…your zip code please..?

Why did the store clerk ask me for this?  More importantly, why was I embarrassed?  I don’t like providing stores with ANY of my information, however in 2006, I HATED to give out my zip code. Among the comments received, “Whoa isn’t that the top foreclosure location?”   Then I would get defensive and explain the mortgage fraud situation – that these homes were all empty and how our communities were robbed of values, neighbors leaving us blighted although it was no fault of our own.  (yes, the entire long story)

However, from the strictly informative side- forget the long story- when I looked up my zip code I was a bit shocked by what I read.  Believe me,I’m not  ignorant about my community but I do not think the numbers paint an accurate picture.  I think these numbers have actually slowed our economic development and revitalization efforts.  On the contrary, we do have resilient neighbors and I am proud to say, despite the Black/White numbers on paper- we are thriving in the Grays!

Here is  information on a few zip codes I service:

30309

30309 is a densely populated, upscale urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily white, and mostly single. At $420,800 the average home value here is a bit higher than average for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area, so this probably isn’t the place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 33.4. There are 10,415 men and 8,324 women. The median age for men is 34.2 while for women the median age is 32.3.

30310

30310 is a urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. Median household income here ($24,604) is significantly lower than US average ($56,604). The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($69,700) is significantly lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this is probably a great place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 33.2. There are 16,121 men and 17,477 women. The median age for men is 31.3 while for women the median age is 34.9.

30311

30311 is a urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. Median household income here ($27,512) is significantly lower than US average ($56,604). The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($94,400) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains. The median age here is 33.9. There are 15,704 men and 19,526 women. The median age for men is 30.7 while for women the median age is 36.4.

30318

30318 is a urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. Median household income here ($28,589) is significantly lower than US average ($56,604). The population is primarily African-American, younger, and mostly single. The average house value here ($87,600) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains.

30327

30327 is an affluent (median household income: $114,674) upscale urban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily white, older, and mostly married couples. At $541,000 the average home value here is a bit higher than average for the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area, so this probably isn’t the place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 42.4. There are 10,111 men and 10,892 women. The median age for men is 42 while for women the median age is 42.8

30331

30331 is a rural zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($98,800) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains. The median age here is 32.6. There are 20,112 men and 24,332 women. The median age for men is 30 while for women the median age is 34.8

30344

30344 is a suburban zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily African-American, and mostly single. The average house value here ($86,200) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 30.4. There are 17,390 men and 19,363 women. The median age for men is 28.5 while for women the median age is 32.4.

30349

30349 is a rural zip code in Atlanta, Georgia. The population is primarily African-American, younger, and mostly single. The average house value here ($96,100) is lower than in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metro area as a whole, so this could be a great place to look for housing bargains.The median age here is 29.3. There are 25,720 men and 29,519 women. The median age for men is 28.2 while for women the median age is 30.2.

FBI Renews Push to End Mortgage Fraud

The FBI says it will renew its efforts to end mortgage fraud. A spokesman said last week that the FBI anticipates arresting hundreds in crackdowns scheduled over the coming weeks.

Offenses agents expect to find range from schemes that encourage borrowers to lie about their incomes to scams that rely on falsifying foreclosure information.

The FBI has set up 23 fraud task forces across the U.S. to carry out the anticipated sweep.

Source: Financial Times (06/11/2010)

Community Update..

Space ATL  Restaurant, along the Beltline (White St/Hopkins) in Historic West End, hosted a fabulous  “soft” opening yesterday!  They are now officially open Lunch- 2AM – Check them out and let’s make our local businesses dynamic!!   This restaurant/lounge is destined to be our neighborhood hangout with such late hours. The Bartender, Nick, *HOT* – has his own signature drinks.  Coming over from the “M” bar, we’re lucky to have him.

This weekend, Cleopas R Johnson Park(near the Villages at Castleberry, corner of Northside Drive and Fair Street across from Paschals) will host a neighborhood Jazz festival. www.Atlantafestivals.com  the event is free- food is not!

Friday night Art& Jazz at the Hammonds House May 22nd 6-8PM. Featuring Historic West End’s own, Linc Bennett!! www.HammondsHouse.org

Brent Brewer to show his documentary on Mortgage Fraud (When A House Is Not a Home) at Georgia State UniversityWednesday, May 20th from 12 to 1:30PM

More to come….

Willie Watkins Festival in Howell Park (Historic West End)

Malcolm X Festival in West End Park (Historic West End)

Washington Park Event (Booker T. Washington)

Mortgage Fraud Rises as Sales Decline

Mortgage fraud increased 26 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, according to a study released Monday by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute.

The increase reflects fewer loans. About $1.4 trillion in home loans were made in 2008, down a third from the previous year.

More than 60 percent of the mortgage fraud cases last year were tied to falsified applications; 28 percent reflected falsified tax returns or financial statements; and 22 percent were related to appraisals.

The fastest-growing scams, the report said, are perpetrated by foreclosure prevention specialists, who offer to rescue distressed borrowers, then flee with their money.

The 10 states with the most fraud (in descending order) were:

  • Rhode Island
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Michigan
  • California
  • Missouri
  • Colorado


Source: The Associated Press, Alan Libel (03/19/2009)

Fraud Grows, Despite More Consumer Protection

Real estate fraud continues to grow, despite aggressive responses from federal regulators.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has reported that incidents of mortgage fraud have tripled over the last two years to 21,994, with the value of the crimes quadrupling to $1.01 billion.

The crimes range from individuals lying on their applications to complex rings of identity thefts, straw buyers and appraisal fraud.

Harvard Law School professor Howell E. Jackson, who authored a study of mortgage brokers and yield spread premiums, blames the anonymity of the mortgage business. Thirty years ago, applicants went down to their local bank and dealt with a loan officer who they probably knew. Today, the business has grown and changed and most buyers never talk to a lender. Instead, they rely on a broker to get them the best deal.

Jackson estimated that brokers will earn an estimated $33 billion in commissions this year.

“People should ask their broker how much they’re making, including both yield spread premiums and direct fees, and if it’s over $2,000 they should question why,” says Jackson. “No one says the broker has to make a certain amount. It’s negotiable.”

Source: Los Angeles Times, David Streitfeld

McCain, Obama Solidify Stands on Housing

Both presidential candidates have announced plans to help voters deal with the challenging housing economy.

Here are their ideas as posted on their election websites:

Sen. John McCain:

Direct assistance to homeowners. No taxpayer money should go to real estate speculators who made bad decisions about investments.

Reform financial and lending systems to prevent a repeat.

Require participating lenders to forgive part of subprime borrowers’ loan principals and place them into new 30-year Federal Housing Administration loans.

Give financing to municipal and civic groups trying to solve problems within their own communities.

Sen. Barack Obama

Create a standardized disclosure plan that allows for full-disclosure of loan costs and provisions.

Crack down on mortgage fraud.

Give a mortgage credit to those who don’t itemize deductions.

Create a fund to help homeowners who face foreclosure refinance.

Allow bankruptcy courts to modify a homeowner’s mortgage payments.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, Lori Weisberg