Monday, March 31, 2014

CoreLogic: Valley foreclosure rates remain low

Source: The Business Journal

Foreclosure rates in Fresno decreased for the month of January over the same period last year, according to newly released data from CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and services provider in the United States and Australia. The CoreLogic data shows that the rate of Fresno area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.93 percent for the month of January, a decrease of 0.57 percentage points compared to January of 2013 when the rate was 1.50 percent. Foreclosure activity in Fresno was lower than the national foreclosure rate, which was 1.97 percent for January 2014. Also in Fresno, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for January, 3.58 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 5.48 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.90 percentage points.

Madera
Foreclosure rates in Madera also decreased for the month of January over the same period last year, according to CoreLogic. The CoreLogic data reveals that the rate of Madera area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.97 percent for January, a decrease of 0.72 percentage points compared to January of 2013 when the rate was 1.69 percent. Also in Madera, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for January, 4 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 5.83 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.83 percentage points.

Visalia-Porterville
 Foreclosure rates in Visalia-Porterville decreased for the month of January over the same period last year. The CoreLogic data reveals that the rate of Visalia-Porterville area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.94 percent for the month of January, a decrease of 0.63 percentage points compared to January of 2013 when the rate was 1.57 percent. Also in Visalia-Porterville, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for January, 3.83 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 5.53 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.70 percentage points.

Hanford-Corcoran
Foreclosure rates in Hanford-Corcoran decreased for the month of January over the same period last year. The CoreLogic data reveals that the rate of Hanford-Corcoran area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 0.94 percent for January, a decrease of 0.87 percentage points compared to January of 2013 when the rate was 1.81 percent. Also in Hanford-Corcoran, the mortgage delinquency rate decreased. According to CoreLogic data for January, 4.38 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 6.32 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 1.94 percentage points.

URL to original article: http://thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/11368-corelogic-valley-foreclosure-rates-remain-low 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Apartment rehab spruces up Fresno’s ‘Sin City’

Source: The Business Journal
By Chuck Harvey

Rehabilitation of the San Ramon Apartments signals a step forward in Fresno’s goal of transforming the El Dorado Park neighborhood into a vibrant and safe community, shedding the old “Sin City” moniker. Zumwalt Construction Inc. has finished upgrading the San Ramon Apartments within El Dorado Park near Bulldog Stadium. Apartment renters at San Ramon that had to move out during construction were scheduled to come back last week. The Fresno Housing Authority, which runs the complex, will hold off on a grand opening until the tenants have a chance to settle back in. Renters will see some major improvements, including new site work, landscaping, courtyard, roofing, railing, windows, French doors, flooring, paint and light fixtures. New carports and a laundry room have also been built, along with wrought iron security fencing and security lighting. And it was all done in a four-month period. Total development cost for the 32-unit project is $4.2 million, with $3 million from City of Fresno Neighborhood Stabilization Program and $1.2 million from Fresno Housing Authority. The improved apartments stand out from existing apartments on the street that may not see a rehab for some time. However, Zumwalt Construction and the city see it as a good first-step in sprucing up the area and addressing safety concerns. Brandi Johnson, communication manager for the Fresno Housing Authority, said the improved section of apartments is encouraging other apartment owners to throw on some fresh paint and do minor renovations of their own. It could also help property values in the area, she said. She said no further Housing Authority projects are currently planned for El Dorado Park, has rehabilitation of rental housing going on in various parts of the county. Zumwalt Construction specializes in rehabilitation. The builder wants to erase the negative image the El Dorado Park area had developed. “Zumwalt Construction Inc. specializes in multi-family rehabilitation projects and anticipates doing additional projects within this category of construction,” said Kurt Zumwalt, president of Zumwalt Construction. “Presently we are rehabilitating 123 units in Mendota for the Fresno Housing Authority.” The Mendota housing rehabilitation is taking place at Mendota Apartments at 778 Quince St., Rios Terrace at 424 Derrick Ave. and Rios Terrace II at 111 Straw St. Zumwalt said demand has picked up for low-cost apartment projects, including rehabilitation work. He said the need is strong to catch up on deferred maintenance and refurbishment for multi-family housing. Besides improving aesthetics, firms like Zumwalt Construction bring the housing up to building and safety codes. Asked what tenants are looking for in refurbished apartments, Zumwalt said the big things are a safe environment for their families and affordable rent. The challenge at San Ramon Apartments was to rehabilitate 32 public housing units to current market standards. The architect for project was R.L. Davidson Inc. of Fresno. The City of Fresno was anxious to see improvements. The entire El Dorado Park neighborhood covers 30 acres and is dominated by multi-family apartments. According to the El Dorado Neighborhood Plan, the development was first constructed as affordable housing for Fresno State students. However it has deteriorated over the past 15-20 years. In 2011, police found several weapons and drugs while serving a search warrant for an alleged gang operation at a San Ramon apartment in El Dorado Park. And the incident wasn’t isolated. The neighborhood is often referred to as Sin City — a name community members are anxious to see slip from Fresno’s memory. Lorrae Emory, office manager for Westley United Methodist Church near El Dorado Park, said a variety of community partners are striving to change things. “The residents continue to work hard learning new tools and techniques to make their neighborhood safer, stronger and healthier,” she said in an email. While Sin City could describe an area with a reputation for crime, Emory said the actually name comes from the partying indulged by the Fresno State students and faculty who lived there more than 20 years ago. Funding for the San Ramon Apartments project was provided through low-income housing tax credit equity currently being used in Fresno County. Goals set forth in the neighborhood plan include setting strategies for a safe, crime-free environment, encouraging some neighborhood commercial projects, improving or replacing substandard housing, preserving and expanding housing opportunities for existing families and new residents and creating a central open space area along with private gardens and courtyards. The plan also calls for closer ties with Fresno State. In 2013, the Fresno Housing Authority received $60 million in tax credit equity for rehabilitation projects. The authority has begun efforts to rehabilitate 400 public housing units in Fresno, Mendota and Orange Cove. Plans also include constructing community centers with computer labs, kitchens and offices. In 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development selected Fresno Housing Authority to be part of its Rental Assistance Demonstration program that allows the authority to use private sector funs as well as equity in current developments to pay for affordable housing building improvements. The authority estimates that the cost of needed improvements in the area has soared to more than $100 million.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/11344-apartment-rehab-spruces-up-fresno-s-sin-city 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

McCaffrey Homes earns six homeowner awards

Source: The Business Journal

 McCaffrey Homes of Fresno was named the winner of six 2014 Eliant Homebuyer's Choice Awards for customer satisfaction in their houses. The annual awards are based on consumer feedback from more than 76,500 surveys of recent home owners from 148 major homebuilders across the U.S. and Canada. McCaffrey Homes was honored in six of the seven possible categories.The third-generation, family-owned builder received two first place awards for purchase experience and construction experience. The firm was also awarded two third place awards for overall first-year quality and overall home purchase and ownership experience, plus two honorable mentions for first-year customer service experience and highest percentage of sales from referrals. Building exclusively in the Fresno and Clovis market for the past 35 years, McCaffrey Homes has completed more than 8,000 home in the area. The company is currently building three communities in the Fresno and Clovis area, including The Heights at Loma Vista, The Gallery in Clovis and The Heights on Copper. More information about these communities and the company can be found at www.mccaffreyhomes.com.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/11336-mccaffrey-homes-earns-six-homeowner-awards 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Distressed sales still high in parts of the Valley

Source: The Business Journal

The California Association of Realtors reports that the combined share of all distressed property sales in California was down in February. However, with the exception of Tulare County, distressed sales remained fairly high in three other counties of the central San Joaquin Valley during the first two months of this year. Statewide, the share of distressed property sales, which involve any property whose owner is in default on the mortgage, dipped from 15.6 percent in January to 15 percent in February. Distressed sales continued to be down by more than a half from a year ago, when the share was 33.3 percent. More than half of the 38 reported counties showed a month-to-month decrease in the share of distressed sales, with San Diego and San Francisco Bay Area counties registering the smallest share. In the Central Valley, distressed sales were generally down or holding fairly steady, except in Madera County where the percentage doubled month over month. In Fresno County, the number of distressed sales was 29 percent of total sales in February, compared to 26 percent in January and 44 percent in February 2013. In Kings County, distressed sales were 36 percent of total sales in February, compared to 45 percent in January and 41 percent in February 2013. In Madera County, distressed sales hit 30 percent of all sales in February, compared to 15 percent in January and 53 percent in February 2013. In Tulare County, distressed sales were 18 percent of total sales in February, compared to 20 percent in January and 49 percent in February 2013. Other statewide figures: * The share of REO sales increased in February to 6.3 percent, up from 5.9 percent in January. REOs made up 13.2 percent of all sales in February 2013. * February saw a slight increase in active listings across all property types, especially in equity properties, which helped to improve housing supply conditions. The Unsold Inventory Index for equity sales crept up from 4.4 months in January to 4.8 months in February. The supply of REOs dipped from 3.2 months in January to 3 months in February and the supply of short sales increased from 4.6 months in January to 5 months in February.

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/11310-distressed-sales-still-high-in-parts-of-the-valley 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Monday, March 24, 2014

Plays of the Week

1. Amy Medeiros (London’s Hanford Office) can give plenty of testimony that it pays to give great customer service. Amy received two referrals recently from clients which resulted in three properties going into escrow this week, for a total of $740,000 in volume. The kicker is that all three properties went into escrow while she was taking care of her young grandchildren.

2. Joe Castillo (Sanger) continues to reap the benefits that come from his calls, notes, and pop-bys. Joe reconnected with dozens of people in his database towards the end of 2013. One past client whom he took to lunch has now sent Joe four referrals in only three months! The forth one which came this week was a buyer that Joe put into his own listing earning him both sides of the transaction. Let’s take Joe’s lead and keep working our lists of relationships!

3. We always say to take advantage of showing up to social events. Cameron Pryor was at a Rotary event recently and started talking to someone about real estate (of course!). The next day he followed up with a personal note that happened to have two tickets in it to the home and garden show. That conversation and note are now leading to two listings and a registration for a full referral fee on a new $250k-$300k new home construction purchase.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Parlier receives $3.7M for new rental housing

Source: The Business Journal

The Department of Housing and Community Development has announced awards totaling $17.4 million to be used for multi-family construction and rehabilitation in the counties of Fresno, Solano, Sutter and Tuolumne. In Fresno County, the City of Parlier received $3.7 million for the construction of new rental properties within Parlier’s Avila Avenue Apartments II. Amenities include a community room, computer-learning center, laundry room, exercise room, tot lot and picnic-barbeque area. “This funding is critical for creating and maintaining affordable housing while providing housing opportunities for Californians,” said Acting Director Randall A. Deems in a release. This award is part of $22.9 million awarded by the federal HOME program to private non-profit organizations and local governments totaling five awardees. Funds from program have been made available to the state every year since 1992. Large municipalities receive HOME funding directly from the federal government and the Department of Housing and Community Development receives a block grant of HOME funds to award competitively to smaller communities. The main objective of the HOME program is to create and retain affordable housing in rural areas of California.

 URL to original article: http://thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/11156-parlier-receives-3-7m-for-new-rental-housing 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bank told to pay $3.2M for 'shocking' foreclosure

Source: The Business Journal
Written by Associated Press

 (AP) — A New Mexico judge has issued a $3.2 million judgment against Wells Fargo & Co. for foreclosing on a man's home after his death, even though he had a purchased an insurance policy through the bank that would have paid the remaining balance on his mortgage. District Judge Beatrice Brickhouse said the bank's conduct was shocking and so reprehensible that in addition to actual damages, attorney's fees and court costs, she awarded James Dollens' estate $2.7 million in punitive damages. Brickhouse issued the ruling Feb. 14. It was reported Friday by the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/1iiWb4U ). Jim Hines, a spokesman for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, said the bank will appeal and it disagrees with several parts of the ruling, including the award of punitive damages. Katy Duhigg-Kennedy, a lawyer for Dollens' estate, said Friday that the ruling "protected people over profits. We are confident that the appellate courts will do the same." Dollens had purchased an accidental death mortgage insurance policy for his Rio Rancho home that was marketed by Wells Fargo and issued by Minnesota Life. When he died Aug. 18, 2010, in a workplace accident, he owed $125,000 on his mortgage. His death was reported immediately to Minnesota Life and to Wells Fargo to make a claim under the policy. But instead of seeking funds from the insurance policy, Wells Fargo sent notices about the loan being in default and referred the loan for foreclosure in December 2010. The foreclosure proceeded despite requests from representatives of the estate to hold off pending the insurance payout. When the bank received a $133,559 check from the insurance company in May 2011, it collected delinquent payments, late fees, and fees for lawyers and for 18 property inspections, leaving only $4,400 for Dollens' estate "because of ... misapplication of the insurance proceeds," the judge said. Wells Fargo said the family should have continued making payments regardless of the insurance policy. However, Brickhouse said Wells Fargo disregarded the terms of the insurance policy before moving to foreclose. That, the judge said, was a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. She said the bank's "unwillingness and failure" to hold off on the foreclosure even when requested to do so by the insurance company was "shocking."

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/state/11071-bank-told-to-pay-3-2m-for-shocking-foreclosure 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

C.A.R.: Fresno distressed sales drop sharply

Source: The Business Journal

Vastly improved home prices over the past five years have shrunk California’s distressed housing market including home sales in Fresno County. Distressed sales are now just a fraction of what they were during the Great Recession, the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) reported today. In Fresno County, 84.2 percent of homes sold were classified distressed sales in January 2009, compared to 26.3 percent in January 2014. In Tulare County, 45.8 percent of sales were distressed in January 2009, compared to 20 percent in January 2014. A distressed sale is a sale of a foreclosed home that is usually under a foreclosure order or is advertised for sale by its mortgagee. Often it is sold for less than what is owed. In January 2009, 69.5 percent of all homes sold in California were distressed, which includes short sales and real estate-owned (REOs) properties. Five years later, that figure has shrunk to 15.6 percent. More specifically, REOs comprised 60 percent of all sales in January 2009, while short sales made up 9.1 percent of all sales but rose to as high as 25.6 percent in January 2012. Short sales currently make up 9.2 percent of all sales. During the same time period, California’s median home price has soared more than 64 percent from $249,960 in January 2009 to $410,990 in January 2014. “The dramatic drop in the share of distressed sales throughout the state reflects a market that is fully transitioning from the housing downturn,” said Kevin Brown, C.A.R. president in a release. “Significant home price appreciation over the past five years has lifted the market value of many underwater homes and as a result, many homeowners have gained significant equity in their homes, resulting in fewer short sales and foreclosures.” The statewide share of equity sales hit a high of 86.4 percent in November 2013 and has been above 80 percent for the past seven months. Of the reporting counties, San Luis Obispo, Orange, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties held the lowest share of distressed sales in January 2014 at 10.2 percent, 9.5 percent, 7.7 percent, and 6.8 percent, respectively.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/11098-c-a-r-fresno-distressed-sales-drop-sharply 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fresno's Wathern Castanos buys Mangano Homes

Source: The Business Journal

Fresno builder Wathen Castanos Hybrid Homes plans to blend its style of energy-efficient home construction into the style elements of Mangano Homes, a family-owned company that Wathen Castanos recently purchased. Mangano Homes is a builder in San Luis Obispo and Visalia. It’s been in operation for more than four decades. The sale closed Feb. 28. Peter Castanos, director of sales and marketing for Wathen Castanos, said Mangano Homes would retain its present employees under the new ownership. The deal, in the works for about seven months, will allow Wathen Castanos to expand its operations on the Central Coast while providing time for Andy Mangano, president of Mangano Homes to work on long-range project development, Castanos said. Castanos said his company is excited about entering the San Luis Obispo home market. He said Mangano Homes has expertise in purchasing and developing land in the high-demand central coastal area. Castanos added that Mangano has a similar value system to his company. “They have an eye for design and a concern for people,” Castanos said. He said both companies will learn from each other. “It will be a blending of ideas,” Castanos said. “They know how to scout and come up with good locations for development. And they put deals together.” Wathen Castanos is known for combining style with upgraded energy-saving elements like improved insulation, a radiant barrier roof and tankless waster heaters. The company currently has new home developments in Hanford, Paso Robles, Lemoore, Visalia and Clovis.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/11035-fresno-s-wathern-castanos-buys-mangano-homes 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Friday, February 28, 2014

Work on Madera’s 6,578-home Gateway Village starts July

Source: The Business Journal
Written by Chuck Harvey

Initial grading is slated to begin in July for the long-planned 6,578-home Gateway Village development in Madera, a project that faced multiple delays after developer Castle & Cooke acquired it in 1990. New developer Gateway Village Development LLC purchased the 2,062-acre master-planned community site in 2010 and is ready to get rolling. Now in possession of a tentative map for the project, the developer sees growth ahead for the area and surging demand for master-planned communities. Gateway Village Development had the advantage of taking on a project that already had plans and approvals in place. The development will be situated at the corner of Highway 41 and Avenue 12 just north of Fresno. Gateway Village will contain residential, commercial and multi-use property and include a high school and four elementary schools. It will be broken down into five villages with homes on 50-110-foot lots. Build-out of all five villages is expected in about 19 years. The first model homes should be ready in spring of 2016. Tim Jones, member and manager of Gateway Village Development, said the Gateway Village development will be renamed, but many of the original plans remain the same. Speaking to a group at the University Business Center, Craig School of Business at Fresno State, he said environmental challenges that delayed the project when Castle & Cooke was the developer have been resolved. “They were resolved in 2010,” Jones said. Jones said that in taking on the project, Gateway Village Development made it clear it is not a homebuilding company. “We sell blocks (of property),” he said. The blocks, also known as super pads, include construction of some improvements like internal roads, storm drains, fiber optic lines, storm drains, landscaping and village walls. Utilities are supplied to each of the blocks. Finished home lots, including curbs and sidewalks, are left to the builder. Gary Mason, owner of 2M Development Corp. in Clovis, said that large master-planned developments like Gateway Village have become a rarity in the area. “We have not seen any here in Fresno for ages,” he said. Mason said the village, if successful, would be great for the area’s real estate market and in putting contractors back to work. He said the biggest challenge for a big project like Gateway Village right now is water availability. Jones pointed out that the village would have multiple water sources including groundwater, water from the San Joaquin River and water from Westside Mutual Water Co. and Madera Irrigation District. A holding tank will also be constructed to hold a backup water supply for the development. About four holding tanks will be installed, including one for Village A. Mike Miller, Central Valley president for Lennar, said Gateway Village has overcome water and sewer issues and the whole master-planned community concept looks pretty good. “I am anxious to see the finished design,” Miller said. He said the project will be built in stages, so the market should remain good, rather than being overbuilt. And the location is good, he said. “Moving north across the river seems the natural thing to do,” Miller said. Village A will be constructed as part of the first phase of a five-village project. “The first village will have 858 lots and include a school site,” Jones said. What makes the development unique is its planned ties with agriculture. The project site is planted in olives, oranges, pistachios and almonds. And the new developer would like to maintain an area for production of fruit, nuts and other crops for the residents of Gateway Village. “There will be a plot of land for onsite use,” Jones said. The initial plan is to provide space for community gardens. In addition, reminders of the area’s rich agriculture heritage will be incorporated into landscaping and parks. A report on the project stated that wastewater generated during the first phase would be treated to tertiary standards suitable for land application to a variety of agricultural crops. Some of the produce would be sold to nearby restaurants, Jones added. He said the developer would like to see a restaurant and food market in the immediate area of the development to serve the residents. Jones said a subsidy might be provided for someone to open a grocery store near Gateway Village. The development will also contain pocket parks, but instead of installing traditional play structures like Jungle Jims, they will contain rock structures to climb. Landscaping for Gateway Village will be designed to use as little water as possible, Jones said, adding, “our architects are working on that.” The development will feature a trail system, soccer fields and a baseball field. A master homeowner’s association will set rules for the entire development, Jones said. He pointed out that although demand for new homes slowed starting in 2008, it is expected to pick up again. Currently the Fresno-Clovis area has demand for about 2,500 new homes annually, Jones said. Although it is not yet known what homebuilders will construct housing at Gateway Village, many local homebuilders have indicated interest, Jones said. The added population created by the development will signal a need for road improvements in the immediate area. Jones said a Highway 41-Avenue 12 interchange will be needed sometime down the road. Also, Highway 41 would need to be widened, he said. To help cover the cost of the road improvements, a road impact fee of $10,000 a house will be charged to the developer.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/development/10959-work-on-madera-s-6-578-home-gateway-village-starts-july 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com