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GEORGIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY AND OWNER PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACIES TO RIG BIDS AND COMMIT MAIL FRAUD FOR THE PURCHASE OF REAL ESTATE AT PUBLIC FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

First Charges Filed in Georgia Real Estate Foreclosure Auctions Investigation

A Georgia real estate investor and his company pleaded guilty today for their role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia, the Department of Justice announced.

Separate felony charges were filed on Sept. 25, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, against Penguin Properties LLC and its owner, Seth D. Lynn. Continue reading GEORGIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY AND OWNER PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACIES TO RIG BIDS AND COMMIT MAIL FRAUD FOR THE PURCHASE OF REAL ESTATE AT PUBLIC FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

Justice Department Charges California Apartment Owner and Staff with Discrimination Against Families with Children

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owner and operators of a Fremont, Calif., apartment complex, alleging that they had discriminated against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act by prohibiting children from playing in the common grassy areas of the complex.

 “Families with children should have the same ability to enjoy their homes as all other tenants,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.     Continue reading Justice Department Charges California Apartment Owner and Staff with Discrimination Against Families with Children

Housing Market Balances Out In September

Realtor.com®, the leader in online real estate operated by Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE), today released the realtor.com® National Housing Trend Report forSeptember 2013. The proprietary report is aggregated from real-time listing counts through direct relationships with more than 800 multiple listing services (MLSs) around the country, representing 98 percent of all for-sale properties in the U.S. Continue reading Housing Market Balances Out In September

Loan Officer and Straw Purchaser Admit Roles in Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud

A loan officer and a straw purchaser today admitted they conspired to defraud financial institutions as part of a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scam to make illegal profits on over-developed condominiums in the Wildwood, New Jersey area, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. Continue reading Loan Officer and Straw Purchaser Admit Roles in Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud

Former Alabama Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty 
To Making False Statement In Connection With Real Estate Foreclosure Auction Investigation

A former investor in the Alabama real estate foreclosure auctions industry pleaded guilty today to one count of making false statements, the Department of Justice announced.

Ali Forouzan, of Mobile, Ala., pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile to making materially false and fictitious statements to a Special Agent of the FBI and a Department of Justice Antitrust Division prosecutor.  The false statements were in regard to his knowledge of, and participation in, bid rigging and other fraudulent schemes in the Alabama real estate foreclosure auction industry. Continue reading Former Alabama Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty 
To Making False Statement In Connection With Real Estate Foreclosure Auction Investigation

Florida Woman Sentenced for Role in Reverse Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A Miami title agent and former mortgage broker was sentenced today for her role in a reverse mortgage loan fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Lester Fernandez of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) made the announcement after sentencing by Senior Judge Richard W. Goldberg, sitting by designation in the Southern District of Florida. Continue reading Florida Woman Sentenced for Role in Reverse Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Austin Texas Is Top Health and Wealth Real Estate Market In U.S.

Top Health and Wealth Real Estate MarketAustin Texas came in a the top of RealtyTrac’s list this morning of the best “Health and Wealth” places in the U.S.  What does it take to be considered a “healthy” place to live?  RealtyTrac scored each metro area it examined on a variety of lifestyle topics (how active residents are, how much they smoke and drink) as well as the “disease rate” of it’s residents, what the environment was like and finally the economy and real estate appreciation.

Austin-Round Rock, Texas scored an eighty-one percent (81%) on its’ activity rate, a ten percent (10%) smoking rate, low disease rates and had 27 percent home price appreciation in the past 3 years sending it to the top of the list.  See the complete list, with all the details below.

Continue reading Austin Texas Is Top Health and Wealth Real Estate Market In U.S.

Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination on Basis of Race and National Origin in Minneapolis

The Justice Department today announced a settlement of its lawsuit alleging that Highland Management Group Inc., Edina Park Apartments LLC, and Amy Koch violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by discriminating against Somali prospective renters at Edina Park Apartments in Edina, Minn. a suburb of Minneapolis.  After filing the complaint earlier today, the department submitted the settlement to U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Nelson, in the form of a proposed consent decree. Continue reading Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination on Basis of Race and National Origin in Minneapolis

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Homeowners Association and Property Management Company in Fair Housing Lawsuit Involving Occupancy Limits

 The Justice Department announced today that the Townhomes of Kings Lake HOA Inc. (HOA) and Vanguard Management Group Inc. have agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The lawsuit alleged that the HOA adopted and both defendants enforced occupancy limits that discriminated against families with children at the Townhomes of Kings Lake, a 249-townhome community in Gibsonton, Fla. Continue reading Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Homeowners Association and Property Management Company in Fair Housing Lawsuit Involving Occupancy Limits

Future Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (Video)

flood insuranceAs many in the real estate profession (particularly those in coastal areas) are well aware, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has undergone sweeping changes over the past few years, including major changes as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.  This  short (4 minute) video from FEMA does a great job explaining changes to the program that will come about as a result of the act.

New home sales at highest level in over 5 years

new home salesNew home sales in June were at an annual rate of 497,000 homes, the highest level in over 5 years,  according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.  New homes sold in June at a rate that is 8.3 percent higher than the month before and 38.1 percent higher than June 2012 when new homes were sold at the rate of 360,000 homes a year.

New homes sold in the month of June 2013 were sold for a median price of $249,700, a decrease of 5 percent from the month before and an increase of 7.3 percent from a year ago when the median new home sales price was $232,600.

Typical house In the U.S. About to turn 40 and has gas

typical house in U.S.The typical house in the U.S. was is about to turn 40, according to data just released by the U.S. Census bureau.  According to the 2011 American Housing Survey, the median year owner occupied homes in the year were built is 1974 making the median aged home 39.  The heating source of choice for American homeowners is natural gas with 50.4 percent of occupied homes using gas for home heating.  Electric is the heat source for 35.3 percent.

Click here for complete American Housing Survey Results.

 

Home Flipping Activity and Profits Increase This Year

house flipping - Dennis Norman, St Louis RealtorHome flipping activity during the first half of this year was on the increase with 136,184 homes being flipped, an increase of 19 percent from a year ago,  according to a report released this morning by RealtyTrac.  Profits were on the increase as well during the first half of 2013, with the average home flipping gross profit coming in at $18,391 per house, an increase of 246 percent from a year ago when the average gross profit was just $5,321.

Not surprising, Florida dominates the top markets for home flipping, with 6 of the top 8 markets for home flipping being found in the state.

Top 15 Markets for Profitable Home Flipping Continue reading Home Flipping Activity and Profits Increase This Year

Quality of Tenants Improving

Quality of Tenantsnts - Dennis Norman, St Louis REALTORThe quality of tenants for residential rentals improved during the first quarter of this year,  according to the  CoreLogic® SafeRent® Renter Applicant Risk Index.  The index rose to 104 during the 1st quarter of 2013, up from 102 the year before.  The report shows the credit quality of rental applicants and determines the likelihood of the prospective tenant fulfilling the terms of a lease.

CoreLogic SafeRent Report – 1st Quarter 2013

Quality of Tenants

Source: Corelogic

 

Home Prices In 25 Major Metros Up Almost 8 Percent in Past Year; Inventory Down

Home Prices In 25 Major Metros, St Louis REALTORHome prices in the 25 top metro markets have increased 7.7 percent in the past year, from a median price of $371,995 for the 25 city-composite in July 2012 to $400,620 currently, according to data from MORE, REALTORS.  During the same period, the inventory of homes for sale in the 25 metro areas in the composite fell 17 percent, from 422,314 homes for sale a year ago to 360,877 homes for sale presently.

The charts below depict the dramatic change in the past year… Continue reading Home Prices In 25 Major Metros Up Almost 8 Percent in Past Year; Inventory Down

New Home Starts Slip Slightly In June

new home starts - St Louis Realtor Dennis NormanNew home starts in June were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 homes, down 0.8 percent from the month before but up 11.5 percent from June 2012 when the rate was just 530,000 homes, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Building permits for new homes were issued in June at an annual rate of 624,000 homes, an increase of 0.6 percent from the month before and an increase of 24.6 percent from June 2012.  New homes were completed in June at the annual rate of 554,000 homes, down 1.1 percent from the month before but up 15.4 percent from the year before.

Home Builders Confidence Level Hits Highest Level In Over Seven Years

builder confidenceHome builders are drinking the housing market recovery Kool Aid!  According to the latest survey by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo, home builders’ confidence levels in the new home market rose in July, the third consecutive month of increases in confidence, and reached the highest level since January of 2006.

Highlights from the survey:

  • This survey shows an improvement in builder confidence across every region
  • Builders reported solid gains in current sales conditions, traffic of prospective buyers and sales expectations for the next six months

There was a word of caution in the report, coming from NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. However, who cautioned that “This positive momentum could be disrupted by threats on the policy side, particularly with regard to the mortgage interest deduction and federal support for the housing finance system.”

