Saturday, February 28, 2009

Elkhart County Foreclosures for Feb. 2009

Elkhart County had 108 properties scheduled for Sheriff's Auction for the month of February. At last count, 73 of those properties actually went to the sale as 35 were cancelled (3 of them I personally got cancelled). Of the 73 properties that went back to the bank, 40 were from Elkhart, 21 were from Goshen, 4 were from Bristol, 4 were from Nappannee, 3 were from Middlebury and 1 from Millersburg. There was 1 property in Elkhart that had less than $50,000 owed on it, all of the rest of the properties had more than $50,000 but less than $200,000 owed on them.

Looking ahead, right now there are 84 properties scheduled for March and a whopping 169 properties already scheduled for April.

St Joseph County Foreclosures WE 2/28

This week in St. Joseph County there were 59 properties scheduled for the Sheriff's Sale. The last count that I had, 52 actually went to the sale as 7 were cancelled. All 7 of the cancelled were from South Bend. Out of the 52 that I showed that still went to the Sheriff's Sale, 38 were from South Bend, 7 were from Mishawaka, 5 were from Osceola and 2 from Granger. Only 2 properties had more than $200,000 owed on them, one was in Granger and the other was a business located in South Bend that really did not have to get to this point but the bank would not work with the business--it's a shame when banks do not work with people. There were 6 properties that owed less than $50,000 on them, all of those were from South Bend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Most Affordable Cities to Buy a Home

This top 10 list was compiled by CNN. For all of my Midwestern readers, pay attention to this list! Out of the 10 cities on this list, only1 is not in the midwest! That's right, only 1 city! What does that mean? It means that now is a great time to buy if you or someone you know is wanting to buy a home in the midwest. Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan is surrounded by these cities, meaning we are right in the mix as well.

10 Most Affordable Cities to Buy a Home
Indianapolis, IN $103,000
Warren, MI $125,000
Youngstown, OH $73,000
Detroit, MI $90,000
Grand Rapids, MI $102,000
Syracuse, NY $88,000
Dayton, OH $90,000
Akron, OH $90,000
Cleveland, OH $100,000
Scranton, PA $85,000

Best and Worst Housing Markets

This is a list compliled by Forbes that shows, in their opinion, the 10 best and 10 worst housing markets. What I found interesting, since we are in the midwest, is where the midwest housing is. I will post another list here shortly about the 10 most affordable markets to buy in, done by CNN, that in a way-mirrors this list. The midwest is in the worst markets, but also in the most affordable on the other post. Check out how many are in the midwest in the worst markets.

10 Best Housing Markets
New York City
Washington D.C.
Charolette, N.C.
Portland, Ore.
San Diego
Los Angeles

10 Worst Housing Markets
Las Vegas
San Francisco

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Produce The Note!

Here is an interesting tactic to use to delay foreclosure on a home, and it appears to work. Ask the mortgage company to produce the note that you signed when you got your mortgage to prove that you owe them the money they say you owe. It is only a stall tactic to stay in the house awhile longer, but it is very interesting. Here is a news clip that was done by ABC News in Florida:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama's Foreclosure Plan

Yesterday, President Obama introduced his $75Billion, three part plan in an attempt to halt the soaring rate of foreclosures. It seeks to encourage refinancing of home that are worth less than what is currently owed on them and gives incentives to lenders to do so as well.

Called the "Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan", it seeks to provide low-cost refinancing for as many as 5 million homeowners. If it works as planned, it would help delinquent or at-risk borrowers get their mortgages modified so that no more than 31% of their income is tied up in their mortgage. It also provides financial incentives to lenders and even a new insurance program to promote more mortgage modifications.

Banks joined 2 voluntary efforts during the Bush administration, Hope for Homeowners and the Federal Housing Administration's FHA Secure, but these efforts resulted in very few homeowners actually being helped. Hope for Homeowners helped less than 1,000 people. If banks do not comply with this new program, they may be forced into it by new legislation that would give bankruptcy judges the right to modify loan terms of mortgages, which is currently forbidden. Banks are against this legislation warning that it will bring uncertainty for lenders, who will respond by restricting already tight mortgage lending.

