Monday, August 29, 2011

Feds want foreclosures sold in bulk to be rentals

Payam Raouf
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Feds want foreclosures sold in bulk to be rentals

by Catherine Reagor, columnist - Aug. 24, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The federal government would like to sell some of its huge portfolio of foreclosure homes to investors who will rent them out.

These are houses with loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration that lenders and investors have foreclosed on and handed back to these federally owned agencies to take the losses on.

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requested proposals from groups to buy the homes and turn them into rentals. The federal agencies didn't mention a discount for buying the houses in bulk, but most investors will expect one.

The federal agencies say they want to pool the homes in portfolios, because the houses are selling too slowly on an individual basis.

What happened to the federal housing plan to help people modify their mortgages and keep their homes instead of losing them to foreclosure? An investor renting out the property likely will pay much less than what was owed on the mortgage.

Arizona is one of several states that received federal money last year to help homeowners modify their loans and keep their houses. Part of the deal with the $268 million Arizona received is that lenders have to match principal reductions for a loan modification to work. For example, homeowners eligible for a loan modification from the Arizona Housing Department can receive up to $50,000 in federal funds to reduce their principal. But the lender must agree to provide matching funds. So a metro Phoenix homeowner facing foreclosure who owes $250,000 on a house valued at $175,000 could have the mortgage knocked down to $150,000 and not only be able to afford the monthly payment but be enticed to stay in the house because the homeowner owes less.

But here's the big glitch in the program: Neither Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which were taken over by the government during the housing crash, will agree to loan modifications that include principal reductions.

The Arizona Housing Department has been working with Bank of America and other lenders trying to spend its money to help homeowners with loan modifications. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own a lot of the state's mortgages in foreclosure, have refused to participate in the principal-reduction program approved by the Treasury Department.

Reginald Givens of the Arizona Housing Department said the recent creative response by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to excessive foreclosures "gives us hope that in time, similar creativity will be applied to the handling of their delinquent loans leading to principal-reduction mortgage modifications."

The Housing Department started taking applications for its federally backed loan-modification program that involves principal reductions in September 2010. So far, the state agency has completed five modifications. BofA, which earlier this year committed to working more closely with Arizona on its principal-reduction loan program, hasn't completed one of the deals in Arizona.

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Metro Phoenix housing market confusing

Payam Raouf
Owner, Associate Broker
888-777-6664 x 111
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Metro Phoenix housing market confusing - During June 2011, there were just over 11,000 home sales in metro Phoenix:
- 3,684 were regular resales between a homeowner and a buyer.
- 540 were new-home purchases.
- 1,350 homes sold at foreclosure auctions.
- 1,255 houses were sold by lenders that foreclosed on them.
- 2,183 houses were sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- 1,822 homes were sold in short sales.
- 401 homes were sold by the federal departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban


by Catherine Reagor - Aug. 28, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Recent reports say foreclosures are declining in metro Phoenix and large numbers of homes are selling.
But many homeowners feel trapped in houses they can't sell.
Some real-estate agents can't find enough new listings to keep up with demand from buyers.

But others say there aren't enough buyers, and homes are selling too slowly.
The housing market in metro Phoenix may never have been as confusing as it is today.
Nearly five years after the beginning of the housing crash, the region's market has fractured into countless different niches.
Each niche is defined by who's selling, what kind of home is for sale and where the home is located.

And each niche has become a market of its own.

Some - such as the market for small central Phoenix foreclosure homes being sold at auction - are booming, with prices rising and a huge demand from buyers.
Others - for example, traditional resales of newer large family homes in some neighborhoods in the far west or southeast Valley - have ground to a halt, where homes seemingly won't sell at any price.

Location is one traditional factor in a home's value that still holds true. But in this market, its effect can be extreme. A seller in one neighborhood might receive 10 offers, while the owner of a similar house 5 miles away won't receive any.
In a market this splintered, once-reliable measurements just don't provide enough information for buyers or sellers.

One reliable measure of real-estate activity was the number of homes for sale. Traditionally, 20,000 to 25,000 homes on the market at any given time was considered normal. More than that meant an oversupply, and sellers might have trouble attracting buyers. Fewer meant a limited supply, a seller's market with rising prices.

As the housing market crashed, too many homes had been built. The region's inventory soared to more than 60,000 homes for sale in 2007, and prices plunged.
Today, according to the online real- estate publication the Cromford Report, listings in metro Phoenix are at 27,400 and falling - traditionally, a sure sign of rising demand and rising prices to follow.

But agents and analysts see the same thing many homeowners feel. While some homes are selling easily, others simply won't.

"Phoenix's housing market is a mixed bag now," said Marcus Fleming, manager with the real-estate brokerage Redfin Phoenix. "There's a new normal for the market, but it's a weird one."

Who's selling
One factor that has a big effect on home sales is the nature of the seller.
To understand, consider just how much things have changed in the past decade.
In June 2001, there were about 10,000 home sales, according to the Information Market, a Phoenix firm that analyzes real-estate data. Of that total:
- 7,300 were regular resales between a homeowner and a buyer.
- 2,700 were new-home purchases.
- 82 houses sold at foreclosure auctions.
- One home was sold by Fannie Mae, the federal mortgage giant that backs lenders and takes over those homes when borrowers default.
Ten years later, during June 2011, there were just over 11,000 home sales in metro Phoenix. But the variety of sales was far wider:
- 3,684 were regular resales between a homeowner and a buyer.
- 540 were new-home purchases.
- 1,350 homes sold at foreclosure auctions on the Maricopa County courthouse steps.
- 1,255 houses were sold by lenders that foreclosed on them.
- 2,183 houses were sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
- 1,822 homes were sold in short sales, in which lenders agree to let a homeowner sell for less than what is owed on the loan.
- 401 homes were sold by the federal departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.
Because all of these kinds of home sales work in different ways, the market overall becomes more complicated.

Different categories
The different splinters in the market have each begun to work in their own ways, real-estate market watchers say. Some parts see a lot of sales but low prices; others, the opposite.

- Traditional resales: Fewer of these happen because of competition from cheaper foreclosures and short sales. The ones that sell best are in popular neighborhoods with good schools, near freeways and shopping centers. But the percentage of foreclosure homes listed for sale in metro Phoenix has dropped by 5 percent in the past year, so regular sellers have less competition and might soon find it more easy to sell.

- New-home sales: Homebuilding has slowed to a crawl in metro Phoenix as the market continues to sell the many houses built on speculation during the boom years. Even with low land prices, it's still hard for homebuilders to compete with the prices of foreclosure houses that were built less than five years ago.

- Foreclosure auctions: These have become very popular, and a large volume of homes sell at metro Phoenix trustee auction each month. But homes sell at auction for lower prices, and that makes the market's overall average sales price lower.

- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Homes owned by these entities now dominate the metro area's market. But the agencies often change their policies on appraising, maintaining, renting and selling their houses, so some buyers and real-estate agents steer clear of the hassles of these deals.
"The government's role in the housing market is making things more confusing and bringing down prices," said Mary Gomez, a real-estate agent with RE/MAX Renaissance Realty.

- Short sales: This type of sale was rare a decade ago. Banks were reluctant to agree to them in the early part of the crash, but they have now become common. Because they're not a foreclosure sale, but also are not a traditional sale, the value of a short-sale transaction skews the overall market in ways that are hard to measure.

The bottom line: Today's market is complicated and can't be summed up as simply as in years past.
"Everyone is trying to figure out Phoenix's housing market now, but there's no one set of data that truly tells the story. All the regular models for tracking the market are broken now," said Tom Ruff of the Information Market. "There is not just one market in metro Phoenix anymore."
The effects
That confusion makes it especially hard for homeowners and homesellers to know what their houses are worth.

Traditionally, a home's value could be estimated from its "comps," comparable sales of nearby homes. Those offered an idea of the going price in a neighborhood and the price per square foot.

Today, a regular home sells for $112 a square foot. A house sold through short sale goes for an average of $72 a square foot. A bank-owned, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae home sells for $61.50 a square foot. And foreclosure homes selling at auction are averaging $57 a square foot.

