Piece by Piece
Foreclosure Notices at 12-year Low
Rental Affordability Gap
Buying Cheaper than Renting
Rental Investors Seek Higher Rents
Homeownership at 19-year Low
Still Tough to Access Mortgage Credit
Regulator Confirms: Big Banks Erred Widely
Single-Point of Contact Helps
NeighborWorks: Life after Foreclosure
Plexiglass an Alternative?
News for Counselors
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

May 19, 2014





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Foreclosure Notices at Lowest Level in 12 Years


(Courtesy of AJC): Foreclosure notices in metro Atlanta hit a new post-recession low in May, falling to a level unseen since June 2002.The continued nosedive suggests the wave of distressed housing that pulled prices down has largely abated. But it also contributes to a different issue: A lack of homes on the market. A dearth of for-sale homes is driving up prices and leaving fewer choices for those who want to buy. Barry Bramlett, whose Kennesaw firm Equity Depot compiles the foreclosure numbers, said that delinquency rates don't match foreclosure rates. The last time they were this low, he said, the economy was booming. While it has been improving since the recession, there is still a long road to normal. "We are not in any kind of a good market," he said. "It's just a weird time in real estate."  MORE


Rental Affordability Gap Grows for Very Low-Income Families



(Courtesy of Urban Institute): Over the past five years, rents have risen while the number of renters who need moderately priced housing has increased. These two pressures make finding affordable housing even tougher for very poor households in America. For every 100 extremely low-income (ELI) renter households in the country (earning 30% or less of AMI), there are only 29 affordable and available rental units.  A new online tool released by the Urban Institute quantifies the affordability gap for every US county.  See how metro Atlanta counties measure up.  MORE


More on our nation's rental affordability crisis. MORE


Buying a Home Cheaper than Renting in Atlanta and 33 Other Metros


(Courtesy of Wall Street Journal): Recent analysis by Deutsche Bank reveals that is cheaper to buy a home in metro Atlanta then it is to rent.  In the Atlanta region, a new buyer spends $1 dollar for every $1.34 spent by a new renter.  Atlanta and Chicago lead the nation in affordability of homeownership as compared to rental. MORE


Following the Trends: Large Rental-Home Investors Seek Higher Rents


(Courtesy of Housing Matters and Tampa Bay Times): Seven institutional funds have bought up 6,800 rental houses in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, spending more than $1 billion. Now these landlords are raising rents more aggressively than their "mom-and-pop" counterparts, some say, in an effort to maximize profits. MORE


US Homeownership at 19-Year Low


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): The homeownership rate in the U.S. dropped to 64.8% in the first quarter, from 65.2% in the previous quarter, according to the Census Bureau. That is the lowest rate since 1995, when the homeownership rate was 64.7%.  MORE


Lender Changes Impact Market Share but Still Tough to Access Mortgage Credit 


(Courtesy of Liza Getsinger, NHC): Due to recent changes in lender requirements, articles in both Business Week and the Wall Street Journal suggest that credit to homebuyers may be easing, but  analysis by the Urban Institute shows no overall change in access to credit. The articles cite Wells Fargo's decision to cut minimum credit scores for Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed loans to 620 from 660, a move that echoed the actions of some smaller lenders. Credit tightened dramatically in the wake of the housing collapse as banks demanded higher downpayments and credit scores from borrowers in order to qualify for a mortgage. As of February this year the average credit score for a conventional mortgage was 755, a number that is well above the average U.S. credit score of 711. The changes thus far mean that borrowers with higher credit scores are less likely to choose FHA and more likely to choose a GSE-backed loan. MORE


Big Banks Erred Widely on Troubled Mortgages, U.S. Regulator Confirms


(Courtesy of New York Times): The Office of the Comptroller Currency (OCC) confirmed recently that the country's biggest banks committed widespread errors in dealing with homeowners who faced foreclosures at the height of the mortgage crisis, but the findings are unlikely to put to rest questions from lawmakers and others about the extent of the problems. The OCC's post-mortem of the Independent Foreclosure Review founds that at least 9 percent of the errors discovered in the review involved banks improperly denying loan modifications that would have prevented foreclosures. The report also found that more than half of the errors related to administrative flaws and improper fees charged to homeowners during the foreclosures process. MORE


Single-Point of Contact with Servicer Helps Struggling Homeowners 


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): When mortgage servicers provide a single point of contact for troubled mortgage borrowers, those borrowers are more likely to receive and accept a modification, according to a review by Fannie Mae. MORE


NeighborWorks Blog Looks at Life after Foreclosure


(Courtesy of NWA): There have been many reports in the media about families losing their homes to foreclosure. But what happens to them later? Do they land on their feet? How has the experience changed them, and who helped them the most? Read the stories of five individuals and families who demonstrate that, yes, there is life after foreclosure. MORE


Spotlight on Phoenix: Plexiglass as an Alternative to Boarding up Houses


(Courtesy of Center for Community Progress): It's just plexiglass, but officials with the City of Phoenix said it has suddenly become one of the best ways to stop the spread of urban blight.  Over the last few months, city workers have been using plexiglass to cover up the windows and doors of abandoned homes. Councilman Michael Nowakowski said the new program deters crime and squatters. MORE


NEWS for Counselors: Nearly One-Third of US Adults Lack Emergency Savings


(Courtesy of NeighborWorks America): Nearly one-third of adults have no emergency savings, according to results of a recent NWA survey. Minority groups and those with lower incomes are even less likely to have emergency savings. Those people who do have savings have less than three months of a financial cushion.  What can be done?  Financial coaching is one answer.  NWA has a demonstration project made possible with support of the Citi Foundation to explain what coaching is and how to make it work within existing financial services.  NWA also offers a financial capability certification. MORE



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



Atlanta Regional Housing Forum 

Topic: Concentrating Resources, Maximizing Impact 
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 9:30 a.m.



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. 


May 21, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. ClearPoint's New Hispanic Center for Financial Excellence, Open House, 2125 Beaver Ruin Road,  Suite 200. Norcross, GA 30071  


May 22nd; ACAP/ACS Spring Career Fair;  10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Club Stewart, Fort Stewart;


May 30th Robins AFB Civilian Personnel Services Job Fair;  10 a.m. - 3 p.m.;  Heritage Club, Robins AFB.


Please encourage those who may need assistance to visit us at an event or the HomeSafe Georgia website, www.homesafegeorgia.com.  For questions, please contact Cynthia Harrison, HomeSafe Georgia Outreach Coordinator, at 404-502-6176.





Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator