Monday, February 28, 2011

Home Architectural Design

Home Architectural Design

Modern Escape Sunlight Residence by Proto Homes

Posted: 28 Feb 2011 05:03 AM PST

The Sunlight Residence sited in Baldwin Vista, Southern California. The house aimed by Proto Home as a modern escape from the day-to-day worries of life in the city, with spaces that are light and open and full of life. The oversize living and dining area has the feeling of a tree house and can be [...]

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Top Box Design

Top Box Design

Fabian Way Bridge in Swansea, United Kingdom

Posted: 27 Feb 2011 08:10 PM PST

The Fabian Way Bridge designed by Studio Bednarski Ltd is located in Swansea, United Kingdom.  Fabian Way Bridge is located at the edge of Port Tennant, Swansea, providing a gateway to the Welsh city. The leaf-shaped mast on the structure conceals the cable attachments and a spinal beam separates a bus route from the pedestrian [...]

Hotel & Residences at LA Live in Los Angeles, United States

Posted: 27 Feb 2011 07:56 PM PST

Hotel & Residences at LA Live that located in Los Angeles, United States, was designed by Gensler. The tower and attached conference center represent half of LA LIVE!'s 4 million square feet. LA Live! is a new six-block pedestrian-oriented entertainment and retail development. The project addresses a long-standing void in the urban fabric of downtown. [...]

The South Collection in Los Angeles, United States

Posted: 27 Feb 2011 07:44 PM PST

Located in Los Angeles, United States, The South Collection was designed by South group. This collection of modern residences is creating a micro neighbourhood, full of street-front retail, green spaces, designer homes and amenities. South currently includes Elleven, Luma, Evo and South Figueroa, and is growing daily with new owners, neighbours, retail, energy and life. Every [...]

Albemarle Music Centre in Hull, United Kingdom

Posted: 27 Feb 2011 07:36 PM PST

Designed by Holder Mathias Architects, Albemarle Music Centre i is located in Hull, United Kingdom. This music centre for school children in Hull, UK is a national exemplar of facilities of this kind. The £3m music centre is part of the St Stephen's regeneration development. Built on three floors, it is home to the music [...]

Student housing high quality in Camberwell, United Kingdom

Posted: 27 Feb 2011 07:25 PM PST

The Student housing high quality designed by David Miller Architects is located in Camberwell, United Kingdom.  The existing 70s building however had a rather somber, institutional disposition so the Practice's aim here was to create a light and uplifting environment. Using bold blues and greens in the communal areas and chalky tones in the studios, [...]

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

New home sales down 80% from peak, down 18.6% last year, down 11.1% last month

Posted: 28 Feb 2011 02:30 AM PST

It's always darkest before the dawn. New home sales fall to new lows an astonishing 80% off the peak.


Irvine Home Address ... 12 PIENZA Irvine, CA 92606
Resale Home Price ...... $1,133,800 

We can stay out all day or we can run around all night
Well all night, all night
Well it's time to go home
And I ain't even done with the night

John Mellencamp -- Ain't Even Done With The Night

How bad will it get for the real estate industry? We found out last week that the NAr are liars... oh, wait... we already knew that... and our dismal resale home sales figures are even worse than we knew. Plus, with the lower sales prices, real estate commissions are lower on lower volume. The combination makes for hungry realtors, mortgage brokers, appraisers, inspectors, and other related fields.

It's even worse for the new home industries. There are many consultants who make a living providing services to real estate developers and home builders. When homebuilding is off, a major component of our economy sits idle, and its workers are not buying homes. Many are squatting in houses they bought back when they had work in 2006.

I told people last year that I believed the 3rd quarter of 2010 was the bottom of homebuilder activity. I thought the homebuilder stocks were finally ready to rally on a sustained basis. I thought the dawn was finally breaking from homebuilding's long dark night. I was wrong. I know there is a seasonal component to new home sales numbers, December is always a difficult month to open escrow but there is a huge push to close escrows in process. The result is a beefy December and a thin January for homebuilders every year. That being said. These numbers are horrendous.

Sales of new homes fall a shocking 11.2%


February 24, 2011: 1:02 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The new year has brought little cheer to new-home builders: Their sales fell a shocking 11.2% between December and January and 18.6% from 12 months earlier.

The total number of new homes sold in January was a seasonally adjusted 284,000, down from 325,000 in December, the government said Thursday.

I reported last week that Irvine Company opens two new developments with 2,600 houses. Since they are the near monopolistic leader of the Orange County oligopoly on residential real estate, they operate differently than the opportunistic builders.

When prices started weakening in early 2007 and the volume dried up, the Irvine Company refused to lower its land sales price, so construction stopped. Very few homes were built in 2007 or 2008, and there were no regular production runs. So while homebuilders in the rest of the country continued to build, albeit fewer and fewer homes, the Irvine Company and its associated builders on the Ranch simply stopped. 

So now while the builders are hitting bottom in sales volumes around the country, the Irvine Company has some unmet demand for new homes which it is now gearing up to meet. To continue to function as a price-leader, it must continue to maintain a scarcity of product. When there was little demand, no supply was offered. Now that there is a little demand, the Irvine Company will deliver enough product to meet some of this demand while trying to maintain their price points. Like every other builder, they are hoping lenders can resolve their shadow inventory problem without upsetting the supply shortage that keeps prices above a natural equilibrium.

In total, the market is down 80% from its peak, which was set in July 2005, when the annualized rate of sales hit nearly 1.4 million.

The big problem facing developers is that they face significant competition from foreclosed homes, which sell at bargain-basement prices. In fact, 26% of all homes sold last year were foreclosures.

Resale of distressed inventory caused prices to go down. How fast prices go down depends on the rate at which product is released to the market.

Let me give you a real-life example: 



11/12/10 Purchase Date
3/11/11 Sale Date 

$172,000 Proforma Sale Price

$158,000 Actual Sale Price
-$10,664 Cost of Sales and Incentives
$147,336 Total Revenue from sale 

Acquisition, Carrying, and Renovation Costs
$127,000 Auction Acquisition Cost
+$12,276 Preparation for sale 
$144,276 Total Acquisition and Renovation Costs

Total Profit $3,060 

Profit Margin 2.1%

Comparable Sales
2003, 3/2, 2030 SF, $190000, $93.54/SF, SMOKEMONT CT,  $188,000
2002, 4/3, 2024 SF, $154400, $76.24/SF, CANYON CLIFF CT, $160,000
2003, 4/3, 2024 SF, $170000, $83.95/SF, COOK BLUFF AV, $170,000
2003, 3/2, 2030 SF, $189500, $93.3/SF,  HOLLOWAY HEIGHTS AV, $185,000

Comparable Rentals
10452 CANYON CLIFF CT -- 3 bed 3 bath 2492 SF -- 2002 List: $1,345 
10456 CANYON CLIFF CT -- 3 bed 3 bath 2024 SF -- 2002 List: $1,350  
4209 ROBINS RIDGE DR -- 3 bed 2 bath 1396 SF -- 2002 List: $1,200
4209 ROBINS RIDGE DR -- 3 bed 2 bath 1396 SF -- 2002 List: $1,200

When I purchased this property, I thought I would get $172,000 based on the comparable sales (two of the four are model matches). My property required extensive renovation, so I didn't get on the market until early January. 

On January 11, 2011, one of my competitors buys 10428 DENALI RIDGE Ct Las Vegas, NV 89129 at auction for $125,500. It is also a model match to mine. His business model is different than mine. Rather than fix it up, he did nothing to the property and merely put in on the market for a below-market price to make a quick sale -- and steal my buyer.

A few weeks ago, we are approached by a buyer's agent who told us that his clients had visited both properties, and they like ours much better, but since I was at $164,900 and my competitor with a model match a couple of blocks away is asking only $159,900, they offered me $155,000.

Ordinarily, I would have countered back at like $162,500 or something like that, but I took the buyer's agents gambit seriously. His clients really could go buy the other property, and with the savings, they could probably fix it up themselves (not that they would bother). Since my competitor is in a low price and has not renovation costs, he has room to cut price aggressively if he wishes. Plus, if I lose this buyer, how long will I have to wait for the next one? 

From the perspective of a flipper in 2011, my Las Vegas inventory is not fine wine. It does not get more valuable as it ages. I countered back at $158,000, and I was happy to make the deal. Not all of them are home runs.

