January 25, 2012

2012 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Workshops

2012 Low-Income Housing

Tax Credit (LIHTC) Workshops

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) invites affordable housing developers and interested parties to attend half-day application training workshops on 2012 submissions to the California LIHTC Program.

Workshop details

2011 Results

2012 Regulations Changes

2012 Credit Estimates

Overview of 2012 Market Study Guidelines

Overview of the 9% Application and Checklist

Locations and Dates


Feb. 13, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza

300 J Street

Sacramento, CA 95814


Feb. 14, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Elihu Harris Building, Room 1

1515 Clay Street

Oakland, CA 94612


Feb. 15, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Holiday Inn on the Bay

1355 North Harbor Drive

San Diego, CA 92101


Feb. 16, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

& Feb. 17, 2012, 9:00am – 12:30pm

Marriot Los Angeles – Downtown

333 South Figueroa Street

Los Angeles, CA 90071





2012 Low-Income Housing

Tax Credit (LIHTC) Workshops

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) invites affordable housing developers and interested parties to attend half-day application training workshops on 2012 submissions to the California LIHTC Program.

Workshop details

2011 Results

2012 Regulations Changes

2012 Credit Estimates

Overview of 2012 Market Study Guidelines

Overview of the 9% Application and Checklist

Locations and Dates


Feb. 13, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza

300 J Street

Sacramento, CA 95814


Feb. 14, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Elihu Harris Building, Room 1

1515 Clay Street

Oakland, CA 94612


Feb. 15, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Holiday Inn on the Bay

1355 North Harbor Drive

San Diego, CA 92101


Feb. 16, 2012, 1:00pm – 4:30pm

& Feb. 17, 2012, 9:00am – 12:30pm

Marriot Los Angeles – Downtown

333 South Figueroa Street

Los Angeles, CA 90071












General Information for Workshops

For more information, contact Nicole Valenzuela at 916-654-6340

About the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC) is the state agency responsible for administering the Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credit Programs.

About the Workshops

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues with TCAC staff.

Workshop materials will be available on the TCAC website ( approximately one week prior to the date of the workshop. Registered attendees are strongly encouraged to visit the TCAC website prior to attending the workshops to download workshop materials. Hard copies of the materials will not be available.

Who should attend

Anyone involved in tax credit projects, including owners, developers, project managers, attorneys, accountants, consultants, and market analysts.


Attendees must register by mailing the Registration Form and $65.00 per person fee to TCAC by

February 7, 2012. Fax, telephone, or walk-in registrations will NOT be accepted.

Space is limited to 2 representatives per organization and 75 attendees per session (100 attendees for LA sessions).

Confirmation letters will be faxed to participants and are required at the door.

Full refunds will be made to registered participants if TCAC cancels or postpones the workshop.


2012 LIHTC Application Workshop – Registration Form

Contact Person:

Select Workshop:




Attendee Name (1):



Sacramento – Feb. 13, 2012



Attendee Name (2):



Oakland – Feb. 14, 2012






San Diego – Feb. 15, 2012






Los Angeles (LA) – Feb. 16, 2012





Los Angeles (LA) – Feb. 17 2012



Phone Number:



The registration fee is $65.00 per person.


Fax Number:



Make checks payable to: TCAC


Email Address:



Amount Enclosed: $







Please submit form with your check by


February 7, 2012 to:


CA Tax Credit Allocation Committee

915 Capitol Mall, Room 485

Sacramento, CA 95814


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January 24, 2012

Extraction Has No Traction

Extraction Has No Traction

Land values were based

upon the extraction




Look familiar?

If I had a nickel for



phoned‐in Cost

Approach that had this

sentence or one like it, I’d be Warren


The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal

defines it as:

A method of estimating land value in

which the depreciated cost of the improvements

on the improved property is estimated

and deducted from the total sale

price to arrive at an estimated sale price for

the land; most effective when the improvements

contribute little to the total sale

price of the property




The underscored portion says it all.

Usually this technique is used in rural

settings. Perhaps when appraising

some hunting shack on a couple of

hundred acres of scrub.

But no, we see it in the

middle of suburban

Hinsdale, Belleville,

Taylorville, and other

places where the residence

is easily a significant

portion of the

total value.

By definition,


extraction doesn’t really

work in cities and suburbs where improvements

tend to drive value.

Also, some Cost Approaches are so

poorly cobbled together that we seriously

doubt the appraiser’s ability to






Don’t just toss


extraction into a report.

If you cannot demonstrate an ability to

depreciate reasonably, then you certainly

won’t be able to support an extraction


The board strongly suggests that you

find a course that teaches a more reliable


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January 18, 2012

Popular Web Sites Shut Down Today in Protest
WordPress, Wikipedia, CraigsList, and about a dozen other Web sites are going dark on Wednesday in protest of antipiracy legislation.
Read more >

Mortgage Applications Surge 23%
Low mortgage rates sent mortgage applications soaring last week, with requests for home purchase loans jumping 10 percent alone.
Read more >

Group Aims to Standardize Terminology on MLSs
How bathrooms, square footage, and bedrooms are counted can vary widely among MLSs. As such, one group is trying to standardize the way homes are described on the MLS.
Read more >

Florida Radio, TV Host Busted for Ponzi Scheme
A South Florida radio and TV host who shared with listeners how to make it big during South Florida's real estate boom was sentenced to four years in prison for bilking money from his real estate clients.
Read more >

Home Inspector Sues Agent for Calling Him 'Total Idiot'
A Lincoln, Neb., home inspector has filed a defamation lawsuit against a real estate agent and her company, alleging that the agent referred to him as a "total idiot" in an e-mail sent to about 400 other agents.
Read more >

The Selling of a Crime Scene
When it comes to selling stigmatized homes, experts recommend doing whatever it takes to give people peace of mind.
Read more >

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January 14, 2012

Calculated Risk

Calculated Risk


Summary for Week ending January 13th

Posted: 14 Jan 2012 05:15 AM PST

The economic data last week was mostly disappointing. Retail sales for December were weak, the November trade deficit was larger than expected, and initial weekly unemployment claims increased sharply. The good news was consumer sentiment and small business confidence increased.

This data suggests the US economy grew in Q4, but at a slightly slower pace than previously expected. As an example, Goldman Sachs lowered their Q4 GDP estimate to 3.2%, and Merrill Lynch lowered their Q4 estimate to 3.0% from 3.3%.

Here is a summary in graphs:

Retail Sales increased 0.1% in December

On a monthly basis, retail sales were up 0.1% from November to December (seasonally adjusted, after revisions), and sales were up 6.5% from December 2010. Sales for November were revised up from a 0.2% increase to 0.4%. Retail sales excluding autos decreased 0.2% in December.

Retail Sales
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows retail sales since 1992. This is monthly retail sales and food service, seasonally adjusted (total and ex-gasoline).

Retail sales are up 20.4% from the bottom, and now 5.9% above the pre-recession peak (not inflation adjusted)

This was well below the consensus forecast for retail sales of a 0.4% increase in December, and a 0.4% increase ex-auto.

All current retail sales graphs

Trade Deficit increased in November to $47.8 Billion

The Department of Commerce reports:

[T]otal November exports of $177.8 billion and imports of $225.6 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $47.8 billion, up from $43.3 billion in October, revised. November exports were $1.5 billion less than October exports of $179.4 billion. November imports were $2.9 billion more than October imports of $222.6 billion.

U.S. Trade Exports ImportsThis graph shows the monthly U.S. exports and imports in dollars through November 2011.

Exports decreased and imports increased in November. Imports had been mostly moving sideways for the past six months (seasonally adjusted). Exports are well above the pre-recession peak and up 10% compared to November 2010; imports are up about 13% compared to November 2010.

The trade deficit was above the consensus forecast of $45.0 billion.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increased to 399,000

The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since January 2000.

The DOL reports:

In the week ending January 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 399,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 375,000. The 4-week moving average was 381,750, an increase of 7,750 from the previous week's revised average of 374,000.

The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims increased this week to 381,750.

The 4-week moving average is still well below 400,000.

All current Employment Graphs

Consumer Sentiment increases in January

Consumer SentimentThe preliminary January Reuters / University of Michigan consumer sentiment index increased to 74.0, up from the December reading of 69.9.

Most of the recent sharp decline was event due to the debt ceiling debate, and sentiment has rebounded as expected. Now it is all about jobs, wages - and gasoline prices.

Sentiment is still fairly weak, although above the consensus forecast of 71.5.

BLS: Job Openings "unchanged" in November

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey This graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

Jobs openings declined slightly in November, but the number of job openings (yellow) has generally been trending up, and are up about 7% year-over-year compared to November 2010.

Quits increased in November, and have mostly been trending up - and quits are now up about 12% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations and more quits might indicate some improvement in the labor market. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

All current employment graphs

CoreLogic: House Price Index declined 1.4% in November

From CoreLogic: CoreLogic® November Home Price Index Shows Fourth Consecutive Monthly Decline

CoreLogic House Price IndexThis graph shows the national CoreLogic HPI data since 1976. January 2000 = 100.

The index was down 1.4% in November, and is down 4.3% over the last year.

The index is off 32.8% from the peak - and up just 1.2% from the March 2011 low.

Some of this decrease is seasonal (the CoreLogic index is NSA). Month-to-month prices changes will probably remain negative through March 2012 and it is likely that there will be new post-bubble low for this index in the next month or two.

All House Price Graphs

NFIB: Small Business Optimism Index increased in December

Small Business Optimism IndexFrom the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): Small Business Confidence Inches Upward: While Economic Winter Continues, It Appears to be Getting Warmer

This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986. The index increased to 93.8 in December from 92.0 in November. This is the fourth increase in a row after declining for six consecutive months.

Reis: Regional Mall Vacancy Rate declines slightly
Regional and Strip Mall Vacancy Rate
From the WSJ: For Malls, Occupancy Firms Up

Malls in the top 80 U.S. markets posted an average vacancy rate of 9.2% in the quarter, down from the 11-year high of 9.4% in the third quarter, according to Reis, which began tracking [regional] mall data in 2000. ... vacancy [for strip malls] remained at 11% ...

Retail landlords also have been helped by a virtual shutdown in new store construction, meaning they face less competition for tenants. Only 4.5 million square feet of shopping-center space opened in 2010, the lowest figure in 31 years, according to Reis. Last year was slightly higher, with only 4.9 million square feet being delivered.

The vacancy rate for regional malls is just below the record set last quarter, and the vacancy rate for strip malls is just below the record set in 1990. It is still very ugly for malls ... but the good news is new construction is at very low levels.

Other Economic Stories ...
Ceridian-UCLA: Diesel Fuel index increased 0.2% in December
RealtyTrac: Bank seizures of homes fell to four year low in 2011 due to process issues
Fed's Beige Book: Economic activity increased at "modest to moderate" pace
Fiscal Policy: Kind of a Drag

Record Home Sales in Las Vegas in 2011

Posted: 13 Jan 2012 09:19 PM PST

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal: Las Vegas home sales set record

A total of 48,186 single-family homes and condos were sold in Las Vegas last year, topping the previous record of 46,879 set in 2009, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors reported ... Roughly half of all sales were cash-only transactions, while 46.8 percent were real estate-owned, or bank-owned properties returning to the market after foreclosure. Another 26.6 percent were short sales, or lender-approved sales for less than the principal mortgage balance.

... new-home sales plummeted from nearly 39,000 in 2006 to fewer than 4,000 in 2011, the lowest level since Home Builders Research began tracking the market in 1988.

Las Vegas Home SalesClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the sales per year. The are more sales now than during the peak of the bubble! However new home sales are at record lows because of all the vacant housing units and distressed sales.

Also - as the article mentions - prices are still falling. According to Case-Shiller, prices in Las Vegas have fallen about 14% since June 2009, so those people who bought in 2009 have lost money (although many paid cash, so they don't have "negative equity").

Mortgage Settlement Update

Posted: 13 Jan 2012 04:43 PM PST

From Bloomberg: Attorneys General Discuss Mortgage Probes as Bank Talks Drag On

About a dozen state attorneys general met this week to discuss their mortgage investigations and how they might work together as settlement talks with banks over foreclosures drag on, three people familiar with the matter said.

The group, which met in Washington, included New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, California's Kamala Harris and Martha Coakley of Massachusetts ...

This is new:

Over the weekend, the Justice Department contacted four smaller mortgage servicers, including U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and HSBC Finance Corp., with the goal of including them in any future settlement agreement. The overture was a first step meant to get reaction from the smaller banks.

More on the meeting from the Financial Times: State prosecutors confer over US mortgages probes. It doesn't sound like a deal is close.

Europe Update

Posted: 13 Jan 2012 01:54 PM PST

As was widely rumored, Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on France to AA+ and Spain to A.

From CNBC: S&P Downgrades Credit Ratings on Nine Euro Zone Nations, Including France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Austria

The Greek debt talks are more important. From Bloomberg: Greece Creditors Break Off Debt Talks

Greece’s creditor banks broke off talks after failing to agree with the government about how much money investors will lose by swapping their bonds, increasing the risk of the euro-area’s first sovereign default.

Proposals by a committee representing financial firms haven’t produced a “constructive consolidated response by all parties,” the Washington-based Institute of International Finance said in a statement today. Talks with Greece and the official sector are “paused for reflection on the benefits of a voluntary approach,” the group said.

A few of key dates this month:
Jan 20th: The "troika" discussions with Greece are set to conclude.
Jan 24th: EU finance ministers meet in Brussels.
Jan 30th: European Union leaders meet in Brussels on crisis.

Meanwhile the Italian 10 year yield is up to 6.64%, and the Spanish 10 year yield is up to 5.22%.

Ceridian-UCLA: Diesel Fuel index increased 0.2% in December

Posted: 13 Jan 2012 10:50 AM PST

This is the UCLA Anderson Forecast and Ceridian Corporation index using real-time diesel fuel consumption data: Pulse of Commerce Index Increased 0.2 Percent in December

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index® (PCI®), issued today by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation, rose 0.2 percent in December following the 0.1 percent increase in November and the 1.1 percent increase in October.

Although December’s news is positive, the combined effect of the three consecutive positive months was not enough to offset the weakness of trucking last summer and the PCI in December 2011 is 1.2 percent below its June 2011 level.
Based on the latest PCI data, the forecast for December Industrial Production is a 0.29 percent increase when the government estimate is released on January 18.

Pulse of Commerce IndexClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the index since January 2000.

This index declined sharply in late summer and has only partially rebounded over the last three months. Mostly this index moved sideways in 2011 (down 0.7% from December 2010).

Note: This index does appear to track Industrial Production over time (with plenty of noise).

All current Transportation graphs


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January 09, 2012

Featured Story

Featured Story

Fraud Database Reaches 20,000 Complaint Milestone
By Lew Sichelman

It's a distinction that doesn't portray the mortgage business in a very good light. But it's a milestone nonetheless: The national Loan Modification Scam Database has now collected more than 20,000 complaints.




HUD Suspends Section 8 Apartment Complex Officer
By Evan Nemeroff

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has suspended James Grier, the president of Section 8 apartment complex Mantua Gardens East in Philadelphia, Pa. from conducting business with the federal government.

Free with Registration





Greater Regulation Sought for Originations
By Evan Nemeroff

Advocates for Consumer Affairs, a compliance and risk management firm that audits mortgage loans nationwide, said it plans to concentrate their efforts to make sure homeowners receive loans that are enforceable from financial institutions.

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California Couple Sentenced to 10 Years In Prison For Mortgage Loan Fraud Had Appeal Denied
By Herman Thordsen

On Dec. 22, 2011, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sentences of Terrance "Terry" and Sonya "Cheri" Tucker, a Thousand Oaks couple who pleaded guilty to bank fraud in a real estate scheme that cheated homebuyers and investors.

Free with Registration

A New Round for the NY Mortgage Recordation Tax Debate
By Ed Roberts

The New York Court of Appeals late Thursday agreed to allow the National Association of Federal Credit Unions to argue that the state's federally chartered CUs should be exempt from the state's mortgage recordation tax.




CFPB Now Can Police Lenders, Servicers
By Brian Collins

President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray on Wednesday will clear the way for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to use its full enforcement and regulatory powers to police all mortgage lenders and servicers.


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January 05, 2012

"the results demonstrate the usefulness of appraisal estimates in the

Appraisals, Automated Valuation

Models, and Mortgage Default

Austin Kelly

Associate Director, Division of Enterprise Regulation

Subtitle: "the results demonstrate the usefulness of appraisal estimates in the

prediction of claim propensities, over and above the information contained in AVMs."



. . . Previous research has suggested the possibility that professional appraisals or

econometric estimates of collateral value may be indicative of credit risk. This paper

examines the issue by estimating the probability of a mortgage default (defined both as 90

day delinquency and as a claim on mortgage insurance) as a function of the difference

between sales price of a home and the estimated value of the home at the time of the

purchase, produced by both an appraisal and by an Automated Valuation Model (AVM).

Logistic regression is used to estimate the quarterly hazard of a serious delinquency, or. . .


1. Introduction and Literature Review

. . . Appraisers provide the estimate of value used in determining initial equity. A handful of

papers have examined the role of appraisers in the underwriting process. Horne and

Rosenblatt (1996) examine the distribution of the differences between appraised values

and purchase prices. They find that differences between appraised values and sale prices

are almost always less than one percent, and appraisals for less than the purchase price are

extremely rare. LaCour-Little and Malpezzi (2001) estimates a model similar to the one

in this paper.. . .


Shiller and Weiss (1999) lay out a framework for evaluating the profitability of AVM

deployment. This paper takes a step towards filling the data requirements of their

framework, estimating the correlation between appraisal/selling price and AVM

valuation, and demonstrating the effectiveness of AVM systems in predicting default,

foreclosure, and loss severity.


Section 6 offers concluding

remarks and some observations concerning the relative predictive power of appraisals and



2. Model

The focus of this paper is the effect of appraisal and AVM quality on the credit risk in

mortgages. An appraisal is a measure of the “market value” of a property. In a highly

liquid market with large numbers of identical commodities traded, this is a simple

concept. In the housing market, with infrequently traded heterogeneous properties,

market value is a more tenuous concept. To some extent, the fact that a buyer is willing

to pay $X for a house sets $X as the market value, rendering an appraisal somewhat

superfluous. From the perspective of the entity holding the credit risk on the mortgage

(lender or, in this case, insurer), the most relevant concept might be the value that the

second highest bidder is willing to spend on the property, a notion that mixes the concepts

of “market value” and “liquidity.” This is because the holder of the credit risk cares

about the price at which the buyer could later sell the property, which determines the

buyer's choice of prepayment or default in the face of trigger events, and determines the

amount of recovery in case of default. This may be expressed as

Market Value = Transaction Price + Idiosyncrasies (1)

where Market Value refers to the expected selling price if a property were immediately

resold. Transaction Price is the price agreed upon by the buyer and seller. Idiosyncrasies

represent any unique characteristics attached to the transaction, such as a buyer uniquely

attracted to a particular property characteristic, or a seller motivated to sell exceptionally

quickly, or, for that matter, fraud.


The appraisal process can provide an estimate of property value independent of the

idiosyncratic circumstances that might cause a buyer to be the highest bidder. Single

family appraisals are generally based upon the sale prices of comparable properties, with

adjustments made for differences in characteristics between the property in question and

the comparables, and with adjustments made for area-wide trends in price. An appraisal

constitutes an estimate of the market value. Such an estimate may be biased or unbiased.

Sources of bias to the high side are pressure from buyers, sellers, brokers, etc. who need

an appraisal for at least the agreed upon price so that the transaction can take place. The

holder of the credit risk on the transaction, for example, the insurer, would presumably

wish to pressure appraisers for an accurate estimation, but in many cases the appraiser is

hired by the lender, although the risk is borne primarily by the insurer.3

Appraisal Value = Market Value + Bias1 + _1 (2)

where Appraisal Value is the value assigned by an appraiser, Bias1 represents any

possible tendency to assign a value other than the expectation of Market Value, and _1 is

the inherent noise in any estimation process.


(3FHA does maintain a list of approved appraisers, and can remove an appraiser from the list for fraud or

unethical behavior, but it is not clear how effective this might be in the case of modest upward bias of the

sort considered here. See US GAO (2004) for a discussion of FHA's role in monitoring appraisers.



An AVM produces a second estimate of the market value (wrong)  of the property. An AVM

estimate may be less subject to bias (wrong), as AVM services are sold to a wide variety of

parties, such as lenders, insurers, GSEs, or MBS investors, with no clear incentive to

produce “high” or “low” estimates (wrong). On the other hand, AVMs constitute a mass-appraisal

approach, rely upon generally available characteristics, and do not involve visits to

properties to ascertain condition or incorporate local knowledge (the announcement of a

factory closing or plans for a new transit stop), so that their variances may be much higher

than the variances of appraisals.


AVM Value = Market Value + Bias2 + _

_ (3)


where AVM value is the value assigned by an AVM, Bias2 is the tendency (if any) for an

AVM to produce a value other than the expectation of market value, and _

_ is the inherent

noise in the AVM estimation process.

The relevant questions for a holder of mortgage credit risk are, 1) “does an appraisal

contain any information helpful to the assessment of default propensities, and 2) “does an

AVM estimate contain any information beyond that contained in an appraisal?” The

latter will be the case if the mean square error of the AVM is not too large, relative to the

mean square error of the appraisal, and if the correlation between the two errors is not too

high. One way to test this proposition is to estimate equations such as

Prob(Default) = fn(Appraisal, AVM Estimate, other risk variables) (4)

Loss Given Default = fn(Appraisal, AVM Estimate, other risk variables) (5)

and test the coefficients on the Appraisal and AVM Estimate values.

Underwriters, and FHA guidelines in particular, generally take the minimum of the sale

price or the appraised value as the denominator when calculating the loan-to-value ratio,

used as a key indicator of default probability. Thus, the extent to which an appraisal

exceeds the transaction price has no effect on the underwriting decision, or perceived

degree of risk attached to the loan by the underwriter. An appraisal less than the

transaction price has serious consequences, however, generally requiring an increase in

the cash that the buyer has to bring to the table, or a decrease in the price received by the

seller, or the failure of the transaction to go through. Thus appraisals may produce

benefits in ways not captured by transaction data, either by preventing transactions on

overpriced properties, or by triggering renegotiated prices.

AVMs are generally not used in FHA underwriting4. However, AVM estimates may

provide an additional source of information on the value of the collateral; therefore on the

level of credit risk for a given mortgage. The extra predictive power could be useful for

risk monitoring on the part of FHA or other insurers, risk accounting, and for investor

evaluations of portfolios of mortgages.


6. Conclusions

AVM estimates are predictive of both claim and delinquency propensities. Appraisal

ratios also have predictive power for claims. Examined separately, each is useful as a

predictor of the claim propensity of a mortgage. Entered together, the correlation

between the two estimates is weak enough that each serves as a useful indicator of credit

18In the interest of space, only the full model for the GAOrisk specification is included for the Atlanta

results. Other results were similar, with AVM values predictive of risk and appraisal ratios insignificant,

and with the GAOrisk specification slightly outperforming the TOTAL scorecard specification.


risk, although the significance levels are higher on the AVM estimate when both are in

the regression.

The confidence measure attached to the AVM estimate also serves as a predictor of credit

risk. Properties that are easier to value have lower credit risk, even after conditioning on

a host of standard underwriting variables. Additionally, AVM estimates are a significant

predictor of loss given default, an important but often ignored dimension of credit risk.

Much of the value of an appraisal presumably comes prior to origination, in preventing

transactions at prices far above market value, or contributing to the renegotiation of price

prior to closing. The results here should not be taken to imply that appraisals have less

value than AVMs, only that appraisal values have less post-origination predictive power

than do AVMs.

These results confirm the value of econometric estimates of property value first found by

LaCour-Little and Malpezzi, using a more recent, larger, and nationally representative

sample, and focusing on claims and losses, not just delinquency. Additionally, this work

demonstrates the utility of commercial, off-the-shelf, AVM estimates for predicting credit

risk. Finally, the results demonstrate the usefulness of appraisal estimates in the

prediction of claim propensities, over and above the information contained in AVMs."


