Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Technorati button
Reddit button
Myspace button
Linkedin button
Webonews button
Delicious button
Digg button
Flickr button
Stumbleupon button
Newsvine button

CVS deal for Aetna could help retailer face Amazon entry, analysts say

CVS Health Corp.’s move to buy health insurer Aetna Inc. could shore-up CVS’ vulnerable pharmacy business and spur another round of dealmaking in an industry fearing Amazon’s arrival, analysts said.

Shares of Aetna, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, closed down 3 percent on Friday after closing 12 percent higher on Thursday on reports of the deal. CVS Health was down 5.9 percent.

CVS Health has made an offer to acquire Aetna for more than $200 per share, or over $66 billion, making it the biggest deal of the year.

“A potential combination would diversify CVS profit streams ahead of an Amazon entry and set the stage for a new health-care-retail delivery model,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note.

Amazon.com Inc. is planning to move into online prescription drug sales, multiple media reports have said, potentially posing an existential threat to brick-and-mortar pharmacies.

That possibility has hit shares of most drugstore operators on fears that the online retailer would leverage its vast e-commerce platform in prescription drug sales.

“We believe CVS does need to respond to the potential threat and strike a different path,” Cowen Co. analyst Charles Rhyee said in a note.

A deal would make CVS-Aetna a one-stop shop for customers’ health care needs — ranging from employer health care and government plans to managing benefits and running drug stores.

The vertical integration of retail pharmacy, PBM, and insurers fits with broader health care themes of expanded access, consumerism and cost reduction, Jefferies analysts said, adding that the deal chatter was not a complete surprise.

“It would address each company’s need for a fresh script.”

The deal between companies in two very concentrated industries will likely prompt concern about their rivals having an access to market, or foreclosure, two antitrust expert said.

But the deal will likely win approval from antitrust enforcers because the two companies are in different businesses along the same supply chain, or a vertical merger, other experts said.

“I don’t doubt that there will be a lot of people that will be concerned about such a huge deal,” said Andre Barlow of the law firm Doyle, Barlow and Mazard. “But articulating an antitrust theory (to stop it) is difficult.”

The two companies overlap in at least one area — providing Medicare Part D pharmacy prescription drug coverage. Analysts at Evercore ISI estimated that 23 percent of Aetna’s Part D clients were in counties where there may be antitrust concerns but these could likely be remedied through asset sales.

Some analysts said the deal could also trigger a wave of consolidation across the industry.

It could be a possible catalyst for higher health insurance sector valuation, BMO Capital Markets analyst Matt Bosch said, adding that WellCare Health Plans, Humana and Centene could be possible acquisition targets.

Aetna earlier this year scrapped plans to merge with rival Humana after antitrust enforcers said that the combination and a rival deal between Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. were anti-competitive.

Article source: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/cvs-deal-for-aetna-could-help-retailer-face-amazon-entry/article_6f98ae7b-be8e-5915-9d0f-38acb2e24b93.html

House tied to 1692 Salem witch trials rises from near ruin

A yearslong effort to restore the ramshackle Massachusetts homestead where a woman accused of witchcraft during the 1692 Salem witch trials resettled after escaping the hangman’s noose is nearing an end.

A $1.5 million renovation project at the Peter and Sarah Clayes House in Framingham is expected to be completed in the spring.

“This is an amazing piece of national history, and it was just falling apart,” said Annie Murphy, executive director of the Framingham History Center and a member of the Sarah Clayes House Trust, formed several years ago to save the structure. In addition to its connection to the witch trials, the house is thought to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad and once housed Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s son when he lived nearby.

The home on Salem End Road was privately owned until it was essentially abandoned after a foreclosure around 2000.

It fell into disrepair. Vandals smashed the windows and defaced the interior. The paint peeled, the woodwork rotted and waist-high weeds grew in the yard. Local kids who used the building as a party spot called it the “witch house.”

Sarah Clayes, whose last name is sometimes spelled Cloyce, was jailed during the witch trials, which claimed the lives of 20 people, including her sisters Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty. She was freed in 1693 when the government realized the lunacy of killing innocents over unsubstantiated accusations.

Sarah and Peter Clayes, as well as about 50 members of their extended family, got out of town.

