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Not a pretty picture


The nation's top three home-builders have posted bigger losses in this year's first quarter than in last year's first quarter. Potential buyers of new homes are avoiding them for fear that they will continue to lose value and are purchasing low-priced foreclosures instead. This is the time of year when new-home sales are supposed to pick up but so far it has been worse than most expected.

The Double-Dip Has Arrived


 In February the Case-Shiller home price index dropped four the eighth month in a row. Year over year prices were up in only one of the markets covered, Washington DC. Home prices in Atlanta are at their lowest point since the recession began. Atlanta house prices are down 5.8% from a year ago. Atlanta prices are down 26.3% from the national peak in July of 2006. Values in Atlanta are now 5.6% below the previous national recession low in April of 2009.

Metro Atlanta Property Tax Appeal Data


The Commerce Department reported that March new home sales were up 11% over February sales. The pace of new home sales however, continues to be well below the pace at which economists consider healthy. Builders continue to struggle and compete with the large numbers of foreclosures.

Georgia Property Tax Appeal Data


Okay, hodgepodge or potpourri of market data today. As reported by the Associated Press today investors drove home sales up 3.7% in March. This was primarily due to investors purchasing foreclosed properties with cash. The number of first-time home buyers actually fell. Foreclosures or short sales are making up 40% of the market currently. The 3.7% March uptick represents an annualized 5.1 million sale rate however this is significantly lower than the 6 million sale rate that economists say represents a healthy market.

Some Question the Commercial Real Estate Recovery

Whistling Thru the Graveyard: Could CRE Follow Housing Into Another Trough?

By Mark Heschmeyer

..."I am questioning the recovery in commercial real estate. The recovery has been very bifurcated," Klassen said. "Trophy properties in prime markets are fetching bubblicious prices because large institutional investors have cash burning a hole in their pockets. But from the folks we speak to, the secondary markets are still very dead."

"The risks we face in 2011 are greater than 2010," Klassen added. "The most significant risk is the end of fiscal and monetary stimulus in the first half of this year. It will take a lot of steam out of the economy. To me, prudence would dictate waiting until the end of summer to see how things pan out. By then, we will also know the extent of state and local government job losses, which may be significant according to what we are hearing in Texas. I wouldn’t want to be signing pricey contracts before then..."

Gwinnett County Property Tax Appeals

Gwinnett residential notices are going out April 15, happy tax day! Let's hope the printer/mailing service gets it right this time. If all goes well the deadline to appeal will be May 30. As most other metro area counties will have the notices on the street by May 30 please contact us regarding your appeal well before this deadline. Thank you!

Georgia Property Tax Appeals

I have received assessment notices from commercial clients in Gwinnett County and Cobb County. Both have an appeal deadline of May 23, 2011. Please contact us well before this date if you would like our professional assistance with your property tax appeal

Extend and Pretend is Ending

Many real estate market participants have criticized lenders for failing to foreclose on problem loans. Allowing property owners to fall behind on payments, or reduce payments, because the lender was already overwhelmed with problem loans became knows as "extend and pretend." The practice of ignoring the problem seems to be coming to an end however.

A year ago lenders had 80% of problem loans in loan modification programs. In an about face lenders are now foreclosing on approximately 71% of these loans and modifying only 29%. According to Moody's, approximately 7,000 commercial mortgage backed securities loans were in some form of default at the end of 2010.

Georgia Property Tax Appeals

We have successfully made it passed April 1 and all of the nonsense and misinformation being put out there by part-time and less than qualified property tax advisors. Can there be any doubt that the Georgia Taxpayer Return of Real Property has lost its usefulness when Gwinnett County sends out commercial assessment notices BEFORE April 1?

Gwinnett knows that the majority, if not all, of the returns filed are simply filed to generate an assessment notice that can be appealed. So why wait for returns? And for those of you who think that filing a return is the same thing as appealing your assessment, think again. Filing a return gives you no rights. Rights are only associated with an appeal of an assessment notice. Contact us if you have any questions.

Commercial Loans Hit Another Record Delinquency Rate


Delinquency Rate Hits Record for Mortgage-Backed Commercial Loans

Loans tied to commercial mortgage-backed securities hit a record delinquency rate in March, with 9.42% of all such loans having missed payments, loan research-service firm Trepp LLC said.

Retail Landlords Struggle to Keep Tenants


Mall Vacancies Climb to Highest in Decade as U.S. Retailers Close Stores

By Hui-yong Yu

Vacancies at U.S. regional malls rose to the highest level in at least a decade in the first quarter, a sign that landlords are struggling to keep tenants after the recession even as retail sales rise, Reis Inc. said.

Big Drop in Value for Atlanta Trophy

55 Allen Plaza Bought by Lincoln Property for Pension Fund

PIMCO to Provide Liquidity

The world's largest bond fund is opening a new mortgage real estate investment trust (REIT) to invest in, and issue debt secured by commercial real estate. With nearly $2 trillion in commercial real estate debt maturing in the next five years, and lenders increasingly unwilling to issue loans secured by commercial real estate, they see an opportunity to issue and purchase debt secured by good quality commercial RE assets. They also made note of the fact that most money is chasing trophy properties in New York City and Washington, D.C. and there is a need for liquidity in other markets.
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