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Stop Foreclosure in Boca Raton Program Launched by Real Estate Company … – Virtual

Stop foreclosure in Boca Raton program now accessible through the Home Solutions Fla company. A new report detailing company services is now posted on the homepage.

Boca Raton, FL (PRWEB) May 28, 2014

Homeowners who are desperate to find a way to avoid going through a lengthy foreclosure can now rely on the housing services at the Home Solutions Fla company. A stop foreclosure in Boca Raton program is active for owners of homes who have exhausted other options and can be explored at http://homesolutionsfla.com/short-sale-vs-foreclosure-report.

The solutions that are provided are in addition to the new website report detailing the types of alternatives to foreclosure now available in the state of Florida. While the housing market has stabilized for most rental clients, owners of homes who are behind on mortgages is still an ongoing issue this year.

“A person who owns a property in Boca Raton or other South Florida communities could find help in our services to end foreclosures without going through government assistance,” said a Home Solutions Fla company rep.

The enlisted programs that are setup to help property owners are connected to the new solutions that purchasers of homes can take part in at the Home Solutions Fla website. A buyer who cannot obtain financing through a mortgage broker or company can review owner finance plans also posted online.

“Our website has now become part information center and part service center for various assistance programs offered in the housing market,” said the company rep.

The Home Solutions Fla website is continuing to present updated content written by company professionals to supply the public with a useful resource. Among new website sections, a blog has been established at http://homesolutionsfla.com/blog.

About HomeSolutionsFla.com

The HomeSolutionsFla.com company is one national real estate company offering different services for buyers, investors or owners of properties. The company is proudly served in the state of Florida by housing professionals daily. The HomeSolutionsFla.com website can be one resource that is used to review different selling, buying and investing strategies involved in the real estate market. Content is now distributed nationally through the active housing blog online.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/stop-foreclosure-in/boca-raton-fl-program/prweb11894495.htm

Article source: http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2014/05/28/stop-foreclosure-boca-raton-program-launched-real-estate-company-online

Foreclosure assistance available for Long Island

— The state is sending experts to Long Island to assist homeowners facing foreclosures.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday representatives of the Department of Financial Services will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday at the West Babylon Public Library and again next Friday at the Brentwood Public Library.

Homeowners seeking help should bring records of mortgage payments and correspondence with their lenders.

Cuomo launched the foreclosure prevention program in 2012 to visit locations throughout the state with higher rates of foreclosure.

State representatives may help homeowners apply for mortgage modifications or assist them in communicating with their mortgage lenders.

Homeowners statewide can call the department’s foreclosure hotline at 1-800-342-3736.

Article source: http://www.adn.com/2014/05/29/3492704/foreclosure-assistance-available.html

April Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report |

By  //  May 30, 2014

<!–Daren Blomquist–>

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MEDIAN SALES PRICE INCREASED 11 PERCENT SINCE 2013

RESIDENTIAL-REPORT-580

The median sales price of U.S. residential properties – including both distressed and non-distressed sales – was $172,000 in April, an increase of 4 percent from the previous month and an increase of 11 percent from April 2013 – the biggest year-over-year increase since U.S. median prices bottomed out in March 2012.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — RealtyTrac’s April 2014 Residential Foreclosure Sales Report finds that U.S. residential properties – single family homes, condominiums and town homes – sold at an estimated annual pace of 5,213,793 in April, a decrease of less than 1 percent from March but an increase of 4 percent from April 2013.

The median sales price of U.S. residential properties – including both distressed and non-distressed sales – was $172,000 in April, an increase of 4 percent from the previous month and an increase of 11 percent from April 2013 – the biggest year-over-year increase since U.S. median prices bottomed out in March 2012.

Daren Blomquist

Daren Blomquist

“April home sales numbers are exhibiting the continued effects of low supply and still-strong demand that exist in many markets,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

“Annualized sales volume nationwide decreased on a monthly basis for the sixth consecutive month and the 4 percent annual increase in April was the lowest year-over-year increase so far this year.”

However, median home prices nationwide increased to the highest level since December 2008.

Since the recession ended in June 2009, median prices of residential property have surpassed pre-recession and recession levels (Jan 2005 through June 2009) in 53 counties, representing 19 percent of the 274 U.S. counties with a population of 200,000 or more where sufficient home price data is available.

New home price peaks were reached in the last two years in 28 counties, representing 10 percent of the total 274 counties analyzed, and seven counties reached new home price peaks in April 2014.

“U.S. median home prices have now increased 21 percent since hitting bottom in March 2012, although they are still 28 percent below their pre-recession peak of $237,537 in August 2006,” Blomquist says.

“There are a surprising number of markets, however, where median home prices have surpassed their previous peaks since the Great Recession ended in June 2009.”

Annualized sales volume in April decreased from a year ago in 13 states, including Florida, and the District of Columbia, along with 28 of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas.

New home price peaks were reached in the last two years in 28 counties, representing 10 percent of the total 274 counties analyzed, and seven counties reached new home price peaks in April 2014.

States with decreasing sales volume from a year ago included California (down 13 percent), Nevada (9 percent), Arizona (8 percent), Florida (2 percent), Maryland (1 percent), and Michigan (1 percent).

Major metro areas with decreasing sales volume from a year ago included Fresno, Calif., (down 23 percent), Boston (down 22 percent), Orlando (down 18 percent), San Francisco (down 16 percent), Los Angeles (down 14 percent), and Phoenix (down 12 percent).

MEDIAN HOME PRICES INCREASE 11 PERCENT FROM 2013

Nationwide median home prices in April increased 11 percent from a year ago – the biggest year-over-year increase since U.S. median residential property prices bottomed out in March 2012. April marked the 25th consecutive month where U.S. median prices increased on an annual basis.

Miami was the only Florida city to make RealtyTrac’s top 10 list for annual home price appreciate, with a year-to-year increase of 20 percent.

But home price appreciation continued to show signs of slowing in some of the fastest appreciating markets from a year ago. In Phoenix, for example, median sales prices for residential property increased 9 percent annually, down from 30 percent annual price appreciation in April 2013 and the lowest annual price appreciation for the city since March 2012.

In Jacksonville, Fla., median prices increased 4 percent annually in April, down from 17 percent annual price appreciation a year ago and the fourth consecutive month with single-digit annual price appreciation; in Tampa, median prices increased 5 percent annually in April, down from 19 percent annual price appreciation a year ago and the second consecutive month with single-digit home price appreciation.

Miami was the only Florida city to make RealtyTrac’s top 10 list for annual home price appreciate, with a year-to-year increase of 20 percent.

DISTRESSED AND SHORT SALES

Short sales and distressed sales – in foreclosure or bank-owned – accounted for 15.6 percent of all sales in April, down from 16.5 percent of all sales in March, and down from 17.2 percent of all sales in April 2013.

Metro areas with the highest share of combined short sales and distressed sales were Las Vegas (37.7 percent), Stockton, Calif., (33.3 percent), Modesto, Calif., (31.7 percent), Lakeland, Fla., (31.4 percent),Orlando, Fla. (29.3 percent), and Cleveland (27.8 percent).

SHORT SALES ACCOUNTED FOR 5.2 PERCENT OF SALES

Short sales nationwide accounted for 5.2 percent of all sales in April, down from 5.5 percent of all sales in March and down from 6.3 percent of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of short sales in April were Orlando, Fla., (14.8 percent), Lakeland, Fla., (14.5 percent), Tampa, Fla., (13.9 percent), Palm Bay, Fla., (13.2 percent), and Las Vegas (11.5 percent).

Sales at public foreclosure auctions accounted for 1.2 percent of all sales nationwide in April, down from 1.3 percent of all sales in March, but still up from 0.8 percent of all sales in April 2013.

Sales of bank-owned (REO) properties nationwide accounted for 9.2 percent of all sales in April, down from 9.7 percent of all sales in March, and down from 10 percent of all sales in April 2013.

Sales at public foreclosure auctions accounted for 1.2 percent of all sales nationwide in April, down from 1.3 percent of all sales in March, but still up from 0.8 percent of all sales in April 2013. Metros with the highest percentage of foreclosure auction sales in April included Lakeland, Fla., (5.0 percent), Orlando, Fla., (4.9 percent), Atlanta (3.6 percent), Miami (3.5 percent), Las Vegas (3.2 percent), and Jacksonville, Fla., (3.2 percent).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bobby Freeman

Bobby Freeman, a life-time resident of Brevard County, has been a top Realtor in the area for two decades. In his first year as an agent, Freeman received a Rising Star award from his Brokers. Since then he has achieved numerous sales awards and has recently been presented with the prestigious RE/MAX Hall of Fame Award.

Freeman, Jennifer McCoy and Nikki McCoy Freeman are family partners for RE/MAX Elite’s McCoy-Freeman Group. Together they have more than 30 years of extensive experience in all aspects of the real estate industry and have sold over $200 million.

Among McCoy-Freeman Group’s achievement are RE/MAX Hall of Fame, RE/MAX 100% Club, Certified Distressed Property Experts (CDPE), Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) and voted Best Realtor in Brevard County.

The group has been featured in many news publications including CNN Money Magazine, CNNMoney.com, WFTV 9 ABC News, Coastal Condo Living, Hot Retirement Towns Magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com.

For more information log on to BrevardRealtyConnection.com

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Article source: http://spacecoastdaily.com/2014/05/april-residential-foreclosure-sales-report/

US probes possible overcharging by banks on foreclosure fees


NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan is investigating at least five banks over whether they overcharged the government for expenses incurred during foreclosures on federally backed home loans, filings and interviews show.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc, PHH Corp, MetLife Inc, Santander Holdings USA Inc and Citizens Financial Group Inc, the U.S. unit of Royal Bank of Scotland, have all disclosed in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they’ve received subpoenas. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office is seeking information on claims on foreclosed loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to records reviewed by Reuters.

The subpoenas, coming years after the height of the foreclosure crisis, seek information about banks’ foreclosure-related expenses, which generally include court filings and posting or mailing legal notices.

“You’ve got a lot of people trying to clean up the servicing industry, but the truth is we are seeing the same servicing problems over and over,” said Ira Rheingold, director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates in Washington. “It was built into the model to charge as many fees as they could.”

At least one of the subpoenas sent to a bank specifically asks about expenses by New York law firms, one person familiar with the matter said.

The probe is being conducted pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, according to Citizens Financial, which on May 12 became the most recent bank to disclose receiving a subpoena. Passed in response to the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, the law has become a key tool of the Justice Department in pursuing cases against banks.

An earlier investigation by Bharara’s office of the improper approval of FHA-insured loans relied on FIRREA as well as another law, the False Claims Act, and resulted in $1.1 billion in settlements with JPMorgan Chase Co, Deutsche Bank AG, Citigroup Inc and Flagstar Bancorp. In another case being pursued under FIRREA, Bharara’s office has been seeking $2.1 billion from Bank of America Corp after a federal jury last year found it liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit to Fannie and Freddie.

About 10 percent of the loans serviced by large U.S. servicers between 2009 and 2012 were either delinquent or in foreclosure, according to industry publication Inside Mortgage Finance. The total amount of the loans is between $6 trillion and $7 trillion.

Representatives for Bharara, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees FHA, Fannie Mae, and Fannie and Freddie’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, declined comment. Freddie Mac spokesman Brad German said the company is aware of the investigation and “cooperating fully.”

PNC, Citizens, Santander, and MetLife declined comment. PHH didn’t respond to requests for comment.

PROBE OF LAW FIRMS

In their SEC disclosures, three banks said they received subpoenas in May 2013. While the disclosures do not provide much detail on the scope of the probe, two banks, PNC and MetLife, said federal authorities are looking at foreclosure-related costs incurred by law firms. MetLife said the Justice Department is looking at its supervision of those expenses.

Similar expenses are the subject of the separate probe by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who is examining whether at least five local law firms misrepresented costs on a foreclosure and ultimately passed them on to prospective purchasers, investors, and taxpayers, in violation of Colorado consumer protection laws, according to court filings.

Foreclosures generally cost between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the state and type of foreclosure, with the bulk going to legal fees. Other expenses, including posting and mailing notices, court filing costs and title searches, add to the total bill.

The law firms under investigation in Colorado allegedly represented expenses that were much higher than their actual costs, in some cases by hundreds of dollars. One firm charged $150 for posting a notice on the door of a property in foreclosure, even though the market rate for that service was about $25, according to the allegations.

Another allegedly represented court filing costs between $42 and $224 more than it was actually paying.

Since October 2011, FHFA has directed Fannie and Freddie to require mortgage servicers to select law firms that meet certain criteria. Previously, the two companies, which together own or guarantee about 60 percent of all U.S. home loans, had directed servicers to use only lawyers that appeared on a list of firms approved by them.

