Editor’s note: This is post #2 in a two-part series. (Read Post #1)
By Sean Coffey, Program Manager, Foreclosure Help
The California Housing Consortium recently sponsored the 1st Annual Homeownership Forum. The theme for the day was “Stabilizing Homeownership and Communities in the Post-Foreclosure World” and panelists and participants discussed current efforts to repair the housing market, while creating and retaining affordable housing. To see the agenda and speaker slides, visit the CHC website.
Keep Your Home CA, California’s Role in AG Settlement, Homeowner Bill of Rights
The first panel discussion was moderated by Rick Jacobus, from NCB Capital Impact and included Rick Okikawa from CalHFA, Steve Gallagher from Keep Your Home California, and Frances Gunder, from the Attorney General’s office. France Gunder discussed about the high-stakes negotiations that ultimately led to California signing on to the Attorney General settlement. California had walked away from the negotiating table at one point in the negotiations because of concerns the settlement didn’t provide enough relief to California homeowners.
Gunder also discussed the California Homeowner Bill of Rights that includes similar mortgage servicing requirements as the AG settlement. However, the California Homeowner Bill of Rights applies to ALL banks/servicers who are servicing mortgages in California. In contrast, the AG settlement only applies to the five largest banks: Ally, Chase, Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo, and expires after three years.
Steve Gallagher gave an update on Keep Your Home California, and in response to a question about programs designed to assist with second mortgages, suggested that participants look at the Local Innovation Fund.
California’s Economy and Real Estate Market
Dr. Selma Hepp, Senior Economist for the California Association of Realtors, presented an overview of the economy and real estate market in California. While the market is recovering, a few trends could be worrisome for housing advocates, including the number of homes that are still upside down in California (and the amount they are upside down), the increase in all-cash offers beating out first-time homebuyers, and an interesting difference in how buyers and sellers view the current market. Dr. Hepp noted that homebuyers have far more optimistic perspectives on the potential for a house to increase in value as compared to home sellers.
Pilots to Heal the Market
The third panel was moderated by Kevin Zwick, from the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County. Rose Cade at Enterprise Community Partners discussed pilots to preserve affordable housing stock in California, including the ROOT program in Oakland, and a pilot with Waypoint Homes. Rebecca Regan, with the Housing Partnership Network, discussed the Mortgage Resolution Fund and the Community Restoration Corporation, which allows for banks to donate homes to a non-profit (instead of the bank walking away from them).
Beth Haiken from Waypoint Homes explained their model of purchasing homes and setting up two-year leases, with a system that allows renters to accumulate points that can be used for a later purchase of a home. She also cited research that each 1% drop in homeownership equates to a need for 750,000 more rental units. Drew Collins, from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, described online counseling resources, and also said that in his experience, current homeowners are ready and excited about buying homes, but are often losing out when competing against all-cash buyers.
Dr. Carolina Reid, from the University of California, Berkeley, was the third keynote presentation and talked about the impact of the crisis on low-income communities and minority homeowners. She began by suggesting that contrary to some suggestions, the subprime melt-down wasn’t due to lenders being force to make loans to low-income people or people of color to increase homeownership. In fact, she suggested that the subprime lending boom undermined homeownership for people of color and low-income people.
Reid explained that the recent final rule for the Qualified Mortgages was published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in January 2013 and cited estimates that as many as 30 to 40% of low-income people will be unable to qualify for mortgages under this new regulation.
The final panel of the day was moderated by Sean Spear from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee and included Denise Bickerstaff, from the County of San Bernardino, Craig Ferguson from the California Rural Home Mortgage Finance Authority, Ed Mayer from the California Affordable Housing Agency, and John Perfitt from Restore Neighborhoods LA.
Denise Bickerstaff discussed efforts to address foreclosures in San Bernardino County, the largest county in California and in the United States, and where an estimated 50% of homes are underwater. Bickerstaff touched on the controversy surrounding the possibility of using eminent domain to seize mortgages, and explained that the risks involved with using this as a tool to address the crisis had been a large obstacle. She suggested that people may be interested in the RFQ announced by the Joint Powers Authority Home Ownership Protection Program Joint Powers Authority , and also suggested visiting http://www.saveyourhomesbcounty.org/
John Perfitt, the Executive Director of Restore Neighborhoods Los Angles, discussed implementing the NSP program in partnership with the city of Los Angeles to purchase and rehab homes and strengthen neighborhoods that had been affected by the foreclosure crisis.
Craig Feguson discussed the Residential Energy Retrofit Program, which allows eligible homeowners in 44 counties of California to apply for a 6.5% fixed interest rate loan, up to $50,000, to make energy efficiency home improvements.
Ed Mayer discussed a partnership between CalAHA and Cascadia that will allow people in several counties to lease single family homes with the option to purchase the home in the future.
The agenda as well as PDF’s of the presentations are available here: www.calhsng.org
Congratulations to the organizers, presenters, and sponsors for putting this event together.
If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit us: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org
Our housing counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: email@example.com.
Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.Nuestros consejeros puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.
Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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