January 16, 2015 |
Foreclosure filings nationwide last year fell to their lowest level since 2006 and were down by more than a million properties from 2010's recession-aftermath peak of roughly 2.87 million. RealtyTrac, an Irvine, Calif., housing data and analytics provider that tracks filings across the United States, reported Thursday that last year's 1,117,426 total filings, while down considerably from that peak, still represented an increase of 400,000 since the housing boom of the last decade began to go bust.
October 22, 2014
LISA SHEPARD followed the rules. She got a good education. She became a registered nurse and then got a law degree. Her schooling led to a good job in health-care management. She bought a home she could afford in Jessup, Md. She lived within her means. Then the recession hit. We spiraled into a housing crisis that sank the financially irresponsible and those preyed upon by predatory lenders. But it also dragged down people like Shepard, who lost her job in 2011. "I went from six figures to no figures," says Shepard, 52, who is the caregiver for her 10-year-old daughter as well as her ailing 72-year-old father.
October 13, 2014 |
The lull in foreclosures nationwide has given real estate search engine RealtyTrac an opportunity to crunch its data in several other, somewhat unusual ways. A recent example, prepared by RealtyTrac subsidiary Homefacts, ranked U.S. counties "based on the prevalence of man-made environmental hazards. " Which was interesting, of course, because Philadelphia's aggregate score placed it near the top of the hazard list of more than 3,100 counties. Each county's score was based on five environmental hazards: bad air-quality days, the number of Superfund sites, the number of brownfield sites, polluters, and former drug labs per square mile.
September 12, 2014 |
New Jersey's foreclosure-filing rate skyrocketed in August, by 115 percent over the same month in 2013, pushing the state into the Top Five, housing-data analytics firm RealtyTrac said Thursday. The Garden State had the fourth-highest U.S. foreclosure-filing rate, one in every 553 housing units, RealtyTrac reported. By contrast, Pennsylvania saw its filing rate continue to fall, by 12.06 percent year over year. Among the nation's metropolitan areas, Atlantic City had the second highest foreclosure-filing rate - one in every 292 housing units, or nearly four times the national average.
July 28, 2014 |
I thought I would weigh in one more time on "zombie" houses, subject of an article I wrote for the July 6 Inquirer's news pages. According to RealtyTrac, the real estate search engine, in the Philadelphia region there are 6,101 of these so-called zombies - houses on which the foreclosure process was begun but never completed, yet they were vacated by the homeowners early on. RealtyTrac defines the region as the city; the four suburban Pennsylvania...
July 7, 2014 |
Residential real estate has its own version of the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead. Call it Zombie Foreclosures . RealtyTrac, a search engine that collects real estate data nationwide, defines the phenomenon this way: "properties that have started the foreclosure process but have never been foreclosed and the homeowner has vacated. " One in five U.S. homes in foreclosure, or 141,406, are zombies, it says. Andrew Frank, of Long & Foster Real Estate in Blue Bell, said he's been told many zombies rose from the "robo-signing" era of 2008 through 2010, when some mortgage servicers failed to read foreclosure documents before submitting them to courts or other agencies for action.
January 13, 2014 |
Although some real estate agents in the suburbs are telling me that distressed houses are still available, it appears there are fewer now than there have been in many months. Based on the latest numbers I have - for November, as collected by RealtyTrac, the California-based foreclosure search engine - foreclosure filings (default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions) were reported for 113,454 U.S. properties. That November level was 15 percent lower than October's and a 37 percent drop from November 2012, RealtyTrac's report said.
July 1, 2013 |
Philadelphia is one of the top 15 cities for buying a fixer-upper, says RealtyTrac, the foreclosure-property search engine. Having tried over the last 32 years to fix up two of Philadelphia's houses, might I add this: Be careful what you wish for. Those houses of mine, though needing work, did not fall into the "distressed-property" category. Because RealtyTrac deals with foreclosures, it's talking about bank repossessions in the city - in this case, 865 houses built before 1960 and valued at less than $100,000.
April 23, 2013 |
Whenever John Aponik cuts the grass, bits of blue tarp get caught in the blades of his lawn mower. Around Christmas, "it gets in all the wreaths," Aponik said of the tarp that has been shredding off the house next door to his on Glen Lane in Cherry Hill, where a renovation project was abandoned four years ago. No one has lived in the house since then, Aponik said, although it isn't exactly vacant. "Raccoons, possums - cats were breeding out there," Aponik said, who has set traps lent to him by a neighbor.
February 20, 2013 |
Low mortgage rates have made buying houses more affordable and turned rentals into attractive options for investors. "In this market, at this point, it's a sweet spot," says Chris Princis, a senior executive at financial advisory firm Brook-Hollow Financial and owner of two rental properties in Chicago. "You're getting the market where it's just starting to rebound, but still at the bottom, with what's looking to be a great recovery. " Here are tips on becoming a landlord or investor in rental property: Understand what it means . If you elect to buy a property for the long-term investment potential, the goal should be to ensure that the rental income covers the cost of your mortgage and monthly maintenance costs.