Posted by: Brian Powers | January 18, 2010

1 in every 7.5 Properties Behind in Payments or in Foreclosure

The foreclosure crisis isn’t going away anytime soon. Whether you realize it or not, you know someone who is behind in payments and facing foreclosure of their home. The good news is there are more options available to home owners today than ever before.

If you know someone facing this situation please have them contact me so we can discuss their options with them.

LPS report finds one in every 7.5 properties lagging in payments or in foreclosure

The December Mortgage Monitor report, released by Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS), a provider of mortgage performance data and analytics, showed that one in every 7.5 homeowners in the United States is either behind on mortgage payments or in foreclosure. The December 2009 Mortgage Monitor report is an in-depth summary of mortgage industry performance indicators based on data collected as of Nov. 30, 2009.

Total delinquencies, excluding foreclosures, increased to a record high 9.97 percent, representing a month-over-month increase of 5.46 percent and a year-over-year increase of 21.29 percent. Loans rolling to a more delinquent status totaled 5.01 percent compared to 1.52 percent of loans that improved. Of loans that were current in December 2008, 4.37 percent were either 60 or more days delinquent or in foreclosure by the end of November 2009, a rate higher than any other year for the same period.

Foreclosure inventories also continued to climb to new highs with November’s foreclosure rate at 3.19 percent–a month-over-month increase of 1.46 percent and a year-over-year increase of 81.41 percent. Compared to 2005 levels, foreclosure inventories across all loans are now nearly seven times higher, while jumbo loan foreclosure inventories are nearly 100 times more than levels four years ago.

Foreclosure starts continued to decline as a result of loss mitigation efforts like the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and elevated delinquent loan volumes. The reduction in foreclosure starts, combined with the steady increase in the number of seriously delinquent loans, has resulted in an ever-growing “shadow” inventory of troubled properties.

Other key results from LPS’ December Mortgage Monitor include:

► Total U.S. loan delinquency rate: 10.0 percent

► Total U.S. foreclosure inventory rate: 3.2 percent

► Total U.S. non-current* loan rate: 13.2 percent

► States with most non-current* loans: Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Arizona, Georgia, California, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois

► States with fewest non-current* loans: North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Vermont, Colorado, Oregon and Iowa

http://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news15449/lps-report-finds-one-every-75-properties-lagging-payments-or-foreclosure

Looks like our elected officials have finally agreed to move forward with voting the extension of the First Time Buyers Tax Credit along with a $6500 tax credit for other buyers. They are hoping to vote on it by the end of this week.

If you know anyone thinking of buying a new home, whether they are a first time buyer or not, please have them contact me so we cab discuss these new tax benefits to home buyers.

 

Senate Clears Homebuyers Tax Credit Extension; May Pass as Early as This Week

RISMEDIA, November 5, 2009—After two weeks of delay, the Senate cleared the way to pass a seven month extension and expansion of the tax credit for homebuyers. By an 85 to 2 roll call vote, the Senate voted to cut off debate on a package of measures that includes the homebuyer credit, making it virtually certain that the legislation will reach President Obama for his signature this week.

The homebuyer tax credit, due to expire at the end of November Read More…

Nothing is finalized yet, but for you fans of the First Time Home Buyers tax credit, it appears as though an extension in now all but certain as President Obama called on Congress to extend the tax credit through April 2010. Obama also added that he wants current homeowners purchasing a home to be eligible for up to a …$6500 tax credit. Nice to see that the tax credit might get extended to all, and not just first time home buyers! As always, I will keep you informed and on the ball as details emerge.

If you know anyone thinking about purchasing a home, it is critical they deal with a buyers agent who knows the fluid market we are in.  Please have them contact me so we can see if it makes sense for them to buy a home.