Curtis D. Harris, BS, CGREA, REB
Bachelor of Science in Real Estate, CSULA
State Certified General Appraiser
Real Estate Broker
ASTM E-2018 Commercial Real Estate Inspector
HUD 203k Consultant
HUD/FHA Real Estate Appraiser/Reviewer
FannieMae REO Consultant

CTAC LEED Certification

The Harris Company, Forensic Appraisers and Real Estate Consultants
*PIRS/Harris Company and the Science of Real Estate-Partners*

1910 East Mariposa Avenue, Suite 115
El Segundo, CA. 90245
310-337-1973 Office
310-251-3959 Cell



Commercial Appraiser Blog:


We Make a Simple Pledge to

Communicate, in a timely fashion, each appraisal, analysis, and opinion without bias or partiality

Abstain from behavior that is deleterious to our clients, the appraisal profession, and the public

Hold paramount the confidential nature of the appraiser/consultant - client relationship


Comply with the requirements of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the
Code of Professional Ethics of the National Society of Real Estate Appraisers


IT'S THE LAW-Designation Discrimination is Illegal [FIRREA, Sec. 564.6]: Professional Association Membership Membership in an appraisal organization: A State Certified General Appraiser may not be excluded from consideration for an assignment for a federally related transaction by virtue of membership or lack of membership in any particular appraisal organization, including the appraisal institute.


CONFIDENTIALITY/PRIVILEGE NOTICE: This transmission and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee. The information contained in this transmission is confidential in nature and protected from further use or disclosure under U.S. Pub. L. 106-102, 113 U.S. Stat. 1338 (1999), and may be subject to consultant/appraiser-client or other legal privilege. Your use or disclosure of this information for any purpose other than that intended by its transmittal is strictly prohibited and may subject you to fines and/or penalties under federal and state law. If you are not the intended recipient of this transmission, please destroy all copies received and confirm destruction to the sender via return transmittal

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December 28, 2011



HUD's Real Estate Assessment Center conducts physical property inspections of properties that are owned, insured or subsidized by HUD, including public housing and multifamily assisted housing. About 20,000 such inspections are conducted each year to ensure that assisted families have housing that is decent, safe, sanitary and in good repair. This page provides a full historical view of the results of those inspections, providing point-in-time property scores. Results are available for download as a comma-delimited dataset. Separate datasets are available for public housing and for multifamily assisted properties. The results represent the inspections conducted from 2001 through September 2009. The dataset includes property identifiers and location information.

Detailed descriptions of the inspection processes can be found in Federal Register notices 66 FR 59084 for public housing and 65 FR77230 for Office of Housing programs.

Making these inspection details available will enable researchers, advocacy groups and the general public to
1) better understand the physical condition of the HUD-assisted housing stock, as well as changes in the stock over time;
2) hold providers accountable for housing quality; and
3) plan for future affordable housing needs.

Download Public Housing Physical Inspection Scores 2011 (*.xls, 16 MB)

Download Multifamily Physical Inspection Scores 2011 (*.xls, 3.76 MB)

Download Public Housing Property Physical Inspection Dataset (*.txt, 18.3 MB)

Download Data Dictionary for Public Housing Property Physical Inspection Dataset

Download Multifamily Assisted Property Physical Inspection Dataset (*.txt, 21.1 MB)

Download Data Dictionary for Multifamily Assisted Property Physical Inspection Dataset

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Appraiser Customary and Reasonable Fee Survey from OREP/Working RE

Appraiser Customary and Reasonable Fee Survey from OREP/Working RE

Directions: Please first select your state and then slect the closest metropolitan area(s) you work in for each question. Rural areas are included for each state. NOTE: This survey is for non AMC work. Fee quotes include the 1004MC form, as required by law. If you don’t provide a particular appraisal product, please leave that question blank.
Once you've completed the survey, please send the survey link to as many appraisers as possible and ask him/her to complete it. The value of this survey depends on participation.

1. Which state do you work in? (Please come back to complete the survey again if you work in multiple states.)

Please allow a few moments for the page to load.

AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWashington DCWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming
Which state do you work in? (Please come back to complete the survey again if you work in multiple states.) Please allow a few moments for the page to load.
Opt-In to Working RE Online- Get Survey Results
One issue every other week is delivered via email to keep you up to date with industry news as it happens. It's free, you can opt-out at anytime and your information will always remain private. To opt-in, and to be notified when the results of this survey are posted, please email with "Appraiser Newsletter" in the subject.
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December 05, 2011

First Security Investment, Inc. cordially invites you to our Annual Holiday Champagne Brunch.

Annual Holiday Champagne Brunch

December 14, 2011




First Security Investment, Inc. cordially invites you to our Annual Holiday Champagne Brunch.




First Security Investment Co. Inc.

(323) 299-7900


Annual Holiday Champagne Brunch

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10:00a.m. - Until


Consolidated Board of Realtists

3725 Don Felipe Dr.

Los Angeles, CA 90008


Event Flyer




Admission: $15 at the door or bring a toy valued at $15 or more.


Please R.S.V.P. by December 7, 2011 to First Security Investment Company, Inc. at (323)299-7900.



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FDIC Sues 29 Appraisers Over Loans By Downey Savings

Appraiser Law Blog

Friday, November 25, 2011

FDIC Sues 29 Appraisers Over Loans By Downey Savings

In the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Day, the FDIC sued 29 individual residential appraisers and a rafter of mortgage brokers in 12 separate lawsuits. All of the appraisers sued in this round reside in California -- in the last three years, the FDIC has so far sued a total of approximately 140 appraisers and appraisal firms in AZ, CA, GA, IL, MD, MI, MN, NV, SC, and UT. In addition, the FDIC has identified approximately 350 additional appraisers as having delivered negligent appraisals to the two AMCs it has sued.

The FDIC's complaints against the 29 most recent defendant appraisers uniformly allege that the appraisers were professionally negligent by overappraising the value of properties securing loans by failed Downey Savings in 2004-2007. The average claim against each appraiser is $314,674, which is the amount claimed as damages by the FDIC for unpaid principal, interest, late charges, foreclosure costs and other fees on each nonperforming loan. The complaints concern both origination and review appraisals and include both supervising and trainee appraisers as defendants.

One of the recently sued appraisers has now been sued twice by the FDIC. This is the third appraiser to be sued twice by the FDIC within the last year. Another of the defendant appraisers was previously identified by the FDIC as having provided allegedly faulty appraisals for WaMu through the AMCs sued by the FDIC in separate lawsuits. Issues like these are starting to cause liability issues for AMCs in connection with current appraisal work because a few lenders have indicated they expect AMCs to identify appraisers accused of such negligence.
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December 02, 2011


December 2, 2011



REAL ESTATE RAMA: PEP Housing Leads Green Building for Affordable Senior Housing

PETALUMA, CA – Dec. 1, 2011 / RealEstateRama / HydroPoint Data Systems, Inc., The Proven Leader in Smart Water Management announced today its customer PEP Housing has reduced outdoor water consumption by 40 percent with WeatherTRAK Smart Irrigation controllers at 12 senior housing communities in Sonoma County. The 58-unit Casa Grande Senior Apartments in Petaluma, California recently received a Met Life Foundation Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing, recognizing best practices in green, service-enriched housing for low-income seniors. The Casa Grande property is also the county’s first Green Point rated multi-family project


Affordable LEED Homes Open in San Jose

This is Brookwood Terrace, an affordable project by ROEM Corporation and Eden Housing, Inc. that recently opened in California.  The $24.9 million multifamily building has 84 homes, units ranging in size from 636 to 1094 square feet, and amenities like a community room, fitness room, business center, and a laundry room.  The place is also designed by KTGY Group, Inc. for LEED Gold certification and to exceed Title 24 by 17%.


TAHOE DAILY TRIBUNE: Kings Beach affordable housing project to be finished by late fall 2012

By Jason Shueh // Construction on the major affordable housing project in Kings Beach likely won't be finished until fall 2012, officials said this week, rather than an initial deadline of next spring. Meea Kang, of Domus Development, lead developer for the 77-unit, $33 million project — part of the Kings Beach Affordable Housing Now campaign launched in 2010 — said last year's 600-plus inches of lake-level snowfall delayed construction to the four sites located on Fox, Trout, Deer and Chipmunk streets.


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Vallejo welcomes prefab home builder

By David Baker // A Massachusetts company whose prefab homes fold up like origami will open a factory today on Vallejo's Mare Island. For Bill Haney, president of Blu Homes, it seems an ideal fit.



MALIBU SURFSIDE NEWS: Majority of Council Sends Housing Elements to State for Its Assessment

By Bill Koeneker // The Malibu City Council this week discussed the completed draft of the Housing Element update at its meeting Monday night when more options were made available for review. The council, on a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich dissenting, agreed to authorize the staff to submit the draft 2008-2014 Housing Element to the state of California Department of Housing and Community Development or HCD, for review and comment. … John Douglas, the consultant hired by the city to draft the document, told the council the plan currently takes a two-prong strategy in meeting affordable housing needs.



SIGN ON SAN DIEGO: By the numbers: 'Underwater' homes in Calif.

By Lily Leung // California ranked sixth in the nation in negative equity, widely known as being "underwater" on your mortgage, based on the latest data from real estate tracker CoreLogic this week. The third quarter was the first time the state has not been in the Top 5 since 2009, when the company started to track negative equity, a state in which a homeowner owes more on their mortgage than their home is worth.



ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Calif. drops to 6th-most 'underwater' state

By Jeff Collins // Georgia has pushed California out of the "top five" among the nation's most "underwater" states. According to figures released recently by Santa Ana data firm CoreLogic, 30% of Georgia's homes have mortgages that are greater than the property's value during the third quarter, vs. 29.7% in California. Until now, California had been in the top five since CoreLogic began tracking underwater (or "negative equity") rates in 2009.



JOURNAL OF TAX CREDITS: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits / News Briefs

Enterprise Community Partners and the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) announced a partnership to advance transit-oriented development (TOD). The entities intend to work with other national and local partners to promote regional equity collaboratives that encourage discussion and planning for TOD projects; assess community financing needs and develop appropriate solutions; share knowledge and best practices to benefit the broader community development field; and develop and advocate for public policy that promotes equitable TOD.



SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: More school-age California children are living in poverty

By Katy Murphy // The economic downturn has hit children hard. New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the number of school-age children living in poverty in California swelled by 30 percent from 2007 to 2010. That grim reality is being felt across the nation, where the number of poor children from age 5 to 17 grew by nearly 2 million during that time, to 20 percent. … Alameda and Santa Cruz counties had the highest school-age poverty rates in the Bay Area…


REUTERS.COM: Factories growing despite global slowdown

By Jason Lange // (Reuters) - Factories shrugged off weakness in the global economy during November as manufacturing activity rose to its highest level in five months, giving a fresh sign that the American economy could be accelerating. Also pointing to stronger growth, U.S. construction spending increased more than expected in October… Separately, the Commerce Department said construction spending rose 0.8 percent to an annual rate of $798.53 billion.


NEW YORK TIMES: OPINION: The Death of the Fringe Suburb

By Christopher B. Leinberger // DRIVE through any number of outer-ring suburbs in America, and you’ll see boarded-up and vacant strip malls, surrounded by vast seas of empty parking spaces. These forlorn monuments to the real estate crash are not going to come back to life, even when the economy recovers. And that’s because the demand for the housing that once supported commercial activity in many exurbs isn’t coming back, either. … In the late 1990s, high-end outer suburbs contained most of the expensive housing in the United States, as measured by price per square foot…



SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: California losing more residents than gaining

By Gale Holland, Sam Quinones // For a clue to why California is losing its allure as a place to settle down, just ask Jennifer McCluer, who moved out of California in 2007 after she obtained her license in skin care. Unable to afford Orange County's sky-high rents, she opted for Portland, Ore. "A big motivator was that I lived with roommate after roommate after roommate," said McCluer, 30. "Friends said you could probably live on your own up here. The rent was a huge deal for me."


