Archive for 'Real Estate Investing'

Claiming Tax Deductions for Your Rental Property

Investing in Real Estate has been around probably since the first tepee was built and it shows no signs for the moment of letting up in it’s popularity. The cable channels have about a dozen different shows on buying junkers, fixing and flipping for a profit. Seems like everybody is making a fortune but we all know that Uncle Sam gets his cut too. But there are a few things that you can do to make his cut a little smaller. Read on…

Single-family homes and small apartments or office buildings are popular investment vehicles for small investors. Many people consider owning rental houses not much different than owning their own home. Like owning a home, mortgage payments that finance the purchase of a rental property can eat up a large chunk of the rental income. To encourage housing availability for renters, the Internal Revenue Service allows tax deductions on a number of rental property expenses.

Rental Property Deductions

Similar to the home mortgage deduction, interest paid during the year on the mortgages of your rental properties are tax-deductible. The property taxes are also deductible. Unlike the home mortgage deduction, all rental property expenses are itemized on Schedule E. If you own more than one property, the form provides space for the itemization of expenses for each property separately. You can also deduct other rental property expenses, including utilities paid, landscaping, and maintenance and repair costs.

Active Investor

You can fully deduct your mortgage interest and many other expenses for each property if you actively engaged in the management of your properties. To be an active investor, you do not need to make all repairs or physically show the properties to tenants. You can hire a management firm and still be considered an active investor if, for example, you review and approve a tenant’s application or you approve repairs that exceed a certain dollar amount.

Limits

If you have a significant net loss on your rental properties, you may encounter limits on what you can deduct. The IRS allows an active investor to fully deduct the total net loss on rental properties up to $25,000 if your modified adjusted gross income is no more than $100,000, you participate in no other passive activities, and you have no current or prior year disallowed losses or credits from passive activities.

Passive or Personal Use

If you were a passive investor, you can deduct the expenses up to the amount of income you received for each respective property. You will also need to complete Form 8582 to determine what portion of the loss, if any, you can offset against other passive income. If you used the house for personal use but rented it out for at least 15 days, as with a vacation home, you can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes, but many of the other expenses may not be deductible.

Record Keeping

As with the mortgage for your personal residence, the lender must send you Form 1098, a mortgage interest statement, by January 31 following the end of the tax year for each property you own. Keep these and other property expense records to use for completing Schedule E and, if necessary Form 8582.

 

Rental Property Deductions

The latest statistics from Corelogic shows that completed foreclosures continue dropping and are at their lowest numbers since 2007.  The numbers for mortgages in default over 90 days have also declined from a year ago.

CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, today released its June 2015 National Foreclosure Report which shows that the foreclosure inventory declined by 28.9 percent and completed foreclosures declined by 14.8 percent since June 2014. The number of foreclosures nationwide decreased year over year from 50,000 in June 2014 to 43,000 in June 2015, representing a decrease of 63.3 percent from the peak of 117,119 completed foreclosures in September 2010, according to CoreLogic data.

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here:  http://www.multivu.com/players/English/71280543-corelogic-june-2015-foreclosures/

Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 5.8 million completed foreclosures across the country, and since home ownership rates peaked in the second quarter of 2004, there have been approximately 7.8 million homes lost to foreclosure.

As of June 2015, the national foreclosure inventory included approximately 472,000, or 1.2 percent, of all homes with a mortgage compared with 664,000 homes, or 1.7 percent, in June 2014. The June 2015 foreclosure rate is the lowest since December 2007.

CoreLogic also reports that the number of mortgages in serious delinquency (defined as 90 days or more past due, including those loans in foreclosure or REO) declined by 23.3 percent from June 2014 to June 2015, with 1.3 million mortgages, or 3.5 percent, falling into this category. This is the lowest serious delinquency rate since January 2008. On a month-over-month basis, the number of seriously delinquent mortgages declined by 3.4 percent.

“The foreclosure rate for the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since 2007, supported by a continuing decline in loans made before 2009, gains in employment, and higher housing prices,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The decline has not been uniform geographically, as the foreclosure rate varies across metropolitan areas. In the Denver and San Francisco areas, the foreclosure rate has fallen to 0.3 percent, whereas in the Tampa market the rate is 3.5 percent and in Nassau and Suffolk counties it is an elevated 4.8 percent.”

