Piece by Piece
Foreclosures Dip, Problems Masked?
Crisis Ongoing in Many Metros
Lower Homeownership Impedes Middle Class
Window to Reform Closing
REO To Rental Challenges
Report on Race Gap in Loans
Another Bubble?
Changes in HomeSafe Georgia
Tools You Can Use
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

February 19, 2014





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Drop in Foreclosure Rate May Mask Ongoing Problems


(Courtesy of AJC): Foreclosure notices in metro Atlanta are down nearly 50 percent from a year ago, continuing a decline from the 2010 peak, but the numbers may mask continuing problems in the market. "The distress is there," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "It's just being dealt with in a different way."  There were 2,411 foreclosure notices filed in a 13-county metro Atlanta area in February, according to data from Kennesaw-based Equity Depot. That's about even with January's number, which was the lowest seen since June 2003, when 2,393 foreclosure notices were filed.  The February figure is down 46.8 percent from a year ago. If foreclosure notices continue at this pace, they will be down 42.8 percent from the 51,003 notices filed in 2013. The peak came in 2010 with 127,140 notices. 


Barry Bramlett, whose firm compiles the numbers, said the improvement is "just an illusion." The default rate is still high, he said.  Blomquist said one-quarter of metro Atlantans homeowners with a mortgage are seriously underwater and owe more on their homes than they are worth. That's higher than the national average, 19 percent.  MORE 



Foreclosure Crisis Ongoing in Many Metro Markets; New Data Released


(Courtesy of NHC): New data and analysis of metropolitan serious delinquency data released on Foreclosure-Response.org show that the foreclosure crisis is still a real issue in many metropolitan areas across the country. The country as a whole is showing improvement since 2009, but these national numbers partially obscure pockets of distress around the country.  There are very few metropolitan areas where foreclosure and delinquency rates have returned to historic norms according to the data. MORE


How Lower Homeownership Could Impede Middle-Class Financial Security


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): As more middle-class Americans struggle to become homeowners, some experts say they are missing out on a traditional path to building wealth and future financial security. The U.S. homeownership rate continues to fall, and in the last quarter of 2013, it hit the lowest level since 1995.  Economists also worry that if the decline in the homeownership rate accelerates, it could be a warning sign for the economy and for the well-being of middle class families. MORE


Window to Reform Fannie/Freddie is Closing


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Officials from both sides of the aisle urged the Senate to move more quickly on reforms for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is feared that as the two mortgage companies return to profitability, there will be less incentive to overhaul the firms, which had to be rescued after the 2008 financial crisis. MORE


REO to Rental Market Faces Challenges 


(Courtesy of Saporta Report): The once-hot "REO to rental" business has cooled in metro Atlanta and beyond....A report in the Financial Times shows that Blackstone and others are having to take discount prices for their REO-backed securities. A congressional investigation into the industry is looming.  Investors have been slow to purchase Blackstone's "single family rental" securitizations, according to the story in ft.com.  MORE


Report on Race Gap in Conventional Loans


(Courtesy of New York Times): African-American and Hispanic borrowers have been largely shut out of the conventional mortgage market, according to a recent report from Zillow and the National Urban League. Citing 2012 loan data reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, along with results from a Zillow poll of 700 mortgage applicants in December, the analysis found that whites accounted for about 69 percent of all conventional mortgage applications. The share of applications filed by blacks was under 3 percent; Hispanics represented only 5 percent.  Black and Hispanic borrowers are far more likely to apply for low-down-payment loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. About 57 percent of black applicants and 60 percent of Hispanic applicants applied for F.H.A. loans, compared with 30 percent of white applicants.  MORE

Full  Zillow/Urban League report available HERE 


Is Another Housing Bubble in the Works?


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): New analysis from The Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy Center, a grantee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, shows that a historically high bar for creditworthiness and a below-average ratio of mortgage payments to rents indicate that the housing market is not in a bubble. "Credit availability today is far more limited than it was during the bubble years, and it is becoming more, not less, limited," Taz George and Bing Bai write. MORE


Changes in the HomeSafe Georgia Program


(Courtesy Georgia DCA): HomeSafe Georgia, a temporary mortgage payment assistance program funded by the U.S. Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund, has announced changes in the program. Changes include: an increase in the number of months of assistance provided, from 18 to 24; and inclusion of more qualifying financial hardships - military service, death of a spouse or medical hardships. MORE


To learn more about the program, visit www.homesafegeorgia.com or attend one of the many events listed below in the calendar section.




