Sunday, July 26, 2009

According to Forbes Online, Kansas City metro area tops our list of America's Abandoned Cities. In Kansas City, rental vacancy rates rose from 11.9% to 15% over the past year; homeowner vacancy rates nearly doubled, up from 2.1% to 3.8%. Comparatively, the average homeowner vacancy rate in the country's 75 largest metro areas improved slightly from 3% to 2.7%, while the rental vacancy rate edged up to 10.2% from 10% a year ago.

Second on our list is the San Francisco-Oakland metro, where high prices are pushing Bay Area residents out of the region. Third is Tucson, Ariz., where the aftermath of the housing boom has left a glut of inventory. The pair's predicament illustrates both sides of the vacancy coin.

3. Tucson, Ariz.
Tucson, Ariz.
Homeowner vacancy rank: 53 of 75
Rental vacancy rank: 71 of 75

4. Dayton, Ohio (tie)
Dayton, Ohio
Homeowner vacancy rank: 74 of 75
Rental vacancy rank: 49 of 75

8. Miami, Fla.
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Fla.
Homeowner vacancy rank: 70 of 75
Rental vacancy rank: 48 of 75

11. Seattle, Wash. (tie)
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.
Homeowner vacancy rank: 45 of 75
Rental vacancy rank: 69 of 75

14. San Jose, Calif.
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
Homeowner vacancy rank: 52 of 75
Rental vacancy rank: 57 of 75

Read on for more lifestyle coverage, from the best downtowns for empty-nesters to the Forbes Luxury Housing Index.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bank Shut Down.

Is Your Bank In Danger of Failing?

FIFTY SEVEN. 57 banks have failed already in 2009. That's double the number that failed in all of 2008! No matter what anyone tries to tell you, we still have a scary and serious banking problem on our hands.

The worst may be yet to come. The FDIC maintains a list of "problem banks." That list skyrocketed to 305 banks! Wondering if your bank is on the list? Of course you are. Too bad the FDIC keeps the list a secret!

But, all is not lost. We're going to show you a few simple steps you can take now to ensure the money you have in the bank is safe.

The two most prominent banks in the Inland Valley, were shut down
Temecula Valley Banks demise noted locally and nationally

Tim O’Leary and Margaret Singleton
Valley News Staff

Friday, July 24th, 2009.
Issue 30, Volume 9.

Temecula Valley Bank – which charted a meteoric rise into the regional business stratosphere – crashed back to Earth last week when it was shut down by federal regulators and absorbed by a North Carolina-based bank.

The takeover, one of four that triggered nationwide media coverage, marked a final chapter for a homegrown bank that attracted enthusiastic investors, directors and depositors when it opened in fast-growing Temecula.

The bank’s demise also drew widespread scrutiny and reflection among the local banking and business community.

“It’s a sad day for the shareholders, employees and the communities that TVB served,” Gary Votapka, president of Mission Oaks Bank, said in an e-mail statement sent to a reporter Monday afternoon. “It’s not good for banking either, but such are the times…”

After starting out small and building on its local roots, Temecula Valley Bank quickly grew to 11 branches throughout Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties. Local branches operated in Temecula, Murrieta and Fallbrook. Others had been established in recent years as far away as Ontario, El Cajon, Corona and Carlsbad.

Temecula Valley Bank’s fall was not the first to rock the local business scene. Early this year, First Centennial Bank of Redlands, which had a branch in Temecula, was seized and is now a unit of First California Bank, which is based in Westlake Village.

The collapse of the two banks – which both flanked Jefferson Avenue on Temecula’s west side – brought the number of bank closings in California this year to eight, according to the Associated Press.

That AP story – which focused on last week’s closure of Temecula Valley Bank and three others across the country – said the 57 bank failures nationwide this year compare with 25 last year and three in 2007.

For years, Temecula Valley Bank highlighted its community roots and financial backing. In fact, Temecula Valley Bancorp’s 2007 annual report boasted “Strength + Flexibility = Success.”

Many of its board of directors at that time were original founders and investors back in 1996. That annual report listed more than 100 founders and investors, most from the Temecula and Fallbrook areas. The list included the names of many high-profile local business and government leaders.

Stephen H. Wacknitz – who served as the bank’s president, chief executive and chairman of the board – was one of its organizers. He was the focus of newspaper headlines late last year when the bank announced his abrupt retirement.

Frank Basirico replaced Wacknitz as the bank’s chief executive. At that time, he told a reporter that the bank was “retrenching to the communities where we have those roots.” That change in direction resulted in the closure of the bank’s out-of-state Small Business Administration loan offices, a move that triggered the elimination of 36 staff positions.

Much of the bank’s demise was blamed on heavy losses from its portfolio of real estate development loans. In June, bank officials announced a tentative deal to inject up to $210 million in the troubled institution. But that effort fell through about a month later, as the Manhattan Beach-based investor group withdrew that anticipated fund infusion.

Temecula Valley reopened Monday as branches of First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co., according to David Barr of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Temecula Valley Bank depositors automatically became depositors of the new owners and continued to be insured by the FDIC. On Wednesday, branch representatives were answering phones using a combination of the banks’ names.

First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co. – which is based in Raleigh, N.C. -- agreed to purchase essentially all of Temecula Valley Bank’s assets and all deposits, except for about $304 million in brokered deposits. Temecula Valley Bank had $1.5 billion of total assets and approximately$1.3 billion of total deposits as of May 31, Barr said. He estimated that Temecula Valley Bank’s failure will cost the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund $391 million.

FDIC's Deposit Insurance FUND?

Tea Party time...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Buyers' Market?

Buyers' Market? Depends where it is.

Two months ago, for a span of about 4 weekends. I showed about 25 to 30 homes to my clients in Corona. (Some homes we saw it twice or three times). They have impeccable taste and selected a great location to shop for their dream home. (West Corona below I-91, near Green River Road and the Canyon areas)

They were using to search for homes for sale. They sent me several long list of homes which I looked up on the MLS and promptly found 1/3 of that were already PENDING or SOLD!

I registered them on my and told them to search there and to avoid the 'P' for Pending.

For several weekends they called me and I would drive over to meet them and showed them around. Many of the homes that were REOs were all sold quickly. Most homes that were left on the market with signs infront of the homes were mostly Short Sale.

When we drove around, we saw many homes with for sale signs but there were no brochures in the boxes, some sign posts did not even have the boxes for the brochure.

Many of the signs are just plain FOR SALE signs. My buyers insisted that I call the agents. Many of the calls I made were to the agents of the homes that either were Pending or already SOLD. THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY SIGNS INDICATED the CURRENT STATUS. WHAT A WASTE of time and my money for those cell phone calls. To have the agents said 'SOLD' or 'PENDING' when I called really irritated us.

Several of those homes with the signs did not have a lock box and if there are lock boxes, there were no codes indicated on the MLS, YOU HAVE TO CALL THE AGENT!. When I called, I got their answering voice mails. I left a message, 1 out of 5 of the agents returned the call, mostly a day after, but the rest - I never heard back from them. Some of the homes indicated on agent's remark on the MLS to call owners of the homes. The same thing happened, NONE of the owners ever call back.

My buyers asked me to write up offers for the homes (that were Short Sale) that they like so I wrote several offers and sent the offers in.

I never heard back from the agents. (Many of those agents were out of towners, many of the agents were local). One agent was very nice and he offered to send the information about all of his listings.

No matter what... In the end, it was quite an effort and much time spent and
it was kind of upsetting to me at the waste of papers that I used to print all of those contracts.

My clients finally decided to get a loan approval from their friend which they did. The friend also happens to have a RE license. The gentleman told them that he has contacts with the bank and he can go through the hoops better thatn I would and they should use him as an agent instead.

Two weeks later my clients called and said he could not get any agents for those Short Sale and REO homes to call him back either lol....

I was laughing out loud to myself and that was quite a stress reliever...