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HOPE NOW Reports 70K Mods in April, 59K Foreclosure Sales

Posted by on Aug 17, 2013 in Gov Mortgage Programs | 0 comments

Nearly 70,000 homeowners received permanent loan modifications in April, while foreclosure sales stood at 59,000 for the month, according to data from HOPE NOW, an alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers, and nonprofit counselors. Of the 70,000 modifications, about 58,000 were proprietary, or private, loan modifications, while about 12,000 were through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), HOPE NOW reported. In March, servicers provided over 88,000 modifications for homeowners. Since 2007, a total of 6.39 million homeowners have received permanent modifications. Completed short sales reached 27,000 in April—a slight adjustment from 28,000 in March. This brings the industry total for short sales since 2009 to 1.26 million. When combining loan modifications and short sales, HOPENOW reported over 7.6 million foreclosure prevention solutions have been applied since 2007. Meanwhile, foreclosure sales showed an increase from March to April, rising 14 percent to 59,000. Foreclosure starts were little changed at 115,000 in April compared to 116,000 in March. “HOPE NOW is proud of the efforts its members have made on behalf of the nation’s homeowners. While there is still work to be done in the housing market, significant progress has been made via loan modifications, short sales and other solutions,” said Eric Selk, executive director ofHOPE NOW, in a statement. HOPE NOW also announced upcoming face-to-face eventsit will be hosting this summer in Columbia, South Carolina; Birmingham Alabama; San Antonio, Texas; and San Bernardino, California. This article was posted...

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Loan Modifications Up from Year Ago in Q2; Foreclosure Starts Plummet

Posted by on Aug 15, 2013 in Economic News | 0 comments

Although the pace of loan modification activity slowed from the first to the second quarter this year, foreclosure starts saw an even greater quarterly decline, according to data from HOPE NOW, a private sector alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, mortgage insurers and nonprofit counselors. In the second quarter, servicers provided 204,000 loan modifications to distressed borrowers, down by about 16 percent from the prior quarter. However, loan modifications were still up 13 percent from a year ago. Short sales, another alternative to foreclosure, decreased 25 percent year-over-year to 81,000 in the second quarter. Meanwhile, foreclosures were initiated on 329,000 properties in the second quarter. The total for foreclosure starts represents a 30 percent decrease compared to the first quarter and a sharp 38 percent decline from last year. Foreclosure sales also slowed, dropping to 158,000 in the second quarter, down 2 percent from the first quarter and down 15 percent from the same quarter a year ago. HOPE NOW data continued to show a significant majority of completed modifications are through the private sector. Out of the 204,000 completed modifications in the second quarter, 160,000 were proprietary modifications, while 44,860 were completed under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Since 2007, about 6.52 million homeowners have received permanent loan modifications for homeowners, and about 5.31 million of those modifications were proprietary programs. The industry has also provided 1.32 million short sales since December 2009. This brings the total for non-foreclosure solutions to over 7.84 million. “In addition to the progress made via our solution data,HOPE NOW has sponsored over 140 face to face events in more than 70 markets nationwide and has been a driving force in bringing together all mortgage stakeholders in the interest of improving the nation’s housing market,” said Eric Selk, executive director of HOPE NOW. The original Article was posted...

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Home prices soar across Southern California

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Housing Prices News | 0 comments

Southland home prices are sizzling this summer. Prices in the Los Angeles metro area are up 19 percent from a year ago, according to a widely watched index released Tuesday. In the San Fernando Valley, the median price of a previously owned home soared a record 39 percent in May and cracked the half million mark again, a trade group said. And San Bernardino County’s median price jumped 28 percent last month, according to market tracker DataQuick. Sale volume is showing signs of life, too. A report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said that sales of new home in May increased 29 percent to an annualized rate of 476,000 units from 366,000 a year earlier. May’s total was the highest in five years, the department said. It adds up to a housing market recovery gaining steam. “I think it’s on track and firmly entrenched,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee in charge of Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. The April index for Los Angeles, the most current, shows that Los Angeles area prices increased 18.8 percent from 2012 and were up 3.4 percent from March. By comparison, the index that tracks 20 major metro areas was up 11.6 percent from a year ago. For Los Angeles, it’s the biggest gain since the index jumped 20.5 percent in February 2006 as prices were climbing toward their zenith before the price bubble deflated. This market is not in for a repeat performance — yet, Blitzer said. “I think there may be some small additional gains but the rate of increase has to level off pretty soon or we’re back to the bubble. But I don’t think we are at the bubble at this point,” he said. Price increases across the region are being fueled by scant inventory, a sharp drop in foreclosure activity, an increase in sales of more expensive properties and a decrease in sales of lower priced homes. Although the Case-Shiller index lags the market by a month, it’s relied upon as a good price marker. “I think the index gives you a somewhat more pure view of how prices are adjusting in the market,” said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist at the Kyser Center for Economic Research in Los Angeles. Competition among buyers is heating up, too. “Extremely lean supply is bumping up against strong demand from investors and other would-be buyers,” he said. During May the Valley’s median price hit $520,000, increasing $145,000 from $375,000 a year earlier, said the Van Nuys-based Southland Regional Association of Realtors. And the price increased $60,000 from April. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since a 35.4 percent jump in February 1989. But May’s median is still $135,000 under the record $655,00 in June 2007. “It’s going to be a while before we get back up to that level,” said Jim Link, the association’s CEO. The market mix and scant inventory get credit for the Valley price gains. “There is a lot more activity at the upper end of the market and the low-end sales that were driving the market are pretty much done,” he said. Home sales perked up a bit, too, rising 6.5 percent to 604 properties from 567 a year earlier. Sales increased 7.8 percent from...

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Obama Administration Extends Application Deadline for the Making Home Affordable Program

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Gov Mortgage Programs | 0 comments

Extension through December 2015 Will Provide Struggling Homeowners Additional Time to Access Sustainable Mortgage Relief and Align End Dates for Key Assistance Programs WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced an extension of the Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable Program through December 31, 2015. The new deadline was determined in coordination with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to align with extended deadlines for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Streamlined Modification Initiative for homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Making Home Affordable Program has been a critical part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive efforts to provide relief to families at risk of foreclosure and help the housing market recover from a historic housing crisis. The program deadline was previously December 31, 2013.  “The housing market is gaining steam, but many homeowners are still struggling,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “Helping responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure is part of our wide-ranging efforts to strengthen the middle class, and Making Home Affordable offers homeowners some of the deepest and most dependable assistance available to prevent foreclosure. Extending the program for two years will benefit many additional families while maintaining clear standards and accountability for an important part of the mortgage industry.”  “The Making Home Affordable Program has provided help and hope to America’s homeowners,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Families across the country have used its tools to reduce their principal, modify their mortgages, fight off foreclosure and stay in their homes – helping further stimulate our housing market recovery. And with this extension, we ensure that the program keeps supporting communities for years to come.”  Since its launch in March 2009, about 1.6 million actions have been taken through the program to provide relief to homeowners and nearly 1.3 million homeowners have been helped directly by the program. The Making Home Affordable Program includes the Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP, which modifies the terms of a homeowner’s mortgage to reduce their monthly payment to prevent foreclosure. As of March 2013, more than 1.1 million homeowners have received a permanent modification of their mortgage through HAMP, with a median savings of $546 every month – or 38 percent of their previous payment. Data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) shows that the median savings for homeowners in HAMP is higher than the median savings for homeowners in private industry modifications, which has helped homeowners in HAMP sustain their mortgage payments at higher rates. As a result, HAMP modifications continue to exhibit lower delinquency and re-default rates than industry modifications. The Making Home Affordable Program has also put into place important protections for homeowners that have helped inform efforts to create standards for the mortgage servicing industry. This includes requirements for mortgage servicers regarding clear and timely communications with homeowners and protections to ensure that homeowners are evaluated for assistance before being referred to foreclosure. The Administration has issued reports on the program every month since July 2009, which provide the most detailed information available about individual servicer efforts to assist homeowners. As part of this report, Treasury issues a quarterly assessment for each of the largest servicers in the program to highlight their compliance with...

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The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Gov Mortgage Programs | 0 comments

If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable. The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief. This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion does not apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition. More information, including detailed examples can be found in Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments. Also see IRS news release IR-2008-17. The following are the most commonly asked questions and answers about The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and debt cancellation: What is Cancellation of Debt? If you borrow money from a commercial lender and the lender later cancels or forgives the debt, you may have to include the cancelled amount in income for tax purposes, depending on the circumstances. When you borrowed the money you were not required to include the loan proceeds in income because you had an obligation to repay the lender. When that obligation is subsequently forgiven, the amount you received as loan proceeds is normally reportable as income because you no longer have an obligation to repay the lender. The lender is usually required to report the amount of the canceled debt to you and the IRS on a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt. Here’s a very simplified example. You borrow $10,000 and default on the loan after paying back $2,000. If the lender is unable to collect the remaining debt from you, there is a cancellation of debt of $8,000, which generally is taxable income to you. Is Cancellation of Debt income always taxable? Not always. There are some exceptions. The most common situations when cancellation of debt income is not taxable involve: Qualified principal residence indebtedness: This is the exception created by the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 and applies to most homeowners. Bankruptcy: Debts discharged through bankruptcy are not considered taxable income. Insolvency: If you are insolvent when the debt is cancelled, some or all of the cancelled debt may not be taxable to you. You are insolvent when your total debts are more than the fair market value of your total assets. Certain farm debts: If you incurred the debt directly in operation of a farm, more than half your income from the prior three years was from farming, and the loan was owed to a person or agency regularly engaged in lending, your cancelled debt is generally not considered taxable income. Non-recourse loans: A non-recourse loan is a loan for which the lender’s only remedy in case of default is to repossess the property being financed or used as collateral. That is, the lender cannot pursue you personally in case of default. Forgiveness of a non-recourse loan resulting from a foreclosure does not result in cancellation of debt income. However, it may result in other tax consequences. These exceptions are...

