Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Foreclosures up in February

Tomorrow (March 1) I'll post the complete comparative statistics for February 2012, but because of early indications that foreclosures were on the rise, I decided to take an early look at Orders of Notice recorded this month.  There were 76 of them which is a 43% increase from the 53 recorded in February 2011 and a 65% increase from the 46 recorded last month (January 2012).  The percentage of the Orders of Notice for properties in Lowell is also up slightly, rising from 36% of the total in February 2011 to 47% of the total this February.  The breakdown by community is as follows, with the number in that community from Feb 2011 shown in parenthesis following this February's number:

Billerica - 4 - (13)
Chelmsford - 10 - (3)
Dracut - 11 - (9)
Dunstable - 1 - (0)
Lowell - 36 - (19)
Tewksbury - 8 - (6)
Tyngsborough - 2 - (2)
Wilmington - 4 - (1)

I'm not sure what's causing the rise in Order of Notice.  I'll try to dig into the particulars of each one as time permits to look for any patterns.  For now, please check back tomorrow to see the end of month stats for February.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Real Estate Sales Up

Things are looking better for the Massachusetts Real Estate market according the Warren Group as reported by this morning. Home sales increased by over 3% in January the highest tally since 2007. On the flip side of this good news is the fact that prices decreased while the number of sales increased. Median prices of single family homes dropped to $260,000 and median condo prices dropped to $247,500. This represents the fifth month in a row that prices have dropped. Obviously, these lower prices are driving the sales numbers up.

I firmly believe that much of the fate of the real estate market is predicated on consumer confidence as do others:
We’re pleased to see that January was another positive month for home sales in Massachusetts,” Trisha McCarthy, president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “With each month of improved economic news, buyer confidence continues to build. It is this confidence combined with the ongoing low interest rates and home affordability that will lead to a real estate market recovery (

Monday, February 27, 2012

SJC decides homestead case

Last week the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion in a case (Boyle v Weiss, SJC-10933) that came to it via the certification of a question by the Bankruptcy Court.  The question was whether the owner of a beneficial interest in a trust who lives in the trust property acquire an estate of homestead in the property?  Based on the law prior to the March 16, 2011 amendment (which was the law governing the homestead in question), the SJC held that the beneficiary could not acquire a homestead under those circumstances.

The relevant homestead statute (since amended) allowed (1) an owner or (2) one who occupies "by lease or otherwise" to acquire a homestead.  The court noted that the same statute defined "owner" as "a sole owner, a joint tenant, a tenant by the entirety, or a tenant in common."  The plaintiff here fell into none of these categories.  The second status - "by lease or otherwise" - was last interpreted in a case decided during the Civil War (Thurston v Maddocks) which held that a homestead could not be acquired by one holds owns only an equitable interest in the property.  The SJC today relied on that holding to reject the "by lease or otherwise" language as a type of "catch-all" for new homesteads. 

In a series of footnotes, the SJC made it clear that while the March 16, 2011 amendment does specifically allow homesteads to be acquired by owners of a life estate and trustees, the homestead in question would still not be valid because it was executed by the beneficiary and not by the trustee as is required by the new law.  The court also stated that since the homestead was invalid when it was first recorded, it could not be revived by the 2011 amendment which said old homesteads continue in full force under the terms of the new law.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Defective Acknowledgements revisited

A few minutes ago an attorney called to ask my opinion on the validity of a certain mortgage.  Pulling up the signature page, I immediately said "it's invalid."  My reasoning?  The acknowledgement clause was invalid.  Here's what it said:

On this 6th day of April 2007, before me personally appeared                  to me known to be the person (or persons) described in and who executed the foregoing instrument, and acknowledged that he/she/they executed the same as his/her/their free act and deed.
The problem is that big blank space following the word "appeared."  I immediately recalled a blog post I wrote back in the summer of 2009 after the bankruptcy court issued a decision called In re Giroux.  In that case, the Bankruptcy Court held that the absence of the name of the person whose signature was being acknowledged in the acknowledgement clause invalidated the acknowledgement.  With no acknowledgement, the mortgage should not have been recorded by the registry of deeds.  The bankruptcy trustee, therefore, was allowed to set aside the mortgage making the lender just another unsecured creditor of the debtor.

