Monday, April 30, 2012

NJ Foreclosure Streams Starting to Flow Again

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, a record 16.7 percent of home mortgages in the state of New Jersey are late on their monthly payments, or in foreclosure. That is above the 12.5 nationwide percentage.

In addition, after the foreclosure slow down last year in the wake of reports of mortgage service abuse and investigations, the process is coming back online for both residential and commercial properties. In fact, foreclosure activity numbers in New Jersey last month rose nearly 72 percent compared to March of 2011. Foreclosure filings and sheriff auctions are up drastically compared to this time last year, but significantly below the numbers we saw in 2010. New Jersey was part of a $25 billion settlement between five large mortgage lenders and state and federal officials that were accused of "robo-signing" foreclosure paperwork and cutting corners to get people evicted quicker.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mortgages Now Available through Costco

Costco shoppers are used to shopping big. They can now can now shop for the biggest item they'll probably ever buy - a mortgage.
Costco has signed up 11 lenders to provide a mortgage lending service to its shoppers. Whether it's a new loan, or a refi. The warehouse club is rolling out a full service mortgage lending program on its web site. Members can log in, fill in their information anonymously and then get a price comparison from several lenders, although most borrowers still need some level of personal contact from both a real estate professional and their lender. The company already offers financial products like auto insurance and health insurance and stock brokerage services, and will soon offer auto and student loans.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Missouri EcoVillage Goes On and Off the Grid

Alex Whitcroft, an architectural designer from the UK, first came to Dancing Rabbit EcoVillage in rural Missouri to learn natural building techniques. He returned two years later in 2011 as one of its 60 or so residents. Like most buildings at Dancing Rabbit, the home Whitcroft shares with his partner, Jennifer Martin, and two of her children is made with natural materials: sustainably harvested or reclaimed wood, natural plasters, and straw bales harvested from surrounding fields for insulation.
While half of their community reconnected to the grid in 2011, Dancing Rabbit is net positive — producing more energy than it consumes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

NNJ Foreclosures on the Rise

Bergen and Passaic counties have both seen an increase in properties sold at sheriff's auction in the first three months of this year.  And RealtyTrac, a California company that follows the foreclosure market, recently reported that foreclosure activity in New Jersey rose almost 72 percent from March 2011 to March 2012.

Because of last year's slowdown in foreclosure activity, troubled mortgages are piling up in New Jersey. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently reported that a record 16.7 percent of mortgages in the state are either late on monthly payments or in foreclosure, compared with 12.5 percent nationwide.

The uneven pace of foreclosure activity suggests that New Jersey will not quickly clear the market of distressed properties, which tend to sell at a discount.  More from

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pyramid Scheme

Rising above the Arizona desert like a phoenix, this property causes double takes from all who drive by.  Situated on 13 acres, it has over over 3,000 square feet of living space and two master bedrooms.  However, unlike the Egyptian pyramids, this architectural wonder is for sale.

At an asking price of $495,000 an estimated mortgage payment on the Maricopa Arizona pyramid would be $1,865 a month, with 20 percent down on a conventional 30-year mortgage.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Freddie Mac Forecasts Spring Housing Recovery

“A variety of encouraging indicators suggest that the housing market may be feeling a nascent recovery ... and more neighborhoods may see a stabilization in overall demand and housing values this spring,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
In fact, the signs have prompted Freddie Mac to revise its forecast upwards for home sales and originations. One economic contributor that’s helping to stabilize housing: The drop in the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, its lowest level in three years, according to the report.

Monday, April 02, 2012

HARP Springs Eternal -- New ReFi Options for NJ Homeowners

HARP is a federal government program designed to help millions of underwater or upside down homeowners refinance into a fixed loan with a lower monthly payment. It was rolled out in March 2009. However, on Oct. 24, 2011, President Obama announced an overhaul to the HARP Refinance Mortgage Program with the intent of reaching more underwater homeowners. The expanded HARP Refinance program – also called HARP 2.0 – is rolling out this month for borrowers with a loan-to-value ratio of greater than 125 percent.

What’s new with the New Jersey HARP 2.0 Refinance program? 

  • No underwater limits! Borrowers will now be able to refinance regardless of how upside down or underwater they are in their mortgages.
  •  There may be no appraisal requirements! Some homeowners may get appraisal waivers making their New Jersey HARP Refinance process smoother and faster. 
  • Certain risk-based fees eliminated! For borrowers who do the HARP Refinance and switch into shorter-term loans these fees will either be eliminated or modified. Extended deadline! 
  • The end date to get a HARP Refinance has been extended to Dec. 31, 2013.