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Coalition rallies behind RI bill to limit foreclosure evictions

PROVIDENCE, RI — An advocacy coalition announced “just cause” legislation Thursday that would prevent tenants from being evicted from foreclosed homes without just cause.

At a State House news conference, State Sen. Harold Metts, (D-Dist. 6, Providence), and State Rep. John G. Edwards, (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton) said they have filed bills to prevent banks from evicting tenants living in foreclosed homes until they sold the house to a new owner.

Members of Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) and at least a dozen other organizations have formed a “Just Cause Coalition” to fight for the legislation.

Edwards noted he had introduced the same bill six years ago when his neighbors in Tiverton were evicted after the house they were renting was foreclosed.

The man “begged the bank not to evict them, but they threw him and his family out,” Edwards said.

Metts said the evictions “affect everybody,” causing family disruption and neighborhood blight.

Article source: http://www.providencejournal.com/breaking-news/content/20140130-coalition-rallies-behind-ri-bill-to-limit-foreclosure-evictions.ece

Foreclosure Industry Says It’ll Do A Better Job Of Screening Its Workers After …

After hundreds of lawsuits and thousands of complaints, banks are finally pushing for reform in one of the darkest corners of the housing market. Under new guidelines expected to be adopted this year by most of the industry, the workers that watch over millions of homes in default or foreclosure will be subject to heightened levels of background checks.

The measures are meant to screen out people convicted of a criminal offense, such as theft or fraud. They follow widespread allegations, first reported by The Huffington Post, that the handymen and home inspectors that banks hire to look after vacant properties are breaking into still-occupied homes, and looting them of valuables. Some of these people, who work indirectly for the banks through a web of contracting companies, have lengthy criminal records.

“The intent is to give communities a high level of confidence that the people walking around in homes are not going to cause problems,” said Eric Miller, the executive director of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services, the trade association that helped design the new standards.

The new screening requirements mark the most significant effort by the mortgage industry to date to crack down on abuses that have resulted in a wave of unflattering media coverage, hundreds of consumer lawsuits and a case brought by the Illinois attorney general against Safeguard Properties, the biggest player in the industry.

HuffPost’s investigation last year found that most of the break-in complaints involve homes that are in some stage of default or foreclosure, but still in legal possession of the occupants. In many instances, contractors stand accused of ignoring obvious signs of habitation, kicking down doors and crawling through basement windows in order to gain access, then changing the locks. In some cases, they are also accused of helping themselves to valuables found inside. One contractor working for Safeguard Properties in Arkansas is accused of looting a home of paintings and other valuables. A Connecticut woman claims another one of these workers stole her son’s piggy bank.

It’s not clear how often contractors accused of such thefts also have a criminal record, though sources within the industry say people with checkered pasts are drawn to the work, which often requires little training or special skills. While there is no data to show whether these people are more likely to commit abuses than others in the industry, background searches of individuals named in several consumer cases alleging break-ins and thefts revealed lengthy criminal pasts.

In one case, in Florida, a contractor arrested previously at least six times on felony charges is accused of taking a laptop computer and other items from a vacation home. According to a police report, the contractor, who was working indirectly for CoreLogic, a company based in Westlake, Texas, denied the allegations, even though his fingerprints were found on a can of beer left open on a counter in the home.

At the forefront of the push for new oversight is Wells Fargo, which recently began requiring its contractors to have “a satisfactory background check in place” before performing any work on its properties, according to a spokesman. Several companies that work for Wells Fargo, including Mortgage Contracting Services, based in Plano, Texas, have already alerted subcontractors and other workers that they are expected to comply with the new guidelines by the end of January.

In an email, a Wells Fargo spokesman said the change in policy came in response to “a lot of scrutiny around this issue.”

The guidelines allow for different levels of scrutiny, though the companies adopting the policies haven’t yet said which workers would be subject to the most intensive screenings. Miller said the aim was to prevent contractors with recent criminal convictions from stepping onto a property, a standard that would apply even to the low-paid workers who mow lawns.

Seven of the biggest foreclosure contracting companies that deal directly with banks have said they will adopt the heightened screening rules, Miller said. “We are seeking to professionalize our workforce,” he said.

Bret Douglas, who owns Team Ironclad Preservation with 25 employees near Daytona Beach, Fla., said he understands the reasoning behind the heightened screening requirements, but said he is confused by the new guidelines. It isn’t clear, he said, whether employees with criminal records could still perform basic maintenance work.

Douglas said he objects to the cost of the background checks — $65 each — and the presumption that someone who has committed a crime in the past should not be permitted an opportunity at redemption.

“If they did the crime and served the time, I say they should be given a second chance,” he said. Several workers on his crew have criminal records, he said, adding that it is difficult to find adults willing to mow lawns in the hot Florida sun who don’t have spotty pasts.

Also still unknown is how aggressively the mortgage companies will enforce the new standards. In the past, banks largely deferred to the contractors they hired to oversee themselves, a strategy that hasn’t proved particularly effective.

That’s because the contracting companies have often brushed off accusations that they are failing to supervise their workers. Safeguard Properties, which has attracted the majority of complaints, says it has required background checks for years.

At an industry conference in October, Safeguard founder Robert Klein signaled that stepped-up scrutiny wouldn’t be welcome. Safeguard, he said, “has been monitoring itself for quite awhile.”

“Complaints are going to happen,” Klein said at the conference. “It is the habit of people, they love to complain.”

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/bank-contractors-background-checks_n_4682382.html

Foreclosure Industry Says It’ll Do A Better Job Of Screening Its Workers After …

After hundreds of lawsuits and thousands of complaints, banks are finally pushing for reform in one of the darkest corners of the housing market. Under new guidelines expected to be adopted this year by most of the industry, the workers that watch over millions of homes in default or foreclosure will be subject to heightened levels of background checks.

The measures are meant to screen out people convicted of a criminal offense, such as theft or fraud. They follow widespread allegations, first reported by The Huffington Post, that the handymen and home inspectors that banks hire to look after vacant properties are breaking into still-occupied homes, and looting them of valuables. Some of these people, who work indirectly for the banks through a web of contracting companies, have lengthy criminal records.

“The intent is to give communities a high level of confidence that the people walking around in homes are not going to cause problems,” said Eric Miller, the executive director of the National Association of Mortgage Field Services, the trade association that helped design the new standards.

The new screening requirements mark the most significant effort by the mortgage industry to date to crack down on abuses that have resulted in a wave of unflattering media coverage, hundreds of consumer lawsuits and a case brought by the Illinois attorney general against Safeguard Properties, the biggest player in the industry.

HuffPost’s investigation last year found that most of the break-in complaints involve homes that are in some stage of default or foreclosure, but still in legal possession of the occupants. In many instances, contractors stand accused of ignoring obvious signs of habitation, kicking down doors and crawling through basement windows in order to gain access, then changing the locks. In some cases, they are also accused of helping themselves to valuables found inside. One contractor working for Safeguard Properties in Arkansas is accused of looting a home of paintings and other valuables. A Connecticut woman claims another one of these workers stole her son’s piggy bank.

It’s not clear how often contractors accused of such thefts also have a criminal record, though sources within the industry say people with checkered pasts are drawn to the work, which often requires little training or special skills. While there is no data to show whether these people are more likely to commit abuses than others in the industry, background searches of individuals named in several consumer cases alleging break-ins and thefts revealed lengthy criminal pasts.

In one case, in Florida, a contractor arrested previously at least six times on felony charges is accused of taking a laptop computer and other items from a vacation home. According to a police report, the contractor, who was working indirectly for CoreLogic, a company based in Westlake, Texas, denied the allegations, even though his fingerprints were found on a can of beer left open on a counter in the home.

At the forefront of the push for new oversight is Wells Fargo, which recently began requiring its contractors to have “a satisfactory background check in place” before performing any work on its properties, according to a spokesman. Several companies that work for Wells Fargo, including Mortgage Contracting Services, based in Plano, Texas, have already alerted subcontractors and other workers that they are expected to comply with the new guidelines by the end of January.

In an email, a Wells Fargo spokesman said the change in policy came in response to “a lot of scrutiny around this issue.”

The guidelines allow for different levels of scrutiny, though the companies adopting the policies haven’t yet said which workers would be subject to the most intensive screenings. Miller said the aim was to prevent contractors with recent criminal convictions from stepping onto a property, a standard that would apply even to the low-paid workers who mow lawns.

Seven of the biggest foreclosure contracting companies that deal directly with banks have said they will adopt the heightened screening rules, Miller said. “We are seeking to professionalize our workforce,” he said.

Bret Douglas, who owns Team Ironclad Preservation with 25 employees near Daytona Beach, Fla., said he understands the reasoning behind the heightened screening requirements, but said he is confused by the new guidelines. It isn’t clear, he said, whether employees with criminal records could still perform basic maintenance work.

Douglas said he objects to the cost of the background checks — $65 each — and the presumption that someone who has committed a crime in the past should not be permitted an opportunity at redemption.

“If they did the crime and served the time, I say they should be given a second chance,” he said. Several workers on his crew have criminal records, he said, adding that it is difficult to find adults willing to mow lawns in the hot Florida sun who don’t have spotty pasts.

Also still unknown is how aggressively the mortgage companies will enforce the new standards. In the past, banks largely deferred to the contractors they hired to oversee themselves, a strategy that hasn’t proved particularly effective.

That’s because the contracting companies have often brushed off accusations that they are failing to supervise their workers. Safeguard Properties, which has attracted the majority of complaints, says it has required background checks for years.

At an industry conference in October, Safeguard founder Robert Klein signaled that stepped-up scrutiny wouldn’t be welcome. Safeguard, he said, “has been monitoring itself for quite awhile.”

“Complaints are going to happen,” Klein said at the conference. “It is the habit of people, they love to complain.”

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/bank-contractors-background-checks_n_4682382.html

Steelers receiver Burress sells home at loss to avoid foreclosure











Brian Bandell
Senior Reporter- South Florida Business Journal

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Talk about a financial foul, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress sold his Lighthouse Point home at a $2 million loss to avoid foreclosure.

The Super Bowl hero for the New York Giants, who missed last season with a torn rotator cuff, and his wife got hit with a $3.3 million foreclosure lawsuit from Deutsche Bank in 2010. It targeted the 6,872-square-foot waterfront home at 2249 N.E. 26th Street.

RELATED CONTENT: Jailed Super Bowl hero Burress in $3M foreclosure

Burress recently sold the house for $2 million to Mardig Asratian. That’s half of the $4 million that Burress paid for the house in 2005.

The deal also caused a loss for the lender, which apparently approved the short sale.

Burress caught the winning touchdown pass in the final minute of Super Bowl XLII to lead the Giants past the previously unbeaten New England Patriots. New York rewarded him in 2008 with a two-year contract extension at $7 million a year.

Then came an infamous night in November 2008 when Burress was arrested for entering the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan with an unlicensed gun tucked in his pants. He accidentally shot himself in the thigh.

The Giants released Burress and he was sentenced to two years in prison. He returned to the NFL with the New York Jets in 2011 and played for the Steelers in 2012 before getting injured in training camp last year.

Brian Bandell covers banking, finance, health care and education. Get the latest banking industry news here.

Article source: http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/blog/morning-edition/2014/01/steelers-receiver-burress-sells-home.html

Regional Integrated Logistics files bankruptcy to stave off foreclosure of …

The transportation and logistics firm that will be leasing almost half of the former Bristol-Myers drug-manufacturing plant on Forest Avenue in Buffalo is now in federal bankruptcy court, after seeking to stave off a foreclosure of its current headquarters and warehouse property.

Regional Integrated Logistics filed for court protection in late December under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code – one day before its Kenmore Avenue property was slated to be auctioned off in a foreclosure sale.

The filing triggered an automatic “stay” of the foreclosure, putting the latter legal process on hold until the court can evaluate the situation and settle the details of the bankruptcy.

In turn, that gave the transportation company time to negotiate with the holder of its mortgage – which it says is a local competitor – so it could remain on site just long enough for it to complete its move to its new home at 100 Forest Ave. An agreement is now in place – enforced by a court order – that allowed the mortgage holder to complete the foreclosure but lets Regional Integrated stay through the end of February, rent-free.

“It was something that we had to do,” said Regional owner and President Robert Bingel, whose company employs about 100 people. “We needed to do this in order to protect the business on a short-term basis.”

The bankruptcy petition was submitted Dec. 26. just as word emerged of the company’s plan to lease the new property for what Bingel had described in positive terms as a consolidation of multiple sites, with some possibility of future expansion. No mention had been made of bankruptcy, foreclosure or other problems.

Bingel said that’s because the filing was never about financial struggles at the company or any effort to shirk debt. The bankruptcy petition cites total liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million, and specifically lists debts of more than $7.3 million owed to its top 20 creditors, including its mortgage holder, two law firms and a temp agency. But aside from the $5.33 million mortgage – which the company had fallen behind on during the recession when its sales plummeted – it’s current on all of its other payments, he said.

“We didn’t do this so we could get out of paying our vendors. We’ve had a good relationship with all of our vendors,” he said.

Rather, he called it a strategic move to ward off an eviction by what he described as a rival – whom he declined to name – after more than a year of fruitless negotiations to either fix the remaining delinquency or buy him out. He said he never missed a mortgage payment.

“It wasn’t a financial bankruptcy. It was a strategic bankruptcy, to buy time to transition to the new facility,” Bingel said.

Bingel hopes to be out of bankruptcy shortly, possibly as early as late next week, depending on how soon the court signs off. The company will be at its new site by late February. Regional Integrated will occupy about half of the sprawling property on Forest Avenue, with two warehouses.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com

Article source: http://www.buffalonews.com/business/regional-integrated-logistics-files-bankruptcy-to-stave-off-foreclosure-of-headquarters-20140128

6% of LI homes in foreclosure


Originally published: January 29, 2014 8:49 AM
Updated: January 29, 2014 3:59 PM

By MAURA MCDERMOTT
 maura.mcdermott@newsday.com

Long Island's share of homes in foreclosure fell

Long Island’s share of homes in foreclosure fell last month. A new survey shows that of all local homes with mortgages, 6.3 percent were in the foreclosure pipeline in December, down 0.5 percentage points from a year before. (Credit: iStock)

Long Island’s share of homes in foreclosure fell last month.

Of all local homes with mortgages, 6.3 percent were in foreclosure in December, down 0.5 percentage points from a year before, according to a report released Wednesday by CoreLogic, a real estate data firm in Irvine, Calif.

But while Long Island homeowners’ distress has eased a bit, the foreclosure crisis remains more severe here than it is nationwide. Across the country, 2.1 percent of homes with mortgages were in foreclosure last month, a year-over-year decline of 0.8 percentage points.

The region’s recovery lags the nation’s because of New York’s strict rules on foreclosures, said Michael Kenduck, co-owner of Century 21 American Homes in Syosset. The court rules “were a good deed gone bad,” protecting homeowners from improper foreclosures, but also slowing the process and creating a huge backlog, he said.

In areas without those protections, he said, “the Band-Aid got ripped off.”

Looking at 2013 as a whole, the number of Long Island homes sold at auction or taken back by banks — 663 — declined by 18 percent compared to the previous year, CoreLogic reported.

Nationally, 620,111 homes were auctioned off or repossessed in 2013, down 24 percent from the previous year.

Kenduck said he saw more repossessed homes entering the market late last year, and lenders approved more short sales, in which a home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage. “Banks are streamlining the process much more than they have in years past,” he said.

That, plus rising home prices, should help clear out the backlog, Kenduck said. The Island’s median home price, excluding the East End, was $360,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 2.9 percent from a year before, according to a report last week by the appraisal firm Miller Samuel and the brokerage Douglas Elliman.

By one measure — the number of attendees at foreclosure legal clinics — the crisis does not appear to be easing, said Gale Berg, director of pro bono attorney activities at the Nassau County Bar Association. The group’s twice-monthly clinics typically attracted 50 to 60 homeowners, unchanged throughout 2013, Berg said. The next clinic will take place Feb. 10.

The volunteer attorneys see growing numbers of Sandy victims, she said. Homeowners hit by the Oct. 29, 2012, storm “used their money for rebuilding,” or for temporary housing, Berg said.

“Sandy is continuing to take its toll on residents,” she said.

Last month on Long Island, 9.9 percent of outstanding mortgage loans were rated by lenders as “seriously delinquent,” or at least 90 days past due, according to CoreLogic. That’s down 0.9 percentage points from a year before.

By contrast, 5 percent of loans nationwide were seriously delinquent last month, a year-over-year decline of 1.4 percentage points.

Article source: http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/real-estate/6-of-li-homes-in-foreclosure-1.6899496

6.3% of LI homes with mortgages in foreclosure


Originally published: January 29, 2014 8:49 AM
Updated: January 29, 2014 3:59 PM

By MAURA MCDERMOTT
 maura.mcdermott@newsday.com

Long Island's share of homes in foreclosure fell

Long Island’s share of homes in foreclosure fell last month. A new survey shows that of all local homes with mortgages, 6.3 percent were in the foreclosure pipeline in December, down 0.5 percentage points from a year before. (Credit: iStock)

Long Island’s share of homes in foreclosure fell last month.

Of all local homes with mortgages, 6.3 percent were in foreclosure in December, down 0.5 percentage points from a year before, according to a report released Wednesday by CoreLogic, a real estate data firm in Irvine, Calif.

But while Long Island homeowners’ distress has eased a bit, the foreclosure crisis remains more severe here than it is nationwide. Across the country, 2.1 percent of homes with mortgages were in foreclosure last month, a year-over-year decline of 0.8 percentage points.

The region’s recovery lags the nation’s because of New York’s strict rules on foreclosures, said Michael Kenduck, co-owner of Century 21 American Homes in Syosset. The court rules “were a good deed gone bad,” protecting homeowners from improper foreclosures, but also slowing the process and creating a huge backlog, he said.

In areas without those protections, he said, “the Band-Aid got ripped off.”

Looking at 2013 as a whole, the number of Long Island homes sold at auction or taken back by banks — 663 — declined by 18 percent compared to the previous year, CoreLogic reported.

Nationally, 620,111 homes were auctioned off or repossessed in 2013, down 24 percent from the previous year.

Kenduck said he saw more repossessed homes entering the market late last year, and lenders approved more short sales, in which a home is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage. “Banks are streamlining the process much more than they have in years past,” he said.

That, plus rising home prices, should help clear out the backlog, Kenduck said. The Island’s median home price, excluding the East End, was $360,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 2.9 percent from a year before, according to a report last week by the appraisal firm Miller Samuel and the brokerage Douglas Elliman.

By one measure — the number of attendees at foreclosure legal clinics — the crisis does not appear to be easing, said Gale Berg, director of pro bono attorney activities at the Nassau County Bar Association. The group’s twice-monthly clinics typically attracted 50 to 60 homeowners, unchanged throughout 2013, Berg said. The next clinic will take place Feb. 10.

The volunteer attorneys see growing numbers of Sandy victims, she said. Homeowners hit by the Oct. 29, 2012, storm “used their money for rebuilding,” or for temporary housing, Berg said.

“Sandy is continuing to take its toll on residents,” she said.

Last month on Long Island, 9.9 percent of outstanding mortgage loans were rated by lenders as “seriously delinquent,” or at least 90 days past due, according to CoreLogic. That’s down 0.9 percentage points from a year before.

By contrast, 5 percent of loans nationwide were seriously delinquent last month, a year-over-year decline of 1.4 percentage points.

Article source: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/obituaries/6-3-of-li-homes-with-mortgages-in-foreclosure-1.6899496

Tenants of ’3 Boro Pool’ say private equity owners are keeping them in dark

Tenants who live at the center of the biggest portfolio foreclosure since Stuy Town are charging that they have been left in the dark while their landlords plot to keep them living in hell.

A group of 42 buildings comprising 1,537 rent-regulated units in the Bronx, Brooklyn and northern Manhattan went into foreclosure last April — and the people who live in the so-called “Three Borough Pool” want to know what’s next.

“I would like to see these landlords sell the buildings to someone who cares,” said Benjamin Warren, a 35-year resident of 1521 Seridan Ave. in Claremont. “Someone who can keep them affordable.”

If the landlords are to be believed, that doesn’t appear likely.

The firms that own Warren’s building and the others in the pool say they’re on the verge of closing a new loan that would enable them to maintain their ownership. Tenants and housing advocates say that would be a disastrous outcome.

“It’s simple: We don’t want the banks to finance a slumlord,” said Warren, 72. “We can’t force the owners to sell. What we want is to stop the banks from refinancing the current plan.”

A private equity group composed of David Kramer, Normandy Real Estate, Vantage Properties and Westbrook Management, and managed by Colonial Management, bought the buildings in 2007.

Housing advocates and tenants say the group tried to raise rents and force out long-time residents before defaulting on a $133 million loan in 2012.

The underwriting for this . . . mortage was based on the predatory idea that the owners would be able to increase building revenue by raising rents and spending less on maintenance,” said Kerri White, the director of organizing and policy with the nonprofit Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.

A notice received by tenants last fall claiming that a building run by Colonial Management was not in foreclosure.The letter also instructed tenants not to organize.

Courtesy UHAB

A notice received by tenants last fall claiming that a building run by Colonial Management was not in foreclosure.The letter also instructed tenants not to organize.

Tenants suffered as the buildings fell into disrepair and racked up 2,700 violations with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

“A definitive agreement” is in the works that would keep the equity group in charge, a spokeswoman for the ownership group said, adding that they “anticipate to close on the loan in the next 90 days.” She said the lenders were planning to meet this week, but would not provide additional details.

But tenants are hoping something better comes along, or that the lender backs out.

“The building is in shambles,” said Warren, who charged that Colonial Management has also given tenants misleading information.

Some residents said they received notices last October that denied the properties were under foreclosure.

Tenants also said they were denied access to community rooms, tricked into signing letters of recommendation for the delinquent landlords and forced to live with unheeded requests for repairs.

“It’s unbearable,” said Debra Cooper, a resident at 711 Fairmount Place in Tremont. “The apartments have no heat. It’s like they’re trying to force us out.”

The tenants, mostly low-income, are victims of “predatory” investing and shady management schemes, White said.

“The idea that these owners who have clearly failed these properties may retain control of them is shameful,” she added.

“Any bank or other institution considering financing these groups needs to realize they are enabling predatory behavior and putting the tenants in these buildings at risk.”

dslattery@nydailynews.com

Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/tenants-left-dark-future-foreclosed-apartments-article-1.1594681

When rising homes prices are not enough

Although rising home prices have pushed many homeowners out of negative equity, escalating values are not a panacea for all distressed borrowers.

A growing percentage of borrowers are now entering foreclosure with positive equity in their homes, a new report from Fitch Ratings claims.

According to the study, the percentage of borrowers entering this process with equity has roughly doubled in the last two years.

While equity continues to play a significant role in borrower payment behavior, income and the ability-to-pay also remain key factors.