“Serious delinquency is at the lowest level in seven and a half years reflecting the benefits of slow but steady improvements in the economy and rising home prices,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “We are also seeing the positive impact of more stringent underwriting criteria for loans originated since 2009 which has helped to lower the national seriously delinquent rate.”

Additional highlights as of June 2015:

  • On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures increased by 4.8 percent from the 41,000* reported in May 2015*. As a basis of comparison, before the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month nationwide between 2000 and 2006.
  • The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in June 2015 were: Florida (102,000), Michigan (46,000), Texas (33,000), California (29,000) and Ohio (27,000). These five states accounted for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the lowest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in June 2015: South Dakota (32), the District of Columbia (107), North Dakota (313), Wyoming (499) and West Virginia (566).
  • Four states and the District of Columbia had the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes: New Jersey (4.7 percent), New York (3.7 percent), Florida (2.7 percent), Hawaii (2.5 percent) and the District of Columbia (2.4 percent).
  • The five states with the lowest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were: Alaska (0.3 percent), Minnesota (0.4 percent), Montana (0.4 percent) Nebraska (0.4 percent) and North Dakota (0.4 percent).

*May 2015 data was revised. Revisions are standard, and to ensure accuracy CoreLogic incorporates newly released data to provide updated results.

Judicial Foreclosure States Ranking (Ranked by Completed Foreclosures)

Non-Judicial Foreclosure States Ranking (Ranked by Completed Foreclosures)

Foreclosure Data for the Largest Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) (Ranked by Completed Foreclosures)

Figure 1 – Number of Mortgaged Homes per Completed Foreclosure

Figure 2 – Foreclosure Inventory as of June 2015

Figure 3 – Foreclosure Inventory by State

For ongoing housing trends and data, visit the CoreLogic Insights Blog: http://www.corelogic.com/blog.

Methodology
The data in this report represents foreclosure activity reported through June 2015.

This report separates state data into judicial versus non-judicial foreclosure state categories. In judicial foreclosure states, lenders must provide evidence to the courts of delinquency in order to move a borrower into foreclosure. In non-judicial foreclosure states, lenders can issue notices of default directly to the borrower without court intervention. This is an important distinction since judicial states, as a rule, have longer foreclosure timelines, thus affecting foreclosure statistics.

A completed foreclosure occurs when a property is auctioned and results in the purchase of the home at auction by either a third party, such as an investor, or by the lender. If the home is purchased by the lender, it is moved into the lender’s real estate-owned (REO) inventory. In “foreclosure by advertisement” states, a redemption period begins after the auction and runs for a statutory period, e.g., six months. During that period, the borrower may regain the foreclosed home by paying all amounts due as calculated under the statute. For purposes of this Foreclosure Report, because so few homes are actually redeemed following an auction, it is assumed that the foreclosure process ends in “foreclosure by advertisement” states at the completion of the auction.

The foreclosure inventory represents the number and share of mortgaged homes that have been placed into the process of foreclosure by the mortgage servicer. Mortgage servicers start the foreclosure process when the mortgage reaches a specific level of serious delinquency as dictated by the investor for the mortgage loan. Once a foreclosure is “started,” and absent the borrower paying all amounts necessary to halt the foreclosure, the home remains in foreclosure until the completed foreclosure results in the sale to a third party at auction or the home enters the lender’s REO inventory. The data in this report accounts for only first liens against a property and does not include secondary liens. The foreclosure inventory is measured only against homes that have an outstanding mortgage. Generally, homes with no mortgage liens are not subject to foreclosure and are, therefore, excluded from the analysis. Approximately one-third of homes nationally are owned outright and do not have a mortgage. CoreLogic has approximately 85 percent coverage of U.S. foreclosure data.

Source: CoreLogic
The data provided is for use only by the primary recipient or the primary recipient’s publication or broadcast. This data may not be re-sold, republished or licensed to any other source, including publications and sources owned by the primary recipient’s parent company without prior written permission from CoreLogic. Any CoreLogic data used for publication or broadcast, in whole or in part, must be sourced as coming from CoreLogic, a data and analytics company. For use with broadcast or web content, the citation must directly accompany first reference of the data. If the data is illustrated with maps, charts, graphs or other visual elements, the CoreLogic logo must be included on screen or website. For questions, analysis or interpretation of the data, contact Lori Guyton at lguyton@cvic.com or Bill Campbell at bill@campbelllewis.com. Data provided may not be modified without the prior written permission of CoreLogic. Do not use the data in any unlawful manner. This data is compiled from public records, contributory databases and proprietary analytics, and its accuracy is dependent upon these sources.

About CoreLogic
CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX) is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider. The company’s combined data from public, contributory and proprietary sources includes over 4.5 billion records spanning more than 50 years, providing detailed coverage of property, mortgages and other encumbrances, consumer credit, tenancy, location, hazard risk and related performance information. The markets CoreLogic serves include real estate and mortgage finance, insurance, capital markets, and the public sector. CoreLogic delivers value to clients through unique data, analytics, workflow technology, advisory and managed services. Clients rely on CoreLogic to help identify and manage growth opportunities, improve performance and mitigate risk. Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., CoreLogic operates in North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information, please visit www.corelogic.com.

CORELOGIC and the CoreLogic logo are trademarks of CoreLogic, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

CONTACT: For real estate industry and trade media: Bill Campbell, bill@campbelllewis.com, 212-995-8057; For general news media: Lori Guyton, lguyton@cvic.com, 901-277-6066

RELATED LINKS http://www.corelogic.com

Home Sales for Ultra Wealthy Picking Up Steam

The housing market has it’s ups and downs for all of us, even the ultra rich. With the high end market being flat about a year and a half ago,  it’s now on the uptrend and has been for over a year.  The super rich are now buying up these mega mansions for investment purposes and for other reasons as well.

A growing number of ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals view homes as ‘opportunity gateways’, driving buying decisions that are based on potential opportunities from owning these luxury residential properties, according to the latest study by Wealth-X and the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand released today.

The UHNW Luxury Real Estate Report: Homes As Opportunity Gateways reveals two trends that are fueling the rise in the number of ultra wealthy individuals who are buying luxury homes:

(1)  International home-buying by UHNW individuals (defined as those with at least US$30 million in assets) from emerging nations seeking a safe investment diversification.
(2)  Home-buying as part of a program to gain citizenship or residency status in foreign nations.

The report provides insight into the UHNW residential real estate opportunities in Sydney and Vancouver for buyers seeking safe investment diversification; and Malta, the Bahamas and Sao Paulo, which may appeal to ultra wealthy buyers who are seeking citizenship or residency through property investment.

The UHNW Residential Real Estate index, tracked by Wealth-X, rose to 115.2 in Q2 2015, an 8.3% rise year-on-year, and the sixth consecutive quarter in which the index has risen. The continued rise in the index reflects the confidence of UHNW individuals to invest in luxury residential real estate.

The index takes into account the full range of luxury residential properties that are owned by the world’s wealthiest individuals. Wealth-X data shows there are 211,275 UHNW individuals globally, who collectively hold nearly US$3 trillion in real estate assets, equal to 10% of their net worth.

Below are other key findings from the report:

  • 12% of second homes purchased by UHNW individuals in emerging countries (those who reside in BRICS nations) are located outside their country of residence.
  • Recent market fluctuations in emerging nations are leading a new generation of UHNW investors to consider investing in luxury residential real estate in Western markets.
  • Chinese UHNW individuals make up the third largest share of foreign UHNW homeowners in the United States, behind only Canada and the United Kingdom.
  • Twenty nations in Europe and the Americas now offer citizenship or residency programs to individuals willing to invest in domestic residential real estate.
  • Many residential real estate markets with such programs – including Sao Paulo, Malta, and the Bahamas – offer good long-term investment opportunities.

Wealth-X President David Friedman commented: “Wealth-X is pleased to partner with the Sotheby’s International Realty brand for this third luxury real estate report for 2015. This new joint study explores the trends and home-buying motivations of a distinct group of ultra wealthy individuals in the emerging markets. As their wealth grows, so will their investment fueled by various motivations, be it to diversify their portfolio or to gain citizenship or residency in a foreign country.”

According to Philip White, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, this joint report was designed to provide an understanding of the trends driving buying decisions of ultra high net worth individuals around the world. “The research reveals trends that go beyond traditional motivations and help guide real estate investments that contribute to long-term wealth,” he said.  “It underscores the important role real estate plays in a larger strategy to build a valuable asset portfolio.”

Download the report here.

About Wealth-X
Wealth-X is the global authority on wealth intelligence, providing sales, marketing, strategy and compliance solutions to clients in the financial services, luxury, not-for-profit and education sectors. Its award-winning research and thought leadership are regularly cited by the world’s media such as CNBC, Financial Times, Thomson Reuters and BBC. Wealth-X has more than 250 staff in 10 locations, including Singapore, London and New York. (www.wealthx.com)

About Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC
The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has approximately 17,000 sales associates located in approximately 800 offices in 61 countries and territories worldwide. Founded in 1976 to provide independent brokerages with a powerful marketing and referral program for luxury listings, the Sotheby’s International Realty network was designed to connect the finest independent real estate companies to the most prestigious clientele in the world. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services.  In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house.  The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a full franchise system. Affiliations in the system are granted only to brokerages and individuals meeting strict qualifications. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC supports its affiliates with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated. Franchise affiliates also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744.

CONTACT: Wealth-X media contact: Fauzi Ahmad, +65 8653 6514, fahmad@wealthx.com; Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC media contact: Lindsey Scharf, +1 (973) 407-5596, lindsey.scharf@sothebysrealty.com

RELATED LINKS http://www.wealthx.com

Mortgage Lenders vs The Scarecrow: If I Only Had a Brain

Are you kidding me? The Banks are just now paying homeowners to get out of a house they can’t afford anymore? They should have been doing this years ago instead of dragging out the short sale process and then delivering the big “No” months later. And then letting the house go through the foreclosure process, which eats up more time and costs them even more money in the process. Here’s one for you: “The banks have realized, ‘We are losing more on the foreclosures than the shorts,'” Augustyniak said. “And they are even willing to compensate the sellers, to give the sellers money to vacate the property.” Wow! What a revelation! Any half-assed Real Estate investor straight out of a short sale seminar in 2006 could have told them that. Guess it takes a while to sink in.

Chase Puts Their Money Where Their Mouth is With Large Short Sale Cash Incentive

McGeough Lamacchia Realty and Dorner Law negotiate a $35,000 payment to their short sale client at closing.

Quote startIt’s important for people who cannot pay their mortgage to be proactive with an alternative such as a short sale.Quote end

Chase Bank sent a homeowner (name withheld) a solicitation letter offering up to $35,000 to do a short sale. Back in August the homeowner called McGeough Lamacchia Realty right away and the home was listed for sale within two weeks.

Once an offer was obtained the staff at McGeough Lamacchia Realty and Dorner Law submitted a short sale package to Chase along with their solicitation letter to remind them that this $35,000 was offered. After five weeks of negotiating Chase not only offered a short sale approval and waived the entire deficiency balance but they agreed to pay this homeowner the entire $35,000.

Over the past year more major banks have realized that paying distressed homeowners a substantial sum is a great way to incentivize them to move out of the home they can no longer afford. Chase has been sending out these solicitation letters of up to $35,000 for about a year. Citi Mortgage has been paying up to $12,000 for about 6 months and Bank of America has most recently agreed to pay up to $20,000.

McGeough Lamacchia Realty and Dorner Law have negotiated large sums for its clients before, but this $35,000 is a new record that they are proud of. These programs are only offered on the loans where these banks actually own the mortgage. Most mortgages are being serviced by the large banks on behalf of one of the three GSE’s: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA (Federal Housing Administration). FHA does offer a $1,500 incentive to do a short sale under their Pre-Foreclosure Sale program. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not currently offer any money unless the short sale is through the Treasury’s HAFA program.

Under the Treasury’s HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative) program which came out in April 2010, lenders are paying $3,000 to distressed homeowners who complete a short sale through the HAFA program.

“It is clear that the major banks have woken up and realized that a short sale is the best way to decrease losses and assist distressed homeowners in a graceful and dignified exit from their home. It’s unfortunate that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still haven’t seen the light,” says Anthony Lamacchia.

Short sales are increasing across the country for several reasons:

  •     They are becoming better known to distressed homeowners.
  •     Banks have realized that they save tremendous money through a short sale vs. a foreclosure
  •     Banks have finally hired more staff and are working hard to better their short sale processes
  •     All the major banks are now sending out letters offering short sales to homeowners who cannot qualify for a loan modification. Bank of America recently came out with a Home Transition Guide.
  •     Banks recognize that the sooner they get out of a non-performing loan the more money they save.

“I did my first short sale 20 years ago. They are a great alternative to foreclosure and it is nice to see more distressed homeowners are finally opting for them, especially now that these great incentives are being offered,” says Attorney Hillery Dorner.

Nationally short sales have increased 12% in 2011 and many believe they will increase by much more in 2012.

“One thing distressed homeowners need to know now is that banks will be foreclosing much faster in 2012 than they did in 2011 due to these robo-signing issues for the most part being worked out. Therefore it is important for people who cannot pay their mortgage to be proactive with an alternative such as a short sale,” says John McGeough.

For more on this story, visit the New England Short Sale Blog

About McGeough Lamacchia:

McGeough Lamacchia is the #1 Listing Agency in Massachusetts and named one of the Top 100 Real Estate Teams in the country by RealTrends and the Wall Street Journal. They are a full service real estate agency specializing in short sales in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

So there you have it. All you seminar graduates, go out there and make some money.

Foreclosed Self Storage Facility Goes for $10.5 Million

Foreclosed Self Storage Facility Goes for $10.5 Million

Bancap Self Storage Group, Inc., the “#1 Self Storage Broker in California,” recently announced that the firm has successfully brokered the sale of the Casino Self Storage property located in the city of  Moorpark in Ventura County, California.  Dean Keller, the firm’s president, was the exclusive listing agent and sole broker in the transaction.  The sale was facilitated by special servicing company LNR Partners, LLC on behalf of a CMBS fund that had foreclosed on the property earlier this year.  The buyer was Public Storage, a publicly traded REIT, which will re-brand the property with its name.

“This is a classic example of a very desirable first class property that was just over-leveraged in a very difficult economic climate,” Keller said “It is the nicest storage facility in the city and it should perform very well in the long run.”

The property sold for $10.5 million on an “all cash” basis. This was much less that the property’s outstanding debt at the time of foreclosure.  Although physical occupancy was over 85%, economic occupancy was approximately 66%, offering further upside potential to the buyer.  The facility’s gross potential income at the time of closing was approximately $1,078,000 per year.

Casino Self Storage contains nearly 85,430 net square feet of self storage space divided into 822 units, including 91 climate controlled units.  The attractive two-story project was built in 2005 and is located on Los Angeles Avenue (also known as State Highway 118) on a highly visible corner in retail and commercial oriented location.  The buildings are constructed of concrete block and stucco with metal partitions, roofs and doors.

“There have only been a handful of foreclosed storage properties listed for sale in Southern California in the past few years and we have been the exclusive listing broker for most of them,” Keller said.  “There are plenty of buyers looking to “steal” lender owned properties, but we have been able to obtain very good and fair prices for the sellers – usually millions of dollars more than the “direct offers” received from potential buyers and other brokers before our listing and marketing of the property.  Self storage is such a unique property type and it takes a specialist with proven expertise and experience to maximize value for sellers in this unique property niche.”

Bancap Self Storage Group is the “#1 Self Storage Broker in California” with over $900 million in completed self storage sales, including many lender-owned “REO” properties, numerous portfolio sales, and a record setting single property sale at over $31 million.  For more information contact Bancap Self Storage Group at (949) 888-5355 or visit the company web site at www.bancapselfstorage.com

Contact: Dean Keller

Phone (949) 888-5355

Fax (949) 203-6105

Email: DKeller@BancapSelfStorage.com

General Growth Properties, Inc. (NYSE: GGP) (“GGP”) today announced the refinancing of four shopping malls representing $966 million of new mortgages. These four new fixed-rate mortgages have a weighted average term of 9.1 years and a weighted average interest rate of 4.63%, as compared to the 5.66% rate on the prior maturing loans. After adjusting for GGP’s ownership interest, the Company’s pro-rata share of the new four non-recourse mortgages totals $483 million.

The four newly refinanced malls have the following terms:

Natick Mall (Natick, MA—Boston): $450 million at 4.60% due 2019
Galleria at Tyler (Riverside, CA—Los Angeles): $200 million at 5.05% due 2023
First Colony Mall (Sugar Land, TX—Houston): $185 million at 4.50% due 2019
Northbrook Court (Northbrook, IL—Chicago): $131 million at 4.25% due 2021

Year-to-date, GGP has completed nearly $3.9 billion ($3.1 billion at GGP’s pro-rata share) of new property level non-recourse financings with a weighted average term of 9.9 years and an interest rate of 5.1%. These mortgages successfully conclude GGP’s 2011 financing plan and replace $3.2 billion ($2.5 billion at GGP’s pro-rata share) that had a weighted average term of 2.4 years and an interest rate of 5.81%.

“At the start of 2011, one of GGP’s stated goals was to strengthen the Company’s balance sheet and liquidity while also reducing interest rates and extending the average debt maturity profile,” said Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive officer of General Growth Properties. “We have accomplished our 2011 goals and are now focused on 2012 financing opportunities.”

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the results suggested by these forward-looking statements, for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, our ability to refinance, extend, restructure or repay our remaining debt (including that of our Unconsolidated Real Estate Affiliates) with maturities in the short to intermediate term, our ability to raise capital through equity issuances, asset sales or the incurrence of new debt, retail and credit market conditions, impairments, our liquidity demands and retail and economic conditions. Readers are referred to the documents filed by General Growth Properties, Inc. with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which further identify the important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this release. The Company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

ABOUT GGP

General Growth Properties has ownership and management interest in 166 regional and super regional shopping malls in 43 states. The Company portfolio totals 169 million square feet of space.  A publicly-traded real estate investment trust (REIT), GGP is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GGP.

CONTACT: David Keating, vice president of corporate communications, +1-312-960-6325, david.keating@ggp.com

Foreclosure Abuses by Banks Spurs Demonstrations

Foreclosure Abuses by Banks Spurs Demonstrations

Foreclosure Abuses by Banks Spurs Demonstrations-Image by Getty Images via @daylife

While thousands of Americans are rallying as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests, community development and consumer advocates in Raleigh are calling upon state and federal officials to protect consumers against big banks overstepping their legal authority.

The rally sponsors include Community Reinvestment Association of N.C., N.C. Association of Community Development Corporations, N.C. Community Development Initiative, and N.C. United.

While not a part of the national movement, advocates will hold a rally and march on the grounds of the state capital at noon today to call attention to the same kinds of illegal activities that are driving Occupy Wall Street and putting Americans in danger – namely, the widespread legal violations used by some banks to pursue foreclosures.

Speakers at the rally will be calling on key public officials to serve as “cops on the beat” to enforce the laws that govern the mortgage industry and to be vigilant in protecting consumers from manipulative practices that have widespread impact on local property values and home sales.

The rally coincides with a N.C. Supreme Court hearing of Dobson vs. Wells Fargo, a case in which the bank is pursuing a foreclosure without proper documentation to show its ownership of the loan. If the court finds in favor of Wells Fargo, it will overturn well-established N.C. property rights laws, place extreme burdens and inequities on low- and middle-income families when defending against foreclosures, and cause devastating decreases in property values for thousands of North Carolinians.

“Our system of protecting private property is what makes it safe to invest in this country,” said Peter Skillern, executive director of Community Reinvestment Association of N.C. “The big banks cannot be allowed to turn that system on its head by falsifying documentation in order to snatch property back from homeowners.”

Additional events will take place in cities throughout North Carolina during the month of October in order to spread awareness of the consequences of fraudulent foreclosure practices and the remedies that are needed.

CONTACT: Peter Skillern; office: +1-919-667-1557×22; cell: +1-919-667-4201; Michael De Los Santos; office: +1-919-667-1557×23; cell: +1-919-672-4755; or Susan Perry-Cole; cell: +1-919-608-1158

Web Site: http://www.cra-nc.org

Zocalo Community Development has agreed to sell Solera, its high-rise downtown Denver apartment project to The Connell Company of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey for $37 million. The building features 120 units and 5,200-square feet of commercial space. The sale, which was finalized October 13, 2011, represents a record price per unit and record price per square foot for the state of Colorado.

Downtown Denver’s first LEED Gold certified apartment building received its Certificate of Occupancy in October 2010. The 11-story luxury apartment project offers one-to two-bedroom units ranging from $1,185 to $3,090 per month.

“We’ve experienced high demand for our units since we opened our doors thanks to the upscale, environmentally-friendly lifestyle we offer,” said Zocalo Principal David Zucker. “This sale shows that Solera has built a very attractive and valuable niche in the marketplace.”

With loft-style ceilings, large windows, open kitchen layouts, and incredible mountain and city views, Solera’s units fetch some of the highest rents in downtown Denver.  The property is also one of only a few dozen LEED Gold certified apartment projects in the country – a big selling point for The Connell Company, a privately-held firm with interests in real estate, mining, equipment leasing  and rice distribution.

Built to rigorous U.S. Green Building Council standards, Solera boasts a number of earth-friendly finishes and amenities, including high-performance windows, Energy Star-rated appliances, high-efficiency lighting and occupant sensors, dual flush toilets and programmable thermostats. Each unit also comes with a Personal Energy Monitor, a real time power usage display that tracks day-to-day and monthly energy usage, allowing residents to make more informed decisions about their energy choices.

By living in a sustainable apartment, Solera residents save more than 50 percent on their energy bills compared to similar buildings, which may equate to $700 worth of savings each year for the average resident. Solera’s walkable location adds to the savings, allowing residents to spend less on gas.  According to the popular website Walkscore.com, Solera’s proximity to shops, restaurants and entertainment make it a virtual “Walker’s Paradise,” with a score of 92 out of 100. Solera also offers a free bike parking space for every apartment as well a complete bike maintenance facility, the only one its kind in any downtown apartment building.

Solera’s green features are a big lure for residents, with two-thirds of the building’s residents citing sustainable attributes as the reason for leasing at the site.

About Zocalo Community Development

Zocalo Community Development is an award-winning, Denver-based development and construction services company focused on creating sustainable communities that deliver for investors and neighborhoods alike.  Locally produced and contextually sensitive are descriptors of Zocalo’s commitment to community development. Zocalo seeks to reduce the impact residential and mixed-use buildings have on the earth and the environment by substantially reducing greenhouse gases generated both by the building itself and by the means and patterns of resident commuting.

For more information, visit www.zocalodevelopment.com

http://www.zocalodevelopment.com

Distressed Property Owners Get Some Help With HUD Grants

Distressed Property Owners Get Some Help With HUD Grants-Image via Wikipedia

Esperanza has received a $271,443 grant from the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to deliver foreclosure prevention counseling and assist with application to Federal and other mortgage modification programs. Esperanza is one of 23 intermediaries awarded, and will work to deliver housing counseling through its own national network of service providers.

Nationwide, the need for assistance to obtain a mortgage modification or to avoid mortgage scams continues to rise. Hispanic individuals and families are especially at risk of a mortgage default. According to a report by the Center for Responsible Lending, Hispanic borrowers are 71% more likely to have lost their home to foreclosure than non-Hispanic white borrowers. It is estimated that 731,660 Hispanic homeowners are at imminent risk of foreclosure (“Foreclosures by Race and Ethnicity” 2010. Center for Responsible Lending). Esperanza is one of only two Hispanic HUD intermediaries in the United States, and its national network of bilingual counselors ensures that these individuals receive the full services they need without linguistic barriers.

Esperanza’s network of providers will use grant funds to support bilingual housing counselors in key markets, to conduct outreach and counseling efforts designed to identify and assist victims of mortgage modification scams, many of whom are often ashamed to seek assistance, as well as prevent new cases from occurring through vital information dissemination, and to report those cases to the applicable authorities. Between October of 2011 and 2012, Esperanza and five of its affiliates in Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania will serve over 1200 individuals and families.

Esperanza has engaged in high quality housing counseling in Philadelphia since 1989. The Esperanza branch office in Philadelphia assists well over 600 persons each year, nearly 50% of which are foreclosure-related cases with an 80% success rate at resolving foreclosure. Esperanza has served as a HUD-approved intermediary since 2009 and administered a network of multiple housing counseling agencies since 2008. Esperanza’s local housing counseling efforts and its network have served over 11,292 families since inception.

Esperanza is the largest Hispanic faith-based community development corporation in the United States. Founded in 1987, its purpose is to strengthen the Hispanic community nationwide by raising awareness and identifying resources through a network of more than 12,000 participating Hispanic faith groups and churches in 42 states representing 27 countries of origin. Esperanza’s capacity to serve as a national housing counseling intermediary includes nearly two decades of delivering housing counseling in Philadelphia and experiences working with faith and community based organizations nationally since 2002 to provide training, technical assistance and programmatic and capacity-building sub-awards. For more information about Esperanza’s work, please call 215-324-0746 or visit www.esperanza.us.

http://www.esperanza.us

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