“They wanted to get away from Salem, clearly, as a lot of people did,” said Emerson Baker, a Salem State University history professor and witch trials expert who’s not involved with the effort to preserve the house.

One of the judges during the trials was Thomas Danforth, a former deputy governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who owned land about 35 miles (55 kilometers) southwest of Salem.

“We assume Danforth took pity on Peter and Sarah and offered them the land,” Baker said. Many of the Salem refugees became pillars of the town that in 1700 was incorporated as Framingham.

Probably the only thing remaining — if anything — of the original 1693 house is the rough-hewn stone foundation, Murphy said. But 17th century maps of the area clearly show the Clayes house at the exact location. The house that still stands dates to 1776.

One of the trust’s first tasks was to figure out who held the mortgage, which during the financial crisis was sold so many times that nobody could figure out who held it.

Attorney and trust member Stephen Meltzer helped trace it to Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co. Goldman Sachs bought the house at auction in 2015 and donated it to the nonprofit Land Conservation and Advocacy Trust, founded to provide legal assistance to help preserve historic places.

The renovations are being financed by several members of the Sarah Clayes House Trust and supervised by Ned Murphy of E.J. Murphy Co., who has decades of experience restoring historic homes.

The project has been one of the most challenging of his career. So much of the woodwork has rotted that the house sagged and one of his first jobs was to hoist it several inches. The house was expanded several times over the centuries using different construction methods and materials.

“Part of the challenge is just the strangeness of the construction,” said Murphy, Annie Murphy’s husband.

When the renovations are complete, the home will be sold to a private buyer, who under preservation laws won’t be allowed to make substantial changes and will also have to open the house for tours one day a year.

Despite the preservation restrictions, Annie Murphy doesn’t anticipate any problems finding a buyer.

“Anybody who buys this house is going to have to love history and they’re not going to want to change anything,” she said.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/house-tied-1692-salem-witch-trials-rises-ruin-50798994

In a Mortgage-Crisis Settlement, Did a Bank Get Off Easy? – The …

An answer to that question emerges in a new report compiled by the independent monitor hired to scrutinize how Credit Suisse was living up to the terms of the deal. Put simply, some of the settlement’s terms — those involving consumer assistance — were easier on Credit Suisse than aggrieved investors and borrowers may have wanted.

The settlement terms relating to consumer relief are complex. They allow the bank to earn credit toward the $2.8 billion in consumer help by modifying troubled borrowers’ loans. How much credit is earned by the bank depends upon the types of modifications it gives to borrowers.

One of the monitor’s tasks is to ensure that Credit Suisse receives only the credit that it has truly earned under the deal. This is no small task. Under previous settlements, for example, some banks received credit for forgiving loans that had already been discharged in bankruptcy.

Neil M. Barofsky, a partner at Jenner Block, is the Credit Suisse monitor. You might recall Mr. Barofsky from his stint as the first special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which administered assistance to beleaguered banks, homeowners and other entities after the 2008 crisis.

Mr. Barofsky declined to comment on the report, which looks at the first six months of the bank’s loan modification and forgiveness efforts. (A later report will focus on the bank’s financing of affordable housing.)

Nicole Sharp, a Credit Suisse spokeswoman, said in a statement, “As the report highlights, Credit Suisse has taken a number of positive steps since our settlement with the Department of Justice.” She said the bank was moving “to put this legacy matter behind it, while also protecting the interests of its clients, employees and other stakeholders.”

Photo

In its settlement with the Justice Department, Credit Suisse agreed to provide $2.8 billion worth of financial relief to troubled borrowers.

Credit
Steffen Schmidt/European Pressphoto Agency

So far, Credit Suisse is working diligently on the consumer relief aspect of the settlement, the report said. It is meeting the deal’s requirements through its loan servicing unit, Select Portfolio Servicing, or SPS. There is no doubt that the bank’s efforts are helping distressed borrowers and will continue to.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

Nevertheless, a close reading of the 118-page analysis does raise questions about just how tough this settlement really was. Indeed, the report highlights the significant benefits Credit Suisse received under provisions in a deal that prosecutors said would hold the bank accountable.

For example, Credit Suisse can earn consumer relief credit for actions it would likely have taken anyway, the report noted. More troubling, most of the loans Select Portfolio Servicing will modify — and Credit Suisse will receive credit for — are owned by others. They are investors in mortgage-backed securities or rival financial institutions. “Nearly all of the loan modifications SPS will complete for credit will be performed on loans owned by third parties, and to the extent those modifications result in any loss, it will be borne by the owner of the loan, and not Credit Suisse,” the report noted.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

Allowing the bank to forgive loans it does not own, which the Credit Suisse settlement specifically does, puts the bank in a position to benefit from others’ losses.

Here are the details. According to the analysis, Credit Suisse’s current focus is to modify troubled loans, allowing borrowers to pay less than is currently owed on their mortgages or to defer payments on a portion of the principal outstanding. Both arrangements help borrowers stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure. That was a primary goal of the settlement, and it was a good one.

The bank has agreed to try to satisfy its consumer relief obligation by Dec. 31, 2020.

When Credit Suisse forgives principal on a borrower’s mortgage, modifying the loan by reducing the amount owed, the bank receives a dollar-for-dollar credit, the report noted. In other words, for every dollar of principal forgiven in a modification, Credit Suisse receives at least $1 of credit toward the $2.8 billion in consumer relief.

But Credit Suisse can also earn more than $1 in credit when a loan modification satisfies certain other criteria.

Many troubled borrowers, especially those who bought their homes at the height of the real estate bubble, owe more on their mortgages than their properties are currently worth. Such borrowers are upside down on their mortgages; they have negative equity in their homes.

To help borrowers like these, the settlement assigns extra credit to Credit Suisse when it forgives enough principal on a loan to put the borrower in a positive equity position. The bank can earn additional credit up to $1.25 per dollar of forgiveness granted in certain cases.

The report is meaningful because it goes into scrupulous detail about how the Credit Suisse deal is working. This lets readers draw their own conclusions about how assiduously the settlement actually held the bank to account.

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

After the 2008 debacle, prosecutors have been criticized for failing to pursue criminal prosecutions of large and powerful financial institutions. In response, they have pointed to billion-dollar settlements with banks, like the one with Credit Suisse, as evidence that they are aggressive in their demands for accountability.

But letting a bank receive credit for principal forgiveness that others are actually providing is a flaw in this settlement. Allowing it to meet its obligations with actions it would have taken anyway is another lapse.

Credit Suisse is living up to the terms of the $5.28 billion settlement agreement. That’s to the good. But the nature of the agreement could have been stronger. And that’s too bad.


Continue reading the main story

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/27/business/credit-suisse-mortgage.html

Hurricane Sandy continues to haunt NJ residents 5 years later

To help residents pay for the damage to their primary homes using federal Sandy aid funds, New Jersey established the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program.

Of the 15,000 people who applied for the grants, 7,500 were deemed eligible to receive them.

From the start, residents were plagued with headaches and frustration, complaining that the process was too slow. Some were turned down when they shouldn’t have been. Some were put on a long waiting list, leaving them in limbo and further delaying their repairs.

Five years after the storm, some 1,200 property owners were still moving through the RREM process, according to the state Department of Community Affairs, which oversees the program. Lisa Ryan, a spokeswoman for the department, said 900 of those still not home say they expect to return next year.    

Article source: http://www.nj.com/ocean/index.ssf/2017/10/the_fallout_from_hurricane_sandy_5_years_later.html

REGISTER’S REPORT: Sales stable, mortgages and foreclosures down

Last year at this time we reported that both sales and mortgages were on the rise. A year later the sales numbers remain strong while the mortgage activity has slowed.

Last year at this time we reported that both sales and mortgages were on the rise. A year later the sales numbers remain strong while the mortgage activity has slowed. Plymouth County Register of Deeds John R. Buckley Jr. reported 1,000 sales in September, bringing the total through the third quarter of 2017 to 8,245. “September is the fourth consecutive month during which we closed 1,000 or more sales,” Register Buckley said. Overall Plymouth County showed a 3 percent increase in sales numbers over the 8,018 deeds recorded at this point in 2016.

The average sale price has remained fairly stable, with the year-to-date average rising 4 percent compared to September, 2016. The average sale price is $386,816 through the third quarter compared to $371,249 through the third quarter of 2016. “These are positive signs for the market,” Buckley added.

