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GEORGIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY AND OWNER PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACIES TO RIG BIDS AND COMMIT MAIL FRAUD FOR THE PURCHASE OF REAL ESTATE AT PUBLIC FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

First Charges Filed in Georgia Real Estate Foreclosure Auctions Investigation

A Georgia real estate investor and his company pleaded guilty today for their role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Georgia, the Department of Justice announced.

Separate felony charges were filed on Sept. 25, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, against Penguin Properties LLC and its owner, Seth D. Lynn. Continue reading GEORGIA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY AND OWNER PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRACIES TO RIG BIDS AND COMMIT MAIL FRAUD FOR THE PURCHASE OF REAL ESTATE AT PUBLIC FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

Justice Department Charges California Apartment Owner and Staff with Discrimination Against Families with Children

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owner and operators of a Fremont, Calif., apartment complex, alleging that they had discriminated against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act by prohibiting children from playing in the common grassy areas of the complex.

 “Families with children should have the same ability to enjoy their homes as all other tenants,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.     Continue reading Justice Department Charges California Apartment Owner and Staff with Discrimination Against Families with Children

REALTOR.com Says Housing Market Has Reached Equilibrium

Realtor.com®, the leader in online real estate operated by Move, Inc. (NASDAQ: MOVE), today released the realtor.com® National Housing Trend Report forSeptember 2013. The proprietary report is aggregated from real-time listing counts through direct relationships with more than 800 multiple listing services (MLSs) around the country, representing 98 percent of all for-sale properties in the U.S. Continue reading REALTOR.com Says Housing Market Has Reached Equilibrium

Former Alabama Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty 
To Making False Statement In Connection With Real Estate Foreclosure Auction Investigation

A former investor in the Alabama real estate foreclosure auctions industry pleaded guilty today to one count of making false statements, the Department of Justice announced.

Ali Forouzan, of Mobile, Ala., pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in Mobile to making materially false and fictitious statements to a Special Agent of the FBI and a Department of Justice Antitrust Division prosecutor.  The false statements were in regard to his knowledge of, and participation in, bid rigging and other fraudulent schemes in the Alabama real estate foreclosure auction industry. Continue reading Former Alabama Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty 
To Making False Statement In Connection With Real Estate Foreclosure Auction Investigation

Florida Woman Sentenced for Role in Reverse Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A Miami title agent and former mortgage broker was sentenced today for her role in a reverse mortgage loan fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Lester Fernandez of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) made the announcement after sentencing by Senior Judge Richard W. Goldberg, sitting by designation in the Southern District of Florida. Continue reading Florida Woman Sentenced for Role in Reverse Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Top Real Estate Markets For Health and Wealth

Top Real Estate Markets for Health and WealthWhere are the healthiest places to live in the U.S. as well as the best places for home price appreciation?  So, in other words, the best place for a greedy health nut to live?  :)  Well, according to a report released this morning by RealtyTrac, it’s Austin-Round Rock Texas with a high, 81 percent activity rate, low smoking, heavy drinking and fast food rate and a 27 percent appreciation in home prices in the last 3 years.

See the complete list, with all the details below. Continue reading Top Real Estate Markets For Health and Wealth

Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Homeowners Association and Property Management Company in Fair Housing Lawsuit Involving Occupancy Limits

 The Justice Department announced today that the Townhomes of Kings Lake HOA Inc. (HOA) and Vanguard Management Group Inc. have agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The lawsuit alleged that the HOA adopted and both defendants enforced occupancy limits that discriminated against families with children at the Townhomes of Kings Lake, a 249-townhome community in Gibsonton, Fla. Continue reading Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Homeowners Association and Property Management Company in Fair Housing Lawsuit Involving Occupancy Limits

Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination on Basis of Race and National Origin in Minneapolis

The Justice Department today announced a settlement of its lawsuit alleging that Highland Management Group Inc., Edina Park Apartments LLC, and Amy Koch violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) by discriminating against Somali prospective renters at Edina Park Apartments in Edina, Minn. a suburb of Minneapolis.  After filing the complaint earlier today, the department submitted the settlement to U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Nelson, in the form of a proposed consent decree. Continue reading Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination on Basis of Race and National Origin in Minneapolis

Changes To Flood Insurance Program as Result of Reform (Video)

flood insuranceThe National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has undergone many changes as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.  This  short (4 minute) video from FEMA explains what some of those changes are as well as how they will impact the future of flood insurance coverage as well as the cost of flood insurance.

Sale of new homes nears the half-million a year mark

sale of new homesThe sale of new homes nearly hit the half-million a year mark in June, coming in at and annual rate of 497,000 homes, according to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.  This is the highest rate for the sale of new homes in over 5 years, and was at a rate that is 8.3 percent higher than the month before and 38.1 percent higher than a year ago.

New homes sold in the month of June 2013 were sold for a median price of $249,700, a decrease of 5 percent from the month before and an increase of 7.3 percent from a year ago when the median new home sales price was $232,600.

Almost 30 Percent Of Housing Units In U.S. Tenant Occupied

 Tenant OccupiedTenant occupied housing account for almost 30 percent (29.3%) of the housing units in the U.S., according to data just released by the U.S. Census bureau.  According to the 2011 American Housing Survey, owner occupants account for 57.5 percent of housing units, 10.1 percent of the housing stock is vacant and 3.1 percent are seasonal units.  The median age of a tenant is about 40 years old while the median age of a homeowner with a mortgage is closer to about 46.

Click here for complete American Housing Survey Results.

 

House Flipping Profits Up Almost 250 Percent From Year Ago

house flipping - Dennis Norman, St Louis RealtorHouse flipping profits during the first half of 2013 were, on average, $18,391 gross on single family homes, an increase of a whopping 246 percent from a year ago when the average gross profit was $5,321,  according to a report released this morning by RealtyTrac.  During the first half of this year there were  136,184 houses flipped, an increase of 19 percent from a year ago and a 74 percent from two years ago.

Six of the 8 top markets for flipping houses were in the state of Florida, with Daytona Beach at the top of the list.

Top 15 Markets for Profitable Home Flipping

Continue reading House Flipping Profits Up Almost 250 Percent From Year Ago

Quality of Tenant Applicants Improving

Quality of Tenant Applicants - Dennis Norman, St Louis REALTORThe quality of tenant applicants applying for rentals is improving, according to the  CoreLogic® SafeRent® Renter Applicant Risk Index for the first quarter of 2013.  According to the report, which shows the credit quality of applicants for rentals and determines the likelihood of the prospective tenant fulfilling the terms of a lease,  the index was 104, up 2 points from a year ago.  You can download the complete report by clicking the link below:

CoreLogic SafeRent Report – 1st Quarter 2013

quality of tenant applicants

Source: Corelogic

 

Top 25 Metros: Home Prices Up and Inventories Down In Past Year

Top 25 Metros - Home Prices and InventoryThe composite home prices for the top 25 metros in the U.S. have increased almost  8 percent (7.7%) in the past year,  according to data from MORE, REALTORS..  As the chart below depicts, the median home price for the 25 city composite  was $371,995 in July 2012 and is now $400,620 currently.  During this same period, the supply of homes for sale has declined from 422,314 homes for sale 360,877 homes for sale.

The charts below depict the dramatic change in the past year… Continue reading Top 25 Metros: Home Prices Up and Inventories Down In Past Year

Builder Activity Falls Slightly In June But Still Up From Year Ago

builder activity - St Louis Realtor Dennis NormanBuilder activity slowed slightly in June with new home construction beginning at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 homes, a decline of 0.8 percent from May and an increase of 11.5 percent from June 2012 when the rate was just 530,000 homes, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Building permits for new homes were issued in June at an annual rate of 624,000 homes, an increase of 0.6 percent from the month before and an increase of 24.6 percent from June 2012.  New homes were completed in June at the annual rate of 554,000 homes, down 1.1 percent from the month before but up 15.4 percent from the year before.

New Home Market Showing Strength; Builders Confidence in Recovery Growing

builder confidenceThe new home market is showing encouraging signs and boosting the confidence of home builders in the market to levels we haven’t seen in over 7 years, according to the latest survey from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo.

Highlights from the survey:

  • This survey shows an improvement in builder confidence across every region
  • Builders reported solid gains in current sales conditions, traffic of prospective buyers and sales expectations for the next six months

There was a word of caution in the report, coming from NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. However, who cautioned that “This positive momentum could be disrupted by threats on the policy side, particularly with regard to the mortgage interest deduction and federal support for the housing finance system.”

 

Las Vegas Agent Convicted in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A Las Vegas mortgage agent has been convicted for his role in a “cash back at closing” mortgage fraud scheme that netted $1.43 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada, and Acting Special Agent in Charge William C. Woerner of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field OfficeAfter a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks in the District of Nevada, a federal jury convicted Jawad “Joe” Quassani, 42, on July 10, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and two counts of mail fraud

Florida, Nevada & Illinois Are Top States For Foreclosures During First Half of 2013

top states for foreclosuresThe top states for foreclosure activity during the first half of this year were Florida, with 155,264 properties with foreclosure activity (1 in every 58 properties in the state), Nevada, with 16,291 properties with foreclosure activity (1 in every 71 properties in the state) and Illinois came in 3rd with one in every 83 properties in the state having foreclosure activity during the first half of this year, according to a RealtyTrac report just released this morning. Continue reading Florida, Nevada & Illinois Are Top States For Foreclosures During First Half of 2013

Foreclosures and Shadow Inventory Continue to Decline

foreclosures and shadow inventoryForeclosures continue to decline with 52,000 foreclosures being completed in May, a decline of 27 percent from a year ago when there were 71,000 foreclosures completed, according to the latest data from CoreLogic.  Shadow inventory, the “hidden” foreclosures, are declining as well with the inventory falling below 2 million units in April, a decline f 18 percent from a year ago when it was at 2.4 million units and down 34 percent from it’s peak of 3 million units in 2010.