In September 2013, RealtyTrac discovered that 24% of all homeowners who are in some stage of foreclosure have at least some positive equity built up. By December 2013, that number continued to rise and 31% of people in the foreclosure process were struggling despite the presence of positive equity.

“One of the things that stood out is that the percentage of homeowners in foreclosure who have positive equity is increasing,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “That was even more surprising because that equity is a lifeline that homeowners can use to avoid foreclosure.”

Many of the borrowers with equity are unable to sell their properties because the proceeds of the sale would not be enough to cover the mortgage amount, the closing costs and the backlog of missed payments.

“Loans entering foreclosure today have missed roughly two years of payments on average, more than double the pre-crisis, long term average,” Fitch Ratings said.

Another factor is that the composition of borrowers entering foreclosure is changing. The percentage of loans entering foreclosure, which had been cash-out refinance at origination increased steadily since 2008, and now account for 50% of the total.

Due to today’s tighter loan underwriting and origination guidelines, borrowers are unable to tap the equity in their homes to cover expenses.

“Also, the loan-to-value and cash-out dollar limits are significantly lower than what was available during peak-vintage years and, despite the improved equity situation, few of these delinquent borrowers could materially benefit from further cash-out refinancings,” Fitch Ratings said.

Approximately half of all loans that recently entered foreclosure have been unsuccessful in at least one prior loan modification. In addition, the percentage of loans entering foreclosure that had been underwritten to subprime guidelines is increasing.  

Fitch Ratings did emphasize that there is a chance some portion of borrowers currently in the foreclosure process obtained additional and/or secondary financing subsequent to the origination of their first liens, which could be factoring into their ability to pay.

“I think it is hard to know if this is a glass half full or glass half empty type thing. These are homeowners who now have a lifeline to avoid foreclosure. But the other side of the coin is just that equity is not enough to prevent foreclosure,” Blomquist said.

“I think the real question is are these homeowners that just do not know or are they homeowners that are in such a tough situation even equity is not going to help them avoid it,” he explained.  

Article source: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/28749-when-rising-homes-prices-are-not-enough

NYC foreclosure auctions rise for first time since recession

The number of scheduled foreclosure auctions for residential homes, condominiums and cooperatives rose last year in the city for the first time since the Great Recession, new figures from PropertyShark show.

The Bronx saw the largest jump, rising by 109 percent to 341 auctions in 2013 from 163 in 2012, the data show. The next highest increase in foreclosure auctions was in Brooklyn, where the numbers rose 45 percent to 236 in 2013 from 163 in 2012. That was followed by Queens, with an 11 percent increase to 395 auctions from 355. Staten Island rose by 4 percent to 74 auctions from 71 in 2012.

In contrast, Manhattan bucked the city trend, with the number of scheduled auctions falling by 20 percent to 122 in 2013 from 152 in 2012, the figures show.

Overall, the number of foreclosure auctions was up by 29 percent to 1168 from 904, the PropertyShark data show.

Even as the auction figures increased last year, they still remained below the typical annual figures from before the foreclosure crisis rocked the housing market from 2008 through 2010.

“You can see where there was a spike in the middle, where the bubble was bursting. But if you look since 2011, the figure is well below what it was in 2005,” Nancy Jorisch, a senior data analyst at PropertyShark, said.

The quarterly data compiled by PropertyShark was for one- and two-family homes, as well as residential cooperatives and condominiums in all five boroughs from the first quarter of 2005 through the fourth quarter of 2013.

It was not clear why the numbers were rising in the outer boroughs last year, but in some instances — the Bronx, for example — it may have to do with a slow foreclosure process in the borough’s court system, Jorisch said.

“There are some properties that are just coming to auction for the first time in 2013, but had been lingering for some time,” she said. For example more than 70 of the new auctions scheduled last year in the Bronx were from foreclosure actions that began in 2009, she said.

NYC-Foreclosures

Source: PropertyShark (click to enlarge)

Article source: http://therealdeal.com/blog/2014/01/28/nyc-foreclosure-auctions-rise-for-first-time-since-recession/