Record Foreclosure Rate Could Hurt Demand For Homes and Slow Recovery

Dennis Norman

In a report just issued by Radarlogic there is some good news for the housing industry as in the report Michael Feder, President and CEO of Radar Logic, states “the evidence continues to support the view that housing has stabilized and is in the early stages of recovery.” However, the report also reminds us that RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure filings set a record in March, with filings reported on 367,056 properties, the “highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005. The report indicates an increasing concern about the threat that foreclosures pose to housing demand, and thus to a timely recovery of the housing market.

radar logic“We believe that low home prices and low mortgage rates will continue to spur sufficient housing demand to absorb foreclosure- driven increaseses in supply at current price levels,” said Quinn Eddins, Readar Logic’s Director of Research. “Nevertheless we will watch foreclosure rates and sales activity closely in the coming months for signs of lagging homebuyer confidence.”

Highlights from the report include:

  • Of the 25 Metro Areas covered by the report, St. Louis ranked 10th in terms of year-over-year price change with a loss of 0.3 percent and ranked 10th in month-over-month price change with a loss of 2.8 percent (see chart below)
  • In year-over-year change in terms of number of home sales, St. Louis ranked 22nd with an 11.9 percent increase and ranked 18th in month-over-month change with a 9.4 percent increase in number of transactions.
  • The 25-MSA RPX Composite price remained flat in February on both a month-over-month and year-over-year basis. The horizontal price movement represents the best one-month price trend for the month of February since 2007. The three-month price trend ending February 2010, while negative, marked an improvement over steep February declines in 2008 and 2009.
  • The stability in the 25-MSA RPX Composite price from January to February 2010 was driven by increases in the RPX prices for western MSAs. The RPX composite price for the western region increased 2% in February on a month-over-month basis, while the RPX prices for the Midwest, Northeast and South each declined 2%.
  • The 25-MSA transaction count increased 37% between February 2009 and February 2010. As can be seen in Exhibit 3, this was the first year-over-year increase during the month of February since 2005. The 25-MSA RPX transaction count increased 16% month over month. In absolute terms, this one-month trend was similar to the February gains in 2006 through 2009. The three-month transaction count trend was more negative than it has been in years due to the large and rapid decline in transactions in December and January.
  • On a year-over-year basis, transactions increased the most in MSAs that have been hit hardest by foreclosures: Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami and Detroit (please see Exhibits 9 and 14). The RPX transaction count for Las Vegas has increased almost 300% since February 2009. The largest month-over-month increases in sales activity occurred in Southern California, with Los Angeles and San Diego both exhibiting 39% gains in transaction counts.

radar-logic-february-2010radar-logic-february-2010-transaction-counts

radar-logic-february-2010-msa-price-change

Fed Reserve: Housing Sales and Starts Have Flattened Out at Depressed Levels; Foreclosures Likely To Remain High

Dennis Norman

At the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on March 16th it was suggested that “economic activity expanded at a moderate pace in early 2010″. Unfortunately, when it came to the housing market, the news was not as good and it was noted that “housing activity remained flat and the nonresidential construction section weakened further.”

The staff went on to say that activity in the housing sector appears to “have flattened out in recent months” and that “sales of both new and existing homes have turned down, while starts of single-family homes were about unchanged despite the substantial reduction in inventories of unsold new homes.” The feeling was that some of the recent weakness in home sales may have been due to buyers that rushed to buy in anticipation of the first-time homebuyer tax credit that was originally expected to expire in November, 2009.
Other concerns about the housing market that were expressed by participants in the meeting included the concern that activity appeared to be leveling off in most regions despite various forms of government support, and that the commercial and industrial real estate markets “continue to weaken”. The fact that “housing sales and starts had flattened out at depressed levels” suggests that the previous improvements in the housing market may have largely been a result of the homebuyer tax credit “rather than a fundamental strenthening of housing activity.
On another negative note for the housing markets, the meeting participants indicated that “the pace of foreclosures was likely to remain quite high; indeed, recent data on the incidence of seriously delinquent mortgages pointed to the possibility that the foreclosure rate could move higher over coming quarters.” Adding; “the prospect of further additions to the already very large inventory of vacant homes posed downside risks to home prices.” (hmm…sounds familiar, what real estate blogger has been talking about this for a while and expressing concern? oh yeah, me :)
The committee also confirmed, as I have discussed was coming in other posts, that the Fed was going to complete their purchase of the $1.25 trillion worth of mortgage-backed securities by the end of March that they committed to in an effort to add liquidity to the mortgage market and would discontinue purchasing the securities after that. Thus far this has not had much effect on interest rates but I think it will take a month or so to see where things shake out.
So, in a nutshell, the Fed doesn’t think the housing market is out of the woods yet; the government stimulus may have done nothing more than creaate a temporary “false market” (I’ve talked about this point here before too) and that the housing sector may continue to be a drag on the economy for a while.

Help for homeowners facing foreclosure or are underwater

Dennis Norman

Back in early December I did a post about a new program that was announced in November, the Home Affordable Foreclosures Alternative (HAFA) Program which is scheduled to go into effect April 5, 2010. There was recently supplemental documentation published as well as FAQ’s about the program and I have to admit, it seems to me the government is getting it right with this program.

THE HAFA PROGRAM:

The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program provides financial incentives to loan servicers as well as borrowers who do a short-sale or a deed-in-lieu to avoid foreclosure on an eligible loan under HAMP. Both of these foreclosure alternatives help the lender out by avoiding the potentially lengthy and expensive foreclosure proceedings and also by protecting the property by minimizing the time it is vacant and subject to vandalism and deterioration. These options help out the borrower by avoiding the foreclosure process and the uncertainty that comes with it and allows the borrower to negotiate when they will give up possession of their home as well as, under the HAFA program be released from any further liability from the loan including short-fall and deficiencies.

How will the short sale process work under HAFA?

  • You will need to enter into a short-sale/deed in lieu agreement iwth your lender.
  • Before listing your home for sale your lender will approve a list price on your home or give you the amount of sale proceeds that are acceptable to them under a short sale. The lender will also let you know what costs may be deducted from the sale proceeds, such as commission and closing costs.
  • After you list your home and receive an offer from a buyer, you will submit the offer, along with a “Request to Approve a Short Sale form, to your lender. In addition, you will need to submit proof that the buyer has funds to purchase your home, such as a letter that the buyer is approved for a mortgage. After you provide the necessary documentation to your lender, your lender has 10 business days to approve the sale.
  • At the closing of the sale the lender is to release you from ALL responsiblities for repaying your mortgage. Plus, you will receive $3,000 from the proceeds to help pay some of your moving expenses.

Your responsibilities under the HAFA short sale.

  • Keep your house and your property in good condition and repair and cooperate with your broker to show it to potential buyers.
  • You may be required to continue to make full or partial mortgage payments (this will be determined by your lender)
  • You must be able to provide the buyer of your home with clear title. To start, determine if you have other loans, judgments or liens secured by your home, such as a home-equity line of credit or a second mortgage. If there are such liens, you will need to either pay these loans off in full or negotiate with the lien holders to release them before the closing date. Under this program, you must make sure other lien holders will agree not to pursue other legal action related to the pay off of their lien, such as a deficiency judgment. You can get help from your broker to negotiate with the other lien holders.
  • The program allows up to 6% of the unpaid principal balance of each loan (not to exceed an aggregate of $6,000 for all the loans in total) to be paid from the sale proceeds to help get a lien release.
  • At several stages of the short sale process, such as after an offer is received, you will need to complete some paperwork. You are responsible for returning all documents within the time allowed in your short sale agreement with your lender.

Additional Info on Short-Sales.

  • You cannot list the property with, or sell it to anyone that you are related to or have a close personal or business relationship with, it must be an “arms length transaction”.
  • If you have a real estate license, you cannot earn a commission by listing your owner property. Nor can you have an agreement to receive a portion of the commission.
  • The buyer of your home must agree not to sell the home within 90 calendar days of the date it is sold by you.
  • You must not have any expectation that you will be able to buy or rent (it’s your lenders discretion on the rent) your house back after closing.

HAFA Short-Sale FAQ’s

  • How much real estate commission can be paid out of the sale proceeds? Six Percent is the maximum commission and the seller, nor buyer, can receive any portion of the commission.
  • Can a lender that has a second mortgage or other junior lien request additional payments from the seller or real estate agent in addition to what they are allowed to receive from sale proceeds? No.
  • What if the property was a principal residence but is vacant at the time the lender evaluates the deal for a Short-Sale or Deed-In-Lieu? The property can be vacant for up to 90 days prior to the date of the Short Sale Agreement and still be eligible but only if the borrower can provide documentation showing that the borrower was required to relocate at least 100 miles from the mortgaged property to accept new employment or was transferred by the current employer, and there is no evidence indicating the purchaser has purchased a new home 90 days prior to the agreement.

Deed in lieu option.

If by the termination date of your short-sale agreement with your lender you have not been able to sell your home, but you have complied with all of your responsibilities under the agreement, then you will be given the opportunity to convey (transfer) ownership of your home to the lender. While this will not allow you to keep your home it will prevent you from going through a foreclosure and will release you from all responsibility to repay the mortgage debt. Additionally, you will still be eligible to receive $3,000 to help with your moving expenses.

Additionally, if you are unable to afford your first mortgage (and therefore not able to do a short sale) you will be considered for the deed-in-lieu option.

St. Louis Real Estate – Missouri Foreclosures Increase 2.34 Percent

Missouri’s foreclosure rate increased in February by 2.34 percent from January but is down 3.68 percent from February 2009.

RealtyTrac® released its February 2010 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 308,524 U.S. properties during the month of February, a decrease of 2 percent from the previous month but still 6 percent above the level reported in February 2009. This translates into one in every 418 U.S. housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in February.

Missouri ranked 30th in the U.S. in terms of foreclosure rate in February, with 1 in 884 people in Missouri receiving a foreclosure notice during the month.  This represents a 2.34 percent increase from January’s rate, and a 3.68 percent decrease from February, 2009.

“The 6 percent year-over-year increase we saw in February was the smallest annual increase we’ve seen since January 2006, when we began calculating year-over-year increases, but it still marked the 50th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “This leveling of the foreclosure trend is not necessarily evidence that fewer homeowners are in distress and at risk for foreclosure, but rather that foreclosure prevention programs, legislation and other processing delays are in effect capping monthly foreclosure activity — albeit at a historically high level that will likely continue for an extended period.

Nevada, Arizona and Florida post top state foreclosure rates:

Nevada foreclosure activity decreased nearly 7 percent from the previous month and was down 30 percent from February 2009, but the state’s foreclosure rate continued to rank highest in the nation for the 38th month in a row. One in every 102 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month — more than four times the national average.

Arizona and Florida documented nearly identical foreclosure rates, with one in every 163 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in both states. Despite a nearly 21 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month, Arizona’s rate was statistically slightly higher than Florida’s rate and ranked second highest among the states.

California’s foreclosure rate ranked fourth highest among the states, with one in every 195 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month, and Michigan’s foreclosure rate ranked fifth highest among the states, with one in every 226 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing.
Other states with foreclosure rates among the nation’s 10 highest were Utah (one in every 275 housing units), Idaho (one in 296), Illinois (one in 305), Georgia (one in 331) and Maryland (one in 407).

St Louis Real Estate – St Louis Foreclosure Rates Still on the Rise

Dennis Norman

 

 

Dennis Norman

St. Louis Mortgage Delinquencies and St. Louis Foreclosure Rate hit Record Highs

A report released by First American CoreLogic showed the St. Louis metro area to have a foreclosure rate in January of 1.42 percent up slightly from December’s rate of 1.36 percent and an increase of 46.39 percent from the year prior when the rate was 0.97 percent.

firstamerican corelogic

The national foreclosure rate for January remains over twice the rate of St. Louis at 3.19 percent and was an increase of 60.3 percent from a year ago when the national foreclosure rate was 1.99 percent.

From new data on mortgage delinquencies, it appears we are going to continue to see the St. Louis foreclosure rate remain at, or above, the current levels for some time. St. Louis homeowners that are are seriously delinquent on their mortgages (90+ days delinquent) rose in January to 5.98 percent of the mortgages in St. Louis. This represents an increase of 4.36 percent from December’s delinquency rate of 5.73 percent and is an increase of 48.76 percent from a year ago when the rate was 4.02 percent. The U.S. rate for seriously delinquent mortgages in January was 8.66 percent, an increase of over 56 percent from a year ago when the rate was 5.53 percent.

So while some of the housing reports for St. Louis are getting better and showing some signs that we may have hit the “bottom” of the market, the foreclosure rate and mortgage delinquency rate hangs over us like a dark cloud.  These things lead to distressed sales which bring downward pressure on the market and sometimes makes it hard to establish a bottom and certainly hinders a recovery. 

To show you what I mean I’ll share a short story.  I had lunch this week with a St Louis real estate agent that has some new homes listed in a new development in a nice part of the city.  The list price of his homes is in the $290,000 range, down significantly (15-20 percent) from what the prices were before the crash.  The agent said that the price reductions just weren’t enough though, that he was being hurt by REO’s.  For example, one home in the development that had sold new a couple of years ago for over $400,000 (it was loaded with extras and upgrades) was foreclosed on and just sold as an REO for $260,000, making his new home, without all the upgrades, at 15 percent more not look like such a bargain.  Granted, that was just one REO and it is gone now, but with the St Louis delinquency rates and St Louis foreclosure rates what they are there will be more REO’s.

first-american-core-logic-foreclosures-st-louis-january-2010

Mortgage Delinquencies Jump Over 10 Percent

Dennis Norman

Deceleration in Rise of Mortgage Delinquencies Short Lived

Back in July, 2009 when speaking in North Carolina President Barack Obama announced “we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the recession“. My thoughts then were that was very optimistic and I didn’t agree (for whatever that is worth). Since then some economists have announced the recession is officially over. Technically based upon a few bits of data the recession may be over, but for us real people that are actually living and functioning in this economy I don’t think it is over; at least not for the one market I know best, the housing market.

TransUnion LogoToday, TransUnion had more sobering news for the real estate market; the mortgage loan delinquency rate (the ratio of borrowers 60 or more days past due) increased for the 12th straight quarter, hitting an all-time national average high of 6.89 percent for the fourth quarter of 2009. The fourth quarter marks the first time the mortgage delinquency rate increase did not decelaerate after doing so in the three prior quarters.

Highlights from the fourth quarter report:

  • Mortgage delinquency rates continued to be highest in Nevada (16.19 percent) and Florida (14.93 percent)
  • Mortgage delinquency rates were lowest in North Dakota (1.84 percent), South Dakota (2.46 percent) and Alaska (2.84 percent)
  • Areas with the greatest growth in delinquency rates from the previous quarter were the District of Columbia (+20.2 percent), Louisiana (+17.7 percent) and Delaware (+14.8 percent).
  • No state showed in a decrease in mortgage delinquency rates from third quarter.
  • Average national mortgage debt per borrower increased (0.29 percent) to $193,690 from $193,121 in 3rd quarter.
  • The area with the highest average mortgage debt per borrower was the District of Columbia at $372,869, followed by California at $352,688 and Hawaii at $317,599.
  • The lowest average mortgage debt per borrower was in West Virginia at $99,028.

The Forecast for 2010 is not pretty

TransUnion is forecasting the 60-day mortgage delinquency rate to “peak between 7.5 and 8 percent over the course of 2010.” So we could be looking at an increase of anywhere from 8.8 percent to 16 percent in mortgage delinquencies from the record level they hit in the 4th quarter of 2009.

Ugh…I’m glad the recession is over, think how bad it would be if it wasn’t.

60 day mortgage delinquency chart

Source: TransUnion

St Louis Real Estate – 2009 Ends with St Louis Foreclosure Rate at Record Levels

Dennis Norman

St. Louis ended 2009 With The Highest Foreclosure Rate and Mortgage Delinquency Rates On Record For the St. Louis Area

According to date from First American CoreLogic, St Louis finished 2009 with 1.43 percent of the homes in St. Louis with a mortgage in some stage of the foreclosure process and 5.73 percent of the mortgages in St. Louis seriously delinquent (90+ days past due).

firstamerican corelogicThe St. Louis area has seen increases in the foreclosure rate every month since August, 2008 and the the December 2009 rate is the highest rate recorded since First American CoreLogic began tracking the data.  For comparison purposes, back in January of 2005 the foreclosure rate was 0.48%, or roughly one-third of the current rate.

The St. Louis area has seen increases in the seriously delinquent mortgage rate as well every month since May, 2008, and the December 2009 is the highest rate recorded since First American CoreLogic began tracking the data.  For comparison purposes, back in January of 2005 the seriously delinquent mortgage rate was 1.80%, a little under one-third of the current rate.

So even though the St Louis real estate market does appear to be showing signs that we may have bottomed out, I don’t think we can rest easy or say we the market is on the road to recovery until we see the foreclosure and mortgage delinquency rates decline significantly.  Oh yeah, lower unemployment would help too.

 

St Louis Real Estate – Foreclosure Rates in St Louis Increase Again

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

In spite of what is being said in the press about the real estate market improving and the effectiveness of the government’s programs to help keep people in their homes, the rate of foreclosure just keeps increasing.

A report released today by First American CoreLogic  showed the St. Louis metro area to have a foreclosure rate of 1.43 percent up slightly from November’s rate of 1.35 percent and an increase of 66.67 percent from the year prior when the rate was 0.87 percent.

firstamerican corelogic

The national foreclosure rate for December was again over double the rate of St. Louis at 3.16 percent and was an increase of 82.6 percent from a year ago when the national foreclosure rate was 1.73 percent.
From new data on mortgage delinquencies, it appears we are going to continue to see the St. Louis foreclosure rate remain at, or above, the current levels for some time.  St. Louis homeowners that are are seriously delinquent on their mortgages (90+ days delinquent) rose in December to 5.73 percent  of the mortgages in St. Louis.  This a small increase from November’s rate of 5.49 percent but is a 50 percent increase from a year ago when the rate was 3.82 percent. The U.S. rate for seriously delinquent mortgages in December was 8.40 percent, an increase of over 62 percent from a year ago when the rate was 5.16 percent.
corelogic december 2009 St Louis Foreclosure and mortgage delinquency data

St. Louis Foreclosures Increase over 68 percent from a year ago

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

I would say it’s say to say that the Obama administrations efforts to curtail the foreclosure rate is not working as the foreclosure rate in St. Louis increased again in November according to a report released today by First American CoreLogic.The report showed the St. Louis metro area to have a foreclosure rate of 1.35 percent in November, up just slightly from October’s rate of 1.31 percent and  increase of 68.75 percent from a year ago when the rate was 0.80percent.

firstamerican corelogic

The national foreclosure rate for November was again over double the rate of St. Louis at 3.09 percent and was an increase of 77.6 percent from a year ago when the national foreclosure rate was 1.74 percent.
 It doesn’t appear the rate of foreclosures is going to slow down anytime soon either.   The rate of borrowers that are seriously delinquent on their mortgages (90+ days delinquent) continues to rise hitting a rate of 5.49 percent in November for the St. Louis area.  This a slight increase from October’s rate of 5.27 percent but is a 52 percent increase from a year ago when the rate was 3.61 percent.  The U.S. rate for seriously delinquent mortgages in November was 8.14 percent, an increase of over 67 percent from a year ago when the rate was 4.86 percent.
Corelogic Foreclosure and Delinquencies for St Louis, MO November 2009

St Louis Foreclosures Increase 61.7 percent in past year

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

Foreclosure rates in St. Louis increased for the month of October over the same period last year according to a report released by First American CoreLogic. The report showed the St. Louis metro area to have a foreclosure rate of 1.31 percent in October, up just slightly from September’s rate of 1.25 percent, but up 61.7 percent from a year ago when the rate was 0.81 percent.

firstamerican corelogic

The national foreclosure rate for October was over double the rate of St. Louis at 3.02 percent and was an increase of 77.6 percent from a year ago when the national foreclosure rate was 1.70 percent.
It doesn’t appear the rate of foreclosures is going to slow down anytime soon as mortgage delinquency rates rose again in October. In St. Louis 5.1 percent of borrowers were 90 days or more delinquent on their mortgage in October, an increase of 50.0 percent from a year ago. The 90 day mortgage delinquency rate for the state of Missouri in October was 4.83 percent, an increase of 50.0 percent from a year ago. The US mortgage delinquency rate for October was 7.70 percent, up from 7.27 percent in September and an increase of 69.6 percent from a year ago.

Five Indicted in Foreclosure Rescue and Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Scam Involved Lawyers, Mortgage Brokers, and More Than $14.6 Million in Loans

PHILADELPHIA—A 15-count indictment was filed today against five defendants charged in a $14.6 million mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in at least 35 fraudulent mortgage loans, announced United States Attorney Michael L. Levy, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI Janice K. Fedarcyk, and Pennsylvania Secretary of Banking Steven Kaplan. Charged are Edward G. McCusker and John Alford Bariana, owners of Axxium Mortgage, Inc., McCusker’s wife, Jacqueline, and Jeffrey A. Bennett and Stephen G. Doherty, owners of the Doylestown law firm Bennett & Doherty, P.C.

According to the indictment, the defendants targeted financially distressed homeowners facing foreclosure, falsely promised them help in saving their homes, engaged in real estate transactions with straw purchasers, and obtained dozens of fraudulent mortgages. The defendants took whatever equity the homeowner had left, funneled it through various shell corporations they controlled, used some of it to pay the new mortgages, and put the rest of the equity into their own bank accounts.

“Unfortunately, the downturn in the economy has given rise to unscrupulous predators looking to cash in on the misfortune of others,” said Levy. “This sort of fraudulent activity not only preys on desperate homeowners, it weakens our financial institutions, destroys neighborhoods by leaving properties abandoned, and devalues the homes of innocent neighbors. This office will investigate and prosecute those who victimize financially distressed homeowners.”

The indictment alleges that the defendants promised financially distressed homeowners that they would find an “investor” who would help them save their home. The defendants would then arrange for a straw purchaser to obtain a fraudulent mortgage and then transfer of the title of the homeowner’s residence to the straw purchaser. Using their company Axxium Mortgage, Edward McCusker and Bariana, along with Jacqueline McCusker obtained the fraudulent mortgages by submitting false documents to mortgage lenders and making false claims about the straw purchasers’ finances. The defendants also concealed from the lender the fact that the homeowner was going to continue to reside in the home and that the mortgage payments were going to continue to be made, in part, by the distressed homeowner and funneled through the straw purchaser. Bariana and Jacqueline McCusker each acted as straw purchasers for 10 homes. The defendants also recruited at least seven other persons to act as straw owners in order to obtain additional fraudulent mortgages.

Bennett and Doherty participated in the scheme at the front and back end. Doherty solicited and referred distressed homeowners to Edward McCusker and used fraudulent bankruptcy filings for some of the distressed homeowners to delay foreclosure until McCusker had obtained an investor and a mortgage. Bennett handled the closings for the real estate transfers, manipulating the information provided to the lender in order to hide the nature of the scheme until after the loan was funded.

“Governor Rendell and I are pleased when state and federal agencies can cooperate to protect consumers and deter improper and criminal activity,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Banking Steve Kaplan. “U.S. Attorney Levy’s announcement today helps underscore our respective commitments to consumer protection and the Department of Banking’s ability to bring financial expertise to criminal prosecutions.”

“The type of criminal activity alleged in this indictment is particularly despicable in that it targeted those victims who were the most vulnerable financially and the most desperate for some type of assistance to avoid foreclosure on their properties,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. “It also represents an affront to the millions of hard-working Americans who struggle every day to meet their mortgage obligations and keep their families in their homes. The FBI is committed to aggressively pursuing those who engage in schemes designed to illegally profit from the current economic situation of many of our fellow Americans.”

The defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Doherty is also charged with bankruptcy fraud.

INFORMATION REGARDING THE DEFENDANTS

Department of Justice Press Release

NAME ADDRESS YEAR OF BIRTH
EDWARD G. MCCUSKER New Hope, PA 1964
JEFFREY A. BENNETT Springfield, PA 1966
STEPHEN G. DOHERTY Doylestown, PA 1966
JOHN A. BARIANA Mullica Hill, NJ 1972
JACQUELINE D. MCCUSKER New Hope, PA 1964

Defendants Edward and Jacqueline McCusker, Jeffrey Bennett, and John Bariana face maximum sentences of 240 years’ imprisonment, $3.25 million in fines, three years supervised release, and a $1,200 special assessment. Defendant Stephen Doherty faces a maximum sentence of 385 years’ imprisonment, $4 million in fines, three years supervised release, and a $1,500 special assessment. These are the maximum sentences that may be imposed if the defendants are convicted; the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines call for a sentence less than the statutory maximum.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme, which is alleged to be approximately $14.6 million.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Rue.

Is the Obama Administrations’ Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) working?

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

This week the Treasury Department issed a report which included stats on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) which is part of the Obama administrations’ Making Home Affordable Program and “is a loan modification program designed to reduce delinquent and at-risk borrowers’ monthly mortgage payments”. The HAMP program got underway around March of this year and is set to expire December 31, 2012. According to the government website HAMP is intended to help keep “3 to 4 million Americans in their homes by preventing avoidable foreclosures.”

So is the Loan Modification plan working?

To try to find an answer to this, let’s look at the data in the Treasury Department report (data is through November, 2009): Continue reading “Is the Obama Administrations’ Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) working?

St Louis Real Estate News: Foreclosures in the St Louis metro area decrease over 29 percent in October

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

Monroe and Jefferson County saw sharp increases however.

RealtyTrac® released its Foreclosure Market Reporttmfor October showing that foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions) were down 3.3 percent in October from the month before in the US and up 18.86 percent from the year before.

RealtyTrac Foreclosure Rate for third quarter 2009Here in St Louis, overall the picture is much better. For the 16 counties and 1 city included in the RealtyTrac® report for the St Louis metro area foreclosure filings in October were down 29.47 percent from the month before and down 30.39 percent from the year before. Included in this data are 8 counties on the Illinois side of the river, St Louis City and eight other counties on the Missouri side. Continue reading “St Louis Real Estate News: Foreclosures in the St Louis metro area decrease over 29 percent in October

St Louis Real Estate News: St. Louis foreclosure rate increases, again

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

Foreclosure rates in St. Louis increased for the month of September over the same period last year according to a report released by First American CoreLogic. The report showed the St. Louis metro area to have a foreclosure rate of 1.26 percent in September, up just slightly from August’s rate of 1.24 percent, but up over 59 percent from a year ago when the rate was 0.79 percent.

firstamerican corelogic

The national foreclosure rate for September was over double the rate of St. Louis at 2.93 percent and was an increase of 75 percent from a year ago when the national foreclosure rate was 1.67 percent. 

Foreclosure Rate in St. Louis Increases

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

By Dennis Norman

Foreclosure rates in St. Louis increased for the month of August over the same period last year according to a report released today by First American CoreLogic. The report showed the St. Louis metro area to have a foreclosure rate of 1.24 percent in August, up just slightly from July’s rate of 1.20 percent, but up over 63 percent from a year ago when the rate was 0.76 percent.

firstamerican corelogic

As bad as the foreclosure rate for St. Louis sounds we are still doing better than the national rate of 2.86 percent for August.  The state of Missouri had a foreclosure rate of 1.16 percent for August, up a whopping 84 percent from a year ago.

Mortgage Programs Fall Short in Keeping Homeowners out of Foreclosure

To alleviate some suffering by homeowners, the Obama Administration introduced the “Making Homes Affordable” plan last March. Unfortunately, the plan has not yet had the intended effect.

Article by the Grand Law Firm

Economists debate whether or not the country is actually currently in a recession. Some say that there are positive signs that we have reached the bottom and the economy is turning around. Others, however, suggest that the country still has a long way to go and it may be years yet before we truly reach financial recovery. Regardless of who is right though, one thing is clear: many people are facing significant financial hardships and need help now. Continue reading “Mortgage Programs Fall Short in Keeping Homeowners out of Foreclosure

FDIC Launches Foreclosure Prevention Initiative

FDIC Federal Deposit Insurance CorporationThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is launching an initiative to help consumers and the banking industry avoid unnecessary foreclosures and stop foreclosure “rescue” scams that promise false hope to consumers at risk of losing their homes.

This initiative includes outreach, referral services, and an information tool kit. Arming consumers with information will heighten consumers’ awareness of foreclosure “rescue” scams and give them more confidence in knowing they are working with legitimate counselors and servicers to obtain a loan modification that could help them avoid foreclosure. Continue reading “FDIC Launches Foreclosure Prevention Initiative

Free Movers For Families Affected by Foreclosure

Dennis Norman

Dennis Norman

By: Dennis Norman

I came across something today that, while it is very sad there is such a demand for, it is heartwarming to see this need being addressed; helping families that have lost their homes in foreclosure move and store their belongings. 

Freemooves.ComThere is a new non-profit organization, FreeMooves, that is offering free moving and storage services to families affected by foreclosure throughout the U.S. Continue reading “Free Movers For Families Affected by Foreclosure

Avoid mortgage modification and foreclosure rescue scams

foreclosureBy: Dennis Norman

Recently the The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a Consumer Advisory.  The Advisory contains consumer tips for avoiding mortgage modification scams and foreclosure rescue scams.

The advisory states; “Scams that promise to “rescue” you from foreclosure are popping up at an alarming rate nationwide, and you need to protect yourself and your home.   If you’re falling behind on your mortgage, others may know it too – including con artists and scam artists.  They know that people in this situations are vulnerable and often desperate.”

The OCC suggests that before you do business with someone offering to negotiate a loan modification for you or to stop or delay foreclosure for a fee that you carefully check his or her credentials, reputations, and experience.  Watch out for warning signs of a scam, and always maintain personal contact with your lender and mortgage servicer. Continue reading “Avoid mortgage modification and foreclosure rescue scams