Sarasota Real Estate Market News

White House weighs mass refinancing plan

WASHINGTON – Aug. 26, 2011 – The White House is considering a housing proposal that would allow millions of homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance into lower interest rates, The New York Times reports.
“A wave of refinancing could be a strong stimulus to the economy, because it would lower consumers’ mortgage bills right away and allow them to spend elsewhere,” an article in The New York Times notes.
Many homeowners have been unable to take advantage of today’s low interest rates — which are averaging around 4 percent — because they don’t qualify for refinancing at the best rates since they owe more on their home than it is currently worth or because of poor credit. The refinancing plan is still under discussion of how it would work, The New York Times said.
“This is the best stimulus out there because it doesn’t increase the deficit, it accomplishes monetary policy, and it reduces defaults in housing,” Christopher J. Mayer, an economist at the Columbia Business School, told The New York Times.
The White House is also considering other options to try to stimulate the housing market or save homeowners from foreclosure. Such options include more changes to its refinancing programs so more homeowners can participate or a home rental program to that would rent out foreclosures instead of putting them for sale so foreclosures would stop weighing down overall home prices.
Source: “U.S. May Back Refinance Plan for Mortgages,” The New York Times (Aug. 24, 2011)

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Financing, News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures | Leave a comment

The basic steps of foreclosure

WASHINGTON – Aug. 24, 2011 – In recent news, Fannie Mae has publicly assured homeowners going through foreclosure that they will be protected from losing their homes while applying for a federally funded loan modification. Homeowners can apply for a modification at any point before or during the foreclosure process.

If a modification is approved, homeowners can keep their homes if they make their adjusted payments. Absent that, here are the stages of a typical foreclosure:

1) In default: A loan is in default when a mortgage payment is 30 days late.

2) Warning: When a loan is 60 days past due, the bank, credit union or mortgage company warns that foreclosure is the next step.

3) Proceedings begin: After 90 days, the lender refers the loan to its foreclosure department, and hires a local lawyer to begin foreclosure proceedings.

4) Sale advertised: The lender’s lawyer advertises the property for sale for four consecutive weeks in a local newspaper. The sheriff’s sale date is listed in the advertisement.

5) Sale held: The sale is held on the published date. A sheriff’s employee conducts a courthouse auction and the highest bidder wins, usually the bank that owned or serviced the mortgage.

6) Sheriff’s deed: The winning bidder gets a sheriff’s deed that lists the last date the homeowner can redeem, or take back, the property, usually six months from the date of the sheriff’s sale. During this redemption period, the homeowner can live in the property or try to sell it.

7) Redemption period: To redeem a property, the homeowner must pay off the mortgage and all interest and late fees, court and attorney fees, title and appraisal fees, taxes and insurance. Otherwise, they will be evicted from the home.

Copyright © 2011, Detroit Free Press. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures | Leave a comment

More Americans at risk of foreclosure in Q2

WASHINGTON – Aug. 23, 2011 – The number of Americans at risk of foreclosure is rising, reflecting the U.S. economy’s continued struggles.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said Monday that 8.44 percent of homeowners missed at least one mortgage payment in the April-June quarter. That figure, which is adjusted for seasonal factors, rose 0.12 percentage point from the January-March period.

In a normal market, the percentage of delinquent borrowers is about 1.1 percent, according to the trade group.

Delinquent mortgages have plummeted from a record high of more than 10 percent of residential mortgages a year ago. But the decline is due partly to delays in foreclosure filings that are backlogged in several state courts, including Florida, New Jersey, Illinois and New York.

The end of a state and federal investigation into faulty foreclosure paperwork will likely lead to increased foreclosures later this year.

Analysts say the increase is especially worrisome because it’s due mainly to high unemployment, which tends to raise the number of missed payments and foreclosures over time. And once delayed foreclosures are re-started, the economy could suffer a hit.

“The current processing delays mean this will not happen quickly, underlining our view that both the housing market and the economy will remain weak for a few years,” said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

The quarterly survey covers nearly 88 percent of primary residential mortgages totaling nearly 44 million loans.
AP LogoCopyright © 2011 The Associated Press, Derek Kravitz, AP economics writer. All rights reserved.

