February 29, 2012

Bits Bucket for February 29, 2012

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February 28, 2012

An Asset That Enjoyed Uninterrupted Price Gains

The Bull reports on Australia. “Today, the median sale price in The Hamptons, the home of Madonna and Lady Gaga, is US$780,000, which equates to $726,828 in Australian dollars. For this money, you’d be lucky to pick up a fibro cottage in Brisbane or a pokey townhouse in Newtown. Today it’s cheaper to buy a chateau in France than a luxury unit in Singapore, Hong Kong and even Mumbai, India. Property markets across China, India, Singapore and Hong Kong have soared. Australian property too has defied all odds to advance higher since the global financial crisis hit. It has been an incredible run up, but the cracks in the market are starting to appear. According to Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index, luxury house prices are falling fastest in Asia.”

“With two-bedroom shacks in Mount Druitt, Sydney going for more than $500,000, the market is looking perilously toppy. So if you urgently need to sell your property for financial reasons, you may want to consider cutting your sale price sooner rather than later.”

The Australian. “The Reserve Bank has warned the big lenders against lowering their standards in a bid to win new mortgage customers. Luci Ellis, the head of the Reserve Bank’s financial stability department, said ‘It is always tempting to ease lending standards and dress that up as responding to competition or giving the customer a better deal,’ at a mortgage lending conference in Sydney.”

“Ms Ellis said losing the ability to repay was much more important in predicting defaults than falling house prices. Simply measuring the size of the loan against the value of the property was too simple a formula, as was comparing the loan amount to income. She said it was never the average borrower who got into trouble. ‘It is the ones who over extend themselves to get the dream home or to buy the second or the third or fourth investment property.’”

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. “Project engineer Emma Challands would like to be in a position to retire before 40. She already has one investment property and is looking at buying another in the middle of next year. Emma plans to sell half her portfolio of properties as she goes, to pay off debt and use the rent as a passive income stream. ‘In a nutshell, my plan over the next 10 years is to buy basically two properties every year,’ she says.”

“The principle of Smart Property Adviser, Kevin Lee, says negative gearing - whereby if the interest costs and other expenses are greater than the rent then the shortfall reduces the investor’s income on which income tax is paid - is no longer the way to go. About 1.5 million property investors across Australia record tax losses in their tax returns. Those who negatively gear hope to recover the losses by selling the property for healthy capital gains.”

”’Funding a loss on an investment property is supporting the tenants’ lifestyle,’ Lee says. ‘Negative gearing was probably created to make a poor investment look better.’”

“S&P said yesterday that the nation’s economic prospects were likely to be significantly affected by a sharp China slowdown, causing a hike in the unemployment rate and a big fall in real estate prices. A hard landing would translate into a recession for Australia. Under S&P’s revised ratings formula, the ‘economic imbalances’ score for the Australian banking sector blew out from 3, or intermediate risk, to 5: very high risk.”

MarketWatch on China. “China’s property boom began to unwind last summer said Patrick Chovanec, an associate professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics, and what’s playing out now is the end game for a badly distorted market, even though it’s not clear that prices will collapse further. What’s key to watch, Chovanec said, is the behavior of investors who have bought multiple apartments as a way to protect their cash against inflation and gain exposure to an asset class that until recently enjoyed uninterrupted price gains since property reforms in the late 1990s.”

“Estimates of sold but unoccupied apartments in China range between 10 million to 65 million units, representing a potentially huge supply overhang at a time when real-estate developers are already sitting on record unsold inventory. Tsinghua University’s Chovanec says any move by investors to off-load homes could turn the current property price retreat into something more serious, though it’s not clear what they will do, as relatively few are believed to have borrowed heavily to support their purchases.”

“Many owners probably wished they’d already sold but are now resigned to hang on in the belief they’d missed the window to get out, and a government rescue might not be far off, he said. ‘The big question is whether they will hit the panic button,’ Chovanec said. ‘If they paid cash, they don’t have to sell, but at some point they don’t want to see their savings evaporate either.’”

From China Daily. “At various apartment projects across the country, developers are making it possible for homebuyers to put down a 10 percent down payment for a residence rather than the usual 30 percent. Many observers said it’s a sign that cash-strapped property developers are under pressure to reduce their inventories and replenish cash flow. A salesman at an apartment project in Huizhou, Guangdong province, who only provided his surname, Zhuang, said the remaining 20 percent required for the down payment will be advanced by the developer. So long as a homebuyer pays the money back before the project is completed in March 2013, he or she will not owe interest or extra fees.”

“‘There are still a lot of first-time homebuyers looking for bargains who cannot afford a 30 percent down payment,’ said Huang Zhijian, executive director of the Shanghai-based Uwin Real Estate Research Center. ‘I do not foresee that developers will face great risks by taking part in these promotions, especially because none of the housing projects that have been advertised as having discounted down payments have been completed yet.’”

“Liu Xin, a 29-year-old company executive, finally decided to sign a contract with a real estate brokerage firm this past weekend. The price of the second-hand two-bedroom apartment Liu wanted to buy had fallen some 10 percent from three months earlier. The agent from brokerage Homelink told Liu last week that more people were showing interest in that apartment. ‘I read in the newspaper that many experts said prices would drop further this year, but who can really tell the bottom of the market accurately?’ Liu asked.”

“Liu missed the previous bottom in late 2008 and early 2009 as he waited for further declines. Most analysts and prospective buyers had a similar view at that time. Liu abandoned his home-buying plan in 2009 because of the strong price rebound in the second half of that year. This time, he didn’t want to miss the chance again, considering his imminent wedding. The news that Shanghai would allow people who have held Shanghai resident cards for more than three years to buy a second home despite their non-permanent residence status helped Liu make up his mind.”

“‘It is almost impossible to get in exactly at the bottom,’ said Grant Ji, director of the investment department at real estate services company Savills. ‘For owner-occupiers, if the price has fallen to a reasonable range, they can buy now.’”

The Vancouver Observer. “Canada’s housing markets are forecast to remain steady for another two years, according to a new report. Bill Binnie, owner and broker of Royal LePage North Shore, observed that there aren’t many investors. He said that ‘between the local investor and the foreign investor, (the difference) is never more than 20 per cent.”

“‘We’re only seeing maybe half as many Chinese buyers as we did last year thus far, but I think that will grow,’ he said. ‘I think there’s some urgency in China to buy this year because of a [government central committee] change happening there, so that will be a steady influence in the Vancouver market all year, as it was last year. I don’t see much change.’”

“‘Vancouver is very much still under the influence of offshore buyers,’ said Kim Little, a real estate agent. ‘Locally, we are seeing starter homes, which are now condos and townhouses, carry on steadily.’”

“Detached bungalows rose 14.1 per cent year-over-year to $1,017,500, largest year-over-year price increase. Prices for standard two-storey homes rose 10.9 per cent year-over-year to $1,117,250. Standard condominiums saw an increase of 10.7 per cent year-over-year to $536,500.”

The Arizona Daily Star. “Investors have been snapping up excess homes in the Phoenix area, eliminating a glut in the market for low- to moderately-priced homes, according to a new report. Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School at Arizona State University, said he believes there is no longer an oversupply of homes for sale in the price range below $300,000, creating a more balanced market.”

“He says investors have bought up and eliminated the excess inventory in that price range, though ‘ample supply’ remains in the upper price ranges less affected by foreclosures. As the supply dwindles, prices are likely to rise, he said. Fewer homes are reverting back to the banks at auction, as investors snap up what bargains are left in the Phoenix area, Orr said.”

“‘Buyers from Canada, New Zealand and Australia, in particular, are taking advantage of the exchange rates to purchase investment and vacation homes,’ Orr said in prepared remarks.”

Bits Bucket for February 28, 2012

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February 27, 2012

Bits Bucket for February 27, 2012

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February 26, 2012

A Useful Working Assumption

Readers suggested a topic on used house salespeople. “How about how Realtors are Liars? They’re out there advising the public to buy housing while prices are falling, attempting to create a sense of urgency by suggesting sales increasing rapidly when in fact they’re at 14 year lows and flat. These people just lie and lie and lie yet whenever their corrupt behavior is mentioned, the issue is redirected onto ‘banksters’. Why is that?”

A reply, “Because the Realtor® lies only steal 6% at a swipe from the sheeple loanowners while the banksters steal millions. Also the ‘nesting instinct’ which leads sheeple to commit financial suicide just so they can paint the walls any color they want. Sheeple love what they perceive as success/confidence, see also the furry-eyebrowed Realtor® in the movie ‘American Beauty’.”

One said, “We never hear about the realtors and all the non-banker people that are lying about real estate. Whenever you buy or sell a home, there is a long line of people demanding their cut for overpriced or completely unnecessary services. These things are borderline if not outright fraudulent. There’s no movement to go after them so they will still be around long after the bankers are gone.”

Another had this, “This is from my realtor could it be a lie?”

‘ - I’m super happy to say that we have some feedback from the lender on XXXXXXX. Believe it or not, this is lightening speed for a lender in a short sale…’

‘As in every short sale, the lender completed their own value assessment of the property. It appears that their assessment came back at a much higher value than the $399,000 list price. This can be considered great news for any buyer of this property when looking for an opportunity to purchase a property with existing equity.’

‘Fortunately, the lender is not requiring that the list price be increased for approval, but they have countered your $XXXXXX offer price. In a nut shell, we will need to increase your offer a bit in order to secure an approval. This does not mean we need to go over the asking price, but we need to be closer to the $399,000 list price. - ‘

“In all fairness this is a BANK lie being passed on to me by a Realtor like I am so stupid to think I have instant equity in a possibly still falling market and can’t use the internet to find what similair homes sell for which is about 400K except ‘as is’ foreclourses they are about 380K because they are trashed. Have to see the house again and decide if I want to increase offer. Its empty now so I can see it better. I can also use a home inspection report to drive price back down again if there is anything wrong. Don’t know what the bank will say to that but I don’t want to buy a house that’s got problems. NO need to reply too quickly to a bank in any case.”

To which was said, “You do realize that normally what the bank gets on these properties is a BPO—a ‘broker’s price opinion.’ In other words, it is just a number that one particular realtor thought would be a good value to put on the property. It is not the same as a good appraisal showing multiple recent sales as comps.”

“Short-sales are strange beasts, because everyone knows that the listing party (the nominal ‘owner’) is not the party that will have to approve the sale in the end. I mean, the owner COULD sell at a below-mortgage price, assuming they were willing to bring lots-o-cash to closing. But since they don’t have the means, the listing price is kind of a strange fiction.”

“I don’t think it’s ‘fraudish’, but it’s definitely different from a normal sale where a full-price offer would presumably get an acceptance. But since everyone knows that it is different, and they make sure to explicitly list it as a ’short sale’, I think it’s ok…”

And finally, “(This) is a constant and therefore unlikely to be part of the explanation for the RE bubble. It is NOT the case that every salesman is a lying sack of sh!t. But it IS a very useful working assumption. And always has been. Frankly weren’t we supposed to figure that out at the age of 8 after watching Saturday morning commercials?”

The Rock River Times in Illinois. “According to the Illinois Association of Realtors’ (IAR) fourth-quarter 2011 report, Illinois home sales (single family and condominiums) totaled 25,394, up 14.8 percent from 22,114 home sales in the fourth quarter of 2010. The 4Q11 statewide median home sales price was $128,000, down 10.8 percent from $143,500 in 4Q10.”

“‘Chicago continues to show an absorption of properties in the market by aggressive buyers seeking great opportunities to purchase now,’ said Realtor Bob Floss, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Bob Floss and Son Realty. ‘The decrease in median price and increase in units sold continues to show the downward pressure distressed sales still have on property values across the city. With interest rates at historic lows, and sellers and buyers looking to make real deals close, 2012 remains an excellent time for first-time, right-size buyers, or investors to get off the fence and make long-term investments in real estate.’”

The Chicago Tribune in Illinois. “‘If you’re selling your place, right now you’re in a beauty contest and a pricing war,’ said Tommy Hicks, an agent at SouthportSotheby’sInternational Realty in Chicago. ‘The really good stuff goes in a week,’ said Hicks, who with his wife has been looking for three months for a $1 million fixer-upper in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. ‘People seem to be catching on to the fact that if you bought something in the last seven to eight years, you probably can’t sell it for what you bought it for.’”

“‘Realtors are busy like the old days,’ said Bob Floss, president of the Chicago association. ‘They’re saying, ‘We’re working like dogs but for a third of what we used to make.’”

“At this point, Floss said, it’s a pretty cut-and-dried conversation with homeowners interested in listing their home for sale. ‘If you want to sell, this is what we got now,’ he said. ‘And if you want to wait, wait, but how long is the wait? (Sellers) are saying ‘OK, we don’t like it but this is what it is.’”

The Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire. “According to RE/MAX of New England, which releases a regional housing report each month, in January 2012, more housing units were sold in the state than in the same month the previous year, but the median sale price dipped almost 3 percent. The median price of units sold in New Hampshire dropped from $185,000 in January 2011 to $180,000 in January 2012. Still, that 2.7 percent decline was one of the smallest in New England. Only Maine saw a smaller decline, of 2.3 percent. Connecticut and Rhode Island saw the biggest median price drops over the period, with declines of 12.2 and 12.3 percent, respectively.”

“‘The slight uptick in sales is encouraging as it means buyers are active in the market, however we are still trying to find a balance between buyer expectations and market realities when it comes to pricing,’ said Jay Hummer, executive vice president of RE/MAX of New England.”

Bits Bucket for February 26, 2012

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February 25, 2012

Bits Bucket for February 25, 2012

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February 24, 2012

The Love Affair Continues

It’s Friday desk clearing time for this blogger. “Four out of five properties dropped in value, according to the annual report released by Virginia Beach Assessor Jerry Banagan. Average home values here climbed nearly 75 percent in the five years leading up to the 2008 recession. Since then, the city’s average home value has fallen by roughly $66,000, down to about $266,100. ‘People keep asking me when it’s going to stop,’ Banagan said. ‘I can’t say. Not until we get rid of all these foreclosures.’”

“Across Palm Beach County and across South Florida, some people are going for years without paying their bills and, too often, it is their neighbors who are forced to pick up the tab. ‘If the banks would just push through these properties and put them on the market and get folks to purchase them,’ said Paul Massey is HOA president at Convention Center Townhomes in downtown West Palm Beach. ‘That’s all we’re asking.’”

“The foreclosures, the short sales, and those people who aren’t paying the HOA fees that they signed up for; Adam Sinclair has a long list of things that need fixing at Summit Run, a private 254-home development in suburban West Palm Beach. As a homeowners’ association board member, Sinclair wants all of it out of his neighborhood soon. ‘It can only get better,’ said Sinclair. ‘And if it doesn’t get better, than it’s not going to be good for anybody.’”

“Nearly 400 homeowners went to the James L. Knight Center in Miami on Wednesday, to meet with bank and mortgage companies about a federal program that will help those struggling to pay their mortgages. ‘The payment is too high,’ said homeowner Zepheniah Davis. ‘I want to lower the payment down.’”