In today's conversation, I quickly revised my opinion to "if the Bankruptcy Court is used as precedent, then the mortgage is invalid" because neither the Massachusetts Appeals Court nor the SJC have ruled on this issue.  Even so, based on the bankruptcy court decision back in 2009, I had advised the staff here at the registry to reject any document on which they noticed a name missing from the acknowledgement clause.  I'm not sure how many documents they have rejected on that grounds, but that's our rule here.

The reason the lawyer called me today was that he had been retained to write an opinion letter on the validity of the mortgage bearing the acknowledgement reproduced above.  His research disclosed that other bankruptcy court decisions have ratified the holding of Giroux and one even reached a US District Court which confirmed the "missing name equals invalid acknowledgement" rule, but he knew of no Massachusetts case law on the topic.  He did say that he has found many documents already on record that lack the name of the party whose acknowledgment is purportedly being taken, so if that is fatal to the validity of the document, there are many problem documents lurking out there. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lowell Superior Courthouse Elevator

Last year the elevator at the Superior Courthouse in Lowell was completed and opened for operation, but one exterior component remained to be finished...the installation of the "decorative windows" on the brick elevator shaft. I use the term decorative because obviously, these are not real windows. They are replicas that look identical to the real deal. I'm not sure what material was used on the "windows" but I'll try to find out. Installation began yesterday and the job is nearly complete. I'm guessing all will be in place by the end of next week.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Miracle on Ice - February 22, 1980

You'll excuse me for departing from registry-related material for today's blog post.  This is the 32nd anniversary of "The Miracle on Ice" in which the USA defeated the Soviet Union in men's hockey in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York.  The Americans went on to defeat Finland to win the gold medal while the Soviets got the silver.  Besides being a fantastic display of hockey, this game had enormous symbolism to the nation.  Just three months before, the US Embassy in Iran had been seized by radical students and the embassy staff continued to be held hostage (a situation that would persist until January 1981).  Two months earlier, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan and the US could do nothing but weakly protest.  In early 1980, it seemed that the Soviets were in the ascent, at least in foreign affairs, while the US was in a period of post-Vietnam decline.  This one hockey game seemed to alter the mood of the nation and signal the beginning of an American resurgence.  Ten years later, Communism collapsed and the Soviet Union ceased to exist.  The video below shows the final minute of the US v Soviet game, with Al Michaels' iconic play-by-play.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Single Atom Transistors

When I was a kid my mother and father bought me a transistor radio for my birthday so could listen to Arnie Ginsburg on WMEX. It measured about 4"X6", about 2" thick and ran on a 9 volt battery. Earlier radios needed to be plugged into a 110 electrical outlet and were big, about as big as a loaf of bread . As I recall my new radio had 16 transistors. It was a real power house and a marvel for its time.

Radios have come a long way since then and so have transistors. First invented in 1954 transistors now power computers. And simply put (because I don't really understand why) the more transistors there are the more powerful the computer.

Physicists at Purdue University and the University of New South Wales have made a startling break through. They have built a transistor from a single atom.

So, what does this mean? It means in the near future, computers and other electronic devices will be more powerful and much faster.

How did they build it? Are you kidding? You're asking me? I have no clue...but here is a video from some people much smarter than I am explaining it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

MassLandRecords training

This morning I spent a couple of hours at the Northeast Association of Realtors office in Westford speaking to a group of about 50 real estate professionals about the relatively new MassLandRecords website.  The event was sponsored by the law firm of Perkins & Anctil which is co-located with NEAR at 6 Lyberty Way in Westford.  Using the large classroom at the site, I was able to access the website and project it onto a large screen so that everyone could follow along.  Rather than do a set presentation, I walked my way through the site, showing how to do name and property searches and how the registered land part of the website is arranged.

The issue that generated the most questions was printing.  Many people have trouble printing a document in the proper size.  Many find the document images print in a greatly magnified way so that only a small portion of a document will appear in giant print on a piece of paper.  For the most part, that's an issue between the user's computer, printer and operating systems.  The most likely culprit is a setting of some type for the printer and occurs with some frequency on the computers of those in the real estate business.  None of our printers here at the registry offer the problematic setting but it's something like "scale for PDF".  If you're having problem printing documents from MassLandRecords and that shows up in your printer dialog box when you go to print, de-select it and your document should print in the proper scale.

I encouraged everyone to begin using the "basket" feature instead of the "print document" command.  The basket allows you to set aside documents for downloading and then download them all at once.  When you download in this manner, they come to you as PDF files which I believe are more stable and predictable on your computer than the standard TIFF format that we use for images.  To use this feature, just click "add to basket" and then click the "basket" which is just to the right of the FAQ link on the front page. 

The attendees also showed great enthusiasm for the web features that give full access to our older indexes and documents.  I demonstrated this by searching for Benjamin Butler in the decade before the Civil War.  While current real estate business might not require records of that age, many in attendance seemed interested in history which would account for their enthusiasm.

This morning's event was very useful for me, providing an opportunity to receive feedback from regular website users.  Hopefully, those who attended also found some value in it.  If you would like me come to your office to speak with your staff or your organization about making the most of the new MassLandRecords, I'm happy to do so.  Just send me an email at to set something up.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Realty Trac Says...Foreclosures on the Rise, Again

I heard a news report this morning quoting some negative statistics from Realty Trac.

On a country-wide basis, foreclosures are on the rise, again.
How much?... A three percent increase from last month.

Last year, in a large portion of the country, foreclosures were down dramatically...but it seems this was more a result of processing delays than an improvement in the market. This months increase is probably the result of the ending of these "processing delays".

According to Realty Trac "one in every 624 households in the US received a foreclosure filing in January, 2012.

Realty Trac is also reporting that Massachusetts experienced a huge 75% increase in foreclosures when comparing year over year.

Even considering this massive spike in Massachusetts, Nevada still remains the state with the highest foreclosure rate in the country... One in every 198 households in Nevada have received a filing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mid-month recording statistics

The first two weeks in February brought some good news on the document recording front.  The number of deeds and mortgages recorded in the first two weeks of February 2012 were both 29% than the first two weeks of February 2011.  Deeds went from 125 to 161 while mortgages jumped from 391 to 504.  February is always are slowest month for recordings whether real estate is booming or in a slump so this increase is good news.  Hopefully the final two weeks of the month show a similar increase.

The one down note comes with Orders of Notice.  They are up 50% compared to the same time last year.  For the first two weeks of February 2012, there were 33 orders of notice recorded while for the same two weeks in 2011 there were only 22.  (The number of foreclosure deeds didn't really change with 10 in 2011 and 11 this year).  Percentage-wise the frequency of Order of Notice filings for the towns in the district have increased when compared to the percentage for the city of Lowell.  Of the 22 in the first two weeks of last February, 36% were from Lowell and 64% were from the towns.  This February, 55%  are from Lowell and just 45% are from the towns.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Best Google Doodles

Google celebrates special occasions, famous anniversaries and holidays with a unique interesting "doodle"... the world knows these as "google doodles". Today, Valentine Day is no exception...and Google did not disappoint its royal audience. But motivated by today's video The Christian Science Monitor has listed several of the best ever google doodles. Here are four...


First, here is today's google doodle celebrating Valentine's Day.

This one celebrates Charlie Chaplin's 122th birthday.

Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday "google doodle" is perhaps one of the most impressive of all.

John Lennon's 70th birthday was one of my favorite google doodles

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Age of Big Data

Last night I finally watched the movie Moneyball which I thought was terrific and succeeded in capturing the spirit of the 2003 book by the same name written by Michael Lewis.  Both describe the efforts of the 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team to select players not by the traditional methods of old-time scouts ("he looks like a ballplayer") but through detailed analysis of statistics.  To me, the message of the book transcended baseball, saying that you can count and measure anything and that decisions should be made on the basis of quantitative evidence not gut instincts.  The secondary message of the book and the movie was that when you try to adopt such methods which happen to be counter to the established ways of doing things, you get tremendous push-back from those used to doing things the traditional way.  As the character playing Red Sox owner John Henry put it in the movie, "that makes these folks bat-s*** crazy because they see it as a threat to them."  How true.

A major story in the Opinion section of yesterday's New York Times picked up this theme and gave us a sort of "state of data analysis" piece ten years post Moneyball.  The profusion of data available today from the internet, social networks, sensors in vehicles and attached to packages and from an almost infinite variety of places would have been beyond the ability of someone ten years ago to comprehend.  All of this data now gives us 'a new approach to understanding the world and making decisions."  It also provides pretty good job opportunities.  The story estimates that nearly 200,000 employees with serious data-analysis skills will soon be needed and that there will be demand for another 1.5 million "data-literate managers."

The article also shares the view held by many that all of this data poses a substantial threat to our privacy.  I guess that's true, assuming the data is misused.  But there are great opportunities to become more efficient in our work and everyday lives and that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Steve Jobs Hero or Villain?

Yesterday an FBI report was released detailing a background check from 1991 on the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Some of the findings are well, shall I say, not very flattering. Now, if you are a regular reader of the blog you know I am a bit schizophrenia when it comes to Steve Jobs. I think he was a real game-changer who revolutionized the way we live and communicate. I also think his product paranoia created a proprietary company that stifled outside innovation.

Below are some quotes from summarizing the FBI report on Jobs. But there are two sides to every story...last summer I read the recent Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Isaacson and I think some of these quotes are unfair.

FBI background interviews of some people who knew Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reveal a man driven by power and alienating some of the people who worked with him.

One person told FBI agents the Apple co-founder’s enormous power caused him to lose sight of honesty and integrity, leading him to distort the truth.

Another interview subject described Jobs to the FBI as a deceptive person — someone who was not totally forthright and honest and as having a tendency to distort reality in order to achieve his goals.

Two people associated with Jobs at Apple told the FBI that Jobs possessed integrity as long as he got his way.

OK, OK, wait a minute here...First Isaacson states that Jobs had a remarkable knack of convincing people to do things his way and often used a technique called reality shaping to persuade people. To me this is totally different than having a problem with the truth or a lack of integrity as these quotes indicate. It is this businessman's strategy, like it or not. I'll agree, Jobs was a manipulator, but not a liar. And for a man with his ability to see the future manipulation was an asset.

Another interview subject told an agent that Jobs used illegal drugs, including marijuana and LSD, while in college.

Yes, Jobs used LSD and smoked marijuana...when he was very young. Jobs admits to experimenting with drugs as a way of exploring self-awareness. He also experimented with Buddhism for the same reason.

One person told the FBI that Jobs had a child out of wedlock and basically abandoned the mother and their daughter.

And yes again, Jobs did have a daughter (Lisa) with his girlfriend (Chrisann Brennan) whom he never married. In fact when Jobs found out Brennan was pregnant he left her and even denied he was the father of the child. But in later years, Jobs admitted his actions were wrong and called it the biggest mistake in his life. Eventually Jobs and his daughter reconciled. Lisa even came to live with him during her teen years.

I want to keep this report in perspective...Steve Jobs was an amazing man with many faults, but they were far outweighed by his many virtues.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

$26 billion mortgage industry settlement

State Attorneys General from across the US, including Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, have reached a $26 billion settlement with five of the country's largest lenders (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Ally Financial and Wells Fargo).  Not surprisingly the deal is incredibly complex but according to this article in USA Today, the largest chunk of money, $17 billion, will go to 1 million underwater borrowers who now face foreclosure.  The rationale behind this portion of the settlement is that if these homeowners are able to avoid foreclosure, there will be fewer low-value homes on the market which will boost the entire housing sector. 

Skeptics point to the fact that $17 billion is a small amount compared to the total amount owed in underwater loans.  It is estimated that Americans collectively owe $700 billion more than their houses are worth.  If you are underwater but have been keeping up with your payments, you probably won't qualify for any of this assistance.

As mentioned above, it also appears that Massachusetts will participate in this settlement.  According to this story on, Attorney General Coakley finally agreed to this deal once she received assurances that she can continue to pursue her existing claim, filed last December, against MERS and against these five lenders for conducting foreclosures without first owning the mortgage being foreclosed. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Great Real Estate Apps

In the last few years technology has become a major tool of real estate agents, buyers and sellers. And of all the devices the cell phone has become the most frequently used portable connector to the Internet in the real estate area. When we talk cell phones and computer tablet5s we are talking about Apps. There are numerous real estate centered Apps available for both Andriod and iPhone operating systems. Inman News recently put together a list of the 100 most popular real estate Apps. I have selected five of these below:

Zillow Real Estate: Zillow is the number one downloaded real estate App for both iPhone and Android. Zillow has been around for a several years now. I remember writing about it several years ago on this blog when Zillow first was released for computer use. Its popularity comes through its easy of use and content. Zillow provides appraised value and data about most homes in the country.

LoopNet Commercial Real Estate Search: LoopNet is specifically designed to help the real estate investor find "commercial" properties for sale. It searches commercial properties for sale, for lease, sales comps and even market trends.

Property Evaluator: This App does exactly what its name indicates, values property, and like LoopNet it values investment properties. Simply add the some specific criteria of the property and this App will analyze the property value as an investment and project income from it.

Redfin Real Estate: Redfin is "the best MLS powered real estate app", well that's what they say about it. It provides details and pictures of homes for sale. When Redfin first came on the market it was viewed as a Zillow competitor and for a time I even think its popularity was bigger than Zillow.

Mortgage Calculator: This simple to use app allows the user to enter the amount, term and interest rate of a mortgage then in seconds calculates the monthly cost.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI - Giants over Patriots, 21-17

As distasteful as it might be to bring up Sunday's game, I feel an obligation to the historical record to do so.  For instance, the last time the Patriots lost the Super Bowl, back on February 3, 2008 when these same Giants came from behind to defeat the then 18-0 Patriots by a score of 17-14, Tony wrote the following post under the title "Pats 18-1, Why?"
You can explain it anyway you want, but I am going to explain it this way…the Patriots stunk last night. The Giants didn’t beat them. No way, Eli Manning and these Giants couldn’t beat the New England Patriots on their best day… Rather, the Patriots beat themselves. Usually, when you say this about a sporting team you mean it made a lot of mistakes…but that is not what I mean… The New England Patriots just didn’t come to play. Sure, the Giants had an awesome pass rush, but wasn’t this the same pass rush the Pats scored 38 points against in the final regular season game? Truthfully, the Giants didn’t look that good to me, but the Pats looked that bad. It comes down to this…The Giants played exactly the way we expected. Remember, they scored only 3 points in the first three quarters of the game! but, our Patriots did not play as expected. Tom Brady and company did nothing for most of the game. Even if the New England offense played to half our expectations, they would have been up by a least 14 at half time. Heck, the Pats only scored 7 points up until 2:42 of the 4th quarter. Can you believe it? They were held to 7 points for 90% of the game! I know, I know…the Giant’s pass rush killed them…Still, was this the first time the Pats were blitzed hard all season? NO. Admit it…after the Tom Petty break everyone expected the brilliant Belichick to come out with a plan that would slow down the pass rush. He always did in the past, and he probably did last night. I love the Pats too, but let’s face it, for some reason these players didn’t execute. I’m not a sports junkie or football expert…so I’ll say it again in layman’s terms…the Pats stunk last night. There’s no other way to explain it.
We started this blog in December 2003, so we should also have posts from the February 1, 2004 victory by the Patriots over the Caroline Panthers by a score of 32-29 and from the February 6, 2005 Patriots win over the Eagles, 24-21 (I'll dig them out of the archives and post in the coming days).  The Pats' first Super Bowl victory, on February 3, 2002 over the Rams by a score of 20-17 predates this blog as do the January 26, 1986 blow-out loss to the Bears (46-10) and the lackluster January 26, 1997 loss to the Packers (35-21).

Regarding this year's game, it is said that the team that makes fewer mistakes is most likely to win and that was the case here.  Brady getting the safety and then the interception gave up the ball twice not to mention the 2 points and in a relatively low scoring ball control game, that was the difference.  After the long-bomb interception by Baltimore two weeks ago, I didn't think he'd throw it up for grabs like that again.   When it mattered most, Manningham made the catch while Welker did not.  The game made clear Gronkowski's value to the team.  If they could get one or two decent wide receivers (replacing Ochocinco and perhaps Branch) they'd be better.  Brandon Spikes is really good which I never realized since he was out so much.  The running back Ridley was good this year but for his fumbles.  They are reviving the team with younger players even though Brady is aging.  This probably won't be the last blog post we do about the Patriots in the Super Bowl.  

Monday, February 06, 2012

Town foreclosures rising

While compiling the end-of-January statistics last week, I was struck by the significant increase in the number of foreclosure deeds recorded this January compared to the same month in 2011 - 38 in Jan 2012 and just 23 in Jan 2011, an increase of 65%.  This prompted me to scrutinize the individual cases.  What I found suggests that the increase in foreclosure activity is not in the city of Lowell, but in the surrounding towns.

Consider this: In January 2011, 65% of the foreclosure deeds recorded were for property in Lowell while just 35% were for property in the nine towns in the Middlesex North District (15 in Lowell; 8 in the towns).  In January 2012, however, 53% of the foreclosures were from the towns and just 47% were from the city (20 in the towns; 18 in Lowell). 

More evidence is needed before any conclusions can be drawn from this, but it is indeed something worth watching in the coming months.

For the record, here's how the foreclosures in the two months were distributed:

In January 2011: 3 in Chelmsford; 1 in Dunstable; 15 in Lowell; 1 in Tewksbury; 1 in Tyngsborough; 1 in Westford and 1 in Wilmington.

In January 2012: 7 in Billerica, 4 in Chelmsford, 4 in Dracut, 18 in Lowell, 2 in Tyngsborough, 2 in Westford, and 1 in Wilmington.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Super Bowl Half-Time Show

Sure we're all excited about watching the Patriots play the Giants in Sunday's Super Bowl. But over the years the half-time show has become almost as much a center of interest as the game itself. This year Madonna will lead the twenty minute entertainment segment. Below is a list of the past lead performer at the Super Bowl half-time show:

2011: The Black Eyed Peas
2010: The Who
2009: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2008: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
2007: Prince
2006: The Rolling Stones
2005: Paul McCartney
2004: Janet Jackson
2003: Shania Twain, Sting
2002: U2

But of all the Super Bowl I have seen my favorite by far was Michael Jackson in 1993. You can see Jackson's performance on YouTube. Here is the description that accompanies the video.

One of Michael Jackson's most acclaimed performances came during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII. As the performances began, Jackson was catapulted onto the stage as fireworks went off behind him. As he landed on the canvas, he maintained a motionless "clenched fist, standing statue stance", dressed in a gold and black military outfit and sunglasses; he remained completely motionless for several minutes while the crowd cheered. He then slowly removed his sunglasses, threw them away and began to sing and dance. His routine included four songs: "Jam", "Billie Jean", "Black or White" and "Heal the World".

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Healing the housing market

After watching the State of the Union speech last week I wrote a blog post about the President's remarks on the need to allow more homeowners to refinance.  Since then, I've been curious to learn details of the plan.  Yesterday, the White House issued a fact sheet titled "President Obama's Plan to Help Responsible Homeowners and Heal the Housing Market."  The plan is certainly comprehensive and seems to offer some good ideas, but I was especially interested in how it deals with homeowners who are underwater on their current mortgages.

Upon reading the fact sheet, it is clear that a portion of the proposal deals with underwater homeowners.  Here's the example it uses to illustrate the proposal:

  • A borrower has a non-GSE mortgage originated in 2005 with a 6 percent rate and an initial balance of $300,000 – resulting in monthly payments of about $1,800.
  •  The outstanding balance is now about $272,000 and the borrower’s home is now worth $225,000, leaving the borrower underwater (with a loan-to-value ratio of about 120%).
  • Though the borrower has been paying his mortgage on time, he cannot refinance at today’s historically low rates.
  • Under the President’s legislative plan, the borrower would be eligible to refinance into a 4.25% percent 30-year loan, which would reduce monthly payments by about $460 a month.
There are many other aspects to this proposal but what is described here would certainly be a big help.  That extra $460 per month would undoubtedly be spent on other things and would thereby stimulate the economy while increasing the chances that the homeowner could ride out this fiscal storm.  Of course, this part of the proposal requires Congressional action, so given the state of things on Capitol Hill, it might not advance much beyond the Fact Sheet stage for a while.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

End of month statistics

It's February 1st which means it's time to look at January's recording statistics.  As in the past, I'll compare January 2012 with January 2011 but following that, there's a new feature - a three month comparison.  Looking at individual months spaced a year apart certainly has some value, but I think comparing the three most recent months to the three months before them will help spot emerging trends.  Here goes:

The number of deeds recorded in January 2012 was down 11% from the number recorded in January 2011 (384 to 342); the number of mortgages was down 12% (1185 to 1039); the number of foreclosure deeds was up 65% (23 to 38); and the number of orders of notice was up 70% (27 to 46).  The overall number of documents was down 8% (5335 to 4911).

Now for the three month comparison.  I took the same document types for the last three months (January 2012, December 2011 and November 2011) and compared their totals to the totals for the prior three months (October, September and August of 2011).  Here's what I found:

The number of deeds recorded in the last three months was down 6% from the prior three months (1354 to 1273); the number of mortgages recorded was up 20% (3129 to 3753); the number of foreclosure deeds was up 5% (111 to 117); and the number of orders of notice was up 8% (154 to 167).  The total number of documents recorded rose 12% (15015 to 16742).