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures | Leave a comment

Buyers to sellers: Just how low will you go?

NEW YORK – Aug. 22, 2011 – Low-ball offers from homebuyers seems to be the norm these days. But as economic and stock market woes continue, some buyers are using it as an opportunity to submit even lower offers.

“Buyers are going to use every point of leverage they can to get a lower price,” Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin Corp., told The Wall Street Journal.

For example, homebuyer Ryan Goodman says he reduced bids on two homes he submitted in Barrington, Ill., because of the stock markets plunge. He and his wife had originally offered $680,000 for a home listed at $800,000, and this week submitted a new offer of $650,000.

“Unless we get a steal, we’re not going to buy any house,” Goodman says.

Analysts say that the Federal Reserve’s vow to keep short-term interest rates near zero until 2013 has reduced the urgency of buyers. It gives buyers “comfort that they are not missing out on low interest rates if they wait,” says John Burns, a home-building consultant in Irvine, Calif. “That has tilted even more power toward homebuyers.”

Source: “New Round of Upheaval Reduces Home Buyers’ Urgency to Do a Deal,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 19, 2011)

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Citizens policy pushes some homeowners to add new roofs

TAMPA, Fla. – Aug. 22, 2011 – Homeowners across Florida who are up for an insurance policy renewal with the state’s insurer of last resort are receiving letters about their roofs.

Anyone with a home 25 years old or older must get an inspection and prove to Citizens Property Insurance Corp. that their roof is expected to last at least three more years.

Robert Brown says he thought he had a few more years to save money to put new roofs on his rental homes. But Citizens told him the roofs must be replaced now, or it won’t renew his policies.

“They’re forcing people to put on a new roof, even if you have a few years of life left on the roof,” Brown said. “This could force a lot of people into foreclosure, if they can’t afford the roof and then lose their insurance.”

Replacing a roof on a typical home can cost thousands of dollars.

The relatively new requirement for the roof inspection comes on the heels of another controversial Citizens policy. The company recently said it’s raising its rates for sinkhole coverage by 400 to 2,000 percent in some Bay area locations.

When it comes to the roof policy, some customers can’t afford a new roof now and say they’re letting their insurance lapse, local insurance agents said.

“This couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Laura Hart, of Florian Insurance Inc. in Hudson. “This is the worst economy most of these people have seen in their lives.”

Hart said some customers are angry that their insurance company is taking away their chance to save longer for a new roof.

If an inspector says the roof is damaged, has visible signs of leaking, or if the inspector thinks the roof might not last three years, Citizens wants it repaired or replaced.

Christine Ashburn, spokeswoman for Citizens, said the company wants to make sure it’s not covering homes that are vulnerable to hurricanes because of a weak roof.

Ashburn said the three-year lifespan rule is reasonable, and too many homeowners wait too long to replace their roofs.

“Insurance is not a maintenance program, and it’s important for Citizens to make sure we’re not covering homes with roofs in disrepair,” Ashburn said. “If we have a deficit after a hurricane, everyone in Florida could be assessed to make up for it.”

Ashburn said the company instituted the new roof requirements for some policyholders a year ago, but more homeowners are learning about now, as their policies come up for renewal.

“Tampa may have clusters of older homes, and that may be why more homeowners are complaining about the roof policy now,” Ashburn said.

Citizens is Florida’s insurer of last resort, meaning many of its policyholders couldn’t get coverage through private insurers. So customers can’t shop around.

Kirsten Tams-Schleitwiler, of AAA Insurance Agency, in Sun City Center, said she has also had customers say they’ll just go without insurance.

That’s dangerous for anyone, she said, and not really an option for those with a mortgage. Without insurance, a bank will assign insurance to the property, which is typically triple the cost of a regular policy, she said.

Nathan Dutcher, of Point Residential in Tampa, inspects roofs and said his business is up, mostly because of worried Citizens customers. Most shingle roofs are advertised to last 25 years, but few do, he said, because of the Florida heat.

“Homeowners are frustrated,” Dutcher said. “People don’t have too much money for that now, they don’t really think about, “Hey, I’m going to need a new roof this year or next year.’“

Some homeowners, though, know they’ll need a new roof soon but aren’t ready to replace it yet.

That’s what happened to Ted Williams in Tampa. He planned to buy a new roof next spring, after he received his tax return.

“My wife got a letter that explained that in order to renew our insurance, the roof had to be replaced,” Williams said. “With citizens being the lone insurance choice, it’s not fair, but what can I say?”

Williams said his roof was about three years old when he moved in 14 years ago. He knew the roof wasn’t in good shape but was still surprised he couldn’t wait until spring to replace it.

The roof cost him $6,000.

“We have four kids and are trying to buy school clothes and things,” Williams said. “But you can’t go without insurance on your home, not when a hurricane could come.”

Copyright © 2011 Tampa Tribune, Fla., Shannon Behnken. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Investors, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Foreclosures made up 31% of home sales in second quarter

Foreclosures made up roughly one-third of all home sales in Florida and the rest of the nation this spring. While that’s a smaller share of sales from the previous quarter, it’s six times the percentage of foreclosures in a healthy housing market. 

Foreclosure sales, which include homes purchased after they received a notice of default or that were repossessed by lenders, accounted for 31 percent of the market in the April-June quarter, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

Read more HERE


August 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. May Back Refinance Plan for Mortgages

The Obama administration is considering further actions to strengthen the housing market, but the bar is high: plans must help a broad swath of homeowners, stimulate the economy and cost next to nothing.

One proposal would allow millions of homeowners with government-backed mortgages to refinance them at today’s lower interest rates, about 4 percent, according to two people briefed on the administration’s discussions who asked not to be identified because they were not allowed to talk about the information.

A wave of refinancing could be a strong stimulus to the economy, because it would lower consumers’ mortgage bills right away and allow them to spend elsewhere. But such a sweeping change could face opposition from the regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and from investors in government-backed mortgage bonds.

Read more HERE

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Investors, News related to Short Sales and Foreclosures, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

Cash is king for Southwest Florida real estate

For Southwest Florida buyers, cash is king — and shows no signs of abandoning its throne.

At least three out of every five homes and condos in Southwest Florida are changing hands with no financing, something that would have seemed almost unthinkable during the boom years of easy credit.

Multiple Listing Service data show that particular ratio of cash buyers for the 12 months ended July 31 compares with just one out of six in 2006-07.

One reason is that loans are simply harder to come by in the post-recession world. Freshly wounded lenders are risk-averse and they are being extremely picky about whom they loan to.

Read more HERE

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Buyers, News related to Financing, News related to Investors, News related to Sellers, News related to the Market | Leave a comment

What’s my house worth?

When Pat Lamotta and her husband were deciding whether to sell their Sarasota home last year, they looked at Zillow first.

“It was a little lower than we’d hoped,” Lamotta said of the website’s estimate of their property’s value. “But it was right in the ballpark.”

The couple returned to the site after they had decided to go ahead and list the property, when it came time to price it.

“Our agent actually wanted it higher than we did,” said Lamotta, “so we showed her the ‘zestimate’ and asked if we should come down a little. We didn’t want the house to sit.”

According to Zillow spokeswoman Katie Curnutte, the company advocates Lamotta’s approach.

“We liken the process to a funnel. We’re useful at the top, when someone is sitting around, considering whether or not to sell, to get a sense of what the home is worth,” Curnutte said. “And we might be useful later on, say, in comparing prices. Near the bottom of the funnel, when it’s time to make the transaction, you may want an appraisal, someone in person with local expertise.”

Read more HERE

August 28, 2011 Posted by | News related to Sellers | Leave a comment

Palm Island Status Report

Here is the latest status report of properties in and around beautiful Palm Island!

Palm Island Report HERE

Palm Island Detailed Listings HERE

Legend:  WF = Water Front, WV = Water View, WA = Water Access, WE = Water Extras (Dock, Davits, etc)


August 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment