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According to CoreLogic, cash home sales in the U.S. accounted for 31.8 percent of total home sales in October 2016, down 2.7 percentage points year over year from October 2015. The cash sales share peaked in January 2011 when cash transactions accounted for 46.6 percent of total home sales nationally. Prior to the housing crisis, the cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent. If the cash sales share continues to fall at the same rate it did in October 2016, the share should hit 25 percent by mid-2018.


  • The national cash sales share was 31.8 percent in October 2016
  • The national distressed sales share fell 2.9 percentage points year over year from October 2015
  • The national distressed sales share fell in all but eight states

Real estate owned (REO) sales had the largest cash sales share in October 2016 at 59.2 percent. Resales had the next highest cash sales share at 31.7 percent, followed by short sales at 30.2 percent and newly constructed homes at 15.9 percent. While the percentage of REO sales within the all-cash category remained high, REO transactions have declined since peaking in January 2011.

National distressed sales share of total home sales, of which REO sales made up 5 percent and short sales made up 2.6 percent in October 2016. The distressed sales share of 7.7 percent in October 2016 was the lowest distressed sales share for any month since October 2007. At its peak in January 2009, distressed sales totaled 32.4 percent of all sales with REO sales representing 27.9 percent of that share. The pre-crisis share of distressed sales was traditionally about 2 percent. If the current year-over-year decrease in the distressed sales share continues, it will reach that “normal” 2-percent mark in mid-2018.

All but eight states recorded lower distressed sales shares in October 2016 compared with a year earlier. Maryland had the largest share of distressed sales of any state at 18.6 percent in October 2016, followed by Connecticut (18.3 percent), Michigan (17 percent), New Jersey (15.8 percent) and Illinois (14.7 percent). North Dakota had the smallest distressed sales share at 2.7 percent. While some states stand out as having high distressed sales shares, only North Dakota and the District of Columbia are close to their pre-crisis levels (each within one percentage point).

Alabama had the largest cash sales share of any state at 47.5 percent, followed by New York (44.5 percent), Indiana (41.8 percent), Florida (41.5 percent) and Missouri (38.8 percent).



from   By Michael Gerrity


08/19/2013 By: Esther Cho


The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is allowing borrowers who went through a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, or short sale to reenter the market in as little as 12 months, according to a mortgage letter released Friday.

Description: Description:

Borrowers who experienced a foreclosure must wait at least three years before getting a chance to get approved for an FHA loan, but with the new guideline, certain borrowers who lost their home as a result of an economic hardship may be considered even earlier.

For borrowers who went through a recession-related financial event, FHA stated it realizes “their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.”

In order to be eligible for the more lenient approval process, provided documents must show “certain credit impairments” were from loss of employment or loss of income that was beyond the borrower’s control. The lender also needs to verify the income loss was at least 20 percent for a period lasting for at least six months.

Additionally, borrowers must demonstrate they have fully recovered from the event that caused the hardship and complete housing counseling.

According to the letter, recovery from an economic event involves reestablishing “satisfactory credit” for at least 12 months. Criteria for satisfactory credit include 12 months of good payment history on payments such as a mortgage, rent, or credit account.

The new guidance is for case numbers assigned on or after August 15, 2013, and is effective through September 30, 2016.


Please try Florida

Please try Florida

The latest Pinellas County real estate statistics are in for February 2013.  Pinellas County includes St Petersburg to Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island, Maderia Beach, Tierra Verde, St Pete Beach, Redington Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and several other lovely cities along the Gulf of Mexico and the Tampa Bay.  In our area the number of condos and townhomes that were purchased with cash in the last year has risen 19%. During the same time period, Feb 2012-Feb 2013, single family homes that were purchased with cash rose 24.4%. Sales history over the last few years has also shown us that March and April are definitely our highest months for closings of all types of properties.