Under the new plan, borrowers who have stayed current on their mortgages but have been unable to refinance to lower their interest rates because their homes have decreased in value, may now have the opportunity to refinance into a 30 or 15 year fixed rate loan. Eligible loans would now include those where the new first mortgage (including refi costs) would not exceed 105% of the current market value of the property. Complete eligibility details will be announced on March 4th when the program starts.

This plan is not designed to lower the amount of debt owed on a home, only to make the payments more affordable by lowering interest rates for those that are in higher interest loans. It is also going to be available only to owner occupants, not 2nd or 3rd vacation homes or rental homes etc.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

St. Joseph County Foreclosures 2/19/09

There are 37 homes scheduled for foreclosure in St. Joseph county Indiana for 2/19/09. Of those 37, 28 of them are in South Bend, 7 in Mishawaka, 1 in Osceola and 1 in Granger. There is one property in South Bend that is owed $890,000 which I believe is a commercial property of some sort as it is on Lincoln Way in an area where there is no high end housing. That was the only property over $200,000 this week.

There were 3 properties, all of them in South Bend, that were under $50,000 owed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Housing Meltdown Hurts Minorities the Most

According to a study by an advocacy organization called United for a Fair Economy, minority Americans have been the biggest losers in the subprime mortgage crisis. The study concludes that African-Americans and Hispanics have lost as much as $213 billion in wealth over the last 8 years because of predatory lending practices. The study also pointed to data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Ace, which suggests that 40% of African-Americans given subprime housing loans could have qualified for cheaper mainstreem mortgages.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentines Day

I co-lead a men's bible study group that meets every friday morning at 6:00 a.m. Tomorrow is my morning to lead on a topic of my choice and I thought that I would share this study with everyone about the history of Valentines day with some follow up questions:

Saint Valentine is probably not just one man, but rather any of a number of martyred saints named Valentine or Valentinus, derived from the Latin word for valor. According to Christian tradition, all of these Saint Valentines are believed to have been martyred on February 14.

The first Valentinus, Valentine of Rome, was a priest and doctor, who treated even those patients who could not afford to pay him. The second Saint Valentine was beheaded for protecting Christians from the Romans. And the third is Valentine of Terni, a bishop believed killed during the persecution of Emperor Aurelian.

While these saints likely bestowed upon Valentines Day its name, they still do not explain the holiday’s love connection. To understand that, one has to go back even further in history-to the Romans.

Historians believe that the holiday of love derives it origins from the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalla. On February 15, the Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercus, to honor and thank the wolf god who watched over the Roman shepherds and their flocks.

While Lupercus doesn’t seem to have much to do with romance, there was a number of fertility customs associated with this feast. In one of the rituals, women would put their names on slips of paper in a box to be drawn by men. The two would then be coupled up for the duration of the festival-or the rest of the year in some cases. This fertility-friendly feast gives some clue as to the romantic-or at least procreative- nature of the holiday. But we don’t celebrate Saint Lupercus Day on February 14. So, how did the Valentine saints become associated with the Roman god?

Legend has it that in the 3rd century, the Roman emperor Claudious II banned marriages to prevent draft dodgers. Only single men had to go into the army- and too many young men were getting married.

A Christian priest named Valentinus of Rome ignored the ban, continuing to officiate marriages in secret. Valentinus was caught and sentenced to death- an order carried out on February 14. Valentinus fell for his jailer’s daughter and sent her love notes signed “from your Valentine”.

In the late 5th century, Emperor Gelasius declared February 14 a holy day in honor of Valentinus, allowing Christianity to adopt some of the love day customs previously associated with paganism.

The traditions were reworked, however, to honor the Christian martyrs. For example, instead of boys pulling girls names from boxes, both boys and girls chose names of martyred saints to emulate for the year. It took nearly 9 centuries, until the advent of the renaissance, for Valentines Day to return to its earlier love-based roots.

Did you know this history of Valentines Day? Does it change your opinion of Valentines Day?

Do you have any special plans or traditions that you use to celebrate Valentines Day?

How do you think God views this holiday?

At one time, this holiday was to celebrate Christian Martyrs, how much are you willing to sacrifice for your faith? Would you be willing to die for your faith and what are you willing to die for?

(John 13:38, 18:15-17, 18:25-27) How do you think you would have reacted if you had been Peter?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

January St. Joseph County Numbers

January, 2009 total units sold in St. Joseph County were 126 which is -33% from the 187 in 2008. Total dollar volume for this January was $12,158,954 which is -30% from the $17,300,641 that was recorded in January of 2008. The average sale price was $96,500 which is +4% from the average of $92,517 a year ago. And the median sale price was $58,750 is down from the $65,200 that was recoded in 2008.

Those are the numbers for January 2009, I will report more as I get them!

January Southwest Lower Michigan Numbers

For January, 2009, Southwest Lower Michigan was -19% compared to January, 2008. A total of 120 properties were sold compared to 148 a year ago. The positive markets for the month were Hartford/Lawrence (+125%), Dowagiac/Marcellus (+57%), Coloma/Watervliet (+14%) while Niles/Galien was flat. Average days on the market were up slightly from 118 to 124 (+5%) while the average sale price dropped from $141,672 down to $94,564 (-33%).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hope Program

Last July, the government created a program called "HOPE" which was designed to help struggling home owners keep their homes by refinancing into safer, more affordable mortgages. It was thought that the HOPE program would help about 400,000 homeowners. To date, this program has been a bust! So far the program has helped only 451 applicants and just 25 loans have closed. Lenders find the program difficult to participate in because of many of the program's constraints. This week, there is a proposed revision to the program, which the NAR supports. The new program, if passed, would lower participation standards, cut costs for consumers and reduce the cost of implementation for lenders.

We'll wait and see if the new program will be any better.

Sold In McKinley Terrace

Congratulations Lee! This is Lee and he just became a homeowner for the 1st time. Lee bought a home in a very popular area called McKinley Terrace. The home that he purchased has been completely remodeled with new windows, new carpet, new ceramic tile in the kitchen and baths and a nice 2 car garage for him to park his cool sports car in. Congrats and enjoy your new home!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

$15,000 Bonus for Home Buyers?

On Wednesday, February 4, the U.S. Senate unaminously approved a proposal that would allow a tax credit of home buyers of 10% of the value of new or existing residences, up to a $15,000 limit. Study's estimate that it would cost $19Billion and would be part of the current stimulus package that is being put together.

This credit, as currently designed, would not be a loan that would have to be repaid and would not be limited to 1st time home buyers. It would be open to anyone buying a home before the end of 2009 and would require the buyer to stay in the home for a minimum of 2 years.

This program, if given the final ok, would replace the current $7,500 tax credit program that requires the buyer to pay the credit back.

Best Places to Live and Raise a Family

Here is an article that I thought you might find interesting--No place in Michiana is mentioned-Bummer!

Progressive Farmer has again ranked the best rural places to live and raise a family based on an analysis by OnBoard Informatics, a real estate research firm.Progressive Farmer considers home and land prices, crime rates, environment, education access to health care and economic factors. Counties are first ranked based on these statistics, then the final decisions are made after the magazine staff travels to the selected counties. Here are Progressive Farmers’ top 10 choices:

Hamilton County, Neb.
Chippewa County, Minn.
Ida County, Iowa
Harvey County, Kan.
Clinton, Iowa
Fayette County, Texas
Oconee County, Ga.
McPherson County, Kan.
Obion County, Tenn.
Madison County, Va.

Source: Progressive Farmer (02/02/09)

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Next Wave Of Foreclosures?

According to LPS Applied Analytics, a mortgage-data research firm, the next wave of foreclosures may be ready to hit Jumbo borrowers. A Jumbo mortgage is one that is over $417,000. Loans in excess of $650,000 are considered Super Jumbo's. Current data, as of late December, states that 6.9% of prime Jumbo loans were at least 90 days late in payment.

Nearly 25% of prime jumbo mortgages exceeded the value of the homes they backed in September. That figure would increase to at least 42% if home prices decline 15% over the next two years.

The bottom line is that the economy is discouraging sales and driving down prices even for properties that normally appeal to affluent buyers.

source: The Wall Street Journal (1/28/09)
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