Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Foreclosure Toolbox

Foreclosure Quiz - Test your knowledge of Repos

Overcoming Fear of Foreclosure Critical for Many People to Keep Their Homes

Foreclosure numbers continue to rise and many homeowners are at an increased risk of losing their home. While foreclosure can be prevented, many homeowners remain confused or afraid to confront their mortgage problems and take action to help save their home. “Fear often prevents many consumers from seeking help,” said Michelle Jones, senior vice president of counseling for Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta, Inc. “Overcoming these fears can mean the difference between staying in your home and losing it.”

CCCS counselors address some of the common fears homeowners have about seeking help:

Fear: Homeowners are afraid to let the mortgage company know they are having a problem because they think it will speed up the foreclosure process.

Contacting your lender is an important first step if you want to save your home from foreclosure. It provides you with an opportunity to explain why you have fallen behind on your payments and what steps you are taking to get back on track. Lenders have a financial interest in keeping you in your home and may be willing to alter the terms of your loan or devise a repayment plan.

Fear: Homeowners believe that if their mortgage company has already turned them down for a loan modification, there is no point in contacting a counseling agency.

Many homeowners are turned down for a loan modification because the information they provide to their lender indicates that their expenses exceed their income or that they have not provided accurate documentation and information about their loan. In other cases, the lender may have made a processing error or the investor who owns the loan will not modify loans in accordance with the Making Home Affordable program.

A housing counselor may be able to suggest alternatives that better suit your current financial situation or help you make adjustments that make you a better candidate for a loan modification with your lender.

Fear: Homeowners fear being judged by others for seeking help.

These are challenging financial times. While it may feel like you are the only one struggling, the reality is that many of your friends and neighbors are also finding it difficult to stay afloat. By seeking help, you will not only increase your chances of avoiding foreclosure, you may also serve as an inspiration to others.

Fear: Homeowners think it is better to use all of their financial resources before seeking help.

Many homeowners try to ride out the financial storm, using their savings and depleting their retirement accounts before seeking help. By the time they do seek help, they are in an even more desperate financial situation and they have spent the resources that may have given them more options in dealing with their mortgage crisis.

Fear: Homeowners facing foreclosure fear that their situation is hopeless.

For homeowners facing foreclosure, the feelings of hopelessness and despair can be overwhelming. While for some, seeking help may mean saving their home, it is inevitable that some homeowners will end up in foreclosure. A certified housing counselor can help homeowners work through the foreclosure and build a new path for long term financial success.

Fear: Companies claiming they can save your home charge large, up-front fees.

You can receive counseling from a reputable, nonprofit housing counseling agency at no charge. While there are unscrupulous businesses looking to take advantage of homeowners, there are also many HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that offer help for struggling consumers.

For more information, visit

What Caused the Foreclosure Crisis?

It seems that America’s foreclosure crisis has everyone pointing fingers. A quick scan of weekly news headlines reveals some of the most common culprits that are taking the blame for the rising tide of foreclosures nationwide: subprime loans, adjustable rate mortgages, securitization of mortgages, and ultrarelaxed underwriting standards. While all of these most certainly played a role in creating the foreclosure monster, new evidence from the Wall Street Journal suggests that one commonly overlooked factor is the cause of most foreclosures today - negative equity. In fact, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that 51% of foreclosed homes had prime loans, not subprime. This means that proposed and existing government policies, which focus mainly on loan modifications and other assistance initiatives to remedy high foreclosure rates in the housing market are misdirected...

Where Are All the Bank Repos?

Certain things in life are simply meant to be mysteries. There are ages-old philosophical
questions that have kept philosophers busy for millennia: What is the sound of one hand
clapping? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it still make a sound? Now
we can add another question to the list of ongoing mysteries: With foreclosure activity breaking records nearly every month, where are all the Repos? It’s a fair question...

New Mexico 3rd Quarter Housing Stats

RANM's Housing Trends (provided by those Member Boards and Multiple Listing Services sending information to U.S. House Stats) indicate an 11.6% increase in number of units sold statewide from Second Quarter 2009 to Third Quarter 2009. The biggest increase in activity was reported in Rio Arriba, San Miguel and Luna Counties. The 3rd Quarter New Mexico median price was $180,000.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Housing News Predicted

Experts believe that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 that housing will help the U.S. economy...

Economists also say the housing market is stabilizing with stimulus efforts such as the first-time home buyer tax credit and lowered borrowing costs...

Financial advisors say owning a home is still a wise financial decision...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Government unveils new mortgage help


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Government is unveiling a new program to provide support to state and local housing agencies to provide help to thousands of home buyers and renters.

The administration said the new program would help to support low mortgage rates and expand resources for low and middle income borrowers who want to buy or rent a home.

The program will feature two parts - a new bond purchase program to support new lending by housing finance agencies and a temporary credit and liquidity program to improve access by housing agencies to credit sources for their existing bonds.

