foreclosure

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State lawmakers are considering bills in this “lame duck” session that would provide one-time relief for property owners facing tax foreclosure in the coming year.

The situation is particularly dire in Wayne County, where the County treasurer has already served foreclosure notices on about 75,000 tax-delinquent properties—about 62,000 in Detroit alone. 

Wayne County plans to foreclose on a record number of properties next year.

The county has begun issuing notices to almost 75,000 properties for delinquent taxes. Of those, more than 80%--about 62,000—are located in Detroit.

The county is required, by state law, to auction off all properties at least three years behind on property taxes.

Foreclosure sign
Jeff Turner / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has begun tax foreclosure proceedings on nearly 75,000 properties, up 34% from 56,000 last year.

Treasury workers last month began posting notices on properties the county plans to auction next fall if owners don't pay taxes or agree to payment plans.

There are 62,000 properties in Detroit owing $326.4 million in taxes, interest and fees that are set to be foreclosed. Motor City Mapping data analyzed by Loveland Technologies indicates that 37,000 of those Detroit Properties are occupied.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The final round of the annual Wayne County property tax foreclosure auction closed on Tuesday.

This year, about 24,000 properties—the vast majority located in Detroit--were up for auction over two rounds.

The auction has become a real estate mega-event in recent years, as the number of tax-foreclosed properties has soared, and bidding moved online.

More than 7000 of the properties up for auction this year were believed to be occupied.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Republican candidate for Congress David Trott was the subject of some street theater this week.

Trott is running for the U.S. House seat in Metro Detroit’s 11th district.

He’s also a former co-owner of the Trott & Trott law firm, which specializes in home foreclosure work on behalf of banks. It prospered during the recent housing crisis, foreclosing on up to 80,000 homes in 2009 alone.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is experiencing an uptick in initial home foreclosure filings.

Michigan has seen 45 straight months of year-over-year declines in the number of home foreclosure filings.

But for the last two months, the number of foreclosure notices have been inching higher. In July, the number of foreclosure filings increased by 26% over the previous month.  However, July’s foreclosure filings were down 22% from July 2013. 

Daren Bloomquist is with Realty Trac. He was surprised to see a 6% increase in foreclosure starts last month.

Is America climbing out of the foreclosure hole dug during the Great Recession?

That's the question tackled in reports from Realty Trac, which keeps a close watch on real estate data. Its Midyear 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report is out today.

The report shows that U.S. foreclosure activity in June decreased 16% from a year ago to lowest level since July 2006, the month before the housing-price bubble burst. In Michigan, the foreclosure activity was also back to a lower level than the number before the housing bust.

Daren Blomquist, a Vice President with Realty Trac, discussed three reasons behind this slowdown in foreclosures.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Wayne County treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz’s office has filed a lawsuit to collect about $80 million in delinquent property taxes.

The irony is that these are taxes owed on properties the county once owned, but sold at auction after they were foreclosed on...for delinquent property taxes.

Jarrad Henderson / Detroit Free Press

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss the latest with the Detroit bankruptcy, road funding and the state's foreclosure rate.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

At first it doesn't sound that great: 1 in 3 people who have mortgages still owe at least 25% more on their house than it's actually worth.

But a year ago, it was even worse. At that time, more than half of all Michiganders with mortgages were in that position.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan is starting 2014 with its housing market in better shape than it’s been in in years.

The number of new home foreclosures is actually smaller than it was in 2006, before the recession began. Home prices are also improving.

But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says there are still many Michigan homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. He says 2014 may finally turn that around.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The federal government shutdown could soon start affecting Michigan’s real estate industry.

The problem is government agencies that verify the identities and tax returns of people taking out mortgages are closed by the shutdown. That means banks and mortgage companies are unable to finish their paperwork on home loans.

Google Earth

Michigan homeowners continue to struggle with underwater mortgages.

Realty Trac reports today that 38% of Michigan homeowners owe at least 25% more on their mortgages than their homes are actually worth.

Michigan trails only Nevada, Illinois and Florida for the percentage of home mortgages that are deeply underwater.

