Loan modifications to make news in D.C. today

The Obama administration plans to announce today a campaign to pressure mortgage companies to reduce payments for many more troubled homeowners as evidence mounts that a $75 billion taxpayer-financed effort aimed at stemming foreclosures is foundering, according to the  New York Times.

“The banks are not doing a good enough job,” Michael S. Barr, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial institutions, told the Times. “Some of the firms ought to be embarrassed, and they will be.”

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

Whole Foods visit underscores societal divide

It’s easy, especially in Manhattan, to be color-blind and, at the same time, viewed as a racist.

That was the lesson that I had driven home the other day at my local Whole Foods on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  As we all know, the divide between those who shop there and those who work there can be an unbridgeable chasm.  So it seemed that day.

In line to pay for my few items, I realized that I had purchased the wrong pie (at half price) and needed to exchange it for another.  The cashier at station No. 2, a pleasant tall, lanky black woman wearing eyeglasses, said she’d be happy to wait for me to collect the pie that I really wanted.

I hustled to the bakery section and high-tailed back to the cashiers, unwittingly depositing the pastry at station No. 4, where the black woman manning the cash register (or whatever they call that thing in this computer age) was stocky and covered with tattoos. Continue reading

Waste not, want not

Under the category of my pet peeves, the file is thick. Most folks don’t much like popcorn ceilings, kitchens in which the refrigerator seems miles from the sink or windowless rooms created from the combination of two or more apartments.

One pet peeve that doesn’t always register with buyers immediately is useless space that is not just an interior room. For example, too many apartments, most of them pre-war and especially those that have been renovated, suffer from space wasted on hallways.

Photo of an illuminated hallway taken by Eric Rice.

All too often, the entry to some pre-war apartments requires a hike from the door past one or two bedrooms, a closet and sometimes a bath before you ever get close to the living room. Real estate brokers like to call hallways such as these “galleries” in a spasm of puffery that best would be squelched. Continue reading

After Solaria auction, how does Miami sound?

Dream on. (Photo by HellFire Designs.)

Buying into Miami’s foreclosure glut will soon be a whole lot easier, according to the New York Times.

It seems that Miami-Dade County will use online auctions for the thousands of delinquent properties that have made South Florida a center of the recession.

The Web site, will become fully operational on Dec. 7, making Miami-Dade the largest of 12 Florida counties in the process of replacing courthouse auctions with online sales.

County officials here expect the number of properties sold, now about 450 a week, to triple, slowing the growth of an inventory of 110,000 foreclosures.

The online system would end, or at least make digital, what many officials describe as a process steeped in speculation, trickery and, occasionally, physical conflict.

Lloyd McClendon, the chief executive of RealAuction.com, which has contracts to run the county auctions across Florida, said nearly 11,000 bidders had registered, including at least one person from New Zealand.  Said he:

“It opens it up to a wider audience, and really the sale prices are more in line with what they should be.  Before, these bidders would do deals among themselves. This is fairer to all who are involved.”

How does that rubric go?  You pays yer money and ya takes yer chances.  Something like that.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

Mortgage rates drop to seventh-month low

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.78 percent this week, down from last week’s 4.83 percent, says Freddie Mac. Last year at this time, it was 5.97 percent. In April, it also reached 4.78 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.29 percent in comparison with 4.32 percent last week and 5.74 percent last year. The 15-year FRM has never been this low since Freddie Mac started tracking it in 1991.

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) dipped to 4.18 percent from 4.25 percent. A year ago, it averaged 5.86 percent and hasn’t been so low since Freddie Mac started tracking it in 2005.

The one-year Treasury-indexed ARM was unchanged from the previous week at 4.35 percent but below the 5.18 percent rate one year earlier. The one-year ARM has not been so low since the week ending July 7, 2005, when it averaged 4.33 percent.

Subscribe by Email

Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

Some things could be ‘further from the truth’

Given that it’s Thanksgiving (happy holiday!), you very likely overlooked an odd letter to the editor in the Home section of the New York Times.

In his comments, the owner of a Brooklyn real estate brokerage takes issue with an economic professor’s contention in a Nov. 5 article that the “Realtor has the incentive to start high to get a bigger commission. . . ”  Continue reading

Selected home prices declined 8.9% in 3rd quarter

If even one of the sales and price reports that are released were accurate, the world would be a better place.  The best that can be said about them, whether from the federal government or the National Association of Realtors, is they might possibly be useful in perceiving trends.

Case-Shiller has problems for anyone living in the heart of a city.  Its reports cover whole metropolitan regions; for example, the New York figures cover Manhattan, Queens, Westchester and suburban New Jersey, which couldn’t be more disparate.  Moreover, the indices unapologetically ignore the sale of apartments.

Whatever.

Yesterday, the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index posted an 8.9 percent decline in the third quarter versus the third quarter last year.  It was, the company said, a “marked improvement” over the 14.7 percent decline in the annual rate of return in the second quarter of 2009 and the 19.0 percent drop in the first quarter.

But the New York Times noted today that the housing recovery’s momentum was slowing.

Continue reading