Highlights from the foreclosure report for May 2013: Continue reading Foreclosures and Shadow Inventory Continue to Decline

Young Home Buyers Dominating The Market

young home buyers

Almost 6 of every 10 recent home buyers (59%) were either from the Generation X generation (born between 1965 and 1979) with a median age of 39 or from the Generation Y generation (born between 1985 and 2000) with a median age of 28, according to the National Association of REALTORS Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trends Report.

Who are today’s young home buyers like? Continue reading Young Home Buyers Dominating The Market

Mortgage Delinquencies Continue To Decline

mortgage delinquenciesMortgage delinquencies continue to fall  and, through May of this year, were down more than 15 percent ince the end of 2012, marking the the largest year-to-date drop since 2002, according to a report just released by Lenders Processing Services (LPS).  The mortgage delinquency rate for May 2013 was 6.08 percent.

In addition, the number of underwater homeowners has declined as well, falling to less than 15 percent of all loans in the first quarter, a decline of almost 50 percent from a year ago.

Total U.S. loan delinquency rate: 6.08%
Month-over-month change in delinquency rate: -2.11%
Total U.S. foreclosure presale inventory rate: 3.05%
Month-over-month change in foreclosure pre-sale inventory rate: -3.91%
States with highest percentage of non-current* loans: FL, NJ, MS, NV, NY
States with the lowest percentage of non-current* loans: MT, AK, WY, SD, ND

Source: LPS

Top Retirement Hot Spots For Investing in Real Estate

Apartment MarketBaby boomers are the largest generation ever and, within the past couple of years, began hitting retirement age and will continue growing the retirement numbers for the next 15 years.  Given the fact that many of these retiring baby boomers will opt to move after retirement, this could be  a boom to the “hot” retirement locations.  So, what are the hot retirement locations that are best for investment?  RealtyTrac addressed this issue and came up with the list below of the top 15 retirement hot spots for real estate investing.   Continue reading Top Retirement Hot Spots For Investing in Real Estate

God Bless America!

God Bless America - US Constitution

Housing Market Loses Some Steam In May

housing marketThe housing market cooled a little in May, according to Redfin’s newly released “Real-Time Fastest Markets Report”.  This report ranks metro markets across the U.S. in terms of the percentage of homes that go under contract within the first 14 days of coming on the market for sale. During May, 32 percent of newly listed homes went under contract in the first two weeks, a decrease of 1.2 percent from April which is the largest decrease from the month before since December 2012.

Highlights from the Report: Continue reading Housing Market Loses Some Steam In May

Year-Over-Year Home Price Increases May Over 12 Percent

Realtor - Real Estate Professional - Dennis Norman

May 2013 Marks 15th Month In A Row Of Year-Over-Year Home Price Increases

May 2013 home prices rose by 12.2 percent from May 2012, according to the newly released Home Price Index report by CoreLogic.  This was the largest year-over-year increase in the home price index in over six years, since February 2006 and was the 15th month in a row of increases from the year before.

Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic said “home price appreciation….is increasing at a torrid pace“.  Continue reading Year-Over-Year Home Price Increases May Over 12 Percent

Justice Department Files Fair Housing Lawsuit Against Owners and Managers of Rental Homes in Washington State for Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the owners and managers of rental homes in and near Kelso and Longview, Wash., for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against persons with disabilities. Continue reading Justice Department Files Fair Housing Lawsuit Against Owners and Managers of Rental Homes in Washington State for Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities

Agents Expectations Of Strong Home Price Increases Drops Dramatically

Home Price Increases The number of real estate agents that have expectations of strong home price increases dropped by over 60 percent (63%) in the 2nd quarter of this year, according to the results of a Redfin survey that were just released.  Agents are not gloom and doom about home prices though as 70 percent of them feel home prices will “rise a little”.

Highlights from the survey: Continue reading Agents Expectations Of Strong Home Price Increases Drops Dramatically

Four Northern California Real Estate Investors Agree to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure

Investigations Have Yielded 35 Plea Agreements to Date

Felony charges were filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland against Wesley Barta of Oakland, Irma Galvez of Pacheco, Calif., Stan Kahan of Berkeley, Calif., and Joseph Vesce of San Francisco. Continue reading Four Northern California Real Estate Investors Agree to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure

Home Sales Hit Record High In May

pending home sales

Home sales hit a record in May with the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Pending Home Sales Index hitting 112.3, the highest level in over 6 years.  The pending home sales in May a 6.7 percent increase from April and an increase of 12.1 percent from May 2012 when the index was at 100.2.  For the index, 100 is the the benchmark and is equal to average home sales in 2001 when the index began.

Click here for the complete NAR Pending home sales report.

 

 

New Home Sales Up Almost 30 Percent From Year Ago

New Home SalesNew home sales in May 2013 were at an annual rate of 476,000 homes which is an increase of 2.1 percent from the prior month and an increase of almost 30 percent (29 percent) from May 2012 when the rate was 369,000, according to a report released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.

New home’s sold for a median price of 263,900, an increase of over 10 percent (10.3) from a year ago when the median sale price of a new home as $239,200.