Piece by Piece
Settlement Report
Below-Offer Appraisals
What's Behind the Rise?
Letters Bolster HUD Funding
Making Home Affordable Program Extended
Forecloses Drop Dramatically
Metro Atlanta Leading in Foreclosures
Isakson Introduces Mortgage Reform
Homeownership Key
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

June 7, 2013





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


National Mortgage Settlement Report Released 


(Courtesy of NACEDA) National Mortgage Settlement Monitor Joseph Smith a May 21 report on the progress made by the five major mortgage servicers that are part of the settlement - Bank of America, Citi, GMC/Ally, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo - through March 31.  Nationally, $50.63 billion in relief has gone to over 621,000 borrowers.  Just under $20.1 billion of the relief has been in the form of short sales, and $10.1 billion has been principal reduction.  Links to state-level data is available on the accompanying fact sheet. Smith noted that this his office has not yet verified the data in this report; they are simply releasing data reported by the servicers. 

See the Full Report and Fact Sheet.


Below-Offer Appraisals Souring Some Home Deals


(Courtesy of AJC): Below-offer appraisals have been more common than usual as the metro housing market pulls out of a deep slump. In some cases low housing inventory has led to bidding wars that push buyers to offer more than the asking price, leading to gaps of $30,000 or more. The problem affects fewer than 10 percent of all offers, according to people in the business, but it is a factor in the market. Appraisers have the ability to apply a market adjustment, and more are starting to adjust prices upward in response to the changing market, James said. But appraisers, lenders and real estate agents all have stories of homes that still appraised for tens of thousands of dollars less than the contract price. Buyers can sign a contract for any number, whether or not the price is justified, said Blair Schultz, a certified general appraiser at Allatoona Appraisal and Realty. He said comparable sales are getting easier as there are fewer foreclosures and short sales on the market. More cash buyers, who do not have loan constraints, will start to push prices up.  "The appraiser's job is to read the market; we don't create the value of the house," Schultz said. "It's got to start somewhere. We're just now starting to see the upward trend. We can't make any big jumps yet. It's not happening yet." FULL STORY (AJC subscription required)



Behind the Rise in House Prices -- Wall Street Buyers


(Courtesy of New York Times): Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation's most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Some are already wondering if prices will slump anew if the big money stops flowing.  MORE 


Letters to Bolster HUD Funding Receive Strong Support In Congress


(Courtesy of NACEDA): Congressional "Dear Colleague" letters requesting increased funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development Program, and Project-Based Rental Assistance in FY 2014 received strong support in the House and Senate. In addition, over 2,400 organizations signed a letter urging the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to allocate the highest possible level of funding in FY 2014 for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittees. The HOME Coalition recently posted updated advocacy materials.



Obama Administration Extends Making Home Affordable Program


(Courtesy of DSN News): U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced recently that Treasury is extending the Making Home Affordable Program for another two years. The new expiration date is set for December 31, 2015. The program offers help to homeowners through solutions including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), and the Second Lien Modification Program. MORE



Number of Americans in Foreclosure Drops Dramatically


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): The number of Americans in the foreclosure process plummeted by nearly 25% in the past year, according to Lender Processing Services First Look mortgage report for April. The total delinquency rate for loans 30 days or more past due, but not yet in foreclosure, also fell below 6.5% for the first time since July of 2008. MORE



Metro Atlanta Q1 Foreclosures Highest Among Metros


(Courtesy of AJC): Foreclosure-related home sales in Georgia during the first quarter fell nearly 24 percent from a year ago in the first quarter but still accounted for more than one-third of sales in the state and metro Atlanta, according to a new report. Despite signs the local housing market is improving, housing data firm RealtyTrac reported Thursday that 35 percent of home sales in Georgia in the first three months of 2013 were foreclosures, the largest percentage for any state.A year ago nearly half of home sales were foreclosures. In metro Atlanta, foreclosure sales accounted for 38 percent of transactions in the first quarter, the highest among the nation's 20 largest metro areas by population.  FULL ARTICLE (Requires AJC Subscription)



Sen. Isakson Introduces Mortgage Finance Reform Bill


(Courtesy of NLIHC): Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) introduced his proposal, S 1048, to advance mortgage finance reform by creating an explicit federal guarantee of mortgage-backed securities paid for by a guarantee fee and administered by a new Mortgage Finance Agency.  The bill would place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in receivership and "upon resolution of their obligations," revoke their charters. MORE



Homeownership is Key to Strong Communities, Nation



(Courtesy of Housing Matters):  Stable, affordable homes are the basis for a strong nation, writes Colin Kelley, CEO of NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania. Even as the housing market strengthens, many people have lost their confidence in homeownership. "Restoring that confidence is crucial to community revitalization in Western Pennsylvania and across the nation," writes Kelley, who is involved in a national movement called Home Matters, which promotes the essential role of housing in strengthening individuals' lives and communities.  MORE 


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Featured Panelist on MSNBC Program on Poverty and Homelessness in America


(Courtesy of National Law Center on Homlessness and Poverty):

On Sunday, May 12, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show dedicated both hours of the program to exploring whether poverty in America can be solved. The Tulane professor of political science and political commentator asks, 'What are our nation's creative, humane, enduring solutions to poverty? Seriously, what are they?'  Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, the Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center James Perry, formerly homeless mother Tiana Gaines-Turner, and NLCHP Director discussed the implications of the housing market's roaring return for people experiencing homelessness.  



Report Shows Rising Rent Costs have "Priced Out" Low-Income Individuals with Disabilities


(Courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners): The substantial shortage in affordable housing has affected low-income households of all demographic groups, but a new report shows that it has particularly impacted non-elderly disabled individuals who rely on Supplementary Security Income (SSI). In the Priced Out in 2012 study, the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force found that SSI benefits are not nearly adequate for program participants across the country to afford rent, let alone other living expenses.  MORE


Financial Education: Uninsured + Unbanked = Unenrolled


(Courtesy of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service): More than one in four uninsured Americans eligible for the new premium assistance tax credits under the American Care Act (ACA) does not have a checking account. Among the uninsured, non-elderly population with household incomes in the tax credit eligible range, 27 percent are effectively "unbanked." Many insurance companies plan to require customers to pay premiums automatically through a checking account. These restrictions will undermine efforts to expand health coverage under the ACA.  MORE



Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at [email protected] with news of your upcoming events.


June 15,  Free (for DeKalb County Residents) Homebuyer Workshop Offered by Center for Pan Asian Community Services.  To register call 770-936-0969 or email [email protected] or [email protected]


June 18, Performance Measures workshop, sponsored by AHAND and G-STAND.  This workshop will cover how to develop, write and manage performance measures, including 1) three levels of measures - Results, Intermediate Measures and Operational Measures; 2) difference between an outcome and an output and 3) creation of meaningful measures for funders, investors, board, community stakeholders, and staff. Must register by June 14.  Register at www.ahand.org


September 9 - 12;  2013 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, Philadelphia, PA.  Registration deadline for scholarships is July 2. For registration and more details on conference agenda click here.  


September 16-18, the National Housing Conference presents Solutions 2013: National Conference on State and Local Housing Policy is designed to be useful to both newcomers and experienced practitioners and policymakers by offering a comprehensive, highly interactive educational experience over the three-day conference. The conference will include opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, mobile workshops, facilitated discussions, panel discussions, networking receptions and breakfasts, and plenary sessions. MORE

HomeSafe Georgia representatives will be on hand at the following events to answer questions about the HomeSafe Georgia program. 


June 11, Representative Mike Glanton Town Meeting,
106 North McDonough Street, Jonesboro; 6 PM


June 13 , Clayton County HomeSafe Georgia Information event, 1500 Morrow Road, Morrow Community Room, Morrow; 6:30 - 7:45 PM.


June 15, First Annual Father's Day Event, Winder Pavilion, 

113 Athens Street, Winder; 1 - 5 PM.

June 21, Gwinnett Village Community Alliance Job Fair,
Victory World Church, 5905 Brook Hollow Parkway, Norcross; 9 AM -3 PM.


June 22, Community Housing Festival,
Longwood Park, Gainesville; 9 AM - Noon;


June 22,  Housing Resource Fair, Roselfan Recreation Center,
365 Cleveland Ave. SE, Atlanta; 10 AM- 3 PM.




Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator  



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