2010 Top 10 Big Real Estate Stories Sonoma County,California and the US!

The Big Stories of 2010:

1.   Rates stayed at historic lows—we started at 5% and finished  at 4.875% –the biggest lender of them all, the U.S. Government, are keeping rates very low, artificially LOW.

2.   Underwriting and the vanishing Mortgage Broker! –Tighter and Tighter are the underwriting guidelines. The first time homebuyer should be buying the foreclosed properteis but is having the door slammed in their face due to tighter and tighter underwriting guidelines. Investors? Amount of properties owed is now a variable plus they also face tighter guidelines. CASH buyers–Seems the smartest way to buy!

3.   Government Intervention—the much touted HAFA (Housing Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program)—Began in April, a “real game changer” but has laid a big egg!  Short-Sales seem to not be getting done any quicker or  increasing numbers. The much ballyhooed “HAFA Certification” has yielded nothing in the way of approved, REO-like, Short-Sales.  Short Sales for December of -09 where 80 with 171 Days on the Market and median of $297,000! Today–84 Short-Sales Dom 192 and Median Price $295,000

4.   Federal 1st Time Homebuyer credit—after it expired sales dropped a monster 20% in ONE month!! It did matter.

5.   The State 1st Timer program—absolute waste of money in my opinion. Much of it was GONE when it was enacted as many IN ESCROW quickly grabbed the $$$.

6.   The  “Shadow Inventory”? We’ve been hearing of a new wave of REO’s to eventually burst onto the market.  WHEN will they cometh?!! Last year at this time in Sonoma County we had 163 for December and today 122. Down 22%.

7.   FLIPPERS—Wow! Some of the prices at the court steps really blew away Homeowners trying to modify their home loans for a LOT more—only to see their lenders selling for a LOT LESS! And then the PD finds many didn’t even pull permits!!??

8. SB931– prohibit a deficiency judgment under a note secured by a first deed of trust or first mortgage for a dwelling of not more than 4 units in any case in which the trustor or mortgagor sells the dwelling for less than the remaining amount of the indebtedness due at the time of sale with the written consent of the holder of the first deed of trust or first mortgage.
9. 10 States AG Settlements Wachovia/World/Wells Fargo.

10. Government/State/City “road-bumps” on the road to foreclosure. “Sit-downs”, Mediations, California law to stop foreclosure during modification Negotiations.


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