High-End Homeowners Falling Into Foreclosure Trap: CNBC

I can say having a Real Estate license, that nearly every home I have sold in the last few years have or are heading in default status. They know for a fact that the equity they have lost will take too long to recover and they will not see a glimmer of hope in their lifetime. With all the shadow foreclosures out there not listed (believe me there is too many to count) and the current 7.4 Million in default… Does it make any sense to continue? With the reports that it is stabilizing…I disagree 125%. Do they mention…who these so called “EXPERTS” work for? Exactly who are buying these homes?? It’s not you or me as individuals but corporations and banks buying them in pools, lots or “TAPES”. Once again do not believe that it is heading back….it will take many years! If it was that easy then I will suspect fraud is involved. Think about it, It took a home from the 50’s 60’s 70’s & 80’s to see a 50%-100% increase in the 2000’s. So now you are telling me that it will take 2 years for these homes that lost value in the neighborhood of 50-75%??? to come back this quick?? I DON’T THINK SO! This is my opinion.

The American Dream Has Quickly turned into an American Nightmare!

Published: Friday, 7 May 2010 | 9:32 AM ET

By: Joseph Pisani
CNBC News Associate

Heated pools, ocean views and media rooms are not what most people would expect to find in a foreclosed property, but more high-end homes—priced over a million dollars—have been falling into the hands of banks this year.

Photo credit: Stephen Scott
This foreclosed home in Fort Mill, S.C. is currently listed at $1.148 million.

Foreclosures of homes worth over $1 million began increasing at the end of 2009, according to exclusive data provided by foreclosure tracking website RealtyTrac. Foreclosures reached a high in February 2010, the last month data is available, when 4,169 homes were somewhere in the foreclosure process; either having received a foreclosure notice, had an auction scheduled or the lender took ownership of the property. That’s a 121 percent increase from a year ago.

The deterioration comes just as housing experts say that foreclosures in the low- and mid- ends of the housing market are showing signs of stabilization.

“They were able to stave off foreclosure longer,” says independent real estate analyst Jack McCabe, CEO of McCabe Research and Consulting in South Florida. “Lower-end homeowners were the first ones to see the escalating foreclosures because they generally do not have the cash reserves or credit available that the luxury homeowners do. They had the ability to take their credit cards and pull out thousands of dollars while the lower end buyers were already tapped out.”

McCabe expects to see foreclosures in the high-end market to increase into 2011.

Though the RealtyTrac data is not available on a regional or metropolitan basis, anecdotal evidence indicates the problem is cropping up across the country. Of course, the high-end and luxury categories vary widely from market to market. In some suburban areas of the Northeast and California, for instance, million-dollar homes are fairly common, but nationwide, they represent only 1.1 percent of the overall housing stock.

“We have seen an increase, in the million-plus range, of the number of foreclosures and short sales in the greater Chicago area,” says Jim Kinney, vice president of luxury home sales at Baird and Warner.

He says that of the 295 million-dollar, single-family properties sold in the January-April period this year, 37 were either a foreclosure or short sale (when a bank and homeowner agree to sell the home for less than the loan is worth). During the same period a year ago only 10 of 231 fell into those categories.

In the Fort Myers, Fla. area, a second-home market for the wealthy, Mike McMurray of McMurray and Nette and the VIP Realty Group, says he has seen a few foreclosed homes on the market compared to none last year. He’s currently showing a 4,800 square-foot, $3. 65 million home on Captiva Island, where foreclosures are usually very rare. The bank-owned home has five-bedrooms and access to 150-feet of Gulf coast beachfront.

“There are more we see coming down the pipeline,” McMurray says.

Data shows that that may be the case around the county. The 90-day delinquency rate on home loans worth over a million dollars hit a high in February at 13.3 percent, higher than the overall rate of 8.6 percent, according to real estate data firm First American CoreLogic. Foreclosure proceedings generally begin to start after a homeowner has been at least 90 days late on a mortgage payment, experts say.

One difference in the high-end market is that lenders are willing to do more to head off a foreclosure by either renegotiating the loan or accepting a short-sale transaction, which is essentially a last-ditch effort.

Captiva, Fla. Home
Photo credit: McMurray and Nette of VIP Realty Group
This five-bedroom, beachfront home in Captiva, Fla. is now bank owned and on the market for $3.65 million.

“Lenders are far more likely to go the short sale route,” says Andrew LePage, an analyst at real estate research firm DataQuick. “There’s a lot more money at stake, and maintenance can be high if a foreclosure just sits there.”

$1.15 -million condominium in Chicago in the landmark Palmolive Building started was initially offered as a short sale but , after a buyer did not materialize, is now owned by the bank , says Janice Corley, founder of Sudler Sotheby’s International Realty who’s currently listing it. The condo has lake views and a long list of luxury-building amenities including a steam room, doorman and gym.

The rise in foreclosures has one Las Vegas real estate agent flying prospective buyers into the city via private jet for free. Luxury Homes of Las Vegas and JetSuite Air teamed up to offer the complimentary trip for buyers flying from Los Angeles to view three foreclosed homes priced between $4.9 and $6.1 million.

Agent Ken Lowman said he gave three tours over a one-week period and hopes to expand the offer to buyers from other West Coast cities.

There’s just too much competition, says Lowman. “It takes an innovative approach like this to get results.”

© 2010 CNBC.com
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First American sues 8 rivals over AVMs: LENDER PROCESSING SERVICES (LPS)

Things that make you go Hmmm…

Patent infringement lawsuit seeks damages from Zillow, LPS, others

BY MATT CARTER, TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2010.

Inman News

First American CoreLogic Inc. has filed a lawsuit against eight companies, including Zillow Inc. and Lender Processing Services Inc., claiming the companies’ automated property valuation services infringe on a 1994 patent.

In its complaint, CoreLogic seeks an injunction against the companies to prohibit them from using or selling any products that fall within the scope of the patent, and for triple damages to “compensate CoreLogic for its profits lost.”

None of the companies named in the April 16 lawsuit have filed formal a response to the complaint, and none would comment to Inman News.

The companies named in the lawsuit provide automated valuation model (AVM) services to businesses or consumers — computer-generated property value estimates that typically rely on a property’s unique characteristics, public property records and other market statistics.

A spokeswoman for Zillow — a site that became one of the Internet’s most popular real estate portals by offering instant, free property “Zestimates” to consumers — said the company was aware of the lawsuit, and “has no plans to change any aspect of our business as a result of this complaint.”

LPS — a technology and data provider for the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor Property Resource database — said the company does not comment on pending litigation, but “does intend to continue providing AVM services.”

NAR’s RPR LLC subsidiary intends to generate revenue by incorporating active and sold listings data into automated property valuations that the company hopes will become a standard for the lending industry, government agencies and others (see story).

Other companies named in the lawsuit include: Fiserv Inc., Intellireal LLC, Interthinx Inc., Precision Appraisal Services Inc., Real Data Inc. and RealEC Technologies Inc.

Patent lawsuits can sometimes take years to resolve, as defendants may be able to demonstrate that a patent was issued for an idea that was not new, or that a patent claim was overly broad or vauge.

In its lawsuit, CoreLogic claims the rights to U.S. Patent 5,361,201, issued Nov. 1, 1994, for an “automated real estate appraisal system” and assigned by its inventors to HNC Inc

Summarizing the system in their patent application, inventors Allen Jost, Jennifer Nelson, Krishna Gopinathan and Craig Smith described how predictive models could generate estimated property values based on individual property characteristics and neighborhood or area characteristics.

Through a trial and error process, they said, the models could be fed “training data” in order to “learn” the relationships between individual property characteristics and area characteristics.

In the learning stage, the model’s predicted property values are compared to actual sales, and the weights assigned to different variables repeatedly adjusted to achieve the greatest degree of accuracy.

Although the process was similar in concept to established regression analysis techniques, the inventors said the application would also employ “neural networks” to automatically detect relationships between variables that would otherwise need to be detected and inputted manually by programmers.

Neural networks, they said, would allow rapid development of models and automated data analysis — a vital capability if the goal is to value properties in thousands of neighborhoods or areas, each requiring its own model.

Once the models had been developed, the inventors said, they could also be programmed to monitor their own performance and adjust their assumptions when performance dropped below a predetermined level.

In addition to an estimated property value, the models would be able to compute the predicted margin of error, allowing for a value range to be generated for each property — a common feature of AVMs offered to consumers.

The patent application described the algorithms and dozens of variables that could be used to generate valuations, and included source code written in ANSI C and Microsoft Excel macro.

The patent was assigned to Transamerica Intellitech Inc. in August 2000, and then to First American Real Estate Solutions, now part of CoreLogic.

First American is spinning off its information solutions group into a separate, publicly traded company, to be known as “CoreLogic.”

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