“The City of Hutto is hoping the $25 billion settlement agreed upon Thursday will help reinvigorate the city’s real estate market. Sue Beridon’s trying to sell her house in Hutto and estimates more than half of the homes in her subdivision have been foreclosed upon, or forced into short sales. She said her home value has plummeted as much as $50,000. Beridon hopes some of her neighbors will benefit from the agreement. ‘There’s always, every weekend, U-Haul trucks moving people out, and a lot of people have lost their homes,’ Beridon said.”

“Dozens of clergy members and community activists rallied today outside the headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco in protest of what they say is rampant foreclosure abuse. ‘We’re calling for a freeze on foreclosures,’ said Geoff Nelson-Blake of the San Francisco Organizing Project, a coalition of religious and community groups that organized today’s action.”

“Wells Fargo spokesman Ruben Pulido said, ‘The unfortunate reality is that some customers are in homes they cannot afford, even with substantially reduced payments.’”

“As the pain of Spain’s property crash continues to hit people hard, regular protests are being staged as banks repossess the homes of those who cannot afford loans taken out when the economic outlook was more rosy. On the morning that the banks were due to take control of Ronale de la Cruz’s house, more than 150 people turned up to stop the eviction. Tatyana Roeva was one of the protesters who went to the house the night before the eviction. ‘Surely someone who enters into a mortgage has a duty to meet their payments?’ I ask her.”

“‘I don’t agree, because we were tricked. They created a property bubble and they gave mortgages to everyone. It was a fraud in every sense of the word.’”

“A recent online poll found that a ’surprising’ 41.4 per cent of Malaysians owned two or more properties. A large population of Malaysians are also interested in investment opportunities abroad in nations such as the UK, Singapore, Australia, and the US. Malaysians still believe that the local market will continue to grow despite doubts over the welfare of the global economy. Chief executive of iProperty, Shaun Di Gregario told reporters, ‘The majority of people are still confident that the property market will continue to grow… The love affair continues.’”

“Despite widespread concern of an oversupply in the condominium market, a property bubble remains impossible, says Suphin Mechuchep, managing director of the property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle Thailand. ‘Thai property prices are one-tenth those in Hong Kong and Singapore, while the Thai economy remains strong and people have cash on hand. Property purchases are a way to compete with inflation, especially if its an investment for rent.’”

“Condos on Phahon Yothin, Ratchadaphisek and Lat Phrao roads are 60,000 to 95,000 baht a square metre. The opening of CentralPlaza Grand Rama 9 and development of a new SET building on Rama IX Road makes that area ripe for more condominium growth. Ms Suphin said last year’s flooding was comparable to the 2004 tsunami that caused a property price decline for a period, but now prices in Phuket have more than doubled their pre-tsunami level.”

“She acknowledged the government should have a clear flood prevention plan with a quick response to support the market for low-rise properties.”

“Optimism surged in January only to be dragged down by the mid-winter blahs in February. That bump is typical of the roller-coaster ride Canadians have been on for a while now, says the VP of research firm TNS Canada. this anxiety is afflicting everyone from young job seekers to Bay Street veterans and nowhere is the dichotomy more pronounced than in Toronto’s real estate market.”

“One executive, who has been in the mortgage business for more than 30 years, tells me he and others at his firm are dumbfounded by the action in the market these days. He’s astonished partly because bidding wars have been so ferocious in Toronto and buyers are taking on such huge mortgages. Sure buyers are competing over relatively few listings but they are bidding jaw-dropping amounts over the asking price. ‘If it keeps going like this I’m just going to leave and become a dentist or something because it means I don’t understand the market at all,’ he quipped recently.”

“The builders of Aura, which is billed as Canada’s tallest condo tower, recently won permission to add three more storeys to the skyscraper. The three additional floors will mean approximately 50 more units are available for sale, bringing the total in the building to 985. Canderel’s vice-president of sales and marketing, Riz Dhanji, said said he’s convinced there remains a strong appetite among condo buyers for units at Aura and added, ‘I wish we could go beyond the 78 storeys we have today.’”

“Under a deal that goes to city council for approval March 5, Minto will pay $44 million in cash and build 800 spaces of underground Green P parking worth $32 million along with two condo towers on a key site in Yorkville. The city-owned Toronto Parking Authority received 10 offers for the site, which were shortlisted to three before Minto was chosen. ‘In a location like that, the land will always retain its value,’ said Councillor Peter Milczyn, chair of council’s planning and growth management committee. ‘Even if there’s a downturn in the market, you know you’ll eventually be able to sell very expensive condos in Yorkville.’”

Weekend Topic Suggestions

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Bits Bucket for February 24, 2012

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February 23, 2012

Bits Bucket for February 23, 2012

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February 22, 2012

The Way Things Were Meant To Be

The Longmont Times Call reports from Colorado. “What can you buy for $8.5 million? How about a 12,000-square-foot home on Arrowleaf Court in Boulder? It’s listed at $8.5 million. You’d have to come up with $12 million to get into a home for sale on Rozena Court in Hygiene. Get $9 million together and you’ve got yourself a farmhouse that’s currently for sale on Pike Road just west of Longmont. Sounds like a lot of money — until you consider that NewMark Merrill Mountain States came up with $8.5 million and got itself a whole shopping mall.”

“Scott Franklund of Legendary Properties ticked off several homes for sale in the area whose cost approaches what NewMark paid for Twin Peaks Mall. What makes the deal especially surprising is that former owner Panattoni Development Co. paid $33.6 million for the 75-acre, 650,000-square-foot mall in 2007, he said. That’s roughly a 75 percent drop in price. ‘You just don’t see that,’ Franklund said.”

From KJCT in Colorado. “Colorado Springs was recently listed as one of the housing markets where renting is actually cheaper than buying. But here in Grand Junction, some realtors argue just the opposite; saying buying a home is much more affordable in the long run. ‘I don’t know how someone can say it’s less expensive to actually rent. We’re at sixty year lows right now, so that unto itself allows a person to actually buy more or have more purchasing power then they would even last year,’ Brian Donaldson, with Bray Real Estate, said.”

The East Valley Tribune in Arizona. “Agents’ optimism has grown for five months in a row as a result of seeing more buyers and a shrinking number of available homes, said Bob Bemis, CEO of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. The news is great for sellers who’ve had trouble unloading their homes - but there’s a downside for buyers. ‘They’ll be surprised if they go looking for anything other than a foreclosure,’ Bemis said. ‘If they’re looking for traditional houses, there will be bidding wars. Not two or three, but eight or 10 contracts on the property because we have so few houses in that price range or quality range.’”

“For the first time since the home-buying frenzy that peaked in 2005, agent Christine Loschiavo has been advising clients to bid above the asking price. It’s becoming harder for traditional buyers to compete with investors and also Canadians looking for second homes, she said. ‘Chandler is the worst place to try to buy a house right now for a good price,’ she said. ‘I have to tell my buyers to overbid.’”

The Casa Grande Dispatch in Arizona. “Like a roller coaster ride, Arizona’s housing market reached a peak and then descended over the last decade. And the areas that grew the fastest, like Pinal County, have been hit the hardest. ‘During the housing boom in the mid-2000s, the value of homes in the Casa Grande area increased by almost 50 percent,’ said Debbie Yost, broker of REMAX/Casa Grande Yost Group. But as the housing bubble burst, values plummeted and many homeowners who purchased during that period were stuck with pricey mortgages and high interest rates. During 2011 alone, more than 2,200 homeowners in Pinal County and 325 in Casa Grande went through foreclosure. For many, it has seemed like the only option.”

“‘People have been giving up and walking away,’ said Yost, who has been selling real estate in Casa Grande since 1980, ‘but now there are reasons not to. Each situation is different, but now there is a road map and a number of options.’ The other options for those behind on their payments, as the panel will discuss, are refinancing, modifying their loans, short-selling or deeding-in-lieu of foreclosure. ‘There’s this idea that it’s almost impossible to short-sell,’ Debbie said. ‘That’s not true.’”

The Arizona Republic. “Verrado opened amid a housing rush in 2004 but soon plunged into a downturn of historic proportions. In the years that followed, executives and planners at DMB, the developer that built this community, came to realize that the old approach to master-planned communities would have to change. For them, Verrado was the turning point. Nearly everything there today tells a story about the way things were meant to be before the crash.”

“The changes all come back to the 2,000 homes that encircle Verrado’s Main Street: When the community opened, DMB estimated it would sell at least three times that many homes by 2012. Instead, today, it is a town, but a far smaller town. At least 6,000 vacant acres sit unobtrusively outside the developed area,”

“In 2004 amid a marketing blitz. people flocked to Verrado during the last two weekends of January to try to be one of the community’s first homebuyers. They filled out information cards that were placed in giant fish bowls in hopes their names would be drawn. But by 2006, it was clear something was off-track in the metro Phoenix housing market. By 2007, metro Phoenix builders had begun walking away from deals and giving their lots back to lenders.”

“DMB principal Mark Sklar said people ask him often if this real-estate crash is as bad as the last one. ‘I have to laugh and say it’s about 30 times worse. During the last crash, GM and all the major lenders weren’t failing at the same time,’ he said.”

The Daily Courier in Arizona. “Kathi Dollarhide simply wants her Yavapai Hills property to be somebody’s home. That goal appears within reach for Dollarhide, who expects to sell her former retirement home through the short-sale process. ‘I want to see someone living in the house. That’s what it was built for,’ she said. ‘It was never an investment. It wasn’t meant to sit there until the market turns around and some bank decides, ‘OK, now we can sell it.’”

“The short-sale option makes Dollarhide one of the lucky ones. This past week, state and federal officials announced a $25 billion deal to settle possible state charges over allegations of improper foreclosures. Marshall Vest, director of the Economic and Business Research Center at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, believes the settlement will help some homeowners. Vest said the settlement will help keep people in their homes rather than have to walk away from their properties.”

“But Vest agrees with the ProPublica argument that the settlement won’t help millions of homeowners. ‘There’s still a lot of people who won’t get help,’ he said. ‘The amount of dollars just aren’t big enough to help and, of course, not everybody would qualify.’”

From KTNV in Nevada. “Home values in Southern Nevada have fallen 65 percent in six years. Two out of three homeowners are now underwater. Shauntele Harless is one of them. She’s moving out of her home while she tries to get Bank of America to agree to a short sale of $80,000. Harless says she tried to work with the bank. ‘I even tried to pay $260,000 for it just as long as they would lock my rates and they wouldn’t do it,’ Harless said.”

The Las Vegas Business Press in Nevada. “Economic analyst Jeremy Aguero calls it the ‘three-finger salute,’ hitting the control-alt-delete keys to reset real estate values in Las Vegas to current market conditions. Forget about the peak. ‘Nobody sober would ever suggest we’re going to get back to the peak,’ Aguero said at Preview Las Vegas, an economic forum presented by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.”

“Las Vegas homeowners have lost $91 billion in equity, roughly $112,000 a home, since the market took a dive from 2006, the principal of research firm Applied Analysis estimated. Aguero said legislators need to rethink some of the laws such as Assembly Bill 284, an attempt to stop foreclosures by requiring banks to prove they have proper documentation.”

“‘Why would they do that? At the end of the day, if you’re not paying your mortgage, you do not get to live in the house for free,’ Aguero said. ‘With the robo-signing, the banks probably didn’t handle it well, I’m the first to admit. But how do you take it so far that the bank can’t foreclose if you’re not paying?’”