However, the number of condo and townhome short sales closings has decreased by 8.6%. Hooray! The  number of traditional sales over the year is up 20.1% for condos and 24.1% for single family homes. Our inventory is low with only a 5 month’s supply of properties for sale. So with a low inventory and more sales, the prices will be driven higher due to demand. I know that I am having a difficult time finding my buyers what they want for the price that they would like to pay. It is no longer a buyer’s market. I am advising them to adjust their criteria a bit now because it is only getting more and more difficult each month to locate their dream homes and the prices will continue to increase. The majority of the buyers that I am working with are looking for condos or single family homes in the price range of $150,000 to $1.5 million. So as you can see it is affecting quite a range of property types and prices. Many of the buyers that I am working with are from out of state or from other countries. They have made comments that they know if they want to own something in Florida, that now is the time to purchase before they can no longer afford to purchase. So come on down, I am waiting for you!
611 34th Ave NE covered porch

Late last night the U.S. House of Representatives voted 257-167 to pass the U.S. Senate’s plan to avert the ‘fiscal cliff.’ President Obama has said he will sign the bill into law. Congress agreed that current tax rates will stay the same for households that make less than $450,000 annually, and $400,000 annually for individual filers. This coupled with the fact that there will be no change to capital gains taxes, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) believes there will be no change financially for the vast majority of home buyers and sellers.

Here are few key issues that affect REALTORS®, home buyers and sellers.

  1. Congress excluded a capital gains tax increase for sale of a principle residence of up to $500,000 ($250,000 for individuals). The tax rate on capital gains would also remain the same, at 15 percent, for most households, but for those earning above the $400,000-$450,000 threshold, the rate would rise to 20 percent.
  2.  The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was extended. This provides relief to troubled borrowers when some portion of mortgage debt is forgiven. This averts the crisis many short sales were facing with the New Year. The mortgage cancellation relief extension is for one year.
  3. Congress extended deductions for mortgage insurance premiums, state property taxes, and local property taxes. The limitation is that he write-off is available only to borrowers who have an adjusted gross income below $110,000.
  4. The mortgage interest deduction was left untouched, continuing tax relief for homeowners.
  5. Tax credits for energy-efficiency home improvements. This provides tax credits of $200 to $500 for owners who install energy-efficient windows, insulation and other upgrades designed to cut energy consumption in 2012 and 2013.
  6. Tax credits for new energy-efficient new houses. This allows builders and contractors to claim a $2,000 tax credit on new homes constructed in 2012 and 2013 that meet federally specified energy-conservation standards. The bill also extends credits for U.S.-based manufacturers of energy-efficient refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers. As with other energy-related tax provisions, this had expired last year and will now be continued through 2013.

Not all aspects of the fiscal cliff have been dealt with, and come February Congress will be required to re-engage the issue to deal with the national debt ceiling and required federal budget cuts.

All in all, it’s not too bad.

Real Estate Tax Talk   By Stephen Fishman Inman News®

Over the  past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in  mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales.  It’s important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that  mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10  things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt  forgiveness:

1.  Normally, when a lender forgives a debt — that is, relieves the borrower from  having to pay it back — the amount of the debt is taxable income to the  borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through  a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

Fortunately,  under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to  exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your  principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don’t have to pay  income tax on the forgiven debt.

2. The  limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may  exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring,  as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To  qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve  your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement  mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence — that  is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Second  or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement — for  example, to pay off credit card debt — do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you  qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of  Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness ,  and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the  debt was forgiven.

8. Debt  forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or  car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases,  however, other tax-relief provisions — such as bankruptcy — may be  applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your  debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement,  Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must  show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property  foreclosed.

10. Examine  the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the  information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the  amount of debt forgiven in Box 2  as well as the value listed for your home in Box    7.

The IRS has  created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to  determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you  through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law  questions.

