Archive for November, 2009

More than 18 percent of FHA borrowers are at least one payment behind

 FHA Foreclosures Surge

Mortgages in foreclosure

Did you read that?

FHA foreclosures? Holy cow; that means nearly one in five FHA loans are more than 30 days behind! Most of those FHA borrowers would have bought since the mortgage crash of 2007, since FHA loans were almost extinct before that…

The Mortgage Bankers Association also found recently that 14 percent of all homeowners with any type of mortgage were either behind on payments or in foreclosure at the end of September. It was a record-high figure for the ninth straight quarter.

As they say; even a dead cat will bounce– The media had it all wrong this summer; calling for a bottom and raising hopes of a housing turn-around… There are still many, many more homes coming through the fore closure pipeline…

Loan modification starts are way up, nearly 700,000 homeowners nationally (about 20% of those who qualify) have started the modification process. However, over 75% of those will default again, recent history shows us.  And of the 25% that don’t default, how many of them will re-consider when they finally realize that only 10% of loan modifications have any type of principle reduction… it may take 20 years in some areas to get back to ‘ground zero’ or where folks can sell without going short or bringing money to the closing table.

I am really not a pessimistic person, in fact I am too optimistic usually and it has cost me a lot of money and pain by seeing through “rose colored glasses” in the past.  I just really see too many signs of more problems to come and think we are a long way from the bottom

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55% increase in commercial property tax rate on horizon?



SACRAMENTO-Two new potential ballot initiatives are afoot that would drastically change how commercial properties in California are assessed and how much they are taxed. One calls for a 55% increase in the current property tax rate for commercial properties while the other wants commercial properties’ fair market value appraised more frequently. Currently, under Prop. 13, properties are taxed annually at 1% of their appraised value when purchased and may only have its fair market value adjusted after a majority stake is sold.

Attorneys from the San Leandro-based law firm Remcho, Johansen & Purcell LLP filed title and summary language for the proposed 2010 ballot initiatives earlier this month. They are the “Protect Homeowners and Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Act” and the “Education and Taxpayer Fairness Act.” In order to qualify as a potential constitutional amendment for the November 2010 ballot, each initiative would have to garner 700,000 signatures by the spring.

The latter initiative would add 0.55 percentage points to the current tax rate of 1.0% of the assessed value upon a sale, with the extra revenue diverted to a fund for K-12 schools, community colleges and state universities. The former would require that all non-commercial, non-public properties have their fair market value assessed every three years, beginning with properties that have gone the longest between appraisals. It would also exclude $1 million in personal property tax for businesses “in order to give small business owners immediate tax relief,” double homeowners’ property tax exemption and increase the tax credit for qualified renters.

Read more here


sacramento skyline

and from DSNEWS:

Wonder how landlords will feel about this new idea shen: Commercial Decline Poses Biggest Risk to Regional Banks: Fitch

Commercial mortgages will be the next big problem for lenders, though not as devastating as the residential woes of the past two years – that seems to be the prevailing consensus among economists and industry analysts

Read more here

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Sacramento Hearing Addresses Foreclosure Crisis in California



SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbra), Chair of the Assembly Banking & Finance Committee, led the second in a series of informational hearings today to examine California’s foreclosure crisis, the state’s current loan modification programs, and methods by which the state could improve procedures to help struggling California homeowners. Nava was joined by Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, housing experts, representatives from the banking and mortgage industry, and state and local non-profit housing and consumer organizations.

“This crisis has devastated thousands of California families and communities. It’s time to take a new approach to help families remain in their homes. Today’s hearing provided more evidence that our existing loan modification programs have been ineffective and the number of families benefiting from them is minimal,” said Assemblymember Nava. “I will continue to work with all the stakeholders who testified today to come up with viable and effective solutions, including the establishment of a loan mediation program.”