Refinances have slowed as seen in the mortgage numbers. Plymouth County recorded 1,894 mortgages in September, bringing the year-to-date total to 15,704. By way of comparison, Plymouth County recorded 17,443 mortgages during the first three quarters of 2016, and 2,229 during last September. “Increasing rates and perhaps saturation of the market have played a role in the reductions in the volume of mortgages,” Buckley said. “The 10 percent decrease is noteworthy, but it may well be a sign of where the market is going.”

The continued reductions in foreclosures remains a positive indicator for the health of the overall real estate market. “We are down 6 percent from the number of foreclosure deeds we recorded in 2016,” Buckley explained. Five hundred sixteen foreclosure deeds were recorded in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to 550 foreclosure deeds recorded in the first three quarters of 2016.

“Given the decrease in foreclosures and the even larger decrease in foreclosure notices which represent the first step in the foreclosure process, I believe that we will see fewer foreclosures in 2017 than we saw last year,” Buckley said.

The downward trend seen in the number of foreclosure deeds is even more pronounced in the number of foreclosure notices, recorded at the Registry. Plymouth County recorded only 43 foreclosure notices in September, which represents the lowest number in over two years. The year to date numbers show a similar decline. For the first three quarters of 2017, Plymouth County recorded 672 foreclosure notices compared to 1,037 recorded in 2016, a 35 percent drop. “We will continue to monitor the trends in foreclosures. Certainly for the past year, the trend is a good one,” Buckley said.

As part of our ongoing effort to share with the public some of America’s oldest records, on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28, the Registry will display the original Plymouth Colony record describing a real estate transaction wherein property was “sold to Mr. Willett Mr. Allertons house att Plymouth att the rate of…” seven pounds. This same property subsequently became the first courthouse in our country. Deeds, Vol. II, Part I, p. 32. The Plymouth Colony Records, Storage and Reading Room is located on the second floor of the Plymouth County Registry building at 50 Obery St., Plymouth. Call Lorna Green-Baker at 508-830-9290 for further information.

 

Real estate activity through September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016

All figures are based on sales or mortgages between $25,000 and $3 million

2017 sales volume: 8,245

2016 sales volume: 8,018

(3 percent increase)

2017 total sales value: $3,189,295,779

2016 total sales value: $2,976,673,211

(7percent increase)

2017 average sales price: $386,816

2016 average sales price: $371,249

(4 percent increase)

2017 mortgage volume: 15,704

2016 mortgage volume: 17,443

(10 percent decrease)

2017 average mortgage amount: $279,923

2016 average mortgage amount: $275,458

(2 percent increase)

2017 foreclosure deeds: 516

2016 foreclosure deeds: 550

(6 percent decrease)

2017 foreclosure notices: 672

2016 foreclosure notices: 1,037

(35 percent decrease)

Article source: http://georgetown.wickedlocal.com/news/20171027/registers-report-sales-stable-mortgages-and-foreclosures-down

CVS deal for Aetna could help retailer face Amazon entry: analysts

(Reuters) – U.S. pharmacy operator CVS Health Corp’s (CVS.N) move to buy health insurer Aetna Inc (AET.N) could shore-up CVS’ vulnerable pharmacy business and spur another round of dealmaking in an industry fearing Amazon’s arrival, analysts said.

Shares of Aetna, the third-largest U.S. health insurer, closed down 3 percent on Friday after closing 12 percent higher on Thursday on reports of the deal. CVS Health was down 5.9 percent.

CVS Health has made an offer to acquire Aetna for more than $200 per share, or over $66 billion, making it the biggest deal of the year. [nL2N1N12JO]

“A potential combination would diversify CVS profit streams ahead of an Amazon entry and set the stage for a new healthcare-retail delivery model,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note.

Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is planning to move into online prescription drug sales, multiple media reports have said, potentially posing an existential threat to brick-and-mortar pharmacies.

That possibility has hit shares of most drugstore operators on fears that the online retailer would leverage its vast ecommerce platform in prescription drug sales.

“We believe CVS does need to respond to the potential threat and strike a different path,” Cowen Co analyst Charles Rhyee said in a note.