SACRAMENTO BEE: Housing Authority of San Bernardino Dedicates Solar Power System at Maplewood Homes at "70 & Solar" Event

SAN BERNARDINO and MURRIETA, Calif., Dec. 1, 2011 / PRNewswire / The Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB), the largest provider of affordable housing in the County, and HelioPower, an integrated energy solutions company with over 2000 solar and clean energy systems engineered and installed since 2001, today announced the completion of the largest Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Track 2 grant project in California.



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November 21, 2011


November 21, 2011



SANTA MARIA TIMES: Pismo celebrates low-income housing project

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in downtown Pismo Beach recently to celebrate the city’s first low-income housing project. The Pismo Creek Bungalows project at 360 Park Ave. will feature a 14-unit rental complex, laundry facilities, onsite parking and a common area for tenants. The project is a partnership between Pismo Beach and People’s Self-Help Housing … The property was purchased with money from the city’s inclusionary housing fund, which developers can pay into rather than building affordable units within their projects.



SAN LUIS OBISPO TRIBUNE: County plan to cut greenhouse gases locally

By David Sneed // Supervisors are set to vote Tuesday on a plan that maps out how the county would reduce its contribution to global climate change. The EnergyWise Plan focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ways to prepare for the anticipated effects of climate change. Greenhouse gases are emissions such as carbon dioxide that tend to trap the heat from the sun near the Earth’s surface. In San Luis Obispo County, the bulk of these emissions comes from vehicles, industry and homes. …



REDDING RECORD-SEARCHLIGHT: Housing affordability still at record levels

By Dave Benda // Sometimes lost in the gloom of plunging home values is that it's more affordable than ever to buy in Shasta County. So reiterates the latest installment of the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index. Roughly eight of every 10 new and existing homes that sold in the third quarter in Shasta County were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $58,200, the index reported last week. …


MODESTO BEE: October home sales rose 1.4 percent but still weak

By Derek Kravitz // WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans who bought previously occupied homes rose slightly last month but remained at depressed levels. And more deals are being canceled at the last minute, a sign that even those who are looking to buy are worried about the housing market. Home sales rose 1.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That's below the 6 million that economists say is consistent with a healthy housing market and slightly ahead of last year's sales - the worst in 13 years. …



BLOOMBERG.COM: BofA Clash with Fannie Mae Escalates Over Loan Buyback Stance

By Hugh Son // Bank of America Corp. (BAC) told Fannie Mae it refuses to cooperate with the U.S. mortgage firm’s new stance on loan buybacks, setting the lender up for a potential surge in claims and penalties. The bank is disputing Fannie Mae’s demand that lenders repurchase mortgages or cover any losses themselves if an insurer drops coverage, Bank of America said this month in a regulatory filing. The lender, ranked second by assets among U.S. banks, said it “does not intend to repurchase loans” under what it deems to be new rules …



HOLLISTER FREE LANCE: Officials hear 10-year plan to end homelessness

By Melissa Flores [11/16/11] // The San Benito County Board of Supervisors received a presentation Tuesday on a 10-year plan to end homelessness in the San Benito and Monterey county area - the outcome of 14 months of planning and meeting between stakeholder agencies in the region. One of the key reasons to devise the 45-page plan is so that it better positions San Benito County to apply for federal or state grant funding.



SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RADIO: OC may adopt mental illness law following homeless man's death

By Stephanie O’Neill // The July death of a schizophrenic homeless man after an altercation with Fullerton Police has focused attention on care for the mentally ill. Orange County supervisors might now adopt “Laura’s Law” so clinic workers can go into the streets to treat the mentally ill. Laura’s Law is in effect only in Nevada County, east of Sacramento. Officials there say it’s humane and cost-effective … The result? Laura’s Law, which allows counties, if they choose, to require medical treatment for a unique segment of the mentally ill community.



HIGH DESERT.COM: Report: Positive signs for local economy

By Lynnea Lombardo // The Inland Empire was one of the first areas to see the effects of the Great Recession and remains one of the last places to see improvement. However, a new economic report indicates some positive signs for the High Desert. … The High Desert had the greatest increase in existing home sales, up 11 percent between September 2010 and this year. And while new homes sales declined an average of 19 percent in the Inland Empire, the Victor Valley only saw a 4.3 percent decline with 112 new homes sold. Underwater mortgages remain a problem.


SACRAMENTO BEE: Dan Walters: California's economic recovery is weak & rocky

[Opinion 11/20/11] // Technically, California's economy is recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. But it sure doesn't feel like it. The housing market is still in the sewer, retail sales are weak, and more than 2 million California workers are unemployed – not counting tens of thousands who have given up looking for work or are getting by with off-the-books jobs. With their families, an educated guess would be that recession still seriously affects …


GRASS VALLEY UNION: County unemployment -- and jobs -- down

By Trina Kleist // Unemployment in Nevada County held steady in October at 10.2 percent, down from 11 percent in October 2010. But the number of jobs also is down, and the declining rate of joblessness corresponds to a shrinking workforce, according to figures from the California Employment Development Department. That's been a continuing trend for more than a year, the figures show. The figures likely mean the unemployed are leaving the county to find jobs elsewhere. …



CONTRA COSTA TIMES: Bay Area transportation projects to be judged on benefits vs. costs

By Gary Richards // No longer is a speedier commute the primary way to assess the benefits of 90 of the most expensive transportation projects being considered in the Bay Area over the next 25 years. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is looking at factors often ignored when assessing whether it is financially worthwhile to pay millions to widen highways and expand trains. Road fatalities and injuries, emissions reductions, the cost of owning and operating a car and even the health effects of physical inactivity are being considered in the Project Performance Assessment study…


SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY SUN: BLM Oks right-of-way for Victorville-to-Vegas passenger rail project

[11/18/11] // The Bureau of Land Management has given its blessing to the DesertXpress Victorville-to-Las Vegas passenger rail project. The decision authorizes a right-of-way grant to DesertXpress Enterprises LLC to construct and operate a high-speed passenger rail line on public lands between the High Desert city and the gambling mecca. … The Federal Railroad Administration estimates that the project would create more than 45,000 construction-related and 722 permanent operational jobs. About 821 acres of public land are needed for the permanent right-of-way, officials said.



SACRAMENTO BEE: Is there new life for CADA's R Street warehouse project?

By Tony Bizjak // It was to be Sacramento's first "lofts living" project, bringing a touch of New York lifestyle to an industrial area a few blocks south of the state Capitol. Instead, the Capitol Lofts project at 11th and R streets has become a 13-year headache for its sponsor, the Capitol Area Development Authority [CADA] and its development partners, who have been unable to get it financed. … CADA is a joint city-state agency that promotes housing and retail south of the Capitol, similar to a redevelopment agency.



NEW YORK TIMES: Older, Suburban and Struggling, 'Near Poor' Startle the Census

By Jason DeParle, Robert Gebeloff & Sabrina Tavernise // WASHINGTON — They drive cars, but seldom new ones. They earn paychecks, but not big ones. Many own homes. Most pay taxes. Half are married, and nearly half live in the suburbs. None are poor, but many describe themselves as barely scraping by. … The Census Bureau, which published the poverty data two weeks ago, produced the analysis of those with somewhat higher income at the request of The New York Times. The size of the near-poor population took even the bureau’s number crunchers by surprise.



HANFORD SENTINEL: Study: 43% of county's low-income adults hungry

By Eiji Yamashita // Have you ever gone to bed hungry because you have nothing in the pantry? No canned food. No chips or bread. Nothing to tide you over until your next meal whenever that may be. That’s a miserable feeling. Now imagine that’s your life, and the life of your children, each and every day. According to data released this week, more than two out of every five low-income adults in Kings County face this predicament known as food insecurity, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. About 21,000 low-income adults in the county …


REUTERS.COM: Help Wanted USA: Hiring hotspots emerge, but mobility an issue

(Reuters) - It's not like the people in Fort Wayne, Indiana aren't sympathetic with America's unemployed. It's just that they're not seeing as many of them as the rest of us. While most of the country is saddled with stubbornly high unemployment, numerous new construction projects and thousands of new jobs have made this Midwestern city of nearly 250,000 a pocket of relative prosperity. "We've gotten not only a lot of jobs, but a lot of good-paying jobs," says Andi Udris …



SACRAMENTO BEE: What will climate change mean for California?

By Matt Weiser [11/20/11] // The songbirds at the feeder outside your window are not the same as they used to be. The goldfinch, the grosbeak and even the ever-present sparrow are all a little bit bigger. The reason is climate change, according to a new study, which found that 70 bird species, all common to Central California, have evolved a longer wingspan and greater body mass over the past 40 years. … Cloern's study marks the first attempt to explain how climate change may affect habitat in an entire estuary, in this case the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: Studies show climate change's impact on California

By Mike Lee // A spate of recent research offers new insight into how global warming is changing or could change California, from the mountains to the seashore, in both predictable and unusual ways. The studies show that common trees are fading from their current ranges, premium wine grape varieties are under siege, marine creatures are shifting locales, the hub of the state’s water system faces increasing risks and — surprisingly — birds in the state are getting bigger as the weather warms. …



By Alex Breitler // STOCKTON - Meet Dale Stocking - environmentalist, and guinea pig. Last spring, the city set an ambitious goal of making 8,500 homes more energy efficient by winter 2013. Stocking urged approval of that proposed ordinance. And after it passed, he decided it was only fair to start off by sealing his own drafty house. … The city's effort to seal up older homes is in harmony with state laws requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and establishing a road
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November 19, 2011

FIGURE 4.3 Sample Appraisal Contract

FIGURE 4.3 Sample Appraisal Contract

Name and Address of Client

In consideration of an appraiser's fee, (name of appraiser) hereby agrees to evaluate the tangible property belonging to (person items belong to) located at (place where items are located).

The approximate completion date will be

I have agreed to pay your appraisal fee of $ on receipt of the appraisal. This fee is based on your standard appraisal charges:

Signed at: on this day of 19__.

FIGURE 4.4 Sample Letter of Agreement with Appraiser

Your Address


Appraiser's Name


Dear (Name):

This letter sets forth the terms of my engagement of your services as an appraiser for the (describe item[s] to be appraised). This appraisal is sought for the purpose of (reason for obtaining the appraisal).

I agree to pay you $ __________ as a retainer, which sum shall be applied against and deducted from the total fee due of $ ____________ which total sum shall be paid on presentment of a certified appraisal report (or set forth the terms of payment as discussed and agreed to with the appraiser).

You agree that the certified appraisal report that will be provided will accurately comply with all the requirements of the American Society of Appraisers. You further understand and agree that you will be responsible for all costs incurred by you in connection with your valuation of the (list the item to be appraised)

In the event of an inadequate appraisal, you further agree not to disclaim any and all liability. You agree to indemnify me and hold me harmless from any and all damages I may incur as a result of your false or inadequate appraisal.

If all of the above terms meet with your approval, please countersign both copies of this letter and return one to me. Thank you for your cooperation.

Very truly yours,



(name of appraiser)

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November 18, 2011



November 18, 2011



CENTRAL VALLEY BUSINESS TIMES: Two Central Valley groups get millions for housing

[11/17/11] // Very low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities will be getting affordable supportive housing thanks to a total of $749 million in housing assistance from taxpayers via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grants will help non-profit organizations produce accessible housing, offer rental assistance, and facilitate supportive services for the elderly and persons with disabilities.


THE ACORN: $90,000 state grant will help Calabasas build a new park

By Silvie Belmond // Calabasas officials plan to use a $ 90,050 California Department of Housing and Community Development grant recently awarded to the city to develop a new downtown park that will allow visitors to relax in a natural setting. The city became eligible for the grant after it contributed $1 million from its Affordable Housing Trust to build a 75-unit apartment complex dedicated to low income seniors. To qualify for the funds, officials had to pursue a park project within a half-mile walking distance of the new Canyon Creek apartments


Senior housing group gets big HUD grant

A group that provides affordable senior housing in Fresno and Clovis has been chosen to receive just under $10.6 million in federal grant money.


