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MainStreet.com quoted me in Housing Shortage Presents Challenges for Buyers. It reads in part,

While the housing demand continues to outpace supply in various urban pockets around the U.S., potential homeowners are faced with competing bids from other buyers.

The pent-up demand has created bidding wars from New York to San Francisco, putting additional pressure on homebuyers, many who are buying their first home in an unprecedented climate.

Despite weaker job growth, there remains a shortage in housing supply to satisfy current demand, said Jeff Meyers, president of Meyers Research, a Beverly Hills, Calif. data provider for real estate. Job growth is expected to pick up throughout this year, which will only increase demand. Unemployment will finish at 6.4% in 2014, which will be its fourth consecutive year of improvement, according to a forecast from Zonda, a mobile application for the residential homebuilding industry.

While all local markets experience their own dynamics and quirks, areas such as San Mateo county in California have more demand for housing because of a strong job market and limited development activity compared to weak demand in Wayne County in Michigan due to poor labor market conditions and an embattled housing market, he said.

Consumers with extra cash have the upper hand in trying to win a bid, especially in markets such as Manhattan where demand for a two-to-three bedroom apartment has pushed prices up to the $1.5 million to $3 million range, said Kinnaird Fox, director of development at Fenwick Keats Real Estate in New York which specializes in residential properties.

“This fierce competition created bidding wars with nearly every new listing since the beginning of 2014,” she said. “Cash rules for obvious reasons in a market like this.”

The bidding war frenzy has turned off many qualified buyers who are wary of the increase in prices, Fox said.

“Despite what seems like a booming sellers’ market, many qualified buyers may be looking, but choose not to jump in,” she said. “With buyers losing out on their bids, buyer fatigue sets in and some withdraw from the market. One could say the lack of inventory masks the actual demand.”

While some cities have a weak demand for housing, many have an even weaker supply, which yields in a housing shortage, said David Reiss, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School in New York.

“Some communities place severe restrictions on new housing construction so even modest upticks in demand can push rents and prices higher,” he said.

Buyers should not forget the fundamental rule of real estate. Location can have far reaching effects, especially if you are moving a significant distance, said Reiss.

“Perhaps first and foremost, ask whether the house you are considering is the right one for your family,” he said. “If the answer is yes, then you are probably on the right track because a house is first and foremost a home and secondly an investment.”

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Freddie Mac has created a useful new tool, the Multi-Indicator Market Index(SM) (MiMi(SM)).The press release states that it is

a new publicly-accessible tool that monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 50 metro markets.

MiMi combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to calculate a range of equilibrium for each single-family housing market covered. Monthly, MiMi uses this data to show, at a glance, where each market stands relative to its own stable range. MiMi also indicates how each market is trending — whether it is moving closer to, or further away from, its stable range. A market can fall outside its stable range by being too weak to generate enough demand for a well-balanced housing market or by overheating to an unsustainable level of activity.

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In today’s first release of MiMi, several key findings emerged that highlight the current state of the nation’s housing market as of January 2014:

  • The national MiMi value stands at -3.08 points indicating a weak housing market overall. From December to January the national MiMi improved by 0.03 points and by 0.81 points from one year ago. The nation’s housing market is improving based on its 3-month trend of +0.17 points and moving closer to its stable and in range status. The nation’s all-time MiMi low of -4.49 was in November 2010 when the housing market was at its weakest.
  • Eleven of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia are stable and in range with North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Wyoming, Alaska, and Louisiana ranking in the top five.
  • Four of the 50 metros are stable and in range, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and New Orleans.
  • The five most improving states from December to January were Florida (+0.11), Tennessee (+0.11), Michigan (+0.09), Louisiana (+0.07), Nevada (+0.07), and Texas (+0.07). From one year ago the most improving states were Florida (+2.12), Nevada (+1.84), California (+1.26), Texas (+1.06) and D.C. (+1.05).
  • The five most improving metros were Miami (+0.11), Detroit (+0.10), Orlando (+0.09), San Antonio (+0.09), and Chicago (+0.08). From one year ago the most improving metros were Miami (+2.54), Orlando (+2.08), Riverside (+1.87), Las Vegas (+1.81), and Tampa (+1.77).
  • Overall, in January of 2014, 25 of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia are improving based on their 3-month trend and 35 of the 50 metros are improving.

 

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The court in deciding Dietz v. Quality Loan Serv. Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. (W.D. Wash. Jan. 3, 2014) granted Wells Fargo and MERS’ motion to dismiss.

This action involved is a post-sale wrongful foreclosure case. Plaintiff Timothy Dietz alleged causes of action for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)(Counts I and IV) and violation of the Washington Deed of Trust Act (DTA)(Counts II and III).

The court in deciding this case noted that Dietz’s first and fourth causes of action were for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692g(b) and 1692e(5) respectively. These causes of action did not mention MERS  and there was no allegation in the complaint that MERS engaged in any activities that could be construed as a “debt collection.” As such, this court dismissed the FDCPA causes of action against MERS.

Similarly, the court found that Dietz had not alleged facts that gave rise to a violation of the debt validation notice requirements. Dietz’s claim that that Wells Fargo violated 15 U.S.C. § 1641(g) by failing to notify him within 30 days after it purchased the Loan. Wells Fargo purchased the Loan in 2008 and the assignment was recorded in 2011. The court found that under either date, the claim was barred by FDCPA‘s one year statute of limitations, 15 U.S.C. § 1640(e), as this lawsuit was not filed until 2013.

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The court in deciding BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. v. Blythe, 2013-Ohio-5775 (Ohio Ct. App., Columbiana County, 2013) reversed the lower court’s judgment.

Appellant Walter J. Blythe appealed the lower court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of Appellee, BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., in this foreclosure action.

Blythe challenged the lower court’s finding that BAC Home Loans Servicing had standing to foreclose in the absence of evidence that BAC was the holder of the note creating the obligation. Blythe relied on the material submitted by BAC in support of this claim. Because the copy of the note filed by BAC was specifically indorsed to Countrywide Bank, FSB, not BAC, and there was nothing to indicate otherwise, BAC had failed to demonstrate that it had standing to accelerate the note and foreclose the mortgage. Thus this court reversed the judgment of the lower court and dismissed the suit for lack of standing.

This court held that a note that had been specially indorsed to a bank under R.C. 1303.25(A) could not be enforced by a loan servicing company (LSC) that was not the transferee or successor in interest of the bank. This court also held that the LSC was not the holder of the note under R.C. 1303.32(A)(1) by virtue of the merger of the bank and a national association (NA). Further, the LSC was not a non-holder in possession entitled to enforce under R.C. 1303.31 as it had not acquired the bank’s right to the note under R.C. 1303.21.

This court noted that even if the NA had filed the foreclosure suit, there was no evidence of the transaction, merger, or mergers that gave rise to an its interest in the note. Lastly, the court held that the note was not bearer paper and could only be enforced by the bank since the note was payable to the bank, as such the bank was the real party in interest in the foreclosure action. Thus the LSC lacked standing to foreclose.

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MainStreet.com quoted me in What Bills Should You Pay First? It reads in part,

Consumers started prioritizing their mortgage payments ahead of their credit card payments as of September 2013, according to a new TransUnion study.

This reverses a trend that began in September 2008 when the mortgage crisis drove consumers to pay their credit cards bills ahead of mortgages. Consumers have placed an emphasis on paying their auto loans before their mortgages and credit card payments by a wide margin – since at least 2003, TransUnion said. The study obtained anonymous consumer information from December 2002 through December 2012, and each monthly sample included about 2.5 million consumers.

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Many consumers were faced with devaluing home prices and chose to preserve their credit line, said David Reiss, professor of law at Brooklyn Law School in New York.

“The underwater mortgage may have seemed like a sinkhole when prices were dropping and putting limited funds into it might have seemed like throwing good money after bad,” he said. “When a household’s income can’t cover all of its expenses, it has to prioritize its payments. If the mortgage is underwater, it may make sense to use those limited funds to protect assets that are integral to daily living and wage earning like an auto or to focus on tools like credit cards that may have some use going forward, if there is still any available credit left.”

Homeowners have reversed that logic with the rebound of housing prices, Reiss said.”If homeowners have equity in their home from those rising prices, prioritizing the mortgage protects that equity and keeps the household in the house to boot,” he said. “Not everyone makes such a calculation, but many do.”

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Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC has a nice graph, The Mortgage Market Overview, that helps to make sense of the massive U.S. residential mortgage market. It breaks down the $20 trillion dollar U.S. residential housing market into debt and equity and then further breaks down debt into the various available types, by market share: GSE; portfolio; private-label MBS; etc.  A picture can be worth twenty trillion words . . ..

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The Illinois court in deciding Kondaur Capital Corp. v. Sreenan, 2013 Ill. App. (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2013) affirmed the judgment of the circuit court granting summary judgment for the plaintiff.

In the summary judgment motion, the plaintiff asserted that it was the legal holder and in possession of the note at issue pursuant to the assignment from PNC.

The court held that the circuit court did not err in awarding summary judgment to the plaintiff where the defendant failed to demonstrate that the plaintiff was an unlicensed debt collector under the Collection Agency Act (225 ILCS 425/1 et seq.).

The court also held that there was no abuse of discretion in refusing to strike affidavits in support of the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment where the affidavits were premised upon documents that qualified as “business records” under Supreme Court Rule 236 (Ill. S. Ct. R. 236).

Lastly, the court held that any error in allowing the plaintiff to respond to the defendant’s affirmative defenses in the context of the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion was harmless.