Long-Distance Migration Is on the Rise

The percentage of consumers who moved more than 1,000 miles has nearly doubled in the last year, according to a survey conducted for Relocation.com, an online resource for moving services.

More than 70 percent of the people on the move relocated farther than 1,000 miles in the 12 months ending in March 2009. In the previous year, only 36 percent went that far, Relocation.com reported.

Of those who moved more than 1,000 miles, 60 percent said the move was for financial reasons such as a lost job. Nearly 41 percent of long-distance movers indicated that the recession and the housing crisis influenced their decision to move.

Only 3 percent of those surveyed indicated that they had lost a home to foreclosure, while 13 percent reported that they had lost their jobs.

“We are seeing more out-of-state moves from traditionally popular destinations, likely because of high foreclosure rates and diminished property values,” says Sharon Asher, CEO of Relocation.com.

Source: Relocation.com (05/05/2009)

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)

10 Cities Boasting Mini Sales Booms

Some cities that were hardest hit by the real downturn are experiencing mini sales booms.Las Vegas real estate properties are down 28 percent in price, but sales of homes are up 15 percent.

Motivated buyers accounted for 64 percent of Las Vegas sales in October, says Radar Logic, a derivatives firm. That’s the highest rate in the country.

“There’s a pretty active housing market, it’s simply at a lower-priced inventory,” says Michael Feder, chief executive of Radar Logic. “And there are now bidding wars taking place over homes in foreclosure.”

Phoenix and San Diego are reporting similar experiences.

“We’re clearing out the bad news,” says Kiva Patten, a director at Merrill Lynch specializing in housing derivatives.

“By the end of 2010 – that’s where we’re calling the bottom in the forward market. You’re going to get a small price appreciation in 2011,” says Patten. “It’s not like the turn is 10 percent per year, it’ll be something like 3 percent or 4 percent.”

Here are the cities where experts say it makes the most sense to buy now.

  1. Las Vegas
  2. Sacramento, Calif.
  3. San Diego, Calif.
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Detroit
  6. Phoenix
  7. San Francisco
  8. Washington, D.C.
  9. San Jose
  10. Atlanta

Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey

 

Why Are Property Taxes Still Rising?

Property taxes continue to rise across the country, despite steep declines in home values.

Property tax collections across the United States rose 3.1 percent this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). That means state and local governments will collect more than $400 billion in property taxes this year—a record amount.

Most states have caps that prevent taxes from rising rapidly in boom times. The same laws keep taxes from plummeting when home values decline.

“Property taxes aren’t always popular, but they are a very stable tax, even in tough times,” says Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

Source: USA Today, Dennis Cauchon (12/04/08)

Home Sales Rise in Military Towns

Homes near military bases are escaping a slowdown in sales due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For instance, home prices in Clarksville, Tenn., the nearest residential area to Fort Campbell, Ky., rose 6 percent in the second quarter of 2008, compared to the previous year, while average home prices in the U.S. fell a record 4.8 percent during the same time period.

In Fayetteville, N.C., next door to Fort Bragg, the average price for an existing home was up 5.2 percent from a year earlier.

In Minot, N.D., where Minot Air Base, is located, average home prices rose 6 percent in the second quarter, In August, they were 10 percent higher compared to prices in August 2007.

The Veterans Administration says use of its home loan program has increased 34 percent in the last 12 months.

Source: The Associated Press, Kristin M. Hall