Real Estate Archives

Bank of America Tiptoes into Landlording Business

Foreclosure properties

Foreclosure properties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It seems like it was only yesterday that when an investor wanted to purchase a property through the short sale process, two things that the Banks demanded were that the homeowner was not to receive any cash and that they were not allowed to stay in the property after the sale. All of that has now been turned on it’s head. Some banks are now offering cash to homeowners for the keys to the property and now BoA will allow some owners to stay on as tenants. The idea is to eventually sell the properties off to investors. Good news for investors and it’s been a long time coming.

Bank of America Corp. has tentatively joined a nascent housing industry movement in which homes in or near foreclosure are sold to investors as rental properties.

The bank on Friday began a test program for 1,000 homeowners headed into foreclosure in Nevada, Arizona and upstate New York — borrowers it has been unable to help with loan modifications but hopes to keep on as renters. If successful, the program could be tried in California and rolled out nationally.

Consumer advocates maintain it often would be better for homeowners, communities and the banks themselves to keep troubled borrowers on as renters rather than kick them out. Seizing and selling empty homes creates neighborhood blight and accelerates downdrafts in housing prices, they contend.

Bank of America doesn’t plan to become a longtime landlord for borrowers turned tenants. In the pilot, it hopes to take possession of homes for no more than three months before selling them to investors making a bet on the recovering housing markets. If the program becomes established, the goal would be for the investors to take over as soon as the occupants relinquish ownership and pay the first month’s rent.

Whether this scheme can work is to be determined by the pilot, the first such test announced by any major mortgage company. The bank wants to find out whether getting a loan off its books with a quick sale at a deep discount is a better deal financially than the foreclosure process, which can drag on for months or even years in highly regulated states such as New York.

“This pilot will help determine whether conversion from homeownership to rental is something our customers, the community and investors will support,” said Bank of America’s Ron Sturzenegger, who oversees about 1 million troubled loans inherited from aggressive mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp., which Bank of America purchased in 2008.

Homeowners can’t apply for the program themselves, a bank spokesman said.

The trial is limited to a tiny slice of the 1 million loans that Bank of America owns outright. It is not testing any of the additional 8 million home loans on which it provides customer service but which are owned by investors in mortgage bonds.

Bank of America executives said the 1,000 homeowners selected are all at least 60 days late on their loans and are not qualified for or not willing to accept other alternatives to foreclosure.

They will be offered one final deal: hand their property titles to the bank, which would cancel their mortgages in what’s known as a deed in lieu of foreclosure, and sign contracts agreeing to rent the home for up to three years at or below market rates.


Hopefully this program works out for all parties and the foreclosure backlog starts moving again.

Foreclosure Funding is Available Up to 110%

Foreclosure Funding

Foreclosure Funding (Photo credit: niallkennedy)


It’s hard to open the newspaper or watch the news without hearing something almost daily about foreclosures. Maybe you’ve even looked at some of these properties either for your own use or as an investment property. If you have been looking than you’ve probably noticed that most of these houses need a lot of work, with roofs, kitchens, heating systems all seeing better days. Makes you wonder how all that work will get done, especially if you’re not all that handy. It just so happens that the Fed’s have a great program to cure what ails these rundown houses.

There are some great bargains right now in foreclosed homes but they often aren’t in the best of shape. Fortunately, the FHA’s 203(k) program allows you to both buy a house and fix it up with a single mortgage loan.

The FHA 203(k) mortgage is designed for fixer-uppers. You can borrow up to 110 percent of the expected value of the property after renovation to pay for both the purchase and home improvements. You can even do the work yourself, provided you’re qualified to do so, although the FHA will likely insist that you hire professionals for more demanding projects.

Many foreclosures need repairs

Foreclosed properties can be in poor condition for a number of reasons. To begin with, if the previous owners couldn’t make their mortgage payments, they probably didn’t keep up with routine maintenance either. Second, foreclosures often stand vacant for a long time before they are purchased, and may deteriorate during that time. Finally, homeowners facing foreclosure sometimes remove appliances and other items of value, or simply damage the property to spite the bank.

On the plus side, these are some of the reasons why foreclosures sell at a discount in the first place. Quite often, they can be purchased and put back into shape for considerably less than you would spend on a conventional home purchase with only minor upgrades needed.

Streamline option for basic improvements

There are two types of FHA 203(k) loan. If the home only needs modest improvements, like a new roof, new appliances, kitchen remodeling, repairs or upgrades to heating, electrical and plumbing system, floor repairs, basement refinishing and the like, you can apply for a streamlined 203(k), also called a modified 203(k). This will allow you to borrow up to $35,000 with more simplified application requirements than on the standard 203(k).

The standard FHA 203(k) is used for more extensive improvements, those costing more than $35,000 or involving structural work. This might include adding an addition, repairing structural damage, moving a load-bearing wall or any kind of work that involves detailed drawing or architectural exhibits.

Borrow up to 110 percent of improved value

In either event, the maximum you can borrow is either 1) the total of the purchase price and planned improvements, or 2) the estimated improved value of the home plus 10 percent (110 percent of the improved value), whichever is the lower of the two. In any event, you’ll need an appraisal done to calculate what the improved value will be.

In addition, you’ll need to prepare a work plan showing what you plan to do and the cost of the materials and labor. You can do the work yourself, but must show that you are qualified to do so. In addition, you must include a provision for the cost of the labor, so that you can pay to have the work completed by professionals if you are unable to do so in a timely manner – you’re allowed six months for do-it-yourself projects.

 Limited to owner-occupants

The FHA 203(k) loan program is limited to owner-occupants – you must live in the home once renovations are complete. However, the loans can be used to purchase and improve multiunit homes of up to four units, provided that you make one your residence. The loans can also be used to divide a single-unit home into multiple units, or turn a multiunit property into a single-family residence.

Not all FHA lenders deal in 203(k) loans, so you may have to do some looking around to find one who knows how to handle them. You can also expect a somewhat longer closing period than on a regular FHA mortgage, usually about 45-60 days.


So now you have no more excuses. Get out there and start making offers.

Foreclosed Self Storage Facility

Foreclosed Self Storage Facility

Attention Commercial Investors! Here’s a rare opportunity to acquire a Self Storage facility in Southern California. These things don’t come along every day. The property has been foreclosed and is now in the hands of the lender.

Bancap Self Storage Group, Inc., the “#1 Self Storage Broker in California,” recently announced that it has begun marketing and sales activities for the lender owned self storage property known as Newport Mesa Self Storage in the city of Costa Mesa, California.   The firm was selected as the exclusive listing broker for the Orange County facility.

Newport Mesa Self Storage is a three-story self storage property located on Newport Boulevard in the city of Costa Mesa in Orange County, California.  It is currently operating under the Storage Direct trade name. The property is located on a busy frontage road with freeway visibility along the busy 55 (Costa Mesa) Freeway.  This freeway is the main connection between Newport Beach and the rest of the Orange County metropolitan area.

The project contains approximately 37,870 net square feet of storage space in 480 rental units. The property is currently at 62% occupancy by unit count and 72% occupancy by rentable square footage.  Economic occupancy currently stands at about 65% of the gross potential rental income.  As the average occupancy in the area is approximately 90%, it appears this property has significant upside potential to increase value with higher occupancy and income.

“There have been very few storage properties available for sale in Southern California and especially in Orange County,” said Dean Keller, President of Bancap Self Storage Group. “This is a rare opportunity to purchase a well located facility in a very desirable market, with tremendous upside potential.”

Costa Mesa is well known for its retail (including the renowned South Coast Plaza), higher education (including Orange Coast College and Vanguard University) and its arts and entertainment (including the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.)  The city is ideally located with close proximity to commercial, industrial and residential districts around the Orange County / John Wayne Airport area.  It is also closely associated with its coastal neighbor, the world famous Newport Beach.

The property was recently obtained through foreclosure and the foreclosing lender/owner is represented by LNR Partners, LLC as the special servicing agent for the note-holders.  LNR Partners has engaged Platinum Storage Group to provide professional property management services for the property.   LNR has previously engaged Bancap Self Group as its exclusive broker – most recently in the sale of the Casino Self Storage property in Moorpark, California.

Bancap Self Storage Group is the top selling broker of self storage facilities in California with over $900 million in completed sales.  The company has specialized exclusively in self storage properties for over 25 years.  The firm has recently brokered several lender-owned “REO” properties, as well as several first-class high occupancy properties that were very profitable.  The firm has also facilitated numerous self storage portfolio sales in the state.

For more information contact Dean Keller, President of Bancap Self Storage Group at (949) 888-5355 or visit the company web site at

FHA Loans Set to Undergo Changes

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration.

