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The NY Times is reporting that the people who profit from foreclosures see loan modifications as a bad idea. Duh. It’s bad for business. I commented:

The opinion of Mr. Katari, who has a financial interest in more foreclosures (asset managers, folks, are the people who liquidate foreclosed property for lenders) is telling. Of course he’s against loan modifications and people keeping their homes; he profits from them losing them. This is like asking a wolf if protecting sheep is wise. Put the carpenters back to work indeed! We’ve already lost 50% of (admittedly inflated) value in some precincts and 20% or more here in New York. How much bloodletting does he want? Answer: more is never enough.

Call me crazy, but with rare exception, most people would happily keep their homes if their payments were lowered. The banks simply won’t agree to make the modifications permanent because they DON’T HAVE TO. Why is all the TARP money being repaid so quickly? So they can go back to being even bigger SOBs without being beholden to Uncle Sam. Remember “too big to fail?” Bailing them out with our tax money was like sharpening the guillotine blade for our own executioner. Now that they have been sufficiently re capitalized, even the Times has reported that they have positioned themselves to bet against the market improving. Did you think that the people who brought us the sub prime debacle suddenly became good guys?

It would be nice if the administration would show some courage and, once and for all, stand up to the hedge funds and their ilk to foster some real change (wasn’t that why he was elected?). The carpenters can’t go back to work if the housing market, the backbone of our economy, is further weakened. Read the writing on the wall. We should be in a recovery by now, and the real fallout may just be starting without strong leadership. There haven’t been 3 negative years in a row in housing since the Great Depression, which ironically, was also caused by the fox watching the hen house.

I felt better after letting off that steam, for sure.

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Generally, not up. There may be pockets of improvement, as all markets are local, but we aren’t on solid ground. We haven’t grown out of the recession yet, and there are questions as to whether the gigantic spending the administration is doing will sabotage or foster prosperity. Les Christie of CNN/Money rightly observes that rising rates, foreclosures and the eventual end of the tax credit will continue to suppress prices. I agree.

There are no arguments to the contrary. Money markets are still a shambles, the public is either unemployed or freaked out, and inventory is being pelted daily with cheap REOs. While New York is not as bad as Las Vegas or South Florida, we aren’t immune either- I see more short sales and distress now than 18 months ago. It has to cycle out before we’ll see sustainable, general improvement.

Buyers are in the driver’s seat.

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According to the NY Times, foreclosure filings in New York State for 2009 are up 17 percent from 2008, with just over 48,000 cases. Not all filings automatically become bank repossessions- many  will become short sales, loan modifications or get pulled back by the homeowners through other means (like paying the arrearage if at all possible). Even with those options, the sheer raw volume of filings will end up with more REO properties hitting the market.

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The Hamptons, like Manhattan, have no MLS. Let me rephrase that: They eschew the MLS in favor of pocket listings.  It keeps status quo for the big players in the market, supresses new firms from entering the market with a level field, and is anti consumer. But it serves the established brokers well.

This interview is indicative of the way a Hamptons broker will finesse and sidestep the MLS issue. I couldn’t resist and commented. I wasn’t kind, but I wasn’t abusive. It was tempting to be obnoxious.

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The NY Times is reporting that Sacramento, one of the earliest places to decline, is now showings signs of recovery. This is hopeful news. How long before we can expect ecouraging news in White Plains, Briarcliff Manor, and Pleasantville? Well, it depends on what you view as good news. It will be the better part of a decade before we see prices approach their 2005 zenith. Sales are certainly up, but the bulk of that volume is bank -owned foreclosures, short sales, and other underpriced assets. We still need to liquidate billions in bad loans before we can say we are “healthy.” Perhaps we are out of the emergency room, but we aren’t out of intensive care. 

Westchester County buyers are still lowballing, cautious, and demanding. I think it will remian a buyer’s market until other sectors of the economy rebound. I am still listing a high number of short sales all over the Hudson Valley. They have become part of the vernacular. Moreover, New York City is in the early stages of it’s own decline. Hopefully, NYC’s problems will be far more short lived than the rest of the country.

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10 Husky Hill, Poughkeepsie, Accepted Offer

44 Morehouse, Red Hook, Accepted Offer

62 Baldwin, Patterson, Under Contract

204 Tomahawk, Yorktown, Under Contract

15 Orchard, Putnam Valley, Under Contract

5 Bayden, Ossining- Pending Sale

177 Avondale, Yonkers, Pending Sale

97 Robertson Rd, White Plains, Pending Sale (2 offers)

2 Overlook, White Plains, Pending Sale

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http://WestchesterRealEstateblog.net

http://www.jphilip.com

http://NewYorkShortSaleBlog.wordpress.com

http://www.NYShortSaleTeam.com

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