Real estate CEO says housing market looking up

The U.S. economy and the national housing market seem to be perking up, according to the head of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. 

The 106-year-old company’s chief executive officer Bill Gillespie pointed to statistics from the National Association of Realtors that show national sales of existing homes are up about 10 percent from July 2011 to July 2012. 

“If I could be narrowed down to just one or two words, it’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ that we’re going in the right direction,” Gillespie said Tuesday. “Are we going fast enough? That’s going to be an argument this November, but things are slowly improving.”

Gillespie, CEO since 2004, swung through Rapid City to share that message with the local Coldwell Banker affiliate, Lewis-Kirkeby-Hall Real Estate and to discuss Rapid City’s steadily progressing housing market.

“You really are blessed with a good market,” Gillespie said. “The thing that is very impressive and actually surprising to me . . . is that you’ve had appreciations.”

Like the rest of the country, Rapid City saw a drop in home sales during the recession, but unlike other parts of the U.S. the average price of houses sold locally has kept going up or remained steady, according to numbers from the Black Hills Association of Realtors. 

Dave Mortimer, a sales manager for Rapid City’s Coldwell Banker office, said that is likely attributed to the fact that the area does not have a lot of incoming and outgoing movement since the local home buyers usually stay in western South Dakota.

“What we have is very stable,” Mortimer said. “We’ve always progressively been more like a turtle and not like a rabbit and so we have always progressed very slow.”

New numbers from the Black Hills Association of Realtors show that sold residential listings and their average sale price are up year to date from September 2011 to September 2012, while active listings and average active prices are down. 

Active listings and prices compare those listed on Sept. 1, 2011 to those on Sept. 1, 2012. 

That dynamic, according to Linda Rausch, the past president of the association, is good news for Rapid City.

“We’re up over 10 percent,” said Rausch, a broker associate for Rapid City-based The Real Estate Group. “It’s a great market, the real estate market is recovering — buyers are buying, sellers are selling.”

Add in that interest rates remain at historic lows, Rausch said there may never be a better time to buy a home, but she would like to see more homes on the market. 

“New construction is probably where we slowed down the most and that’s really due to bank financing,” Rausch said. “Most of us in this business think they were probably too liberal before . . . on the other hand they’re probably too restrictive now.” 

Of the total residential listings, new construction accounts for only 122 active listings and 109 sold listings as of Sept. 1, 2012, according to the association.   

Fannie Mae Survey Finds Americans Feeling Better About Housing

Americans’ attitudes towards the housing market are continuing to improve, despite stalling optimism about the economy and personal finances, according to a monthly survey by Fannie Mae .

“Consumer attitudes toward the housing market remain modestly positive, despite signs of increased concern over the direction of the economy,” Chief Economist Doug Duncan said. “While the latest results showed a pickup in the share of consumers expecting mortgage rates to rise, reflecting the uptrend of long-term interest rates since mid-July, that may soon change.”

The mortgage-finance company’s survey of 1,002 Americans last month found that respondents expect home prices to increase 1.6% in the next year, on average, down slightly from the high of 2% seen in June.

About 11% of respondents said home prices will decline, the lowest level since the survey began in June 2010. And 18% say now is a good time to sell, marking the highest level since the survey’s inception. About 40% expect mortgage rates to rise in the next 12 months, an increase of four percentage points over July.

Meanwhile, the survey also showed increasing consumer pessimism about the direction of the overall economy. The number of respondents who believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction ticked up two percentage points to 60%, the third consecutive rise to the highest reading since January. Those who expect their financial situation to worsen dipped to 13% while those expecting their situation to remain the same increased modestly to 41%.

About 33% of those surveyed said they believe the economy is on the right track, a slight decrease from last month and five percentage points lower than the May 2012 peak.

Fannie Mae delinquencies down in July

All measures of single family delinquency continued to decline in July, according to the latest Fannie Mae Monthly Summary.


SoldAtTheTop, Guest blogger /
September 11, 2012

This chart shows what Fannie Mae terms the count of “Seriously Delinquent” loans as a percentage of all loans on their books since 1998.



The latest release of the Fannie Mae Monthly Summary indicated that all measures of single family delinquency continued to decline in July while remaining at distressed levels.

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Writer, The PaperEconomy Blog

‘SoldAtTheTop’ is not a pessimist by nature but a true skeptic and realist who prefers solid and sustained evidence of fundamental economic recovery to ‘Goldilocks,’ ‘Green Shoots,’ ‘Mustard Seeds,’ and wholesale speculation.

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In July, 2.84% of non-credit enhanced loans went seriously delinquent while the level was 7.76% of credit enhanced loans resulting in an overall total single family delinquency of 3.50%.

This chart shows what Fannie Mae terms the count of “Seriously Delinquent” loans as a percentage of all loans on their books.