FHA Loans-Image via Wikipedia

For some would be home buyers, the FHA loan is the only option that these buyers have. The FHA claims that the new guidelines will only increase the total monthly mortgage payment by a few dollars, but any increase will surely eliminate a lot of new buyers from the market place. Not exactly a great move to stimulate the housing market.

The Federal Housing Administration will raise mortgage insurance premiums this April in order to repair the health of its emergency fund.

The FHA upfront mortgage insurance premium will increase to 1.75% from 1% of the base home loan amount. This will apply regardless of the term or loan-to-value ratio beginning in April.

The annual mortgage insurance premium will increase by 10 basis points for loans under the $625,500 limit beginning April 1 and by 35 bps for home loans above that amount starting in June, the FHA said Monday. Authority for these raises come under the payroll tax cut extension agreed to last fall.

The FHA said the changes will boost the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund by $1 billion.

The UFMIP can still be financed into the mortgage. The increase to the upfront premium will cost new borrowers roughly $5 more per month.

Reverse mortgages and borrowers in special loan programs would be exempt from the changes, according to the FHA.

Last week at the Mortgage Bankers Association servcing conference in Orlando, FHA Commissioner Carol Galante said there would be upcoming insurance premium changes for the streamline refinance program. An FHA spokesman said these changes would be included in a letter to lenders due soon.


The new changes don’t go into effect until April 1, so if you’re thinking about purchasing that new home, you might want to move a little quicker to some to save some money.


English: Foreclosure Sign, Mortgage Crisis

Florida Foreclosures-Image via Wikipedia

It looks like the enormous logjam of foreclosures in Florida isn’t going to be cleaned up anytime soon. With almost 400,000 cases backlogged at this time and more coming in every day, some are estimating that it may be ten years before this mess is completely cleaned up. There’s enough finger pointing going on as it is with regard to who is responsible, but now the homeowners themselves have figured out a way to delay the process even more, insuring that they can stay in the house for up to a year longer.

Florida courts continue to struggle with a backlog of more than 368,000 pending cases, according to Jane Bond, a Florida foreclosure attorney at McCalla Raymer. It’s a nightmare, attorneys say — one with no end in sight.

“It’s not as bad as it seems. It’s much, much worse,” said David Rodstein, a foreclosure attorney with the Rodstein Law Group.

Bond and Rodstein chaired a panel at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual mortgage servicing conference in Orlando, Fla. The state is suffering from an ailing housing market. Home prices dropped 41% from 2006. Nearly half of all borrowers are underwater. Distressed properties abound. Unemployment is at 9.9%. And as it tries to clear the backlog of foreclosures, the state is going nowhere fast.

“The judges are frustrated. The attorneys are frustrated. The servicers are frustrated. Everyone is frustrated,” Bond said.

The average foreclosure in Florida takes nearly 800 days to complete, more than twice the national average, according to RealtyTrac.

Rodstein said 40% of foreclosures filed by servicers are contested by the borrower because of a very efficient bar system in the state. It’s helped create a cottage industry of delays, displacing an earlier system not any fairer.

“Borrowers can hire these attorneys for a small monthly payment — much less than the mortgage — and the attorney can come in and easily delay the case for year plus,” Rodstein said.

But the delay recently has much to do with some attorneys’ own mistakes.


The story of Florida’s foreclosures will be one for the History books. The final chapter hasn’t been written yet and won’t be for a long time.


Phila. Law Firm Commits to 7 Year Lease

Penn Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Phila. Law Firm Commits to 7 Year Lease-Image via Wikipedia

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (Morgan Lewis) and Lexington Realty Trust (NYSE: LXP) announced today that Morgan Lewis extended its lease for 289,432 square feet of Class A office space at Six Penn Center in Philadelphia, PA which is owned by a joint venture controlled by Lexington Realty Trust.  Morgan Lewis, one of the 15 largest law firms in the US according to The National Law Journal’s NLJ250, leases 100% of the office space at Six Penn Center consisting of floors six through 18.  The lease now expires on January 31, 2021.  The building also contains prime ground floor retail space and four levels of structured parking.

Morgan Lewis was represented by W. Whitney Hunter and Peter Talman of Jones Lang LaSalle.  Locally-based Pitcairn Properties Management Co. LLC will continue to be responsible for the management of the building.


With 22 offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia, Morgan Lewis provides comprehensive transactional, litigation, labor and employment, regulatory, and intellectual property legal services to clients of all sizes—from global Fortune 100 companies to just-conceived startups— across all major industries. Its international team of attorneys, patent agents, employee benefits advisors, regulatory scientists, and other specialists—nearly 3,000 professionals total—serves clients from locations in Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Harrisburg, Houston, Irvine, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Princeton, San Francisco, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington. For further information about Morgan Lewis or its practices, please visit:


Lexington Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust that owns, invests in and manages single-tenant office, industrial and retail properties leased to major corporations throughout the United States.  Lexington also provides investment advisory and asset management services to investors in the single-tenant area. Lexington’s common shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “LXP”. Additional information about Lexington is available on-line at or by contacting Lexington Realty Trust, Investor Relations, One Penn Plaza, Suite 4015, New York, New York 10119-4015.

This release contains certain forward-looking statements which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties or other factors not under Lexington’s control which may cause actual results, performance or achievements of Lexington to be materially different from the results, performance, or other expectations implied by these forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, those factors and risks detailed in Lexington’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lexington undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to those forward-looking statements which may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the occurrence of unanticipated events. Accordingly, there is no assurance that Lexington’s expectations will be realized.

CONTACT: Investor or Media Inquiries for Lexington Realty Trust, Patrick Carroll, CFO, Lexington Realty Trust, +1-212-692-7200,, or Media Inquiries for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Frances Marine Bravo, Director of Public & Media Relations, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, +1-215-963-5835,

Web Site:

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Landowners Turn to Watchdog Group for Help

Landowners Turn to Watchdog Group for Help

Landowners Turn to Watchdog Group for Help-Image via Wikipedia

The Wall Street Fraud Watchdog’s due diligence service for real estate investors, or property owners may be the comprehensive of its type being offered in the United States. The group is expanding its real estate services to now include property owners in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or other states, who have been offered, or soon will be offered money to sell their mineral rights to a energy company, or companies that simply acquire mineral, or oil and gas rights, that are little more than speculators betting on price increases in oil, or gas prices. The group says, “We are aware that Pennsylvania, and Ohio are hotbeds for oil, or energy companies buying up mineral rights from landowners, or farmers, that have significant acreage. Unfortunately, we also saw the atmospherics of the Wild West, where landowners may have sold their mineral rights for far less than they should have, and or the contract to purchase the oil, gas, or mineral rights did not have proper safeguards for the landowner. We are changing all of this with a revolutionary service designed to make certain landowners in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or other states, do not get shortchanged, and or the contract to sell the mineral rights, contains all of the proper safeguards to protect the landowner, and their property.” For more information about their mineral rights, and or their oil, and gas rights landowners services, property owners are encouraged to contact the Wall Street Fraud Watchdog at 866-714-6466, for their unparalleled services. http://WallStreetFraudWatchdog.Com

Quote startWe want to make certain property owners get the best value for their mineral rights, or oil, and gas rights, and at the same time we want to make certain the property owner is protected in every possible wayQuote end

After watching a virtual gold rush to gobble up mineral rights, that in fact are oil, and gas rights in Pennsylvania, and Ohio, the Wall Street Fraud Watchdog is in the final stages of assembling teams of the best oil, and gas mineral rights attorneys, along with geologists, and other vital players needed to insure, when a landowner sells the mineral rights to their Ohio, or Pennsylvania property, there are proper safeguards built into the mineral rights sale, designed to protect the landowner, and to insure they are getting fair market value for their mineral rights. The Wall Street Fraud Watchdog says, “At this moment we have the atmospherics of the Wild West, when it comes to landowners selling away the rights to oil, gas, or mineral rights, and we think unfortunately many landowners are selling their mineral rights for less than they should. Further, we think the potential US natural gas boom is not limited to just Ohio, or Pennsylvania, so we are trying to assemble national, or regional legal teams, that have the expertise to protect the landowners for unforeseen issues that might develop, such as environmental issues, or restoration of the property after drilling, or fracking has been completed. At the same time, we want to make certain property owners in Pennsylvania, Ohio or other US states get top dollar for their mineral, or oil, and gas rights, provided the property is located in an area with established reserves, or anticipated reserves.” For more information landowners in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or other states are encouraged to contact the Wall Street Fraud Watchdog anytime at 866-714-6466, for their unparalleled real estate services, designed to protect property owners, who could literally be sitting on a gold mine. http://WallStreetFraudWatchdog.Com