 

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Gets Nod From Obama

An extension of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit appears all but certain after the Obama administration called on Congress to give house hunters more time to claim the popular tax perk. The move comes shortly after Senate lawmakers stuck an agreement to not only push back the measure’s looming deadline but expand it to allow current homeowners and more affluent buyers to claim the credit. “We welcome efforts taken by Congress to extend the first-time home buyers tax credit for a limited period,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a joint statement today. “This credit has brought new families into the housing market and contributed to three consecutive months of rising home prices nationwide.” Here are five things you need to know about the development:

1. Roots and impact: A tax credit of as much as $8,000 for certain qualified first-time home buyers was included in the Obama administration’s sweeping economic stimulus package, which the president signed in mid-February. The measure was designed to stimulate additional demand for residential real estate and help absorb the overhang of unsold properties that was putting downward pressure on home prices. Along with cheaper home prices and attractive mortgage rates

, the perk has helped reduce the glut of unsold properties. Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, expects the tax credit to result in as many as 400,000 additional home sales by the time of its scheduled expiration at the end of November. But trade groups—like the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors—have been lobbying Congress to push the deadline back, arguing that failing to do so would jeopardize recent signs of stability in the housing market. The NAHB, for example, blamed yesterday’s weaker-than-expected new home sales report on the tax credit’s impending expiration.

 

2. Extending the deadline: Although various proposals to extend and expand the credit have circulated in Congress for weeks, Senate lawmakers finally reached a deal in recent days. Under the terms of the agreement, the deadline for first-time home buyers to claim the $8,000 credit would be pushed back to April 30, 2010. But the term “deadline” doesn’t mean the same thing as it does in the current credit. The Senate agreement stipulates that buyers must have a sales contract on a house by April 30 to be eligible, but it gives them an additional 60 days to close the purchase. That’s much different from the current credit, in which transactions must be closed by November 30. Looked at one way, the effective deadline of the credit under this agreement is actually the end of June.

3. Existing buyers: But perhaps the most significant change is that current homeowners would become eligible for the tax perk as well. The current credit prevents home buyers who have owned a primary residence within the past three years from claiming the credit. The agreement, however, would allow current homeowners to claim up to $6,500 as long as the property they are vacating has been their primary residence for at least five years. Expanding the credit beyond first-time buyers is intended to boost home sales to “move up” buyers—those moving from one house to another—which some lawmakers, most notably Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, argue is essential to a housing recovery.

4. More-affluent home buyers: The agreement also enables more affluent Americans to claim the tax credit. Senators moved to increase its annual income limits from $75,000 to $125,000 for single buyers and from $150,000 to $225,000 for married couples. These limits apply to both first-time and move-up buyers, although neither can purchase a home for more than $800,000 and still get the credit. Anyone taking the credit on a 2010 purchase can claim it on his or her 2009 tax return. And as long as home buyers live in the property they purchased via the credit for three years or more, the tax credit does not have to be repaid.

5. Credit controversy: Zandi estimates that the Senate agreement would generate more home sales than the current credit would. “It’s broader, [and] the industry is geared up to take advantage of it now,” he says. But first-time home buyer tax credits have already cost the government more than $10 billion in lost revenue, and Zandi expects that the Senate agreement would cost at least as much. And although it’s been popular with those purchasing homes, some economists have called the credit an inefficient use of federal resources. Calculated Risk, a financial blog, has estimated that Uncle Sam has paid $43,000 for every additional home sale. And the Senate agreement—which enables households making more than $200,000 a year to claim the credit—could certainly appear overly generous in a time of trillion-dollar budget deficits.

At the same time, the credit has recently been linked to widespread abuse. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, told a congressional panel last week that 19,300 taxpayers had claimed the first-time home buyer credit before they had even purchased a home. In another 74,000 cases—totaling more than $500 million—taxpayers claimed the credit despite evidence that they had owned a home within the past three years. And in at least one case, a 4-year-old claimed the credit, George said.

Although the agreement appears to have broad bipartisan support, it still has to get out of the chamber. Along the way, it could be stripped of certain generous provisions. But in light of the White House support, it appears all but certain that at the very least, the first-time home buyer tax credit will be extended beyond its November 30 deadline.

http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-home-front/2009/10/29/first-time-home-buyer-tax-credit-gets-obama-nod.html

Posted by: Brian Powers | October 23, 2009

Metro Detroit Foreclosure Rates Rock Some Suburbs Harder Than City

As most of you are aware by now, the foreclosure epidemic in southeast Michigan is not isolated in the city nor the suburbs, it is everywhere.  Whether you realize it or not, chances are you know someone who is going through difficulty in paying their mortgage.  There are plenty of options out there – loan modification, bankruptcy, or a short sale. But which option is best? Every home owners situation is different, so it all depends. If you know someone having difficulty paying their mortgage and is at risk for foreclosure, please have them contact me so we can review their options.

Here is a good read from the Detroit Free Press about the foreclosure problem we have here in southeast Michigan.

Bank Foreclosures by Zip Code

Foreclosures rock some suburbs harder than city

BY GRETA GUEST and KRISTI TANNER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

While Detroit is known nationally for its high foreclosure rate, the problem is worse in three suburbs.

Hazel Park, Eastpointe and Pontiac all had higher rates than Detroit, according to a Free Press analysis of metro area foreclosures over the past 3 1/2 years.

“The industrial base of Detroit is supported by the areas around it, so therefore it is not just Detroit that is suffering,” said Marshall Mandell, a foreclosure specialist for Re/Max Classic in Farmington Hills.

Among metro area ZIP codes, Detroit’s 48205 had the highest foreclosure rate, at one out of every 5.2 households, according to data compiled by RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

By city, Hazel Park was highest, with one foreclosure for every 8.2 households. Eastpointe and Pontiac ranked second and third with rates of 8.3 and 9.2, respectively.

Detroit and its 25 ZIP codes took fourth place with a rate of one foreclosure for every 9.3 households. And it had the highest number of foreclosed homes, with 37,727 bank repossessions from January 2006 through August 2009.

The average metro rate is one foreclosure for every 15.5 households, the analysis found.

Foreclosure epidemic slams suburbs

Two blocks north of 8 Mile in Hazel Park, for sale signs are nearly as abundant as potholes on George Avenue.

The city, all contained in the 48030 ZIP code, is struggling with the highest foreclosure rate in metro Detroit.

One out of every 8.2 households has been repossessed by the lender from January 2006 through August 2009, according to a Free Press analysis of ZIP code data compiled by RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

“One of the reasons we’re not surprised by this data is we were the No. 1 recipient of subprime loans in Oakland County,” said Ed Klobucher, Hazel Park’s city manager. “Foreclosure is a national problem. Even though we didn’t create it, we have to solve it.”

Eastpointe and Pontiac ranked second and third with rates of 8.3 and 9.2, respectively. Detroit ranked fourth with one foreclosure for every 9.3 households.

The foreclosure epidemic spread throughout metro Detroit, hitting nearly every community.

Birmingham had one foreclosure for every 20.8 households; Dearborn Heights had one foreclosure for every 13.2 households, and Washington Township had one foreclosure for every 12.7 households.

Communities with the lowest rates include Pleasant Ridge, with one foreclosure for every 69.6 households; Wixom, with one for every 58.7 households, and Huntington Woods, with one for every 51.3 households.

Hazel Park officials are utilizing federal and state money to help solve the problem and have an aggressive city program to deal with foreclosures. It received $1.6 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds earlier this year.

The city is using some of that money to tear down abandoned homes in bad shape and fuel the rehabilitation of older, occupied homes.

“We are going to try to turn this crisis into an opportunity to improve our housing stock,” Klobucher said.

A drive down George Avenue shows the challenges — vacant homes with weedy lots next to neatly tended homes and a number of vacant lots.

Marshall Mandell, a foreclosure specialist for Re/Max Classic in Farmington Hills, has a bank-owned house for sale on George Avenue in Hazel Park for $9,900.

The two-bedroom, two-bath house has 881 square feet and a detached garage.

He has been handling bank-owned homes for more than six years in Michigan. He said he has his theories about why Hazel Park has suffered more than other cities. Being over the 8 Mile border from Detroit makes it a bit more expensive, and the housing stock isn’t as nice as Detroit’s in some cases.

“I think it would be very difficult to determine why that happened. It could be that those are areas where people are leaving the state and abandoning their homes,” Mandell said.

Another possibility is that overall home prices have fallen so far across metro Detroit that some areas unattainable in the past are now within reach of more people’s budgets, making the lower-priced areas less appealing.

“You can buy a home in West Bloomfield for $250,000 that is a newer, beautiful four-bedroom, two-bathroom home,” Mandell said.

“It’s just amazing, and the prices are still falling.”

Once-popular Detroit ZIP code now plagued by empty homes

Welcome to 48205 — the Detroit ZIP code with the highest foreclosure rate in the metro area over the past three years.

The area is in the northeast corner of the city, just south of Warren and west of Harper Woods. Gratiot bisects the ZIP code.

It had been one of the city’s most stable neighborhoods, known for two- and three-bedroom bungalows. Many city employees, particularly police and firefighters, lived in the area.

It was served by numerous Detroit schools, many now shuttered. For decades, the area’s children swam in the summer and skated in the winter at the Heilmann Community Center.

But 48205 now has the highest foreclosure rate, at one out of every 5.2 households, according to a Free Press analysis of the past 3 1/2 years of ZIP code data compiled by RealtyTrac Inc.

And despite the large number of homes for sale — 143 at latest count — you won’t see many for sale signs in the ground.

The houses for sale, mostly foreclosures, range in price from $50 to $49,900, according to Realcomp, the Farmington Hills-based multiple listing service.

“It’s a tool to use to break into the house or a car,” said Albert Hakim, a foreclosure specialist with Re/Max Associates in St. Clair Shores.

Hakim, who has a number of listings in the neighborhood, took the Free Press on a tour recently.

He showed one house on Edmore at the northern end of the ZIP code. The house sold for $135,000 two years ago, he said.

The house, in foreclosure but not stripped of its copper plumbing or kitchen appliances, is listed by the bank for $19,900. It has three bedrooms and 1.5 baths in 1,200 square feet.

It sits on a street of mostly tidy, occupied brick homes. The lawns are tended and pots of flowers grace some front porches and yards.

But a few blocks south, the neighborhood takes on a more abandoned feel with vacant lots, boarded-up and burned-out houses and trash dumped in tall grass on yards.

“It’s the type of neighborhood where your taxes are more than your house is worth,” Hakim said. “That’s one of the reasons it is so hard to sell a house there.”

http://www.freep.com/article/20091022/BUSINESS07/910220396/1002/Business/Foreclosures-rock-some-suburbs-harder-than-city

Posted by: Brian Powers | September 25, 2009

Will the $8000 First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit Be Extended?

With looming expiration of the $8000 first-time homebuyers tax credit, many are speculating whether or not the federal government will extend this tax credit.  This incentive for first time home buyers has helped to stabilize the housing market in recent months.  If you look at auto sales after the expiration of the Cash for Clunkers Program (auto sales came to a screeching halt), the same could happen in housing if this tax credit expires. Until action is taken to exend the First Time Home Buyers tax credit we must act as if it will expire as scheduled on Dec.1 of this year.

There’s still time to get out there and find a home before the tax credit expires. If you or anyone you know is thinking about getting off the fence and purchasing a home, please contact me immediately so we can get the process started.

Click here for free access to the MLS to search available homes in your area.

Will the $8000 First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit Be Extended?

By Luke Mullins

Posted: September 18, 2009

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the financial meltdown’s most gut-churning period—Uncle Sam’s takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the downfall of Lehman Brothers, the hasty sale of Merrill Lynch—signs of optimism in the housing market are everywhere. Existing home sales rose in July for the fourth time in as many months, something the market hasn’t seen since 2004. Inventory totals are off their record levels of a year ago. And prices, while still declining sharply, are no longer in free fall. However, the looming expiration of a popular federal tax credit has some worried that the housing market may give back its recent gains, and the real estate and home building industries are pushing lawmakers to extend the incentive. Here’s a look at the impact of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, and the political outlook for its extension:

[Check out 15 Great Underpriced College Towns.]

1. The specs: In an effort to stimulate housing demand, President Barack Obama included a tax credit of up to $8,000 for certain first-time home buyers in the $787 billion economic stimulus package he signed in February. Only buyers of principal residences who make purchases before December 1 and have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less (or $150,000 for married couples) are eligible for the full credit. “The thinking about this tax credit is that it helps to support sales when the job market is still a mess,” says Mark Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com.

[See New Home Buyer Tax Credit: 7 Things You Need to Know.]

2. Impact: The tax credit is one of a number of factors that have worked to bolster the housing market in recent months. Even more important than the government’s incentive has been the increasing affordability of real estate, says Mike Larson of Weiss Research. Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages fell to just above 5 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac. Meanwhile, home prices at the national level have plummeted more than 30 percent from the second quarter of 2006. The first-time home buyer tax credit “is the icing on the cake, not the cake itself,” Larson says. “Falling home prices have worked their magic. That’s why we are where we are.” Still, Larson believes that the tax credit has played a key psychological role in pushing buyers off the sidelines and that its expiration would take some of the wind out of the market’s sales. For his part, Zandi estimates that the credit will add nearly 400,000 new and existing home sales by the time of its scheduled expiration.

[Check out Home Buyers Are Losing Bargaining Power: 5 Things to Know.]

3. Extension efforts: Although the credit’s deadline isn’t until the end of November, buyers may need to make an offer on a house by the end of September to take advantage of it, according to the National Association of Realtors. (That’s because it’s taking longer to complete transactions these days, the trade group says.) In the face of this looming deadline, housing and real estate interest groups have stepped up their efforts to convince lawmakers in Washington to extend the credit. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who worked in the real estate business before turning to politics, has been pushing for an expansion of the credit for some time. “December through February is historically the worst time for home sales anyway because of the winter months, so with the credit ending November 30, you have a double whammy” on the market, Isakson says. On Wednesday, he and several other lawmakers—including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat—introduced a bill that would extend the tax credit for an additional six months. (Isakson had previously introduced legislation to extend the credit by a year.)

4. Opposition: Supporters of an extension of the credit will have to overcome mounting concerns about budget deficits and rising government spending. “There is no doubt about it that, compared to when we were working on this last winter, people are asking questions about the cost, when before it was not as much of a factor,” says Jerry Howard, the president of the National Association of Home Builders. Zandi estimates that it would cost between $15 billion and $17 billion to extend the tax credit for another six months, which he considers money well spent. “If you extended it to mid next year . . . by then the job market will be stable enough that we can allow the tax credit to expire and it won’t totally submarine the housing market,” he says.

5. Odds: Senator Isakson believes lawmakers will eventually move to extend the credit in one form or another. “I don’t believe either this administration or the current leadership would look November 30 in the eye and let this thing die,” he says. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this week that the administration is evaluating the credit’s impact and will make a recommendation to the president, the Associated Press reported. The outlook for an extension appears to have brightened. Scott Talbott, a top lobbyist at the Financial Services Roundtable, put the odds of its extension at 50-50 earlier this week, but he said that the chances improved to 75-25 after Reid endorsed the six-month extension. Still, as lawmakers remain consumed with other matters, such as healthcare reform, action on the tax credit is unlikely to take place until the expiration date nears, Talbott says. “Congress works best on deadlines and crisis,” he says. “And we sort of will have both with this one.”

http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-home-front/2009/09/18/will-the-8000-first-time-home-buyer-tax-credit-be-extended.html

Hard to believe that it’s September already. Most people know about the $8000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit that expires December 1 of this year. That’s just 3 months from now. And for those of you thinking December 1 is a long ways away, just think how quickly September snuck up on us.

A point of clarification, you must close on your new home by December 1.  That means in order to leave enough time to get to the closing table you really need to have an offer in place and accepted no later than October 15. That leaves 45 days to get to the closing table and navigate the many hoops we now have to jump through to make a deal happen.  October 15 is only a month and a half away.  That’s not a long time!

We still have time to find a wonderful home, at a great price, with a low mortgage interest rate.  But we don’t have time to put it off any longer. If you, or anyone you know is on the fence about buying their first home, the time has come to act. Please call me and lets put a plan in place to put you on the path to home ownership!

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Posted by: Brian Powers | August 12, 2009

Chesterfield Twp Requires Foreclosure Buyers to Pay for Permit

Those of you in the market to buy a home in Chesterfield Township need to be aware that the Township is now requiring buyers to pay $225 for an inspection of any bank-owned foreclosure and obtain a Certificate of Occupancy prior to moving into the home.

Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions on how this will impact you when buying a home.

Brian Powers

(248)379-1750

brianpowers@kw.com

———————————————————

PUBLISHED: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Township requires foreclosure purchasers to secure permit
C’field officials say they have safety in mind with occupancy requirement
By Lisa Gervais
Assistant Editor

Some new homeowners are taking advantage of a depressed housing market by snapping up deals on foreclosed homes. But buyers beware when previous tenants leave the dwellings stripped of fixtures, appliances, cabinets and furnaces.

Chesterfield Township building administrator Shawn Shortt has seen worse than missing sinks or doorknobs in foreclosed homes.

“They’re pulling the (water) meters out and the basement fills up with water,” he said.

Shortt said the stripped homes pose a safety concern for the new owners.

“We’re trying to keep a handle on this,” he said.

Shortt hopes requiring new homeowners to obtain a certificate of occupancy from the city will ensure that the foreclosed and bank-owned homes they bought have been properly inspected for safety before they move in.

“We’re looking out for the safety of the Chesterfield residents and the people who live around these foreclosed homes,” Chesterfield Township Supervisor Mike Lovelock said.

The Chesterfield Township Board of Trustees approved a resolution at their Aug. 3 meeting that will require new homeowners to pay $225 to obtain a certificate of occupancy.

“The whole idea is to keep these houses and the neighborhoods clean,” he said. “It should save property values and eliminate blight.”

Shortt said the homes will be inspected by electrical, mechanical, plumbing and building inspectors. If the inspectors don’t find any violations, the owners will be issued the certificate and given the all-clear to move in. Shortt said the homes will be inspected with the minimum standards of the property maintenance codes.

The city will be tagging foreclosed and bank owned homes with stickers stating a certificate of occupancy is required to move in.

“They’ve got to be cleaned up,” Shortt said. “We’re going to try and monitor this and make sure it’s a safe dwelling for the new homeowner and for the neighbor.”

In the works for the city are renter occupancy certificates that would require inspections before dwellings can be rented out. That ordinance hasn’t been presented yet, but Lovelock said it could be about a month.

http://www.voicenews.com/stories/081209/loc_20090812004.shtml

Posted by: Brian Powers | August 11, 2009

Underwater Mortgages to hit 48%

If you owe more on your house than it is worth, don’t feel too bad. You’re not alone! Deutsche Bank is forecasting that the number of underwater, or “upside down” mortgages in the U.S. will be nearly half of all mortgages before the housing market fully recovers.

Having an upside down mortgage doesn’t automatically mean that foreclosure is inevitable if you are having trouble keeping up with payments or need to sell.  Troubled homeowners have several options at their disposal to avoid foreclosure, and recent law changes here in Michigan expand those options even more.

Foreclosure doesn’t HAVE to happen.  If you or someone you know is having trouble keeping up with mortgage payments, or needs to sell but can’t because they owe more than the home is worth, I can help. I’ll be glad to sit down with you or anyone you know in this situation to discuss your options.

Feel free to contact me by phone at (248)379-1750 or via email at brianpowers@kw.com

Posted by: Brian Powers | July 6, 2009

Foreclosure ‘Lifeline Law’ Takes Effect Today

Lifeline Law gives homeowners an extra 90 days before foreclosure.

Feel free to contact me if you need any assistance utilizing this ‘Lifeline Law’ , or if I can be of any assistance in order to help you or someone you know avoid foreclosure.

Cedar Springs, Mich. (WZZM) — If you’re one of the thousands in Michigan facing foreclosure, a new law can help you.

Michigan ranks 6th in the country for foreclosures as of the first quarter of this year.

In all 33,000 properties are in foreclosure.

Last year more than145,000 Michigan properties were in foreclosure, a 21% percent increase from 2007.

But the new law taking effect Sunday gives you more time to fix the problem.

It’s called the “Lifeline Law”, in which homeowners are given an extra 90 days to work with their banks.

It’s meant to help everyone; even those who’ve exhausted all options. Homeowners like Kelly Roush of Cedar Springs.

Even while getting ready for her three-year-old’s birthday party, she can’t stop thinking about what lies ahead.

“If he (her husband) loses his job we won’t be able to make the next payment,” she says. “Then (our home) goes into foreclosure automatically.”

Kelly’s husband has been laid off three times and they just signed their third mortgage to keep their home.

“We’re okay right now, but if he even does a temporary layoff, or especially a permanent, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Metaphorically speaking: they’ve been pushed to the edge of the cliff.

State Representative Mike Huckleberry doesn’t like cliffhangers.

“There’s too many home foreclosures,” he says. “We’re all one job loss away from foreclosure, one serious illness to our family away from this, it could affect any one of us.”

Enjoying Independance Day weekend with his wife and grandchildren, “Huck” says the new law gives homeowners extra time to hold on to their American Dream.

“There’s going to be people that wake up tomorrow morning with a little hope,” the lawmaker says. “Maybe they didn’t have it before, now it’s an opportunity to try to save their home.”

The law allows homeowners an extra three months to negotiate with their lenders; hopefully avoiding foreclosure.

They must also commit to working with a housing counselor.

“The 90 days comes in when they’ve reached a crisis moment,” says Huckleberry. “So they should have a month or two when they’re trying to figure out what to do before that. This 90 days could be the difference between you’re out and 90 days after that.”

“I think it’s excellent for homeowners,” says 20-year mortgage counselor Sam Mickens. He says the law is especially helpful because homeowners are forced to realize some really want to help.

“In this instance you’re working with a professional that understands the process that those homeowners don’t. It gives you more of an ease to the process so you know exactly what’s going on,” he says.

“I think they’re intimidated because of the documents, the letters, the phone calls you get. So you’re intimidated because you don’t think you’re going to get someone that will work with you,” says Mickens. “But now with this law and this situation, I think you should be encouraged to do so, especially if you’re facing foreclosure.”

The common theme between lawmakers, counselors and homeowners is hope.

They say that, and the 90 days, can make or break a family.

“(It) gives us an extra three months, maybe find another job, and then the bank says, ‘Okay, you’ve got a job, we’ll work with you and you can stay’.”

Both Representative Huckleberry and Sam Mickens say it’s most important to understand the process and know if a lender wants to work it out if they can.

The last thing a bank wants is another foreclosed home.

“The lenders are going to come out better then they would have if they had to foreclose on it,” says Huckleberry. “The people that own the home, the families are going to come out better.”

Read the entire article here

Posted by: Brian Powers | June 29, 2009

Home Sales Improving

Tighter inventory, rise in median price create ‘happy medium’

Sunday, June 28, 2009

By Dave Jones, Macomb Daily Special Writer

A housing market that’s seen home values plummet and foreclosures surge is beginning to show signs of leveling off.

Macomb County home sales rose 11.4 percent in May 2009 compared with May 2008, with 783 sales reported last month, 80 more than last year, according to a report released by the multiple listing service firm Realcomp.

Also, the number of pending sales has risen 39.4 percent in the same time.

Although not a clear-cut sign the housing market has righted itself, the report indicates it’s a step in the right direction.

“We’ve seen an increase over every month last year,” said Karen Kage, CEO of Realcomp. “And we’re seeing less of a drop in the median price and inventory has dropped, driving prices up.”

Barb Gerlach, a Macomb-area Century 21 Realtor, said her area closures have increased significantly from a year ago.

“Sales are definitely up,” she said. “My sales are up about 5 percent from last year.”

In addition to the sales increase, the report shows a 23.8 percent decrease in available inventory.

This, Kage said, means the market is heading toward a “happy medium” between sales and inventory.

“There is a direct connection in the reduction in inventory and the rise in sales,” she said. “We anticipate that as the sales rise, the inventory decreases. And we’ll continue to see a rise in sales based on the pending sales.”

Realcomp’s analysis also shows an overall increase in sales in the metropolitan Detroit area, up 12.6 percent since this time last year and 26.9 percent from two years ago.

St. Clair County experienced the largest increase with a 42.6 percent rise in sales, while Wayne County — up 15.7 percent — saw the largest number of sales with 325 more closures since last summer.

Kage said such an increase in an otherwise weak housing market is possible due to a drop in the median price of homes, which is down 39 percent from last year.

“Now more people can afford a home,” she said. “We don’t see the reduction of the median price as great news, but it’s not necessarily bad news.”

With more people looking to buy — many in the market because of depressed prices — and sales inching upward, the laws of supply and demand kicked in, resulting in a modest rise in prices.

However, Kage said, the numbers don’t necessarily mean the market has stabilized.

“This will take time to bounce back,” she said, “and to say when is hard to say. We’ve never been here before — we have nothing to compare it to.”

http://www.macombdaily.com/articles/2009/06/28/news/srv0000005710632.txt

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