Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone a healthy and prosperous 2013!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Feds sue Bank of America for 'Hustle' loan fraud

Federal prosecutors slapped Bank of America with a $1 billion-plus civil mortgage fraud lawsuit Wednesday, accusing the bank of engineering a scheme that defrauded federally-backed mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the national financial crisis.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I'm not a bit surprised! AB284 Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Southern Nevada is ground zero for the foreclosure crisis and there is a debate raging about the so-called shadow inventory.

The term refers to the number of bank owned homes that haven't been put up for sale yet. Real estate agents and home buyers are anxious to find out if the banks are holding back, and when the market could be flooded with a new wave of foreclosed homes.

The National Association of Hispanic real estate professionals discussed the topic of shadow inventory in an effort to find out if the banks are just sitting on foreclosed properties.

"There's a lot of talk that we're holding off, that the banks are holding off on properties in order for them to sell them, and we wanted to clarify those points," said Omar Lopez, president of the Las Vegas Chapter and National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.

Real estate agents and lenders pressed for answers about a possible foreclosure tidal wave.

"Right now, Wells Fargo has 134 properties in the state of Nevada. Our job is to rehab those properties, get them ready, and put them out as quickly as possible, " said Joel Sarmiento, regional servicing director of Wells Fargo.

The recession has been crippling to the Las Vegas markets and some fear more homes will go into foreclosure.

"The myth is actually there are tens of thousands of homes on the shadow inventory and they're all coming to the market, so we're hearing the numbers in terms of tens of thousands, but we haven't seen that," said Paul Murad of the Nevada Real Estate Commission.

Wells Fargo officials say its their goal to work with their customers so more homeowners don't face foreclosure.

It is currently a seller's market with homes getting multiple offers and selling faster.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vegas Apartments Continue to Struggle

It’s been a couple quarters or so since we’ve shined the spotlight on the Las Vegas apartment market. There’s still not much that’s good to say here. But maybe a look at some ugly numbers will make us feel even better about the really healthy stats seen almost everywhere else.
Getting the ugliest piece of info out of the way right off the bat, effective rents for new leases in Las Vegas as of 1st quarter 2012 still were roughly 16 percent below the rates seen in the pre-recession days of late 2007. That hole is more than twice as deep as the challenge faced in Phoenix, the market with the second-biggest rent decline. The best spin you can put on this is that pricing finally has stabilized. Average effective rents in early 2012 exactly matched early 2011 results, and the minor quarterly shift of -0.2 percent also showed basically flat pricing.
Slicing and dicing the rent performance data doesn’t show much of interest. There’s just not a product niche or individual neighborhood where the annual rent change level strays too far from zero.
Las Vegas apartment occupancy now stands at 91.9 percent, still quite low. In this measure, however, at least some progress is being made. Occupancy improved 0.6 percentage points on a quarterly basis and 1.9 points annually. Since bottoming in late 2007 at 89 percent, occupancy has climbed nearly 3 full points.
There’s a very distinct pattern in occupancy by product sector in Las Vegas, with the best properties in better shape than the less desirable communities. Occupancy registers at 93.8 percent in developments built since 2000, 92.6 percent in the 1990s-era stock, 91.1 percent in the 1980s-vintage inventory, 89.9 percent in the units from the 1970s, and 83.4 percent in the handful of projects completed prior to 1970.
With that pattern in occupancy by product age so pronounced, occupancy by neighborhood for the most part just reflects the age concentration of the stock within the specific submarkets.  At the top of the list, then, are more upscale areas like Henderson, Green Valley, and both South and Southwest Las Vegas, all with occupancy a little over 94 percent.
Since top-tier product in Las Vegas is approaching the occupancy performance that should allow some rent growth to kick in, MPF Research anticipates that the metro’s overall rent change figure finally will shift into positive territory during the next few months.  The rent growth number almost certainly won’t be big, but the pricing change at least should be moving in the right direction.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Buying vs. renting pays off in shorter time in Las Vegas than national average

Break-even Horizon
How many years it will take before owning a home becomes more financially advantageous than renting the same home.

MetroBreak-even horizon
Miami-Fort Lauderdale1.6 years
Tampa, Fla.1.6 years
Las Vegas1.7 years
Orlando, Fla.1.7 years
Phoenix1.7 years
Detroit1.7 years
Riverside, Calif.2.0 years
Dallas-Fort Worth2.1 years
Cincinnati2.1 years
Pittsburgh, Pa.2.1 years
Columbus, Ohio2.4 years
Cleveland2.4 years

Source: Zillow

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Single family rentals have outpaced multifamily, accounting for 54 percent!

The explosion of single family rentals-houses bought by real estate investors and rented to a single tenant-is creating a new category of property management companies to serve them.

Last year, 1.2 million U.S. properties were acquired for investment purposes, up from 749,000 in 2010, according to RealtyTrac. This year, the investment boom has continued, with investors accounting for about 20 percent of all home sales. With the vast majority of investors following a “buy and hold” strategy rather than flipping, millions of properties have entered the rental inventory. Two months ago, a study by CoreLogic found that single family rentals have outpaced multifamily, accounting for 54 percent of all rental units in the nation. (See Single Family Rentals Now Exceed Multifamily).
Though many small investors manage their property themselves, a growing number are turning to professional property management companies, who charge about 6 to10 percent of gross rents or a flat fee. For unexpected fees, like evictions and unplanned vacancies, professional managers can help limit costs. For example, a new survey by All Property Management, an online property management network specializing in the single family rental category, found that it takes one to two months to remove a non-paying client and most evictions average between $1,000 and $3,000 in costs.
“Single family rentals will continue to grow,” said All Property Management’s Dennis Green. “Another one and a half million foreclosures and shadow inventory are in the pipeline.. Single family homes appeal to a different tenant than multifamily, many of them families that have lost their homes through foreclosures or short sales.”
A new segment of property management companies is springing up to serve investor-owned rentals. Some 30 to 35 percent of investor-owned homes now are managed professionally, most by small, local companies like those in APM’s network of nearly 2,500 property management companies or Real Property Management’s 200 franchisees.
A fifth of All Property Management’s clients have been in business less than two years and 70 percent have less than 10 people on staff. The median number of properties they manage is 175 units, though 17 percent have more than 500. Some 70 percent of APM’s managers expect to grow significantly this year.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

10 fastest growing U.S. cities - Las Vegas (6) - CNNMoney

Population: 1,886,001
Growth (2000-2010): 43.5%

Las Vegas was ground zero for the foreclosure crisis, notching the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 22 consecutive months until this February, according to RealtyTrac.

Despite that setback, the city still saw its population grow at one of the highest rates in the nation over the past decade, thanks to the continued popularity of its casinos, entertainment venues, resorts and other attractions.
During that time, Sin City's gaming-based economy soared. The number of annual visitors to Vegas topped 39 million in 2007 before dropping off to around 37 million, according to Mary Lynn Palenik, a gaming analyst for PwC.

Vegas' success can be credited to its expansion beyond gambling to family-friendly entertainment and other options to those seeking great restaurants, shows and hotels at reasonable rates.

"Less than half of [the city's] revenue now comes from the tables," said Palenik.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Assembly Bill 284 effects

Notice Of Default filings dropped dramatically in October due to the Assembly Bill 284, and continue to be affected. We (Las Vegas) went from over 3,000 NOD filings per month prior to October to just over 100 currently! We are seeing a huge reduction in inventory! There are nearly 100 less REO properties on the market today as there was just 9 days ago!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

As Home Buying Returns, Do Apartments Face a Bubble?

A huge surge in rental demand and comparatively little apartment supply created a boom in multi-family construction in the last year, but with the single family housing market slowly beginning to show signs of life, the concern among banks and investors is that all that supply will hit the market just as rental demand drops off.

Based on preliminary estimates of Q4 '11 activity, multi-family loan origination volume increased to $82 billion in 2011, up from $50 billion in 2010, according to Chandan Economics. Understandably, some lenders and investors are starting to ask questions.

"While 2012 should be another good year for apartment REITs, there is concern amongst some investors and managements that market expectations may be hard to beat," say analysts at Sandler O'Neill. "Based on discussions with managements, revenue growth should match sentiment but expense growth may be the wildcard."

Rents have been rising steadily as apartment vacancies drop and "rental nation" pervades consumer sentiment, but 2012 will likely not see as robust rent growth as 2011; housing affordability continues to improve and renting is becoming ever more expensive than owning.

"A stretched consumer is beginning to push back harder against rental increases, and new supply and a slowly healing single-family market will begin to equalize what has been a lopsided, renter-dominated housing market for over 5 years," say analysts at Green Street Advisors.

Mortgage applications surged 23 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers association, although most of that was refinances. Another positive came from the NAHB's home builder sentiment index, which saw big gains in builder confidence, citing improved sales and buyer traffic. So is there real cause for concern about apartment demand?

"Only in some markets," says Sam Chandan of Chandan Economics. "Austin is a case in point. The supply response has been unusually strong there. Apart from specific cases like that, we do not anticipate a strong reversal in the rental bias until jobs accelerate markedly."

Since 2004, when homeownership rates peaked, the population of 20-34-year-olds grew by 2.8 million, according to researchers at CoStar Group, a commercial real estate information company. But the number of households shrunk by 300,000. In other words, younger Americans were doubling up with roommates or moving back in with their parents.

30 yr fixed 3.91% 3.96%
30 yr fixed jumbo 4.50% 4.58%
15 yr fixed 3.24% 3.39%
15 yr fixed jumbo 3.79% 3.93%
5/1 ARM 2.87% 3.17%
5/1 jumbo ARM 3.14% 3.27%

"This suggests big pent up demand - as much as 1.4 million new households within this prime renting cohort," says CoStar's Suzanne Mulvee.

We also have to remember that many Americans now have either damaged credit or not enough of a downpayment to qualify for today's low interest rate mortgages. That could keep them as renters for many more years, as credit standards aren't likely to loosen any time soon.

Pent-up demand will, like everything else in real estate, vary from market to market. In Washington, DC, for example, investors in multi-family are still very bullish, as home prices are strengthening and apartment supply is still limited. In other areas, like Las Vegas, where distressed homes are selling at big discounts, rental demand may wane more quickly for apartments, as those unwilling to buy choose to rent single family homes.

Another headwind to the multi-family sector could be more investors buying foreclosed single-family homes in bulk to rent. With federal regulators and the Obama administration seriously considering a program to sell bulk foreclosures owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there could suddenly be a large supply of single family rentals competing against multi-family buildings. Again, that would largely be in the sand states, as there are far fewer foreclosed homes in major cities where apartments are and will likely continue to see big gains.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Affordability Offering Up 40-Year Deals

Home affordability is at 1971 levels, due to falling home prices and record low mortgage rates, pushing home ownership in reach to more families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Home owners are bringing in nearly double the median income they need to cover the cost of an average home, HousingPredictor reports.
"With interest rates at historically low levels and markets across the country beginning to improve, home ownership is within reach of more households,” Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in a statement.
Home sales have been ticking up, according to recent reports by the National Association of REALTORS®, the National Association of Home Builders, as well as the Obama administration’s December Housing Scorecard.
However, some consumers are finding more stringent lending standards for getting a mortgage a roadblock to home ownership, and some housing experts have blamed tighter underwriting standards in recent years for continuing to hold back the housing market.

Home Affordability Offering Up 40-Year Deals

Monday, January 9, 2012

Are falling prices the real threat? –

A growing number of economists and money managers are starting to worry about the opposite of inflation: deflation, a period of falling prices and declining incomes.
Sure, the government's consumer price index has gained 3.5% the past 12 months. Even stripping out food and energy, the CPI is up 2.1%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. And anyone who lives in the real world knows you can't live without food and energy.
But other prices have been moving relentlessly downward, from refrigerators to stocks to houses and salaries. Economist A. Gary Shilling argues that many of the factors for deflation are already in place, and that people overlook falling prices because they are so focused on the items they use the most.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pending Home Sales Highest in Over a Year-and-a-Half

Pending home sales continued to rise in November, reaching their highest level in 19 months, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported late last week.
The trade group’s index of signed sales contracts jumped 7.3 percent between October and November and is 5.9 percent above its level a year earlier. The last time the index was higher was in April 2010 as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the homebuyer tax credit.
James Frischling, president and co-founder of NewOak Capital, says the latest results are likely to feed the view that there is a recovery going on in the housing market.
“This was an unexpected jump-up, with every region showing gains including a 15 percent increase out west, which has been the hardest hit area since the housing bubble burst,” Frischling noted.
Despite the strong gains atypical of the season, Frischling remains cautious. He says with contract cancellations above 30 percent, Realtors are keenly aware that it’s premature to conclude a housing recovery is underway based on November’s strong pending sales report.
Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, agrees that contract failures have been running unusually high.

Click below for more: