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Buy a Second Home Before You Retire?

by Michele Lerner

Published November 16, 2011

If you have plans to buy a home at the beach, in the mountains or in the desert for your retirement years, you might be tempted to take the plunge and buy your future home now while interest rates and home prices are low.


Financial experts say buying your retirement home five to 10 years before you stop working could be beneficial. However, people in this age group should be aware of the risks of tying up money and perhaps losing flexibility with a second home purchase.

“While there’s no denying that we have historically low interest rates and low home values right now, anyone considering buying a second home before they retire needs to run the numbers,” says Kimberly Foss, president of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville, Calif. “People get stars in their eyes sometimes at the prospect of retirement, but the reality is that they may not be able to afford to buy another home right now.”

Foss says she recommends clients max out their 401(k)s and make sure they have adequately insured their future before thinking about buying retirement homes.

“I recommend that people have 12 months’ (worth) of expenses in the bank as an emergency fund,” Foss says. “If they choose to buy another property, they will need extra money to cover those expenses, too. Even if they choose to rent the property for income, they need to have six to 12 months’ of upkeep and rental income covered in their savings in case they don’t have a renter for a while.”

Financing another home before retirement

For 50- and 60-somethings with plenty of discretionary income, buying a home with cash is an option. Others need financing.

There are three basic options for financing a home, says Patrick Cunningham, vice president of Home Savings and Trust Mortgage in Fairfax, Va.

The home can be financed as an owner-occupied home if the buyer lives in it as a primary residence, as a second home or as an investment.

“Second-home financing means that you will need to qualify to pay the mortgage on both your current home and your second home,” Cunningham says. “If you need some additional income to qualify for the loan, you can rent the property, and a lender will use some of your rental income for a loan approval.”

Cunningham suggests that financing a property as a second home rather than as an investment property is the better option because interest rates, qualification guidelines and down payment requirements are generally more lenient on second homes than on investments. He says an investment loan always requires a down payment of at least 20% or 25%.

People getting ready to retire might want to consider the benefit of buying homes before they stop working because a mortgage approval could be more difficult to obtain without an income.

“Conventional loans are written off your income, and you have to prove you have the means to repay the loan,” Cunningham says. “You may not be able to do that based on dividends from your retirement savings. If you are concerned about qualifying for a mortgage after you retire, you could be better off applying for one earlier.”

Rental income

Foss says one of the primary benefits of buying a home before retiring can be the generation of rental income.

“Income from a rental property can act as a hedge against the low interest rate environment we are in and against future inflation because you can raise the rent to offset inflation when it hits,” Foss says. “If you turn the property into a rental property until you are ready to live in it, you also gain some tax advantages.”

Foss says if you can handle the expense and hassle of a rental property, this could be a good way to use the property before it becomes your primary retirement residence.

Property choices

Charles Duck, president of Charles Duck Real Estate in Phoenix, says the pre-retirement buyers he works with are looking for bargain-priced luxury homes because they offer more certainty of future appreciation.

“Some people are deciding to buy now and leave the property empty for a while or to use a place as an occasional vacation home,” Duck says. “Others decide to rent the property until they are ready to use it. The important thing for all these buyers is to find a latchkey property so that they can travel or live elsewhere and not worry about it.”

When choosing a home a few years before retirement, Duck says the first consideration should be the location.

“Many retirees want an urban-suburban location where they can walk to amenities and restaurants,” Duck says. “The important thing is to look at this property like any other investment and evaluate the potential resale value based on the location, community amenities and floor plan.”

Duck says this cohort of buyers should consider looking for low-maintenance houses with all the living spaces on one floor, so the future retirees can avoid climbing stairs.

Flexible Plans

Foss says if you are 10 years or more away from retirement, you may want to opt to rent a vacation home for a month at a time in order to avoid getting stuck with a permanent decision about your retirement destination.