California continues to have the third highest foreclosure rate in the nation, with one in every 144 homes in some stage of the foreclosure process. While these numbers have decreased from last year, 400,000 were nonetheless foreclosed on in California in 2009. Thus far, federal and state efforts to encourage banks and servicers to modify borrowers’ loans have largely been on a voluntary basis, and those who need help are subsequently falling through the cracks. California needs a new direction and the implementation of a loan mediation program may be one of the solutions.

Assembly Bill 1588, sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was recently introduced by Assemblymember Nava and California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass. The measure will establish a monitored mediation program to help homeowners and lenders reach sustainable loan modifications. Under AB 1588, if attempts at loan modification fail, a reasonable transition plan would be established by the borrower and lender. This type of mediation program has proven successful in numerous other states and cities.

“Families working to turn around the economy need the financial system to work for them to avoid foreclosure,” Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said. “AB 1588 builds upon successful mortgage workout programs other states have used to bring lenders and homeowners together to find alternatives to foreclosure. By providing the monitoring necessary for this process to succeed in California’s tough housing market, I’m confident this legislation will help more families stay in their homes and keep communities intact.”

Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley testified today before the committee, stating that she believes Californians can benefit from a program similar to the one she sponsored in Nevada. “No matter where we live, it is critical that we do all we can to help reduce the number of foreclosures and help people stay in their homes. Our program in Nevada has shown initial success in stemming foreclosures. While I understand the obstacles California faces as a non-judicial foreclosure state, I look forward to working with the California Legislature to find ways that a similar program could be implemented, said Speaker Buckley.”

Over the next several weeks, Assemblymember Nava will analyze the testimony given at the hearings regarding loan mediation programs and work with stakeholders to determine how to best move forward to address the current crisis and lessen the detrimental impact on California families.

“I am honored to have Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley at the State Capitol today to testify on her successful foreclosure mediation program. I look forward to working with her as we make progress with California’s own monitored mortgage workout program,” said Nava.



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Move-Up/Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit FAQ’s

Homebuyers Tax Credit


The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 has established a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified move-up/repeat home buyers (existing home owners) purchasing a principal residence after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010 (or purchased by June 30, 2010 with a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010). The following questions and answers provide basic information about the tax credit. If you have more specific questions, we strongly encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor or legal professional about your unique situation.

1.Who is eligible to claim the $6,500 tax credit?

Qualified move-up or repeat home buyers purchasing any kind of home are eligible to claim this credit.


2.What is the definition of a move-up or repeat home buyer?

The law defines a tax credit qualified move-up home buyer (“long-time resident”) as a home owner who has owned and resided in a home for at least five consecutive years of the eight years prior to the purchase date. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. Repeat home buyers do not have to purchase a home that is more expensive than their previous home to qualify for the tax credit.


3.How is the amount of the tax credit determined?

The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $6,500. Purchases of homes priced above $800,000 are not eligible for the tax credit.


4.Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?

Yes. The income limit for single taxpayers is $125,000; the limit is $225,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) above those limits. The phaseout range for the tax credit program is equal to $20,000. That is, the tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $145,000 (single) or $245,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.


5. What is “modified adjusted gross income”?

Modified adjusted gross income or MAGI is defined by the IRS. To find it, a taxpayer must first determine “adjusted gross income” or AGI. AGI is total income for a year minus certain deductions (known as “adjustments” or “above-theline deductions”), but before itemized deductions from Schedule A or personal exemptions are subtracted. On Forms 1040 and 1040A, AGI is the last number on page 1 and the first number on page 2 of the form. For Form 1040-EZ, AGI appears on line 4 (as of 2007). Note that AGI includes all forms of income including wages, salaries, interest income, dividends and capital gains.

To determine modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), add to AGI certain amounts of foreign-earned income. See IRS Form 5405 for more details.


6. If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?

Possibly. It depends on your income. Partial credits of less than $6,500 are available for some taxpayers whose MAGI exceeds the phaseout limits.


7.Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?