(Editing by Caren Bohan and John Pickering)

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/29/us-usa-housing-investigation-insight-idUSKBN0E91RN20140529

Bank wants to foreclose on August Wilson Center if hotel deal isn’t done by … – Pittsburgh Post


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Dollar Bank wants to foreclose on the August Wilson Center for African American Culture if court-appointed conservator Judith Fitzgerald can’t conclude a deal with a New York developer to buy the Downtown building by June 30.

In a motion filed today, the bank said it has been left with no alternative to foreclosure because of claims by the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority that deed covenants restrict the use of the property.

“If the URA’s position with regard to use restrictions is correct, [Ms. Fitzgerald] cannot sell the property free and clear of use restrictions without the URA’s consent. In that instance, the URA’s refusal to give such consent eliminates any alternatives and thereby foreordains foreclosure,” the bank stated.

“If the URA’s position with regard to the use restrictions is incorrect, its refusal to consent nonetheless chills (or, indeed, destroys) the willingness or practical ability of any buyer to proceed to a prompt closing and the result is the same.”

The URA and the state Attorney General’s Office have been opposed to Ms. Fitzgerald’s efforts to sell the $40 million building to 980 Liberty Partners, which wants to build a 200-room luxury hotel on top of the structure. The URA claims the sale would violate deed covenants that require the building to be used as an African American cultural center. It also says that modifications to the structure cannot be made without its consent.

Dollar Bank has been funding insurance, utility, security and other costs at the building since it moved to foreclose last year after the center defaulted on its $7 million mortgage. It intends to stop doing that once a stay ordered on the foreclosure expires June 30. It has asked Judge Lawrence O’Toole of Allegheny County Common Pleas Orphans’ Court to schedule a hearing on the appointment of a contractual receiver for July 1 to allow the foreclosure to proceed.

In its motion, the bank said it remains supportive of Ms. Fitzgerald’s efforts to sell the building to 980 Liberty Partners, but added that the URA’s objections “leave no doubt as to its intention to impede any sale except on the URA’s terms.”

The 980 Liberty Partners bid, at $9.5 million, would pay off the mortgage and other debts. The URA and state attorney general favor a $5 million bid by the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Dollar stated that under law, Ms. Fitzgerald must get enough for the property to satisfy the $7 million mortgage.

Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.

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Article source: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/05/29/Bank-wants-to-foreclose-on-August-Wilson-Center-if-hotel-deal-isn-t-done-by-June-30/stories/201405290266

Jailed bank executive fails to stop Suffolk branch’s sale – The Virginian

A former Bank of the Commonwealth branch in Suffolk was auctioned Thursday morning despite protests from its now former owner, Troy Brandon Woodard.

Woodard, who was convicted with his father last May in a fraud scheme that led to the bank’s collapse, is so confident that he will win his appeal that he should have been able to keep his bank branch, according to court documents his lawyer filed.

The building at 221 Western Ave. is now a Southern Bank Trust branch. Southern took over Bank of the Commonwealth’s operations when it failed in the fall of 2011.

Brandon Woodard, as he is known, was given the bank branch by his father, former bank President and CEO Edward J. Woodard Jr., with the approval of the bank’s Board of Directors. The son also owned another branch in North Carolina.

Under the company name Suffolk One LLC, Brandon Woodard obtained a $525,000 loan in 2008 from Farmers Bank to have the Suffolk branch built. Bank of the Commonwealth paid him $45,700 a year in lease payments.

According to court papers, he made his last payment to Farmers on May 3, 2012, two months before he was indicted.

Woodard is serving an eight-year prison term and is housed at the federal penitentiary in Butner, N.C.

Farmers foreclosed on the Suffolk branch, as well as on the Powells Pointe, N.C., branch that Woodard also owned and received lease payments on until the bank failed. He also had a $1.1 million loan from Farmers for that branch.

He owed about $900,000 on the combined loans. On Thursday, Southern bid $1.1 million to take ownership. Farmers will be paid $900,000, and the rest will go to the federal government to satisfy a $4.3 million forfeiture order.

Woodard, who was vice president and a mortgage loan specialist for a bank subsidiary, was convicted of defrauding the bank by taking commissions for loans he did not generate and for taking money under the table from other co-conspirators.

