No-Foreclosure Policy

sd county foreclosures

I spoke with a long-time REO listing agent this week who agreed completely with my theory that banks have stopped foreclosing.

Banks like Wells Fargo keep laying off workers:

The latest round of layoffs is “the result of continuing market changes, including improvements in delinquency and foreclosure rates and reduced demand for mortgage financing,” said Wells Fargo spokeswoman Mariana Phipps in Oakland.


(bold added)

But the improvements in delinquency and foreclosure rates are due to the banks not pursuing foreclosures. My friend mentioned how hard it is to get several owners of  mortgage tranches to agree on principal reductions and loan modifications, and instead the servicers just let defaulters ride.

The accounting standards were suspended long ago and Helicopter Ben said himself that he told the banks to not do anything to harm the economy – so not foreclosing is a great solution.  Banks can then cite the ‘improvements’, and layoff workers to pump earnings further.

No foreclosures = everyone is happy!

Graduation Season

la joola cove

There has been some eeriness in the marketplace over the last couple of weeks, which makes it seem like it’s connected to the graduation season – and it’s been like this over the last couple of years. Do people just need some time to appreciate the accomplishment, or is the market stalling?

In 2012, the frenzy ignored the last presidential election and blew right through the holidays for a solid 18-month run, and higher rates and prices this year haven’t slowed the momentum much.

But we are overdue for some pullback – is it time? Here are my thoughts:

The Specials

A great ska band influenced by Elvis Costello (who produced their first album in 1979) and who loved the chaotic dance-party shows.

From wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Specials

The Specials, also known as The Special AKA, are an English 2 Tone and ska revival band formed in 1977 in Coventry.[1] Their music combines a “danceable ska and rocksteady beat with punk’s energy and attitude”, and had a “more focused and informed political and social stance” than other ska groups. The band wore mod-style “1960s period rude boy outfits (pork pie hats, tonic and mohair suits, and loafers).”

Market Bifurcation

la jolla sunset1

The homes in the north coastal region from La Jolla to Carlsbad have always been relatively expensive.

Of the 1,052 houses for sale today, 81% of them are priced over $1,000,000.

(Take Carlsbad out, and 92% are priced over $1,000,000).

But only 51% of the 1,233 NSDCC house sales closed this year have been $1M+.

It gives us about a 7.5-month supply of homes for sale priced OVER $1,000,000, and a 1.8-month supply of homes priced UNDER $1,000,000.

Whether you are buying or selling, get good help!

One Big Portal?

NAR and realtor.com should have built one big ironclad portal a long time ago – by now the tail is wagging the dog:


Trulia has no comment on a report by Benzinga that it’s in talks to acquire realtor.com operator Move Inc. for $18 a share, Bloomberg reports.

But some analysts who follow Zillow, Trulia and Move think consolidation in the space is likely.

Shares of Zillow and Trulia were up this week after analysts at Canaccord Genuity upped their target price for Zillow, citing growth potential and the possibility of an eventual merger of Zillow and Trulia.

They noted that six investors who hold a 42 percent stake in Zillow also own 52 percent of Trulia, “potentially reflecting their desire to see consolidation in the vertical.”

“It’s something that would make sense,” said Zachary Prensky, managing partner of Little Bear Investments, of speculation that Trulia is interested in acquiring Move. “The question is how would they handle the relationship with NAR?”

Move operates realtor.com under the terms of an agreement with the National Association of Realtors that dates back to 1996.

Trulia could get a boatload of listings, a strong position in rentals, an entre into the moving business (through Move’s moving.com) — all from a company that’s trading at a huge value disconnect from its chief competitors, Prensky said.

“If they could figure out how to make NAR happy, Trulia could leapfrog Zillow with this deal,” Prensky said.

Another analyst, Bradley Safalow, founder and CEO of stock analysis firm PAA Research, sees the possible merger in a less rosy light.

“These are two assets which have been losing share to Zillow,” Safalow said. “Does a B player plus a C player really make it on par with the A player? My guess is that it will not.”

“I’m surprised there isn’t more of a negative response in shares of Z to this, for now it seems there’s nothing that makes that stock go down,” Safalow added.

Read the full article here:


‘Anti-Speculation Tax’

The attack on Prop 13 should be next….from the sfgate.com:


Supervisor Eric Mar and tenant activists unveiled a ballot measure Tuesday that would impose a steep tax on investors who sell an apartment building within five years of buying it, a proposal they said is aimed at reigning in real estate speculators who are helping to drive up housing prices by flipping rental properties.

The “anti-speculation” tax, which would apply solely to smaller, rent-controlled, multi-unit buildings, will join several other housing measures on an already-crowded November ballot. It asks voters to approve a graduated tax that decreases the longer an owner holds onto a property – starting at 24 percent of the selling price if a building is sold within a year of purchase, falling to 14 percent at five years and disappearing in the sixth year.

The measure exempts single-family homes, condos, owner-occupied tenancies in common, properties not being sold at a profit, new construction, properties being turned into affordable housing, and buildings with more than 30 units.

“This is a serious situation we are in – the unstable housing costs in the city, even the average cost of a rental unit is so out of whack right now and it’s driven … by wealthy, powerful interests who are flipping apartment buildings and making a lot of money quickly,” said Mar. “This will slow down or stop the flipping by greedy speculators, help ensure more of a balance of housing in the city, and hopefully address the out-of-whack, super increase in apartment rental prices right now.”


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