 

Seven Defendants in Mortgage Origination Fraud Scheme Indicted for Bank Fraud Conspiracy Along with Other Charges

The Justice Department announced that seven defendants were arrested and arraigned today for their roles in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that operated in Detroit.

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District Court of Michigan indicted Peter Allen, Suhail Hallak, Al Karana, Joey Murad, Jason Najor, Jeffrey Najor and Wasseem Shamoun with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, numerous counts of bank fraud and other fraud charges. Continue reading Seven Defendants in Mortgage Origination Fraud Scheme Indicted for Bank Fraud Conspiracy Along with Other Charges

For Sale: View Of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge $25Mil Min Bid

Dennis Norman - Realtor- View of San Francisco BayThat’s right, spectacular views of San Francisco Bay, The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and Sausalito can be yours for as little as $25 Million and even comes with a new home to boot! “Villa Belvedere,” described by the company marketing it as, a  15,176-square-foot, hi-tech, “Certified Green” newly constructed home featuring 7 bedrooms, 9 full baths + 2 half baths, and over 5,000 square feet of waterfront terraces will be offered at auction with a minimum bid of $25 million and no reserve, according to information from Guy Masters, Auction Consultant.

Check out the view from the house: Continue reading For Sale: View Of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge $25Mil Min Bid

Las Vegas Agent Convicted in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A Las Vegas mortgage agent has been convicted for his role in a “cash back at closing” mortgage fraud scheme that netted $1.43 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada, and Acting Special Agent in Charge William C. Woerner of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field OfficeAfter a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in the District of Nevada, a federal jury convicted Jawad “Joe” Quassani, 42, on July 10, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and two counts of mail fraud

Foreclosures Activity Drops In June To Lowest Level Since 2006

foreclosure activityForeclosure activity in June 2013 dropped to the lowest level since December 2006 with the first half of this year seeing 801,359 properties with foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions), a drop of 19 percent from the previous 6 month period and a decline of 23 percent from the first half of 2012, according to a report released this morning by RealtyTrac.

Highlights from RealtyTrac’s June 2013 Foreclosure Report:

  • A total of 127,790 U.S. properties had foreclosure filings in June, down 14 percent from the previous month and down 35 percent from a year ago to the lowest monthly level since December 2006 — a six and a half year low.
  • U.S. foreclosure starts in June dropped 21 percent from the previous month and were down 45 percent from a year ago to the lowest monthly level since December 2005 — a seven and a half year low. Year to date through June, 409,491 foreclosure starts have been filed nationwide, on pace to reach more than 800,000 for the year, which would be down from 1.1 million foreclosure starts in 2012.
  • Foreclosure starts in June decreased from the previous month in 38 states, including Nevada (down 84 percent), Colorado (down 62 percent), New Jersey (down 40 percent), Illinois (down 39 percent) and Florida (down 26 percent).
  • Bank repossessions (REO) in June decreased 9 percent from the previous month and were down 35 percent from a year ago. Year to date through June, a total of 248,538 bank repossessions have occurred nationwide, on pace for nearly 500,000 for the year, which would be down from more than 671,000 in 2012.
  • Bank repossessions in June decreased from a year ago in 34 states, but there were some notable exceptions where bank repossessions were up from a year ago, including Arkansas (up 143 percent), Oklahoma (up 103 percent), Maryland (up 74 percent), Washington (up 71 percent), New Jersey (up 33 percent), and New York (up 21 percent).
  • Judicial foreclosure auctions (NFS) were scheduled for 28,296 U.S. properties in June, up less than 1 percent from May but up 34 percent from June 2012. States with substantial annual increases in scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions included New Jersey (up 103 percent), Florida (up 100 percent), Maryland (up 94 percent), New York (up 66 percent), and Illinois (up 65 percent to a 35-month high).
  • Florida, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio and Georgia posted the top five state foreclosure rates for the first half of the year, while five Florida cities posted the top five metro foreclosure rates: Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ocala, and Tampa.

foreclosure-activity-june-2013-realtytrac

average-time-to-foreclose

Shadow Inventory Down 34 Percent From Peak in 2010

Shadow Inventory

Shadow inventory foreclosed homes that have not hit the market) continues to decrease with the shadow inventory for April falling below one million units, down 34 percent from 2010 when the shadow inventory peaked at  3 million units, according to report from Corelogic.

Foreclosure inventory is on the decline as well with 52,000 foreclosures being completed in May, down 27 percent from a year ago when there were 71,000 foreclosures.

