Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fire Escape?

From KCRA (hat tips - Spacebar & SacramentoCrash):

Across the country, fire investigators are looking at some homeowners in foreclosure as potential arsonists...Sacramento fire investigator Steve Johnson said spite, revenge and pyromania are a few reasons for arson. But firefighters are adding desperation to that list. "Nationally, we've been told foreclosed homes have been set on fire," Johnson said. "People are thinking this is the easy way out."
...
"That sign in the front yard is always going to be in the back of our head going, 'I need to really concentrate on why is this an accidental fire? To make it look like an accidental fire? And in retrospect, they are trying to burn their house down to pay it off?'" Johnson said.
From the Tri-Valley Herald:

An early morning house fire gutted a Tracy home Wednesday morning, a few hours before bank and police officials arrived to post an eviction notice on the foreclosed property.
...
While conducting the investigation, Bramell said representatives from the bank and the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office arrived at the scene to post an eviction notice. A document posted in the window, dated Feb. 20, 2008, said the family was being ordered to leave the home, which is currently owned by World Savings Bank. Bramell called the notice an "area of interest" for the investigation, which is still ongoing and being completed in conjunction with the Tracy Police Department.
From the Sacramento Business Journal:
GMAC LLC is going to be closing its regional business center in Roseville by the end of the year...The Roseville center has 56 employees....
From the Sacramento Business Journal:
"There has been a significant slowdown in new loan activity within the region, coupled with regional fallout from the subprime mortgage debacle," said David Kaiser, chief executive officer, in a news release. "While Granite Community Bank did not directly participate in the subprime mortgage industry, the region's economy and many of our clients have been impacted."
From the SF Chronicle:
Vallejo is on the brink of a dubious distinction - becoming the first city in California to declare bankruptcy. The fiscal crisis, which comes more than three years after the state took over the city's debt-ridden public schools, is a result of snowballing police and firefighter salaries and overtime expenses coupled with plummeting tax revenue from the weak housing market, officials say.
...
Since the federal government allowed municipalities to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy during the Depression, fewer than 500 cities have taken the action, according to federal court data.
From the Tri-Valley Herald:
Continuing struggles in the real estate market have affected municipal bonds in the past month. As a result, Manteca officials are taking measures to keep the city's redevelopment bond money intact. Over the past 30 days, the credit rating for the city's $50.7 million variable rate bonds has been downgraded twice, Finance Director Suzanne Mallory said, adding the credit downgrades didn't have anything to do with local problems.
From the Lincoln News Messenger:
The Western Placer Unified School District is exploring California’s financial hardship program as a means to fund future schools. Cathy Allen, the district’s assistant superintendent of facilities and maintenance, presented trustees with a crash course in State Allocation Board funding opportunities at a Tuesday school board meeting. The program is available for districts that, despite levying maximum developer fees and exhausting opportunities for local debt capacity, are still unable to fund facility projects.

“We’re just looking at all the options and this is one,” Allen said. “We’re still collecting developer fees, but we have to be concerned about the foreclosures and how that affects the tax amounts (the district collects).” A downturn in the housing market led Western Placer to shelve proposed new facilities, including Twelve Bridges High School.
From ABC News:
It's a tactic called "re-listing," which is legal and more common than you think. "Re-listing is just refreshing the home on the market," [Minnesota realtor Joe] Niece explained, "making the home look like it just came on the market."
...
Across the country in Sacramento, California, the problem got so bad that Michael Lyon, CEO of Lyon Real Estate, blew the whistle after he noticed that one third of all "new" listings were re-listings. "This is just silliness," he said. "I'm sorry, but you can't pull the wool over the buyer's eyes."

Lyon forced his regional listing service to set a new standard. "We let people see all the previous listings, period, there are no secrets," he said. "We want the buyer to know everything about all the times it was listed, so we can allow them to truly investigate the home." The Sacramento listing service also requires a material change in the house if it is to be re-listed.

14 comments:

Jacob said...

I was trying to invest in arson before it started to take off but couldn't find the ticker. I guess that will be the next bubble.

smf said...

There has already been some suspected fires before. If you do a search of sacbee.com, I would guess that several cases would pop up.

Patient Renter said...

There were a couple of big "fire sales" in San Diego last year. One was an entire condo building if I remember correct.

Gwynster said...

Hell, we may have some recent arson sales here in Davis. Apparently they are under investigation.

Luis said...

Gwynster, care to elaborate? I haven't had a chance to keep up with the local (Davis) RE stuff.

Patient Renter said...

What site can I use to check recent sale prices as soon as the sale price hits MLS? zillow lags...

Diggin Deeper said...

One in 10 home loans is under water: Economy.com

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080222/bs_nm/usa_housing_economycom_dc_1

"Nearly 8.8 million homeowners, or 10.3 percent, are in over their heads, its chief economist, Mark Zandi, estimates."

"Each foreclosure on a neighborhood block reduces the value of all homes on that block by almost 1.5 percent, Zandi said."

Hmmmm....doesn't bode well for the fire department.

G Spot1 said...

Kudos to Lyon for getting the info out on re-listings. But the next step is to make this info publicly available to everyone, not just available to realtors on MLS. Anyone know if that is available somewhere? Ziprealty and Metrolist don't seem to have it.

G Spot1 said...

patient renter,

If you are looking at Placer, I found a realtor, Pat Hake, who helpfully posts sales weekly on his website:

http://www.placercountyhomesandland.net/recent_sales/index.html

Not sure if there is a good source for Sac or other counties.

AgentBubble said...

pr--feel free to e-mail me any stats you need from MLS.

agentbubble at gmail dot com

Diggin Deeper said...

Wasn't Patrick a guest of ours awhile back?

Patient Renter said...

Thanks for the responses guys. That placer county site might have what I'm looking for, if not, I'll be glad to take you up on your offer AgentBubble :)

mechanico said...

"Each foreclosure on a neighborhood block reduces the value of all homes on that block by almost 1.5 percent, Zandi said."

Thats if they leave the place intact. When they convert the place into a fixer upper the comps get destroyed.

andnee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.