Archive for 'Commercial Real Estate'

Short Sale Legal Advice Offered to Homeowners

Capitolshortsale.com brings much needed free foreclosure prevention assistance and short sale help to DC, Maryland and Virginia homeowners through brand new website.

Unfortunately it is clear that there is no magic bailout on its way to those facing the possibility of foreclosure in the DC area. Lenders and the government continue to roll out new ideas, yet none have yet proven to provide a large scale solution. Homeowners must realize that out of necessity the powers that be are focused on macroeconomics and that they must take action themselves. Fortunately homeowners who have found themselves underwater on their home loans now have a new resource to tap into.

The new website being launched provides area residents with the critical information they need to make an informed decision on whether a strategic default, loan modification or short sale is the right solution for them to stop foreclosure. It also promises to deliver the resources needed to succeed in effectively stopping foreclosure in Virginia, Maryland or DC and developing a real, educated plan of action that takes into account potential tax ramifications and future financial goals.

There can be many traps awaiting those who are not armed with adequate representation and expertise. No one knows when the bank is really going to foreclose. Sadly the media has misled many with the false sense of security that they can just stop paying their mortgages and live in their homes for free for years. Some may have gotten away with this, though others are receiving foreclosure notices just 60 days after becoming delinquent. Dealing with lenders directly can certainly be a mine field. Even if some form of loan modification or short sale can be negotiated, if you haven’t retained a specialist to work on your behalf, a big tax bill or a deficiency judgment could be around the corner.

This is where the other half of this website comes into play. Founder Brian Gormley, an attorney, short sale expert and real estate broker brings his unique blend of services to the table for those who need it. This might seem like an interesting blend of different hats to wear, but as he points out new changes in the law now limit the ability of real estate agents to negotiate short sales. In order to get a fair deal and best terms when talking short sales and stopping foreclosure with lenders, a specialist who will fight for you is essential.

During an interview Brian Gormley points out that while the banks, “May have you believe that it is your paperwork causing delays or denial of your requests, more frequently negotiations are held up because of complex relations servicers have with investors and mortgage insurers, or because lenders have inaccurate property valuations or unrealistic expectations of net sales proceeds.”

Those that have used Brian and his company Cornerstone Properties and Financial Services say the difference is really the power of contacts and aggressively escalating negotiations to the top for his clients.

Asked about the new trend in strategic defaults Brian answers ‘they sound a lot sexier than they are’ and that the most important thing all concerned homeowners must do right now is to seek out quality legal advice from an expert who can guide them to the best solution for their individual situation.

Those contemplating a short sale or needing help to stop foreclosure will discover many free resources on the new website including the latest legal developments, information on the firm’s pro bono loan modification assistance and the ‘Where In DC?’ video series. In addition those who visit the site get the chance to enter the current iPad giveaway.

So it is definitely worth checking out the website for the possibility of getting out of debt and walking away with a brand new iPad.

 

MFY Legal Services Study Shows that Large Firms Withhold Legal Documents from Judicial Filings, Leaving Cases in Limbo while Fees and Arrears Accumulate for Distressed Homeowners

MFY Legal Services, Inc. and Harwood Feffer LLP filed suit on August 4, 2011 against Steven J. Baum PC, a law firm that files 40% of the foreclosure actions in New York State, charging unfair debt collection and deceptive practices in filing thousands of foreclosure lawsuits.

Justice Deceived, a study of a representative sample of foreclosure filings in Brooklyn and Queens before and after the New York State Court’s October 2010 rule requiring foreclosure law firms to attest to the accuracy of every foreclosure summons and complaint (the “Due Diligence Affirmation”), showed that four large law firms filed hundreds of foreclosure cases, but failed to file the documents that cause the case to be assigned to a judge and trigger a state-mandated settlement conference. In 82% of foreclosure cases filed in November 2010, lawyers failed to file the required Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI) and Due Diligence Affirmation seven months after the case was filed.

“This is the biggest scandal since robo-signing,” said Elizabeth Lynch, an attorney at MFY Legal Services, a non-profit organization, and author of the new report. “Homeowners are left in limbo while they wait for the bank’s law firm to file the documents that will trigger a settlement conference, which is their best chance of saving their home.  Instead, the banks reject their mortgage payments and charge additional fees and interest that undercut homeowners’ chances for a successful loan modification.”

In response to the robo-signing crisis, the New York State Legislature required that attorneys filing foreclosure actions attest to the accuracy of every foreclosure summons and complaint and file such affirmation with their Request for Judicial Intervention. When done properly, the case is assigned to a judge, homeowners are notified of their right to a settlement conference, and non-profit housing counseling agencies are also notified so they can assist homeowners and refer them to legal counsel.

“Steven J. Baum PC and other big firms are undermining the protections homeowners have under the law,” said Robert I. Harwood, senior partner at Harwood Feffer LLP. “This case is about getting everyone to play by the rules. If a law firm cannot attest to the accuracy of the papers it is filing, it should not file the case.”

In its report, Justice Deceived, MFY recommends that the courts take steps to ensure that homeowners have access to settlement conferences regardless of what documents are filed, that documents are filed as required by law, that housing counseling agencies are informed of all filings, and that foreclosure cases be dismissed if proper documents have not been filed by the second settlement conference.

Justice Disserved and other details on the case can be found at www.mfy.org.  MFY Legal Services, Inc. is a non-profit provider of civil legal assistance to New Yorkers who cannot afford attorneys. Harwood Feffer LLP is a firm that specializes in complex, multi-party litigation with an emphasis on securities and shareholder class and derivative actions, ERISA and civil rights litigation, antitrust matters and consumer litigation.

Justice Deceived – http://www.mfy.org/wp-content/uploads/MFY-White-Paper-JUSTICE-DECEIVED.pdf

Cole v. Baum complaint – http://www.mfy.org/wp-content/uploads/Cole-vs-Baum.pdf

Media Contact: Dolores Schaefer MFY Legal Services, Inc., 212-417-3731, dschaefer@mfy.org
http://www.mfy.org

Commercial Real Estate: Office Space Continues Slow Improvements

Commercial Real Estate: Office Space Continues Slow Improvements-Image via Wikipedia

The U.S. office market boasted modest improvements in total net absorption and vacancy rates during the second quarter, according to a new research report on quarterly activity in the U.S. office market from Colliers International.  The core, gateway cities outperformed the national market as a whole, continuing the overall positive momentum that has been building since last summer. However, slower-than-anticipated recovery in the national economy, concerns about the debt ceiling prior to reaching the recent agreement, and a sudden halt in job creation have restrained demand for office space.

According to Colliers International’s Second Quarter 2011 North America Office Highlights report, the U.S. office market recovery will likely continue to be uneven in nature and fairly volatile. New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Seattle are the clear leaders in terms of demand, buoyed by educated workforces and further reductions in new construction starts, limiting supply. Yet Boston, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Philadelphia, Raleigh, San Diego, San Jose and West Los Angeles are all seeing modest gains in occupancy.

Office vacancy rates were essentially flat overall, dropping just slightly quarter over quarter to 15.28 percent. National Central Business District (CBD) vacancy was healthier at 13.84 percent compared with the suburban markets at 16.00 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. registered 9.9 million square feet of positive net absorption, the fifth consecutive quarter of rising occupancy, with a flight to quality particularly evident in many markets. The nearly 10 million square feet was a significant improvement from the first quarter, when occupied space increased by only 4.2 million square feet, and slightly more than twice the absorption recorded a year ago when occupied space expanded by 4.9 million square feet.

After a small increase in the first quarter, both CBD and suburban rents drifted lower in the most recent three-month period. Second-quarter data shows Class A CBD rents decreased by 1.5 percent to average $38.98 per square foot, with Class A suburban rents dropping 0.7 percent to average $26.06 per square foot.

Somewhat positive is the seventeen-month-long gain in private-sector employment, although recent data shows a slowdown in that part of the labor market as well. One bright spot remains: office-using employment was reasonably strong during the April-June period, highlighted by professional and business employment in particular, up 2.9 percent year-over-year (June).

Taking the various economic factors and real estate fundamentals in total, widespread rent increases are unlikely to occur this year and may not materialize until well into 2012.

“The national office market has been improving overall, and though the recovery has slowed of late, the long-term indicators are strong,” said Dylan Taylor, chief executive officer for Colliers International in the U.S. “Gateway cities like New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco continue to drive the national real estate sector, with absorption gains strongest in those markets and a feverish appetite among investors from around the globe looking to acquire assets in these urban markets.”

“The national real estate market was in the midst of a modest recovery, but recently hit an unexpected soft patch,” said Ross Moore, chief economist for Colliers International. “The most pressing question we face is how long the slowdown will last. There are many economic variables at work, both nationally and overseas, impacting the U.S. market.”

Additional highlights from the full research report, which analyzed the sixty-two largest office markets in the nation, are listed below:

  • The largest year-over-year percentage increases in average asking rents were reported by Charleston (19.8%), San Francisco (10.8%), Manhattan’s Midtown South (9.3%), Washington, D.C. (7.7%) and Seattle/Puget Sound (7.4%).
  • San Jose, Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco Peninsula, Denver, Houston and Raleigh/Durham were the Q2 leaders in suburban market absorption.
  • Continuing a trend seen over the past few quarters, Class A buildings continued to attract “move-up” tenants: Class A absorption totaled 8.5 MSF, or nearly 86 percent of overall absorption.
  • After a modest increase in Q1, second-quarter office completions totaled just 3.9 MSF—returning to levels recorded during Q4 2010. Construction underway increased by almost 4.7 MSF relative to Q1, with 30.4 MSF in various stages of development at the end of Q2, although construction activity remains exceptionally low by historic standards.

Additional data and research are available in the full report.

Colliers International is the third-largest commercial real estate services company in the world with 12,500 professionals operating out of more than 500 offices in 61 countries. A subsidiary of FirstService Corporation, it focuses on accelerating success for its clients by seamlessly providing a full range of services to real estate users, owners and investors worldwide, including global corporate solutions, brokerage, property and asset management, hotel investment sales and consulting, valuation, consulting and appraisal services, mortgage banking and research. Commercial Property Executive and Multi-Housing News magazines ranked Colliers International as the top U.S. real estate company and the latest annual survey by the Lipsey Company ranked Colliers International as the second most recognized commercial real estate brand in the world.

http://www.colliers.com/

Foreclosure Starts Jump 10 Percent in June

Foreclosure Starts Jump 10 Percent in June

Foreclosure Starts Jump 10 Percent in June-Image via CrunchBase

The June Mortgage Monitor report released by Lender Processing Services, Inc. (NYSE: LPS) shows that, while still down 16.4 percent from the start of the year, foreclosure starts increased by more than 10 percent in June 2011. Delinquencies were also up, but incrementally, showing a 2.4 percent increase over May. As of the end of June, 4.1 million loans were either 90+ days delinquent or in foreclosure, representing a 12.8 percent increase since June 2010.

Foreclosure timelines continue their upward trajectory, with the average loan in foreclosure having been delinquent for a record 587 days. More than 40 percent of 90+-day delinquencies have not made a payment in more than a year. For loans in foreclosure, 35 percent have been delinquent for more than two years.

Looking at the differences between judicial and non-judicial foreclosure states, the LPS data shows that the foreclosure pipeline ratio – that is, the number of loans either 90+ days delinquent or in foreclosure divided by the six-month average of foreclosure sales – is more than three times as high for judicial foreclosure states. Additionally, the slowdown associated with foreclosure moratoria has been almost exclusively felt in judicial states.

LPS also examined historical data to estimate the potential impact of the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) provision of the Dodd-Frank Bill. The data shows that, since 2005, nearly half of all loans originated in the United States could have been ineligible under QRM. At the same time, LPS found that the potential impact of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) high-cost conforming limit expiration would be minimal, accounting for only one percent of originations over the last three years.

As reported in LPS’ First Look release, other key results from LPS’ latest Mortgage Monitor report include:
Total U.S. loan delinquency rate: 8.15%
Month-over-month change in delinquency rate: 2.4%
Total U.S. foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate: 4.12%
Month-over-month change in foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate: 0.2%
States with highest percentage of non-current* loans: FL, NV, MS, NJ, IL
States with the lowest percentage of non-current* loans: MT, WY, AK, SD, ND
*Non-current totals combine foreclosures and delinquencies as a percent of active loans in that state.
Notes:
(1) Totals are extrapolated based on LPS Applied Analytics’ loan-level database of mortgage assets.
(2) All whole numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand.

About the Mortgage Monitor

LPS manages the nation’s leading repository of loan-level residential mortgage data and performance information on nearly 40 million loans across the spectrum of credit products. The company’s research experts carefully analyze this data to produce a summary supplemented by dozens of charts and graphs that reflect trend and point-in-time observations for LPS’ monthly Mortgage Monitor Report. To review the full report, visit http://www.lpsvcs.com/NEWSROOM/INDUSTRYDATA/Pages/default.aspx.

About Lender Processing Services

Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) is a leading provider of integrated technology, services and mortgage performance data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries. LPS offers solutions that span the mortgage continuum, including lead generation, origination, servicing, workflow automation (Desktop®), portfolio retention and default, augmented by the company’s award-winning customer support and professional services. Approximately 50 percent of all U.S. mortgages by dollar volume are serviced using LPS’ Mortgage Servicing Package (MSP). LPS also offers proprietary mortgage and real estate data and analytics for the mortgage and capital markets industries. For more information about LPS, visit www.lpsvcs.com.

http://www.lpsvcs.com

Memphis Real Estate Becomes Global Hot Spot

Memphis Investment Properties‘ First-Half 2011 Sales Point to Record Year for 30-Year-Old Company

Quote startWith high demand and the steady arrival of potential new tenants, we anticipate that we will sell 250 houses by year-end.Quote end

On track for a banner year in the company’s 30-year history, Memphis Investment Properties sold 49 homes during the first quarter and 51 during the second quarter for a total of 100 homes in the first-half of 2011. The majority of these sales have been to out-of-town real estate investors, as MIP has continued to sell Memphis real estate properties to investors around the country and the world.

“Interest in Memphis property from foreign investors throughout the world continues to increase at a rapid clip,” said Jim Reedy, company president.

In 2010, the company began to receive calls from investors in Australia and New Zealand. Since that time, investors from the Netherlands, Italy, as well as China, Thailand, and other countries in the Far East have emerged interested in purchasing Memphis properties for investment purposes.

Investors from Australia and other countries sometime surprise Reedy, by just popping in the office, having made the trip to Memphis to make impromptu tours of the city in search of investment property, because Memphis has proven to provide consistent returns on investment for foreign and domestic investors alike.

Now managing more than 1,000 homes for investors with its turn-key service, Memphis Investment Properties continues to be a leader in providing top-quality property management.

With nearly half of residents in Memphis renting their housing, the demand for rental property remains high. Companies such as Mitsubishi and Electrolux moving into Memphis, is bringing with them a pool of potential tenants with high incomes.

“With high demand and the steady arrival of potential new tenants, we anticipate that we will sell 250 houses by year-end,” Reedy said.

For more information about Memphis Investment Properties, visit http://www.MemphisInvestmentProperties.net, or call 1.888.INVEST3 (468-3783)

REO's in Northwest Available in Online Auction

REO's in Northwest Available in Online Auction-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Leading online real estate auction platform, Freedom Realty Exchange, presents bank-owned properties in Washington and Oregon featuring raw and development land, commercial buildings, retail centers, an oceanfront restaurant, a convenience store and gas station, even an equestrian ranch.

Determined to dispose of residual REO properties and close the books on the third quarter, Columbia Bank, a Pacific Northwest community bank, has employed the auction marketing experts at the LFC Group of Companies to sell over $17M worth of REO properties on the Freedom Realty Exchange(FRE.com) by September 1st.

Choosing this alternative and seemingly progressive marketing strategy could help the bank sell properties that have proven resistant to traditional sales methods.

“We had considered other sales approaches but chose the online auction format because it is perfectly suited for such a wide variety of real estate offerings across several counties and in two states,” stated Robert M. B. Draper, Senior Vice President for Columbia Bank. “It provides one easy, convenient hub for buyers.”

FRE.com, a leading real estate auction platform presents any type of buyer such as builders/developers, savvy or new real estate investors with an incredible opportunity to conveniently purchase property through a transparent, fair and open bidding platform.

“It’s been our experience that with properties such as these, an online auction strikes accord with buyers, both local and out of state, by providing them equal opportunity to get a great deal ”, said LFC’s Director of Operations Ryan Devin. “And with the aggressive minimum bids set by the bank, there are definitely deals to be had.”

The bank-ordered auction offers a wide variety of real estate, over 20 properties, located throughout several counties in Washington and Oregon, including:

  • Ninety-nine (99) finished multi-family development lots adjacent to the Sandpines Golf Course in Florence, Oregon have a minimum bid of $1.4MM – a fraction of the previous asking price of $3.0MM
  • 11 subdivision development lots in Rockaway Beach, Oregon with a minimum bid of $99,000 – more than half of the last asking price.
  • Over 24 acres of residential development land in Renton, WA zoned for single family, multi-family or senior housing has been reduced by over 40% for a minimum bid of just $899,000.
  • ±22,000 retail center in Spokane, Washington with current tenants was listed at $1.1MM but not has a minimum bid of $599,000.
  • Restaurant and clubhouse adjacent to the Charbonneau Golf Course in Wilsonville, Oregon has a minimum bid of $299,000 more than 50% below the previous asking price of $700,000
  • Residential lot in Pacific Rim Estates in the coastal Oregon town of Lincoln City has a minimum bid of $25,000.
  • ±33 acre Equestrian Ranch in Enumclaw, WA is asking for a minimum bid of just $399,000.
  • Seattle, WA commercial building with an AT&T cell tower lease and income-producing outdoor billboard was on the market for nearly $4.0M now has a minimum bid of $2.5MM.
  • Small residential lot zoned for a 2-4 plex in Bend Park development in Bend, Oregon is asking for a $5,000 minimum bid.

“Buyers should recognize that the bank is serious about selling these properties as clearly demonstrated by the low minimum bids and the quick timeframe to sell and close escrow,” said Devin.

As with all of auctions on the Freedom Realty Exchange website, the research, due diligence and even bidding are conducted completely online, removing the need to spend hours in a crowded ballroom with all the unwanted pressure and intimidation that comes with a traditional outcry auction. Interested buyers can view property documents and auction details by visiting FRE.com/109R2. Bids must be submitted by September 1st and properties must close escrow by September 30th.

The Freedom Realty Exchange®
The Freedom Realty Exchange is owned and managed by LFC Internet Marketing, Inc., a member of the LFC Group of Companies. For more than 30 years, the LFC Group of Companies has successfully auction marketed thousands of commercial, industrial, land and residential properties, with sales in excess of $5 billion; and for the last seven years, we have conducted real estate auctions exclusively online. We have successfully served numerous Fortune 500 companies, real estate developers, investors, financial institutions, government agencies and real estate brokerages, providing a complete suite of real estate disposition strategies and auction marketing programs for commercial and residential property and mortgage notes.

The Corporate Whistle Blower Center is dramatically expanding its initiative focused on identifying mortgage loan servicing insiders, or whistleblowers, who possess significant information related to past, current, or ongoing mortgage servicing fraud, with the hope of putting them on a pathway to gigantic rewards. The group says, “The US mortgage disaster is an ongoing train wreck, that started with loan origination, and has now moved onto loan servicing, and we believe the fraud, is beyond comprehension. The whistleblower rewards for insiders at a major bank, or major mortgage loan serving operation could be in the millions, and we want to help individuals, who possess significant information, or proof to get rewarded for what they know, and can prove.” For more information mortgage loan servicing insiders are encouraged to contact the Corporate Whistle Blower Center at 866-714-6466, or they can contact the group via its web site at http://CorporateWhistleBlowerCenter.Com

If you can prove massive fraud, or wrongdoing in a major US bank’s, or a major loan servicing operation, your information could be worth millions to you, and we can help you.

The Corporate Whistle Blower Center is ramping up it’s national mortgage loan servicing fraud initiative, in the hopes of attracting major bank, or loan servicing insiders, with the goal of assisting them obtain major whistleblower rewards. The group says, “You might work in a bank, or loan servicing department’s foreclosure department, the assignment department, in the appraisal department, or in compliance, and you are tired of watching the fraud, day in, and day out. The amounts of fraud you see each day, is in the millions of dollars, and in many cases the taxpayers are getting stuck with the bar tab. It’s wrong, you have tried to go to senior management, and they have either told you to ignore it, or they have threatened you. If you can prove massive fraud, or wrongdoing in a major US bank’s, or a major loan servicing operation, your information could be worth millions to you, and we can help you.” For more information mortgage loan servicing insiders, or bank insiders are encouraged to contact the Corporate Whistle Blower Center anytime at 866-714-6466, or they can contact the group via its web site at http://CorporateWhistleBlowerCenter.Com

The Corporate Whistle Blower Center is saying, “If an individual wants to become a whistleblower there are some pretty basic rules. Rule number one is your proof of wrong doing has to be substantial, and easy to understand? Your information also has to be significant, in the millions of dollars-which for a major loan servicing operation, or a big bank is nothing. Rule number two is you keep your information to yourself. As an example if you were to go to the news media with a story about a bank foreclosure department, or major big loan servicing operation doing it wrong, illegally, or in a fraudulent manner, the public disclosure might eliminate your chances for a reward. Rule number three is do not go to the government with your information, without a solid team in your corner. This is where we come in.” The group says, “If you are working for a major US bank, or loan servicing company, and there is major wrongdoing, that you can prove, we want to talk to you, and you can call us anytime at 866-714-6466.” http://CorporateWhistleBlowerCenter.Com.

 

Home Buyers Backing Out of More Deals

Home Buyers Backing Out of More Deals

Home Buyers Backing Out of More Deals-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Existing-home sales eased in June as contract cancellations spiked unexpectedly, although prices were up slightly, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Sales gains in the Midwest and South were offset by declines in the Northeast and West. Single-family home sales were stable while the condo sector weakened.

Total existing-home sales1, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million in June from 4.81 million in May, and remain 8.8 percent below the 5.23 million unit level in June 2010, which was the scheduled closing deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said this is an uneven recovery. “Home sales had been trending up without a tax stimulus, but a variety of issues are weighing on the market including an unusual spike in contract cancellations in the past month,” he said. “The underlying reason for elevated cancellations is unclear, but with problems including tight credit and low appraisals, 16 percent of NAR members report a sales contract was cancelled in June, up from 4 percent in May, which stands out in contrast with the pattern over the past year.”

Yun cited other factors in the sales performance. “Pending home sales were down in April but up in May, so we may be seeing some of that mix in closed sales for June. However, economic uncertainty and the federal budget debacle may be causing hesitation among some consumers or lenders.”

The national median existing-home price2 for all housing types was $184,300 in June, up 0.8 percent from June 2010. Distressed homes3 – foreclosures and short sales generally sold at deep discounts – accounted for 30 percent of sales in June, compared with 31 percent in May and 32 percent in June 2010.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.51 percent in June, down from 4.64 percent in May; the rate was 4.74 percent in June 2010.

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said home sales should be higher. “With record high housing affordability conditions thus far in 2011, we’d normally expect to see stronger home sales,” he said. “Even with job creation below expectations, excessively tight loan standards are keeping many buyers from completing deals. Although proposals being considered in Washington could effectively put more restrictions on lending, some banking executives have hinted that credit may return to more normal, safe standards in the not-too-distant future, but the tardiness of this process is holding back the recovery.”

Phipps added that lower mortgage loan limits, due to go into effect on October 1, already are having an impact. “Some lenders are placing lower loan limits on current contracts in anticipation they may not close before the end of September. As a result, some contracts may be getting cancelled because certain buyers are unwilling or unable to obtain a more costly jumbo mortgage,” he said.

Total housing inventory at the end of June rose 3.3 percent to 3.77 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.5-month supply4 at the current sales pace, up from a 9.1-month supply in May.

All-cash transactions accounted for 29 percent of sales in June; they were 30 percent in May and 24 percent in June 2010; investors account for the bulk of cash purchases.

First-time buyers purchased 31 percent of homes in June, down from 36 percent in May; they were 43 percent in June 2010 when the tax credit was in place. Investors accounted for 19 percent of purchase activity in June, unchanged from May; they were 13 percent in June 2010.

The balance of sales was to repeat buyers, which were a 50 percent market share in June, up from 45 percent in May, which appears to be a normal seasonal gain.

Single-family home sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.24 million in June, but are 7.4 percent below a 4.58 million pace in June 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $184,600 in June, up 0.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 7.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 530,000 in June from 570,000 in May, and are 18.0 percent below the 646,000-unit level a year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $182,300 in June, up 1.8 percent from June 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 5.2 percent to an annual pace of 730,000 in June and are 17.0 percent below June 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $261,000, up 3.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 1.0 percent in June to a pace of 1.04 million but are 14.0 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $147,700, down 5.3 percent from June 2010.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 0.5 percent to an annual level of 1.86 million in June but are 5.6 percent below June 2010. The median price in the South was $159,100, down 0.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.7 percent to an annual pace of 1.14 million in June and are 2.6 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $240,400, up 9.5 percent from June 2010.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Foreclosure Help for Penna. Homeowners Available Now

Foreclosure Help for Penna. Homeowners Available Now-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

In response to some misleading news reports and confusing messages on the Internet, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency today stressed the deadline for homeowners in the state to apply for assistance through the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program, or EHLP, is Sept. 30, not July 22 as some information sources have suggested.

Various states across the country are administering the EHLP as authorized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The confusion over the EHLP application deadline has arisen because the program is structured differently in some states and, as a result, application deadlines vary. Some recent news reports have cited the July 22 date without clearly specifying the states where that deadline is in effect, leading to some confusion.

Pennsylvania is one of six states that ran their own foreclosure prevention programs prior to this authorization for EHLP funding. In those six states, the deadline for applications is Sept. 30. However, interested homeowners are advised to apply as soon as possible since some time is needed for application processing. With this in mind, homeowners should not wait until the end of September to apply.

To date, PHFA has received 1,697 EHLP applications, and 854 of those applications meet the requirements of the program and have been approved. The value of the EHLP loans approved so far is $32 million. After Sept. 30, Pennsylvania loses access to any EHLP funding not committed to homeowners approved for the program.

“After all our efforts to alert the public to the assistance available through this program, it would be a shame if some homeowners did not apply because they were confused by public information suggesting the application deadline is today, July 22,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Brian A. Hudson Sr. “We’ll renew our push to make Pennsylvanians aware that we are accepting EHLP applications for another two months. The program deadline in Pennsylvania remains September 30, and we appreciate help from the news media to inform the state’s residents that time still remains for homeowners to apply.”

HUD announced April 1 that Pennsylvania would receive $105 million through the EHLP to help homeowners in the state who are delinquent on their mortgages and in danger of foreclosure. Since that announcement, PHFA has been running an extensive statewide public outreach campaign to make homeowners aware of this foreclosure prevention program.

About PHFA
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency works to provide affordable homeownership and rental apartment options for older adults, low- and moderate-income families, and people with special housing needs. Through its carefully managed mortgage programs and investments in multifamily housing developments, PHFA also promotes economic development across the state. Since its creation by the legislature in 1972, it has generated $10.3 billion of funding for more than 145,000 single-family home mortgage loans and 83,000 rental units, while saving the homes of more than 46,000 families from foreclosure. PHFA programs and operations are funded primarily by the sale of securities, not by public tax dollars. PHFA is governed by a 14-member board.

Loan Mod Denials Spark Lawsuits Against Lenders

Loan Mod Denials Spark Lawsuits Against Lenders-Image by Gerard Stolk vers l’Assomption via Flickr

The law firms of Berger & Montague, P.C. and Ann Miller, LLC have filed a Class Action complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of all Pennsylvania homeowners whose mortgage loans have been serviced by Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. and/or Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (“Defendants”), and who, since April 13, 2009, (1) have entered into a Trial Period Plan (“TPP”) contract with Defendants and made all payments as required by their TPP contract and complied with Defendants’ requests for documentation, and (2) have not received or have been denied a permanent Home Affordable Modification Agreement in accord with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”) rules.

If you believe that you have been improperly denied a permanent loan modification by Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. or Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC after April 13, 2009, please contact Plaintiffs’ counsel, Eric Lechtzin of Berger & Montague, P.C., at 888-891-2289 or 215-875-3000, or by e-mail at elechtzin@bm.net. A copy of the Complaint can be viewed on the firm’s website at www.bergermontague.com or may be requested from the Court. The docket number is 2:11-cv-04586-JP.

The Complaint alleges that Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. and Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC agreed to participate in HAMP. They are thus obligated to modify mortgage loans they service for homeowners who qualify under HAMP, a federal program designed to abate the foreclosure crisis by providing mortgage loan modifications to eligible homeowners. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants systematically slow or thwart homeowners’ requests to modify mortgages in order to collect higher fees and interest rates associated with stressed home loans.

Members of the proposed Class applied for HAMP loan modifications from Defendants, were prequalified for the program, and received TPP contracts requiring them to make three modified loan payments and, if they had not already done so, to submit certain financial documentation.. Despite fulfilling these obligations under the TPP contracts with Defendants, they did not receive permanent HAMP modifications of their loans, nor did they receive timely written notifications explaining the reasons for Defendants’ denials.

For more information about this case, please contact:
Todd S. Collins, Esq.
Eric Lechtzin, Esq.
Kimberly A. Walker
BERGER & MONTAGUE, P.C.
1622 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 1910
Telephone: 1-888-891-2289 or 215-875-3000

Berger & Montague, founded in 1970, is a pioneer in Class Action litigation. The firm’s 70 attorneys concentrate their practice on complex litigation, including consumer protection, securities fraud, whistleblower and false claims actions; antitrust; labor and employment rights; and environmental violations and mass torts. The firm has recovered billions of dollars for consumers and investors.

Ann Miller, LLC, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, specializes in complex civil litigation, class actions and consumer protection litigation.

http://www.bergermontague.com

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