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Property Investors: Solving or Contributing to Neighborhood Blight?

Two recent studies about investors who buy vacant and deteriorating homes and resell them paint vastly different pictures of the effects such actions have on neighborhoods. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland says many cities are being hurt by investors who purchase homes and sell them quickly without regard for back taxes on the property. But another report says investors who play the game fairly are actually contributing to the growth and overall health of ailing neighborhoods and helping families at the same time.

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Radar Logic’s Home Price Index Drops to New Low

Radar Logic's 25-metro-area RPX Composite price slumped to its lowest value last week since its peak in June 2007. Based on data from home sales that closed during the 28 days ending January 3, 2011, the value was at $183.18 per square foot. That's 34 percent lower than the 2007 peak value of $278. The company says last week's reading is lower than the price for any other date since May 14, 2003.

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House Votes to Rescind $1B in Neighborhood Stabilization Grants

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pull the plug on HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) and rescind $1 billion in grant money that has not yet been awarded. The NSP Termination Act (H.R. 861) passed the House with a 242-182 vote. It now moves to the Senate, where it is not expected to be met with such favor. White House officials again indicated that President Obama will veto the bill should it make it that far.

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Fannie Employs Active Data Technologies’ Pilot in Select REO Markets

Active Data Technologies Inc., a Florida-based creator of custom REO Web sites, released a statement this week announcing that the company recently completed a pilot REO offer management platform for Fannie Mae. The program, available through the GSE's HomePath Web site allows agents representing homebuyers or investors to submit offers online to purchase Fannie Mae-owned properties in three test markets: Orlando, Florida; San Diego, California; and Wayne County, Michigan.

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Hudson & Marshall to Auction Over 150 Phoenix Foreclosures for HUD

With bank-owned inventories expanding rapidly, even government agencies are looking for new ways to quickly get foreclosed properties back into the hands of responsible homeowners. For the first time in recent years, HUD is planning to sell over 150 foreclosed homes through auction. The auction will take place March 26th at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, and will be conducted by the real estate auction firm Hudson & Marshall.

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West Coast Foreclosure Activity Slowed in February After January’s Spike

Foreclosure activity last month slowed down along the West Coast, according to the tracking firm ForeclosureRadar. The company monitors filings and auctions in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, and said the numbers were down across the board. Foreclosure sales saw a similar decline in the firm's coverage area, and bank-owned inventories were mostly flat, suggesting fewer REOs were sold. ForeclosureRadar's CEO says activity should continue to be sluggish for a while.

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Collateral Analytics, Valuation Partners Team Up for ‘Hybrid’ Solutions

Collateral Analytics, a provider of automated valuation models (AVMs) and real estate analytic tools for the mortgage lending industry, and Valuation Partners, a national real estate valuations provider, recently announced a partnership venture. The move will improve Valuation Partners' current hybrid valuation solutions, according to a statement from the companies.

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Woodward Asset Capital Reinvigorates Communities with New Approach

When Woodward Asset Capital, a Michigan-based company focusing on real estate acquisition and sales, found it difficult to buy distressed homes in bulk, the company's founders came up with a new plan. Ronald Jasgur, Rodney Carey, and Gerald Kazakov decided to buy the worst houses in the best neighborhoods and get them back on track. The company buys what it describes as the most dated and ugliest homes and rehabilitates them. One official in White Lake says Woodward's efforts saved his community.

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Shadow Inventory, Negative Equity Impacting Home Price Recovery

Home prices in January were down 5.7 percent from a year earlier after factoring the month's REO sales and short sales into the mix, according to CoreLogic. January marked the sixth month in a row that the company has recorded a year-over-year decline in U.S. home prices. CoreLogic says the industry's ominous shadow inventory of distressed properties and rising negative equity, combined will still high levels of unemployment, all contributed to the continuing slide in home prices.

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Auction.com Sells $113M in Commercial Real Estate Assets and Notes

According to Auction.com, investors and buyers spent $112.9 million on assets at five of its auction events for primarily non-performing commercial real estate and notes last month. The auction offerings included 155 assets within 34 states and drew 990 registered bidders. The company says its February results are a strong indication of investors' appetite for real estate.

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