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Archives for June 2012

Idaho Fly-Fishing Retreat for Men with Cancer

REEL RECOVERY is a national non-profit organization that conducts fly-fishing retreats for men recovering from cancer. Our purpose is to help men in the recovery process by sharing with them the healing powers of the sport of fly-fishing, while providing a safe, supportive environment to explore their personal experiences with cancer, with others who share their stories.

Men dealing with or recovering from cancer are invited to a fly-fishing retreat through Reel Recovery.

Sharing cancer stories was unbelievable. This retreat really change me.

The national nonprofit organization hosts expense-paid retreats for men with any form of cancer or at any stage of recovery or treatment.

“Any man with any kind of cancer is eligible,” said Dr. Dick Wilson, Reel Recovery’s Idaho state coordinator.

Participants join together for a weekend of fly-fishing in a supportive environment.

There are two local retreats this year: Aug. 3-5 and Sept. 7-9. Both are held at Wild Horse Creek Ranch near Mackay. No fly-fishing experience is required.

St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation is a partner with Reel Recovery in supporting the retreat.

Retreats are offered at no cost to the participants and are led by professional facilitators and expert fly-fishing instructors. Reel Recovery provides all meals, lodging and fly-fishing equipment, and no previous fishing experience is required. A maximum of 14 men are invited to participate.

For more information visit reelrecovery.org

Vacation-Home Buyers are Back

When the housing market falls, vacation homes fall harder. They’re discretionary purchases that can be put off for another day.

Demand is slowly getting better as people get back on their feet

That day may be here or near. Sensing a possible bottom, second-home buyers are returning, say real estate agents in vacation spots from Cape Cod to Lake Tahoe.

Real estate practitioners in vacation spots across the country say the market for second homes is picking up steam as buyers grow more confident given signs of growth in small businesses.

The National Association of REALTORS® reports a 7 percent jump in vacation sales to 502,000 last year, accounting for 11 percent of all volume.  The median vacation home price was $121,000 last year, down from a peak of $204,100 in 2005, but agents in some locales say prices are beginning to creep up as the distressed inventory is moved out.

Inventory is so scarce in some markets that some real estate professionals report multiple offers

“Demand is slowly getting better as people get back on their feet,” said David Southworth, founder and CEO of Southworth Development, which specializes in upscale vacation-resort communities.

“The second-home market is always a trickle-up type,” he said. “As the economy gets better that means small business owners start making money again and executives start getting bigger bonuses. And that’s when our customers come back.”

Vacation-home buyers are snapping up higher-priced properties

Vacation-home buyers are snapping up higher-priced properties, although Jennifer Calenda of Michael Saunders & Co. in Southwest Florida says prices are not necessarily on the rise.  With inventory hitting a seven-year low of 4.7 months in Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties, she says buyers “are saying ‘we better hurry up.'”

Inventory is so scarce in some markets that some real estate professionals report multiple offers; and with prices probably at the bottom, Trulia economist Jed Kolko says people ready to make a cash purchase or who can qualify for low mortgage rates should strongly consider buying now.

SOURCE: Realtor Daily News, Investor’s Business Daily

Wells Fargo May Send Some Jobs to India, Philippines

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the lender looking to trim more than $1.7 billion in quarterly expenses by the end of this year, may move some jobs overseas.

Roles in technology, the retirement division and other business lines could shift to India and the Philippines as part of a companywide review, Bridget Braxton, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based bank, said yesterday. News 14 Carolina reported a review for the retirement business earlier, citing an internal memo from a Wells Fargo executive it didn’t name.

Wells Fargo announced plans in 2011 to cut expenses by $1.5 billion a quarter to about $11 billion at the end of 2012. Costs rose in the first three months of the year to $13 billion, and Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said expenses may hit the high end of the range, or $11.3 billion.

Wells Fargo said that it planned a “streamlining” of some operations, including “where possible, locating functions in the most cost-effective locations

“We are absolutely committed, but if we get to the fourth quarter and if, for whatever reason, there is all kinds of revenue available in a certain business — or a number of businesses — we’re not going to be slavish to any one number,” Stumpf said April 13 in response to an analyst’s question.

Wells Fargo declined 15 cents to $32.81 in New York trading. The shares have gained 19 percent this year.

Braxton, who declined to make the memo available, said it alerted employees that the bank was undergoing “an assessment” of the idea. She wouldn’t say how many jobs may be moved.

Bank Workforce

The bank had 264,900 full-time employees at the end of March. Stumpf said on Jan. 17 that 98 percent of the workforce is in the U.S. The lender employs 3,000 people in India and another 240 in the Philippines, Braxton said.

Many jobs in the Philippines are “customer- service” roles, while those in India involve technology functions as well as functions for many business lines across the bank

The lender employs 49,000 workers in California, including 8,300 in San Francisco, according to Alan Elias, a spokesman.

Wells Fargo said that it planned a “streamlining” of some operations, including “where possible, locating functions in the most cost-effective locations,” according to a July 19 presentation. That may mean moving some functions to different locations in the U.S. as well as abroad, Braxton said.

“Our customers are international, demand round-the-clock service and expect faster turnaround for decisions and responses,” Braxton said in an e-mailed statement. “Global expansion of our workforce allows us to do these processes faster, with more flexibility.”

‘Growing Need’

Wells Fargo has had employees in India since 2006 when it opened a so-called technology resource center in Hyderabad. The bank cited a “growing need” for talent that couldn’t be met by U.S. workers, according to an August 2006 statement. The move wasn’t made to cut costs, Wells Fargo said at the time.

The company started a Philippines-based unit in November, Braxton said. Many jobs in the Philippines are “customer- service” roles, while those in India involve technology functions as well as functions for many business lines across the bank, she said.

Overseas jobs “offer the opportunity to use Wells Fargo- owned and operated offshore capabilities at significantly reduced costs, while at the same time leveraging our existing technology infrastructure and security standards,” the bank said in the retirement-division memo, according to News 14.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

Hailey Skatepark Grand Opening Saturday, June 23rd

The Hailey Parks and Lands Boards and community volunteers hope that all will come out and enjoy the Grand Opening of the Hailey Skate Park this Saturday, June 23, 2012.

The original park was completed in 2002, thanks to an independent fund raising committee and a generous community.

The Hailey Skate Park – built by Dreamland Skateparks – challenges even the most experienced and daring skaters.

As a part of the rodeo park project the skatepark was expanded in 2011 by Dreamland Skateparks to include a street skating element with finishing touches completed this past month.

Exciting demonstrations, competitions, symposiums, food and full family fun await you at our finest, new skate park.

Want to know what’s happening in the Sun Valley real estate market? Here it is – Sales Statistics by Area

Below is a chart that shows the number of properties sold and closed year to date for the various areas in the Sun Valley MLS. Also included is total volume, average sales price, median sales price, average difference between list price and sales price, plus average days on market before selling.

When doing a market analysis we share information that is specific to your property, i.e. neighborhood, square footage, bedrooms, baths, lot size, etc. Please give us a call if you have questions.

Wood River Farmers’ Market Now In Full Swing

The  colorful Wood River Farmer Markets are now in full swing.

If you can’t make Ketchum’s today, head down south to Hailey’s on Thursday!

Come join in the fun, meet the farmers and artists who sell the homemade and home grown products, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the open air markets.

On Tuesdays in Ketchum from 2-6 from mid-June through mid-October along the 4th Street Heritage Corridor.

Thursdays in Hailey from 2-6 from mid-June through mid-October on Main Street next to Sturtevants.

For more information visit the Wood River Farmer’s Market website

Short Sale News: Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program Extended Through 2013

Please tell anyone you suspect in jeopardy of foreclosure about this breaking news

Don’t assume that because you’ve heard of the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program, that your friends, family and neighbors have too. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether HAFA would be extended. Recently, we received confirmation that it has been extended through 2013.

The HAFA program was established in 2009 to help the homeowner avoid foreclosure and move on with their lives without the longstanding negative impact of foreclosure. As always, the first step for any homeowner living under the cloud of an unmanageable mortgage is to talk to their bank to see if a loan modification is possible.

If the bank can not approve the loan modification, the homeowner should talk to a Realtor who is a short sale expert; (CDPE designation and has experience selling homes under short sale terms).

Foreclosure and Danger

It is critical for people to understand that a foreclosure posts on an individual’s public record and therefore can cripple opportunities for gainful employment, obtaining future credit and potentially buying an affordable home. This negative impact can last for up to seven years. For people who qualify, HAFA is an alternative to foreclosure.

This YouTube Video produced by the National Association of Realtors explains HAFA.

Why you should get involved

Many of us know families, often they are neighbors, who packed their things and left home without saying goodbye and without warning. They didn’t do it to be cruel or rude. Likely, they did it because they knew they were going to lose their home and they felt overwhelmed and embarrassed.

This is how the story goes

Eight months ago, your neighbor called their bank to tell them they could no longer afford their mortgage. They’ve worked very hard all their lives, and have been responsible with their finances, but something changed and now they’re facing a hardship.

Maybe they have an adjustable arm that has come due and their mortgage increased to the point that they can no longer afford it. Sometimes your neighbor is still paying the mortgage by going into their savings or 401K. They’re trying not to ruin their credit score but they know they’ll run out of money soon so they try to start the process of refinancing or a loan modification.

Unfortunately, the house isn’t worth what they paid for it (it doesn’t appraise) and so they can’t refinance. Every week they call the bank and the bank tells them someone will call, but they never do. Each time they call, they get a different person on the phone. They explain their situation again and again but because they’ve been paying their mortgage, the bank doesn’t “care”.  There are homeowners who haven’t paid their mortgage in many months – they’re the priority. By the way, your neighbor has no idea, that all this time, they’ve been talking to the wrong department within the bank.  They’re going in circles, not making any progress. They feel frustrated, helpless and overwhelmed.

Finally, they don’t have any money left to pay their mortgage and since they’ve already tried for months with the bank, they think it’s futile and they leave. They didn’t have an advocate and now they have a foreclosure that will be on their record for seven years.

The HAFA Short Sale Update

HAFA Supplemental Directive 12-02, effective June 1, 2012, impacts short sales with loans from non-government-sponsored enterprises in which the homeowner is eligible for the HAFA program.

Key enhancements include:

  • Time frame extended: The program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2013. The HAFA short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure can be initiated up to Dec. 31, 2013; however, the transaction must have a closing date on or before Sept. 30, 2014.
  • Eligibility updated: Occupancy requirements for HAFA eligibility have been removed; however, the property can’t be owned or secured by a business entity.
  • The second lien maximum has been increased from $6,000 to $8,500. 
  • HAFA relocation assistance of $3,000 will be paid only to the primary resident (borrower or occupant) of the property at time the agreement is executed. The resident must vacate upon closing. Vacant properties are not eligible for HAFA relocation assistance.
  • Nonborrowers (tenant, legal dependent, parent or grandparent) can now qualify if occupying the property and must vacate upon closing.

Additional information: 

  •  This policy is effective June 1, 2012, for new HAFA-eligible short sales initiated. It also applies to current HAFA short sales prior to closing.
  • Tenants will be eligible only for the $3,000. Any money available from additional incentive payout opportunities must be paid to the borrower. The HUD-1 must reflect the breakdown.
  • The borrower will be responsible for requesting and managing the tenant relocation assistance, including submitting required proof of occupancy and other documentation.

We can help! For questions and urgent needs (such as a pending default notice and/or pending foreclosure action) contact Debra Hall or George Martin, Jr., as both brokers are trained & experienced local short sale specialist at 208-928-SOLD

Investors Find Shortage of REO Bargains

Foreclosure bulk sales are slow to take off as investors report a shrinking pool of bargain-priced distressed homes, Bloomberg reports.

Prices are recovering in once-hard hit markets, such as Phoenix and Miami, and as such, private-equity firms, hedge funds, and pension systems are not buying up homes as quickly as they had planned. Investors had intentions of buying up foreclosed homes in bulk at rock-bottom-prices and then turning the properties into money-making rentals.

Prices are recovering in once-hard hit markets

“The folks that raised capital are worried about under- accumulating properties and how to get capital out in an efficient way,” Richard Ford, a managing director in the real estate investment banking group at Jefferies Group Inc., told Bloomberg.

The Federal Housing Administration announced that it plans to sell loans on about 5,000 distressed properties starting in September for possible rentals. But reports of possible delays have surfaced with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bulk sales because of “political pressure to monitor the properties in the pilot project,” Bloomberg reports.

“This could be a disappointment to many investors who expected Fannie and Freddie to unload thousands of properties through the REO-to-rental program,” notes Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst with Guggenheim Securities LLC in Washington.

Also, more banks are agreeing to short sales to prevent foreclosures or opting to sell foreclosures through real estate brokers, contributing to the supply problem.

The real estate industry has spoken out against bulk sales to large funds, saying there’s enough demand among home buyers and small investors to soak up the distressed home inventory. They’ve argued that selling these properties in bulk could pull down overall home prices too.

Tom Shapiro, chairman of New York-based GTIS Partners, says he plans to invest $1 billion by 2016 in single-family home rentals but he’s opting to take a more conservative approach of buying properties up one at a time.

“If you buy by the pound, I think you’ll underperform,” Shapiro told Bloomberg. “If a firm that wants to put in $500 million today at $100,000 a house, that’s 5,000 houses, and they’re not doing the level of work they need to. They’re not going to every house and looking at the Google street map.”

SOURCE: Realtor Daily News

Ada county property values have bottomed out

Assessor says values have dropped a third since 2008 peak

After three years of double-digit declines, Ada County property values leveled out in 2011, with a decline of just 1.7 percent last year.

Ada County Assessor Bob McQuade said real estate is now beginning a slow climb out. Hitting rock bottom entailed a 33 percent decline in assessed property values in just four years.

Two areas recorded an increase, both in Meridian.

The median assessed value of an Ada County home peaked in 2008 at $208,100. This year, that number is $138,800.

Assessments mailed in recent weeks are for property values as of Jan. 1, 2012.

In Canyon County, the trend of dwindling property values continued, dropping about 8 percent countywide from 2010 levels, Chief Deputy Assessor Joe Cox said. That’s slightly less than the 8.5 percent drop reported from 2009 to 2010.

CHANGES BY AREA

The changes in home values over the past year ranged from a 5.9 percent decrease in Southeast Boise to a 1.3 percent increase in Northwest Meridian. Eleven of 17 Ada survey areas saw declines, and five — South, Southwest and East Boise, northeast Meridian and Star — recorded no change in value. Just two areas recorded an increase, both in Meridian.

Some of the grimmest news came from Caldwell, where property values dropped by 11 percent in 2011, Cox said. In Nampa, the decline was about 9 percent.

ASSESSMENTS AND TAXES

Lower property values do not necessarily translate into lower taxes.

For example, on one Southeast Boise home, the assessed value has declined 28 percent from 2008 to 2012, but property taxes increased 4 percent over the same period.

That’s because, ultimately, property tax bills are determined by the levy rates set by individual taxing districts where a home is located. When property values drop, these districts can increase rates to keep the same level of revenue.

There are 41 taxing districts in Ada County, including the county, cities, schools, emergency medical services, and library, cemetery, mosquito abatement and irrigation districts. These taxing districts will set their respective budgets and levy rates in September. Each can raise budgets by 3 percent, plus a percentage for new construction.

Another factor affecting a home’s taxable value is the homeowner’s exemption, which is based on the federal housing price index. This year the maximum exemption is $83,974, down from $92,040 last year. It was highest in 2009 at $104,500.

Throughout Canyon County, properties that lost the most value were those built in 1975 or earlier, Cox said. Market interest has focused on three-bedroom homes less than a decade old, which often are sparking a bidding war.

Much of the drop in Canyon County values is represented by homes that were foreclosed on, he said.

SOURCE: Idaho Statesman

Hailey Single Family Home Sales Soar!

Single family home sales have dramatic jump in 2012 versus 2011.

YTD (year to date as of 6/13/2012) homes sold and closed have gone from 28 sales in 2011 to 78 closings in 2012 – a giant jump of 178%

Homes currently sold pending has also jumped from 42 in 2011 to 94 now pending – an increase of 123%

During the same period homes available for purchase has dropped by 14%

For more information about local market conditions please drop in or give us a call.

Were always here to help.