February 14, 2012

Shortcomings In Appreciation

The State Journal Register reports from Illinois. “Though sales remain at a 10-year low, Capital Area Association of Realtors president Todd Musso expects a balance of homes on the market, steady prices and low mortgage rates to increase sales this spring. While local foreclosures have remained well below state and national rates, moving the homes through the real-estate market is vital to restoring a healthy balance of inventory, sales and prices, Musso said. ‘We are trying to monitor the foreclosures a lot closer. They are the shadow inventory,’ he said. ‘Our banks have done a good job of releasing them slowly, so the market doesn’t get bombarded with an oversupply.’”

The News Democrat in Illinois. “Local foreclosed homes are providing buyers more house for their money. Take for instance a home in Swansea that has remained on the market for the past 18 months. The four-bedroom house has 21 /2 bathrooms, fireplace, two-car garage and an in-ground pool. And it can all be yours for $174,000. But local real estate agent Joyce Johnston has had no takers. Her business has listed the property since July 2010, when the asking price was $239,000. Then, it was reduced to $219,000. Later, it was dropped to $187,900 and then reduced again to its current price.”

“‘It’s just one of those things,’ Johnston said.”

The Suburban Journal in Illinois. “Collinsville resident Jacqueline Hoffmann and her three daughters hope the Madison County Foreclosure Mediation program will help them keep their home. Following a divorce and job loss in 2010, Hoffmann has had trouble paying her $1,100 mortgage payment with her income — unemployment and child support. ‘Since I’m unemployed, I don’t have credit enough to get an apartment,’ Hoffmann said. ‘I’ve gone through all the different agencies I can, I’m trying like everything I can. All I need is for my house payment to come down and I’ll be more than happy to pay.’”

The Kansas City Star. “In 2009, with the U.S. economy in the dumps and the housing market at record lows, the Remodeling Show and Metropolitan Lawn & Garden Show brought in about 19,000 visitors, down from 31,000 in the glad times before 2007, said show manager Patrick Riha. But last year, the show attracted 27,000, and this year, the hope is that by the end of the three-day event attendance will again top 30,000.”

“‘Before, a lot of people bought a house and, two years later, they would be talking about (what) they would do with the next house they’d build,’ said Jeff Ogg of Prairie Village, owner of Midwest Skylight. ‘Now, I think … even if people have the money, they’re staying put.’”

The Kansas Reporter. “Kansas’ $50-million slice of a record national settlement of mortgage-abuse claims won’t offer quick relief for beleaguered homeowners, credit experts say. It may take as long as three years to distribute the promised help, according to information on a national attorneys general website. Realtor John Brocker said he fears that fully restoring the financial health of housing markets may take even longer than the three years outlined in the settlement timetable.”

“‘It’s a lot like the crisis in farmland values we had back in the 1970s and ’80s,’ said Brocker, president of Allen County Real Estate in Iola and the Kansas Association of Realtors. ‘Farmland prices didn’t turn around and start coming back up until all the farm foreclosures we had back then cleared the market, and that took years,’ Brocker said.”

From WTHI in Indiana. “It’s $26 billion and its all part of the new mortgage settlement announced by the federal government Thursday. Alexander said she hopes the federal help will not only help homeowners upside down on their mortgages, but also their neighbors. ‘It’s been devastating to watch what’s happened to families in this market … many of which have done everything right,’ said Realtor Kim Alexander, owner of Keller Williams in Carmel and Fishers. ‘Anything that helps homeowners deal with shortcomings as far as appreciation or the ability to move is going to be a good thing in the market,’ she said.”

Fox 8 in Ohio. “A multi-billion dollar settlement between the government and the nation’s top mortgage lenders could help many struggling homeowners stay in their homes. Thursday evening, struggling homeowners heard stories from people in their shoes, trying desperately to save their homes from foreclosure. It was during a meeting, sponsored by Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People, a foreclosure-prevention counseling agency. They spoke of ongoing battles, working with their mortgage lenders to find a way to stay in their homes. ‘I couldn’t believe my eyes that I had to appear in court for foreclosure,’ said homeowner Janine Smith.”

“‘I’m walking out of my house every day thinking, ‘Do I have a home to come to when I get back?’ said Euclid resident Tony McNary. ‘Right now, all I’m paying is interest, and I’m not really paying my house down, so in 30 years, if I get to keep my house, in 30 years from now…I would’ve paid over 300-thousand dollars for a bungalow,’ McNary said.”

The Post Dispatch in Missouri. “About 20,000 Missourians who lost their homes to foreclosure could be eligible for checks of roughly $2,000 under a nationwide settlement. Homeowners who want to refinance under the deal will have to apply through the five banks. That raises a red flag with Clayton lawyer Greg White, who represents homeowners in foreclosure. He noted that the banks’ system for modifying mortgages has been a mess of lost paperwork and delays. ‘I think they’re going to drag their feet for three or four more years until people forget about it,’ he said.”

The Niles Star in Michigan. “Niles area homeowners might have a reason to smile for the first time in a while. Single-family residential home prices and sales are trending upward for the first time since the housing bubble burst around five years ago. ‘We are still down from the peak years of four or five years ago, but, over the last four to six months, at least at our office, we are seeing things improve,’ said Roger Tracey, of Remax/Modern Realty in Niles. ‘My guess is that it will take four to five years before we get back to where we were.’”

“Niles Realtor Paul Crouch, of Cressy and Everett Real Estate, said area home prices are being held in check by the large number of foreclosures on the market. This week, Crouch saw what he considers a good bank-owned home listed for $30,500. The same home sold for around $100,000 in 2005. ‘A third of the sales are bank-owned properties and what that has done is make buyers think they can offer 50 cents on the dollar to just anyone,’ Crouch said. ‘It’s a good time to buy, but not a good time to sell.’”

Bits Bucket for February 14, 2012

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