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Biz Break: A real estate ‘double dip’; plus: Steve Jobs and Apple’s iCloud

By Frank Michael Russell
frussell@mercurynews.com

Posted: 05/31/2011 01:18:06 PM PDT
Real Estate
Today: The latest Case-Shiller report confirms a “double dip” in the real estate market for most of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas: Plus: Steve Jobs will unveil iCloud at Apple’s (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

A real estate ‘double dip’

Home prices in most of the nation’s largest metro areas have dropped to their lowest level since the real estate meltdown started in 2006, according to the most recent Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes report released today.

Complete article found at: http://www.siliconvalley.com/news/ci_18176409?nclick_check=1

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2 firms to pay for improper military foreclosures

By DEREK KRAVITZ and PETE YOST
Associated Press Writers
Published: Thursday, May. 26, 2011 – 1:40 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 26, 2011 – 2:51 pm

WASHINGTON — Two mortgage lenders will pay more than $22 million combined to settle federal civil charges that they improperly foreclosed on 178 military personnel, some of whom were serving in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.

Subsidiaries of Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley failed to obtain court orders before imposing the foreclosures between 2006 and 2009, the Justice Department said Thursday. The cases will result in an average of $125,562 in payments per person. The foreclosed homes were in 22 states.

Complete article found at: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/05/26/3657243/2-firms-to-pay-for-improper-military.html

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San Jose pushes ahead with pension proposals

Posted: 05/24/2011 01:44:23 PM PDT

Updated: 05/24/2011 07:21:46 PM PDT

Wisconsin state Sen. Spencer Coggs speaks to San Jose city workers on May 24,… ( Dai Sugano )

In the national spotlight since Mayor Chuck Reed this month called for a ballot measure to curb runaway pension costs, the San Jose City Council put off calling a fiscal state of emergency Tuesday while voting to study various proposals for reducing retirement benefits.

Complete article found at: http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_18129718?nclick_check=1

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Home sales fall, despite uptick in 1st-time buyers

First-time homebuyers rise but not enough to lift the weak housing market

ap

Derek Kravitz, AP Real Estate Writer, On Thursday May 19, 2011, 3:56 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people purchased previously occupied homes in April, a troubling sign that the weak housing market remains a drag on the economy.

Sales fell 0.8 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million units, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That’s far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.

Purchases made by first-time homebuyers did increase but not nearly enough to signal a housing recovery is on the way. First-time buyers are critical because they typically improve their properties and invest in their communities, a combination that helps home values rise.

Foreclosures, on the other hand, force prices down. They represented more than a third of all sales in April and more are expected in the months ahead.

Since the housing boom went bust, sales have fallen in four of the past five years and hit a 13-year low last year. Declining home prices and low mortgage rates haven’t been enough to boost sales this year.

Some who want to buy can’t, mostly because banks have tightened lending requirements and are insisting on larger down payments. Many buyers who can qualify for loans are holding off. They are worried that home prices have yet to bottom out.

Economists say it could be years before the housing market fully recovers.

A growing problem is that some sales that are under contract are falling apart. A separate survey from the trade group found 11 percent of Realtors said a contract was canceled because an appraisal came in below the negotiated price. And 14 percent said a contract was renegotiated to a lower price because of a low appraisal.

The median sales price in April was $163,700. That’s down 5 percent from the same month one year ago. The median price of a new home is now nearly 31 percent higher than the median price for a previously occupied home — or twice the normal markup.

The gap is largely because of the flood of foreclosures or short sales — when the lender accepts less than what is owed on the mortgage. Those sales are forcing down prices.

Sales of homes at risk of foreclosure fell in April. But they still made up 37 percent of all purchases. And a large number of pending foreclosures are backlogged in the courts or held up by state and federal probes into troubled foreclosure practices by lenders.

A record 1 million homes were lost to foreclosures last year and foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac Inc. expects 1.2 million more will be lost this year.

Another problem for the housing market is the glut of unsold homes. In April, the supply rose to nearly 3.9 million. At last month’s sales pace, it would take more than 9 months to clear those homes. Analysts say a healthy supply can be cleared in six months.

The increase in unsold inventory “should continue to weigh on prices,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak + Co.

The situation is much worse when taking into account the “shadow inventory” of homes, economists say. These are homes that are in the early stages of the foreclosure process but, because of backlogged courts or the government probes, have not hit the market for re-sale.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Monday that about 8.3 percent of homeowners missed at least one mortgage payment in the January-March quarter when adjusted for seasonal factors. That’s up 0.7 percent from the previous quarter.

Sales fell across most regions of the country. In April, sales declined 7.5 percent in the Northeast, 1.6 percent in the West and 1 percent in the South. But they rose 5.7 percent in the Midwest.

Article found at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Home-sales-fall-despite-apf-1672163469.html?x=0

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Everything You Need to Know About Foreclosure Listings

If you are thinking of purchasing a new residential property or home to live in, then you might want to take a look at your local foreclosure listings through your local directory, or through the internet, such as www.carolpefley.com. Foreclosure is technically known as the legal process wherein an owner’s right to his property is terminated. The most common reason for this is default and other terms and agreements stated in his contract. These properties that undergo a foreclosure are usually sold at public auction. These properties are instantly added to the foreclosure listings of your city or town, the proceeds of which are given and applied to the mortgage debt that the previous owner owed; that is why these foreclosed houses and properties sell quite fast.

You may search for some of these foreclosure listings online at www.carolpefley.com that cater to these foreclosed homes and properties. It is important to know and to understand that the house was put up for sale, being a foreclosed home, because the previous homeowner was not able to pay the mortgage fees imposed on his home. Given this situation, the lender, of course, takes back his property, seeing that he cannot benefit from it. There are various legal steps also that are involved in this sort of dealing and they vary through different states.

When purchasing a home or residential property from the foreclosure listings, there are some steps that you should do before deciding on which one to buy. First, you might want to consider an investigation and thorough search of the advantages of purchasing a foreclosed home. Since there is an urgent need for the bank or lender to recover their investment as soon as possible, foreclosed homes are often sold at huge discounts.

When shopping for homes in foreclosure listings, consider an agent such as myself, at Realty World Platinum who is experienced with the job. This is important because there are some sellers who won’t allow a sale from buyers who are unrepresented. 

Written by Carol Pefley

www.carolpefley.com

Lastly, make sure to check the house for any damages and the like. Do not forget to look for foreclosure listings on www.rwplatinum.com. It would also be a good idea to ask if there are any bargaining opportunities that can save you money as well. There is also a lot of paperwork involved, so get ready for that.

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