Just as an example, assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $235,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $225,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by the phaseout range of $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time home buyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $6,500 by 0.5. The result is $3,250. Here’s another example: assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $138,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $125,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by the phaseout range of $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $6,500 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,275.

Please remember that these examples are intended to provide a general idea of how the tax credit might be applied in different circumstances. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.


8. How is this home buyer tax credit different from the tax credit that Congress enacted in July of 2008? How is this different than the rules established in early 2009?

The previous tax credits applied only to first-time home buyers and were for different amounts of money.


9.How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application? Are there documentation requirements?

You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on line 67 of the 1040 income tax form for 2009 returns (line 69 of the 1040 income tax form for 2008 returns).

No other applications are required, and no pre-approval is necessary. However, you will want to be sure that you qualify for the credit under the income limits and repeat home buyer tests. Note that you cannot claim the credit on Form 5405 for an intended purchase for some future date; it must be a completed purchase. Home buyers must attach a copy of their HUD-1 settlement form (closing statement) to Form 5405 as proof of the completed home purchase.


10. What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?

Any home that will be used as a principal residence will qualify for the credit, provided the home is purchased for a price less than or equal to $800,000. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes (also known as mobile homes) and houseboats. The definition of principal residence is identical to the one used to determine whether you may qualify for the $250,000 / $500,000 capital gain tax exclusion for principal residences.

It is important to note that you cannot purchase a home from, among other family members, your ancestors (parents, grandparents, etc.), your lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) or your spouse or your spouse’s family members. Please consult with your tax advisor for more information. Also see IRS Form 5405.


11.I read that the tax credit is “refundable.” What does that mean?

The fact that the credit is refundable means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit.

For example, if a qualified home buyer expected, notwithstanding the tax credit, federal income tax liability of $5,000 and had tax withholding of $4,000 for the year, then without the tax credit the taxpayer would owe the IRS $1,000 on April 15th. Suppose now that the taxpayer qualified for the $6,500 home buyer tax credit. As a result, the taxpayer would receive a check for $5,500 ($6,500 minus the $1,000 owed).


!2. Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?

Yes. For the purposes of the home buyer tax credit, a principal residence that is constructed by the home owner is treated by the tax code as having been “purchased” on the date the owner first occupies the house. In this situation, the date of first occupancy must be after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010 (or by June 30, 2010, provided a binding sales contract was in force by April 30, 2010).

In contrast, for newly-constructed homes bought from a home builder, eligibility for the tax credit is determined by the settlement date. Be sure to check with a tax advisor in cases where a HUD-1 form is not used at settlement to be sure you have sufficient documentation to attach to IRS Form 5405.


13. Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?

Yes. The tax credit can be combined with an MRB home buyer program.


14. I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?

Perhaps. Anyone who is not a nonresident alien (as defined by the IRS) and who has owned and resided in a principal residence in the United States for at least five consecutive years of the eight years prior to the purchase date can claim the tax credit if they meet the income limits. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse. The IRS provides a definition of “nonresident alien” in IRS Publication 519.


15. Is a tax credit the same as a tax deduction?

No. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes. That means that a taxpayer who owes $6,500 in income taxes and who receives an $6,500 tax credit would owe nothing to the IRS.

A tax deduction is subtracted from the amount of income that is taxed. Using the same example, assume the taxpayer is in the 15 percent tax bracket and owes $6,500 in income taxes. If the taxpayer receives a $6,500 deduction, the taxpayer’s tax liability would be reduced by $975 (15 percent of $6,500), or lowered from $6,500 to $5,525.


16. Is there a way for a home buyer to access the money allocable to the credit sooner than waiting to file their 2009 or 2010 tax return?

Yes. Prospective home buyers who believe they qualify for the tax credit are permitted to reduce their income tax withholding. Reducing tax withholding (up to the amount of the credit) will enable the buyer to accumulate cash byraising his/her take home pay. This money can then be applied to the downpayment.

Buyers should adjust the withholding amount on their W-4 via their employer or through their quarterly estimated tax payment. IRS Publication 919 contains rules and guidelines  or income tax withholding. Prospective home buyers should note that if income tax withholding is reduced and the tax credit qualified purchase does not occur, then the individual would be liable for repayment to the IRS of income tax and possible interest charges and penalties.

In addition, rule changes made as part of the economic stimulus legislation allow home buyers to claim the tax credit

and participate in a program financed by tax-exempt bonds. As a result, some state housing finance agencies have

introduced programs that provide short-term second mortgage loans that may be used to fund a downpayment.

Prospective home buyers should check with their state housing finance agency to see if such a program is available in

their community. To date, 18 state agencies have announced tax credit assistance programs, and more are expected to

follow suit. The National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) has compiled a list of such programs, which can

be found here.


17. HUD allows “monetization” of the tax credit. What does that mean?

It means that HUD will allow buyers using FHA-insured mortgages to apply their anticipated tax credit toward their home purchase immediately rather than waiting until they file their 2009 or 2010 income taxes to receive a refund. These funds may be used for certain downpayment and closing cost expenses.

Under the guidelines announced by HUD, non-profits and FHA-approved lenders are allowed to give home buyers short -term loans. The guidelines also allow government agencies, such as state housing finance agencies, to facilitate home sales by providing longer term loans secured by second mortgages.

Housing finance agencies and other government entities may also issue tax credit loans, which home buyers may use to satisfy the FHA 3.5 percent downpayment requirement.

In addition, approved FHA lenders can purchase a home buyer’s anticipated tax credit to pay closing costs and ownpayment costs above the 3.5 percent downpayment that is required for FHA-insured homes.

More information about the guidelines is available on the NAHB web site. Read the HUD mortgagee letter (pdf) and an explanation of the FHA Mortgagee Letter on Tax Credit Monetization (pdf). An FAQ about monetization (pdf) is available at the NAHB web site.

18.If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009 (or 2010), can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 (or 2009) tax return?

Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose (“elect”) to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 (or 2010) as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008 (or if in 2010, December 31, 2009). This means that the previous year’s income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed. A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 or 2010 will know their prior year MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount. Taxpayers buying a home who wish to claim it on their prior year tax return, but who have already submitted their tax return to the IRS, may file an amended return claiming the tax credit using Form 1040X. You should consult with a tax professional to determine how to arrange this.


19.For a home purchase in 2009 or 2010, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in the prior or present year, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?

Yes. If the applicable income phase out would reduce your home buyer tax credit amount in the present year and a larger credit would be available using the prior year MAGI amounts, then you can choose the year that yields the largest credit amount.


Copyright © 2009 National Association of Home Builders. All rights reserved.

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San Francisco-based United Commercial Closed



Last week, California bank regulators and FDIC closed a San Francisco Bank; United Commercial… it was the 120th bank to fold this year!

United Commercial Bank had $11.2 billion in assets and $7.5 billion in deposits. It has branches and subsidiarys in both Hong Kong and Shanghai.  

East West Bank of Pasadena California agreed to takeover all deposits and will re-open branches as their own.

Two weeks ago the FDIC closed the 14-branch Pacific National Bank and reopened it the next day under the ownership of US Bank

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has actually taken over/closed/transferred two San Francisco banks recently and federal regulators have four more Bay Area banks they are watching closely, as the region loses what had been its relative immunity from an epidemic of failures

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Thought you might like this……


A great friend of mine emailed me this yesterday; thought i’d share it here…

A lesson that should be taught in all schools . .  and colleges!

 Back in September of 2005, on the  first day of school, Martha  Cothren, a social studies  school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, did something not to be forgotten.  On the first day
of school, with the permission of the school superintendent,  the  principal and the building supervisor, she removed  all of the desks  from her classroom.
   When the first period kids entered the room they discovered  that  there were no desks.  ‘Ms. Cothren, where  are our desks?’  She replied, ‘You can’t have a  desk until you tell me how you earn  the right to sit  at a desk.’ they thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our  grades.’  ‘No,’ she said.    ‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’
 She told them,  ‘No, it’s not even your behavior..’
 And so, they  came and went, the first period, second period, third    period.  Still no desks in the classroom.
   By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering  in  Ms.Cothren’s classroom to report about this crazy  teacher who had  taken all the desks out of her  room.
 The final period of the day came and as the  puzzled students found  seats on the floor of the desk  less classroom, Martha Cothren said,  ‘Throughout the  day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she
has done to earn the right to sit at the desks tha t are  ordinarily  found in this classroom. Now I am going to  tell you.’
 At this point, Martha Cothren went over  to the door of her classroom  and opened  it.
 Twenty-seven (27) U..S. Veterans, all in  uniforms, walked into that  classroom, each one  carrying a school desk.  The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and  stand  along side the wall.  By the time the last  soldier had set the final  desk in place those kids  started to understand, perhaps for the
 first time in  their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks    had been earned.
 Martha said, ‘You didn’t  earn the right to sit at these desks. These  heroes did  it for you. They placed the desks here for you.  Now,    it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to  learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They  paid the price so  that you could have the freedom to  get an education. Don’t ever  forget it.’
   By the way, this is a true story.  Martha Cothren is the  daughter of a WWII POW.
 Please consider  passing this along so others won’t forget that the    freedoms we have in this great country were earned by U. S.  Veterans.

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Voluntary Foreclosure Moratoriums Boost Short Sales

Foreclosure Exit

My team and I have actually lost three short sale deals to the foreclosure sale at the Sacramento and El Dorado County Courthouses within the last three weeks!

One was an Indy-Mac transaction that IndyMac had approved but the buyer had moved on… we put it back on the market and quickly found another buyer who was willing to pay exactly the same amount that the bank had approved prior.  They quickly denied the offer and would not re-schedule the pending foreclosure sale date. They told us it was because of a new policy that they will not take FHA buyers and wanted at least 20%down. 

The other two were just not handled correctly by the shortsale negotiator and the forelosure dates were not extended as promised.

More From Chris Mcglaughlin:

According to a securitization research note by Barclays Capital, short sales have been boosted by mandatory and voluntary foreclosure prevention efforts that prevent mortgages from entering real estate owned (REO) status.  As federally-funded modifications made through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) grow in frequency and lenders are expected to hold off on foreclosure proceedings, the REO pipeline shrunk, according to BarCap researchers. The foreclosure prevention efforts have had the effect of “artificially” boosting short sales.  “The artificial constraints to foreclosure auctions have resulted in a reduction in REO stock,” BarCap said. “As a result, the net volume of REO liquidations has also dropped.

As short sales are not affected by moratoria, their rate held up and their overall share in distressed sales increased.  It has now risen more than 10 points from the lows to about 35% of overall liquidations. It remains to be seen if this increase will sustain itself once the large number of loans sitting in foreclosure are finally released into REO.”  BarCap researchers pointed to the difference in severity seen in foreclosure and short sale scenarios as one of the drivers behind servicers choosing short sales. 

Servicers that pursue foreclosure on non-performing loans held within securitization have to make principal and interest advances until the loan’s liquidation, BarCap said. If the asset declines in value during the liquidation timeline and it neighbors other REOs, the final selling price will likely come in far below the current broker price opinion (BPO), which leads to high severity.  Short sales, on the other hand, pose a shorter timeline during which fewer principal and interest advances are needed. The asset has less time to depreciate, and borrowers have a strong incentive to maintain the property in order to sell it. After all, a better-maintained house attracts stronger bids, reducing overall severity in comparison with the REO liquidation scenario.  A short sale also tends to cost the lender less than foreclosure and it spares the borrower the negative credit score implications. 

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Sacramento Area Homeowners: 10.29% Over 90 Days Delinquent


 According to


Foreclosure rates in Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville-Woodland metropolitan area increased for the month of September over the same period last year, according to First American CoreLogic.

The rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 3.61 percent for the month of September, an increase of 1.58 percentage points compared to September 2008 when the rate was 2.03 percent.

Foreclosure activity in Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville-Woodland was higher than the national foreclosure rate, which was 2.93 percent for September 2009, representing a 0.68 percentage point difference.

Also in Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville-Woodland, the mortgage delinquency rate has increased. According to First American CoreLogic data for September 2009, 10.29 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 6.35 percent for the same period last year, representing an increase of 3.94 percentage points.

Courtesy of Real Estate News & Commentary by Chris McLaughlin, November 17, 2009

3Q09 – Delinquencies up, rate slows

According to credit reporting agency TransUnion, delinquent mortgages were up 58% from 3.96% a year ago, and as of Sept. 30, 6.25% of U.S. mortgage loans were 60 or more days past due.  Two months delinquency is considered a first step toward foreclosure because it’s hard for homeowners to catch up with payments at that point.  The rate of delinquency is slowing, however.  The rate was up 7.6% from the second quarter — a much smaller jump than the 11.3% rise in the second quarter and a 14% rise seen in the quarter before that.  F.J. Guarrera, vice president of TransUnion’s financial services division, says that while the slower rate is encouraging, the co9ntinual increase shows there are still a lot of problematic mortgages out there. 

Mortgage delinquencies remain highest in the four states where the crisis has hit the worst: in Nevada, the rate reached 14.5%, up from 7.7% a year ago; in Florida, the rate was 13.3%, up from 7.8% last year; in Arizona, the rate hit 10.4%, up from 5.5% in 2008; and in California, the rate jumped to 10.2%, from 5.8% last year.  Two things have to get better before mortgage delinquency rates start reversing themselves: home values and unemployment. “Until we see improvement in both of those areas, it’s possible that it will take longer for delinquency to improve,” Guarrera said.

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Californian foreclosures up 22%

California Foreclosures1

California Foreclosures are up but still being postponed

According to data released by, foreclosures in California increased 22.24% from September to October.  Last month’s foreclosures increased 20.95% from October 2008, which were 42.56% below California’s peak month of July 2008.  But since then, the inventory of real estate owned (REO) properties has grown 131.36% in California.  “While we continue to see a steady stream of properties entering foreclosure, relatively few are completing the process and being sold at auction despite the increase this month,” said CEO Sean O’Toole.  “The bigger picture is that more and more homeowners are finding themselves upside down in foreclosure limbo,” O’Toole added, “some hoping for a loan modification or short sale, while others are just waiting for a knock on the door.”  The number of foreclosures initiated in October remained level with September levels but this is due in large part to recent legislation enacted in California


Courtesy Real Estate News & Commentary by Chris McLaughlin, November 16, 2009

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DRE Takes Aggressive Action Against Scammers



SACRAMENTO, Calif. – (Business Wire) The California State Department of Real Estate (DRE), the state department that issues licenses to real estate professionals and protects consumers in real estate transactions, has intensified its efforts to ensure all consumers receive the protection they deserve.

See the Earth Times Article here

Real Estate Commissioner  Jeff Davi said recently “The economic downturn coupled with the unprecedented number of foreclosures has created a rich environment for scammers who have come up with a variety of schemes to take advantage of desperate and financially stressed homeowners, not only must we take aggressive regulatory action against these con artists but we must educate and provide homeowners with the necessary tools to protect themselves against scammers who have charged thousands of dollars in upfront fees and deliver nothing in return.”

Loan modification scams in particular are plaguing of course, California, Nevada and Florida, but also other states as well…

One of the biggest steps that the DRE here in Sacramento has done recently to combat these scams is to re-write the most recent Public Service Announcement in Spanish, the PSA is a comprehensive document warning consumers of loan fraud. Now the DRE has also expanded its Spanish language Website to educate consumers on how to avoid falling victim to a loan scam.

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