Charity For Some

From cnbc.com:

PHOENIX – Francisco and Pam Cruz maneuvered around boxes of new flooring and open cans of paint as they surveyed the foreclosed Phoenix house they would soon call their own.

This house wasn’t typical of the thousands in foreclosure-battered Arizona that banks have auctioned for cheap — often to investors who make just enough repairs to satisfy a potential renter.

The Cruzes will become first-time homeowners, helped by one of many nonprofit groups that can snag foreclosures at a discount — and sometimes for free — before banks make them available to speculators.


Selling for Eight Years

From the Charlotte Observer, via Piggington:

Where do you begin a tour of a $2.45 million house?

You begin outside, near the front of a wooded, 2-acre parcel, where a stone-bedded creek carries pumped water from the front fence down to an elegant koi pond. It’s one of the first things you see when the privacy gate rolls back and lets you roll in to 4823 Camilla Drive.

“It’s beautiful,” says Eric Markel.

Welcome to his baby – a six-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 6,977-square-foot home. It is one of Charlotte’s most beautiful houses – spectacular from copper roof to basement home theater – lovingly built in a desirable South Park neighborhood in 2003, when the city’s real estate market was in full sizzle.

But 4823 Camilla hasn’t sold. The $2.45 million house is now a $1.65 million house. The koi? “Long dead,” Markel says.

Multiple Listing Service data don’t provide information on which houses have spent the most time on the market, but at almost eight years, Markel’s house has hung on the vine longer than any home Realtors across Charlotte can recall.


Lots of Lookin’

Some of us were hoping that the action would drop off around the holidays (I worked all day Friday and today), but here we go – the holidays are over for agents, and the new year is underway.

We won’t confuse activity with results, because it’s a big step from hanging out with your goofy realtor for 30 minutes, to winning the bidding war. But it doesn’t appear that people are going to wait until after the Super Bowl:

Here Come the Settlements

From HW:

Ally Financial’s mortgage unit, Residential Capital, and certain ResCap subsidiaries reached a $462 million settlement with Fannie Mae on potential mortgage repurchases.

The agreement covers loans serviced by ResCap subsidiary GMAC Mortgage on behalf of Fannie Mae prior to June 30 and all mortgaged-backed securities that Fannie Mae purchased at various times prior to the settlement, including private-label securities, Ally said Monday.

The settlement releases ResCap and its subsidiaries from about $292 billion in potential repurchases, Ally said.

“At the start of 2010, we set a goal to substantially reduce risk in our mortgage operation and, during the last 12 months, we have successfully completed a series of steps toward that objective and are largely complete,” said Ally CEO Michael A. Carpenter. “This agreement, along with prior repurchase settlements with Freddie Mac and others and the sale of legacy assets and operations, has significantly reduced Ally’s risk related to the legacy mortgage business going forward,” he said in a press statement.

ResCap CEO Thomas Marano said the firm will “focus predominantly on the origination and servicing of conforming mortgages” going forward. ResCap’s subsidiary, GMAC Mortgage, originates and services residential mortgages under the GMAC Mortgage and ‘ditech’ brand names.

Ally said the settlement “was modestly in excess of reserves previously taken.”

The Island

The trip to Coronado was to swing by this REO listing that is going to auction at the end of next month.  The opening bid is quite a tease, only $469,000

This tape is a little longer than usual because I had a specific client looking at it from out-of-town, and was hoping to provide enough of a feel that they could buy via video.  It wasn’t for them, figuring that this’ll end up around…..$850,000?

Old-Spanish in Oceanside

If you like the Old-Spanish style architecture, you can find examples in the oldest parts of the county – neighborhoods like Point Loma, Mission Hills, Kensington, and Oceanside.

Excerpts from wiki’s Oceanside entry:

Although the area was first settled by Native Americans, the first European explorers arrived in 1769. The Spanish missionaries under Father Junipero Serra founded Mission San Luis Rey de Francia on a former site of a Luiseño Indian village on the banks of the San Luis Rey River. In the early 19th century, the introduction of farming and grazing changed the landscape of what would become Oceanside. The area – like all of California – was under Spanish, then in 1821 under Mexican rule, and conquered by the U.S. in 1848.

In the late 1850s, Andrew Jackson Myers lived in San Joaquin County. A native of LaSalle County, Illinois, he returned in the late 1880s and lived in San Luis Rey. In 1882 Myers moved on the land that was the original town site for Oceanside. A patent for the land was issued in 1883 by the federal government. It was incorporated on July 3, 1888. The city hall as of the early 21st century stands on the former Myers homestead.

In the 20th century, Oceanside was a beach town devoted to activities on a 6-mile (9.7 km) stretch of beaches. Residential areas like downtown (built in the 1890s), South Oceanside (built in the 1920s and 1930s), and developments east of Interstate 5 (built after World War II) are preserved and remodeled. Since the establishment of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in 1942, Oceanside has been home to U.S. armed forces personnel, and the wartime industry of WWII – in the 1950s there was an ammunition manufacturing facility in the city. 

In the 1960s, Oceanside beaches had been a mecca for tourists, and the town flourished up until 1972 – that’s when the new-car dealers uprooted from Hill Street (now Coast Hwy.) and moved to Car Country Carlsbad. 

Moving In With Family

From the latimes.com:

All across the country, elbow room in households like the Grissos’ is disappearing as jobless brothers and foreclosed in-laws move in with family, and as young adults return home after unhappy ventures into the working world. The average home today has 2.59 people — the highest number in a decade. And just 357,000 new households were formed in the U.S. last year, the lowest number since at least 1947.

That has a big ripple effect on the economy, pushing down demand for new homes and the big-ticket items that go with them, such as washers and dryers. The trend will shape the country for years to come, as young people put off marriage, children and homes of their own.

Living in a combined household isn’t easy: Families are dividing spaces that were once private and skimping on things that never before seemed a luxury. But the Rouths say they didn’t have a choice.

“We had to break down and be humble about it, and say, we can’t get jobs, let’s just do it,” said Philip’s wife, Lisa, who has a creamy complexion and shiny brown hair. “It was a hard step, at least for me, to have to go into their household and live their way, with my two children.”


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