Tampa Bay home prices reach new low – Tampa Bay Times

In a post from yesterday I noted that home prices in South Florida rose 0.2% from November to December 2011. This first article in contrast reports that housing prices in the Tampa Bay Area fell by 0.2% from November to December 2011. And, home prices fell by 4.3% from their December 2010 totals.


This second article reports that the government adjusted the new home sales figures for the 4th quarter of 2011, which now indicate that home sales rose 10% in that quarter. But new home sales are still the lowest since 1963, and stand at roughly half of what economists consider to be a healthy market.



These articles report that there are signs that the market may be stabilizing, but prices are still falling, and home sales dipped again in January 2012. The result is that selling an underwater home will still be difficult.

If you find yourself unable to sell your home and facing foreclosure, please give me a call so we can discuss how I can help.

South Florida home prices rise in December | House Keys blog


In December 2011 home prices in South Florida were up 0.2% while home prices nationwide fell.  The article reports that in spite of this rise the market is not expected to stabilize and prices will continue to fall while the market finds its bottom.  The increase in foreclosures in January and beyond will certainly affect the market as foreclosed homes flood onto the market.  Additionally, as posted previously on this site, Florida ranks second in the nation in numbers of households spending at least half their income on housing expenses.  As long as this continues to be the case, foreclosures will continue and the market recovery will be delayed by foreclosures.

If you are facing a foreclosure, please give me a call so we can discuss how I can help.


They Keep Stealing – Why Keep Paying? | Dylan Ratigan


As a homeowner you didn’t cause the financial crisis, and you didn’t cause the housing bubble or the inevitable bust.  You bought a house you thought you could afford at the time, but we’re very unlucky in your timing. This article discusses how banks and the government were using housing to recover income lost to crashes in other sectors of the economy. It is not your responsibility to ensure banks make money. It IS your responsibility to make sure you can provide for yourself and your family in the future. The article makes the case for walking away away from your mortgage to make sure you can.


Also see this article about how Florida ranks number 2 behind California in number of households that spend at least half their income on housing costs.


Mortgage applications down as purchase demand falls


This article published February 15th by Reuters reports that mortgage applications are down, indicating a dip in demand for home purchases. This report comes at a time when forclosures are increasing, adding to the downward pressure on home values. This information also seems to contradict the optomisitc view expressed by some experts earlier in the year that the housing market had reached bottom.


National Mortgage Settlement: Bank Forecloses Even As Carrie Haskamp Pursues Loan Modification


A major impediment to mortgage modifications is the bank practice of “dual tracking” mortgages.  When a mortgage is dual tracked the bank pursues foreclosure while at the same time allowing the home owner to pursue a modification.  The problem with this is that in spite of an eminent, or completed modification the bank will still sell a home at sale leaving the owner homeless.

A personal experience of mine is witnessing a hearing for final judgment where the owners were standing there with a cashiers check sufficient to satisfy their mortgage and the bank was still asking for an order to sell the home.  This happens because there is no communication between the areas of the bank supervising foreclosures and modifications.

This is why it is so important to contest a foreclosure even if you are working with your bank on a modification.  You may believe you are on your way to saving your home only to have it sold out from under you.

If you are facing foreclosure and/or seeking a mortgage modification, please contact me so we can discuss how I can help.


Some Doubt a Settlement Will End Mortgage Ills – NYTimes.com


The most talked about aspect of the recent settlement between banks and the government has been the money that will be dedicated to providing mortgage modifications and write-downs for underwater homeowners and those in default.  This article discusses another aspect of the banks failures to work with homeowners–the run around that the owner gets while trying to comply with the banks requests in connection with HAMP and other homeowner assistance programs.

In an effort to resolve this problem the settlement requires each homeowner have a single point of contact with the bank.  This isn’t a new conept.  In fact banks have technically been converting their procedures to a single point of contact since the 3rd quarter of 2011.  However, experts say any improvements have been marginal.  Most do not have high hopes that this renewed effort will help much either.

If you are in default or facing foreclosure, and your bank is giving you the run around, please give me a call so we can discuss how I can help.


Florida No. 2 on Trulia’s Housing Misery Index | House Keys blog


Florida is behind only Nevada on this housing misery index calculated by Trulia.com. 43% of working households in South Florida spent more than half their take home pay on housing in 2010. Owners shouldn’t spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs.

To calculate the index Trulia combined the percentage of decline in home value since the peak of the housing boom and the number of mortgages that are at least 90 days past due.

The housing market was already suffering from inflated prices, but the recession has made things worse. The average owner’s housing expenses are the same or more than before the recession begain, but now home values are dramatically lower.

If you find yourself in this situation and are facing foreclosure, please call so we can discuss how I can help.