The new program will operate under a law that Congress passed in 2008 to bolster the housing industry, which has been battered by the worst slump in decades, a downturn that saw home sales and home prices plunge and mortgage defaults soar to record levels.

The government said the new effort was designed to provide hundreds of thousands of affordable mortgages for working families and enable the development and rehabilitation of tens of thousands of affordable rental properties.

Treasury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency said in a joint news release that the new program would provide temporary support to local housing financing agencies and encourage them to return to relying on market sources for their capital as quickly as possible.

The local and state housing finance agencies, which provide loans to people with low or moderate incomes, have had a hard time raising money to fund loans due to the housing crisis and credit crunch.

"This initiative is critical to helping working families maintain access to affordable rental housing and homeownership in tough economic times," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said. "Through this initiative, the administration aims to help (the housing finance agencies) jump-start new lending to borrowers who might not otherwise be served and to better support the financing costs of their current programs - key components in stabilizing the housing market overall."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Home Sales to Rise 11 Percent

Sales of existing homes will rise 11 percent in 2010, and sales of new homes will climb 21 percent over this year, Mortgage Bankers Association Chief Economist Jay Brinkmann predicted in a speech Tuesday at the organization’s annual meeting.

Long-Term Mortgages Near Record Low

Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages moved closer to the all-time low of 4.82 percent reached in May, falling to 4.87 percent this week from 4.94 percent a week ago, according to Freddie Mac.

Albuquerque Areas September 2009 Home Sales Report

Monthly Highlights
•Single-family home sales in the Greater Albuquerque market areas are up 10.17 percent from the previous month and 9.44 percent from the previous year.
• Pending Sales for single-family homes in the Greater Albuquerque market areas are up 30.74 percent from September 2008.
• Single-family homes selling in the City of Albuquerque experienced the lowest days on market (67) since September 2008.

Rules Released on Military Home Owners Relief

Military personnel who bought their primary home before July 1, 2006, and were ordered at least 50 miles away on permanent reassignment between Feb. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2012, and sell at a loss are eligible for assistance under rules just released by the federal government. The assistance was authorized under the economic stimulus act passed earlier this year. For more info contact Megan Booth,, 202/383-1222.

Tips for Buying Property Abroad

Anyone who has enjoyed a visit to a local winery, sampled the wares with cheese on a picturesque day and taken home a bottle only to later wonder, "how could I have thought this was good?" will appreciate that quick decisions based on ambience do not always make for wise decisions. So too with buying property in another country. While few would purchase a home abroad as casually as a bottle of wine, a quaint Tuscan villa or cottage on the water can be quite appealing. That said, impulse purchases can be a good deal, but a few basic tips can help to ensure it's a great deal. Help your clients make wise decisions on purchasing property abroad with these12 basics tips for buying abroad.

Optimism in the MENA Region

Abu Dhabi is projected to be the strongest performing market in the MENA region (Middle East/North Africa) real estate market over the next two years, according to a survey of 200 investors for Jones Lang LaSalle’s Second Investor Sentiment Survey. Overall, MENA property investors are much more confident than they were six months ago, resulting in more buyers than sellers. In addition to Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are expected to recover from the downturn first but there is a lot of support from investors for Dubai, generally regarded as the real estate "regional leader." Readsurvey highlights, or download detailed overview of Abu Dhabi market.

Rate of Homeownership in U.S. Among Asians Decline

According to 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census, there are nearly 13 million Asians living in the U.S., largely concentrated in west and east coast states, along with Illinois. This ethnic group historically tends to earn more than other minority groups and have less debt. Therefore it was surprising to learn in a recent census report that Asians suffered the sharpest drop in homeownership last year, eclipsing declines by whites, blacks and Hispanics. One explanation may be that one in three Asians lives in California which has seen foreclosure rates skyrocket and home values plummet. According to ACS, the U.S. homeownership rate fell to 66.6% in 2008, the lowest in six years, while the rate of homeownership for Asians fell to 59.4%. This drop in homeownership is a reversal after the housing boom years when minorities in the U.S. took advantage of easy access to financing to purchase homes. The Population Reference Bureau warns the news could worsen once 2009 data is available. Access NAR's state-by-state reports on international activity or view census information by community and ethnicity.


FDI to Decline in 2009 with Slow Recovery in 2010
Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have been severely affected by the economic crisis. Inflows are expected to fall from $1.7 trillion in 2008 to below $1.2 trillion in 2009, with a slow recovery in 2010 (up to $1.4 trillion) and gaining momentum in 2011 (approaching $1.8 trillion), according to a new report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The U.S., along with China, India, Brazil and Russia (the so-called BRIC countries) are likely to lead future FDI recovery, FDI to the U.S. actually increased in 2008 to $316 billion, up from $271 billion in 2007, due to an increase in loans from parent companies to their U.S. subsidiaries. UNCTAD doesn't expect a similar surge in intracompany loans in 2009, resulting in a projected decline in FDI into the U.S. Download the full 313-page report, or read the 55-page overview.