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DS News Webcast: Friday 2/19/2016

Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado recently met with HUD Secretary Julián Castro to ask the Secretary to consider issuing a mortgagee letter to set the definition and criteria for identifying vacant and abandoned properties and then accelerating those properties to foreclosure. The problem of so-called zombie properties, or those that have been vacated but have not completed the foreclosure process, has become an issue of national concern, according to Delgado.

Delgado asked Castro to consider opening up a dialogue with the servicing industry to talk about vacant and abandoned properties. Castro said when he was a city councilman and mayor of San Antonio that, quote, we saw it not just from an individual perspective, but from the perspective that concerns neighborhood associations and community associations and folks that have to deal with the impact of vacant houses on their block, and what it does to everyone and not just the individual. Close quote

The greater demand for single-family rental housing has resulted in an increase in the price of rents, which means greater opportunities for investors looking to either enter or expand in the SFR market. According to data released by Altisource’s RentRange on Wednesday which ranked the top 25 metros in the U.S. according to the average rental rate increase year-over-year in Q4 2015, the hottest markets are in the South region, with Four states—Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee—combining for eight of the top 10 markets.