PETALUMA PATCH: PEP Housing receives $14 million for low-income housing

By Karina Ioffee // PEP Housing has been awarded $13.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a part of which will be used to build new senior housing off North McDowell Boulevard.



NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS: Single-Family Housing Starts, Permits Rise in October

[November 17, 2011] // Single-family housing starts rose 3.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 430,000 units in October, according to newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This improvement was somewhat masked by an 8.3 percent decline in multifamily starts that kept the combined number for nationwide housing production virtually flat at 628,000 units in October. Meanwhile, single-family permits also posted a measurable gain of 5.1 percent to 434,000 units in the latest report, which is their fastest pace since December of 2010.



SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Upper-end home sales sag in Bay Area

By Pete Carey [11/16/11] // Sales of upper-end homes slowed throughout the Bay Area in October, the first month of lower limits for cheaper government-backed mortgages in high-cost housing areas, DataQuick reported Wednesday. The number of homes sold for $500,000 or more dropped 20 percent from a year ago, while sales of homes priced at less than $500,000 were up by 8.8 percent over the year. October is typically a slow month, so the drop from $729,750 to $625,500 for the maximum government-backed loan …


DATAQUICK NEWS: Bay Area Home Sales Up From 2010, Prices Down

[11/16/11] // La Jolla, CA -- The Bay Area housing market logged another month of lackluster activity in October as some of the recent signs of incremental market improvement began to fade. High-end sales dropped markedly, likely the result of changes to “conforming loan” limits, a real estate information service reported. A total of 6,444 new and resale houses and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area last month.


DATAQUICK NEWS: California October Home Sales

[11/16/11] // An estimated 34,087 new and resale houses and condos were sold statewide last month. That was down 3.7 percent from 35,404 in September, and up 4.3 percent from 32,669 for October 2010. California sales for the month of October have varied from a low of 25,832 in 2007 to a high of 70,152 in 2003, while the average is 43,528. …Distressed property sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short sales” – continued to make up more than half of California’s resale market.


SACRAMENTO BEE: Sacramento-area home sales rise but prices keep falling

By Rick Daysog // The number of single-family homes sold in the Sacramento region was up strongly in October but prices continued to fall, according to a new report. DataQuick of San Diego said today that a total of 1,732 homes were sold in Sacramento County last month, a 19.6 percent increase from the year-earlier period. Placer County's sales volume leaped 31.1 percent


STOCKTON RECORD: Affordable homes seem to be around every corner in S.J.

By Homes are more affordable in San Joaquin County than at any time in at least two decades. "Absolutely, 100 percent ... this is the best market we've ever seen for a buyer," said mortgage broker Don Burns of Residential Group in Stockton. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index shows that more than 84 percent of the homes on the market here in the third quarter were affordable to families making the area's median household income of $65,400.



LOS ANGELES TIMES: Fewer home loans going bad but foreclosures on rise

By E. Scott Reckard // Far fewer borrowers are delinquent on their home loans these days, a Mortgage Bankers Assn. report shows, but new foreclosure actions are on the rise in states like California, showing the nation still has much pain to endure before the housing crisis subsides. Private analysts say the nation is only halfway through the wrenching grip of the foreclosure epidemic. And that's reflected in the housing market, where home sales and prices continue to sag in many areas


CALIFORNIA WATCH: Cities increasingly use receiverships to deal with blighted homes

By Kendall Taggart // Cities throughout California are grappling with foreclosed homes and struggling or recalcitrant homeowners whose properties have become eyesores. Now, an increasing number of local authorities are initiating health & safety receiverships, a legal process in which control of the property is temporarily taken from the owner and placed with a court-appointed officer. “It’s really an emerging field and an emerging resource that cities are turning towards,” said Dean Pucci



CONTRA COSTA TIMES: Bay Area to outpace state in job growth next year

By George Avalos // The Bay Area will outpace California in job growth next year, according to a new University of the Pacific forecast. Still, the Bay Area is at least two years away from recapturing the jobs lost during the recession, stated a separate forecast by Beacon Economics. "The job market has definitely hit the bottom," said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Business Forecasting Center at UOP.


CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Putting extended familes under 1 roof

By Alejandro Lazo // Home is where not only the heart is these days — but also the elderly parents, the boomerang kids and the aging-in-place boomer homeowners. To accommodate the new generations-stacked-upon-generations lifestyle spawned by one of the most severe economic downturns in decades, builder Lennar Corp. is focusing on houses with something few others on the block can boast about: another house.



Congress cuts future funding for California's bullet train
The U.S. Senate approved a package of legislation Thursday night that eliminates future funding for high-speed rail projects, including the California bullet train. The vote, coming after a similar vote in the House of Representatives, leaves the future of the ambitious state project to create a new rail system from Southern California to the Bay Area uncertain.



MERCED SUN-STAR: Merced County residents: Living in a land of risk

By Yesenia Amaro // About 1.2 million of the nearly 4 million residents living in the San Joaquin Valley face extreme levels of environmental hazards and social vulnerability that can lead to poor health, according to a study released Monday. An additional 1.9 million people face elevated levels of the same risks, the study found. In Merced County, the only community with a "very high health vulnerability" was El Nido, while Merced and Livingston have a "high health vulnerability."


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November 16, 2011

Real Estate - Residential

$784K Verdict Against Insurance Grinch Who Stole Christmas

A woman whose house burned down at Christmastime 2009 has won a $784,000 jury verdict against her homeowner's insurer. The verdict included an 18 percent...more



Condominium Developer Cannot Enforce CC&R's After Selling All Units: Promenade at Playa Vista Homeowners Association v. Western Pacific Housing, No. B225086 (2nd Dist. November 8, 2011)

This month the Second District Court of Appeal concluded that the developer of a condominium complex lacked standing to enforce the declaration of covenants,...more

by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP


How to File Bankruptcy in About an Hour

Lately I have had quite a few people come in lately who need to file for bankruptcy and need to file it RIGHT NOW! The typical things that usually require a...more

by John Skiba


What Happens to the Mortgage when Property is Transferred to Beneficiaries at Death?

Generally speaking, if you transfer a piece of real property subject to a mortgage to another person, that transfer violates the "due on sale" clause in your...more

by Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard, P.C.


Can I File My Own Bankruptcy in Phoenix? Just Say No.

Recently the court released information on the number of people who represent themselves in bankruptcy. Arizona ranked third overall in number of "pro se"...more

by John Skiba


New Mortgage Servicing Practices

New Mortgage Servicing Practices NYS Banking Department now requires new mortgage servicing practices. Within the last few months, some of the largest...more

by Jonathan Foxx


Smith Law Group - Fall 2011 Newsletter

In This Newsletter: - SLG Assists in Jury Trial Victory - Firm Wins Discovery Mandamus - Amicus Curiae's Position Prevails - Other Noteables -...more

by Smith Law Group, P.C.


Supreme Court to Decide Fair Housing Act “Disparate Impact” Case with Broader Fair Lending Implications

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether “disparate impact” discrimination claims are cognizable under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA)...more

by Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP


Going, Going, Gone . . . California’s Solar Incentives for Builders/Developers . . . Don’t Delay . . .

Over the past few months the California Energy Commission has reported a substantial increase in the number of rebate reservation applications received for New...more

by Luce Forward


Foreign Investment in South Florida Real Estate: Good and Getting Better According to International Conference of Real Estate Experts

Foreign investment in South Florida is growing and industry experts are predicting that next year, in 2012, there will be even more international interest in...more

by Rosa Eckstein Schechter


Going, Going, Gone . . . California Solar Incentives for Builders/Developers . . . Don't Delay . . .

Over the past few months the California Energy Commission has reported a substantial increase in the number of rebate reservation applications received for New...more

by Kathleen Carpenter, Esq.


Tackling Pollution Exclusions To Chinese Drywall Claims

Originally published in Insurance Law360 - November 8, 2011. Federal and state courts in Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana have now published at least...more

by Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP


Who Owns Shale Gas? PA Superior Court Decision Creates Uncertainty

As many property owners throughout Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale counties have learned in recent years, ownership of the surface does not necessarily include...more

by McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC


Arizona Insurance Department Places PMI Mortgage Insurance Company Into Receivership

On October 20, 2011, the Director of the Arizona Department of Insurance filed a Complaint to place PMI Mortgage Insurance Company (PMI) into receivership in...more

by Reed Smith


Important Changes to Federal Bankruptcy Rules Effective December 1, 2011 by Patricia Antonelli, Esq.

Mortgage holders and servicers should prepare for important changes to Federal Bankruptcy Rules of Procedure ("FRBP"), effective December 1, 2011, including...more

by Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP


Co-housing Provides Opportunity for More Sustainable Communities

In some California communities, the recent trend to build mixed use developments has morphed into “co-housing,” the practice in which homes are built to share...more

by Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP


New York State Bans Private Transfer Fee Obligations; Joins Majority

On September 23, 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Senate Bill 5203A and Assembly Bill 7358A, codified as the “Private Transfer Fee...more

by Cole Schotz

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November 15, 2011

Sewer Tax Discrimination Case to be Decided by Supreme Court

Municipal Minute


Sewer Tax Discrimination Case to be Decided by Supreme Court

Posted: 15 Nov 2011 06:25 AM PST

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the appeal of a tax discrimination case against the City of Indianapolis in Armour, et al., v. Indianapolis, et al.  This case grows out of sewer tax assessments on residents of the Northern Estates subdivision.   When the City made plans for a new sanitary sewer project, it provided homeowners with the option of paying the taxes up-front or by way of an installment plan over a period of years.  Owners of 31 parcels opted to pay the entire amount up-front, while the remaining subdivision owners chose to pay the sewer tax in installments.


Subsequently, the City Council adopted a new plan to finance the sewer project that would impose a flat fee per dwelling to connect to the sewer system.  In adopting the new plan, the City abandoned the existing tax assessment system and decided to forgive all assessment amounts that remained due from the homeowners.  As a result, the owners of 142 parcels in the Northern Estates Subdivision no longer needed to pay any more installments of the assessments.  The 31 owners who had paid the sewer assessments up-front requested that the City refund those assessments, and when the City refused, the homeowners brought suit. 


The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City, holding that the City did not violate the Equal Protection Clause because forgiving only the outstanding assessment balances was rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest.  The Indiana Court accepted the City's justifications for the new financing plan, including that (1) the original financing plan imposed financial hardships on middle- and low-income property owners who were in need of sanitary sewers due to failing septic systems and (2) the owners who had paid the sewer assessments up-front were financially better off so the two groups of owners (those who paid up-front and those who opted for the installment plan) were not on equal legal footing and did not need to be treated equally.


This case should be of interest to municipalities in setting taxing and other assessment rates that might differ between classes of people or properties.  


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November 14, 2011


November 14, 2011




PALO ALTO ONLINE: Equity prepares to buy East Palo Alto apartments

By Gennady Sheyner // Despite protests from the community and concern from the City Council, Wells Fargo Bank is now finalizing its sale of more than 1,800 housing units in East Palo Alto to a single buyer with a nationwide portfolio. The firm Equity Residential announced Friday that it is preparing to take ownership of the Woodland Park housing portfolio that was previously owned by the Palo Alto-based company Page Mill Properties. … The company, according to the statement, plans to operate the apartment community "with a commitment to maintaining its status as affordable, workforce housing in a region with a lack of available alternatives in this category of housing."



SAN BENITO PINNACLE: City spikes some developer fees, drops others

[11/11/2011] // Hollister City Council members on Monday voted 3-2 to approve new traffic impact fees for developers in a move that would drastically drop levies for residential units while spiking currently non-existing fees for commercial projects and others. Council members approved the fees associated with a "traffic impact nexus study" from a consultant hired by the Council of San Benito County Governments. That study is designed to link impact fees - which go toward road improvements - to the cost of new development. …


SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE: Train station parking holds key to Solana Beach project

By Jonathan Horn [11/12/11] // SOLANA BEACH -- Take notice the next time you drive to the Cedros Avenue train station in Solana Beach. You could be contributing to the eventual redevelopment of the coastal city’s major hub. That’s because Solana Beach and the North County Transit District this month began a study that ultimately could pave the way for a new commercial and residential development at the Cedros Avenue train station. The key piece of information they need is how locals and those from around the region use the center’s parking lot …


LOS ANGELES TIMES: Firms turning to environmental law to combat rivals

By Nicholas Riccardi // To halt a competing project near USC, Conquest Student Housing turned to a legal weapon that one of its co-owners allegedly compared to a crude bomb: cheap and destructive. Conquest owned 17 buildings that rented to USC students. When the developer Urban Partners proposed erecting a new complex to house 1,600 students, Conquest sued under California's landmark environmental law. It then filed similar challenges to unrelated Urban Partners projects elsewhere …


SACRAMENTO BEE: Dan Walters: Data differ greatly in California property tax debate

[Opinion] // It's amazing that more than three decades after its passage, Proposition 13 is still such a polarizing political symbol. Those on the right revere Proposition 13 for slashing property taxes and making it more difficult to raise other taxes, while those on the left see it as political deviltry, denying sustenance to vital public services. The latter know that a frontal assault would fail. …



LOS ANGELES TIMES: More Californians able to afford homes

By Alejandro Lazo [11/11/2011] // It's the silver lining of falling home prices: With low interest rates and cheaper housing, the percentage of Californians who could afford to buy a home increased in the third quarter, a real estate group said. The portion of households that could afford a home priced at the statewide median of $292,120 rose to 52%, up from 51% in the previous quarter, according to an index released Thursday by the California Assn. of Realtors. …


SAN FERNANDO VALLEY BUSINESS JOURNAL: Housing Affordability on the Rise in California, Industry Group Says

By Andrew Khouri // Low home prices and interest rates in California are making homes increasingly affordable for potential buyers, the California Association of Realtors said Thursday. During the third quarter, the number of home buyers who could afford a $292,120 single-family home — the state-wide median — was 52 percent, a one percent increase from the previous quarter, the organization said. Still tight lending restrictions are holding back purchases. …


CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: C.A.R. releases Q3 Housing Affordability Index

[Press Release: 11/10/11] // LOS ANGELES -- Lower home prices and record-low interest rates in the third quarter of 2011 contributed to an improvement in housing affordability for California home buyers, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.  The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California rose to 52 percent in the third quarter of 2011, up from 51 percent in second-quarter 2011 and was up from 46 percent in the third quarter of 2010 …


STOCKTON RECORD: Dorm with a view

By Scott Smith // STOCKTON - Rooms atop the glitzy University Plaza Waterfront Hotel hardly resemble your traditional college dorm. After all, they come with dazzling views of Stockton's waterfront and periodic housekeeping. The hotel's owner, Patrick Willis, spent $2.5 million transforming the upper floors with designs to lure University of the Pacific students who couldn't get on-campus housing. In addition to remodeling the rooms, he's wired the entire hotel with Wi-Fi …



HUNTINGTON NEWS.NET: College Students in Merced, CA Rent Underwater McMansions, Saving Money, Annoying Neighbors

By David M. Kinchen // If California didn't exist, somebody would have to invent it -- it's that different from most other places. I speak from experience living there from 1976 to 1992 -- most of that time spent covering real estate at the Los Angeles Times.  So I wasn't surprised when I read in The New York Times about students at the University of California-Merced saving money that would be spent on expensive dormitories deciding to rent foreclosed houses -- often ending up spending as little as $200 a month rent for luxurious digs with swimming pools and Jacuzzis and separate bedrooms …


NEW YORK TIMES: Animal McMansion: Students Trade Dorm for Suburban Luxury

By Patricia Leigh Brown [11/12/11] // MERCED, Calif. — Heather Alarab, a junior at the University of California, Merced, and Jill Foster, a freshman, know that their sudden popularity has little to do with their sparkling personalities, intelligence or athletic prowess. … Here in Merced, a city in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley and one of the country’s hardest hit by home foreclosures, the downturn in the real estate market has presented an unusual housing opportunity for thousands of college students.



SACRAMENTO BEE: New rules aim to simplify refinancing for troubled homeowners

By Susan Tompor [Detroit Free Press] // If you are a troubled homeowner hoping to refinance, pay attention next Tuesday as details come out on a new federal program that could make it easier starting in late December or early in 2012. In the meantime, be sure you keep up with your mortgage payments so that you can qualify for the new deal. …

The revised Home Affordability Refinance Program could apply to a broader base of people.


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Mortgage fraud: State a holdout in bank settlement

By Andrew S. Ross [11/13/11] // With all due respect to the Occupy Wall Street movement and its local offshoots, there are some real battles being waged on behalf of members of the 99 percent that have little do with tent encampments, general strikes and shutting down the Port of Oakland. Take the case pitting California Attorney General Kamala Harris against the combined forces of the Obama administration and the nation's biggest banks. Harris said Sept. 30 that she would not be party to a proposed …



LOS ANGELES TIMES: Formerly homeless, they know whereof they speak

By Nita Lelyveld // Don't just walk by quickly, looking straight ahead. If you notice a person living on the street, don't pretend you don't. That's what Victor Rodriguez chose to say to a group gathered downtown one evening last week to hear from people who once were homeless and who know how it feels not to be seen. Rodriguez, 52, now lives in the Dewey Hotel Apartments, operated by the Skid Row Housing Trust …


NEW AMERICA MEDIA.ORG: San Francisco's Homeless Black Youth Invisible

By Peter Schurmann // SAN FRANCISCO – At 18, Valerie Klinker was kicked out of her grandmother’s house in San Francisco’s Fillmore District. Despite being without a roof, alternating from parks to cars to SROs, Klinker says she never identified as homeless, a fact that, in the eyes of the city, made her all but invisible. Indeed, advocates for homeless people here say there is a growing number of young African Americans who, like Klinker, are becoming homeless as the ongoing recession and nationwide trend of urban black flight erodes access to traditional safety nets. It’s a trend, they add, that’s happening largely under the city’s radar. …



SMART MONEY.COM: New Options for Gay Retirees

By Catey Hill // Not too long ago, there was no such thing as a gay retirement community in America. But as the number of retirement facilities which cater specifically to seniors with a common interest, hobby or trait has multiplied, so too have the options for gays and lesbians. There are currently about a dozen seniors-only housing developments that are marketed specifically to gays and lesbians, says Andrew Carle, the founding director of the senior housing administration at George Mason University. That's up from just a few a decade ago. …



U.O.P. EBERHARDT SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: California and Metro Forecast November 2011

Press Release: 11/11/2011 // (Stockton, Calif.) – The economic outlook for California over the next two years has deteriorated according to the most recent report from the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific. Real Gross State Product is forecast to grow 1.5% in 2012 and 2.2% in 2013 before picking up to a 3.5% to 4% pace in 2014 and 2015 after housing begins to significantly contribute to growth. Job growth will remain at a 1% to 1.5% annual pace through 2013, enough to keep pace with the labor force but to slow to bring the California unemployment rate below 10% until the end of 2014….


FRESNO BEE: Fresno program helps people build bridge to better life

By Valerie Gibbons [11/13/11] // Jesse Alonzo's job was at a dead end. As a quality control supervisor for a local irrigation parts company, Alonzo's $10-an-hour paychecks weren't doing much to help make ends meet. But with 16.5% unemployment in his southeast Fresno neighborhood, the 50-year-old Alonzo had few other choices. When he dropped by an information booth for the Bridge Academy at a job fair last spring, all [of] that began to change. The academy, run by the Regional Jobs Initiative …



SACRAMENTO BEE: Agencies' bond blitz carries a big cost

By Loretta Kalb & Phillip Reese [11/13/11] // Targeted for extinction and running out of time, California's redevelopment agencies earlier this year embarked on a wave of costly borrowing unequaled in their history. When the dust settled, the agencies with a mission of helping economically galvanize California's urban areas had incurred a record $1.2 billion in new bonded indebtedness secured by property tax growth, according to a Bee analysis of records from the California State Treasurer's Office. The money didn't come cheap. …



ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Immigrants' return to Mexico alters Santa Ana

By Cindy Carcamo [Part I of II] // …The loss of the food bank is just one result of the changes in the flow of people between Orange County and Mexico. With the downturn in the economy, Mexicans residing in Santa Ana legally and illegally began to look south. In the city of about 325,000, this Mexican flight has manifested itself in a number of ways: Census data show a decline in the city's Latino population. Schools report plummeting enrollment. Foreclosed homes abound in historically Mexican immigrant neighborhoods. …



EARTH TECHLING: Making Solar Work for Public Housing

By Lauren Craig [11/11/2011] // With their often large, flat roofs, public housing projects are an obvious target for solar energy developers who want to maximize the technology’s social and environmental benefits. But in most parts of the United States, many hurdles make installing solar energy systems on public housing financially unfeasible. California’s Multi-family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) incentive program is one of the few state incentives specifically designed to help clear those hurdles. Everyday Energy, an Oceanside, Calif.-based solar installer specializing in affordable housing and multi-tenant buildings, has installed several photovoltaic (PV) systems under the program …

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October 31, 2011

the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) andthe National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers (NAIFA)

October 25, 2011Edward DeMarco, Acting DirectorFederal Housing Finance AgencyMark SimpsonCollateral Risk Policy DirectorFreddie MacRobert MurphyDirector, Collateral and Single-Family Risk PolicyFannie MaeThe undersigned professional appraisal organizations – the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) andthe National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers (NAIFA) – are writing in connection withyesterday’s announcement by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the GSEs of changes to theHome Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). These changes are designed to create refinancingopportunities for borrowers whose mortgages are owned or guaranteed by the GSEs, “while reducingrisk for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and bringing a measure of stability to housing markets.”While our organizations strongly share these objectives, we seek clarification of the collateralvaluation component of the new program which eliminates the need for a new property appraisalduring the refinancing underwriting process “where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuationmodel) estimate provided by the Enterprises.In the “HARP Phase II Q&A’s” portion of thedocument released yesterday, FHFA and the Enterprises state that “We are further streamlining theEnterprises’ existing use of AVM estimates of properties. Where there is a reliable AVM estimate of value provided by the Enterprises, a new appraisal will not be needed. Where there is not a reliableAVM value, a new appraisal will be required.” (Emphasis added)Recognizing the important public policy objectives and the temporary nature of HARP, the fragilestate of the housing markets and the mortgage payment difficulties faced by many homeowners, ASAand NAIFA do not object to this limited use of Enterprise AVMs when they are determined to bereliable. However, given the importance of reliable collateral valuation to consumers, to taxpayers andto the safety and soundness of the GSEs; and, given the strong consensus that professional appraisalsare far more likely than AVMs or other valuation products to produce the most accurate fair marketvalues, we seek an understanding of the specific quality control standards in place at the GSEs andFHFA to ensure that the AVMs relied on are indeed “reliable”. We also believe that the professionalvaluation community and its standards setting body, The Appraisal Foundation, could be of assistanceto the Enterprises in their development of a quality control system that eliminates the use of unreliableAVMs in any mortgage refinance transaction.While we recognize that the GSEs have developed their own AVMs, it is our understanding that untilnow, they have been primarily utilized as a check on the collateral valuations accompanying mortgagesoffered for sale to the Enterprises. Under the HARP Phase II changes, it appears that AVMs will now
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October 28, 2011



October 28, 2011



GLOBE ST: Urban Housing unveils work force units at Big Bear

By Bob Howard // Urban Housing Communities LLC of Santa Ana, CA has unveiled its Crossings at Big Bear Lake, a $17 million, 42-unit affordable housing complex designed for families earning between 30% and 60% of the area median income. The project was developed in collaboration with the City of Big Bear Lake’s Improvement Agency, Bank of America, and the project's designer, KTGY Group Inc. Architecture + Planning.



CENTRAL VALLEY BUSINESS TIMES: California housing starts climbed in September

Driven again by a “substantial increase” in the multifamily sector, California housing starts rose 10 percent in September when compared to the same month a year ago, the California Building Industry Association says Monday.



MURRIETA PATCH: Apartment deal could help fill city's housing quota

By Maggie Avants // A foreclosed apartment complex being eyed for financing by a nonprofit agency would offer low-income rents, making a small dent in the city's state-mandated low-income housing quota. Foundation for Affordable Housing, an Orange County-based nonprofit, plans to purchase Rancho Las Brisas Apartments. In addition to setting aside low-income units, the foundation plans to implement a crime-free policy.



THE DESERT SUN: valley's 9.4 percent home sales rise bests region

By Mike Perrault // Since January, 8,399 valley homes and condos have sold, nearly 5 percent more than in the first nine months of 2010, DataQuick reported. The valley is on track to see more than 10,000 home sales this year.



THE BOND BUYER: CalHFA foreclosing on rentals

By Keeley Webster // Afraid of jeopardizing its tax-exempt bond status, the California Housing Finance Agency has been foreclosing on homeowners who are renting out homes financed by the agency — even if they are current on their mortgages, according to a report by the state Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.


LODI NEWS-SENTINEL: Short sales put many homebuyers in same boat

The San Diego Associated Press reported that Banks sent nearly 26 percent more default notices to California homeowners in the third quarter compared with the previous three months, stepping up actions against those with delinquent loans in what may herald a new wave of foreclosures, a real estate information service reported Tuesday.



USA TODAY: More Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans wind up homeless

By Gregg Zoroya // As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, federal officials are seeing a growing number of young veterans on the street, according to a joint homeless study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Veterans Affairs released Friday.



CHICO ENTERPRISE RECORD: BMX track in Chico gets boost from state affordable housing project grant

By Katy Sweeny // Creating affordable housing paid off for the city Monday — or at least for BMX riders. The state has awarded $245,725 to Chico. The city plans to use the funds to improve the BMX track accessed off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, said Jaki Walker, Chico neighborhood services manager. "Ordinarily, we wouldn't be able to find money for park improvements," Walker said. The California Department of Housing and Community Development gave Chico a grant based on the number of low-income housing units the city created last year, Walker said. Chico built 105 units.


REDDING.COM: Anderson gets state money to improve streets; $3M divvied up among 38 cities, counties

By David Benda // Design work for street improvements near Volonte Park in Anderson are among the north state projects that received more than $650,000 in federal funds. The $3 million distributed by the state Department of Housing and Community Development are for economic development and went to 38 cities and counties in California. The awards were announced last week.



NEW YORK TIMES: Economy alters how Americans are moving

By Jennifer Medina and Sabrina Tavernise // The continuing economic downturn has drastically altered the internal migration habits of Americans, turning the flood of migrants into the Sun Belt and out of states like New York, Massachusetts and California into a relative trickle, an analysis of recent federal data confirms.



CA Headed For Green Meltdown
The entire rest of the world has been abandoning global warming and climate change policies. If there was any doubt about the economic success of state mandated green programs, it was erased this week after a Senate hearing about the future of alternate fuels. By the end of the four hour hearing, it was clear that climate-change special interests are thriving in California.

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October 20, 2011

Calculated Risk

Calculated Risk


Philly Fed Survey shows Expansion, Existing Home Sales NSA Grpah

Posted: 20 Oct 2011 08:59 AM PDT

The high frequency data and surveys continue to indicate some improvement. Earlier this morning, the 4-week average of initial weekly unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since April - although still elevated - and now the Philly Fed manufacturing survey indicated expansion for the first time in three months - although still weak.

Even if there has been a little rebound from the economic shock in early August, due to the threat of a U.S. default, the rebound is just to sluggish growth. And there are significant downside risks from the European crisis and premature tightening in the U.S.

As a reminder, my most used post title over the last few years has been "Jobs, jobs, jobs", and even if we see sluggish growth, jobs remain priority #1 in the U.S.

• From the Philly Fed: October 2011 Business Outlook Survey

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, increased from 17.5 in September to 8.7, the first positive reading in three months. The current new orders index paralleled the rise in the general activity index, increasing 19 points and returning to positive territory. The shipments index also recorded a positive reading, increasing from 22.8 in September to 13.6 this month.
The current employment index remained slightly positive but decreased 4 points from its reading in September. The average workweek index increased notably from
13.7 to 3.1.

This indicates expansion in October, and was well above the consensus forecast of -9.0.

Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

Here is a graph comparing the regional Fed surveys and the ISM manufacturing index. The dashed green line is an average of the NY Fed (Empire State) and Philly Fed surveys through October. The ISM and total Fed surveys are through September.

The average of the Empire State and Philly Fed surveys rebounded in October, and is now slightly positive.

• The following graph shows existing home sales Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA).

Existing Home Sales NSAThe red columns are for 2011.

Sales NSA are above last August - of course sales declined sharply last year following the expiration of the tax credit in June 2010 - but sales are also above August 2008 and 2009 (pre-revision).

The level of sales is still elevated due to investor buying. The NAR noted:

All-cash sales accounted for 30 percent of purchase activity in September, up from 29 percent in August and 29 percent also in September 2010; investors make up the bulk of cash purchases.

Existing Home Sales in September: 4.91 million SAAR, 8.5 months of supply
Existing Home Sales graphs

Existing Home Sales in September: 4.91 million SAAR, 8.5 months of supply

Posted: 20 Oct 2011 07:16 AM PDT

The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales Off in September but Higher Than a Year Ago

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million in September from an upwardly revised 5.06 million in August, but are 11.3 percent above the 4.41 million unit pace in September 2010.
Total housing inventory at the end of September declined 2.0 percent to 3.48 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with an 8.4-month supply in August.

Existing Home SalesClick on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows existing home sales, on a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) basis since 1993.

Sales in September 2011 (4.91 million SAAR) were 3.0% lower than last month, and were 11.3% above the September 2010 rate.

Existing Home InventoryThe second graph shows nationwide inventory for existing homes.

According to the NAR, inventory decreased to 3.48 million in September from 3.55 million in August.

The last graph shows the year-over-year (YoY) change in reported existing home inventory and months-of-supply. Since inventory is not seasonally adjusted, so it really helps to look at the YoY change. Note: Months-of-supply is based on the seasonally adjusted sales and not seasonally adjusted inventory.

Year-over-year InventoryInventory decreased 13.0% year-over-year in September from September 2010. This is the eight consecutive month with a YoY decrease in inventory.

Months of supply increased to 8.5 months in September, up from 8.4 months in August. This is much higher than normal. These sales numbers were close to the consensus.

I'll have more soon ...

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims: 4-Week average lowest since April

Posted: 20 Oct 2011 05:39 AM PDT

The DOL reports:

In the week ending October 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 403,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 409,000. The 4-week moving average was 403,000, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week's revised average of 409,250.

The following graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since January 2000 (there is a longer term graph in graph gallery).

Weekly Unemployment Claims
Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims declined this week to 403,000.

This is the lowest level for the 4-week average of weekly claims since April, and this was slightly above the consensus forecast. This is still elevated, and still above the post-recession lows of earlier this year.

Europe Update: Prepare to be underwhelmed

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 06:35 PM PDT

A few articles ahead of the meeting this weekend ...

From the Financial Times: Eurozone leaders meet in Frankfurt

France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy flew to Frankfurt on Wednesday night for an emergency meeting with leading players in the eurozone crisis including German chancellor Angela Merkel, as Franco-German differences bedevilled attempts to agree a comprehensive package of measures.
excerpt with permission

From the NY Times: Leaders in Europe Take Time From a Farewell to Negotiate a Bailout Deal

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, tried to play down expectations, saying that it would not be possible “to erase the mistakes of the past in just one stroke.” A European summit meeting Sunday ... will be just “one point” in “a long journey.”

From the WSJ: Doubts Grow on Euro Fund

European officials are discussing a scenario in which governments issuing bonds would borrow from the bailout fund to guarantee a portion of the bond issues—a move that would increase debts for already troubled economies.

Pressure is rising ahead of a weekend summit of European leaders billed as critical to stemming the region's deepening debt crisis.

And from the Financial Times: EU bank recap could be only €80bn. The IMF was calling for a €200bn plan, and some estimates were for €275bn. Maybe they should do another stress test and announce all the banks passed - that has worked well before - Not!

Housing Starts increased in September
Rate of increase slows for Key Measures of Inflation in September
AIA: Architecture Billings Index declined in September
2012 Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustment approximately 3.6% increase

LA Port Traffic in September: Exports increase year-over-year, Imports Down

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 06:32 PM PDT

The following graphs are for inbound and outbound traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in TEUs (TEUs: 20-foot equivalent units or 20-foot-long cargo container).

Although containers tell us nothing about value, container traffic does give us an idea of the volume of goods being exported and imported - and possible hints about the trade report for August. LA area ports handle about 40% of the nation's container port traffic.

To remove the strong seasonal component for inbound traffic, the first graph shows the rolling 12 month average.

LA Area Port Traffic
Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

On a rolling 12 month basis, inbound traffic is down 0.3% from August, and outbound traffic is up 0.9%.

Inbound traffic is "rolling over" and this might suggest that retailers are cautious about the coming holiday season. However, the National Retail Federation says that imports will be pick up in October:

[T]he [import] statistics were skewed because of high-than-normal numbers in 2010 when fears of shortages in shipping capacity caused many retailers to bring holiday merchandise into the country earlier than usual.
“After a summer of trying to compare apples to oranges, retail cargo is back to normal [in October],” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “October is the historic peak of the shipping cycle each year, and retailers are bringing merchandise into the country on their usual schedule and at normal levels again instead of being forced to move cargo early."

The 2nd graph is the monthly data (with a strong seasonal pattern for imports).

LA Area Port TrafficFor the month of September, loaded inbound traffic was down 4% compared to September 2010, and loaded outbound traffic was up 12% compared to September 2010.

Exports have been increasing, although bouncing around month-to-month. Exports are up from last year, but are still below the peak in 2008.

Imports have been soft - this is the 4th month in a row with a year-over-year decline in imports. However, if the NRF is correct, imports will pick up in October to the highest level this year.

Merle Hazard: "Diamond Jim"

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 01:03 PM PDT

Housing Starts increased in September
Rate of increase slows for Key Measures of Inflation in September
AIA: Architecture Billings Index declined in September
2012 Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustment approximately 3.6% increase

A new song from blog favorite Merle Hazard about banking regulation. A creative joint venture of Merle Hazard & Marcy Shaffer (see Marcy's site for lyrics). Song by Merle Hazard, Marcy Shaffer and Curtis Threadneedle.

And from Paul Solman at the PBS NewsHour site, including a link to his 12 1/2 minute interview with former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson, discussing the song.

Fed's Beige Book: Pace of economic growth "modest" or "slight""

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 11:06 AM PDT

Fed's Beige Book:

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that overall economic activity continued to expand in September, although many Districts described the pace of growth as "modest" or "slight" and contacts generally noted weaker or less certain outlooks for business conditions. The reports suggest that consumer spending was up slightly in most Districts, with auto sales and tourism leading the way in several of them. Business spending increased somewhat, particularly for construction and mining equipment and auto dealer inventories, but many Districts noted restraint in hiring and capital spending plans.
Consumer spending was up slightly in September. The majority of Districts reported increases in auto sales, with the largest improvements in San Francisco and New York.
Respondents indicated that labor market conditions were little changed, on balance, in September. ... Most Districts reported that wage pressures remained subdued.

And on real estate:

All twelve Districts reported that real estate and construction activity was little changed on balance from the prior report. Residential construction remained at low levels, particularly for single-family homes. That said, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Minneapolis noted small increases in single-family construction, and construction of multifamily dwellings continued to increase at a moderate pace in Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Home sales remained weak overall, and home prices were reported to be either flat or declining across all of the Districts. In contrast, rental demand continued to rise in a number of Districts.

Commercial real estate conditions remained weak overall, although commercial construction increased at a slow pace in most Districts.

This was based on data gathered on or before October 7th. More sluggish growth ...

Housing Starts increased in September
Rate of increase slows for Key Measures of Inflation in September
AIA: Architecture Billings Index declined in September
2012 Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustment approximately 3.6% increase

Rate of increase slows for Key Measures of Inflation in September

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 10:06 AM PDT

Earlier today the BLS reported:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis ... The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent in September, its smallest increase since March.

The Cleveland Fed released the median CPI and the trimmed-mean CPI this morning:

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% (2.3% annualized rate) in September. The 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index increased 0.2% (2.5% annualized rate) during the month.

Over the last 12 months, the median CPI rose 2.1%, the trimmed-mean CPI rose 2.5%, the CPI rose 3.9%, and the CPI less food and energy rose 2.0%

Note: The Cleveland Fed has a discussion of a number of measures of inflation: Measuring Inflation. You can see the median CPI details for September here.

On a year-over-year basis, these measures of inflation are increasing, and are around the Fed's target.

Inflation Measures
Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

On a monthly basis, the median Consumer Price Index increased 2.3% at an annualized rate, the 16% trimmed-mean Consumer Price Index increased 2.5% annualized in July, and core CPI increased 0.7% annualized.

These key price measures increased at a lower rate than in August.

Housing Starts increased in September
AIA: Architecture Billings Index declined in September
2012 Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustment approximately 3.6% increase


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September 20, 2011

Help Is at Hand

Help Is at Hand
Q. Who should I contact if I have questions about the Uniform Mortgage Data ProgramSM (UMDPSM) and its components?

A: We would recommend first visiting to view resources posted on our UMDP and related pages. You can also contact your Fannie Mae representative for assistance. But don't wait. If you have challenges with understanding and implementing these requirements, the sooner you reach out for help the better.

DU for Government Loans September Release Implemented
Fannie Mae successfully implemented the Desktop Underwriter® (DU®) for government loans September 2011 release. This release included a new field for the FHA TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard, FHA loan limit changes and message updates, and updates for HUD Mortgagee Letter 2011-11.
New B2B File Transfer Solution Coming Soon
Fannie Mae's National Underwriting Center (NUC) is introducing a new business-to-business (B2B) file transfer solution. Users will be able to transfer documents to NUC electronically, helping to reduce paper handling and shortening the time required to fulfill requests. B2B provides secure file transmission and delivery, and enables bulk transfers of files. Select lenders will begin onboarding around September 26, 2011. For details, review the Quality Assurance System page and access the B2B Reference Materials.

September 20, 2011

Underwriter's Puzzler
Risky Business?
Jane Youngbuyer has applied for a mortgage loan. You must underwrite the loan manually. How can you determine the overall risk of this loan and determine if it is eligible for sale to Fannie Mae? What's the answer?


Economic Insight
Fannie Mae Releases August Consumer Indicators
Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy, home prices, and household finances, according to Fannie Mae's August National Housing Survey. Information from the August 2011 survey can help focus our collective efforts on stabilizing the housing market.


Certificate of Completion Available for Using the Uniform Appraisal Dataset Tutorial
Using the Uniform Appraisal Dataset is a self-paced tutorial that reviews how to apply the new UAD requirements and guidelines when completing appraisal data files. Underwriters can use the information in the tutorial to interpret appraisal data files completed using the UAD standards. We have now added a Certificate of Completion to the tutorial, which participants can print out after completing the tutorial and its accompanying course evaluation.
Temporary High-Balance Loan Limits Set to Expire September 30
The High-Cost Area (HCA) loan limits for high-balance mortgage loans (HBLs) will change for loans originated after September 30, 2011. Barring congressional action, the "temporary" loan limits now in place will expire on that date, and loans with mortgage note dates on or after October 1, 2011, will be subject to the "permanent" limits.

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August 06, 2011

Fannie Mae Releases New Monthly Indicators

News Release  
  July 07, 2011  
Fannie Mae Releases New Monthly Indicators


Provides Timely Insights into Key Consumer Attitudes Driving Housing Decisions

Monthly Survey Report Assesses Opinions about Owning a Home, Renting a Home, and Household Finances

WASHINGTON, DC — Fannie Mae's new monthly national consumer attitudinal survey report provides eleven indicators offering a window into the opinions of Americans across the country. These behavioral insights convey what consumers think about the outlook for owning and renting a home and about their household finances, and may serve as key inputs for determining the future course of investment across housing types.

The most detailed attitudinal survey of its kind, the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey polls 1,000 Americans each month via live telephone interview to assess their attitudes toward owning and renting a home, mortgage rates, homeownership distress, household finances, and overall consumer confidence. Homeowners and renters are asked more than 100 questions used to track attitudinal shifts (findings are compared to the same survey conducted monthly beginning June 2010). Fannie Mae conducts this survey and shares monthly and quarterly results so that we may help industry partners and market participants target our collective efforts to stabilize the housing market in the near-term, and provide support in the future.

"Our survey data on key aspects of the housing environment and Americans' household financial situations offer a comprehensive view of the marketplace that hasn't existed previously," said Doug Duncan, Vice President and Chief Economist of Fannie Mae. "There's been strong interest across the industry for a monthly consumer attitudinal data set of this size. The data have only a very short lag from collection to delivery and at present show how sensitive consumers are to contemporaneous events. We see a continued lack of confidence among consumers on home prices, the ability to sell their homes, and the state of their personal finances — all of which point to housing as a continued downside risk to economic growth going forward."

For detailed findings from the June 2011 survey, as well as technical notes on survey methodology and the questions asked of respondents associated with each monthly indicator, please visit the Fannie Mae Monthly National Housing Survey site at Also available on the site are quarterly survey results, which provide a detailed assessment of combined data results from three monthly studies.

The June 2011 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey was conducted between June 1, 2011 and June 28, 2011. Interviews were conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, in coordination with Fannie Mae. Forthcoming Fannie Mae National Housing Survey Monthly Reports will be released on or around the seventh day of every month.

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July 27, 2010

Online Exclusive Videos:

Online Exclusive Videos: An Interview with Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary
In this video extra to an interview in the July issue of Architectural Record, Donovan discusses retrofitting and increasing awareness among average Americans about green buildings. Donovan also discusses how important design is to HUD's affordable-housing mission. He also talks about the Marcel Breuer-designed HUD headquarters in D.C.--and how he is embarking on a plan to renovate the space to improve how it facilitates collaboration. (
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June 25, 2010


The Harris Company, Residential Appraiser-Appraisal Blog, 310.337.1973, Southern California,


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The Harris Company, Residential Appraiser-Appraisal Blog, 310.337.1973, Southern California,


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The Harris Company, Residential Appraiser-Appraisal Blog, 310.337.1973, Southern California,


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August 04, 2009

appraiser, appraisal

Ohio AG Sues Carrington For Unfair Practices
in News > Mortgage Servicing

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and the Ohio Department of Commerce have filed a lawsuit against Santa Ana, Calif.-based Carrington Mortgage Services LLC alleging that the company breached its agreement with the state to offer reasonable loan modifications to eligible borrowers.

The lawsuit also alleges that Carrington violated Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act by providing incompetent, inadequate and inefficient customer service in connection with its servicing of Ohio mortgage loans.

Cordray is the first attorney general in the nation to file suit against a mortgage servicer in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.

"This lawsuit makes it clear that we have reached zero tolerance for this kind of behavior from loan servicers," says Cordray. "We've tried to work with them, but now we must take action. I am determined to see that mortgage servicers step up, take responsibility and start making it right with Ohioans. No more excuses."
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July 27, 2009

Apartment Appraiser, Apartment Appraisal

Vacancy Rates for Rental Housing Highest Since ‘96
Apartment Appraiser, Apartment Appraisal
Washington, D.C.--National vacancy rates for rental housing in the second quarter 2009 were 10.6 percent, a 0.4 percent gain from the previous quarter, according to the latest report by the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau. The Census Bureau found that the rental vacancy rate was higher than the second quarter 2008 rate (10 percent) and higher than the rate last quarter (10.1 percent).
Fannie Mae Supplies $10.1B in Liquidity to Multifamily Industry in First Half ’09

Washington, D.C.—Fannie Mae announced that it has provided $10.1 billion in debt financing for the multifamily rental housing market in the first half of 2009.  

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July 20, 2009

Apartment Appraiser, Apartment Appraisal

From: HUD USER News Apartment Appraiser, Apartment Appraisal
A jury of knowledgeable design, community planning, and
housing professionals representing The American Institute
of Architects (AIA) and the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) has selected four outstanding
projects as national models of affordable housing.
Recipients of the AIA/HUD Secretary's Housing and
Community Design Award for excellence in residential
housing design are:
The Bridge (Homeless Assistance Center of Dallas, Texas)
The Bridge won the 2009 Community-Informed Design Award,
which recognizes design that supports physical
communities in rebuilding social structures and
relationships weakened by outmigration, disinvestment,
and the isolation of inner city areas. Widely accepted by
the homeless, a facility designed for 400 now handles up
to 1,000 people a day, and more than 500 individuals have
received training, counseling, secured employment or
permanent housing. Results are tangible and the
surrounding neighborhood is revitalizing; crime has
declined by 18 percent.
Project Place - Gatehouse of Boston, Massachusetts
Project Place won the 2009 Creating Community Connection
Award, which recognizes projects that incorporate housing
within other community amenities for the purpose of
either revitalization or planned growth. Project Place is
a new six-story, mixed-use building developed by a
nonprofit agency that offers job training, work
experience, education, housing, and support services to
men and women experiencing homelessness.
Bridgeton Neighborhood Revitalization of Bridgeton, New Jersey
Irvington Terrace of Fremont, California
Bridgeton Neighborhood Revitalization (BNR) and Irvington
Terrace both won Excellence in Affordable Housing Design
awards. This award recognizes architecture with overall
design excellence that responds to the needs and
constraints of affordable housing. BNR used HOPE VI funds
to revitalize an historic urban neighborhood by erecting
period-design housing on carefully chosen scattered sites
that had become physical barriers to pedestrian/social
connectivity and often acted as havens for illegal
activity. Irvington Terrace, a 100-unit low-income rental
housing development, uses progressive modernist forms in
the context of a traditional village square-like
development. Apartments feature stoops and porches to
encourage resident interactions and are oriented to the
square, which offers amenities such as a swimming pool;
fountain; and sunny, shaded, planted areas.
  Apartment Appraiser, Apartment Appraisal
More information on these winners and the Secretary's
Award program is located
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July 07, 2009

Loan-Modification Work May Flout Ethics Rules, N.J. Panels Warn

Loan-Modification Work May Flout Ethics Rules, N.J. Panels Warn
New Jersey Law Journal

Attorneys who represent customers of mortgage-modification companies are at risk of losing their law licenses if they split fees with the financiers, two New Jersey Supreme Court committees say. In a joint opinion, the committees state that accepting legal fees from such a company, or dividing with the company a fee paid by a homeowner, constitutes impermissible fee-sharing, and an attorney who engages in such a practice "imperils his or her license to practice law."
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July 03, 2009

A new law passed by Congress and signed last week by President Obama provides protections for tenants

Published on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 10:17 PM PDT

A new law passed by Congress and signed last week by President Obama provides protections for tenants whose landlords fall into foreclosure. Under the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, tenants have the right to stay in their homes after foreclosure for 90 days or through the term of their lease. The bill also provides similar protections to housing voucher holders.  The protections go into effect immediately and expire at the end of 2012.

At least one third of the units going through foreclosure in California are rentals.  Under current law, most California tenants are entitled to 60-days notice of eviction after foreclosure.  The new federal law increases this to 90 days.

In addition, California law provides that leases are extinguished by foreclosure, with limited exceptions.  Many tenants enter into one year leases, only to find a few weeks or months later that the property is heading for foreclosure and that their leases will be extinguished.  The new federal law provides that the lease survives the foreclosure, except that the lease can be prematurely terminated and the tenant given 90-day notice where a purchaser seeks to occupy the premises.  Some California cities have local laws prohibiting foreclosure evictions.  The new federal protections do not preempt these laws which remain in full force. 

“Congress and President Obama have shown real leadership here. Tenants are innocent victims of the foreclosure crisis, and it is about time they get some relief,” noted Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together. “This bill will provide tenants 90-days notice of eviction, require banks to honor leases, and protect Section 8 tenants after foreclosure. We look forward to the day when banks stop evicting innocent tenants after foreclosure, but until that day comes, this federal legislation will provide much-needed time for tenants across the country to find new housing and relocate.  Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Michael Capuano (D-MA), and Barney Frank (D-MA), deserve special praise for their efforts on this bill, as does the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a nonprofit organization that has been advocating for these tenant protections for over a year.”

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