The reason prices are going down in Las Vegas or any market where there is an excess of inventory is due to the behavior of me and my competitors as we each implement different business strategies and react to each other. One thing we all have in common is that we cannot afford to hold our inventory. If buyers are not available at prices set by previous comps, then prices are going down until a buyer is found. The higher price points hold the carcasses of flippers who held out for a better price during the decline.

"Housing is a price-driven market," said real estate analyst Michael Larson of Weiss Research Investors. "Ordinary home buyers can and will buy houses, but only if the price is right. That makes life tough for new home builders, who have to compete with distressed properties and 'nearly new' foreclosures."

The release followed Wednesday's more positive industry report showing that sales of previously owned homes had inched up slightly during January. A bulk of those sales came from bank repossessions and other distressed properties.

But there is always a market a for new homes because many people prefer a a house that nobody else has used, according to Jeff Mezger, CEO of KB Homes. Plus, foreclosures are often sold "as is" and are in poor condition.

Foreclosures often are in bad condition because it sometimes doesn't make sense financially to fix them up, particularly in a declining market. Many of my competitors do little or nothing to fix up houses relying totally on speed-to-market to make a profit. 

America's ugliest homes

"One of our biggest market segments is single moms, who don't want to have to fix up things," he said. "They look at used homes first. "They look at foreclosures and don't like what they see."

That is also one of the reason I prefer to renovate the properties and at least bring them up to the standard of the neighborhood.

Some progress has been made by home builders in reducing their inventories of unsold homes, according to Brad Hunter, chief economist with Metrostudy, a real estate information provider.

In Atlanta, builders reduced the glut by 35% during 2010. In Tampa, inventory fell more than 17%; in Phoenix, it's down more than 10%.

That absorption may be slow by historical standards, but it does indicate a trending in the right direction.

By the end of January, there were an estimated 188,000 new homes still on the market, the lowest inventory level since December 1967. It's a 7.9 month supply at the current rate of sales, down 1.2 months since last January.

The median price of home sold during the month was $230,600, a 13.3% increase compared to a year earlier.

"If you're looking for signs of a robust recovery in housing," said Larson, "you're just not going to find it anytime soon. Instead, sales, pricing, and construction activity are likely to bounce along the bottom for several quarters."

One of the things that shocked me in Las Vegas was the resiliency of the homebuilding industry. Homebuilders can adjust to any stable price point where the final sales price of the product is greater than the cost of the inputs. The cost of the sticks and bricks to make a home is less than $60/SF for production builders in many markets, so as long as prices stay somewhat above that, they can build and sell profitably. 

I was pulling comps on a property that was a 2007 auction candidate in a neighborhood where the builder restarted construction in 2010. When I pulled model-match comps, I found 7 properties: four of them were priced between $140,000 and $150,000, and three of them were priced between $180,000 and $190,000. When I looked more carefully, I could see the dates of construction are what separated the two groups. The REOs only three or four years older where selling at a 20% discount.

When house prices are in a decline, they take on the characteristics of used cars with a steep drop when it goes on the lot (or is that when it drives off the lot?). The discount for the REO was remarkable, yet homebuilders are building and selling homes. Why is that?

There is always a premium for new. Why do people pay an extra 20% for a car. Surely it isn't for the joy of losing that money as they leave the sales lot. In Las Vegas, new is very affordable. They can buy new houses at or below rental parity. Of course, they can buy REO at a steep discount to rental parity, but for a family wanting a house as an owner-occupant, the extra cost doesn't seem that large when they are still saving on a comparable rental.

Of course, like in other markets, homebuilders in Las Vegas are facing the release of inventory to the MLS and jokers like me competing with other flippers to drive prices down.

How many times will builders face the same dilemma I faced: make me a deal or I will buy a model-match from the flipper down the street? Until shadow inventory is fully processed, homebuilders will not be raising prices or output significantly. Competition from REO won't allow them to.

Take the loan mod money and run

This owner may have received principal reduction from B of A.

