Friday, December 31, 2010

Will we see our properties appreciate the year?

In an email question posted on the website, do you think we will see our properties appreciate the year? If you are to believe some of the reports and forecasts, property appreciation is expected in about 40 percent of the major metropolitan areas in the country.
Places like Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Iowa, and few others in the Midwest, you will probably have happy days ahead in terms of appreciation. However, places like Florida and Nevada will still continue to see the greatest depreciation.  But, as I tell people all the time; “Florida lead the nation in increases between 04 & 06. That is why we are now having the biggest decreases”. It’s a leveling off. In 04 – 06 people were paying Artificially Inflated prices for property In Florida; we are now down to 1999 prices.
No one has a crystal ball of what will really happen in real estate in 2011. However, I’m seeing a lot more reports and predictions that there will be flat growth in real estate values. A few have even boldly said depreciation could continue by as much as 5 percent before bottoming out. And some say we are to expect as much as 15% here in Florida.
Don’t freak out by this potentially bad news. You could ask this question to 5 different encomiasts and get 3 different answers. Add in the point that our market is changing every day and you really need to do your homework and watch the trends and really see what is happening at any given point in the year.
Paul Antonelli

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Solution to Automate Mandated Foreclosure Mediation Process in place

eMASON’s Clarifire® Application Provides an Advanced Technology Solution to Automate Mandated Foreclosure Mediation Process
Next-Generation Technology Provides One Consolidated Platform for Servicers, Attorneys and Counselors to Assist Borrowers in Need
Clearwater, Florida – December 27, 2010 — eMASON announced today that its Clarifire® application has been implemented by Fannie Mae as the technology solution for its servicers‘ use in complying with the foreclosure pre-filing mediation process mandated by the Florida Supreme Court‘s administrative order. The advanced web-based application provides secure, automated workflow for its loan servicers and business partners involved in the mediation process – including retained attorney firms, mediation case managers, and counselors - all on one consolidated platform.
Clarifire automation will help servicers improve the prospect and cycle times associated with assisting borrowers by offering mediation and related workout options early in the loan‘s delinquency as required by the state. The Florida Supreme Court mandates that servicers offer mediation to homestead residential borrowers before a summary judgment can be filed and a foreclosure sale held.
―We are extremely proud to provide our advanced technology to this important Florida Mediation initiative to assist borrowers in need, said Jane Mason, president and CEO of eMASON, Inc. ―Clarifire automation delivers an innovative and standardized approach to managing workflow, centralizes communication and documents, and allows all parties in the Mediation process the ability to work together on one platform for complete auditability, gain in efficiencies, and reduction in costs.
The technology will also expedite the process for Fannie Mae loans where mediation is either not accepted by the borrower or does not result in an agreement or a workout as outlined by the initiative. Florida is the first state to receive the benefit of Clarifire automation for processes related to pre-filing mediation.
Currently, more than 25,000 users rely on the Clarifire application to automate their workflow. eMASON‘s Clarifire application bridges gaps between built technologies and provides many advantages to the Florida Pre-filing Mediation process, including:

Automated Workflow: Clarifire automates workflow between all parties seamlessly, and presents tasks in priority order, streamlining the each step of the process from the referral of mediation to recording the workout and post-mediation session results to the case in the application.

Increased Visibility: The application provides all parties secure and increased visibility and auditability of the status and progress of loans in mediation, and increases servicers‘ ability to meet compliance requirements of the mandated program.

Work Presented on Role-based Dashboards: All work is managed on role-based dashboards to manage tasks, monitor deadlines, manage and respond to overdue deadlines and exceptions, and gain visibility into their loan pipeline – all in real-time.

Streamlined Communication: The application centralizes and improves communication between all participants (reducing/eliminating the need for external faxes, emails and phone calls).

Documents Centralized and Automatically Routed: Clarifire provides automated generation, transmission, access, and storage of documents at the case level.

Automated Notifications: All parties are alerted of key milestones via automated notifications, such as when case documents are available for review within the application, as well as scheduling and tracking of mediation and counseling sessions.

Enhanced Tracking and Reporting: The technology automates tracking and reporting capabilities, captures key compliance metrics, and allows generation of customized reports.
eMASON is one of the nation‘s fastest-growing private companies as ranked in the ‗Inc. 500.‘
From the eMason Press Release 12/28/10

Paul Antonelli

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Jersey to Suspend State Foreclosures, Can it be true

(From N.J. Government Opposition)

The New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner recently announced a series of steps to protect the integrity of foreclosure filings in New Jersey.
Judge Mary C. Jacobson, who oversees foreclosure matters in New Jersey, signed an order directing six lenders and service providers who have been associated with irregularities within their foreclosure practices (many stemming from the recent robo-signing scandal) to demonstrate why uncontested foreclosure actions they have filed should not be suspended.
“Today’s actions are intended to provide greater confidence that the tens of thousands of residential foreclosure proceedings underway in New Jersey are based on reliable information. Nearly 95 percent of those cases are uncontested, despite evidence of flaws in the foreclosure process,” stated Rabner. “For judges to sign an order foreclosing on a person’s home, they must first be able to rely on the accuracy of documents submitted by lenders. That step is critical to the integrity of the judicial process.”
At the direction of the chief justice, an administrative order has been issued in which the mortgage servicer must show cause; lenders and servicers need to demonstrate there are no irregularities in their foreclosure proceedings; and a bank’s lawyer must certify that he or she spoke with the bank employee who signed the foreclosure documents and confirmed their accuracy.
Apparently, if these steps are not followed or documented, the New Jersey courts can refuse to proceed with the foreclosure process.

Florida Condo Sales are UP and people are Cash Flowing

F.A.R. reports Condo Sales are up over 11% last month in Florida
FAR reported that the number of condo sales in November totaled 5411 compared to the 4,860 condos sold in November 2009.
Many of Florida cities posted higher sales in November on existing condos. The existing median sales price last month for condos was $88,200; and in November 2009 it was $104,500 that's a 16 % decrease. However, November's Florida condo median price is 7 % higher than the median of $82,400 in October for condos. The National Association of Realtors reports that the national median existing condo price was $166,000 in October.
November Sales Chart
Then we have the year-to-year comparison for existing home sales. There were a total of 11,900 single-family homes sold in Florida last month that is compared to 13,961 SFH homes sold in November 2009. That's a decrease of 15 %. Florida's median home sales price in November was $132,700; in 2009, it was $139,300 for a decrease of 5 %.
"The housing market is experiencing an uneven recovery," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Still, sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels. Based on current and improving job market conditions, and from attractive affordability conditions, sales should steadily improve to healthier levels of above 5 million by spring of next year."
I can say from experience that condos are selling and selling very fast here in Central Florida. Condo units that sold for as much as $298,000 4 years ago are now selling for under $50K (way under). Even though many condo sales have to be cash only they are still selling and investors are scooping them up and cash flowing from the start.
So here is a thought for you across the country. You have a child going to college and you will need housing for them. Buy a condo, get your student to get some roomies and rent it to them. When the schooling is done, 3-5 years, sell it or keep it and get some new students to rent to. Build your own equity and rental empire. Have a great holiday.
Paul Antonelli