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Homeowners Are Thinking Twice Before Walking Away From Their Underwater …

foreclosure

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Foreclosure and bank owned sales fell 18% in the first quarter to 190,121, according to RealtyTrac’s latest report.  This is down 22% from Q1 2012.

Foreclosure and short sales accounted for 21% of all residential sales in Q1, down form 25% in Q1 2012, and a peak of 45% in Q1 2009. 

Meanwhile, non-foreclosure short sales were down 10% from Q4 2012, and down 35% from Q1 2012. 

Including non-foreclosure short sales, the share of distressed sales came to 36%.

The decline in foreclosure related sales is in large part because of  a decline in foreclosure activity. But the decline in non-foreclosure short sales was “surprising” according to RaltyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist, given that 11 million homeowners are in negative equity. 

“Rising home prices in many markets are stunting the continued growth of short sales by reducing incentive for both underwater homeowners and lenders.

“Underwater homeowners may be willing to stick it out a few more months or even years in the hope that they will be able to walk away with money at the closing table and without a hit to their credit rating, and for lenders a failed short sale may no longer translate into bigger losses down the road given that average prices of bank-owned homes are rising — at a faster pace than non-distressed home prices in many markets.”

Here are some details from the report:

  • The average price of a foreclosure related sale declined 1% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 to $167,095.
  • At 35% Georgia had the biggest percentage of foreclosure related sales. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey foreclosure-related sales account for less than 10% of sales.  
  • The average price of a foreclosed home was 30% below the average price of a non-foreclosure property.

Here’s a look at foreclosure sales against average foreclosure sale price:

foreclosure sale and price chart

RealtyTrac

SEE ALSO: 
The 15 Worst Housing Markets For The Next Five Years

Article source: http://www.businessinsider.com/foreclosure-sales-fall-22-in-q1-2013-5

Homeowners Are Thinking Twice Before Walking Away From Their Underwater …

foreclosure

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Foreclosure and bank owned sales fell 18% in the first quarter to 190,121, according to RealtyTrac’s latest report.  This is down 22% from Q1 2012.

Foreclosure and short sales accounted for 21% of all residential sales in Q1, down form 25% in Q1 2012, and a peak of 45% in Q1 2009. 

Meanwhile, non-foreclosure short sales were down 10% from Q4 2012, and down 35% from Q1 2012. 

Including non-foreclosure short sales, the share of distressed sales came to 36%.

The decline in foreclosure related sales is in large part because of  a decline in foreclosure activity. But the decline in non-foreclosure short sales was “surprising” according to RaltyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist, given that 11 million homeowners are in negative equity. 

“Rising home prices in many markets are stunting the continued growth of short sales by reducing incentive for both underwater homeowners and lenders.

“Underwater homeowners may be willing to stick it out a few more months or even years in the hope that they will be able to walk away with money at the closing table and without a hit to their credit rating, and for lenders a failed short sale may no longer translate into bigger losses down the road given that average prices of bank-owned homes are rising — at a faster pace than non-distressed home prices in many markets.”

Here are some details from the report:

  • The average price of a foreclosure related sale declined 1% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 to $167,095.
  • At 35% Georgia had the biggest percentage of foreclosure related sales. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey foreclosure-related sales account for less than 10% of sales.  
  • The average price of a foreclosed home was 30% below the average price of a non-foreclosure property.

Here’s a look at foreclosure sales against average foreclosure sale price:

foreclosure sale and price chart

RealtyTrac

SEE ALSO: 
The 15 Worst Housing Markets For The Next Five Years

Article source: http://www.businessinsider.com/foreclosure-sales-fall-22-in-q1-2013-5

April foreclosure report looks encouraging, analysts say

The sum of completed annual foreclosures hit a five-year low in April, with the national foreclosure rate showing a 24 percent dip in the past year, according to a report by CoreLogic, a financial data and analytics service.

Though the current national rate of foreclosure rests at 2.8 percent, the study shows that 33 states have a foreclosure rate below the national average.

The five states with the highest number of foreclosures in the past 12 months are Florida (102,000 foreclosures), California (79,000 foreclosures), Michigan (68,000 foreclosures), Texas (53,000 foreclosures) and Georgia (47,000 foreclosures).

As MarketWatch points out, the states with the highest foreclosure rates are also those where lenders must first go through the court system to transition a borrower into foreclosure.

The lowest number of foreclosures were in West Virginia (527), Hawaii (466), North Dakota (461), Washington, D.C., (100) and South Dakota (81).

The state of Utah had a reported 4,105 foreclosures between April 2012 and April 2013, placing it below the national average

“The shadow of foreclosure and distress continues to fade,” CoreLogic’s chief economist, Dr. Mark Fleming, was quoted as saying in the report.

Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, also expressed optimism, saying that fewer distressed properties and improved home prices and home purchases “are significant signals that the ongoing recovery in the housing and mortgage markets continues to gather steam.”

Since the beginning of the Great Recession, approximately 4.4 million foreclosures have been completed.

JJ Feinauer is a graduate of Southern Virginia University and an intern for the Moneywise page on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @johnorjj.

Article source: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865580942/April-foreclosure-report-looks-encouraging-analysts-say.html

April foreclosure report looks encouraging, analysts say

The sum of completed annual foreclosures hit a five-year low in April, with the national foreclosure rate showing a 24 percent dip in the past year, according to a report by CoreLogic, a financial data and analytics service.

Though the current national rate of foreclosure rests at 2.8 percent, the study shows that 33 states have a foreclosure rate below the national average.

The five states with the highest number of foreclosures in the past 12 months are Florida (102,000 foreclosures), California (79,000 foreclosures), Michigan (68,000 foreclosures), Texas (53,000 foreclosures) and Georgia (47,000 foreclosures).

As MarketWatch points out, the states with the highest foreclosure rates are also those where lenders must first go through the court system to transition a borrower into foreclosure.

The lowest number of foreclosures were in West Virginia (527), Hawaii (466), North Dakota (461), Washington, D.C., (100) and South Dakota (81).

The state of Utah had a reported 4,105 foreclosures between April 2012 and April 2013, placing it below the national average

“The shadow of foreclosure and distress continues to fade,” CoreLogic’s chief economist, Dr. Mark Fleming, was quoted as saying in the report.

Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic, also expressed optimism, saying that fewer distressed properties and improved home prices and home purchases “are significant signals that the ongoing recovery in the housing and mortgage markets continues to gather steam.”

Since the beginning of the Great Recession, approximately 4.4 million foreclosures have been completed.

JJ Feinauer is a graduate of Southern Virginia University and an intern for the Moneywise page on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @johnorjj.

Article source: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865580942/April-foreclosure-report-looks-encouraging-analysts-say.html

Prince George’s housing fair features money management, foreclosure prevention

Post Contributor Badge

This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/prince-georges-housing-fair-features-money-management-foreclosure-prevention/2013/05/31/d56602d8-ca21-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_story.html

Prince George’s housing fair features money management, foreclosure prevention

Post Contributor Badge

This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/prince-georges-housing-fair-features-money-management-foreclosure-prevention/2013/05/31/d56602d8-ca21-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_story.html

Obama Administration To Extend HAMP By Two More Years

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Thursday said it was extending the life of its signature foreclosure-prevention program by two years to help more struggling borrowers keep their homes.
The Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, was to expire at the end of this year.
When it was unveiled in 2009, the administration estimated it would help 3 million to 4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure by reworking loan terms. So far, however, only about 1.1 million homeowners have benefited from a permanent mortgage modification under the program.
“The housing market is gaining steam, but many homeowners are still struggling,” said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. “Extending the program for two years will benefit many additional families while maintaining clear standards and accountability for an important part of the mortgage industry.”
The program, which draws from the Treasury Department’s financial bailout fund, pays lenders and servicers to rewrite loan terms for borrowers who can’t make their current mortgage payments.
The administration has refined the program since its inception to broaden its reach, including expanding eligibility and increasing payments to mortgage companies that lower borrowers’ monthly payments.
Still, of the $29.9 billion in bailout funds allocated for HAMP and other housing programs, the Treasury had spent only about $5.2 billion through March.
Officials declined to estimate how many more borrowers would benefit from HAMP’s extension. In addition to borrowers who have received loan modifications, the Treasury said the program had provided an example for the mortgage industry on how to best adjust mortgages for those needing aid.
But the program has been faulted by both Democrats and Republicans and by federal watchdogs for the high number of recipients who default on mortgages after getting the government aid.
“This decision solidifies the Obama administration’s place atop the list of the nation’s biggest subprime lenders,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling, the Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
“HAMP is a costly and abject failure that takes money from hardworking taxpayers, bails out banks that made bad loans, and forces Americans who struggle to pay their own mortgages to also pay their neighbor’s,” Hensarling, of Texas, said.
Last year, the Obama administration offered incentives to encourage government-run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use the principal-write-down component of HAMP. However, the companies’ regulator has blocked them from doing so, saying the potential benefits to homeowners do not clearly outweigh the potential costs to taxpayers.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • Columbine Shooting Survivor Fighting Foreclosure With Occupy LA’s Help

    Richard Castaldo survived the shooting at Columbine High School 13 years ago and now he is fighting to a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/richard-castaldo-columbine-foreclosure-occupy-la_n_2198146.html?utm_hp_ref=business” target=”_hplink”rescue his home from foreclosure/a. The people of Occupy Los Angeles are helping Castaldo and others like him to save their homes.

  • USDA Forecloses On 78-Year-Old Cancer Patient

    The USDA foreclosed on 78-year-old Texas resident Alicia Ramirez, reportedly a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/alicia-ramirez-cancer-eviction_n_1747933.html?utm_hp_ref=business” target=”_hplink”after she was diagnosed with cancer./a While the USDA has thus far allowed Ramirez to remain in her home, a court order evicting the senior citizen could be issued at any time.

  • Foreclosure Victims Lose Belongings After Free Yard Sale Goes Wrong

    The Vercher family of Woodstock, Georgia, offered to give away a a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/vercher-family-woodstock-craigslist-foreclosed_n_2017738.html?1351188857″ target=”_hplink”number of household items in a Craigslist ad/a after their house was foreclosed on. Instead, they ended up losing nearly all of their belongings when people began taking items from inside the house.

  • Wells Fargo Offers Cancer Patient ‘Assistance’ Then Forecloses

    Terminal breast cancer patient Cindi Davis could no longer keep up with her mortgage payments due to the cost of her medical bills. Faced with media scrutiny, her lender a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/wells-fargo-forecloses-cancer-patient-cindi-davis_n_1883956.html?1347635836″ target=”_hplink”Wells Fargo told a local radio station it was seeking “assistance”/a for Davis just weeks before setting the date to auction her home for December 19th, 2012.

  • Coca-Cola Heirs Lose $37.5 Million To Foreclosure

    Descendants of Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler have been hit hard by the housing bust with their a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/17/candler-family-foreclosure-losses_n_1890911.html?1347906436″ target=”_hplink”real estate development company losing $37.5 million to foreclosure since the Great Recession began/a.

    (Pictured: the former mansion of Coca-Cola heir Asa Griggs “Buddy” Candler, Jr.)

  • Mom Evicted On Mother’s Day

    After she and her husband were allegedly duped into a bad loan, California mom Sheri Prizant faced the possibility of being evicted from her home on Mother’s Day, a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/sheri-prizant-eviction-mothers-day_n_1507681.html?1336741860″ target=”_hplink”MSNBC/a reports.

  • CT Family Never Missed A Payment

    Shock Baitch and his wife Lisa of Connecticut a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/30/bank-of-america-foreclosure_n_802861.html” target=”_hplink”were threatened with foreclosure by Bank of America/a after never missing a payment. BofA mistakenly told credit agencies they were seeking a loan modification. “Now I am literally and financially paying for it,” Baitch told a href=”http://ctwatchdog.com/finance/bank-of-americas-christmas-present-foreclose-even-though-not-a-payment-missed” target=”_hplink”CTWatchdog.com/a.

  • Man Gets Free Home After Lender Shutdown

    Facing foreclosure, Perry Laspina of Jacksonville, Florida ended up with a home practically for free after his mortgage lender was shut down by parent company Wells Fargo, a href=”http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2011/04/14/foreclosure-foul-up-wins-man-a-free-home/” target=”_hplink”AOL Real Estate reports/a. Laspina got the home “because of the significant decreased value of the property,” a bank spokesman said.

  • BofA Forecloses On Building With Own Branch Office

    In Boynton Beach, Florida, Bank of America filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the owner of a building that houses one of its own branches, a href=”http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2011/05/27/foreclosure-roundup.html?page=all” target=”_hplink”South Florida Business Journal reports/a.

  • Threatened Over $0.00 Unpaid Mortgage Payment

    A Massachusetts man was told he’d a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/08/massachusetts-homeowner-receives-foreclosure_n_872518.html” target=”_hplink”face foreclosure unless he paid an outstanding mortgage payment worth $0.00/a. “I’m going to write a check to them for zero dollars and have it clear? I couldn’t help but laugh,” he joked with local a href=”http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/i_team/I-Team:Man-gets-a-$0-foreclosure-notice” target=”_hplink”News 22 WWLP/a.

  • Home Allegedly Ransacked By Mortgage Company

    Chris Boudreau of Brooksville, Florida a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/06/florida-home-ransacked_n_890656.html” target=”_hplink”told local news that his house was ransacked by his mortgage company/a, 21st Mortgage Corporation, who he says even shredded his wife’s wedding dress. “When she saw what happened…she was crying her eyes out,” a href=”http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/article/199268/8/Mans-home-trashed-by-mortgage-company” target=”_hplink”he told WTSP 10 News/a.

  • Mortgage Payment Made Too Early

    A senior couple in Pasco County, Florida faced foreclosure not for missing payments, a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/22/senior-florida-couple-faces-foreclosure-mortgage-early_n_933147.html” target=”_hplink”but for making one too early/a. According to a Bank of America representative, they made themselves ineligible for a mortgage modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program when they did not make their payment in the “month in which it [was] due.”

  • Foreclosure In ‘World’s Richest Apartment Building’

    Property developer Kent Swig and his soon-to-be ex-wife Elizabeth faced foreclosure from their apartment at 740 Park Avenue, a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/26/foreclosure-hits-property-developer-billionaire-building_n_937676.html” target=”_hplink”a New York City address often cited as “the world’s richest apartment building.”/a

  • Untransferred Title Leads To Unfair Foreclosure

    Brian and Khanklink Pyron of Houston, Texas were a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/10/brian-khanklink-pyron-foreclosure_n_1003339.html” target=”_hplink”threatened with foreclosure despite keeping current on their payments due to an untransferred title/a. “We did everything we were supposed to do,” Brian Pyron told a href=”http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/local/110926-family-hit-by-surprise-foreclosure?CMP=201110_emailshare” target=”_hplink”MyFoxHouston/a.

  • Foreclosure On Hurricane-Destroyed Home

    Brad Gana, of Seabrook, Texas was threatened with foreclosure by Bank of America even though his a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/foreclosure-crisis-bank-of-america-hurricane-ike_n_1068080.html” target=”_hplink”house had been completely destroyed years earlier in Hurricane Ike/a. “Bank of America is ruthless in their incompetency,” a href=”http://www.click2houston.com/news/Bank-Forecloses-On-Home-Destroyed-By-Ike/-/1735978/4718190/-/vpooliz/-/index.html” target=”_hplink”he told Houston 2 News/a.

  • $1 Coding Error Leads To Foreclosure

    Utah’s Shantell Curtis and her family were threatened with a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/03/bofa-foreclosure-missing-1-already-sold-home_n_1074538.html” target=”_hplink”foreclosure by Bank of America on a home they had already sold years prior/a. On top of that, the whole episode concerned the matter of just a $1 coding error.

  • Investigative Journalist Becomes Foreclosure Victim

    George Knapp, chief investigative reporter for Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS, found he was a a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/foreclosure-crisis-investigative-reporter-george-knapp-victims_n_1119480.html?ref=business” target=”_hplink”victim of the very brand of foreclosure fraud he was investigating/a for a news report. Him being the reporter, the episode put him in a “very weird spot,” a href=”http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/als-morning-meeting/153585/local-tv-station-tackles-mortgage-mess-as-investigative-reporter-discovers-hes-a-victim-too/” target=”_hplink”he told the Poynter Insitute/a.

  • BofA Falsely Threatens Paralyzed Man With Foreclosure

    Robert Galanida, a 41-year-old man paralyzed from the shoulders down, a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/12/bank-of-america-sends-false-statements-paralyzed-eviction_n_1202463.html” target=”_hplink”battled Bank of America for nearly a decade/a because it repeatedly sent him false statements threatening foreclosure.

  • Tracy Morgan Refuses Mother Foreclosure Help

    In January 2012, actor Tracy Morgan reportedly refused to give his mother a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/tracy-morgan-foreclosure-mother_n_1244641.html” target=”_hplink”$25,000 she needed to avoid foreclosure/a, instead offering only $2,000.

  • Bank Of America Plaza Foreclosure

    The Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta was sold at a foreclosure auction in February after its landlord, BentleyForbes, could no longer afford mortgage payments, a href=”http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-14/american-foreclosure-bottoms-at-atlanta-tower-auction-mortgages.html” target=”_hplink”BusinessWeek reports/a. BofA a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/10/bank-of-america-plaza-foreclosure_n_1197040.html” target=”_hplink”was a tenant in the building at the time/a but had no other connection besides sharing the tower’s ironic name.

  • JPMorgan Tries To Foreclose On Civil Rights Activist

    Even while it promoted a February 2012 campaign to “fulfill” the “vision” of Martin Luther King Jr., a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/helen-bailey-foreclosure_n_1260078.html?ref=foreclosure-crisis” target=”_hplink”JPMorgan Chase threatened 78-year-old civil rights activist Helen Bailey with foreclosure/a. The bank ultimately allowed Bailey to stay in her home indefinitely after Occupy Nashville helped bring national attention to the issue, a href=”http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/02/14/425255/helen-bailey-foreclosure/” target=”_hplink”Think Progress/a reports.

  • Foreclosure At Luxury Retirement Home

    Despite being billed as “cosmopolitan living for ages 60+,” the luxury a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/fox-hill-foreclosure_n_1314970.html” target=”_hplink”Fox Hill Senior Condominiums was threatened with foreclosure/a in March after its lenders said they were backing out.

  • Man Fined For Not Mowing His Old Lawn

    David Englett was charged with fines by the city of Arlington, Texas for not mowing the lawn of a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/david-englett_n_1317276.html” target=”_hplink”a house he had already lost to foreclosure years earlier/a.

  • 101-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home

    Texana Hollis was evicted from her home due to foreclosure in September 2011, then a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/22/texana-hollis-evicted-detroit-woman_n_1222452.html?ref=foreclosure-crisis” target=”_hplink”denied a subsequent promise that she could move back in/a by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It wasn’t until April 2012 that a href=”http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57409700/texana-hollis-evicted-at-101-allowed-back-home/” target=”_hplink”she was finally granted permission to return to the home/a she’s lived in for 60 years.

  • BofA Forecloses On Woman After Telling Her To Miss Payments

    According to Pamela Flores, an Atlanta homeowner, a href=”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/bank-america-foreclosure-miss-mortgage-payment_n_1414988.html” target=”_hplink”Bank of America advised her to stop making payments/a on her loan in order to negotiate a modification. After doing so, the bank foreclosed on her anyway, claiming she’d missed a trial payment

  • Mother, Disabled Daughter Forced Out Of Home Even After BofA Modification

    Dirma Rodriguez and her disabled daughtera href=”https://editorial.huffingtonpost.com/entry/?blog_id=2entry_id=1423883″ target=”_hplink” were forced to flee their home in minutes/a after Bank of America sold it to a flipper at a foreclosure auction, even though the bank had already modified her loan. But not all hope is lost; Rodriguez may get her home back after the Occupy Fights Foreclosure movement intervened.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/hamp-program-extended_n_3359565.html

New York AG Details Strategies to Prevent Foreclosures and Help the Housing …


(Source: Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman) - MINEOLA – In a speech to Long Island business leaders as part of Hofstra University’s Distinguished Lecture Series, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today detailed his multi-pronged strategy to restore New York’s housing market and protect homeowners from foreclosure. Excerpts from the speech are below.

On the Economic Impact of the Housing Crisis

The biggest impediment to a more rapid recovery is the ongoing crisis in America’s housing market…. Homeowners who are facing foreclosure, or who are underwater on their mortgages, are saving every penny they have to try to pay down their debt and save their homes. They can’t spend at local businesses. They can’t move for a better job or invest in starting their own small business.  They’re stuck under America’s $628 billion mountain of negative equity.

On the Ongoing Housing Crisis on Long Island

This crisis is far from over.  Five years after the housing market crashed, in the third quarter of 2012, foreclosure filings were up 35% in Nassau County.

On Attorney General Schneiderman’s Goals for Recovery

Our housing relief initiative has three essential objectives: First, to protect homeowners’ legal rights; second, to speed as much relief as possible to those who are still struggling because of past abuses; and finally, to hold accountable those who caused the crisis, so that we can restore confidence that there is one set of rules for everyone.

On Protecting Homeowners Legal Rights

When I took office, half of New Yorkers facing foreclosure had no access to a lawyer at any point in the process….  So last year, we set up the attorney general’s Homeowner Protection Program, or HOPP.  This is a three year, $60 million dollar commitment to fund housing counselors and legal services providers all over the state to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

On Speeding Relief to Struggling Homeowners

When the National Mortgage Settlement was executed last spring, H.U.D. estimated that new york homeowners would receive approximately $600 million in mortgage relief, principal reductions, rate reductions, and other benefits. Thanks to our H.O.P.P. network, our homeowners actually received around $2 billion in the first year.

On Improving Protections for Homeowners

Earlier today we announced that I have introduced two bills—one civil and one criminal—to protect New York homeowners from wrongful foreclosure.

On Pursuing Accountability for the Root Causes of the Crash


We are continuing to investigate the conduct that led to the crisis in the first case.  My office has filed securities fraud cases against two major banks that engaged in a systemic pattern of fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions in the packaging, promotion, and sale of mortgage backed securities.  We see these cases as templates for future actions and our investigation is ongoing.

The misconduct in the mortgage backed securities market contributed to the bubble and crash that cost Americans over $7 trillion dollarsin home equity and precipitated the worst recession in 70 years.  There has to be accountability and we have to restore the principle that everybody plays by the same set of rules.  If we don’t, this kind of crisis will happen again.

Attorney General Schneiderman’s speech at Hofstra University followed a news conference earlier in the day at the Attorney General’s Nassau Regional Office with New York State Senate Majority Coalition Leader Jeff Klein pushing for passage of the “Certificate of Merit” bill (A. 5582) and the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act (A.7395), two important pieces of legislation to protect New York homeowners facing foreclosure. Both bills passed the New York State Assembly last week, and will be soon be decided on by the New York State Senate. Many homeowners in New York are still fighting to stay in their homes, and these bills would ensure that families are protected from careless, or irresponsible, or even criminal behavior.

The “Certificate of Merit” bill would ensure homeowners have a chance to participate in court-supervised mediation sessions that could help them keep their homes. The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act would impose criminal penalties on residential mortgage lenders, servicers and their agents who intentionally engage in fraudulent or deceptive conduct in the preparation, execution or filing of false foreclosure documents. This legislation was proposed by Attorney General Schneiderman and are being sponsored in the Senate by Senator Klein.

Homeowners’ foreclosure cases regularly languish for months, or even years, when financial institutions delay in filing critical paperwork that affirms the basis for the foreclosing bank’s right to foreclose on the property and ultimately triggers a settlement conference – the mandatory process under New York law that provides borrowers an opportunity to negotiate alternatives to foreclosure, such as loan modifications or short sales.

The delays and subsequent backlogs, often referred to as the “shadow docket,” have become a major burden on both homeowners and the judicial system. This legislative fix will require banks to file the necessary paperwork, which ultimately triggers the settlement conference, simultaneously with the filing of any foreclosure action, thus avoiding future delays. The Office of Court Administration issued a report in July of 2012 which found that 25,000 families are trapped in this legal foreclosure limbo.

In 2009, Senator Klein authored landmark foreclosure legislation aimed at protecting homeowners and preserving property values in communities stricken with high rates of foreclosure. Senator Klein’s legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Paterson, requires banks to maintain foreclosed properties, creates new ways for homeowners to stay in their homes after foreclosure proceedings, and guarantees every homeowner the right to a settlement conference prior to any court proceeding.

The Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act would impose both misdemeanor and felony-level penalties for lenders and servicers who knowingly engage in fraudulent residential mortgage foreclosure practices. These fraudulent activities include falsifying mortgage foreclosure documents–a practice that came to be known as “robo-signing,” which was rampant in New York and across the country during the early part of the foreclosure crisis.

An investigation of robo-signing conducted by the Office of the Attorney General with 48 State Attorneys General, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, led to the signing of the National Mortgage Settlement, a $25 billion agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers and provides for billions in mandated consumer relief including mortgage refinancing and principal reductions.

The bill will create a legal definition for residential mortgage foreclosure fraud, which will apply to mortgage lenders and servicers, and extend both to their lower level employees and “high managerial agents.” This aspect of the bill is particularly significant because it carries the potential to bring criminal charges against law firms and servicers that specialize in high-volume residential foreclosure cases and knowingly engage in fraud.

Attorney General Schneiderman has made protecting homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure a top priority. In June 2012, he announced the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), a three-year, $60 million initiative to fund housing counselors and legal services across New York State. The program strives to ensure that every family facing foreclosure has access to a knowledgeable and qualified professional advocate.

Throughout New York State, 34 legal services organizations and 59 housing counseling agencies will receive over $16.1 million this year to provide free foreclosure prevention services. An additional $3.9 million has been allocated for training, technical assistance, and other support services to assist homeowners in foreclosure. In part because of the advocacy of HOPP funded housing counselors and legal services providers, over 4,300 New York homeowners have completed, or have active trial modifications for approximately $540 million worth of first mortgage principal reduction.

For more information on Attorney General Schneiderman’s efforts to support New York families caught in the foreclosure crisis, visit www.AGHomeHelp.com.

The Distinguished Lecture Series at Hofstra University is organized by the Scott Skodnek Business Development Center (BDC) at Hofstra University. The BDC assists businesses, public entities and community organizations on Long Island and in the surrounding area start-up, expand, or diversify. The Distinguished Lecture Series is designed to bring together the elite of Long Island’s business community and offer them the opportunity to interact with some of the country’s most powerful and influential thinkers in fields ranging from science to politics to investments.


Article source: http://www.loansafe.org/new-york-ag-details-strategies-to-prevent-foreclosures-and-help-the-housing-market-recover

Obama Administration Extends Foreclosure Prevention Program

WASHINGTON The Obama administration said Thursday it will extend a deadline for struggling homeowners to access a government program to help reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

The Treasury Department and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly agreed to allow the Making Home Affordable Program to continue to be available to American families for an additional two years through Dec. 31, 2015.

“The housing market is gaining steam, but many homeowners are still struggling,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a press release. “Helping responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure is part of our wide-ranging efforts to strengthen the middle class, and Making Home Affordable offers homeowners some of the deepest and most dependable assistance available to prevent foreclosure.”

The program has been a critical part of the White House’s efforts to provide relief to families at risk of foreclosure and help the housing market recover. It was launched in March 2009 and has helped 1.3 million families.

Early estimates by the administration projected that up to 3 to 4 million families would be helped under the program, but it has continued to be a challenge reaching certain segments of the population that may be at risk of losing their homes. Currently 15,000 families a monthare entering the program, according to a Treasury official.

“Families across the country have used its tools to reduce their principal, modify their mortgages, fight off foreclosure and stay in their homes helping further stimulate our housing market recovery,”Shaun Donovan, the HUD secretary, said in the release. “And with this extension we ensure that the program keeps supporting communities for years to come.”

It’s unclear how many more families could be aided with a two-year extension, a senior Treasury official told reporters in a briefing. The official declined to provide estimates.

“My goal is not to hit a number of modifications, my goal is to help people who are in need while we’re still coming out of this crisis,”the official said. “If the housing market continues to make a strong recovery, and the number of people entering this program drop off dramatically, that’s success.”

In January of 2012 the administration announced a series of changes to its mortgage modification program. They included extending the deadline to apply to the program by a year to the end of 2013 and allowing borrowers who were initially not eligible for the program to go through a secondary evaluation process.

Article source: http://www.americanbanker.com/issues/178_104/obama-administration-extends-foreclosure-prevention-program-1059473-1.html

How to avoid paying for costly surveys, foreclosure listings and appraisals

Savvy homeowners and buyers often can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in real-estate-related fees, provided they know where to look for the free information that realty pros use on a daily basis.

Q. I was interested in the column you recently wrote regarding a homeowner who is disputing a neighbor’s claim that a fence is “encroaching” about two feet over the neighbor’s property line. I have a similar problem, but I don’t want to pay the $350 or even $600 that the three local surveyors that I have called say they would charge for a formal report. Is there a place where I can find this information for free?

A. Yes. Start by checking the documents you received when you originally purchased the house. There’s a good chance that the deed, title-insurance policy or other documents include a legal description of the boundary lines, perhaps based on a government surveyor’s report or a local landmark.

If you can’t find the information in your purchase paperwork, you might have to make a trip to the local recorder’s or assessor’s office and ask the clerk for help in looking it up. It’s worth noting, though, that some of those agencies have websites with free maps or other info that can help a homeowner quickly establish a property’s boundary lines without spending hours searching for the data in a local government office.

Q. How can I get free information about foreclosures in my neighborhood?

A. Your best bet is to call a local real estate salesperson or broker. Most realty licensees have access to the Multiple Listing Service. The MLS includes nearly all properties that are currently for sale, including those that have been foreclosed by a bank after the homeowner didn’t make the monthly mortgage payments.

Even better, the agent may be able to find “pre-foreclosure” homes — properties that are owned by folks who can’t pay their monthly mortgage bills but want to sell at a discounted price today rather than spending thousands of dollars to fight their lender in court and risk a seriously bad mark on their credit history if they lose.

Several private companies offer listings of foreclosed homes for free or for a nominal fee. But I’m not impressed by many of them: I paid $20 for a report of foreclosures last week in my area that listed a nearby two-bedroom condominium with about 1,200 square feet of living space, supposedly on a lot with a staggering 110,000 square feet (nearly three acres) in the best part of town.

The costly report didn’t note that there are about 50 other condos on the same parcel, so a buyer wouldn’t actually be acquiring three acres of land.

Three government or quasi-government agencies — the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.ushud.com), Fannie Mae (fanniemae.com) and Freddie Mac (freediemac.com) — own about half of all foreclosures in the nation. Their websites have free links to their listings, and contain valuable information about the buying process.

Q. How can I find out how much I could sell my home for, without having to pay for an appraisal?

A. Again, start by contacting a licensed real-estate agent or broker who you trust and ask for a Comparative Market Analysis of your home. Most agents will provide such a report, typically referred to as a “CMA,” for free in the hope that you’ll list your property with them when you eventually decide to sell.

The best agents who offer free CMAs will visit your property first to note its amenities, condition and other factors that may affect its market value. Then they’ll do a computerized search to find what properties in the area that are similar to yours have sold for in the past few months.

The report also should include a list of comparable properties in the neighborhood that are currently up for sale, and how much sellers are asking for them.

Don’t be surprised if the representative’s CMA gives you a range of values, such as “$100,000 to $115,000″ or even “$520,000 to $600,000.” Home values in many parts of the nation are rising again at a fast clip, so there’s no way that even the smartest agent can guarantee what your property would exactly fetch today — much less months or years from now.

REAL ESTATE TRIVIA: May is “National Egg Month,” twice the cause for celebration for residents of quaint Two Egg, Fla. But it’s not such a big deal in rural Hot Coffee, Miss.; Lakeside Sandwich, N.H.; or the roughly 20 Southeast communities called Lickskillet.

• For the booklet “Straight Talk About Living Trusts,” send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to David Myers, P.O. Box 4405, Culver City, CA 90231-4405.

© 2012, Cowles Syndicate Inc.

Article source: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130530/entlife/705309856/