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Phoenix Finds Its Way Out of the Downturn: A Model for Recovery

The Arizona capital of Phoenix was one of the hardest hit markets by the housing crisis, with home values plunging nearly 60 percent from 2006 through mid-2011 and foreclosure filings soaring. One analyst says it wasn't too long ago that Phoenix was considered ground zero of the housing market's collapse, but now, it's on a path to recovery that's considerably outpaced other distressed markets. So what's going on in the Valley of the Sun that's strong enough to lift the nation's sixth most populous city from the depths of the downturn?

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April CMBS Delinquency Rate Reaches 2nd Highest Reading

Just two months after matching its lowest reading in a year, the Trepp CMBS Delinquency Rate reversed course and is now close to matching the highest reading of all time. At 9.80 percent, the April 2012 rate for 30-day plus delinquencies is just 8 basis points shy of the July 2011 record when it was 9.88 percent, according to Trepp, a provider of information, analytics and technology to the CMBS, commercial real estate, and banking markets. April's rate jumped 12 basis points from March after already increasing 31 basis points from the month before in February.

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Foreclosures Down to 69,000 in March, Inventory Also Down

Year-over-year, the number of completed foreclosures decreased about 19 percent to 69,000 in March 2012 compared to 85,000 in March 2011, according to CoreLogic's National Foreclosure Report for March. Month-over-month, with the number of completed foreclosures in February 2012 at 66,000, foreclosures increased about 4.5 percent in March 2012. In addition to the yearly decrease in completed foreclosures, the number of loans in the foreclosure inventory decreased by nearly 6 percent, or 100,000, in March 2012 compared to the year before.

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REO Prices Increase, Fair Market Prices Drop, Home Values Stabilizing

According to data from Clear Capital, over the last year, REO prices have increased 5.5 percent, while fair market sales prices dropped 2.9 percent. The real estate data provider explained that demand for REOs is most likely causing the increase in prices and named Carrington Holding Company, Amherst Securities Group, and Waypoint Financial as examples of investors purchasing single-family REOs with the purpose of converting them into rental properties.

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NAREB Forum on Minority Housing Draws Congressional Support

Studies indicate the foreclosure crisis and its community-debilitating aftereffects are having a disproportionate impact on minorities and minority-owned real estate businesses. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the oldest African American trade group of real estate professionals in the country, has positioned itself alongside members of Congress, minority businesses, and granting agencies like the Salvation Army to face this challenge head-on. NAREB is hosting the State of Housing in Black America Issues Forum (SHIBA) on Wednesday, May 2, in Washington, D.C., with special appearances by Reps. Elijah Cummings and Eleanor Holmes Norton.

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Homeownership Rate Falls to 15-Year Low

The nation’s homeownership rate (seasonally adjusted) dropped to 65.4 percent in the first quarter, its lowest level since the first quarter of 1997, the Census Bureau reported Monday. The homeownership rate fell in all four census regions in the first quarter – the steepest drop in the Northeast, 1.2 percentage points to 62.5 percent. The homeownership rate fell 0.8 percentage points in the South to 67.5 percent; 0.5 percentage points in the Midwest to 69.5 percent, and 0.2 percentage points in the West to 59.9 percent. At the same, the homeowner vacancy rate fell to 2.2 percent nationwide, down from 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011, and the rental vacancy rate dropped to 8.8 percent from 9.7 percent one year earlier.

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Surge in Investor Purchases Gave Home Prices Boost in February

While Radar Logic reported home prices in February showed a month-over-month increase, the real estate data provider sees this trend as possibly being temporary, considering that warm weather and investment buying helped to drive up sales. Home prices increased 1.9 percent over the month ending February 16, according to Radar Logic's RPX Composite Price, which tracks 25 major metropolitan areas. This increase was bolstered by strong sales in February, with sales from institutional investors increasing significantly since 2009 in certain metros, especially the hardest hit areas.

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NFL Stars Join in Initiative to Revive Blighted Neighborhoods

The United Athletes Foundation (UAF), Builders of Hope and Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) announced Bring it Home, an initiative to revitalize blighted communities by developing safe and affordable housing and by educating new homebuyers and renters moving into the renovated houses. UAF, Builders of Hope, and Consumer Education Services Inc. launched Bring it Home, an effort to revive communities struck by the housing crises by developing safe and affordable housing and by educating new homebuyers and renters moving into the renovated houses.

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Foreclosure Activity Trends Mixed in Metros, According to RealtyTrac

While 114 out of 212 metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more saw increases in foreclosure activity during the 2012 first quarter, activity was still down compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to RealtyTrac's 2012 first quarter Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report. Last year, 135 out of 212 metros areas saw increases in foreclosure activity in the first quarter.

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California Sees Fewer Homes Going into and Getting Lost to Foreclosure

California may have some rough patches in it, but overall, with the worst part of the housing crises appearing to be over, the state is seeing fewer delinquencies and losing a smaller number of homes to foreclosure, according to a San Diego-based real estate data provider. A total of 56,258 Notices of Default (NODs) were recorded at county recorders offices in California during the first quarter of 2012, the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007 when 53,943 NODs were recorded, according to DataQuick. NOD filings peaked in the first quarter of 2009 at 135,431.

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