A deal would make CVS-Aetna a one-stop shop for customers’ health care needs – ranging from employer healthcare and government plans to managing benefits and running drug stores.

The vertical integration of retail pharmacy, PBM, and insurers fits with broader healthcare themes of expanded access, consumerism and cost reduction, Jefferies analysts said, adding that the deal chatter was not a complete surprise.

“It would address each company’s need for a fresh script.”

The deal between companies in two very concentrated industries will likely prompt concern about their rivals having an access to market, or foreclosure, two antitrust expert said.

But the deal will likely win approval from antitrust enforcers because the two companies are in different businesses along the same supply chain, or a vertical merger, other experts said.

“I don’t doubt that there will be a lot of people that will be concerned about such a huge deal,” said Andre Barlow of the law firm Doyle, Barlow and Mazard. “But articulating an antitrust theory (to stop it) is difficult.”

The two companies overlap in at least one area – providing Medicare Part D pharmacy prescription drug coverage. Analysts at Evercore ISI estimated that 23 percent of Aetna’s Part D clients were in counties where there may be antitrust concerns but these could likely be remedied through asset sales.

Some analysts said the deal could also trigger a wave of consolidation across the industry.

It could be a possible catalyst for higher health insurance sector valuation, BMO Capital Markets analyst Matt Bosch said, adding that WellCare Health Plans (WCG.N), Humana (HUM.N) and Centene (CNC.N) could be possible acquisition targets.

Aetna earlier this year scrapped plans to merge with rival Humana after antitrust enforcers said that the combination and a rival deal between Anthem Inc (ANTM.N) and Cigna Corp (CI.N) were anti-competitive.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Carl O’Donnell in New York; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Cynthia Osterman

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-aetna-m-a-cvs-health-research/cvs-deal-for-aetna-could-help-retailer-face-amazon-entry-analysts-idUSKBN1CW1YC?il=0

Quicken Loans donates funds to get 80 Detroit homes out of …

  • Initiative aims to fight blight in city neighborhoods
  • Renters given opportunity to buy homes at current value
  • Funds from each sale will go toward future tax foreclosure prevention efforts

Quicken Loans Inc. has donated $300,000 to get 80 Detroit homes out of tax foreclosure and resell them to the people who were renting them from delinquent owners.

The moves will keep the renters in their homes, allow them to become homeowners and build equity as the city’s housing market comes back.

Existing renters will have the opportunity to buy the homes for $2,500-$5,500, with the price determined according to the value of each home. The loans will be interest-free and paid back over six months.

Funds from each home sale will go back to fiduciary United Community Housing Coalition at a break-even rate to be used to expand tax foreclosure prevention efforts.

“Keeping longtime residents in their homes is critical for Detroit’s stability and growth,” Laura Grannemann, vice president of strategic investments for the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund, said in a statement.

“One step toward that goal is creating pathways to sustainable homeownership and occupancy in order to prevent future blight and build equity in our neighborhoods.”

Since beginning a partnership with the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force in 2013, the fund said it has zeroed in on tax foreclosure as the No. 1 driver of blight creation.

The Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund began working on the effort with United Community Housing Coalition in May.

The two organizations contacted the owners of 3,300 Detroit homes facing tax foreclosure who had not applied for a payment plan with Wayne County. They were able to help 2,100 of those homes avoid tax foreclosure by aiding them in applying for payment plans with the city or the poverty tax exemption program. 

Renters were then contacted to gauge their interest in purchasing the home they were renting. The group of 80 emerged as potential homeowners by demonstrating their willingness and ability to assume the cost of purchasing the home and that they had no outstanding warrants for their arrest and by passing an inspection by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Quicken said.

The program builds on other projects Quicken Loans has supported to enable Detroiters to build equity in their neighborhoods, namely:

  • Rehabbed Ready, a program Quicken Loans funded with a $5 million investment to rehab publicly owned homes with the Detroit Land Bank Authority in order to boost home values in neighborhoods and increase access to financing.
  • An agreement Bedrock Detroit LLC, a member of the Quicken Loans family of companies, signed with the city of Detroit, committing to dedicate 20 percent of its residential portfolio to affordable housing.
  • Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert co-chairing the Blight Removal Task Force aimed at increasing public access to blight data, advocating for Hardest Hit Funds and bringing organizations together to address blight in Detroit.

Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund expects to contribute $17 million this year. Most of that is in the company’s hometown of Detroit, with other grants made in Cleveland, Phoenix and Charlotte where Quicken Loans and other companies owned by Gilbert operate.

Article source: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20171003/news/641086/quicken-loans-donates-funds-to-get-80-detroit-homes-out-of-foreclosure

Financial firm seeks foreclosure on California Palms property

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

A Connecticut-based financial firm filed a lawsuit seeking foreclosure on the California Palms property in Austintown that is being used as an addiction recovery center for veterans.

California Palms owes Cedar Hill nearly $2.3 million, according to the filing.

The sum originated in a $2 million loan with the California Palms property as collateral, and California Palms failed to make required monthly interest payments in December 2016, the filing said.

The parties reached an agreement, and California Palms again defaulted in March, according to the filing.

California Palms owner Sebastian Rucci acknowledged owing $2 million, but said the building is worth $11.6 million.

He intends to refinance the loan and said the addiction recovery campus is not in jeopardy.

Cedar Hill asked for a summary judgment in the case, and a hearing is scheduled with Magistrate Daniel P. Dascenzo to determine the matter Nov. 27.

Rucci said he is confident he will be able to obtain a new loan and settle the lawsuit before a hearing.

The California Palms recovery center was formerly a hotel.

Article source: http://www.vindy.com/news/2017/oct/28/firm-seeks-foreclosure-on-california-pal/

‘Zombie’ foreclosures drop in Greensboro, still scarier than other … – Winston

GREENSBORO

There’s a handful of zombies out there threatening to wreck your neighborhood or at least create a frightful landscaping nightmare next door.

But their numbers are dwindling.

In the Greensboro-High Point metro area this Halloween fewer unoccupied, unfortunate homes are haunting the streets than in 2016 as the pace of home sales picks up and more people are conquering their fear of home ownership.

Still, in the third quarter, 27 houses sat in that undead place where banks have begun the foreclosure process and the owners have moved out, meaning there’s nobody around to mow the yard, clip the shrubbery or turn on the porch lights.

So-called “zombie foreclosures have dwindled dramatically over the last four years as a supply-starved housing market has soaked up even some of the most highly distressed properties,” said a new report by Attom Data Solutions, an Irvine, Calif., real estate research firm.

In Greensboro-High Point, fewer people are losing their homes to foreclosure, and fewer people are moving out of their houses while they await refinancing or look for somewhere else to live. Only 3.5 percent of all homes in the foreclosure process fall into that vacant “zombie” category. That’s a substantial drop from 2016, when the number of zombie foreclosures was 4.5 percent of all homes in foreclosure.

During the worst years of the real-estate recession, many homeowners gave up at the first sign that they couldn’t pay a mortgage and moved on before the bank even could take over a home. Now, with real estate values higher and banks more willing to refinance, there’s plenty of incentive for a homeowner to stick around waiting for a negotiated solution.

A homeowner who bails out and moves on before his home is repossessed or sold is still liable for taxes and other responsibilities that could further damage his credit beyond the hit from foreclosure.

Zombies are only part of the vacant-property picture. The hotter the market, the lower the vacancy rate.

In this national survey, for example, San Jose, Calif., the heart of Silicon Valley, had essentially no vacant residential units. That’s a hot market.

The overall number of vacant properties in this region strikes a middle ground that keeps homes available for buyers and makes the market a little bit better for sellers these days.

This region, which covers Guilford, Randolph and Rockingham counties, ranks 41st in the country for its residential property vacancy rate, with 5,224 vacant residential properties, or 2 percent of the nearly 261,000 residential properties.

Things are a little tighter in Winston-Salem, where only 1.85 percent of all residential properties are vacant.

Raleigh has the tightest vacancy rate among the state’s major markets — fewer than 1 percent of residential properties are vacant in that hot job market.

The scariest market for a seller right now might be Flint, Mich., where lead-poisoned-water woes are driving families to put up their homes for sale.

In that city, more than 10,000 residential homes were vacant, nearly 7 percent. Oddly, that scary market has only a few “zombie” properties — seven in the third quarter.

That suggests there may even be hope for cities such as Philadelphia, which is tipping toward the zombie apocalypse with more than 800 abandoned-but-not-foreclosed residences lurking on the streets.

Article source: http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/zombie-foreclosures-drop-in-greensboro-still-scarier-than-other-n/article_0deaccaf-5126-5a9e-b81e-d4f5e28b8091.html

REGISTER’S REPORT: Sales stable, mortgages and foreclosures down

Last year at this time we reported that both sales and mortgages were on the rise. A year later the sales numbers remain strong while the mortgage activity has slowed.

Last year at this time we reported that both sales and mortgages were on the rise. A year later the sales numbers remain strong while the mortgage activity has slowed. Plymouth County Register of Deeds John R. Buckley Jr. reported 1,000 sales in September, bringing the total through the third quarter of 2017 to 8,245. “September is the fourth consecutive month during which we closed 1,000 or more sales,” Register Buckley said. Overall Plymouth County showed a 3 percent increase in sales numbers over the 8,018 deeds recorded at this point in 2016.

The average sale price has remained fairly stable, with the year-to-date average rising 4 percent compared to September, 2016. The average sale price is $386,816 through the third quarter compared to $371,249 through the third quarter of 2016. “These are positive signs for the market,” Buckley added.

Refinances have slowed as seen in the mortgage numbers. Plymouth County recorded 1,894 mortgages in September, bringing the year-to-date total to 15,704. By way of comparison, Plymouth County recorded 17,443 mortgages during the first three quarters of 2016, and 2,229 during last September. “Increasing rates and perhaps saturation of the market have played a role in the reductions in the volume of mortgages,” Buckley said. “The 10 percent decrease is noteworthy, but it may well be a sign of where the market is going.”

The continued reductions in foreclosures remains a positive indicator for the health of the overall real estate market. “We are down 6 percent from the number of foreclosure deeds we recorded in 2016,” Buckley explained. Five hundred sixteen foreclosure deeds were recorded in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to 550 foreclosure deeds recorded in the first three quarters of 2016.

“Given the decrease in foreclosures and the even larger decrease in foreclosure notices which represent the first step in the foreclosure process, I believe that we will see fewer foreclosures in 2017 than we saw last year,” Buckley said.

The downward trend seen in the number of foreclosure deeds is even more pronounced in the number of foreclosure notices, recorded at the Registry. Plymouth County recorded only 43 foreclosure notices in September, which represents the lowest number in over two years. The year to date numbers show a similar decline. For the first three quarters of 2017, Plymouth County recorded 672 foreclosure notices compared to 1,037 recorded in 2016, a 35 percent drop. “We will continue to monitor the trends in foreclosures. Certainly for the past year, the trend is a good one,” Buckley said.

As part of our ongoing effort to share with the public some of America’s oldest records, on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28, the Registry will display the original Plymouth Colony record describing a real estate transaction wherein property was “sold to Mr. Willett Mr. Allertons house att Plymouth att the rate of…” seven pounds. This same property subsequently became the first courthouse in our country. Deeds, Vol. II, Part I, p. 32. The Plymouth Colony Records, Storage and Reading Room is located on the second floor of the Plymouth County Registry building at 50 Obery St., Plymouth. Call Lorna Green-Baker at 508-830-9290 for further information.

 

Real estate activity through September 2017 compared to the same period in 2016

All figures are based on sales or mortgages between $25,000 and $3 million

2017 sales volume: 8,245

2016 sales volume: 8,018

(3 percent increase)

2017 total sales value: $3,189,295,779

2016 total sales value: $2,976,673,211

(7percent increase)

2017 average sales price: $386,816

2016 average sales price: $371,249

(4 percent increase)

2017 mortgage volume: 15,704

2016 mortgage volume: 17,443

(10 percent decrease)

2017 average mortgage amount: $279,923

2016 average mortgage amount: $275,458

(2 percent increase)

2017 foreclosure deeds: 516

2016 foreclosure deeds: 550

(6 percent decrease)

2017 foreclosure notices: 672

2016 foreclosure notices: 1,037

(35 percent decrease)

Article source: http://walpole.wickedlocal.com/news/20171027/registers-report-sales-stable-mortgages-and-foreclosures-down