The Collected Works of Author and Blogger Larry Roberts

Archive for 2012

I have profiled many stories of the capricious nature of the housing bubble and how it impacted people for better and for worse. The daily HELOC abuse posts have covered the odious behavior of borrowers from all walks of life. Usually I relegate those stories to the bottom of the daily posts because they are so common they no longer rise to the definition of "news." However, when I discovered today's featured property I was astounded at the scale of the HELOC abuse. When I did a search on the name of the owner I came across an interesting back-story of divorce, deceit, and elder abuse. The story is so compelling, I decided to make it the focus of today's…[READ MORE]

Banks are slowing their acquisition of foreclosures to reduce their standing inventory of REO. They are also slowing the rate at which they are selling on the MLS and putting fewer and fewer homes for sale. Delinquent mortgage squatters are not taking up the slack and listing their homes as short sales, primarily because they get a free ride if they simply wait and do nothing until the bank finally forecloses. With both banks and loan owners choosing not to list their homes, the inventory available for sale on the MLS has fallen substantially. Until the incentives change, neither banks or loan owners are going to replenish the MLS inventory. Tight supply is forcing potential buyers to compete for the…[READ MORE]

Payment affordability is very high by historical standards. That means people who borrow most of the money to buy a home -- which is about 70% of buyers -- the cost of monthly payments is low relative to a borrowers income. But is this a good measure of affordability? A recent paper argues it is not. Further, they argue that affordability is still a major problem hindering demand. [gview file="http://irvinerenter.com//wp-content/PDF/AndrewDavidsonpaper0612.pdf" height="725" width="550" save="1"] I recently wrote about this issue in Record low interest rates fail to spur demand. Interest rates are at record lows, and prices are at or below rental parity in most markets, yet demand is low and sales volumes are weak. Most real estate shills blame intransigent…[READ MORE]

Foreclosure Radar just released its report on May foreclosures. The change in bank's behavior since the beginning of the year is becoming apparent. Lenders are determined to steadily reduce their standing REO inventory. At current liquidation rates, they will have cleared out the backlog of standing inventory by the middle of next year. Of course, this comes at a price. Lenders are not making headway on shadow inventory, and those who have been delinquent on their mortgages for a long time are going to get to squat even longer. Lenders are hoping these people will opt to short sell their properties. In all likelihood, since doing nothing gets them month after month of free housing, most will stay committed to…[READ MORE]

What separates homeowners from people who don't own homes? The answer is not as simple as you might think. If you go back to antiquity, the person who "owned" a house was generally the strongest warrior who was capable to taking it and holding it against all rivals. Over the last 500 years the development of government and stable laws of land ownership made it possible for ordinary people to have claims to real property stronger than the edge of a sword or the barrel of a gun. One of the first attempts to establish property title was the English Doomsday Book of the 11th century. The King set out to establish who owned what so he could better establish…[READ MORE]

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