It’s important to understand that Fannie Mae does NOT segregate foreclosures from delinquent loans when reporting these numbers.

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Fannie Mae Prices $700 Million Multifamily DUS REMIC Under Its Fannie Mae …

/PRNewswire/ — Fannie Mae (OTC Bulletin Board: FNMA) priced its seventh Multifamily DUS REMIC in 2012 totaling $700 million under its Fannie Mae Guaranteed Multifamily Structures (Fannie Mae GeMS™) program on September 10, 2012.

“FNA 2012-M11 is the first Fannie Mae GeMS REMIC backed by floating rate collateral. There was broad participation in the deal by depository institutions. We expected interest for this type of issuance to be strong, and it was,” said Kimberly Johnson, Fannie Mae Vice President of Multifamily Capital Markets.

All classes of FNA 2012-M11 are guaranteed by Fannie Mae with respect to the full and timely payment of interest and principal. The structure details for the multi-tranche offering are included in the table below.

For additional information, please refer to the Fannie Mae GeMS REMIC Term Sheet (FNA 2012-M11) available on Fannie Mae’s Basics of Multifamily MBS site at

Certain statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. In addition, not all securities will have the characteristics discussed in this release. Before investing in any Fannie Mae issued security, you should read the prospectus and prospectus supplement pursuant to which such security is offered. You should also read our most current Annual Report on Form 10-K and our reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) available on the Investors page of our Web site at and on the SEC’s Web site at

Fannie Mae exists to expand affordable housing and bring global capital to local communities in order to serve the U.S. housing market. Fannie Mae has a federal charter and operates in America’s secondary mortgage market to enhance the liquidity of the mortgage market by providing funds to mortgage bankers and other lenders so that they may lend to home buyers. Our job is to help those who house America.

SOURCE Fannie Mae

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Prudential Mortgage Capital Company originates $10.5 million loan for Florida apartment community


Prudential Mortgage Capital Company has originated a $10.5 million
Fannie Mae loan for an affiliate of Palatine Capital Partners
Management, LLC to finance its purchase of a Jacksonville, Fla.,
apartment community. Prudential Mortgage Capital Company is the
commercial mortgage lending business of Prudential Financial, Inc.

The borrower is using the loan to acquire The Villas at Dames Point
Crossing, a 180-unit apartment community located near I-295 providing
quick access to local beaches, the airport, downtown Jacksonville,
Mayport Naval Station and the Southside office market. Originally
constructed in two phases as condominiums between 2006 and 2007, the
owner opened the complex to rentals following the 2008 U.S. financial
crisis. The Villas, which remains titled as a condominium, is the newest
community constructed in the Arlington submarket of Jacksonville and is
more than 90 percent occupied.

“As one of the newest properties in this area, its high occupancy,
potential for future condominium sales and its proximity to key area
office, recreational and shopping areas made this transaction extremely
attractive to us,” said Brian Salyards, a principal with Prudential
Mortgage Capital Company, who originated the transaction. “We look
forward to continuing our relationship with Palatine Capital Partners

“This was a complicated execution which transpired over many months,”
said Alex Hurst, Palatine’s founder and managing partner. “It was a
fantastic addition to our 3,500 unit portfolio. We look forward to
continuing to grow our footprint in Florida and the Southeast.”

Palatine Capital Partners Management, LLC is a private real estate
principal firm focused on situational asset level investing in the
United States. Palatine specifically pursues opportunistic equity
investments in apartment properties and acquires performing and
non-performing whole loans nationwide in every asset class. Since
inception in 2007, Palatine has acquired interests in over $715 million
of assets, including over 3,500 apartment units, 265,000 square feet of
commercial space and 20 whole loans.

Prudential Mortgage Capital Company is a national full-service,
commercial and multifamily mortgage finance business with more than $72
billion in assets under management and administration as of June 30,
2012. Leveraging a 135-year history of real estate finance, the company
offers one of the most comprehensive lines of real estate finance
products and originates loans for Fannie Mae DUS®, Freddie Mac Program
Plus® and specialized affordable housing programs; FHA; Conduit;
Prudential’s general account and proprietary balance sheet program; and
other institutional investors. The company maintains a loan servicing
portfolio of approximately $69.2 billion, as of June 30, 2012. For more
information, please visit

Prudential Financial, Inc. (PRU), a financial services leader with
approximately $961 billion of assets under management as of June 30,
2012, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin
America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to
helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their
wealth through a variety of products and services, including life
insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and
investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has
stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a
century. For more information, please visit

Prudential Mortgage Capital Company
John Chartier, 973-802-9829

Internet Brings Transformation to Real Estate Industry

(Source: Anne Polta West Central Tribune, Willmar, Minn. (MCT) — Ryan, a real estate broker with RE/MAX Preferred Realty, estimates 80 percent or more of property-seekers these days “look online before they even talk to anyone or pick up the phone.”

“They make a decision what they want to see before ever meeting with us,” said Lisa Mord, broker-owner and chief executive of All-Star Realty. “Very, very seldom do I find someone that has not done some research online.”

From buying to selling, from homes to farmland auctions, the Internet has transformed how property changes hands.

Fifteen years ago the Internet was the initial source of information for 18 percent of people who bought a house, according to a report published in 1997 by the National Association of Realtors.

By 2011 this had grown to 88 percent — and for 35 percent of home buyers, the very first step in the process was to look at property listings online, according to the Realtors’ organization.

The depth and quantity of online information also has expanded dramatically. Want to know at a glance how much the property taxes cost for that new house you’re eyeing? Click online and find out. Does the attractive wooded area adjoining the back yard conceal a busy highway or a set of railroad tracks? Check it out on Google Earth.

Local Realtors say it has changed how they go about listing and showing properties, the breadth of services they are able to provide and even the technological skills they have had to learn.

Mord, for instance, is never without her cell phone. While vacationing out of state, she once received an offer for a property she had listed for sale. “I was able to upload it on my phone and send it to the seller who was in another state,” she said.

She used to tell clients how many phone calls she received about their property listing. These days “I tell them how many clicks I’ve gotten,” she said.

Ryan remembers when most listings were illustrated with a single photo, usually black and white.

Nowadays he goes into a home with a digital camera, takes multiple color photos and uses them to create a virtual tour.

Much of this change has happened only within the past decade.

“It’s amazing how quickly the Internet has become influential in our business and the extent to which it has become influential in our business,” said Doug Fenstra of Fenstra Real Estate. “Now we are using computers and scanning and Internet services to deliver purchase agreements and listing agreements and contractual agreements. … We just deliver a tremendous amount of information back and forth on the Internet. I’m on the computer literally more than I can believe anymore.”

A handful of times customers have bought land online without ever setting foot on the property, he said. “It’s actually happened.”

This isn’t the norm yet, however. In fact, if statistics are any indication, the vast majority of home buyers still rely on real estate agents to help them search for a home.

For most clients, it’s still important to work with an agent, Mord said. “You have to have somebody you can trust and ask questions.”

“You still have to meet across the table,” Fenstra agreed. “That’s where the real connection has to be made — by relationship.”

Although many feared the Internet would be detrimental to the industry, for the most part the opposite has happened, Ryan said. “Actually it’s made it a lot better. We’re a little bit faster and there’s a lot more information available.”

The wide reach of online listings has helped both buyers and sellers, Mord said. “It is a very effective way of getting the advertising out there.”

One of the biggest challenges for Realtors these days? It’s keeping up with the technological change and customer expectations so that they stay competitive.

“The issue is predicting what the next step will be,” Fenstra said. “If you’re not at least within two or three of those leapfrogs, you’re really dead in the water.”

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©2012 West Central Tribune (Willmar, Minn.)

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Source: Anne Polta West Central Tribune, Willmar, Minn. (MCT)

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Protesters call on Fannie Mae for mortgage help


Demonstrators with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and from across the southeast marched to the southeast regional office of Fannie Mae and demanded the nation’s largest mortgage holder to help homeowners having difficulties making their monthly payments.

The Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, and The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Freddie Mac, the second-largest mortgage buyer, received nearly $200 billion in federal bailout money during the depths of the global economic crisis.

Protestors want the lending giants to loosen their purse strings and reduce the principal payments on mortgages for homeowners whose houses are underwater, allow people to rent their homes after foreclosure or sell foreclosed properties back to the occupants or non-profit developers.

Robert Anderson, a protestor whose home is underwater, meaning he owes more on his mortgage than what this home is worth, said he has tried to modify with Freddie Mac but with no luck.

“I want the investors to step down and talk to us,” Anderson. “I’ve  been going through anxiety.”

Security officers stood between protestors and the Fannie Mae offices as demonstrators demanded officials come outside and take a letter requesting a meeting.

“They have the power to turn the key to economic recovery,” said Tim Franzen, one of the protest organizers, who added that it is time for Fannie and Freddie to start giving back. “We’re here to encourage them to turn the key, to stop holding our neighborhoods hostage.”

CBS Atlanta asked Fannie Mae if they would meet with the protestors. Andrew Wilson, a spokesman did not say if that would happen, but he did say “we absolutely want to work with homeowners who are having difficulty making payments, who want to work with us to prevent foreclosure.”

Wilson encouraged homeowners with Fannie Mae mortgages who are having difficulties to contact Fannie Mae for help.

If you have a mortgage with Fannie Mae and need help, call Fannie Mae at (866) 442-8573 or go to

Check back with for updates.

Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Fairfax Realtor a Finalist in Annual ‘Good Neighbor’ Awards

Trudy Harsh

Ortrud “Trudy” Harsh, an associate broker with Long Foster’s Fairfax Centre office in Fairfax has been named a  finalist in the Good Neighbor Awards by REALTOR Magazine, the official publication of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Another Long Foster Realtor – Rocco “Rocky” Balsamo, with Long Foster’s office in Princeton Junction, N.J. — is also a finalist in the competition.

The Good Neighbors Award program recognizes and honors outstanding Realtors who volunteer their time and energy to improving the quality of life in their communities and exemplify how Realtors across the country give back to their communities. This is the 13th year the magazine has sponsored the program.

Balsamo and Harsh are included in the top 10 group of finalists drawn from 200 nominations the magazine received, and will be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR Magazine. The five top winners will be announced in October, and will each receive a $10,000 grant and paid travel to the NAR Conference Expo in Orlando, Fla., where they will receive their awards. The remaining five honorable mentions will each receive $2,500 grants for their causes.

Harsh is the founder of The Brain Foundation, launched in 2003 to address the growing need for affordable housing for adults who suffer with brain disease and might otherwise be homeless. The foundation has since purchased six homes that house 24 adults with diseases like schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and chronic depression. She also has formed a successful partnership with another non-profit to provide residents with services that allow them to live independently. Her model has been copied in Florida and she frequently mentors others who are trying to create similar programs.

“It is a great honor to be nominated and I am proud to be chosen by such a wonderful group. I look forward to the increase in awareness about The Brain Foundation, brain disease, and the growing need there is for the establishment of more programs designed to assist people afflicted by such devastating illnesses,” Harsh said.

“We need a lot more brain foundations to help those who cannot help control themselves as a result of their disease, and we need to create a greater awareness within the public that no one is to blame for these debilitating illnesses. I hope this recognition will aid The Brain Foundation in continuing to serve as a model for others to follow when establishing similar non-profits,” she added.

Balsamo is founding board member and volunteer executive director for Center for FaithJustice (CFJ), a non-profit group that promotes volunteerism among teens and young adults. CFJ runs summer day camps and sleep away camps as well as other year-round workshops for schools and churches. Last year, more than 900 teens volunteered more than 20,000 hours at local charities and spent a similar number of hours in education classes.




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This week’s other headlines from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® include:

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Fannie Mae Sale of Florida Foreclosures Gets 96% of Value

Fannie Mae’s first auction of
foreclosed homes to be managed as rentals sold for $78.1
million, or 96 percent of the properties’ estimated value, the
Federal Housing Finance Agency said.

The purchase, of 699 homes in Florida, was the first to be
completed in Fannie Mae’s auction of almost 2,500 repossessed
properties in six states. The buyer was San Diego, California-
based Pacifica Companies LLC, the FHFA said in a statement
today. The homes had a total value of $81.5 million, including
joint-venture financing from Fannie Mae, according to a
transaction summary.

Investors are pouring money into single-family homes,
seeking to capitalize on rising demand for rentals and real
estate prices that have more than 30 percent from their July
2006 peak. Firms including Blackstone Group LP, Colony Capital
LLC and Oaktree Capital Group LLC plan to spend about $8 billion
buying foreclosed properties to rent, according to company
statements and interviews.

“Seeing it traded at that high value means we’re probably
going to see more pool sales coming,” Jim Warren, senior vice
president of Tenant Access, a single-family rental management
company based in Austin, Texas, said in a telephone interview.
“Institutional money can aggregate a lot quicker. It’s easier
to evaluate an entire pool than one property at a time.”

Deepak Israni, president of Pacifica, a property investment
and management company that operates hotels and multifamily
housing, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

Winning Bidders

Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage company that
owned 109,000 foreclosed properties as of June 30, offered the
homes for auction in February. The other properties are in
Georgia, Illinois, Arizona, California and Nevada.

The FHFA will announce the winning bidders of homes in
other areas in the coming weeks after the transactions are
completed, according to the statement. The 541 properties in
Atlanta weren’t sold, the Washington-based agency said.

Colony, a Santa Monica, California-based investment fund
headed by Tom Barrack, and Cogsville Group LLC, a New York-based
company led by Don Cogsville, were the top bidders for other
Fannie Mae portfolios, four people with knowledge of the
transactions said in July.

Pacifica, which will manage the Florida properties, paid
$12.3 million for its share in a joint-venture with Fannie Mae,
which will get 90 percent of cash flow until it receives $49.3
million, according to the transaction summary. After that,
Fannie Mae’s share will drop to 50 percent of cash flow.
Pacifica will also receive 20 percent of gross rental income as
a management fee. The deal restricts the value of the properties
that can be sold to third parties for three years.

“The transaction is designed to promote home price
stability, improve quality of housing stock and enhance rental
inventory of markets by utilizing a rent-and-hold strategy,”
according to the summary.

To contact the reporter on this story:
John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles at

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Kara Wetzel at