  • Today's featured property was purchased on 6/16/2007 for $1,080,000. The owner used a $990,000 first mortgage and a $90,000 down payment. 
  • On 3/11/2008 he refinanced with a $920,000 first mortgage and a $74,500 second mortgage.
  • On 12/28/2010 he refinances with a $729,750 first mortgage -- no longer jumbo on B of A's books, so it's no longer a risk to B of A.

Did this borrower come up with a quarter million dollars cash to pay down the loan? Perhaps the second hasn't shown up yet, but there is a chance that B of A wrote off the difference in a loan modification. If so, this peak buyer just received a huge windfall from B of A, and he has put the house for sale to cash in his chips.


Irvine Home Address ... 12 PIENZA Irvine, CA 92606    

Resale Home Price ... $1,133,800

Home Purchase Price … $1,080,000
Home Purchase Date .... 6/16/2007

Net Gain (Loss) .......... $(14,228)
Percent Change .......... -1.3%
Annual Appreciation … 1.3%

Cost of Ownership
$1,133,800 .......... Asking Price
$226,760 .......... 20% Down Conventional
5.02% ............... Mortgage Interest Rate
$907,040 .......... 30-Year Mortgage
$235,299 .......... Income Requirement

$4,880 .......... Monthly Mortgage Payment

$983 .......... Property Tax
$0 .......... Special Taxes and Levies (Mello Roos)
$189 .......... Homeowners Insurance
$47 .......... Homeowners Association Fees
$6,099 .......... Monthly Cash Outlays

-$1338 .......... Tax Savings (% of Interest and Property Tax)
-$1086 .......... Equity Hidden in Payment
$443 .......... Lost Income to Down Payment (net of taxes)
$142 .......... Maintenance and Replacement Reserves
$4,261 .......... Monthly Cost of Ownership

Cash Acquisition Demands
$11,338 .......... Furnishing and Move In @1%
$11,338 .......... Closing Costs @1%
$9,070 ............ Interest Points @1% of Loan
$226,760 .......... Down Payment
$258,506 .......... Total Cash Costs
$65,300 ............ Emergency Cash Reserves
$323,806 .......... Total Savings Needed 
Property Details for 12 PIENZA Irvine, CA 92606
Beds: 5
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 2450
Lot Size: 6,496 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Residential, Single Family
Style: Two Level, Mediterranean
Year Built: 1997
Community: Westpark
County: Orange
MLS#: S648865
Source: SoCalMLS
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 5 days
Private end of cul-de-sac location. Upgraded French doors leading to a large, magnificent residential resort style backyard with pebble tech pool, beach access, waterfall, spa, fire pit, built-in BBQ with refrigerator, elegant palms and more. This home has five bedrooms with ONE BEDROOM AND BATH DOWNSTAIRS. Upgraded Travertine floors, upgraded custom baseboards, crown mouldings and upgraded carpet. Home is open, light and bright with soaring ceilings and elegant high arched windows, custom paint, recessed lighting, built-in alarm system, 3-CAR GARAGE and more. Additional association amenities include parks, pool/spa and tennis. Close to shopping, entertainment and great schools, including Plaza Vista Elementary, UCI and much more.  

real estate home sales

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Great Home Design, Architecture and Interior

Great Home Design, Architecture and Interior

Giant Outdoor Floor Lamp by Centro Stile

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 06:40 PM PST

oversized outdoor floor lamp design

You must feel strange to hear this giant outdoor lamp floor design. Actually this over sized outdoor floor lamp inspired by the JJ table lamp but applicated on the outdoor area so the size must be modifyed. This lamp originally designed by the Jac Jacobsen in 1937 and adopted again by the Centri Stile forn for Yjing Lighting. The Great JJ Outdoor features the same design details and functionality as the table lamp – moveable arm and body providing directional illumination. This lamp made by the aluminum diffuser and structure, the base disk and weights in steel. Available in several color finishes. The white diffuser has a white interior finish and all other colors have interiors in aluminum grey. Fluorescent lamping. The arm pivots 165° in each direction, and the diffuser rotates 150° in each direction on the vertical axis. Equipped with 30 feet of wire for hardwiring (fixture does not come with a plug). For public spaces suc as : street, garden, landscaping or square, this lamp very beautiful placed since this lamp able to enhance the outdoor atmospere and performance.

oversized outdoor floor lamp design

Top Box Design

Top Box Design

The Moebius House and the Tide House in Sydney, Australia

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 09:33 PM PST

The Moebius House and the Tide House designed by Tony Owen NDM Architects is located in Sydney, Australia.  The Tide House is located on the waterfront at Castlecrag. It takes a series of white boxes and distorts them in response to site and view potential as well as programmatic issues. The second house, Moebius house faces [...]