The Wall Street Fraud Watchdog believes the future of America’s energy future is in its natural gas, or coal reserves, and the group believes it makes extremely good sense to exploit these resources to diminish, or all together eliminate our need for oil from the Middle East. The group believes in win, win situations where property owners in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania and many other states have the ability to sell their mineral, or oil, and gas rights for top dollar, and at the same time have the assurance the oil, or gas companies will provide the landowner, or owners with proper safeguards for the use of their property. The group says, “We want to make certain property owners get the best value for their mineral rights, or oil, and gas rights, and at the same time we want to make certain the property owner is protected in every possible way. We also believe in collaborations, where oil, or gas exploration companies can have the largest possible field, for their exploration, and development, so that it makes economic sense for them as well.” The Wall Street Fraud Watchdog says, “Part of the problem right now with states like Pennsylvania, or Ohio, is you have middlemen mineral rights grabbers, who are not providing property owners with anything close to fair market value, and the mineral rights purchase agreements are a joke, that offer little protection for the landowners. We intend to change this, by leveling the playing field for everyone from the landowner, to the oil, or gas exploration company.” For more information interested parties can always call the Wall Street Fraud Watchdog, to learn about their unsurpassed real estate services at 866-714-6466. http://WallStreetFraudWatchdog.Com.

Landlords Looking Forward to 2012

Landlords Looking Forward to 2012

Furnished housing landlords say they are optimistic about their future profitability, reports the third annual By Owner Corporate Housing survey sponsored by (CHBO), an online marketplace dedicated to connecting individual property owners offering short-term furnished and unfurnished rentals with potential tenants worldwide. The purpose of the survey is to provide key insights into the

do-it-yourself — or “by owner” — corporate housing marketplace.

The survey found that nearly 40% of corporate rental landlords say they believe 2012 will be a “more profitable year.” Plus, despite continued news about the declining housing market and global recession, still more than 50% of the survey respondents say they made a profit on their rental properties in 2011 while 35% say they only broke even.

Additionally, the survey reports that do-it-yourself (DIY) property management is on the rise. In fact, more than 86% of the survey respondents say they do their own property management rather than using outside resources, a slight increase from last year.

Kimberly Smith, the founder of, says DIY landlording is nothing new, but obviously an increasingly popular option these days.

“The prolonged recession compounded by unlimited access to resources online has exploded the do-it-yourself landlording world,” says Smith. “My hope is that this report will continue to help ‘by owner’ corporate housing landlords become more educated, knowledgeable and profitable as it allows them to deep-dive into emerging rental trends and how such trends will impact them personally.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Rental rates stable. Likely a sign of a still-slumping economy, landlords of short-term rentals say they did not raise their rental rates in 2011. Approximately 62% of respondents say they offered the same rates in 2011 as they did in 2010, while only approximately 22% say they raised their rates and 16% lowered them.

Corporate housing has gone to the ‘burbs. Counterintuitive to previous corporate housing trends where properties were located in “city centers,” according to the majority of private corporate rentals who responded to this survey, “by owner” corporate rentals tend to be located in suburban areas on residential streets (43%), followed by outer urban areas (22%) and then central urban areas (20%).

You’ve Got Pets. Many long-term business travelers are arriving with pets in tow. Fifty percent of survey respondents say they accept some type of pet in their corporate rental. Why? Of those who accept pets, about 69% say they take pets because it “gets their properties rented.”

About Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO)

CHBO was founded in 2006 out of a need to connect private homeowners and real estate investors offering furnished, short-term rentals with corporate housing seekers such as traveling executives, relocated professionals, traveling nurses, actors, athletes and more. The company provides individual homeowners and investors resources and guidance to help them strategically manage their corporate housing rental properties as well as exposes their properties to thousands of potential tenants worldwide who are seeking short-term housing options. Please visit for more information.

Jenny Finke
Red Jeweled Media for CHBO


Web Site:

SW Florida Home Sales Jump 20%

home for sale

SW Florida Home Sales Jump 20%-mage by haglundc via Flickr

Anybody that’s been looking at foreclosures in the SW Florida area knows that the market had pretty much dried up for several months. The Banks had been holding on to their inventory because of the Robo-signing fiasco, but that seems to have changed. Some parts of SW Florida have seen home sales increase by up to 20% but prices are down. Some are blaming the Banks for dumping more properties on the market which in turn is driving prices down. Of course, if you’re in the market for a house, lower prices are obviously a good thing.

Home sales in Southwest Florida jumped by double digits in October but pushed pricing to near its Great Recession low.

The renewed push by banks on foreclosures and their rising use of short sales could be undercutting prices.

After clearing up some of their mortgage paperwork, big lenders operating in the region have been ramping up again on distressed properties. Some have been offering clients cash for short sales on their homes, where the lender takes less than is owed on the mortgage.

Sales rose 20 percent in the Sarasota-Bradenton market during October when compared with a year ago, with 801 homes changing hands.

But the median sales price dropped to $137,100, pushing the value to only slightly above its lowest point since the recession, $136,300. The September median was $156,800, so the October price represented a 13 percent drop from the previous month.

Sales also rose in the Charlotte County-North Port market, by 7 percent to 236 homes, while the median price of $90,000 was a 6 percent drop from a year ago and an 8 percent drop from September.

Around the state, sales rose 13 percent in Florida’s combined 19 major markets, with 12,145 homes changing hands.

The median price statewide saw a drop but not as pronounced as in this region. October’s $131,200 was a 4 percent drop from a year ago and a 2 percent decline from September.


If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for that good deal in Florida, now is probably the time to get out there and start making some offers. This could possibly be the bottom of the market and prices may not get any lower. Also, this is November and Winter is approaching quickly. They don’t call Florida the “Sunshine State” for nothing.


Foreclosure Numbers Lowest in the Better School Districts

Maybe you’ve been thinking about buying a house in foreclosure and even though you have some money saved you still need to find a really good deal. If you’re at the point that you’re actually looking at these houses, you start to notice that most of these properties are in marginal neighborhoods. Now, that may be OK for the investors but you have kids and plan on living in the house and don’t want to send your kids to those school districts. A new study just released addresses this situation.

Highly ranked school districts may have been spared the worst of the foreclosure crisis, according to a new analysis, showing that the housing crash was akin to a tornado that tore through wide swaths, but hit with particular force in certain areas.

The analysis, conducted for Developments by Location Inc., a Worcester, Mass.-based company that mines local data for businesses and consumers, looked at six months of 2011 sales data collected by RealtyTrac Inc. It showed that the percentage of foreclosure (or “real-estate-owned”) sales went down as the school ranking went up in five metro areas – Jacksonville, Fla; Atlanta; Toledo, Ohio; Stockton, Calif.; and Seattle. Higher-rated school districts also maintained higher home-sale prices, and higher home prices per square foot.

“If you are looking to buy into one of these good school districts, it is very rare to find a foreclosure,” said Location Inc.’s chief executive Andrew Schiller, an expert in demographic analysis who conducted the research with his colleague Jonathan Glick. “It’s better to just go into a normal sale.” (The five cities were chosen to provide a general market overview.)

The finding is, to a certain extent, not a surprise. Schools have long been a driver for home buyers, whether in determining location or timing. So it would make sense that school ranking could serve as a kind of proxy for measuring the damage from the foreclosure crisis.

It’s also not that foreclosure sales don’t exist in highly ranked districts; they are just much less of a factor, and the reason could be income. Stan Humphries, chief economist for real-estate data company Zillow, said that it’s “likely both educational outcomes and foreclosures are ultimately linked to income, not to each other.”

The upper tier of homeowners saw less of an impact from the housing crash than the bottom tier, according to Mr. Humphries; the top third of homes dropped 26% from the recent high point; the bottom third of homes in value fell 37%. Some sought-after neighborhoods probably saw less severe price erosion, which in turn helped sustain property taxes and protect a vital funding source for schools.

Mr. Schiller said he sees school quality as both a result and a driver of income concentrations in parts of metropolitan areas. “Once in place, the higher-quality school systems reinforce this, causing higher demand for properties there, and higher values.”

Good schools may also be one of few factors keeping buyers in certain markets today, further bolstering prices and property-tax bases in sought-after districts like Newton, Mass. and Cupertino, Calif., said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of the online brokerage Redfin. “People always want to live in those school districts,” Mr. Kelman said. “And those school districts have remained well-financed even as neighboring districts have to cut costs.”


So, while it’s true that even million dollar houses sometimes go through foreclosure, it doesn’t happen that often. But when it does, the competition level goes way up and you won’t be buying that house for a mere pittance. Unless you have a lot of time and money, you’re better off with a traditional sale.

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