He also was convicted of taking $81,000 in bank money for his personal use when it was supposed to be used to build the Suffolk branch.

His attorney tried to stop Thursday’s foreclosure.

“Woodard argues that he has a likelihood of a successful appeal. Woodard submits that his appeal is not disingenuous or frivolous,” the attorney, J. Brian Donnelly, wrote to U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.

The bank branch, he continued, “represents the only realistic opportunity to resume his livelihood if his appeal succeeds.”

Farmers and Southern argued that Woodard has no right to try to stop the foreclosure in federal court. Jackson had already upheld the forfeiture, and a state court judge upheld the foreclosure sale.

William D. Bayliss, a Richmond attorney who represents Farmers, said Woodard can make his argument with the federal appeals court.

“Suffolk One has the right to appeal, but it doesn’t stop the auction,” he said.

“It’s sad. It’s where it should be now,” he said of the branch’s sale to Southern.

In a letter Woodard wrote to his attorney that was filed in the appeals court, he was concerned that his property would be sold. He strongly urged Donnelly to fight for him.

“If it is not done and I lose the property as a result of the forfeiture and I prevail on appeal concerning forfeiture, the loss of the property will then make you personally liable,” he wrote in the letter.

Donnelly declined to comment.

Neither Jackson nor the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled on the motion when the auction occurred.

Tim McGlone, 757-446-2343, tim.mcglone@pilotonline.com

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Posted to: Bank of the Commonwealth Crime News Norfolk


Article source: http://hamptonroads.com/2014/05/jailed-bank-executive-fails-stop-suffolk-branchs-sale

Bankruptcy Attorney in St. Louis Offers Stop Foreclosure Assistance


Bankruptcy Attorney in St. Louis Offers Stop Foreclosure Assistance

Known as a smart, caring firm, and one that works directly with its clients, Bublitz Baro LLC understands how easily it can be to feel overwhelmed when facing the loss of such a big investment as a home. The lawyers help clients focus on practical solutions that, in effect, work to calm anxieties and feelings of drowning in debt and worry. There is no judgment about any client’s financial state and the lawyers are confident that there is a solution to fit every kind of financial problem.

“If you are behind on your mortgage and fighting to catch up to current payments, the worry of foreclosure is probably lingering in your mind. When you receive the foreclosure notice in St. Louis, don’t panic. The first thing that you should do is contact us to obtain all the information you need to stop foreclosure. There are many options available to you, such as filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This will stop the foreclosure action and allow you to keep your St. Louis home. Just contact us at Bublitz Baro LLC. We have successfully assisted many clients who needed to stop foreclosure,” says Steven Bublitz.

The firm’s bankruptcy lawyer takes clients through each step and discusses the outcomes of each option, in order for clients to make the most educated choices. Anyone who wants more information on legal financial assistance should call (314) 685-8539 to learn more about how they may begin to be helped right away.  

For more information and to schedule a free consultation on foreclosures or repossessions, call Bublitz Baro LLC at (314) 685-8539. The firm has helped numerous clients in foreclosure cases throughout: St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, Lincoln County, Warren County and the surrounding areas in Eastern Missouri.

Media Contact
Company Name: Bublitz Baro LLC
Contact Person: Steven Bublitz
Email: Send Email
Phone: (314)831-2277
Address:113 Howdershell Road
City: Florissant
State: MO
Country: United States
Website: http://www.bankruptcylawyer-stlouis.com

Source: www.abnewswire.com

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Article source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1949998

HOA nightmare: Family Faces Foreclosure

HOA eviction

HOA eviction

Jesus and Lucy Olais sit at the dining table in the house they are losing in an HOA foreclosure. Behind them are their children, Jesus, 6, left; Camilla, 2; and Stephanie, 15, in the front row; Emelyn, 17, and Valeria, 12, behind them; and Carlos, 20, in back.



Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:10 am

HOA nightmare: Family Faces Foreclosure

By SUSAN RANDALL,

Casa Grande Dispatch

Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc.

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Jesus and Lucy Olais thought they and their six children had survived the recession without losing their home — a seven-bedroom house they had purchased in her father’s name in 2006. 

Jesus, a commercial painter, was making good money then, but the housing market crashed; his hourly rate and hours were cut in 2008. He was laid off in 2009 and rehired in 2013. Bank of America restructured their mortgage, and the family caught up on its mortgage payments.

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      Thursday, May 29, 2014 8:10 am.

      Article source: http://www.trivalleycentral.com/casa_grande_dispatch/area_news/hoa-nightmare-family-faces-foreclosure/article_5515edf6-e743-11e3-968e-001a4bcf887a.html

      Grants will help Nebraskans prevent foreclosure – Omaha World

      Money Talks

      In the Money Talks blog, The World-Herald shares the latest in Nebraska business and development, with behind-the-scenes notes from our Money team. Read more and join the conversation.

      Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 4:15 pm

      Grants will help Nebraskans prevent foreclosure

      By Cindy Gonzalez

      The Omaha World-Herald

      Nearly $100,000 will go to two Omaha-based housing counseling agencies to help Nebraskans with housing needs and to prevent home foreclosures.

      Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have been awarded to Credit Advisors Foundation, $78,576, and to Family Housing Advisory Services, $17,234.

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          Tuesday, May 27, 2014 4:15 pm.

          Article source: http://www.omaha.com/money/blog/grants-will-help-nebraskans-prevent-foreclosure/article_319beafc-e5e4-11e3-a792-001a4bcf6878.html

          Wayne County adds June auction to massive tax foreclosed property sale noted …

          A Detroit property up for grabs on the 2013 Wayne County tax foreclosure auction. 

          MACKINAC ISLAND, MI – The Wayne County Treasurer’s office has added a June installment to its annual auctions of tax-foreclosed properties.

          The auction, which featured nearly 20,000 properties in 2013, has been among the largest of its kind in the world. Just 557 properties will be up for bid in the June auction.

          According to an email sent from Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz’s office, registration for the auction takes place June 9 to 18. Online bidding will be from June 20 to 26. Deputy Treasurer Dave Szymanski could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

          For the latest auction, the county has raised the minimum deposit from $500 to $2,000 for single properties. The deposit is $5,000 for bidders of multiple properties. The county said a $25,000 deposit may be required for a “premium property.” Minimum bids range from $500 to $2,000.

          The county said it still plans its annual auctions in September and October this year as well. In the first round of the 2013 tax foreclosure auction, when the minimum bid was the back taxes owed on the property, only about 800 properties were sold. Then, in the second round last October, in which the minimum bid was just $500, more than 8,000 properties were sold.

          The sheer breadth of the county’s tax foreclosure auction was addressed by the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force in a report it released Tuesday. The report says last year’s county auction sold 9,143 properties for about $32 million, which still left a $182 million gap in uncollected taxes.

          The task force, which seeks to help mitigate the city’s some 70,000 empty and crumbling properties, called the county tax auction a last ditch effort to get some of the revenue, and said that “the confluence of the 2008 financial crisis, some of the highest property taxes in the country, and Detroit’s descent into bankruptcy have further eroded payment of taxes.”

          About 76,000 properties throughout Detroit are subject to tax foreclosure, and another 42,000 properties are tax distressed, the report says.

          “Combined, these 118,000 properties owe more than $500 million in unpaid property taxes,” it states. “These properties are in addition to the more than 84,000 Detroit properties to which various public entities already hold title as a result of tax foreclosure.”

          In noting that fewer than half of Detroit property owners are currently paying taxes, the report makes a series of recommendations (which can be seen here), such as property tax reform and a “level playing field” for property assessments over the next two years.

          It says the 18 percent interest penalized on unpaid taxes should be lowered to six percent. It also notes state legislation that would discourage predatory purchases of tax-foreclosed property. The low minimum bid for properties in the county auction – just $500 – allows speculators to buy back properties they may have bought three years prior and never paid taxes on – thus getting it back for as little as $500, or whatever the property sells for in the auction, despite thousands of dollars in back taxes owed.

          Proposed legislation, state bill 0295, prevents bidders with unpaid fines from being able to bid on properties. “This legislation should be supported, with appropriate provisions to close loopholes made possible by the fact that most property owners own their properties in distinct single-purpose entities over which they retain complete control,” the report says. “At the same time, the legislation should not inadvertently ensnare legitimate homeowners who have lost their primary residences due to unpaid property taxes, and are now trying to buy another home as their primary residence.”

          David Muller is the business reporter for MLive Media Group in Detroit. Email him at dmuller@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter

          Article source: http://www.mlive.com/business/detroit/index.ssf/2014/05/wayne_county_adds_june_auction.html