Pilot could open the door for more
The thought of a bank or investor willing to write off a portion of your mortgage can be very attractive but it does come with it’s challenges. Over the past four years there have been attempts to have principal reduction included in modifications and up to now there have been a few clients that I am aware of to have received this opportunity.
Most have had loan amounts under the conforming amount of $417,000. My concern with this decision by Bank of America is for homeowners who have made payments on time. How are they going to feel knowing their neighbor received a principal write down? The taxpayer is most likely going to carry the burden of this move towards principal reduction. This may also be the beginning for future programs but will they make a significant impact in our community?
Santa Clara County may not have an opportunity
The conforming loan amount makes it easy for Fannie Mae or Freddy Mac to offer this in most cases. Bank of America is a servicer, they don’t own the paper on the loans they service. Fannie and Freddy inventory is primarily located in areas where homes sold under the conforming loan amount. Santa Clara County would most likely not see much activity from this pilot program.
“The program will be funded from the $699.6 million the California Housing Finance Agency received from Treasury Department‘s Hardest Hit Fund last year. A spokesperson for the CalHFA said there is no set amount of loans BofA is targeting, but the bank will be soliciting eligible homeowners soon.”
Related Article: Bank of America set to write down principal on California mortgages (Housingwire)
The General Plan over the next 30 years
On Friday March 25th I attended the 2011 Industry Summit given by the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS. Among the presenters was Sam Liccardo, San Jose Councilman and Co-Chair for the General Plan Task Force in the City of San Jose. Mr. Liccardo gave a preview of the tentative plan for San Jose that will be presented in 2012 for approval by the city.
Envision San Jose 2040 details the plans San Jose is working towards over the next 30 years and there are substantial changes that will affect the way we live in the Silicon Valley.
General Plan Projections
The plan for San Jose primarily focuses on real estate, jobs, transportation, schools, and retail. The following list highlights some of the specifics in the general plan.
- Adding 400,000 people to the current million plus population
- Planning for a 120,000 new hosing units(4,000 per year)
- Target green tech jobs
- Rail – San Jose Dirdon Station will be a major artery for BART, The Bullet train, and connection for light rail.
- Improve transportation methods – Express Lanes for busses in key areas
Attracting jobs and professionals to San Jose especially when there is competition from San Francisco. San Jose will create a competitive advantage in the following ways;
- Create urban environments for a professional work force that creates an urban experience (Downtown high rise lifestyle)
- Diversity – San Jose is a melting pot of cultural backgrounds attracting international appeal
- Our neighborhoods – Families can live in a suburban environment yet be close to high tech jobs and access to entertainment
- Developing more charter schools and embracing the success of local school districts
- Low crime rate – Traditionally San Jose has always enjoyed being one of the safest places to live
Of course there are always challenges in developing a plan of this magnitude.
- Cost to build housing in San Jose is too expensive at this time and can create a housing shortage once we work though the current surplus
- New rental housing is currently being built with rents in the mid $2,000 range creating an affordable housing shortage
- Opposition to urban high rise construction and the need to educate the community about high density housing
San Jose would like to create more retail/housing areas known as Village concepts similar to Santana Row. Santana Row has indeed created a prime example of how you can mix housing and entertainment in one location. Advantages include;
- Mixed use with ground floor retail
- Access to restaurants and entertainment
- Village concepts also reduce the need to get into your car and drive to to these locations
Development Over the Next 2-3 Years
Some of the immediate changes we can expect in the near future include;
- Construction of more downtown high-rises for high density housing
- Bus Express lanes in 2012-2013
- Construction and Expansion of San Jose Dirdon station
Affordable housing is on the chopping block while much attention is directed towards the state deficit and Governer Brown looks for ways to bring spending under control.
I wanted to bring this to your attention before the decision by our state legislature on the budget is finalized. Redevelopment agency funds are now at stake and this really affects the ability for many people to become home owners in Santa Clara County.
- The question is should we stop affordable housing in our area and focus more on rental property housing?
- Does this eliminate home ownership for families who want to have a place of their own in San Jose?
- Does this also create a void for housing programs that can’t be reinstated?
The Mercury News wrote an article that addresses this problem.
“After federal funds, the money from the redevelopment agencies is the second-biggest source of funds in California for such housing. Since San Jose created its housing department in 1988, the city has spent $834 million building 21,702 units, with an additional $3.2 billion coming from private investors.”
Foreclosure Radar reports a drop in Notice of Default(NOD) filings from this time last year. The data supports our recent experience between investors and our clients who are working to modify their loans or short sale before a NOD is filed. I have been seeing more cooperation by lenders and servicers when communicating our intent ahead of time.
Foreclosure is a Reality in 2011
The federal government has provided relief programs to help those who would like to modify their loan and the Obama administration efforts continue but there have been recent attempts by federal legislators to kill HAMP. As you see in this chart investors are also throwing in the towel and my sense is that those people who haven’t made a mortgage payment in 18+ months are now going to have to come to grips with the reality that foreclosure is on the near horizon.
Cancellations have dropped indicating that modifications and/or a short sales continue to be a challenge for some homeowners. REO numbers also indicate that banks are steadily foreclosing in Santa Clara County.
Affordable Market Hit Hardest
The chart below shows the $300,000 to $500,000 real estate market has been impacted the most in February.
The Santa Clara County Housing Trust will hold a workshop on March 22nd 2011 for homebuyers interested in down payment assistance and opportunities to purchase homes from the National Stabilization Program.
For More Information visit http://www.housingtrustscc.org/programs/nsp.php