California

One of the most famous residential properties in the pop culture universe is back on the market, with a considerably lower listing price
One of the most famous residential properties in the pop culture universe is back on the market, with a considerably lower listing price.
 
According to an Associated Press report, Michael Jackson's sprawling Neverland Ranch is relisted at $67 million, a significant decrease from the $100 million asking price posted last year for the 2,700-acre property in Santa Barbara County, Calif. The estate was purchased by Jackson in 1987 and was transformed into a private amusement park, complete with rides and a petting zoo. Jackson stopped living at Neverland in 2005 following his trial on child molestation charges, and the iconic singer sold the property to Colonial Capital for $22.5 million prior his death in 2009.
 
Colonial Capital has reportedly spent $50 million in upgrading the property. In an attempt to distance the estate from its legendary owner, the property is now officially known as Sycamore Valley Ranch.

First-time homebuyers in California are having the hardest time achieving their homeownership goal, according to a new data analysis from Bankrate.com.

 
This new study evaluated all 50 states based on home affordability relative to median income, credit availability, unemployment, market tightness and homeownership percentage among under-35 households. California turned out to be the hardest place for the first-time homebuyers in the overall rankings, and it repeatedly ranked low in regards to home affordability (49th place), availability (49th place), the under-35 homeownership percentage (49th place) and high Millennial unemployment (41st place). Other states where conditions are difficult for first-time homebuyers include Hawaii, New York, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Texas.
 
However, Iowa was rated as the easiest state for first-time homebuyers pursuing the American dream, due in large part to the having some of the most affordable home prices in the country. Utah, Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri were also rated high among states for first-time homebuyers.
 
“Tight market conditions and unaffordably high prices really plague what many young Americans feel are the most desirable places to put down roots,” said Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell. “On the other hand, the availability of FHA loans that allow down payments of as little as 3.5 percent may make it easier to buy a home in high-priced markets than you think.”
When it comes to paying monthly rent for a residence, the U.S. offers four of the world’s 10 most expensive rental markets.
 
According to a new study of 87 global cities by the British property firm Nested, San Francisco offered the world’s most expensive rental market, where the monthly rent for a single person averages roughly $2,100 and the monthly rent for a family averages nearly $4,000. New York City came in second, where the monthly rent for a single person averages approximately $2,000 and the monthly rent for a family averages approximately $3,800. In comparison, third-place Hong Kong seems like a haven for affordable housing: its monthly rent for a single person averages about $1,600 while the monthly rent for a family averages slightly under $3,100.
 
Rounding out this pricey top 10 global rental list were Dubai, Singapore, Washington, D.C., Geneva, Sydney, Zurich and Los Angeles.
California housing is so expensive—pause for reader to ask, “How expensive it it?—that the state occupies all 10 rankings among the top 10 list of priciest residential markets in Coldwell Banker’s 2016 Real Estate Home Listing Report
From the some-things-never-change department: California continued to dominate the new Realtor.com’s Hottest Housing Markets list, with 12 markets occupying slots on the February Top 20 list.
Vallejo, Calif., took the number one spot for the first time since August, displacing San Francisco which dropped into second place. San Jose, which held second place on last month’s list, fell to fifth place, while San Diego dropped from last month’s fifth place to this month’s sixth place.
 
On a national level, Realtor.com determined that nearly 425,000 new listings will have entered the market in February, but that will not help alleviate inventory shortages. And complicating matters for many potential homeowners is property appreciation: the median list price of $250,000 is nine percent higher than one year ago.
 
“Spring has arrived early this year, at least in terms of the rapid decline in the age of inventory,” Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke of realtor.com said in a statement. “Strong off-season demand powered new seasonal highs in prices and left us with a new low in available homes for sale. Potential sellers take note: This year is shaping up to favor you even more than last year.”

Ocwen Financial Corp. has reached a settlement with the California Department of Business to in which the company’s servicing unit will pay $25 million and provide another $198 million in debt forgiveness to resolve charges that Ocwen ran afoul of federal and state laws regarding borrowers' rights.

 

According to a Reuters report, the agreement was reached late on Friday and will not require Ocwen to acknowledge any wrongdoing, although Jan Lynn Owen, the department’s commissioner, insisted in a separate statement that the terms of the settlement “will hold Ocwen accountable for widespread violations of laws that harmed borrowers in our state.” With this settlement, the California regulator will drop its two-year-old consent order against Ocwen and will allow the company to resume servicing on residences within the state.

 

"Ocwen is pleased to have reached a comprehensive settlement with the DBO related to matters the agency raised, and we will quickly move forward to implement all terms associated with this agreement," said Ocwen CEO Ron Faris in a statement.

The precarious state of California’s Oroville Dam has been one of the most dramatic news stories in recent days
The precarious state of California’s Oroville Dam has been one of the most dramatic news stories in recent days. And new data from CoreLogic estimates that if the dam were to completely fail, 50,047 single- and multi-family residential homes could be damaged with an estimated reconstruction cost value (RCV) of $13.3 billion.
 
Of the properties in the path of potential catastrophe, CoreLogic estimated that only 12 percent are in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mortgage homes in an SFHA are required to carry flood insurance, but it is uncertain how many of the homeowners in this specific area have flood insurance.
 
Furthermore, the majority of homes at risk are located between 20 and 60 miles from the dam, totaling 33,967 properties with an estimated RCV of $9.8 billion. There are also 16,080 homes at risk of damage less than 20 miles from the dam with an estimated RCV of $3.5 billion.
Motto Mortgage, a member of the RE/MAX Holdings family of brands, has a new franchisee in the Lone Star State, as Freddy Rodriguez, broker/owner of RE/MAX Inner Loop in Houston, has purchased the first Motto Mortgage franchise in Texas
Motto Mortgage has announced that it will begin to offer mortgage brokerage franchise opportunities in the states of California and Maryland. The addition of California and Maryland brings the number of states in which Motto Mortgage franchises are actively being sold to more than 45.
 
“California has tremendous growth potential for Motto Mortgage,” said Motto Mortgage President Ward Morrison. “Our team has the experience and diverse knowledge needed to train and educate mortgage brokers and loan officers in the state so that they are successful. It’s a very exciting time for all of us at Motto Mortgage.”
 
Motto Mortgage officially launched on Oct. 25, 2016, and is expected to bring more choice and a better experience for consumers. Its loan originators work with real estate agents to help homebuyers obtain the mortgage loans that best fit their individual needs.
 
California and Maryland mark the two latest states where Motto Mortgage is looking to make an impact, on the heels of recent announchat franchises are now also available in the states of New York and Virginia.
A federal jury convicted real estate investor Thomas Joyce for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions held in Contra Costa County, Calif.
A federal jury convicted real estate investor Thomas Joyce for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions held in Contra Costa County, Calif.
 
The Department of Justice (DOJ) accused Joyce of being part of a conspiracy that negotiated payoffs for agreeing not to compete in foreclosure auctions. Members of this conspiracy later held private auctions known as “rounds” to determine the amounts of the payoffs for those participating in the bid suppression. To date, 64 people were either convicted or pleaded guilty for their roles in this scheme.
 
Joyce was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California in December 2014. Yesterday, a jury convicted Joyce of one count of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions between about June 2008 and January 2011. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
A philanthropic effort co-founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, is aiming its financial generosity at those facing eviction in the San Francisco Bay Area
A philanthropic effort co-founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, is aiming its financial generosity at those facing eviction in the San Francisco Bay Area.
 
According to a San Jose Mercury News report, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is donating $3.1 million to Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) to fund programs designed to help families facing eviction and displacement. The grant will also enable CLSEPA to hire five full-time attorneys—with three focusing on housing and the others on immigration and economic advancement issues.
 
“[This] is going to be an important source of support for the work that we do, and we are stoked,” said Daniel Saver, senior staff attorney for CLSEPA’s housing program, who added the grant will help serve an additional 2,500 residents, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is also providing a two-year $500,000 grant to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at University of California at Berkeley to formulate long-range solutions to the region’s housing problems.
 
Carol J. Galante, faculty director of the Terner Center and a former Federal Housing Administration commissioner, said the grant is a “catalytic investment to figure out how the Bay Area can get out of the difficult situation it’s in relative to such high costs of housing.”
Atrium Hotel
The 2017 California Holiday Networking Party will be held Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the Atrium Hotel, located at 18700 Macarthur Boulevard in Irvine, Calif.
 
For more information, call (516) 409-5555.