For more  information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS  Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments.  You can get it from the IRS website at

Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including “Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors,  Freelancers and Consultants,” “Deduct  It,” “Working as an Independent Contractor,” and  “Working with Independent Contractors.” He  welcomes your questions for this weekly column

from Inman News

Affluent international buyers, attracted by fire-sale prices, are snapping up real estate in some U.S. markets.  In a report released March 23rd, 2012, Inman News identifies 10 markets where public records indicate foreign buyers make up the biggest share of overall buyers.

Most of the markets are located in sunny Florida, though areas in Nevada, Arizona, New York and Hawaii are also on the list. The report highlights the economic and personal factors that drive foreign buyers to buy; their preferred property types; top countries of origin; how they find the real estate professionals they work with;   why the selected markets appeal to them; and relevant demographic and housing-related characteristics for the markets, including share of foreign-born population, distressed property footprint, home-price trends, and vacancy rates.

Researched and written by Inman News reporter Andrea V. Brambila   to see full report:

shutterstock_2520715-Saint-Petersburg-No-9 Photo via Shutterstock

Waterfront homes in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area. Photo via Shutterstock





#9 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.

Total population (2010): 2,783,243
% of all homes sold that were purchased by buyers with a foreign mailing address in the public record (May ’11 – Jan. ’12) 2.9%
Median sales price for existing, single-family homes (Q4 ’11): $135,500
Median sales price % change (Q4 ’10-Q4 ’11): 3%
Median sales price for condominiums/co-ops (Q4 ’11): $63,700
Median sales price % change (Q4 ’10-Q4 ’11): -23.8%
Top 3 countries of origin for foreign buyers: Canada, United Kingdom, Israel
% of people who moved in the past year who were foreign-born and moved from abroad (2010) 2.1%
Walk Score: 48

The Tampa  metro area accounted for 11 percent of international sales in Florida in the 12 months through June 2011,  according to a National Association of Realtors report. Only the Miami and Orlando metro areas, also on this list,  surpassed the Tampa  area’s share of the state’s international sales.

A public records analysis by  DataQuick revealed that, of all homes sold in the Tampa metro area between May 2011 and January  2012, 2.9 percent were purchased by buyers with a foreign mailing address.

Of the four counties that make up  the Tampa area, Pinellas  County (which includes St Petersburg, St Pete Beach, and all the beaches to Clearwater) had the highest concentration  of buyers listing a non-U.S. home address, at 4.6 percent, followed by Hillsborough County at 2.2 percent.

Pinellas and Hillsborough make up  the areas surrounding Tampa   Bay. They also contain  all three of the metro area’s largest cities and account for most of the  metro’s population of nearly 2.8 million.

During the time period examined by  DataQuick, foreign buyers purchased resale condos at a higher rate than any  other property type in three out of the area’s four counties. Only in Pinellas County did foreign buyers purchase new  homes at a slightly higher rate (10.5 percent) than they purchased existing  condos (9.7 percent).

Almost three-quarters (72.3 percent)  of the area’s foreign buyers were Canadian. Israel  and the U.K.  each accounted for about 4 percent of the area’s foreign buyers.

Carl Stratton, broker and general  manager at Dennis Realty and Investment Corp in Lutz, Fla.,  said the overseas buyers who work with his firm hail from Canada, Israel  and South America.

“Canada  and Israel have not had  their housing markets fall like they have in America, so the timing is not as  good to buy in their countries. South Americans see owning property in Florida (as) a status  (symbol) in addition to it being a good investment,” he said.

“Also, regardless of America’s current housing crisis, our housing  market has always bounced back, and foreign investors are banking on Tampa’s real estate leading  the country in a housing market rebound.”

His international buyers are  typically buying and renting out investment homes with three to four bedrooms,  two bathrooms and a garage.

“(It’s) good timing to buy now in the U.S.  Tampa Bay  home prices are producing a better return on investment for the rental-home  buyers compared to the same type of homes bought in different cities around the  country,” Stratton  said.

The median sales price for existing  single-family homes in the fourth quarter was $135,500, up 3 percent from the  year before. Condos sold for a median $63,700, down nearly 24 percent on a  year-over-year basis. The condo median sales price was the third-lowest among  the 10 markets featured in this report. (Condos in that price range are not generally located on the beaches but within 20 minutes of them.)

