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Real Estate Market Commentary - April 2012
by Peter L. Zachary, MAI, MRICS

Commentary on the Real Estate Market as of April 2012 By Peter L. Zachary, MAI, MRICS

There was more good news on the jobs front. The April 6, 2012 issue of the New York Times reported that “the number of Americans applying for new jobless benefits fell to the lowest level in nearly four years last week, according to a government report Thursday”. “You put this number with the other jobs numbers we have seen and they continue to show the labor market continues to grow”, said Stan Shipley, an economist at ISI group.”

And on April 12, 2012, the New York Times had an article “Treasury Faulted in Effort to Relieve Homeowner’s”. The article stated:

“A fund to support homeowners in the communities hit hardest by the collapse of the housing bubble has disbursed just 3 percent of its budget and aided only 30,640 homeowners in the two years since its creation, according to a report released on Thursday by a federal watchdog office.

The Hardest Hit Fund, which was created in the spring of 2010, grants money to state housing finance agencies for efforts to help families that are facing foreclosure. It has “experienced significant delay” because of “a lack of comprehensive planning” by the Treasury Department and limited participation by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the large mortgage servicers, said the report by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“TARP wasn’t supposed to be just a bank bailout,” said Christy L. Romero, the special inspector general for TARP, in an interview. “It was specifically designed with the goal of helping homeowners, and our concern is that that goal may not be met.”

The report also argued that the federal government had not used its significant influence over large mortgage servicers and Fannie and Freddie to induce them to participate in the state-devised and state-managed initiatives.

Thus, many of the state initiatives financed by the Hardest Hit Fund have failed to reach significant numbers of homeowners thus far. In New Jersey, for instance, just 54 households had benefited as of the end of 2011. In California, where 48,422 houses received a foreclosure notice in February alone, the program has aided just 4,357 homeowners.

“The states can change their programs,” said Ms. Romero, the special inspector general. “So it’s not too late for the states to figure out how to use these funds. That’s the dynamic nature of the program, and that’s what needs to happen.”

The bottom line is that no one cares about the homeowner’s who are in trouble. It’s just “pass the buck”.

Read previous Real Estate & Housing Market News.

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