“People change a lot between age 50 and 90, so I like the idea of keeping your options open and allowing for flexibility,” says Foss. “Buying your retirement home early can be a great option, but I recommend that people do this with the mindset that it is a rental property with the option of using it as a vacation home later rather than getting locked into a retirement plan.”

Cunningham says to have a backup plan for a second home, including an estimate of rental value in case the home cannot be sold for a profit if you change your mind.

“Buying a second home is not for people who are just getting by,” says Cunningham. “This should only be a choice for people with the income and assets to handle it.”

Contact you Lazarus Team salesperson for a no obligation consultation. Call us at 609-457-0258 or email us at .

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Mortgage Rates Down 4 Years Running; Longest Refinance Boom Ever?

With mortgage rates on a 3-year bender, you may have already refinanced your original home loan. Maybe you’ve done it twice, or even six times. Yes, six! But if you haven’t refinanced in the past 12 months, you’re leaving savings on the table. With mortgage rates down more than three-quarters of a percent, mortgage payments at today’s low rates are downright cheap as compared to one year ago.

Whether your mortgage is conventional, FHA, VA, USDA or jumbo, it’s time to look at rates.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Below 3.75%

It’s been a 4-year Refi Boom. Since 2008, the combination of aggressive Federal Reserve policy plus a weak economy have combined to push U.S. mortgage rates to levels bordering on insane.Today, mortgage applicants willing to pay discount points and closing costs can get 30-year fixed rate mortgages in the mid-3 percent range; and 15-year fixed rate mortgages in the 2s. Even jumbo mortgages are rock-bottom,As a point of comparison, when the Refi Boom started in August 2008, 15-year fixed rate mortgages were more than double where they are today. 30-year fixed rate loans were similarly expensive, in relative terms.Heck, even as compared to last year, today’s mortgage rates look cheap.

Save 10% On Your Mortgage — Instantly

Falling mortgage rates mean falling mortgage payments. For homeowners quick enough to strike while the iron’s hot, the monthly savings can be huge — especially for households using the HARP refinance program who’ve been previously unable to refinance.Today, the national average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate is 3.67% for homeowners willing to pay closing costs and discount points. One year ago, the rate was 4.55%. That’s an 88 basis point difference in just 12 months — a huge difference.As a real-life example, if you refinanced a mortgage from June 2011 into today’s mortgage rates, no matter your loan size, you’d save an instant 10% on your monthly mortgage payment.·                                 June 2011 : $509.66 principal + interest for every $100,000 borrowed·                                 June 2012 : $458.59 principal + interest for every $100,000 borrowedThat’s $51.07 monthly savings for every $100,000 borrowed. On a real-life mortgage, a homeowner in Orange County, California, borrowing at the local conforming limit of $625,500 would recognize savings of $319 per month just for doing a refinance — or $3,833 per year.The “break-even point” on a mortgage like that comes quickly — even after accounting for discount points and closing costs.Mortgage rates have never been this low in history.

Discover Your Savings Via Refinance

Mortgage rates have dropped for 4 years but there’s reasons to believe they’ve neared a bottom. First, rates are nearing a point where, given their inherent risk, they become unattractive to Wall Street investors.Plus, with Basel III rolling out and mortgage turn times rising, lenders have reason to inflate their respective pricing. Rates look good today, though, and today marks a good time to lock.You have to see today’s mortgage rates to believe them.

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Higher not hyper ! Healthy market continues !

UST seven years after the biggest housing bubble in American history began to deflate, could another be inflating? Prices in a 20-city index compiled by CoreLogic Case-Shiller rose by 11% in the year to the end of March, and by more than 20% in Phoenix and Las Vegas, both cities at the centre of the housing collapse. Inventory is down: homes are selling in days, and often for more than the asking price. In Phoenix, bidding wars have broken out between would-be homeowners and investors paying cash. Americans once more see property as a winning asset.

