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Home Staging May Thwart ‘Mansion Squatting’ in Vacant Homes

According to Showhomes, a nationally franchised network of home stagers, staging a vacant home can keep squatters from moving in, a rising problem in the struggling housing market. A total of 19 million homes were vacant in the first quarter of 2010, reports the U.S. Census Bureau. Squatters are even occupying million-dollar homes in what has been called ""mansion squatting."" Actor Randy Quaid and his wife were recently caught squatting inside a $1 million property they previously owned in Southern California.

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Report: Modesto Claims Highest Share of REO Sales in the Nation

Where do REOs take the largest piece of the home sales pie? According to data compiled by the independent real estate research and analytical firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, it's Modesto, California. In this Northern California city, Hanley Wood found that 60.5 percent of total home sales closings during the third quarter of this year were for bank-owned properties. By comparison, the company says the national average is 28 percent. REOs also comprised the majority of all home sales transactions in seven other metropolitan areas.

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MDA DataQuick Updates Property Research Tool for Distressed Sales

MDA DataQuick, one of the nation's largest independent providers of property data to real estate and mortgage professionals, recently updated PropertyFinder 2G, the company's property research tool. Changes include expanded property details on distressed sales transactions and more accurate tracking. The technology gives users access to a nationwide database of detailed property and ownership information, including property profiles, sales comparables, demographic information, and property history.

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National Home Prices Down 5.8%, Major Metros See Double Dip: Report

The November home market report from Clear Capital shows that prices nationally fell another 5.8 percent over the previous three months. The company says although the pace of decline has slowed, home prices show no signs of bottoming out yet. Thirteen of the 50 major metros in the study have already entered into double-dip territory, indicating that their current price levels are the lowest since the housing downturn began. Among them are Vegas, Seattle, Tucson, Philadelphia, and several major Florida markets.

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Lennar’s Rialto Capital Raises $300M for Distressed Investments

Lennar Corporation recently announced that its Rialto Capital subsidiary has completed the first closing of a real estate investment fund that will target REOs and other non-performing properties and mortgage assets. Rialto raised $300 million for the fund, of which Lennar itself committed $75 million. The fund will extend the Miami-based homebuilder's buying power for distressed real estate and mortgage debt for the next three years.

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Sirote & Permutt Hosts REO Legal Issues Seminar

Sirote & Permutt's mortgage banking group recently hosted its sixth annual REO Real Estate Legal Issues seminar for Alabama real estate agents who represent the firm's mortgage servicing clients. Topics included Alabama law as it relates to REO closings, title issues, manufactured housing, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and evictions.

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Consumers Don’t Expect Housing Recovery Until 2013, Experts Agree

Americans continue to grapple with uncertainty about the housing market, with 58 percent of U.S. adults expecting recovery to be at least another two years away. Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac and Pete Flint of Trulia are of the same mind as consumers. They peg the housing recovery to begin taking shape between 2013 and 2014. The robo-signing debacle has left most consumers mired in distrust of banks and the government. The industry experts say its effect on REO sales will be minimal, but the impact on consumer confidence could be especially damaging.

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Prism Title and Closing Services Expands to Florida

Prism Title and Closing Services has expanded its services to include Florida, adding a sixth state to its service area, which also includes Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. The company says the move was prompted by feedback from its bank clients who said that due to the marked increase in REO properties in Florida, their current vendors were having difficulty keeping up with the volume.

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Trepp Reports a Jump in CMBS Delinquencies as Rate Nears 9% Again

The recent optimism surrounding delinquencies on commercial real estate loans bundled into investment bonds has been hit with a blast of cold water. The rate of past due loans suddenly jumped in November after a big decline the month before. According to data from Trepp LLC, the percentage of loans held in U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) that were 30 or more days delinquent, in foreclosure, or REO rose 35 basis points in November to 8.93 percent, putting the value of delinquent loans at $60.3 billion.

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Field Asset Services Expands Executive Team

Field Asset Services (FAS), an Austin-based provider of field services to the REO industry, recently added three members to its executive team. Karen Glasgow was hired as SVP of client operations, Loetta Arrington was promoted to SVP of business development, and Terry Sadowski was appointed chief marketing officer.

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