"Comps for properties are inconsistent and can be confusing," said Jennifer Hillier, an agent with the Scottsdale office of West USA Realty. "People just don't know what to believe anymore."

Measures of the overall market are harder to trust, too. Currently, metro Phoenix's overall median sales price is $124,000. But because many of the homes sold are foreclosure auctions - in which low-priced homes are common - that number could be seen as low. Other homes may be worth far more. But few of those homes are selling, so they're not represented in the median price.

"Home sales activity is still very concentrated at the bottom end of the market," said housing analyst Mike Orr, who publishes the Cromford Report.

What's selling now
"Homes in central Phoenix area priced under $100,000 are moving like gangbusters with very few homes remaining on the market for long," Hillier said. "I believe this is because of the location to jobs and public transportation" and because the low prices mean investors get a reasonable return, in the form of rent, on their cash investment.

Market watchers also say three- to four-bedroom homes in suburban neighborhoods with good schools are also selling fast to both regular homeowners and investors who want to rent them out, often to families who have lost similar homes to foreclosure.

The region's less-expensive neighborhoods experienced the crash first, and now high-end housing areas are feeling more pain because there are fewer buyers who can afford those houses.
Sales of homes in the million-dollar range have definitely slowed, said Walt Danley of the Phoenix office of Christies' International Real Estate. He said there are cash buyers looking for deals in Paradise Valley and north Scottsdale, but those deals bring prices down.

Some million-dollar homes also go to foreclosure auctions. Recently, a house in Paradise Valley that sold for $3.5 million in 2005 sold at auction for about $1 million.

But there are still homes in Paradise Valley and other high-end neighborhoods selling for prices just 20 percent lower than they sold during the market's peak. Other neighborhoods are also beginning to see homes sell for pre-boom prices from 2003-04, despite the fact the metro area's median home price is back to 1999's level.

"The one indicator we can still count on is location," Ruff said. "Homes in the right areas will continue to sell for the highest prices."

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rents have gone up by as much as 15% in some areas and down by as much as 5% in others!

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There is a lot of competition for the most desirable rentals, e.g., 4 bed room homes in areas with good school districts in the $1600 to $2000 a month range, in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Peoria, Scottsdale just to name a few areas.

Buckeye, Queen Creek, El Mirage, Tolleson and Laveen are among the toughest rentals these days. They rent but they require additional incentives and extensive marketing.

Surprise, Glendale, Avondale and Goodyear North of I-10 and Litchfield Park are holding steady. They have had a 5% increase in rent since January 2011 and are still going for more and less the same. However, going forward, one must think of an exit strategy since so many investors have bought in these areas.

What we are noticing is rentals in the $1200 to $1400 range are getting tougher to rent. It seems to be high for low to average income renters and not good enough for the folks with higher income.

With all that has been going on in the financial market these days, so many investors close to retirement have been self managing their own IRAs, buying rental properties in Phoenix Metro driving prices up through the roof in some areas.

Phoenix is spread 60 miles across from east to west and 20 miles from north to south with hundreds of new and old subdivisions in between. One must be very careful where and what to buy to get the best return on his/her investment.

Not every Realtor is an investment specialist, but we are. We have years of experience working with investors at every level from single family homes to 100 unit multi-family properties.

Call us toll free at 888-777-6664. Ask for Payam Raouf, ext 111 or Jack Zohar at ext 120. If there is an opportunity out there we can help you find it.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fannie Mae Announces National REO Rental Policy

News Release

January 13, 2009

Fannie Mae Announces National REO Rental Policy

Renters in Fannie Mae-Owned Foreclosed Properties
Eligible to Stay in Their Homes


WASHINGTON, DC -- Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) today announced the establishment of a new National Real Estate Owned (REO) Rental Policy that will allow qualified renters in Fannie Mae-owned foreclosed properties to stay in their homes. The company currently has an eviction suspension in place through the end of January which will allow for the new policy to be fully operationalized prior to the suspension concluding.

"Renters in foreclosed properties have often been a casualty of the foreclosure crisis the country is facing," said Michael Williams, chief operating officer of Fannie Mae. "This policy will allow qualified renters to remain in Fannie Mae-owned properties should they choose to do so, mitigate the disruption of personal lives that foreclosures can cause, and help bring a measure of stability to communities impacted by high foreclosure rates."

The new policy applies to renters occupying foreclosed properties at the time Fannie Mae acquires the property. Renters occupying any type of single-family property will be eligible including residents of two- to four-unit properties, condos, co-ops, single-family detached homes and manufactured housing. Eligible renters will be offered a new month-to-month lease with Fannie Mae or financial assistance for their transition to new housing should they choose to vacate the property. The properties must meet state laws and local code requirements for a rental property.

While the company markets the properties for sale, Fannie Mae will manage the properties through a real estate broker or a property management company. The company will not require security deposits to be posted in connection with this program.


Renters in the foreclosed properties will be asked to pay market rate rent under the new leases. Rates may be determined by reviewing local comparable rents, conducting a neighborhood survey, or through other relevant indicators. Rates will also be subject to any legal rent control restrictions. The company will review each instance where the market rate may require a tenant to pay additional rent and will work to reach an equitable resolution.

On behalf of the company, property managers are contacting renters in Fannie Mae-owned foreclosed properties to notify them of their options.


Friday, August 5, 2011

BUY ARIZONA GOLD (REAL ESTATE ) UPGRADED

Payam Raouf
President, Associate Broker
888-777-6664
info@azezrentals.com

It is Ugly out there. The good news is Arizona Gold ( Real Estate ) is selling like hot cake. There is NO INVENTORY FOLKS. Rents are going up in the most desirable areas and down in the outskirts. Prices are up 15% since January. Offshore cash buyers are literally raping the market buying anything and everything under the Arizona sun, Residential, Multi-units and Commercial. Adjusted to inflation, Real Estate has always done really good. Buying at 30% below builders cost is crazy if you ask me. So, whether you are an investor or an end user, take advantage of this market while you can. Opportunities like this happen once in a life time. My staff is standing by to help you. We buy bank owned properties at the open market or trustee sales, lease and manage them under one roof. Currently we have three offices in Glendale, Surprise and Mesa and the fourth one in Scottsdale is in the process of opening. Please click on one of these links below and let us know what we can do to help. Thank you.

CLICK HERE TO BUY INVESTMENT PROPERTIES

CLICK HERE TO INQUIRE ABOUT OUR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICES

CLICK HERE IF YOU ARE A FIRST TIME HOME BUYER

CLICK HERE TO RENT ONE OF OUR PROPERTIES


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by Catherine Reagor, columnist -
Aug. 3, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Foreclosures continue to drop in metro Phoenix, a trend signaling the housing market is slowly getting in position for a recovery, according to many real-estate analysts.

In July, lenders foreclosed on 3,176 Phoenix-area homes, according to the Information Market. That compares with 3,887 in June. The last time Valley foreclosures, or trustee-sale numbers, were this low was in December, when major lenders, including Bank of America, had foreclosure moratoriums in place to check out accusations of robo-signing.

Pre-foreclosures, or notices of trustee sales, fell to 4,015 in July from 4,262 in June. In the previous July, lenders sent out notices that they were beginning foreclosure proceedings on 7,802 metro-Phoenix homeowners.

The number of pending foreclosures for the area dipped to 23,300 last month, compared with 25,300 in June. A year earlier, there were more than 40,000 pending foreclosures in metro Phoenix. The number is down because of fewer new foreclosures and more trustee sales going through, particularly on the Maricopa County courthouse steps.

What continues to concern some market watchers is Phoenix's "shadow inventory," which includes homes on which borrowers are behind on their payments but that lenders haven't started to foreclose on yet. Also, the shadow inventory includes houses that lenders have foreclosed on but aren't yet listing for resale.

After a lender has taken back a house, it's considered a real-estate-owned property.

According to Information Market, there are 15,850 REOs either for sale or being held by lenders for future sale in metro Phoenix.

The number of REOs in the region has been steadily dropping every month this year.