But to qualify as a bubble, an asset must not simply appreciate; it must decouple from its intrinsic value. For houses, The Economist each quarter compares the ratio of prices to household income and rents against their long-run average in 20 countries. We have now done the same for the 20 metropolitan areas in the Case-Shiller index. The verdict: in most markets houses are at or near their long-run values, but none looks bubbly.

For America as a whole and in most cities, price-to-rent and price-to-income ratios are at or near their 25-year average. (To be sure, the bubble era dragged that average up; valuations are still higher than in the 1990s.) How they got there varies, however. Cities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida experienced the biggest bubbles, and in the subsequent bust values fell well below long-term averages. Price rises in Phoenix, Tampa and Miami have restored values only to their long-run averages.

In New York prices never gave up much of their bubble-era rise, and have since recovered more slowly than in the country as a whole. Relative to rents and incomes, valuations have been flat or down slightly. Homes around Washington, DC sell for roughly double their level of the late 1990s, but that seems justified by strong gains in rents and incomes. A brisk rental market also explains the strong run-up in prices in San Francisco.

In Denver house prices have regained their peaks, and valuations are above their long-run average. This is the only city that, by our methodology, counts as expensive. But by the standards of recent history the over-valuation is trivial. Many things could trip up the housing recovery, from stalling job growth to higher mortgage rates. But at the moment a bursting bubble is not one of them.

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$25 Billion Mortgage Servicing Agreement Filed in Federal Court

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs


Monday, March 12, 2012

$25 Billion Mortgage Servicing Agreement Filed in Federal Court

View the court documents.

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and 49 state attorneys general announced today the filing of their landmark $25 billion agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses.

The federal government and state attorneys general filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia proposed consent judgments with Bank of America Corporation, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc., to resolve violations of state and federal law.

The unprecedented joint agreement is the largest federal-state civil settlement ever obtained and is the result of extensive investigations by federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, HUD and the HUD Office of the Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and state attorneys general and state banking regulators across the country.

The consent judgments provide the details of the servicers’ financial obligations under the agreement, which include payments to foreclosed borrowers and more than $20 billion in consumer relief; new standards the servicers will be required to implement regarding mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure practices; and the oversight and enforcement authorities of the independent settlement monitor, Joseph A. Smith Jr.

The consent judgments require the servicers to collectively dedicate $20 billion toward various forms of financial relief to homeowners, including: reducing the principal on loans for borrowers who are delinquent or at imminent risk of default and owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth; refinancing loans for borrowers who are current on their mortgages but who owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth; forbearance of principal for unemployed borrowers; anti-blight provisions; short sales; transitional assistance; and benefits for service members.

The consent judgments’ consumer relief requirements include varying amounts of partial credit the servicers will receive for every dollar spent on the required relief activities. Because servicers will receive only partial credit for many of the relief activities, the agreement will result in benefits to borrowers in excess of $20 billion. The servicers are required to complete 75 percent of their consumer relief obligations within two years and 100 percent within three years.

In addition to the $20 billion in financial relief for borrowers, the consent judgments require the servicers to pay $5 billion in cash to the federal and state governments. Approximately $1.5 billion of this payment will be used to establish a Borrower Payment Fund to provide cash payments to borrowers whose homes were sold or taken in foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, and who meet other criteria.

The court documents filed today also provide detailed new servicing standards that the mortgage servicers will be required to implement. These standards will prevent foreclosure abuses of the past, such as robo-signing, improper documentation and lost paperwork, and create new consumer protections. The new standards provide for strict oversight of foreclosure processing, including third-party vendors, and new requirements to undertake pre-filing reviews of certain documents filed in bankruptcy court. The new servicing standards make foreclosure a last resort by requiring servicers to evaluate homeowners for other loss mitigation options first. Servicers will be restricted from foreclosing while the homeowner is being considered for a loan modification. The new standards also include procedures and timelines for reviewing loan modification applications and give homeowners the right to appeal denials. Servicers will also be required to create a single point of contact for borrowers seeking information about their loans and maintain adequate staff to handle calls.

The consent judgments provide enhanced protections for service members that go beyond those required by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). In addition, the servicers have agreed to conduct a full review, overseen by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, to determine whether any service members were foreclosed or improperly charged interest in excess of 6 percent on their mortgage in violation of SCRA.

The oversight and enforcement authorities of the settlement’s independent monitor are detailed in the court documents filed today. The monitor will oversee implementation of the servicing standards and consumer relief activities required by the agreement and publish regular public reports that identify any quarter in which a servicer fell short of the standards imposed in the settlement. The consent judgments require servicers to remediate any harm to borrowers that are identified in quarterly reviews overseen by the monitor and, in some instances, conduct full look-backs to identify any additional borrowers who may have been harmed. If a servicer violates the requirements of the consent judgment it will be subject to penalties of up to $1 million per violation or up to $5 million for certain repeat violations.

The consent judgments filed today resolve certain violations of civil law based on mortgage loan servicing activities. The agreement does not prevent state and federal authorities from pursuing criminal enforcement actions related to this or other conduct by the servicers. The agreement does not prevent the government from punishing wrongful securitization conduct that will be the focus of the new Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group. In the servicing agreement, the United States also retains its full authority to recover losses and penalties caused to the federal government when a bank failed to satisfy underwriting standards on a government-insured or government-guaranteed loan; the United States also resolved certain Federal Housing Administration (FHA) origination claims with Bank of America as part of this filing and with Citibank in a separate matter. The agreement does not prevent any action by individual borrowers who wish to bring their own lawsuits. State attorneys general also preserved, among other things, all claims against the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS), and all claims brought by borrowers.

Investigations were conducted by the U.S. Trustee Program of the Department of Justice, HUD-OIG, HUD’s FHA, state attorneys general offices and state banking regulators from throughout the country, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the Federal Housing Finance Agency-Office of the Inspector General. The Department of the Treasury, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture made critical contributions.

For more information about the mortgage servicing settlement, go to To find your state attorney general’s website, go to and click on “The Attorneys General.”

The joint federal-state agreement is part of enforcement efforts by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force visit:

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Report: Sellers™ Asking Prices Rose in March


Real estate news and analysis from The Wall Street Journal

Report: Sellers’ Asking Prices Rose in March

April 17, 2012, 6:00 AM

 By Nick Timiraos

Here’s a sign that sellers are feeling more optimistic about their prospects this spring: median asking prices in March jumped by 5.6% from a year ago, and were up 1% from February, according to a report released Tuesday.

The jump in median asking prices comes amid a sharp drop in the number of homes listed for sale from one year ago. While listing inventories in March rose by 1.5% from February, they were still 21.5% below last year’s levels.


Click for interactive with metro-level data.

Inventories of homes listed for sale tend to go up in the spring, and the 1.8 million listings in March represented the second straight increase for the year. Over the past 27 years, the average increase in for-sale listings in March has been 1.8% from February, according to research firm Zelman & Associates.

The figures include sale listings from more than 900 multiple-listing services across the country. They don’t cover all homes for sale, including those that are “for sale by owner” and newly constructed homes that aren’t always listed by the services.

Compared with February, inventories declined in roughly less than half of the top 30 metros tracked by during March, with the biggest declines in Phoenix (-6.4%), Seattle (-4.8%) and Orlando, Fla. (-4.2%).

Northeastern cities showed the largest inventory gains — a finding that shouldn’t surprise given that sellers are more likely to list their homes when the weather improves. Washington, D.C., saw a 9.5% gain, followed by Philadelphia (8.1%) and Boston (7.4%).

But compared with one year ago, inventories are still down sharply in almost all of the 145 markets tracked by Just two, Philadelphia and Hartford, Conn., have seen any annual inventory increases. Listings are down by more than half in Oakland and Bakersfield, Calif.

Where are prices rising? Median asking prices were up from one year ago or unchanged in the vast majority of markets, with whopping increases of 23% in Phoenix, 22% in Miami, 17% in Washington, D.C.

The biggest monthly price gains were reported in San Francisco (6.1%), Seattle (5%) and Washington, D.C. (4.1%).

Where are prices falling? Chicago topped the list, with median asking prices down by 9.5% from last year’s levels. Orange County, Calif., saw a 5.4% decline and Los Angeles posted a 3% drop.

Compared with February, asking prices turned up in all but one of the cities, with Minneapolis posting a 2.2% drop in median listing prices from February

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Warren Buffett: It’s Time to Buy Real Estate

Warren Buffett appeared live on CNBC’s Squawk Box this week. During the interview, he was asked about the current real estate market and whether he felt now was the time to buy. His response was rather emphatic and has been used as a headline in hundreds of articles since the interview:

“If I had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes I would load up on them.”

However, throughout the interview, he addressed the market from a few angles. Here is what he said:

Why invest in real estate now?

“It’s a way, in effect, to short the dollar because you can take a 30-year mortgage and if it turns out your interest rate’s too high, next week you refinance lower. And if it turns out it’s too low, the other guy’s stuck with it for 30 years. So it’s a very attractive asset class now.”

Is buying your own home better than investing in stocks right now?

“If I knew where I was going to want to live the next five or 10 years I would buy a home and I’d finance it with a 30-year mortgage… It’s a terrific deal.”

Should we buy multiple houses?

“If I was an investor that was a handy type and I could buy a couple of them at distressed prices and find renters, I think it’s a leveraged way of owning a very cheap asset now and I think that’s probably as an attractive an investment as you can make now.”

Over the last couple of months, there have been more and more financial analysts coming to the same conclusion: It’s time to buy real estate.

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Experts Expect to See Broad Improvements, Home Prices to Rise in 2013

The Urban Land Institute released its Real Estate Consensus Forecast Wednesday morning, and overall, the 38 real estate economists and analysts surveyed projected broad improvements for the economy.

With signs of improvement in the housing sector already emerging, participants expect to see housing starts nearly double by 2014 and project home prices will begin to rise in 2013.

The average home price, which has declined somewhere between 1.8 percent and 4.1 percent over each of the past three years, according to FHFA data, is expected to stabilize in 2012, followed by a 2 percent increase in 2013, and a 3.5 percent increase in 2014.

Single-family housing starts are expected to rise from 428,600 starts in 2011 to 500,000 in 2012, and jump to 800,000 in 2014.

The unemployment rate is expected to continue falling, with the rate dropping to 8 percent by the end of 2012, 7.5 percent by the end of 2013, and 6.9 percent by the end of 2014.

GDP is expected to grow by 2.5 percent in 2012 and grow to 3.2 percent in 2014.

But, with the improving economy is inflation and higher interest rates. These rising rates will increase costs for investors, and those surveyed do not expect substantial increases in real estate capitalization rates for institutional-quality investments (NCREIF cap rates), which are expected to remain steady at 6 percent in 2012 and 2013 and then rise slightly to 6.2 percent in 2014.

By property type, National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) total returns in 2012 are expected to be strongest for apartments (12.1 percent), followed by industrial  (11.5 percent), office (10.8 percent), and retail (10 percent).

By 2014, returns are expected to be strongest for office (10 percent) and industrial (10 percent), followed by apartments (8.8 percent) and retail (8.5 percent).

ULI CEO Patrick L. Phillips advised that while the ULI Forecast suggests that economic growth will be steady rather than sporadic, it must be viewed within the context of numerous risk factors such as the continuing impact of Europe’s debt crisis; the impact of the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. and major elections overseas; and the complexities of tighter financial regulations in the U.S. and abroad.

“While geopolitical and global economic events could change the forecast going forward, what we see in this survey is confidence that the U.S. real estate economy has weathered the brunt of the recent financial storm and is poised for significant improvement over the next three years.,” said Phillips.

Non-housing sector growth, according to the ULI Forecast, which was conducted from February 23 to March 12, 2012

-For the apartment sector, year-end vacancy rates are expected to decline further in 2012 to 5 percent, and then rise slightly to 5.1 percent in 2013 and to 5.3 percent in 2014.

-Apartments are expected to show strong rental rate growth, rising 5 percent in 2012, then slowing down to 4 percent in 2013, and 3.8 percent in 2014.

-Issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) is expected to increase from $33 billion in 2011 to $40 billion in 2012, $58 billion in 2013, and $75 billion in 2014.

-Ten-year treasury rates are projected to rise to 2.4 percent by the end of 2012, 3.1 percent for 2013, and 3.8 percent for 2014.

-Future equity REIT returns are expected to rise to 10 percent in 2012, then drop to 9 percent in 2013, and 8 percent in 2014.

-Returns for institutional-quality direct real estate investments are expected to trend lower, with returns of 11 percent in 2012, 9.5 percent in 2013, and 8.5 percent in 2014.

-Hotel occupancy rates are projected to increase to 57 percent by 2012, 58.2 percent by 2013, and 59.2 percent by 2014.

-For the industrial/warehouse sector, vacancy rates are expected to decline steadily over the next three years to 12.8 percent by the end of 2012, 12.1 percent in 2013, and 11.5 percent by the end of 2014.

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AG settlement starts the clock on short sales

By Jon Prior

March 24, 2012

Mortgage servicers will be kept to strict short sale timelines agreed to under the state Attorneys General foreclosure settlement this week.

Along with the penalties and relief for borrowers, the five largest mortgage servicers must adhere to a set of new standards. Servicers will form internal groups that will conduct quarterly reviews and gauge compliance. North Carolina Banking Commissioner Joseph Smith will approve the groups and monitor the reviews.

Among the standards, however, are new requirements for short sales.

Servicers are required to give a decision to a borrower within 30 days of receiving a completed short sale request package.

The internal group must review all short sale requests in the first two months of the quarter, according to Exhibit E in the settlement filed this week. And if a servicer takes longer than 30 days on more than 10% of the requests, the firm is considered in “potential violation.”

The settlement also requires a servicer to notify a borrower within 30 days if any documents are missing from the request package.

Servicers will also be required to notify a borrower if there is a deficiency payment needed before the short sale is approved, including an approximate amount.

If more than 5% of all short sales approved in a given quarter did not include this disclosure, the bank would be in violation.

“If a real estate broker can get a checklist from the bank detailing what documentation is needed, everything can be provided up front, and the bank will be required to give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down within 30 days. That’s not a bad deal,” said Chris Hanson of the short sale specialist Hanson Law Firm.

Short sales became notoriously arduous, lengthy, and oftentimes fraudulent process since the foreclosure crisis struck in 2007.

There were 88,303 short sales in the fourth quarter, up 15% from one year prior, according to RealtyTrac. The short sales completed in the fourth quarter took an average 308 days since the borrower entered foreclosure, down from 318 days in the previous three months.

“We continued to see a shift toward pre-foreclosure sales, or short sales, and away from REO sales in the fourth quarter,” said RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore in a fourth quarter report.

The Treasury Department released the first national standards for short sales under its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, which began in 2010. Its timeline matches the AG settlement.

According to HAFA guidelines, a servicer must consider a borrower for HAFA within 30 days of the borrower either failing a Home Affordable Modification Program test or requesting consideration for a short sale.

Chase said it completes short sales – from receiving full documentation to approval – in a little more than one month.

But under the settlement, there is some enforcement to the guidelines.

When a servicer fails any servicing standard metric, including the short sale timeline, representatives must meet with a monitoring committee overseen by Smith. The servicer will have the right to correct any potential violation by installing an action plan, according to the settlement.

If the potential violation is not cured, a servicer could face a penalty up to $1 million and another $5 million fine for repeat violations.

CONTACT Ian Lazarus, The Lazarus Team, The Landis Co., Realtors, , 609-457-0258 for more information about Jersey Shore short sales.

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Plan to turn Bader Field into retail, housing complex revealed at Atlantic City luncheon

By SARAH WATSON and EMILY PREVITI Staff Writers Press of Atlantic City


Bader Field may one day host waterfront homes, shops and offices built with an emphasis on sustainable design and green technology, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director John Palmieri said.

“Several thousand new residents, new walkways, access to the water, public parks,” Palmieri said. “Think about what that could be. It’s surrounded by water and it’s right off the highway. It would be exceptional, but the economy has to create the demand for that kind of housing.”



Palmieri spoke Monday afternoon during a luncheon hosted by the Metropolitan Business & Citizens Association at Resorts Atlantic City. He focused on what people can expect to see this summer as a result of Atlantic City Tourism District initiatives, but also touched on longer-term goals like developing Bader Field.

The CRDA launched the Tourism District last spring in response to legislation effective nearly 14 months ago aimed at reviving the resort. Those laws also required CRDA officials to come up with a Master Plan, which the agency’s board approved Feb. 1.


The plan sets out a few long-term concepts, meaning they would be realized five or 10 years from now.

One of those centered on Bader Field, a 143-acre municipal airport that closed in 2006 and was formerly billed as a $1 billion site best suited for another casino by Atlantic City officials, acting on advise from international real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle, or JLL.


Four years later, the Chicago-based JLL headed up the four-firm team responsible for compiling the Tourism District Master Plan. As part of that, they considered Bader Field and came up with a different answer.

The property should continue to host festivals, concerts and other events during the next five years or so, JLL’s team found.


That will give the other, shorter-term initiatives time to boost the city’s visitor count, economy and, therefore, the value of Bader Field and other tracts in the resort. And within the next decade, the city should line up a developer for a housing and retail complex that highlights bayfront views and water-based activities, meanwhile meeting sustainable design standards with features such as green roofs to reduce heat around the complex and a stormwater management system to recycle precipitation, according to the master plan.


“Longer-term usage, as we view it, is to make it into a new neighborhood for Atlantic City, where mixed uses prevail, where affordable housing is part of the mix, where environmental and green technologies prevail, where water views are protected and access to outdoor public spaces are protected,” Palmieri said Monday.

The consulting team suggested building another resort, likely with a casino component, at Bader some time after 2013, according to the master plan.


Any development, however, will require extensive investment in utility and transportation infrastructure, Palmieri acknowledged later. Also, any sale of the bayside parcel would have to get approval from state lawmakers if the price exceeds the city budget.


The Tourism District Master Plan mentions improving bus service along Route 40, but nothing beyond that.

But the CRDA’s 2009 Atlantic City Regional Transportation Plan estimated that would cost $175 million to expand, realign and otherwise improve Route 40/322 and the Albany Avenue bridge in front of Bader Field.

That figure likely would be lower because previous calculations assumed Bader Field would host a megacasino.

Mayor Lorenzo Langford did not respond Monday to calls or emails seeking comment.


But the mixed-use concept Palmieri spoke of matches what the Langford administration is working toward, said Keith Mills, director of city planning and development.


“It’s unlikely that in today’s market that a casino interest is going to want to invest in that site knowing the priority of the city and the (CRDA) is to focus on the Boardwalk for the next few years,” Mills said. “Luring the master developer to the table is still going to be a key component of future development. And that’s what Silk & Associates is trying to do, still trying to bring the big boys to the table.”


As for the previous report, the economy has changed drastically since then and explains the different advice to go with residential and retail first, delaying resort and gambling, Mills said.


Even four years ago, when the gaming market was still healthy, the costs to development baseline infrastructure for the city-owned property were “staggering” — and, therefore, prohibitive, he said.


“One of the factors that couldn’t get developers over the hump was lack of traffic access,” Mills said. “Therein lies the impediment to (developing) Bader Field.”


Previously, Mills and others envisioned engaging the state in a public-private partnership much like Revel’s $270 million tax rebate over 20 years as provided by the State Economic Development Authority’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth grant.


It would be up to the developer to crunch the numbers and demonstrate a financial shortfall before any public money would come into play, Palmieri said.


All of that, however, is a long way off.


Smaller changes will be noticeably by this summer, such as the 244 new street lights, an army of new red-and-white rolling chairs and 60 ambassadors charged with assisting visitors, addressing quality of life issues.

The 60 ambassadors will hit the street April 30, working 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the Boardwalk and Pacific and Atlantic avenues, CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said.


Bader Field basics

The Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan calls for mixed-used development five or 10 years from now on the 143-acre former municipal airport, which is entering its second summer as a bayside music festival and event venue.

  • Aims to attract young professionals, families, empty nesters who care about environment and cutting-edge design.
  • Homes designed to have a negligible carbon footprint, feature green roofs to reduce heat island effect, would include affordable-housing units.
  • Stormwater collection should include redistribution component for irrigation and graywater uses.
  • Parks connect residential, retail and public areas.
  • Retail encouraged as residents demand it.
  • At least 30 percent of land will be open space.
  • Specialty paving with color accents on sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Lighting powered by the latest energy-saving technologies.
  • Energy stations for electric vehicles

Source: Atlantic City Tourism District Master Plan

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Limited inventory may be responsible for slow start of existing home sales in South Jersey


Limited inventory and lingering misconceptions about storm damage may be partially responsible for this year’s slower start of existing home sales in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties, local real estate professionals say.

Nationally, year-over-year volume has increased for 20 straight months and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in February, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. This was the highest in more than three years.

In the region, however, sales volumes of existing homes have slipped for several months, including February, after showing double-digit percentage increases in most area counties in 2012.

Cori Haberkern, broker at Century 21 Atlantic Professional Realty in Absecon and president of the Atlantic City and County Board of Realtors, said lower inventory may be playing a factor, including among homeowners underwater on mortgages reluctant to try to sell.

“I feel there’s less on the market because I think people are holding off — to not have to do a short sale in some scenarios or are not in a position to be able to,” she said.

Most buyers in the market now are buying for a specific reason — to upsize or downsize based on their needs, she said.

In January and February, 307 MLS-listed homes were sold in Atlantic County, 3 percent fewer than the same period of 2012.

Similar trends held in Cape May County, with 243 sales, an 18 percent drop, and Cumberland County with 63 sales, a 17 percent decline, according to regional MLS data.

Carol Menz, broker/owner at Coastline Realty in Cape May, said the region may still be dealing with misconceptions that people think the area sustained significant damage from Hurricane Sandy.

“I think there are a lot of misperceptions, people are unsure about areas that were damaged, also they’re a little fearful of the FEMA regulations and the changes coming to (flood) insurance, how it will it affect them. There’s a lot of myths out there, and people think they won’t be able to get insurance,” she said.

Menz said some of the higher-end buyers of vacation homes had been waiting as prices declined, an area that has been coming back.

“So that market was once a little slower, and we’re seeing that market recover now. And we don’t have an enormous amount of inventory coming onto the market,” she said.

Menz said plenty of people have been coming down to look at real estate, particularly since the region received very little snowfall this year.

On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors, which releases monthly reports tracking existing home sales, said February’s national sales were the highest since November 2009, when a temporary tax credit offering an $8,000 government subsidy boosted sales nationally and in New Jersey.

Homes sold through foreclosure and short sales accounted for 25 percent of February’s national sales, up from 23 percent in January, the association said. On average, short sales in February sold for 15 percent below market value; foreclosures for 18 percent below.

At the end of February, total inventory of existing homes for sale was 1.94 million, which represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales pace, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. A year ago there was a 6.4 month supply.

“The only headwinds are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive,” he said