10 Most Challenging Housing Markets

The hardest places to sell homes are those with falling prices and a large inventory of unsold homes.

Forbes magazine, which examined markets all over the country, concluded that Florida has the most markets that are really in the doldrums. Several cities there are overbuilt, saddled with lousy loans and flat sales.

Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a Manhattan-based real estate appraisal company that assisted with the analysis, says it is hard for a city to climb out of a slowdown because in the best of circumstances there’s generally a three- to six-month lag between the time buyers start putting a serious dent into the inventory and the time when prices start to improve.

Here are the 10 markets where Forbes says the sales opportunities are the most challenging:

  1. Miami
  2. Orlando
  3. Phoenix
  4. Tampa
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Chicago
  8. Baltimore
  9. San Diego
  10. Denver

Sources: Forbes, Matt Woolsey (04/15/08)

Lenders Stall Short Sales, Practitioners Say

Real estate practitioners across the country believe mortgage lenders are worsening the housing downturn by taking months to make decisions on short sales and sticking to high internal target prices.

As a result, home buyers are abandoning short sale properties, forcing them to be sold in foreclosure sales that typically result in lenders accepting lower prices than they could have achieved in a short sale.

“The only question banks should ask is can they make more in a short sale than in foreclosure,” according to Lighthouse Point, Fla.-based real estate practitioner Ron Rosen, who cites a “broken” system. “The answer is that in nine out of 10 cases they will lose more money in a foreclosure. But banks seem to be asking a different question.”

Some practitioners contend that lenders lack the appropriate systems and staff to handle short sale requests, while lenders insist the short sale process is complicated by the need for approvals from investors and mortgage insurers.

Still, practitioners note that a more efficient short sale process would boost prices and reduce inventory.

Source: Reuters, Nick Carey (04/22/08)

View MY home and make an offer!

Okay- this is not MY actual home, but it could be YOURS!

Lovely 4bed/2 bth home in Westview with many original details- well loved and kept! Spacious backyard with patio and two car parking pads in front of your home. Huge master suite with sitting area,- the bathroom has a sauna!! Separate Library, Brick fireplace, Hardwood floors- enclosed , screened front porch.  Asking only 145K  (this is NOT a foreclosure! the home has it all so move right in and LIVE), quiet street- wonderful neighborhood.  This is wonderful Atlanta Real Estate, invest in your future!

I’m showing BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. No signs are in the front/ do not disturb current owner- call me, I’ll be available to show within 1hr.

Groups Add Driving to Home Cost

The real cost of housing is significantly higher than we think when transportation is factored into the equation, according to a joint study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Center for Transit Oriented Development.

These organizations have developed a database that measures affordability in 52 major metropolitan areas around the country. Its interactive maps show the cost of housing alone as a percentage of income and then the cost of housing plus transportation as an income percentage.

The farther from public transportation a community is located the higher its cost of living. In some cities, the cost of housing is less than 30 percent of income, but when transportation is added in the costs can be as much as 65 percent of income.

“Gasoline at $1 and gasoline at $3 are whole different worlds,” says Dave Van Hattum, program manager for the St. Paul-based Transit for Livable Communities. “This (Web site) map brings it home to people.”

Source: Center for Neighborhood Technology and St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bob Shaw (04/22/2008)

This is why I Iive in the West End of Atlanta 🙂 We have Marta at our door- the bus, train and the most important feature a New Yorker (like myself) can ask for…..SIDEWALKS!!!  Now we will have the BeltLine, bike paths and a trail to other neighborhoods. At this time, there is no better place to buy Real Estate in GA.  

The Worst Cities for Commuters

Commuters in America’s most crowded cities spend hours in their automobiles hoping traffic will clear.

To determine the nation’s most congested city, Forbes examined traffic in the 75 largest metro areas, calculating which ones logged the longest commuting times and the longest delays.

The magazine examined data from made available by the Texas Transportation Institute, a research division of Texas A&M University.

Researchers say the worst traffic is in places where most people commute from distant suburbs to center city. The best situation is where they commute to nearby suburbs.

Here’s a list of cities where commuters spend the most time stuck in traffic:

  • Washington, D.C. Annual delays per commuter: 60 hours; commutes longer than 45 minutes, 28.3 percent.
  • Atlanta. 60 hours; 24 percent.
  • Los Angeles. 72 hours; 19 percent.
  • San Francisco. 60 hours; 20 percent.
  • Houston. 56 hours; 17.3 percent.
  • New York. 46 hours; 43 percent.
  • Riverside-San Bernardino. Calif. 49 hours; 23 percent.
  • Chicago. 46 hours; 25 percent.
  • Dallas. 58 hours; 16.5 percent.
  • Boston. 46 hours; 20 percent

Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey (04/10/2008)

Real Estate Atlanta,GA

Why Are Short Sales So Troublesome?

Short sales seem like a win-win for everyone involved, but as real estate professionals know, short sales can be hard to pull off. It can take months for the mortgage company to respond to an offer, and the lender or lenders often balk at the price.

Why doesn’t the process go more smoothly when it seems like a much better deal for everyone than foreclosure?

  • Paperwork. Gathering all the information needed to evaluate a short-sale offer can take time, says Patrick Carey, an executive vice president with Wells Fargo. The loan servicer must first determine whether the homeowner really can’t continue meeting the loan payments, then get an appraisal or broker’s opinion of the home’s value.
  • Many steps, approvals. Mortgage servicers also try to ensure that the proposed sale is an “arm’s length” transaction between two parties rather than something like a sale to a relative on sweet terms. They must also determine whether the buyer has sufficient funds or the ability to get a loan. If all those hurdles are cleared, the servicer may still need to get approval from the investor that owns the loan and provide an analysis showing that the investor will be better off with a short sale than with another solution.
  • Complications often arise. There are additional complications if the borrower has a mortgage and a home-equity loan. In that case, both parties must approve the deal – which is a challenge when the sales price may not even be enough to cover the mortgage balance.
  • Minimize delays. Carey suggests that home owners contemplating a short sale immediately call the loan servicer to get the approval process started, rather than wait for an offer.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Ruth Simon and James R. Hagerty (04/17/2008