Posts Tagged Foreclosure

Market Turn Around in Rodeo?

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We have been appraising in Rodeo since Nancy first got started in the appraisal business more than 22 years ago.   Rodeo is a particularly dynamic market and very sensitive to the overall forces affecting real estate.  Accordingly, during the up years it rose quickly and  in autumn of 2006, it sank like a stone.

The chart at the right gives you an idea of what I am talking about.  It starts  at the beginning of 2006.  I have plotted the dollars per square foot of  gross living area  of the houses  in Old Rodeo as it changed with time.  The all-time high of $400/sq ft  occurred around mid-summer in 2006 and began to drop rapidly  in the fall.  It continued to plunge downward until around August 2009, where it settled at around $125/sq ft. That was a 69% drop in value! At this point in time we  see the market start to pick up.

Almost all the local sales are foreclosures or short sales. In 2009, there were 67 sales,  50 of which were foreclosures (REOs) and 7 of which were short sales.

Home prices are being set by these distressed sales and this may continue for some time. Nevertheless, it looks like at this point we may have hit bottom as far as prices go.  It may be a good time to buy!

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New Hope for Underwater Homeowners

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We are all hearing  about banks helping — or not helping —  folks having trouble paying their mortgage payments. In many cases, the people that are being helped, 40 or 50% of them, default on their loans a few months after  the loan was restructured.

Underwater in East BayRestructuring almost always  extends the term of the loan or reduces the interest temporarily.  Seldom is the principal of the loan reduced.

This may change. Owners  that are under water, that is they owe more than their homes  are worth, which  here in California are about 1/3 (and in neighboring Nevada is 2/3!), have little incentive to make their payments  or take care of their homes.  Lets face it, they feel more like renters than owners.  So some banks, Wells Fargo, for instance, are reducing the principle owed or deferring payment of the principle.  In the case of  a principle reduction, some of the loan is forgiven.  In the case of deferment a  part of the principle  is deferred until the time when the owner sells the house, at which time he has to pay back the amount of principle  that was deferred.  Either way, the owner is more  motivated to stay put and continue making payments, now at a reduced level. We are hoping it works.  An agent recently told us she knew 6 people living in El Cerrito or nearby communities that hadn’t made payments in over a year but had not been foreclosed upon.  We suspect there are a lot of people out there like that which means foreclosures may increase and extend over a lot longer time.   Let’s hope effective action of some kind can be taken.

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