NAR Circus

People have been sending in the links to the story about the NAR sales recount.

NAR has always been irrelevant, and will always be – they are a joke.

They don’t do a hard count of the actual sales; instead, they estimate the sales nationwide.  Yet, the story is that they are revising their estimating model, not that they are changing to an actual count of home sales.

They have, which according to them is “the most comprehensive source for real estate listings”, but they don’t use it themselves to count sales?

What they should do is discontinue the national count altogether, as part of a shift to educating the public properly.  They should champion the ‘all real estate is local’ mantra, and if they are going to publish anything, it should be statistics on local sales only.

But they can’t stop from blubbering all over themselves, they even had to assure us with this:

“The benchmark revisions will be published next Wednesday and will not affect house prices.”

NAR should do all of us a favor and close their doors – for good.

Tan Man On The Move

From the Real

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday, while mindin’ the necessary ps and qs for our discussion about the Thousand Oaks, CA mansion recently leased by phoenix-like pop phenom Britney Spears, we rather randomly ran across another, smaller mansion located behind the guarded gates of the well-heeled Sherwood County Club owned as per property records–and much to our pearl clutching flabbergast–by the vastly-loathed and utterly disgraced former Countrywide Financial CEO and COB Angelo Mozilo who has the architecturally conventional (mc)mansion listed on the open market with an asking price of $3,400,000.

Mister Mozilo, a mortgage industry maverick who co-founded Countrywide in 1969 and nearly 30 years later co-founded the dramatically collapsed IndyMac Bank (now OneWest Bank), is widely regarded as one of the more Machiavellian sub-mortgage-men who helped march the U.S. (and global) economy straight off the cliff in the mid-Noughts.

While Mister Mozilo and his mortgage-making army pushed and pedaled sub-prime home loans he talked up the then-flourishing company’s stock price, earned hundreds of millions in compensation, and cashed out more than $400,000,000 worth of Countrywide stock, a large portion of it during the last couple of years of his tattered tenure as the king of Countrywide.

Alas, the sub-primed fueled real estate bubble burst sometime around 2007 and Mister Mozilo left Countrywide in 2008 after the crippled company was sold for $4.1 billion to Bank of America. In June 2009 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Mister Mozilo with insider trading and securities fraud. 

In September 2010 Mister Mozilo settled with the SEC and agreed to pay $67,500,000 in fines, $45,000,000 of which was paid by Bank of America. Despite the sizable payout, settlement terms allow Mister Mozilo to circumvent acknowledgement of any misconduct. We can’t vouch for or confirm it but online idle chatter says he has a net worth well in excess of half a billion dollars.

To be honest, puppies, Your Mama isn’t sure where exactly Mister Mozilo and his wife Phyllis currently (or previously) consider(ed) their primary residence. After all, In addition to the house in Thousand Oaks they now have on the market, they own a variety of luxury residences in Hawaii, Santa Barbara, and the affluent Coachella Valley desert community of La Quinta (CA).

Listing information shows the stately two-story house was built in 1999 and sits on a half acre lot that backs up to the 2nd fairway of the Jack Nicklaus-designed par-72 championship course at the Sherwood Country Club, The meticulously maintained mansion measures 6,238 square feet with a total of 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and a finished 4 car garage.

As it turns out, listing their Thousand Oaks mansion isn’t the only recent adjustment Mister and Missus Mozilo have made to their rather extensive portfolio of residential real estate. Property records reveal in March 2011 Mister and Missus Mozilo splashed out $1,800,000 on a .78 acre vacant parcel of land at The Madison Club, an upscale, guard-gated golf community in La Quinta (CA) that weaves and winds its way through and around an undeniably scenic Tom Fazio-designed course.


Snoopy Prevails

From the Daily Pilot:

COSTA MESA — It will be a Charlie Brown Christmas after all.

Though Jim Jordan’s foreclosed home at 2269 Santa Ana Ave. now belongs to Wells Fargo, the plywood psychiatry booth, character cutouts, Santa Claus stage in the backyard and other “Peanuts” features that entertained the community for decades, still belong to him.

Over the weekend, Jordan worked out a deal with city CEO Tom Hatch to take the “Snoopy House” display to City Hall.

“We’re going to make it happen in one place or another,” said Jordan, 59.

“We talked about bringing the Snoopy House to City Hall to continue the rich tradition that’s been here for many decades,” Hatch said. “Hopefully this kind of display can bring the community together.”

There’s a Save the Snoopy House Facebook page, a Twitter account and residents looking to help Jordan financially.

One real estate company owner offered a vacant Eastside lot a block away. The owner said with a lawn mower, some trash bins and volunteers, Jordan’s “Peanuts”-themed Christmas display could be a short walk from the old Snoopy House off Albert Place, where it stood every winter for the last 44 years.

Chick-fil-A offered to set up the Peanuts gallery in front of its location on Bristol Street and MacArthur Boulevard in Santa Ana.  Costa Mesa residents also offered their lawns.

Two loyal supporters, Jackson Dugan, 10, and his sister, Dayle, 8, set up shop Saturday at the Snoopy House home and sold lemonade at 50 cents a cup.  On Monday the entrepreneurial duo handed Jordan $230.

“People were giving donations,” explained Jackson and Dayle’s mom, Lisa Dugan. “They just wanted to help him. They love the Snoopy House … it’s been there every year. It’s the magic. It’s the spirit of Christmas.”

Jordan set up a trust over the weekend that accepts donations. The money will help Jordan pay for his lawsuit against Wells Fargo; he’s fighting to keep his house, which he uses as a rental property.

Jordan claims that shortly after the home went into default in August 2010, the bank told him it had stopped moving toward foreclosure while considering his loan modification application.  Three months later, the bank bought the house and told Jordan that it had not stopped the process.

“I’d really like to get them back to the bargaining table,” Jordan said.


$88,000,000 Listing

From The Real Estalker:

New York-based financier Sandy Weill has already “reached an agreement with an unnamed buyer” to purchase his posh and exceedingly pricey penthouse at 15 Central Park West in New York City.

You’ll recall that Mister and Missus Weill heaved and hoed their Robert A.M. Stern-designed and Mica Ertegun-decorated 6,744 square foot penthouse with its 2,000 square foot-plus wrap around terrace on to the market a few weeks ago with a ball-busting $88,000,000 asking price. Although an agreement has (allegedly) been reached, the as yet unidentified buyer has yet to sign the proper purchase contracts, according to the New York Post, and “appears to be foreign.”

Mister Weill, the former CEO and chairman of Citigroup, has pledged to donate the proceeds of the sale to as yet unidentified charitable organizations.

House That Tweets

From HW:

Leave it to Silicon Valley to come up with a new idea for a struggling housing market desperate to revive the American Dream.

Jen O’Neal, with the help of her sister, decided to give the house their parents are selling a voice on Twitter. For those living under a rock, Twitter allows fleeting posts of 140 characters or less. It is arguably the furthest thing from interacting with a live, chatty real estate agent.

The ornate mansion situated in an older neighborhood in Tucson, Ariz., tweets daily with real estate agents, investors, shoppers and journalists via the handle @IAMAHouse1.

“My sister and I always thought the house had a lot of character, and we thought it would be really neat if it had a voice,” O’Neal said in an interview.

Playful and illustrative, the house seduces online passersby with photos and tweets that give it the sort of charm real estate agents and sellers shell out thousands of dollars for in seminar fees:

“They say that eyes are the window to the soul. With floor-to-ceiling windows, my soul is off the hook.”

“Went on the market last wk. My owners’ kids are grown so they say I’m too big for them now. Apparently size does matter.”

“A family of doves built their nest in my eaves. Kinda tickles.”

“Is it hot in here or is it just me?” it tweeted complete with a photo of its dashing living room and fireplace.


O’Neal graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and became one of the first employees at the online ticket company StubHub in 2000. She recently founded Tripping, a social media site for international travelers to make friends they can visit and stay with. Twitter, for the Silicon Valley startup, comes naturally.

Jenni Morrison, the real estate agent for the O’Neals, said the home has been on the market for about three weeks and is generating a lot of inquiries O’Neal forwards to her directly from the Twitter feed, some from as far away as the U.K.

“She’s very bright, and she just had this brainstorm,” Morrison said in an interview. “We really had no expectations, but it’s been really, really successful so far. With the market the way it is, it’s time we looked at a different direction.””

In many areas around the country, especially in Arizona, success is needed. Foreclosures remain elevated there. CoreLogic reported Tuesday that 47% of Arizona homeowners are underwater. Morrison said the O’Neal place would have sold for $1.6 million a few years ago. Today, they’re asking for $1.25 million.

Still, the troubles aren’t getting to @IAMAHouse1.

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,” the house just tweeted.

Sandicor’s Consumer Website

Now that the barn door has been left open for several years, our local MLS provider, Sandicor, has finally developed a website that will allow the consumer to access the MLS directly:

They don’t ask us for ideas about what it wanted and needed, they just roll this out and hope it works.  They say they’d like feedback, but they probably think that people will be gushing with praise.  

Here is their introductory pitch below:


San Diego’s four Association of REALTORS® and Sandicor are excited to announce the release of a new consumer website! This website is designed to turn the consumer’s focus back to Brokers and Agents and away from third party sites such as Zillow and Trulia that rank among the top 20 websites in the category of San Diego real estate.  In addition to the Sandicor MLS site, there will be four additional websites branded to each of the four Shareholder REALTOR® Associations that own Sandicor.  The goal is simply to reverse the trend of consumers going out to and staying on third party sites and to drive consumer traffic back to our member’s websites.

Developed around a powerful and flexible search engine, the websites provide the following benefits for brokers and agents:
–Deliver leads to brokers and agents
–Drive traffic back to brokers and agents and away from third party sites like Trulia and Zillow
–Facilitate a consumer’s search for San Diego County real estate information and properties.
–Provide consumers with unbiased, timely (updated every 10 minutes) and comprehensive data – all of which are valued and preferred by the consumer
–Allow the consumer to find an agent using a name, affiliated office or location
–Permit county-wide Open House searches
–Provide valuable Community Data
–Provide links to helpful information such as Population Statistics, School Systems, and Government Resources
–Offers a variety of reports for both Brokers and Agents on their listings such as the number of views of their listings in a search, the number of times the listing was displayed and emailed and more.
–Lead to a reduction in the fees paid by Brokers for participation in national third party sites.
There is no additional fee to provide this tremendous benefit.  Sandicor can leverage the consumer view that the MLS is the trusted source for real estate information provided by and for the real estate professionals in San Diego County. The consumer knows MLS data is unbiased, timely and comprehensive.
Please watch for future emails informing you of what reports will be available to you and how to update your contact information.  We look forward to making the sites a success and to help bring the business back to you! Go ahead, click on the link and take a test drive now!

Catfish Recovery

From HW:

The U.S. housing market hit bottom this year and will remain flat until 2014, when it will start to slowly recover, said Rick Sharga, an executive vice president with Carrington Mortgage Holdings.

“We’re looking at a catfish recovery,” he told attendees at the Asian Real Estate Association of America conference in San Francisco Friday, saying the market will bump along the bottom for some time before starting to revive.

More than a million foreclosure actions that should have taken place this year have not yet moved forward, and that delay pushes a resolution of the housing market’s problems into next year and beyond, he said, citing data from RealtyTrac, where Sharga served as a senior vice president until this week.

“We can’t expect to see home price appreciation until we work through these distressed assets,” he said.

Since 2005, there’s only been one quarter in which U.S. banks have sold more properties than they’ve taken back through foreclosure, leaving a huge overhang of real estate-owned assets that need to be cleared out.

Banks hold about 800,000 REOs, and three-quarters of those are not listed for sale, said Sharga. Another 800,000 homes are in foreclosure and 1.5 million loans are delinquent.

This “shadow inventory” will slow down a housing market recovery, he said, as monthly foreclosure numbers will remain elevated through 2012 and REO inventories will stay high through 2013.

Even with the continuing distress in the housing market, the country is not likely to enter a double-dip recession, said Eugenio Aleman, a director and senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co .

Although U.S. workers have suffered as the nation has lost 9 million jobs over a two-year period, the manufacturing and service sectors are expanding, he noted.

“The rest of the economy is not booming, but it’s doing fine,” said Aleman. Wells Fargo is projecting that the U.S. economy will expand over the next few years, but at anemic rates: 1.6% this year, 1.4% in 2012 and 1.9% in 2013.

“We are standing firm,” said Aleman of Wells Fargo’s economic forecast. “We are not going to go into a recession.”

Can You Top This?

Hat tip to daytrip for sending in the MSM’s version of Analysts Gone Wild. 

It is a two-prong battle, How Many, and How Long

The current leader of the How Many race is Laurie Goodman, who in this article predicted that 10.4 million mortgages will eventually be foreclosed unless something is done.  Rick Sharga, VP of RealtyTrac (a company that sells foreclosure subscriptions!) was the previous leader and must be ticked – he should have a new forecast before long.  I still have my money on him.

A recent survey of ivory-tower goofs has taken the lead on How Long:


Home prices are unlikely to recover before 2020 and mortgage defaults will persist for years, says a survey of bank risk managers out Friday.

The survey conducted by the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association for FICO, found that 49 percent of respondents do not expect housing prices to rise back to 2007 levels for another nine years. Only 21 percent of respondents said they would.

The findings, which authors called “a decidedly pessimistic outlook”, are a sharp reversal from cautious optimism the survey respondents expressed late last year and in early 2011.

In addition, 73 percent of surveyed bankers say they expect mortgage defaults to remain elevated for at least another five years. And 46 percent believe mortgage delinquencies will increase over the next six months.

Only 15 percent of respondents expect mortgage delinquencies to decline during that period.

“While the housing sector will almost certainly gain strength during the next nine years, many bankers clearly believe prices will remain depressed for half a generation,” said Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO.

Bankers concerns spread beyond the housing market.

A large number of respondents says they also expect to see an uptick in delinquencies on auto loans, credit cards and student loans.

Small businesses are expected to continue face a challenging credit environment. More than one-third of respondents forecast an increase in delinquencies on small business loans.

Bankers also appear to be pessimistic about recovery in consumer spending, with 64 percent of respondents expecting credit card usage to remain below pre-recession levels for at least five more years.

Half of the respondents expect credit card balances to increase over the next six months, due to higher spending by some households and smaller monthly payments by others.

Pin It on Pinterest