Realty Trac’s Daren Bloomquist says more homeowners in those states may be underwater on their mortgages, but home values are also rising faster than in Michigan.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Thousands of vacant homes will come down in five Michigan cities, thanks to a diversion of federal money.

The first blighted homes demolished in the $100 million effort came down in the Marygrove neighborhood on Detroit’s west side Monday.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is tumbling. The rate of home foreclosure filings in Michigan is half of what it was six months ago. 

June marked the 32nd consecutive month of “year-over-year” declines in the number of home foreclosure filings in Michigan.

Daren Blomquist is with RealtyTrac.  He expects that trend will continue.

“We’ll see the declines continue at least through the end of this year,” says Blomquist, “But then I would expect in 2014 that’s probably when we’ll see the numbers flatten out.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law changes in Michigan's home foreclosure rules but is calling on lawmakers to swiftly enact more legislation to clarify some issues.

Bills signed Wednesday keep intact the redemption period when homeowners can challenge a foreclosure's legality. An earlier version of the legislation would have reduced the period from 6 months to 60 days.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Housing advocates are asking Governor Rick Snyder to veto a package of bills that would change home foreclosure rules.

calgaryrealestate.com

Building permits are up by more than a third this year in Michigan.  Home prices are also rising.

These should be great days for Michigan’s homebuilding industry, which nearly ground to a halt during the recession.

But there’s a problem: not enough workers.

A survey finds a third of Michigan homebuilding contractors are having trouble finding enough workers to do the job. 

Foreclosed house in Ypsilanti Township
Rebecca Williams / The Environment Report

Opponents of a plan to change the foreclosure process in Michigan say it would put more people out of their homes and hurt property values.

They were in Lansing today to protest a package of bills in the state Legislature.

The legislation would shorten the amount of time homeowners have to stop a bank foreclosure from six months to two months.

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. says banks have wrongly foreclosed on thousands of properties across the state.

He says it often takes months for people to prove they don’t deserve to lose their home.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in review Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the possibility of repealing a tax on pensions, how Michigan's home foreclosure rate is no longer the worst, and how the international trade crossing has a presidential permit to move forward.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is no longer among the nation’s worst.

Realty Trac reports Michigan ranked 16th in the nation in home foreclosures in March.  That is a far cry from a few years ago when the state had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate.

Mary Townley is with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.  She credits the authority’s “Step Forward” program for providing assistance to people at risk of losing their homes…

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This “week in review” Michigan Radio’s Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss: Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State speech, the possibility of no fault absentee voting, a positive report on Michigan’s housing market, and a possible tax amnesty program for Detroit.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Governor Snyder addresses roads, schools and partisan divisions in State of the State

"In his State of the State speech last night, Governor Rick Snyder asked lawmakers to fix roads, schools, and partisan divisions. Snyder wants them to find a way to increase spending on roads and transportation by more than a billion dollars a year. He says bad roads are a financial burden on drivers and the state alike," the Michigan Public Radio Network reports.

Michigan foreclosure rate plummets

"A new report suggests Michigan is becoming more of a home seller’s market. Home sale prices plunged in Michigan during the recession. But Realty Trac reports in 20-12 home sellers were getting about 94 percent of their initial home sale price listings," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan set 160 weather records in 2012

One hundred and sixty extreme weather records were set in Michigan in 2012. That's according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. As the Detroit News reports,

"The Detroit News reports, "Last year's statewide weather broke records across the spectrum including, 139 heat records in 44 counties, 18 rainfall records in 14 counties and three snow records in three counties. Michigan's weather seems to be paralleling the national trend of record-breaking heat, rain and snow."

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

No citizenship box on ballot

"Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says there will be no citizenship box for voters to check on ballot applications this November. Johnson says the election is getting close, so she won’t challenge a federal judge’s ruling that the citizenship question is unconstitutional. But she says there could be further legal action after the election. Johnson says she also intends to press the federal government for naturalization records to help clear voter rolls of non-citizens. She ordered the check box even after Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill to require it. No one could be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box, but Johnson says it's useful to remind people that only U.S. citizens can vote," Rick Pluta reports.

DHS says foster care is getting better in Michigan

"Child welfare officials say Michigan’s foster care system is getting better. Steve Yager is the director of Children’s Services for the state Department of Human Services. He told a legislative committee the state is doing a much better job of recruiting and keeping foster parents. Yager also says child welfare workers have more manageable caseloads. The state has been working to overhaul its child welfare system since 2008, after the group Children’s Rights sued the state over problems in the system," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan foreclosure rate at a five year low

"Michigan’s home foreclosure rate could soon reach a milestone. A few years ago the state's foreclosure rate was near the top of the 50 state list. But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says the latest data shows Michigan is poised to drop out of the top 10 possibly by the end of the year. He says Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is near a five year low," Steve Carmody reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate could soon reach a milestone.

A few years ago the state's foreclosure rate was near the top of the fifty state list.

But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says the latest data shows Michigan is poised to drop out of the top ten, possibly by the end of the year.

"It’s still in that top ten…but it’s moving down," says Bloomquist,  "(Michigan) had often been showing up in the top five over the last few years….now it’s moved down to number nine in September.”

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

148,000 Michiganders getting settlement letters

Michigan residents who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008-2011 will be sent claims forms as part of a $25 billion national settlement of complaints about improper conduct by lenders. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says about 148,000  are being sent claims forms. "Schuette said Tuesday that those eligible to share in the settlement lost their homes to foreclosure in 2008-2011. He says his office continues to look at possible criminal actions involving what are called "robo-signing" practices in foreclosures. Robo-signing involves people signing documents without proper review. Eligible borrowers had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The companies agreed to the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia," the AP reports.

House bill would make it easier and cheaper to get public records

"The chairman of a state House committee says it’s too easy for government agencies to delay and sidestep requests for public records. The state House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee opened hearings yesterday on measures to make it easier and cheaper for people to get public records. One bill would limit how much government agencies could charge for providing copies of records. Another would create a state commission to hear citizen complaints about compliance with Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act," Jake Neher reports.

30,000 kids missing from preschool

"Because of uneven or inadequate state funding, around 30,000 4-year-olds eligible for public preschool in Michigan are not enrolled. That's according to a new report by Bridge Magazine. More than half the kids in the state are eligible for public preschool because they are from low or moderate income families. But, some districts don't have enough money to meet demand. State officials admit money for the program is uneven and inadequate. Momentum for more early childhood education funding appears to be growing among legislators. The Snyder administration has also said it's a priority," Sarah Alvarez reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home foreclosure rate continues to trend lower, but a spike in foreclosure filings may be coming this month.

August marked 22  straight months that Michigan’s year over year foreclosure numbers declined.

In fact, the number of foreclosure filings in Michigan in August fell 41 percent compared to August a year ago.   Also, none of the 20 U.S. cities with the highest home foreclosure rates are located in Michigan.

But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says there are signs that the trend may soon end.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There may be some good economic news in a place that's usually just about bad news: county tax foreclosure auctions.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit-based group of activists is working through the summer to help people facing foreclosure stay in their homes.

The Detroit Eviction Defense Coalition is affiliated with the Occupy Detroit movement. They held a rally Monday at the McNamara federal building to support Detroit homeowner Jennifer Britt, who faces eviction after a lengthy legal battle.

Mies van der Rohe Residential District
user Mikerussell / Wikimedia Commons

The Detroit landmark Lafayette Towers has fallen into foreclosure and is set to be auctioned by federal authorities in two weeks.

The Detroit News says financial details were not immediately available in the notice posted by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

Successful bidders on the luxury high-rise will need to post more than $2.5 million in escrow for an estimated $10 million in repairs required to be completed in 18 months.

The apartment towers were constructed in the 1960s. The two 22-story, river-view buildings contain 584 units located on nearly 10 acres in the Mies van der Rohe Residential District.

The auction is set for 10 a.m. July 18 in the first floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

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