemployment. In congressional testimony last month Michael Barr, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial institutions, said more than 6 million families could face foreclosure over the next three years."
The article references a September 2009 report from a FL foreclosure task force as finding that people are now defaulting on their mortgages for different reasons. The report states "People are no longer defaulting simply because of a change in the payment structure of their loan. They are defaulting because of lost jobs or reduced hours or pay."
According to the article, "A recent pickup in sales and home prices in some regions has been heralded as a sign that the crisis in residential real estate may be close to bottoming out, after the steepest price decline since at least 1890. But nearly half of recent sales have been attributed to foreclosures or "short sales" at bargain-basement prices. Even as the U.S. economy seems to be recovering from its worst recession since the Great Depression, mortgage delinquencies continue to rise. And that adds risk to any relatively upbeat assessment, since foreclosures depress the value of nearby properties while eroding the net worth of homeowners and the tax base for communities nationwide. The Center for Responsible Lending says foreclosures are on track to wipe out $502 billion in property values this year. That spillover effect from foreclosures is one reason why Celia Chen of Moody's Economy.com says nationwide home prices won't regain the peak levels they reached in 2006 until 2020. In states hardest-hit by the housing bust, like Florida and California, the rebound will take until 2030, Chen predicted."
The article quotes Celia Chen of Moody's as saying "The default rates, the delinquency rates, are still rising. Rising joblessness combined with a large degree of negative equity are going to cause foreclosures to increase. Anyone doubting that the recovery in U.S. real estate prices will be long and hard should take a look at Japan, Chen said. Prices there are still off about 50 percent from the peak they hit 15 years ago."
According to the article, the chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, Jay Brinkmann, thought that foreclosures would peak in the second half of 2010. The problem is that this somewhat rosy prediction is based on unemployment falling in 2010 after reaching a peak "barely in double digits by the middle of next year." As we already know, the US unemployment rate reached 9.8% in September 2009 and show no signs of going down anytime soon.
I think this article provides even more evidence that the US real estate/housing short sale and foreclosure crisis is not going to end anytime soon. As more people lose their jobs, short sales and foreclosures will increase for the next several years since it will take until at least 2011 before the unemployment starts to go back down and even then it will take until at least 2012 or 2013 before the US unemployment reaches a level where people can afford to pay their mortgages. The net effect of all this will be that US real estate and housing prices will continue to decline for the next several years leaving more homeowners underwater.
If you are a homeowner in Middle Tennessee who is unemployed, have seen your income decline, has been turned down for a loan forbearance or loan modification and your home is worth less than your mortgage balance, please contact me to discuss selling your home via a short sale. I am a Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure expert and REALTOR. I serve real estate owners, homeowners and investment property owners in Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN.
If you need to sell your home fast via a short sale you can my request help on my website at Get Help and Assistance from a Middle TN Short Sale and Foreclosure Expert and REALTOR.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
According to this New York Times article, A Plan for Forbearance, due to continuing high unemployment "federal regulators are intensifying efforts to curb the effects of job losses or underemployment before they fuel another wave of home foreclosures. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which protects consumer deposits when banks fail, recently recommended that lenders provide certain borrowers with a temporary respite from mortgage payments, or a forbearance. That relief would last up to six months, and sometimes longer, as the lenders work on long-term loan modifications." This new forbearance plan was announced in September 2009.
The article quotes Michael H. Krimminger, the special adviser on policy to the FDIC chairwoman Sheila C. Bair, as saying "We want to make sure lenders do this as a strategy to mitigate losses to the F.D.I.C., but also because it’s the right thing to do."
According to the article, the FDIC's plan recommends (i.e. does not require) that certain lenders (see below) reduce loan payments to "affordable levels" for borrowers who cannot pay their mortgages as a result of login their jobs, or having their incomes reduced. The FDIC says that the new reduced mortgage payments would "be low enough to allow for reasonable living expenses in addition to the mortgage." The plan "applies only to the 53 financial institutions that relied on the F.D.I.C.’s insurance fund while acquiring failed banks. It does not include the four major mortgage lenders: Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. These banks already have unemployment forbearance programs, though they differ from the F.D.I.C. plan."
The article offers some information about about the proprietary plans offered by Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. A summary of those plans is below:
- Citigroup - The article states that in March 2009 "Citigroup introduced its Homeowner Unemployment Assist program, which lowers the monthly payment for many unemployed borrowers to $500 for three months. To qualify, a homeowner must have a loan owned and serviced by CitiMortgage, and be 60 days or more delinquent, among other things."
- Wells Fargo - The article states that Wells Fargo has had forbearance programs in place for years for years for "unemployed borrowers who cannot pay their mortgages". According to Debora K. Blume, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, the forbearance terms are "highly dependent on the customer’s full financial and personal circumstances."
- JPMorgan Chase - The article states that a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase said "if the borrower’s income is too low or not certain, but there are prospects for future employment, we may offer a loan forbearance program that allows a borrower to pay a reduced amount, or even zero, for a limited length of time, often three months."
- Bank of America - The article states that "Bank of America offers up to six months of forbearance, according to Jack Schakett, the bank’s credit loss mitigation strategies executive." The article quotes Mr. Schakett as saying "borrowers generally receive better forbearance packages if they have "reasonable prospects for employment," though his bank also examines their financial management skills. Bank of America looks at mortgage-payment habits and overall debt payment success, among other things. People who were already struggling with their mortgage payments would be less likely to end up with a job that would help them be successful in the future."
According to the article, the lenders insist that "they have been working together, and with the federal government, to create more consistent strategies for unemployed borrowers." Personally, I laugh at this. Lenders are completely botching this situation and causing significantly more short sales and foreclosures than they need to.
If you are a homeowner in Middle Tennessee who has lost their job, but have either been turned down for a loan forbearance or loan modification, or you still cannot pay your mortgage and your home is worth less than your mortgage balance, please contact me to discuss selling your home via a short sale. I am a Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure expert and REALTOR. I serve real estate owners, homeowners and investment property owners in Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN.
If you need to sell your home fast via short sale you can my request help on my website JimTheRealEstateExpert.com.
Monday, October 5, 2009
According to this Business Week article, Short Sales: A Fraying Lifeline for Homeowners, banks are making it more difficult for financially troubled homeowners to close short sales. According to the article, one year ago banks were responding to short sales in an average time period of 4.5 weeks and frequently forgiving the unpaid mortgage balances (i.e. the portion of the mortgage not paid off by the short sale), but now the banks are taking an average of 9.5 weeks to respond to short sale requests and frequently demanding that the seller sign a promissory for part of the shortage, or the seller (or someone else) pay additional cash funds to close the short sale. In short, one year ago banks were eager to close short sales due to their capital being depleted, but now, due to government bailout funds and record fee income (another way banks stick it to consumers), banks are being more difficult.
According to the article, "The situation could be a setback for the already wobbly housing recovery. A record one-third of borrowers owe more on their mortgage than their properties are worth, notes research firm First American CoreLogic. The number of underwater homeowners will only continue to rise since values are still falling. And if distressed borrowers can't negotiate short sales, more may be forced into foreclosure, further depressing prices. Since the housing bust, short sales have been a key part of the market. They accounted for 12% to 18% of national home sales over the course of this year. In such hard-hit areas as Miami and Phoenix, roughly a third of listings involve underwater mortgages, according to real estate brokerage ZipRealty."
The article quotes a Bank of America spokesperson as saying "A selling homeowner may be expected to reasonably participate in the shortfall on a sale, unless a financial hardship is demonstrated." According to the article, OneWest Bank has a policy which "requires borrowers who sell their homes for less than the mortgage to pay part of the difference. One West, formerly IndyMac Bancorp, was taken over last year by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and purchased in March by a group of investors that includes billionaires George Soros and Michael S. Dell. As part of that deal, the FDIC agreed to eat most losses after the first $2.5 billion. Given the government's broad support of One West, some real estate agents and sellers are frustrated that the lender wants a promissory note—especially in cases where the government is picking up some losses." Again, this distortion of the market is due to government intervention. If the government had not provided any backstop for the losses incurred by this investor group they would be forced to deal with market realities instead of a government created profit opportunity. On another note, it is interesting to see that George Soros is making money by sticking it to sellers in financial distress. I find this particularly hypocritical since Mr. Soros is a major campaign contributor to the Democrats who supposedly "care about people". Anyone who thinks the Democrats are not using this financial crisis to financially benefit their largest campaign contributors on Wall Street, etc. needs to rethink their position (just look at all the money Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank received from AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and George Soros).
According to the article short sales are further complicated when there are 2 different lenders involved, which usually happens when there are 2 or more mortgages on the property. The 2nd lenders, in particular, are demanding 5% of the sale proceeds in order to satisfy their 2nd mortgages. Thus far, I have not personally experienced this demand, but we will see. The article does mention that new government rules to encourage short sale transactions are imminent, but I personally do not have any hope that this government knows what they are doing so I don't think the rules will help much.
Based on the proven fact that lenders lose less with short sales versus foreclosures (due to less legal fees, property holding costs, maintenance costs, etc.), the banks should be favoring short sales, and, therefore, actively encouraging them. The question then is why are the banks making short sales more difficult? My guess is that the banks get more government bailout funds when they foreclose rather than approve short sales since with short sales the banks are voluntarily accepting their losses. I haven't seen any actual documented proof of why the banks are being difficult with respect to short sales, but there has to be a reason. Therefore, I think it has to do with the government bailout funds. Unfortunately, the indisputable conclusion of all of this is that more foreclosures will occur as a result of the actions taken by the banks.
If you are homeowner in financial distress the most important information to take from this article is that short sales are difficult to close so you should hire a knowledgeable short sale REALTOR to sell your home. This is different from the normal recommendation that a seller hire a neighborhood expert. Closing short sales requires a different skill set so you will need a different type of REALTOR to close your short sale.
If you are a homeowner in Middle Tennessee who cannot pay your mortgage and your home is worth less than the amount(s) you owe, please contact me to discuss selling your home via a short sale. I am a Middle Tennessee distressed real estate, short sale, pre-foreclosure (preforeclosure) and foreclosure expert and REALTOR. I serve real estate owners, homeowners and investment property owners in Rutherford County TN, Williamson County TN, Davidson County TN, Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN, La Vergne TN, Eagleville TN, Lascassas TN, Rockvale TN, Christiana TN, Brentwood TN, Franklin TN, Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN.
If you need to sell your home fast you can request help on my website JimTheRealEstateExpert.com and my Active Rain profile Jim McCormack's Active Rain Profile - Short Sale REALTOR and Real Estate Expert.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
The reason loan modifications do not work is that over 50% of the people who receive loan modifications will re-default within 12 months. I am guessing that the figure is upwards of 80-90% when you extend the time frame out. The lenders (servicers and investors) know this, and, as a result, have little to no motivation to modify loans.
The truth is that the loan investors (not the servicers) would prefer to do short sales, rather than loan modifications or foreclosures. In a declining market this actually makes business sense. Since the loan investors will likely have to foreclose later anyway they are better off doing it now before the market declines more and they end up with even less money from the foreclosure sale. With respect to the loan servicers, there is a conflict of interest with their loan investor clients. The loan servicers make more money by allowing loans to continue to be seriously delinquent and go all the way to foreclosure rather than approve loan modifications or short sales. The problem is that the loan investors reduce their losses more with short sales rather than foreclosures. This is one of the reasons short sales are so difficult to get closed. That is why short sale sellers need a "bulldog REALTOR" like me to close their short sales. I am not afraid to pester the lenders to force a decision on a short sale.
The reasons loan modifications generally do not work are:
- Job Loss - Homeowners are losing jobs. You can't pay your mortgage if you are out of work for an extended period of time. The government needs to fix the problems (think laws, policies and taxation) that are causing jobs in the US to disappear.
- Negative Equity - Eventually, even the most stable of homeowners will give up paying their mortgage when they owe a lot more than their home is worth.
- Rutherford County Tennessee: Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN and La Vergne TN (LaVergne TN)
- Williamson County Tennessee: Brentwood TN and Franklin TN
- Davidson County Tennessee: Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
- More than 1,000 financial institutions could fail.
- Housing prices will likely to fall another 12 percent in the next year making the total decline approximately 40 percent since the market began its steep decline. This will result in nearly one half of all homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their houses are worth.
Regarding commercial real estate, he warns that regulators are repeating some of the same mistakes made during the financial crisis. He states "Allowing forbearance in the deeply troubled sector will mask underlying problems that will come back and bite the economy".
While I do have a BA degree with a major in Economics from an Ivy League University, I am not a professor or professional economist. However, I have been saying much of the same for months now. That is that housing prices are still too high and there is still too much new construction. We do not need new construction reduced to such and such levels - we need all new spec construction to come to a halt for at least a year. Of course, that will not happen. Instead new homes will be built, housing will continue to decline, more short sales and foreclosures will occur and more bailouts will be doled out to foolish banks and lenders. It's an endless cycle of disaster.