“I think Tampa/Clearwater  is a desirable and well-known large metropolitan area and has surprisingly  low-priced real estate in comparison to South Florida.  Right now the foreign buyers are buying with cash,” Stratton said.

He added that foreign buyers are open to buying  foreclosures or short sales as long as the properties meet their requirements.

Nearly 17 percent of overall sales  in the Tampa metro area were foreclosure sales  in the last three months of 2011 — the lowest share among the Florida markets on this  list and below the national rate. Nevertheless, the Tampa area had an above-average foreclosure activity rate in fourth-quarter 2011, with 1 in 149 units receiving a foreclosure filing.

“North Tampa and  Central Pasco County  (have) many newer homes available for sale. These are particularly attractive  to investors,” Stratton said. “Since there is … an abundance of  these properties currently being foreclosed on and ‘short sold,’ there is a  unique opportunity for foreign and domestic investors alike to invest in these  properties.”

Money transfers and tax regulations  can be challenging when working with foreign investors, said Stratton.

“Depending on the country, it can be difficult having the money  transferred over for the closing, so special considerations  need to be made prior to closing,” he said.

“Foreign investors need to  consider all the rules of our (Internal Revenue Service) as well as the  investors’ home-country tax regulations where the funds are originating. If the  investor doesn’t follow the rules correctly, he could have penalties from one  or both countries that will negatively affect his return on his investment.  Most foreign investors will form  a corporation and (buy) the properties in the corporation.”

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. Metro U.S.
% homes sold purchased by buyers with non-U.S. mailing address (May ’11-Jan. ’12) 2.9% 1.1%
Hernando County 1.8%
New homes 0%
Resale condos 11.1%
Resale houses 1.8%
Hillsborough County 2.2%
New homes 2.1%
Resale condos 6%
Resale houses 1%
Pasco County 1.5%
New homes 0.4%
Resale condos 6.5%
Resale houses 1.3%
Pinellas County 4.6%
New homes 10.5%
Resale condos 9.7%
–Resale houses 1.1%
Median sales price for existing, single-family homes (Q4 2011) $135,500 $163,500
Median sales price % change (Q4 ’10-Q4 ’11) 3% -4.2%
Median sales price for condos/co-ops (Q4 ’11) $63,700 $160,800
Median sales price % change (Q4 ’10-Q4 ’11) -23.8% -1.7%
Population (2010) 2,783,243
% of people who moved in the past year who were foreign-born and    moved from abroad (2010) 2.1% 2.3%
% population age 1 or above that is foreign-born (2010) 12.8% 13.1%
% foreclosure sales (Q4 ’11) 16.7% 23.7%
Foreclosure activity rate (Q4 ’11) 1 in 149 units 1 in 222 units
Vacancy rate (2010) 17.6% 13.1%
Top 3 countries of origin for foreign buyers (May ’11-Jan.    ’12) % of all foreign buyers in metro
Canada 72.3%
United Kingdom 4.7%
Israel 4.1%
Other 18.9%
Interesting little tidbit…
Daily Real Estate News  June 28,
2011  |  

‘Secret’ Short Sale Reward in Florida?

Two lending giants are reportedly offering
home owners who are behind on their mortgage a cash reward to agree to a short
sale in Florida

JPMorgan Chase & Co.
and Wells Fargo & Co. aren’t releasing many details about the short-sale
incentives, but defaulting home owners in Florida have confirmed that they’ve
received anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 from the banks in order to agree to a
short sale.

To help home owners avoid
foreclosure, banks have offered a “cash for keys” program, offering money in
exchange for surrendering the home, but banks offering incentives for a short
sale would be new, industry insiders say. Usually a the perception is that banks
agree to do a short-sale transaction as almost a favor for home owners, experts

The banks won’t say why only some
home owners are being chosen to receive the cash incentives, nor its criteria
for choosing who gets it, only saying it’s determined by “individual
circumstances,” according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The short-sale incentives are a way for the two banks to write
off the bad loans as soon as possible and avoid the lengthy process of
foreclosure, experts say.

Wells Fargo
says they offers the cash incentives to home owners in Florida and other states
“where the foreclosure process is lengthening,” spokesman Tom Goyda told the
Florida Sun-Sentinel.

In the first three
months of 2011, the average foreclosure in Florida took 619 days, according to
RealtyTrac Inc.

Source: “Chase Borrowers Getting Cash to Complete
Short Sales,”
South Florida
Sun-Sentinel (June 27, 2011)

By Brien McMahon

RISMEDIA, January 14, 2011—In today’s complex housing market, real estate agents are handling an increasing volume of short sales. While many agents view short sales as a win-win for both homeowner and buyer, they can cause many complications if not properly understood and executed.

Since there is no provision in the mortgage agreement for a short sale, the primary lien holder—the mortgage servicer—must approve the homeowner’s request for one. Any additional parties with liens against the property, such as a second mortgage holder, must also approve the request before a short sale can commence. While each short sale scenario is unique and includes numerous variables, the primary benefit to the homeowner is simple—it lets them avoid foreclosure on their credit record at a time when a good credit history is critical for financial and personal reasons.

Homeowners rarely enter into this process on their own—instead they rely on real estate agents, attorneys and/or other vendors to communicate directly with the mortgage servicer. Since each servicer has their own guidelines and requirements, they play the lead role in approving or declining the terms of a short sale.

The Role of MIs in Short Sales
Generally, if the property was purchased with less than a 20% downpayment and required private mortgage insurance (MI), once the servicer determines the sale meets its requirements, they must request the mortgage insurer’s approval of the sale as well.

That’s because the MI company is not obligated to pay a claim until a clear property title is acquired via the foreclosure process, and must waive certain coverage requirements each time they approve a short sale to preserve the insured lender’s coverage.

MI companies generally consider short sale requests for two reasons: for loss mitigation purposes and to provide the homeowner with an alternative to a potential foreclosure. With each request, an in-depth review of the following is conducted:
-Purchase amount relative to property value and seller costs, such as real estate commission: To determine if they are reasonable.
-Loan purpose: To determine why the property was originally bought, i.e., as a primary/second home or an investment property.
-Default situation: To determine the reason why a short sale is being requested.
-Homeowner’s financial situation: To assess the homeowner’s employment status, credit report, income and assets, checking account statements and tax returns to make a decision on the short sale.

Homeowner Contribution and Pitfalls
While many short sales occur due to the homeowner’s obvious financial difficulties, some involve “questionable” hardship, where there does not appear to be financial difficulty so severe as to make a financial contribution impossible. Mortgage insurers strive to make their approval terms favorable so a short sale can be finalized, but it’s important that homeowners with questionable hardship—determined by the in-depth review of the homeowner’s personal and financial situation—realize they may be required to participate financially in the workout. This is typically accomplished via a cash contribution, or execution of an unsecured promissory note to repay a reasonable portion of the loss.

Making Short Sales Work
Despite obstacles that can arise, one of the keys to short sale success is the turnaround time it takes to process each short sale request.

As one of the nation’s largest mortgage insurers, Radian is leading the way in expediting this type of workout. The company estimates it will review more than 11,000 short sale requests in 2010, typically responding to each within two business days with an approval or feedback as to what is needed to obtain an approval.

When it comes to short sales, agents are dealing with homeowners and buyers who, quite simply, cannot afford to wait days—or even months—for an answer. As a behind-the-scenes ally, Radian has the experienced resources in place to move quickly, providing immediate feedback to servicers so they can consider and issue their final approval in the fastest time possible. This ensures a win-win for homeowners, buyers, servicers and agents alike.

Brien McMahon is chief franchise officer of Radian Guaranty Inc. More information may be found at

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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