Threat of Shadow Inventory Diminishing: Barclays

Imagine what your value will be worth after all these “shadow inventory” is finally released. Again, I hold a real estate license and can tell you I have access to some of this shadow inventory and it is not pretty to look at. Barclays report below is only one source!

In Michigan they are demolishing homes like you cannot imagine…But I may know exactly why…”Greece” is a hint.

BY: CARRIE BAY DSNEWS.com

Analysts at Barclays Capital say the industry’s ominous shadow inventory is close to topping out.

New research published by the firm says the supply of homes nearing REO status, defined as 90 or more days delinquent or in the process of foreclosure, will peak this summer and then begin falling gradually as the market becomes stable enough to absorb 130,000 distressed properties a month.

“While we expect REO levels to remain elevated, the trickle of homes from foreclosure into REO implies moderate levels of inventory reaching market,” Barclays said in its report.

The company estimates the current REO supply to be 478,000 and expects it to rise to 536,000 by late 2011.

Barclays’ delinquency pipeline snapshot shows that as of February, there were 2.4 million mortgages at least 90 days past due and 2.1 million more already winding through the foreclosure process, which combined makes up a shadow inventory of 4.5 million.

It’s a daunting tally and could grow larger as foreclosure alternatives are exhausted, but Barclays’ model forecasts 4.7 million distressed sales over the next three years, with 1.6 million coming in 2010, 1.6 million in 2011, and 1.5 million in 2012.

The research firm notes, however, that an orderly liquidation of shadow inventory will require both “more robust household formation and job growth.”

Some market indicators, though, are looking favorable. This week, Fannie Mae reported only a minor increase in its March serious delinquency rate – 5.59 percent versus 5.51 percent in February. RealtyTrac also reported a 12 percent month-to-month decline in default notices for April.

Barclays says this data supports its forecast that the industry is only a few months away from reaching peak levels of shadow inventory.

House Bill Would Allow Those Facing Foreclosure to Stay on as Renters

BY: CARRIE BAY DSNEWS 4/29/2010

Two House Democrats have introduced a bill to create a “right to rent” for homeowners facing foreclosure.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Arizona) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), would allow a family receiving a foreclosure notice to petition a judge to stay in their home as renters under a 5-year lease. The judge would appoint an independent appraiser to set fair market rental value, which would be allowed to rise with inflation.

In a statement to the press, Grijalva cited the latest market data from RealtyTrac, which showed that foreclosure activity nationwide rose by 19 percent in March, setting a new monthly record of 367,000 filings. RealtyTrac also found that for the first three months of 2010, foreclosures are up by 60 percent compared to 2009 and roughly 6 million mortgages are at least 60 days delinquent.

Grijalva called the latest statistics “an indication of the profound, historic crisis we face and the need for creative solutions like Right to Rent. I call on the rest of Congress to take a hard look at why we’ve allowed things to get this bad,” he said.

According to Grijalva, the administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) just isn’t doing enough to keep pace with the nation’s mortgage problems. Between February and March, the number of people who received assistance through HAMP but subsequently became delinquent again nearly doubled from 1,499 to 2,879.

“HAMP is simply an insufficient response to this crisis,” Grijalva said. “Right to Rent is a fair and sensible solution for struggling homeowners. Banks will still get reliable rental income, and families will be able to stay in their homes and significantly lower their monthly housing costs.”

Grijalva called the terms of the bill (H.R. 5028) “a workable and equitable compromise for lenders, families, and communities.”

He said, “Passing this bill will help neighborhoods avoid the spiral of decay, crime, and lower property values that often follows mass vacancies without creating any new bureaucracy or transferring a dime of taxpayer money to homeowners or banks.”

To prevent use of the program by speculators, eligibility for the “right to rent” initiative would be limited to homes purchased at or below the median price for their metropolitan statistical area, and must have been the homeowner’s principal residence for no less than 2 years, Grijalva explained. Only mortgages originated before July 1, 2007 would be eligible.

Short Sales…A Breeding Ground for Fraud?

  I’ll Say it again Caveat Emptor… I do hope NAR’s President Vicki Cox Golder got my email!

By: Carrie Bay 04/23/2010 DSNEWS.COM

With defaults continuing to mount and declining property values still widespread, the industry is seeing an increase in short sales. Such transactions are expected to burgeon even further now that the federal government has implemented its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program.

Under HAFA, servicers participating in the administration’s foreclosure prevention effort are required to consider a short sale for all homeowners that don’t qualify for a modification, and incentives are paid out to borrowers, servicers, and lien holders for successful short sales.

With the new policies and still-precarious market conditions, short sales are gaining in popularity among lenders and distressed homeowners alike, but as with any modus operandi that rapidly picks up steam, this proliferation can open the gate for fraudulent activity.

Experts say one area of the short sale process particularly vulnerable to fraud is property valuation. Bank-owned fraud attributed directly to schemes involving short sales and REO inventories has increased by 40 percent over the past year and has more than doubled from two years ago, according to market data from the California-based risk mitigation firm Interthinx.

The administration’s HAFA program allows broker price opinions (BPOs) to be used to determine the value of properties to establish a minimum offer for a short sale. Some industry groups claim the allowance of BPOs is likely to exacerbate the potential for fraud. They say that the real estate agents and brokers who perform BPOs have an inherent bias toward producing a fee for themselves, irrespective of ensuring a fair return for the lien holder or homeowner.

In response to these allegations, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) stressed that BPOs are completed by licensed real estate agents who have a detailed knowledge and understanding of real estate pricing and local market trends. The organization argues that BPOs are widely accepted in the industry because of their established reliability and accuracy, and practitioners providing BPOs must adhere to a rigorous code of ethics and recognize their fiduciary responsibility to their clients.

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has described short-sale fraud schemes as “difficult to detect since the lender agrees to the transaction,” they are moving higher on the agency’s list of types of mortgage fraud to watch, with the number of cases mounting rapidly.

The FBI defines such fraud as: “Any material misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission relied upon by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a loan.”

Freddie Mac recently issued a notice to its servicers and real estate practitioners on what the GSE called an emerging fraud trend – short payoff, or short sale, fraud.

Short sale volume at Freddie Mac has grew more than 1,000 percent from 2007 to 2009, and the GSE says this upward trend in volume leaves the market ripe for incidences of short payoff fraud.

According to a member of Freddie Mac’s Fraud Investigation Unit, any misrepresentation related to the buyer, a subsequent transaction at a higher prices, or the seller’s hardship reason to qualify for a short sale constitutes fraud.

The GSE outlined several red flags that might suggest short sale fraud:

  • Sudden borrower default, with no prior delinquency history, and the borrower cannot adequately explain the sudden default.
  • The borrower is current on all other obligations.
  • The borrower’s financial information indicates conflicting spending, saving, and credit patterns that do not fit a delinquency profile.
  • The buyer of the property is an entity.
  • The purchase contract has an option clause to resell the property.

Treasury officials say they have already incorporated safeguards against fraud into HAFA. To participate in the program, borrowers and the licensed real estate agent who lists the property are required to sign a Short Sale Agreement (SSA) and sales contract attesting that the transaction is being conducted at arm’s length, meaning the property is not being sold to a relative.

In addition, buyers must agree not to resell, or “flip,” the home within 90 days of the closing date, and the lender/servicer must have an independent property valuation in hand that meets their pre-set net return requirement before agreeing to the short sale. Treasury officials say servicers should terminate the short sale agreement if any evidence of falsification or misrepresentation is discovered.

Related Stories:

AGENTS BEWARE! HERE COME THE HAFA VENDORS aka LPS AFTER YOUR COMMISSION

National foreclosure auctions go online via LPS: “CAVEAT EMPTOR”

Short Sale Supervisor Talks to a Real Estate Agent – Recorded Conversation