New Housing Counselor Certification FAQs

HUD's Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) has posted more Frequently Asked Questions on the Housing Counselor Certification Proposed Rule. Read the new questions and answers HERE.  

Mapping Poverty in America (Courtesy of New York Times): 

New York Times poverty mapping site uses data from the Census Bureau to show where the poor live.  Atlanta map included.  MORE


Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at sadams@andpi.org with news of your upcoming events.



February 19; 1PM; Help for Homeowners event. The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as part of the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable Program, are partnering with the HOPE NOW Alliance and NeighborWorks America® to bring a free homeowner event to the area. These events are designed to help bring together homeowners in financial distress for a face-to-face meeting with a representative from their mortgage lender and/or local housing counselor. The event is open to the public at 1:00 pm and is located at Cobb Galleria Centre - Atlanta, Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30339. 


Flyer (Bilingual) for Attendees



February 21; Supportive Housing Workshop at ARC; The Atlanta Regional Commission is hosting a housing workshop on February 21st at 40 Courtland Street, Level C, Atlanta , 30303 from 8:00 to 11:30 am.  The workshop will explore innovations in combining housing, services and transportation.  Colleagues from the Louisiana Department on Health and Hospitals and Georgia's Department of Community Affairs are confirmed speakers.  

February 24 - March 1, 2014; America Saves Week/Military Saves Week; America Saves Week is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, the Week is an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status. Typically thousands of organizations participate in the Week, reaching millions of people.   America Saves Week   Military Saves

March 5; Atlanta Regional Housing Forum; HOW COMMUNITY MATTERS:  The Nexus of Education, Communities & Housing.  This Forum will address the question of how partnerships can improve educational success of our region's students and ultimately the long-term health and viability of our regional neighborhoods. What role do various community stakeholders have in fostering these partnership, including, apartment building owners, developers, school board officials, non-profit organizations, and many others. Speakers include Dr. Cynthia Kuhlman, Director of Educational Achievement for the Cousins Foundation, and Marjy Stagmeier, President, TI  Asset Managmenet.  NEW FORUM LOCATION AT St. Lukes Episcopal Church,  435 Peachtree Street NE,  Atlanta, GA 30308  MORE   REGISTER NOW


March 12 - 15; National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) Conference, Washington, DC .   The NCRC conference is a national gathering or community non-profits, academics, small businesses, media, government focused on access to capital and credit in underserved communities. The conference will include cutting-edge workshops on housing, access to credit and capital, fair lending, business development, community organizing and workforce and community development. Confirmed speakers include Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry. To see the conference schedule and learn more about the NCRC Conference go to http://www.ncrc.org/conference



HomeSafe Georgia representatives will be participating in the following events. Please plan to attend an event near you to learn about the temporary mortgage payment assistance program. 



February 19th, Making Home Affordable, Cobb Galleria Hall A, Atlanta, 1-8 PM


February 20th, Career & Resource Expo 2014, Georgia Technical College, Thomasville, 9 AM-Noon


February 25th, Under One Roof Housing Conference, Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, 8:30 AM - 4 PM


February 27th, Veterans' Career Fair, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, 10 AM-2PM;


February 27th, Dodge County Job Fair & Career Expo, Middle Georgia State College, Eastman, 11 AM - 1:30 PM;


March 13th, Veterans' Spring Career Fair 2014, Valdosta DOL Career Center, Valdosta, 1-4 PM;


March 20th Veterans' Career Fair, Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, 10 AM - 2 PM;


March 28th, Congressman David Scott's 11th Annual Job Fair and Housing Fair, Georgia International Convention Center, College Park, 10 AM - 3 PM


Please encourage those who may need assistance to visit us at an event or the HomeSafe Georgia website, www.homesafegeorgia.com





Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator