A Look At The Market…

As I preview houses (a Realtor looks at houses on their own) almost on a daily basis I am constantly amazed at how many low end houses there are on the market that are in move in condition. I can remember in 2002 to 2005 it was nearly impossible to find livable houses under $100,000. Today I am seeing houses that are around the $80,000 price point that if they need anything it is only carpet and paint. Add in the fact that mortgage interest rates are around 4 percent and you can get a monthly payment for a $80,000 home including principle, interest, property taxes and insurance for under $600 a month. (Interest rates can vary daily. Property taxes can vary per house. Insurance is an individual thing based on your risk. For this example I used 4.25 mortgage interest rate, $600 a year insurance rate and $1440 a year in property taxes.)

Rental rates in Pike Township this year have gone up steeply. It would be hard to find a good rental for less than $600 a month. In fact I can remember it use to be easy to find rentals on the Broker Listing Cooperative (Software that Realtors use to find houses and rentals.) Now because of the high demand for rentals it has become much more challenging.

In 2010 the government offered a $8000 tax credit through April if you qualified when you bought a house. They allowed until June 30th to close those sales. As you can see on my sales chart,

this produced a high level of sales in the first 6 months of the year. When the tax credit stopped, so did the sales. This year the sales are 12 percent below last years but I am seeing some stabilization. In months past I have seen the market be down up to 30 percent from the year before. The gap is narrowing. That said there are many variables.

There is a high inventory of shadow inventory. (Foreclosures that are in the process but have not hit the market yet.) Mortgage companies learned a good lesson when they flooded the market with distressed housing. Not only did it bring overall prices down, it brought the prices of distressed homes down further and increased the mortgage companies losses. Now they are holding back and trickling out the distressed homes. This is a good thing in that it does not hurt the overall market as much. It is a bad thing in that there are more vacant houses sitting maybe waiting months or even a year before they go on the market. I hear more and more stories about people breaking into these houses and living in them without permission. I have heard stories from Sam Bruner, Pike Township Fire Marshall, about squatters starting fires in vacant homes to keep warm. Also about people living in vacant commercial buildings on Coffman Road. These are liabilities and costs that Pike Township let alone the real estate market does not need.

Since market pricing has dropped up to 20 percent and sometimes more in Pike Township over the last few years more people have less equity in their houses. In years past I can remember when houses for sale reached over 1000 at the peak of the summer. Now we are seeing about 800. That is a 20 percent drop. People can’t afford to sell their homes.

It is a buyers market. Prices are low, interest rates are at record lows and a lot of good inventory out there. For sellers, buyers are a lot more motivated in winter months. They don’t like to look at houses in the snow. They are more likely to make decisions faster. Their purchase can be a Christmas present to themselves.

Pike Real Estate Snapshot 10/26/2011

Actives (Homes on the market)               611
Homes sold YTD 2011                         686
Homes sold YTD 2010                         776
Down from last year                          12%
Pending homes (Under contract to close)     105
Average sale price 2011                $123,919
Average days on market                      108

These numbers came from MIBOR’s Broker Listing Cooperative

Traders Point Creamery Not A Good Neighbor

It was reported in the Zionsville Times Sentinel on October 19th in a Letter To The Editor that the Creamery’s Octoberfest turned the area in to a Castleton Mall. Traffic was backed up from the Creamery south to 86th Street on Moore Road with the parking lot full. The once quiet neighborhood was blasted with blaring polka music. Neighbors a half mile away sitting on their patios were disturbed by the music. The Creamery violated the trust of the neighborhood and tarnished the spirit of the “rural” historic designation they helped create.

My take…there goes property values.

A New Family Dollar In Pike Township?…No Way!

A Family Dollar developer wanted to buy some land from Wildwood Homes just south of 71st and Georgetown Road on the west side of the street. The problem was that it is “common property” at Wildwood. In order to sell the land it would require 100 percent of the home owners to agree to it. Apparently that is not going to happen. And to think there already is a Family Dollar at 56th and Georgetown and 71st and Michigan Road.

Goodbye Shell Station…Hello Walgreens

At the September 14th 2011 Pike Township Residents Association meeting a request was made for a variance at 5580 Georgetown Road. It seems that the Shell station at the southwest corner is selling the land to Walgreens. My first thought was when you see a CVS eventually you will see a Walgreens and when you see a Walgreens you will eventually see a CVS. I guess 3 gas stations at 56th and Georgetown was to much competition. Years ago 4 gas stations was to much for 71st and Georgetown road. At that time the Shell station closed there.

Guest Post

I met Tom Murray about 12 years ago. I was President of my home owners association. The Board was looking for an attorney to handle some of the challenges of our community. I spent some time on the internet looking and came up with his name. Tom interviewed with our Board and we hired him. Tom introduced me to Community Association Institute which provides information and education to community associations and the professionals who support them. Tom was President at the time of the local chapter of CAI. He recruited me to be a Board member. I was on the local board for about 6 years and was President in 2001. Tom has represented 100’s of community associations over the years and has vast knowledge and experience dealing with their challenges. I give you Tom…

Indiana HOAs See Mortgage Foreclosures Picking Back Up
Our office has seen a noticeable increase in mortgage foreclosures that are now proceeding forward. Indiana has historically had one of the highest mortgage foreclosure rates in the country. When the economy and real estate market declined about three years ago, mortgage companies began to acquire more and more homes as a result of foreclosure suits. Mortgage companies took title to many homes that were “upside down” or “under water”, meaning that the homes had no equity. That, coupled with the difficulty of selling any homes within the last couple of years, led to a spiraling-down effect. Mortgage companies were stuck with more and more properties that they simply could not sell, so their inventory of homes started to stock pile.

A couple of years ago, our office started noticing that many mortgage foreclosure suits were in a holding pattern. Before the real estate bubble burst, we would regularly advise our HOA clients that once a mortgage foreclosure suit was filed, it would take somewhere between 6 to 9 months for the suit to end up at a sheriff’s sale. Normally, the mortgage company was the only bidder and took ownership of the home. However, beginning a couple years ago, we noticed that the mortgage companies simply were not moving forward with foreclosure suits that they had filed. We then saw the “robo signing” controversy, complete with Congressional hearings. That further led to the slowdown of mortgage foreclosure suits.

In early 2011, we were receiving more and more notices that mortgage companies were dismissing lawsuits that had been pending for months. Their attorneys were telling the judges that they came to some sort of an agreement with the homeowner. Until recently, this was an extremely rare occurrence.

Over the past three or four months, we have noticed an increase in pleadings that the attorneys for the mortgage companies are filing with the courts. In particular, there is much more activity in foreclosure suits that have been pending for 1 or even 2 years so that the suits are finally getting “back on track”. Mortgage companies are asking judges to issue foreclosure decrees. If a foreclosure decree was previously issued, they are now setting a sheriff’s sale. From our perspective, this is what was typical up until 2-3 years ago.

I have absolutely no scientific data to back up any of the above statements! However, since our firm represents hundreds of homeowners associations and condominiums, I can certainly spot trends! In case you don’t know, a homeowners association is typically named as a party in a mortgage foreclosure suit because of the association’s lien rights against the homeowner’s property. In Indiana, even though a first mortgage has priority over any lien that a homeowners association may have for delinquent assessments, the association is still typically named as a party in the lawsuit. Thus, we have filed our appearance in thousands of cases over the years where a mortgage company is foreclosing on a homeowner. Whenever we file our appearance with the court, we are automatically notified of new developments in each case.

Unfortunately, there is little we can do to speed up the process, and it is typically difficult to give associations an accurate timeline for when the mortgage foreclosure will be completed. I note, however, that community associations, too, have the right of foreclosing a lien for unpaid assessments. In some cases, this may get the mortgage company to move forward, as they would be named in such an action. In numerous other cases, we have had clients get paid in full by the owner. Sometimes, our clients have completed the foreclosure process and recouped their money by renting the property after taking title at a sheriff’s sale.

For more information on mortgage foreclosures or association lien foreclosures, please contact us.

P. Thomas Murray, Jr.
Eads Murray & Pugh, P.C.

This article is not intended to be construed as specific legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. For specific questions and circumstances, the association’s attorney should be consulted.

Eads Murray & Pugh P.C.
9515 E. 59th Street, Suite B
Indianapolis, Indiana 46216
Eads Murray & Pugh, P.C.