Mortgage Delinquency Rate Falls to 5.54% in First Quarter--Update

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Thursday, 14 May 2015
Written by Super User

The mortgage market continued to benefit from rising home prices and an improving job market, said Joel Kan, the MBAs vice president of industry surveys and forecasting.

Home prices nationwide rose 5.9% in the year through March 2015, CoreLogic reported on Tuesday. Last week, the Labor Department said the employment-cost index, a measure of wage and benefit expenses, rose 0.7% in the first quarter, more than the 0.6% increase economists expected.

But there are signs that certain parts of the market are settling into a new normal that is a bit worse than what was experienced before the housing boom and bust.

For example, after falling rapidly from a peak above 4.5% in mid-2010, the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process has started to flatten out at between 2% and 2.5%, above the 1% to 1.5% rate seen between 2001 and 2005.

Likewise, in the first quarter, about 0.45% of loans had foreclosures started on them, a rate that was nearly flat with the previous quarter and the same quarter a year ago.

Mr. Kan said part of the backup in foreclosure inventory can be attributed to longer foreclosure-processing times that have come as a result of post-crisis mortgage-servicing rules, as well as a significant backlog of delinquent loans in some states that have a long judicial process to foreclose on a home.

In the past couple of years, agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have rolled out numerous new rules for companies that service mortgages. The companies now must take extra steps to prevent foreclosures and arent allowed to engage in dual tracking, or processing a foreclosure while they also try to work with a borrower to prevent it.

Those rules make it more likely for homeowners to stay in their homes, but also can lengthen the amount of time a foreclosure takes to get through the pipeline.

John Taylor, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said early efforts to modify some borrowers loans helped clear out some of the low-hanging fruit clogging the foreclosure pipeline, leaving behind tougher-to-solve cases that he said require more drastic modifications to prevent foreclosure.

He noted that some mortgage investors resist steps such as cutting mortgage principal balances, which have a bigger chance of making a homeowner current but also can cause lower returns or losses for the mortgage holder.

States with especially large foreclosure backlogs include New Jersey and New York, which at the end of the first quarter had 7.67% and 5.51% of loans respectively in the foreclosure process, compared with less than 2.5% for most other states.

The foreclosure crisis is still ongoing in New Jersey, said Peter Grof, deputy to the president for New Jersey Community Capital, a nonprofit community development group. Its going to take several years before the backlog of foreclosures works its way through the system.

Economic growth slowed to a crawl in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said last week. However, as long as the job market and wage growth continue to improve, mortgage performance should remain strong, Mr. Kan said.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires 05-06-151509ET Copyright (c) 2015 Dow Jones amp; Company, Inc.

Foreclosure filings down this month

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Thursday, 14 May 2015
Written by Super User

The metro Atlanta housing market has taken another encouraging step toward full recovery as foreclosure filings dropped 22 percent from April to May.

There were 1,772 filings in the 13 core counties of metro Atlanta this month, down from 2,277 the month before, according to a report provided to the Journal-Constitution by Kennesaw-based Equity Depot.

"It's a definite drop down," said Barry Bramlett, CEO of the Kennesaw-based company, which collects the data. They are "almost back to January levels after a bit of an increase over the last 3 months."

Foreclosure filings, made each month, do not always mean the loss of a home. If the owner pays what is owed, he or she can often keep the home from being sold at auction the next month.

But even when the owner slips out of that knot, such a filing nearly always is a sign of financial stress. And sometimes the attempt to prevent foreclosure only postpones the inevitable.

In 2010, at the peak of the crisis, the region recorded more than 50,000 foreclosure filings in the first five months of the year. In the first five months of this year, the region has seen 10,029 filings, according to Equity Depot.

Chris Pine Heist Thriller 'Comancheria' to Begin Filming

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Thursday, 14 May 2015
Written by Super User

CBS Films has acquired the US rights to the upcoming big screen action flick Comancheria, starring Chris Pine (Star Trek film franchise).

Described as a heist thriller, the movie follows the actions of two brothers, played by Pine and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor), who rob banks hoping to raise enough money to prevent foreclosure on their familys farm in West Texas.

Oscar Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges will star as a Texas Ranger bent on capturing the lawless duo.

The picture is being directed by Scottish filmmaker David Mackenzie, whose most recent work includes the Jack OConnell crime drama Starred Up. The movie will be an adaptation of Taylor Sheridans Black List script. Sheridan, who starred in the series Sons of Anarchy, is making his feature film screenwriting debut with the soon-to-be-released Josh Brolin-Emily Blunt action pic Sicario.

Comancheria is being produced by Sidney Kimmel (The Age of Adaline) and Julie Yorn (We Bought a Zoo), along with Ben Fosters Lone Survivor producer and co-star Peter Berg.

Pine is also about to begin work on Star Trek 3 (due July 8, 2016) as well as a comedy titled Mantivities.

Comancheria is expected to begin filming this month in New Mexico.

Millions of dollars for 1000 feet: Hillsboro in triangular talks north of 26

Category: Prevent Foreclosure
Published: Tuesday, 12 May 2015
Written by Super User

Hillsboro planners have a vision for a new overpass carrying Northwest Century Boulevard over US 26. It would connect the industrial area near Liberty High School - anchored by the incoming Resers Fine Foods facility - to Ron Tonkin Field, Intels sprawling Ronler Acres campus and other points south.

But standing in the way is Dick Bunch and his business, Bunchs RV amp; Boat Storage. And he was there first.

Bunchs Northwest Jacobson Road property dead-ends two disjointed sections of Century, and city officials want to take some of his land to connect them. The situation has resulted in a complex negotiation amongBunch, the city, and a third property owner that could end up costing Hillsboro taxpayers millions of dollars for roughly 1,000 feet of right-of-way.

Bunchs business sits on the north side of Jacobson. The portion of Century to the south extends from Jacobson and heads toward US 26 and the planned overpass. The section to the north provides access to Beaverton Foods, the future Resers plant and Lithtex Printing Solutions before meeting Northwest West Union Road and becoming Northwest Dick Road upon leaving the city limits.

Bunch has lived at the site since 1968, he said. Back then, there was no Century Boulevard to his north or south, Bunch said. Maps at the time showed that the Dick Road right-of-way would extend from West Union to the southwest in a straight line, missing Bunchs property and meeting Jacobson. But Washington County dissolved the right-of-way in 1985, said Hillsboro city spokesman Patrick Preston in an interview last year. Hillsboro annexed the land in 1988, county maps show.

The current stretch of Century follows the old Dick Road right-of-way in a straight line for about 1,500 feet, before slightly curving - and pointing directly at Bunchs property. City officials could not immediately say why or when the right-of-way was changed.

We have no idea why it was done that way, Bunch said of the roads sudden turn away from the previous path. Of course, folks at the city now, at this point in time, dont either, I guess.

In a staff report, the city called Century a critical north-south link for circulation and access to new developments underway in the North Hillsboro Industrial District. The right-of-way needed to connect the two parts of the road will take out the entirety of one of Bunchs storage buildings and a third of another, which are his highest value RV storage spaces, the report says.

To help compensate Bunch for the loss and afford him space to move the storage buildings, the city wants to negotiate an option to purchase the vacant property to his north, owned by Odus Properties. The city would eventually transfer the land to Bunch as part of any right-of-way deal.

James Crawford, of Odus Properties, and Bunch have thus far been unable to reach their own deal. So the city wants to negotiate the option because officials are concerned that the Odus parcel may sell [to someone other than Bunch] before the city can complete the [right-of-way] acquisition process.

At a recent transportation committee meeting, Hillsboro Assistant Public Works Director Bob Sanders, who has been negotiating with Odus representatives, described the citys effort to negotiate an option as a little bit unusual.

I think its good that theyre willing to step up and try to do some things, Bunch said of the city.

Because obviously, from our point of view, its a significant disruption of our business, he added. And if they want to work with us, well be happy to work with them, provided everything is fair.

Under the proposed option, the city would deposit $100,000 in an escrow account, which would eventually be applied to the sale price - fixed at nearly $979,000, or $6 per square foot, in the citys offer. The Hillsboro City Council on Tuesday night authorized staff to negotiate the deal. The option would be valid for one year, which city staff hopes is enough time to negotiate a separate right-of-way deal with Bunch. If the option expires, the city would have to purchase the Odus property outright.

The property is currently listed commercially at $6.43 per square foot, the city staff report says.

If the city, Bunch and Crawford can all strike deals, all three stand to benefit - the city would obtain the right-of-way, Bunch would keep his business and Crawford would get the money. But Crawford is not satisfied with the citys offer.

Its an unacceptable offer to me, Crawford said last week. It ties up my property in return for nothing and imposes all sorts of expensive obligations on me.

Crawford said the citys offer to deposit the $100,000 in escrow means there is no true down payment, and he added that the deal doesnt properly compensate him for lost opportunity costs over the yearlong option period. He is asking $1,050,000 for the property, with some additional terms. Crawford added that he could try to sell to another buyer if he cant reach favorable terms with the city.

I wish somebody had not been stupid enough to route that road through Mr. Bunchs property, Crawford said. That was rude and stupid and is costing the city and the neighborhood all kinds of problems, and I cant figure out why they did that.

Crawford appeared before the City Council on Tuesday and told officials not to try to play any hocus pocus, urging them to just make a straightforward deal.

After the meeting, Crawford and Sanders had a discussion that Crawford described as terse.

Crawford is three years delinquent on his taxes on the property and also owes for the current year, according to the Washington County Department of Assessment and Taxation. He owes a total of nearly $60,000 and needs to pay more than $2,700 before Aug. 1 to prevent foreclosure. He has been steadily making payments, according to the department.

Deferring property tax payments to manage cash flow is a common business practice. ... I am now in the process of paying off my back taxes with cash flow, Crawford wrote in an email. I do, however, have the cash reserves to pay them off in full if needed.

In an email, Preston characterized the citys discussions with Crawfords representative as very positive at this point.

-- Luke Hammill
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