Piece by Piece
ATL leads in foreclosures
HARP coming to Atlanta
Sustain healthy middle class?
Counselor Connection Blog (NEW)
Expanded lending to minorities encouraged
CitiGroup to pay $7 Billion
Majority still want to own
90% of homebuyer programs funded
Georgia ACT
Mallach on Investors
Rental up, ownership down
MARTA TOD featured
Contractor Fraud
ARC survey: What do you think?
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

August 2014





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Atlanta Leads Nation in Foreclosures

(Courtesy of AJC): Georgia remains among the nation's foreclosure leaders and metro Atlanta was number one among metro areas.  Metro Atlanta recorded 18,994 completed foreclosures in the past year - the most in the nation. Just behind Atlanta was Tampa with 18,137.  Among states, Georgia was among the five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in May, with 32,000 foreclosures, according to the CoreLogic report. MORE




The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), created by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Treasury Department, helps homeowners who are current but underwater, refinance into a more affordable mortgage at a lower interest rate.  While interest rates are low, they could go up soon, so now is the time to discuss efforts to reach homeowners by working with local community leaders.  Please join FHFA Director Mel Watt and other experts for a town hall discussion IN ATLANTA on how YOU as a local community leader can share this information with homeowners.


WHEN:  Thursday, August 14;  11 AM - 1 PM EST

WHERE: Ebenezer Baptist Church, Martin Luther King, Sr. Community Resource Complex, Assembly Hall,101 Jackson Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30312


Can Georgia's Economic Recovery Sustain Healthy Middle Class?


(AJC - Subscription Required): The Georgia economy is not producing enough good-paying, middle-wage jobs - the kind that sustain a healthy middle class, according to a recent Georgia Budget and Policy Institute report. The state has gained jobs since the recession of 2007-09, but a small proportion are the kind of middle-wage positions that historically provided opportunity and stability for many families. About 138,100 fewer Georgians were employed in mid-wage industries last year than in 2007. MORE   Report from GBPI

Housing Counselor: Visit the New PBP "Counselor Connection" Blog 


PBP has created a blog to help housing counselors stay connected and share valuable information to help their clients and expand their business.  Have news or content to contribute to the blog on a regular basis? Contact Susan Adams at sadams@andpi.org.  SEE THE BLOG

Fannie/Freddie Encouraged to Expand Lending to Minorities


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Minorities have been disappearing from the ranks of homebuyers who seek and receive conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With minorities growing as a share of the population, their homebuying patterns will have an increasing impact on housing sales. The decline of black and Hispanic buyers could also sap demand in the broader economy. The National Community Reinvestment Commission and other advocacy groups are urging Fannie and Freddie to change their underwriting and pricing practices and create new loan products to help bring blacks, Hispanics and other minorities back into the housing market. MORE


CitiGroup Agrees to $7 Billion Mortgage Settlement


CitiGroup Agrees to $7 Billion Mortgage Settlement (Courtesy of AJC):

Citigroup has agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into its handling of risky subprime mortgages.  In addition to a $4 billion civil penalty being paid to the federal government, the bank will also pay $2.5 billion in consumer relief in part to help borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure and about $500 million to settle claims from state attorneys general and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. MORE


Despite Housing Crisis, Majority of Americans Still Want to Own A Home.


(Courtesy of AJC): The vast majority of Americans still want to own a home, according to a recent survey, and they still think it's a good financial investment, despite foreclosures that hit the market during the recession.  But it's more difficult for many people, from the first-time buyer to the family that wants more space, to get the house they're dreaming of.  In Atlanta, investor groups are buying many of the cheaper homes that first-time buyers desire, beating them to the closing table with all-cash offers. While homebuilding is picking up, the houses being built are largely at the more profitable higher end of the market, instead of for first-time buyers. MORE  (Subscription Required)


90% of Homebuyer Programs Funded 


(Courtesy of Down Payment Resource): Many homebuyers aren't investigating homeownership programs because they don't know to look or they believe they aren't available or funded anymore. In fact, most programs are fully funded. The Homeownership Program Index, created by PBP partner Down Payment Resource, analyzed nearly 1,700 programs available nationwide. Across Down Payment Resource's databank, nationally, 90 percent of programs are funded with the largest number of programs available in the South. MORE


Georgia ACT: Advancing Communities Together 


The Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-based Developers (AHAND) and the Georgia State Trade Association of Nonprofit Developers (GSTAND) have created a single organization, Georgia Advancing Communities Together or Georgia ACT. Georgia ACT will continue AHAND's and G-STAND's legacies of providing high quality trainings, technical assistance to members, advocacy, and the annual affordable housing conference. In addition, Georgia ACT looks forward to expanding membership to include both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies to encourage a more holistic approach to meeting the needs of the state's underserved households and low-wealth communities.


Mallach on Impact of Institutional Investors on Rental Housing


(Courtesy of Realtor Magazine): When large investors began buying up single-family homes in 2011, most observers considered the acquisition a short-term play. Now, although acquisition has slowed, the successful securitization of SFH rental income by Invitation Homes (a Blackstone subsidiary), the transformation into REITs of large single-family owners, and the creation of the National Rental Home Council, a group that includes most of these new mega-investors, all indicate large investors are in it for a longer haul. How will their business models change the dynamics of the rental marketplace?  REALTOR Magazine interviews Center for Community Progress Fellow Allan Mallach.  MORE



Rental Continues to Grow as Homeownership Shrinks


(Courtesy of Housing Matters): Although investor activity peaked in 2012, it's still abnormally high and with rental demand rising and supply dwindling, investors will continue to snap up distressed properties and existing homes. Further, homeownership has slipped and will continue to decline because of a combination of factors including the still high inventory of foreclosures. MORE


MARTA TOD Development Featured in National CityLab


(Courtesy of Atlantic Magazine): MARTA is quietly becoming a player in the real estate world, and it has its excess parking to thank. In the past few months, the agency has pushed forward with plans to develop under-used parking lots at three stations-King MemorialAvondale, and Edgewood/Candler Park-into mixed-use commercial and residential buildings. And MARTA expects to secure at least two more such deals by early next year. MORE


Protecting Against Home Repair Contractor Fraud


The National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud, a Piece by Piece partner, just released a new book that answers the questions homeowners have about how to select, evaluate, hire, oversee and pay contractors.  For homeowners purchasing REO properties requiring rehab, this is a very helpful tool.   For more information visit about the book, please visit www.PreventContractorFraud.org.


Help Make Metro Atlanta Better; Participate in ARC Survey


Now through the end of September, ARC is reaching out to the public and many organizations throughout the Atlanta region to share the aspirational vision developed by the ARC Board and to get feedback and opinions about actions to achieve these goals.  One of the ways that they are soliciting this feedback is through an online survey available HEREThis is the first of several surveys that they will be conducting over the next year as we update our Regional Plan.  Make your voice heard.



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


For the HomeSafe Georgia calendar items below, visit www.HomeSafeGeorgia.com for more information.


July 31: Veterans Helping Veterans Job/Career Fair; July 31, 2014; 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; American Legion Post # 294, 3282 Florence Road, Powder Springs.  Representatives from HomeSafe Georgia will be on hand to help Veterans struggling with their mortgage payments.


August 7:  Veterans' Career Fair & Diversity Job Expo, August 7, 2014; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton.  Representatives from HomeSafe Georgia will be on hand to help Veterans struggling with their mortgage payments.


August 16:  10th Annual 13th Congressional District Health Fair, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.; Mundy's Mill High School, Jonesboro. Representatives from HomeSafe Georgia will be on hand to help consumers struggling with their mortgage payments.


August 19: 2014 Snellville Career Fair, 9:00 a.m. - Noon; Snellville United Methodist Church, Snellville. Representatives from HomeSafe Georgia will be on hand to help consumers struggling with their mortgage payments.


August 21: 2014 Business Expo and Job Fair, 1-5 p.m.; Gwinnett Center, Duluth; Representatives from HomeSafe Georgia will be on hand to help consumers struggling with their mortgage payments.


September 10: The Center for Community Progress will present Regulation to Revitalization: The Role of Strategic Code Enforcement, a daylong workshop in Baltimore, MD that will challenge municipal leaders to think bigger about what code enforcement means - and what it can achieve.The cost of attending Regulation to Revitalization: The Role of Strategic Code Enforcement is  $200 until July 15, and $250 after August 16. Participants will be eligible to receive CLE credits. Additional information and registration are available on the IMLA Website.


September 15-16:  Housing America's Future: New Directions for National Policy 2014 Housing Summit, Washington, D.C.  The summit will offer significant national policy discussion on housing issues and feature a number of well-known speakers from around the country. MORE


November 18-20: National Housing Conference (NHC) Solutions 2014 Conference in Oakland, CA.  National conference on state and local housing policy will feature best practices in helping communities across the country meet affordable housing challenges.  Online registration is now available.  www.nhc.org/Solutions-2014.html 




Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator