All Articles Tagged "foreclosures"
Foreclosures are still a major problem in the United States. In fact, as Business Insider reports, foreclosure data from RealtyTrac shows that one in every 905 U.S. homes received a foreclosure filing in April. While these numbers have dropped significantly—23 percent from a year ago—there are pockets of America that continue to get hit hard with foreclosures.
Business Insider listed the 14 metro areas with the highest foreclosure rate.
On the list were such cities as Chicago-Naperville-Joliet and Myrtle Beach, Florida. Ohio made a few appearances on the list as well, including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo and Akron. In that last city, one in every 211 homes received a foreclosure filing in April 2013. There are currently 1,481 properties in foreclosure. This represents a 97.99 percent increase from March and an 146.83 percent boost from last year. In Columbia, SC, 1 in every 415 homes received a foreclosure filing in April 2013. Some 789 properties had foreclosure filings. This marked a whopping 210.63 percent increase from March and an 189.01 percent boost from April 2012.
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach also made the list. In April 1 in every 269 homes received a foreclosure filing. The total properties in the area with foreclose filings were 9,127. Here, there was a drop—17.61 percent–from March but 1.06 percent increase from the previous year.
The crisis is pronounced across the board, with the impact hitting the level of wealth among African Americans particularly hard. The level of homeownership in this country has hit the lowest point since 1995, according to Reuters, to 65.2 percent. Among the banks with the most foreclosures, says The Huffington Post, are SunTrust, PNC, and HSBC. HSBC, for instance, has 16,317 homes in foreclosure with 60 percent of them “seriously under water.” That bank reached a $249 million settlement earlier this year after complaints that the bank wrongly foreclosed on tons of homes.
Minority neighborhoods in America have been devastated by foreclosures, with banks taking over the homes that remain vacant indefinitely. Several banks, including most recently Bank of America, have been called to task by The National Fair Housing Alliance, which has filed official complaints to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about the poor maintenance of these vacant homes.
Los Angeles realtor Chantay Bridges of Clear Choice Realty & Associates tells us in an email there are various reasons behind the neglect. For the most part, a lack of legal enforcement allows banks to be careless in black and Latino neighborhoods. “In some states, there are no laws in place to prevent the banks from not adhering to bias practices,” Bridges said. And where there are laws, they are rarely enforced. “It costs the city, tax-paying citizens and banks a considerable amount to maintain foreclosed homes. Therefore some institutions may forego maintenance in lieu of paying a fee for negligence.” In other words, for the banks it most likely doesn’t come down to race, but money.
“For some lenders it may not be a question of black versus white communities, it may be driven by, affluent versus impoverished. Poverty and wealth always plays a role,” she says. “In wealthier neighborhoods you may find more assistance in maintaining a foreclosed home such as alarms, private security companies, strong community organizations, etc. [R]egardless, it is the bank’s responsibility… to maintain the bank-owned homes. It affects property values overall.” Vacant homes also attract squatters and trespassers and can lead to increased crime.
But you can take matters into your own hands.
Bridges suggests taking a petition to the local councilperson, contacting the bank, or the realtor. “Ask for increased fines and penalties for banks that do not maintain their REO properties,” she wrote. “Contact the listing agent on the sign and find out who is responsible for the upkeep. Ask the lender to provide a foreclosure list and who is responsible for each property in your community.”
To prevent other homes from going into foreclosure, try to help neighbors in need. “Organize or host foreclosure-prevention workshops. Request a community-based organization to come to your neighborhood and hold a meeting. The workshops could give your quietly struggling neighbors the assistance they need,” reports Investopedia.com in the article “Don’t Let Foreclosed Homes Ruin Your Neighborhood.”
According to the article, there are various organizations take can give you advice and be a resource to deal with this issue in your neighborhood. They include the National Housing Institute, National Vacant Properties Campaign and Neighborhood Works America.
-Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is one of the first women ever to be admitted to the He Man Women-Haters Club a.k.a. the Augusta National Golf Club. The other woman to be admitted is Darla Moore, a South Carolina financier who was the highest paid woman woman in the financial industry in the 1980s and 90s and married a billionaire in 1991. The club, which has been around for 80 years, issued a statement yesterday saying, “These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership.” The issue of admitting woman became major earlier this year. IBM was a big sponsor of the Masters tournament (held at Augusta) but wouldn’t let its CEO, Virginia Rometty, join. The four previous men had. It’s reported that the club also sees the admittance of women as an opportunity for growth — of the game and its own roster.
-Travel is getting trickier. A number of regional airlines, such as Pinnacle and Comair, are shutting down or headed to bankruptcy court. These smaller carriers are responsible for half of the flights that take off and land in the U.S. This means longer drive times to the nearest airport for many across the U.S. At the same time, airfares are going up. Southwest is fixing to charge $5 more on one-way fares for trips that are 500 miles or less. Other airlines will likely follow in their footsteps. But if it’s any consolation, fares to Europe have gone down for the fall now that the Olympics are over. Still, the prices can be steep ($750 to London) because of fuel costs.
-This New York Times article says that President Obama wasn’t aggressive enough with his policies to help homeowners facing foreclosure. “Mr. Obama and his advisers were convinced that even in the depths of an unyielding crisis, most Americans did not want their neighbors rescued at public expense,” the article says. Thoughts?
-The Beloit College Mindset List, which details the reference points for the incoming class of 2016, has been released. Guess what? Most of us are old. Some of the items on the list: they’ve never seen an actual airline “ticket”; the Jacksons (as in Tito, Janet and Jermaine) rather than the Kennedys are “American royalty”; and they have very little use for a radio.
-Missouri Rep. Todd Akin has apologized (again) for his absurd and outrageous comments about “legitimate rape” in this online clip. Some Republicans are urging him to drop out of the race.
-Yesterday, we had word about the ways in which banks hadn’t changed their mortgage practices when dealing with homeowners in foreclosure. Now we have the infuriating news that banks are actually making a fortune on mortgages nowadays despite record-low percentage rates. Why? Because the rates could be even lower, but the banks want to drive up profits. The Mortgage Bankers Association argues that banks incur more fees on loans than they did in the past, but less competition and sales of bundled financial products are working in their favor.
-Accessories, and accessory designers, are hot right now.
-New housing units in Washington DC may drive down rent prices in that city. DC will have 6,000 new units by the end of the year. This doesn’t mean that rent will be cheap. The average rent in DC right now is $1,501. The national average is $1,081. The average rent in Atlanta is $868.
-The New York City Mayor’s Office shut down a Trojan event in which free vibrators were being given away from “Pleasure Carts” across Manhattan. “Bloomberg doesn’t want anyone to have fun. You can’t have a giant soda. You can’t have a vibrator,” said one unhappy bar owner, Melody Henry. It’s worth reading the New York Post article about the shutdown if only to see how many awkward plays on words they can get into one small story.
-And in Olympics news, Allyson Felix took gold in the 200-meter race. American Carmelita Jeter took the bronze. (Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took silver.) Also in track and field, Brittney Reese became the second American woman ever to take the top spot in the long jump and Aries Merritt won the 110-meter hurdles. Finally, the US took gold and silver in women’s beach volleyball. This was the third gold medal for Misty-May Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, a first for the sport.
(New York Times) — In summer 2010, Congress set aside $1 billion for a program intended to bail out people in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. It was estimated that the program, administered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, would help as many as 30,000 households. But the program is now ending after achieving lackluster results and stirring widespread recrimination. Fewer than 15,000 households are expected to receive help despite enormous demand, and perhaps half of the money will go unspent. The department attributed the program’s performance to the way it was set up by Congress. But RepresentativeBarney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, an author of the legislation, said the program’s failings were a result of poor administration and the department’s late start in rolling it out.
(Businessweek) — For sale or rent by distressed owner: 248,000 homes. That’s how many residential properties the U.S. government now has in its possession, the result of record numbers of people defaulting on government-backed mortgages. Washington is sitting on nearly a third of the nation’s 800,000 repossessed houses, making the U.S. taxpayer the largest owner of foreclosed properties. With even more homes moving toward default, Fannie Mae (FNMA), Freddie Mac (FMCC), and the Federal Housing Administration are looking for a way to unload them without swamping the already depressed real estate market. Trouble is, they haven’t figured out how to do that. The government admitted as much in August, when Fannie, Freddie, and FHA issued a joint plea to the public for ideas about how to solve the problem. (Give it your best shot: You have until Sept. 15 to submit ideas to email@example.com.) “They’re stuck,” says Karen Shaw Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, a Washington-based consultant that advises banks and other clients on government policy. “They don’t know what to do.”
(Wall Street Journal) — The threat of losing your home is stressful enough to make you ill, it stands to reason. Now two economists have measured just how unhealthy the foreclosure crisis has been in some of the hardest-hit areas of the U.S. New research by Janet Currie of Princeton University and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University shows a direct correlation between foreclosure rates and the health of residents in Arizona, California, Florida and New Jersey. The economists concluded in a paper published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research that an increase of 100 foreclosures corresponded to a 7.2% rise in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for hypertension, and an 8.1% increase for diabetes, among people aged 20 to 49. Each rise of 100 foreclosures was also associated with 12% more visits related to anxiety in the same age category. And the same rise in foreclosures was associated with 39% more visits for suicide attempts among the same group, though this still represents a small number of patients, the researchers say.
(Bankrate) — Buying a home that declines sharply in property value can put you underwater on your mortgage, erode your net worth and leave you unable to relocate for a new job or adapt to a change in household income. And one of the biggest factors that determines whether a home will rise or fall in value is its neighborhood. That’s actually a good thing, because you don’t need a crystal ball to evaluate a neighborhood’s direction, says Andrew Schiller, creator of NeighborhoodScout.com, a real estate research website. ”The places that tend to hold on to their value are places that basically do well across two primary dimensions that anyone can think about and evaluate neighborhoods by,” Schiller says.
(Chicago Tribune) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is targeting nine hard-hit neighborhoods in Chicago’s latest effort to stem the tide of home foreclosures and, as with many recent announcements, the mayor is counting on private investment to make his plans work. The “Micro-Market Recovery Program” is distinct from several attempts by the city to combat the housing crisis in recent years because it better coordinates the efforts of not-for-profits, banks and community groups, Emanuel said Wednesday.
(MSNBC) — On a hot summer evening, two second-year law students are trudging through the leafy neighborhoods of suburban Prince George’s County, knocking on doors. Toting stacks of fliers, the young women are going house to house, making sure that delinquent homeowners know about the state’s mortgage mediation program. Tonight, only two people answer the door. One, like 11 others the students have contacted during previous outings, insists she already has gotten her loan modified and doesn’t need mediation, despite a foreclosure notice on record. Another homeowner, in default after taking off work to care for a sick relative, takes the mediation information and says she’ll consider it. The students leave fliers at a house with a “for sale” sign in Hyattsville and an empty condo in a nearby neighborhood. They will try again another day.