With respect to the Middle Tennessee real estate market:
- Rutherford County Tennessee: Murfreesboro TN, Smyrna TN and La Vergne TN (LaVergne TN)
- Williamson County Tennessee: Brentwood TN and Franklin TN
- Davidson County Tennessee: Nashville TN and Belle Meade TN
Friday, September 11, 2009
The last time the real estate market melted down (think late 80's/early 90's) it took 7 years for homes to regain their losses. This meltdown is far worse because it is not just due to real estate over development/over building. It was caused by debt. Plain and simple. That is why the folks in Washington cannot fix this problem - you cannot fix a problem caused by debt with more debt. It defies logic and reason. The facts are that even at their current reduced levels, home prices are still out of line with incomes when compared to historical trends. Therefore, contrary to NAR homes are not actually affordable (Side note: I really cannot stand the NAR Home Affordability Index. Since when did Realtors become used car salespeople hawking homes by pushing the monthly payment instead of the price of the home?).
The reason loan modifications will not work is that they do not address the core problem: mortgage balances are too high relative to the market value of the homes. Many homeowners are actually now underwater (i.e. mortgage balances exceed the value of their home). According to a recent Deutsche Bank report, by 2011 about 48% of all US mortgages will be underwater. Since being underwater is now the #1 statistical driver of defaults (not credit scores) you can bet on high foreclosure rates for years to come.
Since the entire economy was built on consumer spending, and that consumer spending was fueled by debt, and that debt is no longer available you can be sure that when things do actually turn around unemployment will still remain relatively high with a likely range of 6-8% as opposed to the 4-5% range we enjoyed a few years ago. Based on the persistent debt problem and the long term unemployment problem I just do not see how the real estate market will recover anytime soon.
This whole thing is sadly comical. You have nonsense from NAR and the mainstream media about how the real estate market is turning a corner and recovering yet foreclosures and unemployment keep increasing. The US real estate market has never recovered under such circumstances and this time will not be the exception. Almost every day I fell like screaming "STOP THE NONSENSE." If our policy makers would just let housing prices decline to their normal (historical) sustainable levels and get rid of the FHA loans, other low/no down loans, ARM loans and other artificial financing not only would this type of problem never happen again, but the social engineers in Washington would not have to worry about "affordable housing" since housing would in fact ALREADY BE AFFORDABLE. Sometimes the answer is just plain old common sense. I predict that values will continue to fall rapidly through 2011 (when the large wave of Option ARM foreclosures ends) and then continue to decline gradually until the foreclosure rate reduces to normal levels and the unemployment rate reduces back down to a more realistic 6-8% mentioned above. At that point real estate values will recover at the normal 4-7% per year.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Here is my synopsis of the real estate market based on the information above and other information.
- The most financially responsible borrowers (prime mortgagors) are hurting. Even large down payments are not enough to counter the huge price declines. More homeowners underwater = more foreclosures.
- Foreclosures are increasing in general. This will cause more price declines.
- While the "Fab 4" (California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada) are still the kingdoms of foreclosure and prices will surely continue to fall in those markets, the decrease in % of total foreclosures nationwide from 46% to 44% while overall foreclosures increased means that foreclosures in other states increased at a higher pace that the "Fab 4" states. This means prices will decline nearly everywhere.
- More distressed homeowners will cause more people to try to rent out their homes. Until prices decline to a point where monthly rents exceed total monthly housing payments prices will continue to decline. Rampant foreclosures will make sure prices actually head below this normal equilibrium.
- Government meddling (expanded FHA mortgages, tax credits, etc.) has not and will not work to save the real estate market. The market is correcting itself to sustainable levels. FHA mortgages are now failing at alarming rates. Tax payers will once again have to foot the bill for regulatory incompetence. It seems that very few people are stating the truth about the real estate market. That is that high housing prices are bad for people (especially lower income people) and high commercial real estate prices are bad for business, which is in turn bad for job growth. Also, real estate has never (until the last few years) been the driver of the economic bus. It has been the passenger, meaning that economic growth (and the resultant business, job and income growth) caused housing prices to increase and new construction to increase. Not the other way around. Any attempt to work in reverse logic = insanity.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
- The home owners were shaky from the beginning and so they are not the most financially responsible people to start with.
- Their homes are worth far less than the their mortgage balances. Eventually these people realize that they will never "get even" and just give up by letting the go into foreclosure.
The result of all of this is that short sales are rely best solution for the lenders and the homeowners since it is statistically proven that loan modifications will not work. Regardless of what the all knowing Obama says, keeping people in their homes is not the answer to our real estate crisis. Letting the market hit bottom as soon as possible is.