Friday, October 14, 2011

Foreclosures continue to plague housing market

No big news that more are going to foreclosure....
If you are a realtor you already know this.....

Foreclosures continued to plague the U.S. housing market last quarter, while a a growing backlog has caused the length of the foreclosure process to drag on and on.

Nationwide, foreclosure filings totaled 610,337 in the third quarter, an increase of less than 1% from the previous quarter, said RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosed properties.

Even though the increase was small, it is significant since it broke the trend of three consecutive quarterly decreases, said RealtyTrac Chief Executive James Saccacio.

"This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14% jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months spent trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures," he said.

Home ownership: Biggest drop since Great Depression

Month-over-month, there were fewer foreclosures. Nationwide filings totaled 214,855 in September, a decrease of 6% from August and a 38% decrease from September, 2010.

"While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up," said Saccacio.

Meanwhile, the time it takes to process foreclosures continued to grow. During the third quarter, once a bank began the foreclosure process it took an average of 336 days to complete, according to RealtyTrac. That's up from a nationwide average of 318 days during the second quarter. It's also the longest average foreclosure period going back to the first quarter of 2007, before the housing crisis began.

In New York and New Jersey, it took nearly three times as long for the foreclosure process to be completed. In the Empire State, it took an average of 986 days for the average foreclosure to be processed -- the longest in the country -- while in the Garden State, it took 974 days, according to RealtyTrac.

Compare that to Texas, where it took an average of 86 days to complete a foreclosure in the third quarter, the fastest foreclosure process in the nation, the company said.

Nevada, once a boom state for real estate, maintained its current title as the poster child for foreclosures. The state had the nation's highest foreclosure rate: one in every 44 housing units.

30-year mortgage rates fall below 4%

California had twice the rate of Nevada, but it still had the second-highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 88 units.

View this article on CNNMoney

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Underwater Mortgage? Water District to Buy Real Estate That is Literally Under Water

Too bad your property is "underwater" and not really underwater like this one is and it might be worth something =) In strange twist San Jose Real Estate that is actually underwater at Anderson Reservoir is being paid a premium for by the water company...Now dont you wish your property was at the bottom of a lake too -)

Oct. 12 (Source: By Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, Calif.) - In an unusual deal that gives New meaning to the real estate adage “location, location, location,” Silicon Valley’s largest drinking water provider is negotiating to buy 225 acres in the hills east of Highway 101 near Morgan Hill.But there isn’t much of a view. The property is under water. At the bottom of Anderson Reservoir.

Like the reservoir itself, some of the details remain unclear. But the proposed purchase by the Santa Clara Valley Water District — which once owned the land and resold it — would close one of Silicon Valley’s most controversial development sagas 50 years after it began.

The submerged land is one of four parcels totaling 1,149 acres that the water district is negotiating to acquire from Los Angeles developer Castle & Cooke. The other three are dry land between the reservoir and Highway 101.

The agency didn’t set out to buy underwater land, said Ann Draper, acting chief operating officer of the water district. It needs the dry parcels to comply with state and federal permits, she said, that require the agency to protect the habitat of endangered species that are disturbed when water district crews perform Flood control work in hundreds of miles of streams every year across Santa Clara County.

And Castle & Cooke wanted to sell all four together, so to get the dry ones, the district has to buy the wet one.

“The value of that is minuscule, small,” Draper said of the underwater piece. “It’s less

than $4,000.”

The district has not yet made public the proposed sale price for all 1,149 acres, but it is expected to be several million dollars.

Details will become public 10 days before the Oct. 25 meeting when the water district’s board is scheduled to vote on the purchase.

Never a ‘New Town’

In a wider sense, the deal symbolizes the end of a five-decade chapter in San Jose’s history, the final breath of an era when developers with horn-rimmed glasses and rolls of blueprints turned miles of farmland into Silicon Valley subdivisions.

“The population was growing. It was an exciting time,” said Susie Wilson, a San Jose City Council member from 1973 to 1979. “This had been a farming community, and suddenly there were all these engineers and their wives who had been educated in colleges coming in. They all needed housing.”

In the early 1960s, Castle & Cooke, urged by former San Jose city manager Anthony P. “Dutch” Hamann, acquired 11,000 acres from Coyote Valley over the ridge to Anderson Reservoir. Under the names of its subsidiaries, Lake Anderson Corporation and Oceanic California, Castle & Cooke planned to build a massive “New Town” with stores,

schools and 100,000 residents.

“City leaders back then thought it was a big plum,” said Wilson. “It would be like Tesla coming in today. But Castle & Cooke tried too late. By the 1970s, the environmentalists had begun to band together. People didn’t want to see development going over those hills.”

The San Jose City Council finally killed the plan in 1978. Castle & Cooke, which had a history dating to 1850s Hawaii, sued San Jose for $30 million — the largest claim ever against the city at the time. The company lost in 1980, and later began selling off pieces of the land.

If the water district buys the 1,149 acres, Castle & Cooke’s ownership in the area would be all but over, at fewer than 100 acres.

“It’s been a long and colorful ride,” said Paul Ireland, a Castle & Cooke consultant who is helping sell the land.

One big question remains: Since the water district already owns the reservoir, why doesn’t it own all the land on the bottom?

Mysterious sale

Property records show that after Santa Clara County voters approved a $3 million bond in 1949 to build Anderson Dam, the water district signed an agreement with O’Connell Brothers, a ranching company, to use the 225-acre piece now underwater. But it wasn’t until 1954 when O’Connell Brothers finally sold the property to the water district, for $175,000.

Mysteriously, in 1956, the water district sold the land to Castle & Cooke subsidiary Lake Anderson, and another company, Gelco Development, even though by then it sat under water. The district kept “inundation rights,” but Draper said nobody at the agency today can find documents showing why it sold the land, or for how much. Was it a planned marina?

“You can speculate as to what those conversations were about,” Draper said, “but we don’t know.”

In years past, the water district went to federal agencies every year to obtain permits for flood control work to clear sediment and brush in stream channels. But in 2002, to cut red tape, it obtained a 10-year permit from the state fish and game department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers and others.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

New Discounts for Mortgage Borrowers

Clearly buying San Jose Real Estate right now would make sense if this article is true!
San Jose Real Estate is always a good deal compared to
San Francisco Relocation and Bay Area Real Estate in general....New buyers maybe it is time to bite the bullet and get a loan while rates are as low as they are~
good luck and read on~

by AnnaMaria Andriotis
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
provided by

Lenders are cutting closing costs and offering other discounts to go along with low rates. What's the catch?

As mortgage rates continue to fall, lenders are rolling out splashy discounts and promotions to inspire reluctant home buyers. But critics say the newest offers still stop short of the best deal for borrowers: Lower rates.

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From large banks to credit unions, a growing number of lenders are waiving fees, lowering rates and finding new ways to cut loan prices for would-be home buyers and refinancers. Capital One is waiving some closing fees for refinancers, which can save $3,300 on average. Citi and Bank of America are discounting fees by as much as 0.75 percentage point. And online lender Quicken Loans is telling customers who get a mortgage through December that if mortgage rates fall in the future, they'll be able to get the lower rates with most refinancing costs covered.

While some of the deals are available to refinancers, they are mostly aimed at home buyers. In this market, new purchase mortgages can be more profitable for banks. But they currently account for just about 20% of all mortgage applications, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. "We are still amazed that record low interest rates and significantly lower home prices have not resulted in strong loan demand," says Tim Zimmerman, president and CEO at Standard Bank in Pittsburgh, which is lowering closing costs by up to $500 for home purchases and refinances.

That's a small discount, relatively. Closing costs typically run up to 2% of the loan amount — $500 would fully cover closing costs for a $25,000 loan. Zimmerman says that on refinances closing costs tend to be lower, and that this discount along with low mortgage rates creates an opportunity for borrowers.

[Click here to check home equity rates in your area.]

But other offers are more generous. In a rare deal for refinancers, Capital One is eliminating on average $3,300 closing costs — including the appraisal and title-related charges — for homeowners who refinance into a 30-year mortgage in some locations, including New York, Texas and the Washington D.C. metro area. Some credit unions are also slashing closing fee costs. In August, for example, the largest credit union, the Navy Federal Credit Union (designated for Department of Defense employees and their families) began offering $2,500 off of closing costs for borrowers.

Other lenders are discounting costs that borrowers may pay when they sign up for a mortgage. Borrowers have the option to pay what are called "discount points" — a prepayment of interest — in exchange for a lower interest rate. One point equals 1% of the loan amount. Citi is offering home buyers 0.75% of the loan amount that can be used to offset discount points. On a $375,000 mortgage, the credit would be $2,812.50 -- plus the lower interest rate over the life of the loan. Earlier this year, Bank of America began offering 0.25 percentage point off discount points in 12 states; next month, the bank will extend the offer in nine more states, including South Carolina, Texas and Washington D.C.

But if you're seeing incentives, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage-data firm HSH Associates, there might be a catch. To qualify for the Bank of America discount, for example, consumers must have at least $50,000 socked away with the bank or its investment firm.

Other incentives may be designed to distract from a rate that's not as low as it could be. The average rate consumers get on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.25% — about 0.75 percentage point higher than the lowest advertised, according to That's almost the widest spread since the firm began tracking the data in February 2010. On a $275,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the difference adds up to about $120 more per month, or more than $42,000 over the life of the loan.

For their part, banks say they're looking to attract new customers, or drum up more business with old ones, and that rock-bottom rates, though difficult to get, are accessible for borrowers with the highest credit scores, large down payments and low debt levels. But they also acknowledge that these promotions are good without being too good: A Bank of America spokesman says the institution is looking to price competitively but not low enough to spark an overflow of applications that would prevent it from being able to process the mortgages in a timely manner, the spokesman says.

Still, a low interest rate is still the key to finding the cheapest mortgage. Experts direct borrowers to consider lenders who are most eager for business, including online outfits, which can offer a lower rate because they have lower overhead, and smaller institutions like community banks and credit unions that might have more wiggle room on rates. With rates expected to stay low for a while, qualified borrowers can afford to haggle to get a low rate, which will help them save more than most incentives on the table now.