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Rising home prices in the SW Valley AZ pushing out investors

Posted by on Apr 16, 2013 in Housing Prices News | 0 comments

As warm weather signals the start of the peak homebuying season, Southwest Valley buyers will see higher prices but less competition from cash-wielding investors, experts say. Plus, there are more signs that the Southwest Valley is shaking off the Great Recession’s housing slump. Homebuilders are buying more lots in communities where the original developer installed utilities and built roads but never built houses. The housing figures are part of a March report released by the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Rising home prices in the Southwest Valley and throughout metro Phoenix have prompted investors to go elsewhere for a good deal, Avondale real-estate agent Joe Bourland said. “The good house for $70,000 has gone,” Bourland said, adding that out-of-state markets, such as Las Vegas and Atlanta, still offer homes at much lower prices. Investors move out The median price for single-family homes surged more than 30 percent from February 2012 to February 2013 in many Southwest Valley cities, according to ASU figures. The increases ranged from 39 percent in Buckeye, where the median price grew from $95,000 to $130,000, to 33 percent in Litchfield Park. There, prices rose to $230,000 from $172,000 over the 12-month period. In 2012 the percentage of Maricopa County homes bought by investors fell from 37 percent in February 2012 to 30 percent in February 2013. That is good news for traditional buyers, who have have had a tough time competing with investors. Mark Haldane recently purchased a home in Goodyear after he got a job at the Perryville State Prison. After Haldane and his wife sold their Maricopa home, the couple didn’t want to risk getting outbid by rival buyer when they found a house listed for $160,000 in Estrella Vista. They offered to pay the full price the seller wanted instead of offering to pay a little less and haggling to get a better deal. “I noticed that homes weren’t staying on the market very long,” Haldane said. When prices were at their lowest, investors who could pay cash could complete a transaction in less than 15 days, Bourland said. It wasn’t uncommon for sellers to receive a dozen offers from investors. Other homebuyers, who usually put less than 20 percent down and had to go through a longer process, often lost out to investors with cash in hand. The Southwest Valley was particularly attractive to potential landlords. Investors could recoup more money from their investments than in such cities as Scottsdale and Chandler. The area had a higher percentage of relatively inexpensive foreclosure homes, so the ratio between the purchase price of a home and the rent investors could charge tenants gave investors a higher rate of return than they could get in Scottsdale and Chandler. “When investors could buy a house for $70,000 and rent it for $1,000, the return was really good. Now that same house is selling for $115,000 and rents have dropped because there are many homes for rent,” Bourland said. It’s normal for investors’ activity to ebb and flow, Arizona real-estate analyst R.L. Brown said. Today their actions play a bigger role in the Phoenix housing market because of the recession and housing crash. As prices rise, Brown anticipates most large investors will drift...

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HOPE NOW Reports 385K Loan Mods in First Half of 2012

Posted by on Aug 16, 2012 in Gov Mortgage Programs | 0 comments

The first half of 2012 saw more than 385,000 permanent loan modifications for struggling homeowners,HOPE NOW reported Tuesday. The voluntary, private sector alliance of mortgage professionals and non-profit counselors released its June 2012 data, showing that 385,468 homeowners received permanent loan modifications for the first half of the year. This statistic brings the total number of loan modifications completed since 2007 to 5.6 million. The data revealed that during the first six months of 2012, 275,324 homeowners received proprietary loan modifications, while 110,144 received loan modifications completed under HAMP. Proprietary modifications continued to show lower monthly principal and interest payments. Of the proprietary modifications completed in the first half of the year, 79 percent included reduced monthly principal and interest payments, and 90 percent had fixed interest rates of 5 years or more. Proprietary mods that reduced principal and interest payments by more than 10 percent made up 72 percent of the total through June. Delinquencies and foreclosures fell during the year’s first half, with serious delinquencies (60 or more days past due) dropping 10 percent from the first half of 2011. Foreclosure starts totaled 1.06 million, a 15 percent drop from 1.3 million during the first half of 2011. HOPE NOW executive director Faith Schwartz said the organization’s goal is to keep that momentum going into the future. “HOPE NOW data for the first half of 2012 shows a continued trend of reduced late stage delinquencies year-over-year. However, efforts and resources have expanded to assist all at-risk homeowners in finding solutions to avoid foreclosure where possible,” Schwartz said. This article was originally posted...

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