Mortgage delinquencies, the pre-cursor to foreclosures, improved in May as well with there being less than 2.3 million mortgages (5.6 percent of total mortgages) seriously delinquent as of the end of May, the lowest rate in almost 5 years. Continue reading Shadow Inventory Down 34 Percent From Peak in 2010

Eight out of ten home buyers think their home was a good investment

home was a good investment

Eight out of ten recent home buyers feel their home was a good financial investment, according to the National Association of REALTORS Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trends Report.  Young home buyers are feeling even better about their purchase with 85 percent of buyers 32 years of age or younger saying they feel their home was a good financial investment.

Who is buying homes? Continue reading Eight out of ten home buyers think their home was a good investment

Mortgage Delinquency Rate Drops In May Making Biggest YTD Drop In Over 10 Years

mortgage delinquencyThe mortgage delinquency rate dropped again in May bringing the total decline in mortgage delinquencies to more than 15 percent since the end of 2012, marking the the largest year-to-date drop since 2002, according to a report just released by Lenders Processing Services (LPS).  The mortgage delinquency rate for May 2013 was 6.08 percent.

Mortgage delinquencies are still higher than the post crash period (about 1.4 times higher than the average from 1995 to 2005) however, they are down significantly from their peak in January 2010.

Total U.S. loan delinquency rate: 6.08%
Month-over-month change in delinquency rate: -2.11%
Total U.S. foreclosure presale inventory rate: 3.05%
Month-over-month change in foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate: -3.91%
States with highest percentage of non-current* loans: FL, NJ, MS, NV, NY
States with the lowest percentage of non-current* loans: MT, AK, WY, SD, ND

Source: LPS

Top 15 Retirement Markets To Invest In Real Estate

Apartment MarketThe hot spots for retirement are probably a safe bet for real estate investment, especially with us being just a couple of years into baby boomers reaching retirement age and about 15 more years to come of it.  So, what are the hot retirement locations that are best for investment?  RealtyTrac addressed this issue and came up with the list below of the top 15 retirement hot spots for real estate investing.

Continue reading Top 15 Retirement Markets To Invest In Real Estate

God Bless America!

God Bless America - US Constitution

San Jose Is Fastest Moving Market In May; Philadelphia is Slowest

fastest moving marketsThe fastest moving market in the U.S. in May was San Jose, California where 58 percent of the newly listed homes for sale sold in the first 2 weeks, according to Redfin’s “Real-Time Fastest Markets Report”.  At the other end of the spectrum was Philadelphia where only 9 percent of the newly listed homes sold within the first 14 days.  On the national level, 32 percent of newly listed homes sold in the first two weeks.

Highlights from the Report:

Continue reading San Jose Is Fastest Moving Market In May; Philadelphia is Slowest

Former Realtor.com Exec Helping Launch Housefax

Realtor.com - Dennis Norman, house fax

Housefax?  Yes, in what appears to be a copy of Carfax, some real estate industry executives, including Allan Dalton former CEO for REALTOR.com, have launched Housefax.  According to the website, Housefax was launched in 2012  “to serve the growing consumer need for buyer-beware information before they purchase a home.”

The company charges $59.00 for a report which, when I checked out their  sample report, I recognized much of the data as coming from tax records and census data, both of which are readily available to REALTORS through the MLS and RPR.  However, there was also a lot of information from the insurance industry on claims and risks as well as what may be the most valuable information in the report, cell phone coverage for the house by the various cell phone providers.  The bottom line is, given the price of the report relative to the price of a home, it’s cheap and could we worth many times the cost to a buyer if it turns up one fact that helps prevent the buyer from making a bad home buying decision.

The Housefax  makes it clear they are suggesting a buyer use their Housefax report in conjunction with the services of a REALTOR and a home inspector.

Home Prices See Largest Year Over Year Gain In Over 6 Years

Realtor - Real Estate Professional - Dennis Norman Home prices rose by 12.2 percent in May 2013 from the year before, according to the newly released Home Price Index report by CoreLogic.  May’s increase was the largest year-over-year increase in the home price index since February 2006 and was the 15th month in a row of increases from the year before.

Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic said “home price appreciation….is increasing at a torrid pace“.  Continue reading Home Prices See Largest Year Over Year Gain In Over 6 Years

Justice Department Files Fair Housing Lawsuit Against Owners and Managers of Rental Homes in Washington State for Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owners and managers of rental homes in and near Kelso and Longview, Wash., for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against persons with disabilities. Continue reading Justice Department Files Fair Housing Lawsuit Against Owners and Managers of Rental Homes in Washington State for Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities