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Foreclosures spike in second quarter

After signs of improvement in housing, this new report reminds all that housing is still unstable.

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Foreclosures on the rise again

Although CoreLogic reported Thursday that home prices were improving, thus were underwater mortgage levels in the first quarter, RealtyTrac was simultaneously releasing their data on the second quarter of the year showing a spike in new foreclosure filings.

During the first half of 2012, RealtyTrac says more than one million homes were served with foreclosure filings, up 2.0 percent from the previous six month period. Filings fell 11 percent in the first six months of 2012 from the first six months of 2011, but 20 states saw substantial annual increases, with filings up over 20 percent in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

What has rung the alarm bell is the spike in new foreclosure starts in the second quarter, up 9.0 percent from the first quarter, rising 6.0 percent from the second quarter of 2011. This increase is the first year over year rise since 2009, reversing the good fortune many had predicted for 2012, calling into question individuals proclaiming that the housing slump is over.

An increase in foreclosure activity

RealtyTrac VP, Daren Blomquist points to the $25 billion mortgage settlement reached this spring, which set clear guidelines for how banks should properly foreclose on delinquent mortgage borrowers.

“The mortgage settlement was signed off by a judge in April, and then in May we saw the first year-over-year increase in foreclosure starts in 28 months,” Blomquist said.

RealtyTrac reports that California’s foreclosure rate is at its highest point since the company began tracking seven years ago, rising 18 percent year over year in June. Despite the spike, the state doesn’t even have the highest foreclosure rate, as it lags behind Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia.

What could turn things around?

“The increases in foreclosure starts will likely translate into more short sales and bank repossessions in the second half of the year and into next year,” said RealtyTrac CEO, Brandon Moore.

Blomquist asserts that prevention could turn things around, as servicers have improved their helping mortgage borrowers to save their home and modifying loans. As home prices increase, underwater mortgages reduce, allowing many to be saved from potential foreclosure.

“If home prices are increasing, homeowners are a lot less likely to consider walking away from their mortgages,” said Blomquist. “They can see some light at the end of the tunnel, where their homes might become valuable assets again.”

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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