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Republic Reporter Catherine Reagor tracks the housing and growth markets each day, looking for signs of recovery in Arizona and the Phoenix area – or at least indications that foreclosures and home prices aren’t getting worse.
Updated: 10 years 10 weeks ago

Housing frenzy spreads to rentals in metro Phoenix

Fri, 09/14/2012 - 10:21
 
Renters looking for houses in metro Phoenix areexperiencing much of the same frenzy as buyers.
As reported in http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2012/09/04/20120904phoenix-area-rental-homes-red-hot-commodity.htm, new data from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and real-estate analyst Mike Orr show  the supply of houses for rent in the region is nearly as tight as the supply of homes for sale, and the number of leases signed in  the past few months is at record levels.
High demand for rentals is another indicator of metro Phoenix’s housing-market recovery.
Rob and Sandra O’Dell discovered how competitive metro Phoenix’s rental market has become when they began looking for ...

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Indictments in alleged California loan mod scam that costs homeowners $7 million

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 15:12


Nearly a dozen people have been indicted in an alleged California-based mortgage modification scam that targeted struggling homeowners, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. 
More than 4,000 homeowners lost at least $7 million in fees paid to the company; many lost their homes to foreclosure through the scheme.
Here’s information from the federal announcement:
+  Federal agents this morning arrested 10 defendants who worked at a Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.,-based business that allegedly offered bogus loan modification programs to financially distressed homeowners. As a result of the scheme allegedly run out of 21st ...

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Metro Phoenix housing market update

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 14:29


Metro Phoenix’s housing market took a breather in July. Home prices fell less than 1 percent instead of the 5 to 7 percent monthly jumps seen earlier this year.
Here are the highlights from the report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University:
 The median single-family home price dropped slightly between June and July this year – down less than 1 percent. It went from $150,000 to $149,000.
The median single-family home price was still up almost 31 percent from last ...

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Who in Arizona has been helped by $25 billion lender settlement?

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 12:28
 More than 7,700 Arizona borrowers have recently received aid from one of the nation's five biggest lenders, according to a preliminary federal report on the $25 million lender settlement with the nation's attorneys general. The lenders settled over accusations of abusive foreclosure practices.
This week's report says that so far, the five lenders have spent more than $500 million in Arizona to help homeowners.
But it's been hard to find many of those homeowners. So far, after working with several of Arizona's top housing non-profits and soliciting responses from readers, I have found two people who have received aid from the settlement. ...

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Arizona Real Estate adivisory about company called Kazork

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 09:24


Real Estate Commission Judy Lowe emailed this out last night: From Fannie Mae:
There appears to be a misunderstanding regarding Fannie Mae's short sale process, involving a company called Kazork.  Kazork is a company that, among other things, conducts auctions of residential  properties that have not been able to be sold through traditional marketing practices.  Fannie Mae at one time had a limited engagement with Kazork, but has said that Kazork is not an exclusive partner on short sales.  Fannie Mae is reaching out to Kazork to stop them from using Fannie Mae's name in any marketing activities.   Any changes that Fannie Mae makes to its short ...

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S&P/Case-Shiller home price increase for Phoenix looks too low

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 12:32
The latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices shows home prices in metro Phoenix climbed 14 percent  between June 2011 and June 2012.
That's higher than any of the other major metros tracked. But Phoenix-area median home price has actually  climbed more than 40 percent in the past year.
Part of the discrepancy could be that the index uses seasonally-adjusted numbers. But there's a pretty big difference between its numbers and median prices tracked by Phoenix-based data firms. ...

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Advice to Arizona homeowners from foreclosure expert

Mon, 08/27/2012 - 11:32
 Foreclosures have slowed in metro Phoenix from last year, but there are still homeowners struggling to make their payments.
Here's some updated advice from one of Arizona's top housing advocates, Patricia Garcia Duarte, chief executive of Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix.
Her first piece of advice for homeowners facing losing their homes is to call the Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at 877-448-1211 or go to www.azforeclosureprevention.org.
What is the biggest hurdle Arizona homeowners facing foreclosure now are dealing with?
"Understanding the many resources that are available," Duarte said. "(Housing) program updates and changes have been made, and the transition to new and improved resources may ...

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Advice to Arizona homeowners from foreclosure expert

Mon, 08/27/2012 - 11:32
 Foreclosures have slowed in metro Phoenix from last year, but there are still homeowners struggling to make their payments.
Here's some updated advice from one of Arizona's top housing advocates, Patricia Garcia Duarte, chief executive of Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix.
Her first piece of advice for homeowners facing losing their homes is to call the Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at 877-448-1211 or go to www.azforeclosureprevention.org.
What is the biggest hurdle Arizona homeowners facing foreclosure now are dealing with?
"Understanding the many resources that are available," Duarte said. "(Housing) program updates and changes have been made, and the transition to new and improved resources may ...

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Phoenix new home building climbs again in July; Will buyers opt for communities farther out again?

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 10:33
 Buyers growing demand for new homes in metro Phoenix continued in July, but home building could slow during the next few months if builders run out of lots in the most popular developments.
New home permits climbed to 1,303 in July, their second highest monthly level this year, according to RL Brown and Greg Burger’s Phoenix Housing Market Letter. Monthly tallies of residential building permits have been above 1,000 for the past five months in the region. A year ago, home building activity was half that pace each month.
Metro Phoenix’s most popular new home communities now will be out of home ...

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Debate over shadow inventory in metro Phoenix

Thu, 08/23/2012 - 12:51
The debate among housing market watchers over whether metro Phoenix has a looming shadow inventory goes on even as foreclosures fall and home prices keep rising.
Some believe there are thousands of homes in the region that mortgage payments haven’t been made on for years, but lenders haven’t moved to foreclose on.
The concern is those homes make up a “shadow inventory” that could be dumped on the market anytime or all at once – stalling the current recovery.
Other housing experts, including Mike Orr of Arizona State University, don’t think the area has a shadow inventory problem.
New numbers on mortgage delinquencies ...

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Debate over shadow inventory in Phoenix

Tue, 08/21/2012 - 10:27
 The debate among housing market watchers over whether metro Phoenix has a looming shadow inventory goes on even as foreclosures fall and home prices keep rising.
Some believe there are thousands of homes in the region that mortgage payments haven’t been made on for years, but lenders haven’t moved to foreclose on.
The concern is those homes make up a “shadow inventory” that could be dumped on the market anytime or all at once – stalling the current recovery.
Other housing experts, including Mike Orr of Arizona State University, don’t think the area has a shadow inventory problem.
New numbers on mortgage delinquencies ...

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Phoenix data firm Information Market bought by ARMLS

Fri, 08/17/2012 - 11:05
 The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Services is acquiring data provider The Information Market. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed. 
The Information Market is a leader in real estate datap research. It's client include Arizona State University,  The Arizona Republic, The Cromford Report and several Valley cities. 
With the acquisition, ARMLS members will have access to Information Market data from public records on home sales and foreclosures. 
The 30-year-old regional Realtor group has been undergoing changes since a deal to become statewide failed last year. Bob Beamis, the industry group's last chief executive, left in February to join Zillow. ...

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Fannie Mae hides the buyer of bulk sale of Phoenix foreclosures

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 09:16




A few days ago, 275 foreclosure houses across metro Phoenix were purchased through a very quiet $34 million cash deal. But it's not clear yet who the buyer is.
In February, Fannie Mae announced it would auction 2,490 foreclosure homes in Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It was the first time the government-owned mortgage firm agreed to openly sell groups of foreclosure houses located in just one metro area. Since the crash, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac usually have sold homes they get back from lenders one by one, or ...

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A view of Phoenix's housing market from the trenches

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 09:37
Metro Phoenix's housing market is showing signs of a real recovery: higher prices, more regular home owners and buyers, and fewer foreclosure and short sales.
The market's rapid changes, peculiarities and frustrations draw many comments from homeowners and people in the real-estate industry. Here is some recent correspondence from readers:
I've been trying to sell my house for four years. Anyway, I listed my house (again) in June, except this time my agent was far more optimistic, and our asking price was far more reasonable -- that means I won't end up owing money but ...

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Meritage Homes earnings jump, thanks to housing recovery

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 11:01

By Catherine Reagor| The Republic|azcentral.com


Scottsdale-based Meritage Homes Corp. posted a jump in its second quarter earnings after its home sales hit a four-year high during the period..
On Thursday, the home builder reported its net income for the quarter ended June 30 climbed to $8 million, or 24 cents per share. That compares to a profit of $562,000, or 2 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2011.
Meritage’s revenue from both home and land sales increased to $281.3 million, compared to $220.1 million for the same period last year.
Arizona’s only publicly-traded home builder sold 1,042 houses during the second quarter, ...

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Monopoly of real estate in Phoenix

Mon, 07/23/2012 - 06:45

Metro Phoenix’s housing market hasn’t been all fun and games, but the real-estate industry has come up with a new way to play the market and win.
The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service has a created a Monopoly game based on the Phoenix-area real-estate market. Called ARMLS-OPOLY, players can buy Apache Junction for $60, Goodyear for $200 and Fountain Hills for $320.
“Paradise Valley and Scottsdale are the Boardwalk and Park Place of the game,” said Chris Heagerty, ARMLS director
Paradise Valley has the highest price tag: $400.
“We wanted to do something with a long shelf life to celebrate our 30th anniversary,” Heagerty ...

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Arizona 3rd for mortgage fraud

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 09:54

Arizona ranks third nationally for mortgage-fraud investigations, according to a new report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The research, formerly known as the Mortgage Asset Research Institute Report, found increased levels of fraud and misrepresentation in foreclosures and short sales.
Tom Brown, senior vice president of LexisNexis, said collusion is a problem in higher levels of fraud in those deals among the “real-estate-owned worlds,” have made collusion a bigger fraud problems.
He said now more than ever, complex schemes are coming under increased scrutiny and  investigators need to  pay attention to all parties and relationships in non-arm’s-length real-estate deals.
Florida ranked No. 1 for ...

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Phoenix home prices increase again in June, but at slower pace

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:16
 
Metro Phoenix’s home sales and price increases have been leading the nation this year. The region’s median home price increased again in June, but at a slower pace than previous months.
The sales price of an existing home in Maricopa County climbed to $146,000 in June, up $1,000 from May, according to AZ Bidder/Information Market data.
That’s the smallest month-to-month increase since December, when the median climbed $100 from November to reach $120,000.
Last month, 7,499 resales were recorded in the region. That’s the lowest level this year since February, when 6,751 existing homes changed hands.
A slight ...

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Fewer metro Phoenix homeowners underwater

Thu, 07/12/2012 - 09:42
It could be that metro Phoenix's home prices have climbed more than 30 percent in the past year. Or fewer homeowners owe more than their home is worth because they have sold through short sales or lenders have foreclosed on them.
But according to California-based CoreLogic in Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale 46.2 percent, or 423,367, of all residential mortgages were underwater at the end of this year’s first quarter. That compares to 54.5 percent, or 502,600 mortgage holders that had negative equity during the fourth quarter 2011.
Nationally, 11.4 million, or 23.7 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were innegative equity at ...

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Home building picking up in metro Phoenix. Will there be enough construction workers to keep up?

Thu, 07/05/2012 - 17:00
 
Many in Arizona’s homebuilding industry have been concerned about Senate Bill 1070 since it passed two years ago. Thousands of undocumented immigrants picked up stakes and left the state then, and many of those people worked in the construction industry.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday struck down three of the key parts of the law but validated the part that allows a law-enforcement officer to try to determine the immigration status of people stopped or arrested, if there’s reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally.
In 2010, the housing market had crashed, the nation ...

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