National Museum of China Expansion in Beijing, China

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 09:21 PM PST

Located in Beijing, China, National Museum of China Expansion was designed by RTKL, a global architecture and engineering practice, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland has won an international competition to expand the National Art Museum in China. The Museum, which was completed in 1962 as one of ten buildings commissioned for the commemoration of the ten-year [...]

Silverstone pitlane in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 08:47 PM PST

Designed by HOK International, Silverstone pitlane is located in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom. The Silverstone site, approximately 850 acres, is one of the world’s most famous motor racing venues, located approximately 60 miles North of London,where the British Grand Prix is currently held. During the past few years, a number of major improvements have been implemented [...]

Chanel mobile art in Hong kong, China

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 08:32 PM PST

Chanel mobile art that located in Hong kong, China , was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The size of the Pavilion will be 29m x 45m, a total of 700sqm. The overall height is 6m, with the floor raised 1.00m above the existing ground surface. The Contemporary art container is set to travel across cities [...]

The unique glass & steel Citroën C42 showroom in Paris, France

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 08:22 PM PST

The unique glass & steel Citroën C42 showroom designed by  architect Manuelle Gautrand  is located in Paris, France. C42 marks a return to the large glass façade, only this time with a distinctively brand-centric spin; the famous double chevron logo is woven into the 30m high faceted front. The architect describes the frontage as 'an [...]

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Home Architectural Design

Home Architectural Design

N+C Townhouse by Studio101 Architects – Sustainable Recycled Timber House

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 05:15 PM PST

This new residence explores how contemporary, sustainable architecture can rest peacefully with heritage neighbors. The split-level residence follows the natural topography of the site and leads one along a continuous walkway of recycled timber before opening to the double height northern living zone. This central spine through the linear pavilion also links the internal and [...]

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Top Box Design

Top Box Design

Buckinghamshire New University-The Gateway in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 08:42 PM PST

The Buckinghamshire New University-The Gateway designed by RMJM is located in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.  When complete, the 24 hour Gateway will be used by students, staff and the public to enjoy with various facilities in a compact and exciting new building. They include a learning resources centre, a multi-purpose hall, sports, leisure, music and multi-media [...]

1933 Building, is restored and ready for business in Shanghai, China

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 08:40 PM PST

Located in Shanghai, China, 1933 Building, is restored and ready for business was designed by British architects. It is now undergoing extensive restoration – and through this, a major Shanghai landmark is being created. Axon Concepts is responsible for the restoration and management of 1933. The central building marries classic architecture and Art Deco styling [...]

L &G and Mitsubishi Estate Company Building in London, United Kingdom

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 08:11 PM PST

Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, L &G and Mitsubishi Estate Company Building is located in London, United Kingdom. Central Saint Giles, which replaces a redundant 1960's office block previously occupied by the Ministry of Defence, is an environmentally friendly, sustainable, colourful development that comprises office space, retail, restaurants, cafes, residential and a new public [...]

The Rock at Wellington International Airport in Wellington, New Zealand

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 08:04 PM PST

The Rock at Wellington International Airport that located in Studio Pacific Architecture, was designed by Wellington, New Zealand. The project takes its design direction from its rugged South Coast location. The copper clad buildings are to have coloured fragments of glass in the roof fissure to let in a warm natural light by day and [...]

Interiors New York University, Department of Philosophy in New York, United States

Posted: 25 Feb 2011 07:53 PM PST

The Interiors New York University, Department of Philosophy designed by Steven Holl Architects is located in New York, United States . Holl's concept organizes the new spaces around light and phenomenal properties of materials. A new stair shaft below a new skylight joins the 6-level building vertically with a shifting porosity of light and shadow [...]

Irvine Housing Blog

Irvine Housing Blog

Link to Irvine Housing Blog

Banks extend limbo for mortgage squatters to manage MLS inventory

Posted: 26 Feb 2011 02:27 AM PST

Each quarter the banks release a wave of foreclosure properties, then they cook up a delay while the MLS absorbs them.


Irvine Home Address ... 7 ARESE AISLE Irvine, CA 92606   
Resale Home Price ...... $450,000 

Color me stupid
Good luck
You're gonna need it

Green Day -- Waiting

In early February, an ruling in Nevada against Trustee Corps, the trustee for Bank of America in Nevada, prompted them to postpone and cancel all their foreclosure actions in Nevada this month. Several other trustees did the same. Ostensibly, this delay is necessary to review their paperwork. In reality it is part of a quarterly cycle of release and wait.

The banks need to process these delinquent borrowers and either get their money back. Right now it is tied up in a wasting asset with a liquidation value far less than their original loan amount. This liquidation can't go too fast or prices will crash, and strategic default will create a downward spiral that wipes the market out. Liquidation can't go too slow, or lenders and investors go broke servicing their wasting asset.

The method banks use is to process properties in spurts then wait to see the results. Depending on their internal circumstances, some banks may process more REO and some less. Now that I have been watching this market long enough, I can see the quarterly lull in processing. I wonder what their excuse for delay will be in May?

Investors' foreclosure appetite grows, headaches arise

NEW YORK | Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:25pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors are flocking to home foreclosure sales in California and other states where banks have rescheduled auctions postponed last year to fix loan servicing flaws.

But often their intentions to purchase the distressed properties are still stymied by disagreements over a fair price or as auctions are simply canceled.

In California, bank-set "opening bids" won 14,068 properties from auctions last month, a 51 percent rise over December, said in a report this week. Investor purchases rose more than 50 percent to 3,272, but were dwarfed by the 12,279 auctions canceled, it said.

"There's just not a lot of inventory" made available, said Sadie Gurley, a managing partner with New York-based GreenLake Investment Partners, a new entry into the field of investors seeking to profit from the "shadow inventory" building up on bank books.

"It's like a funnel," she said.

Personally, I like the black hole analogy.

The trend is similar in other high foreclosure states, such as Arizona and Nevada, according to

Distressed property sales have accounted for a significant share of the housing market, rising to 36 percent in December from 32 percent a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. The purchases can be made by investors or banks, which have ramped up "short sales" in which they agree to sell a home below the balance on the mortgage.

The number banks carefully watch is the percentage of distressed sales. Numbers over 30% stymie appreciation. Distressed sales over 40% make prices go down. Lenders have collectively decided that massive shadow inventory is superior to prices in free fall.

Investors -- who typically aim to buy, fix and re-sell the houses -- are lining up as banks restart foreclosures from moratoriums imposed last year to review faulty processes, such as "robo-signing" of court affidavits or other document issues.

Revelations of shoddy servicing further muddied the foreclosure process, which to investors is key to cleaning up excess inventory and aiding housing's recovery.

Banks have limited sales to others by keeping their opening bids above what the local markets will bear, investors said.

On average, in California, investors are paying 25 percent below market value when winning the auction, versus a 15 percent premium bid of banks that take properties into their "real-estate owned," or REO, portfolios, said Sean O'Toole, chief executive officer of

"In California, the average foreclosure is $150,000 upside down in the mortgage, so if the bank doesn't drop the bid from the amount owed, there's no chance the investor is going to purchase it," O'Toole said.

It's even worse in Nevada. I saw a property go to auction on February 25 in Las Vegas that was purchased for $3,000,000 in 2006. It was an amazing 7 bedroom 6 bath 4,800 SF mansion. The opening bid was $742,000. How's that for a lender haircut?

Many others are canceled as banks redouble efforts to modify loans, conduct a short sale or if they find problems with documentation, he added.

In January, more than 12,000 were canceled in California alone, up from December but down from a year earlier.

At Bank of America Corp, the largest U.S. mortgage-servicing company, postponements will continue as it works on loan modifications, a spokeswoman said.

O'Toole believes the banks are holding onto properties to avoid write-downs, or sometimes to extend servicing fee revenue.

That's exactly what they are doing. Some of the properties are being held in limbo because servicing agreements provide greater incentive to keep shadow inventory than to process the foreclosure. Also, as i have written about many times, lenders simply are not in a position to write down the loans.

It all adds up to a "measured strategy" by banks compared with dumping the homes on the market, said Bruce Norris, president of The Norris Group, in Riverside, California. For those properties priced attractively to investors, competition is fierce, he said.

Banks will drop opening bids -- sometimes just hours ahead of auction -- springing investors into action to check out the property. These are crucial moments for investors, since margins as tight as 17 percent are easily eroded by necessary repairs or costly delays if the home is still occupied, which it is most of the time, Norris said.

I am always amazed at how the auction system is set up to obtain the least amount of recovery at sale. The true for-sale inventory is not known until the morning of the auction making prior research nearly impossible. The properties are not prepared or marketed in any way. The information needed to sharpen your pencil and bid a bit higher is difficult to obtain as there is no central database as good as the MLS. In short, the entire process conspires against high bids.

In the past, the inefficiencies of the system were part of the carrot and stick approach lenders would use to get delinquent borrowers to pay. The last thing anyone with equity wants to do is let the house go to auction where they may lose everything. In an appreciating market, the threat of foreclosure motivates borrower compliance. Once borrowers go underwater, this threat turns to work against lenders who now face a low capital recovery at foreclosure. 

Former owners are hanging on "more often because of all the news articles about robo-signing and maybe the lender didn't have the right to foreclose," he said, adding "unscrupulous" lawyers are giving owners a greater sense of entitlement.

Bailouts and False hopes. That's all they are.

Even so, he expects inventory to rise for the next six months as the system plays "catch up" from the slowdown in the second half of 2010, he said.

"Banks are figuring out that having REO is much more expensive," he said. "That's why they modify first, short-sale second and then reduce bids at a trustee sale. All those options net the bank more than REO."

Higher loss severities will force lenders to resolve bad loans and liquidate REO. The realization that servicing is more expensive in the long run than immediate liquidation will prompt banks into action. The lenders in the weakest financial condition will try to wait and liquidate last in hopes the market will bail them out. The strongest institutions will sell first lowering the prices for everyone else and eventually bringing an end to the cartel behavior.



Irvine Home Address ... 7 ARESE AISLE Irvine, CA 92606   

Resale Home Price ... $450,000

Home Purchase Price … $643,000
Home Purchase Date .... 2/24/06

Net Gain (Loss) .......... $(220,000)
Percent Change .......... -34.2%
Annual Appreciation … -6.7%

Cost of Ownership
$450,000 .......... Asking Price
$15,750 .......... 3.5% Down FHA Financing
5.02% ............... Mortgage Interest Rate
$434,250 .......... 30-Year Mortgage
$93,389 .......... Income Requirement

$2,336 .......... Monthly Mortgage Payment

$390 .......... Property Tax
$54 .......... Special Taxes and Levies (Mello Roos)
$75 .......... Homeowners Insurance
$290 .......... Homeowners Association Fees
$3,145 .......... Monthly Cash Outlays

-$386 .......... Tax Savings (% of Interest and Property Tax)
-$520 .......... Equity Hidden in Payment
$31 .......... Lost Income to Down Payment (net of taxes)
$56 .......... Maintenance and Replacement Reserves
$2,327 .......... Monthly Cost of Ownership

Cash Acquisition Demands
$4,500 .......... Furnishing and Move In @1%
$4,500 .......... Closing Costs @1%
$4,343 ............ Interest Points @1% of Loan
$15,750 .......... Down Payment
$29,093 .......... Total Cash Costs
$35,600 ............ Emergency Cash Reserves
$64,693 .......... Total Savings Needed

Property Details for 7 ARESE AISLE Irvine, CA 92606  
Beds: 3
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 1614
Lot Size: -
Property Type: Residential, Condominium
Style: Split-Level, Other
Year Built: 1992
Community: Westpark
County: Orange
MLS#: P768717
Source: SoCalMLS
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 11 days
Short sale!!! Excellent location & quiet area in gated community. This charming European architecture home with marble fileplace, plantation shutters recessed lighting, custom designer light fixtures, new upgraded custom paint & upgraded carpet, mirrored wardrobes, central vacumm system, vaulted ceilings, water softner. Many windows with lots of natural sun light. 

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