Thursday, April 26, 2012

Charlotte-area foreclosures up in February

Foreclosure rates in the Charlotte metropolitan area rose in February over the same time last year, according to the real estate research firm CoreLogic.  Perhaps more troubling, the mortgage delinquency rate - a sign of problems to come - also increased.

The data, released Thursday, adds to an already confusing picture painted this week by various housing indicators showing both good and bad news.

The CoreLogic data shows the Charlotte foreclosure rate among outstanding mortgage loans was 3.36 percent in February, up from 2.87 percent in February 2011.

Charlotte's foreclosure rate has increased fairly steadily during the past two years, rising from 1.86 percent in February 2010.

Currently, foreclosure activity is roughly on par with that seen for the nation, which has a 3.41 percent foreclosure rate, but it is higher than the 2.5 percent rate for North Carolina.

In February 7.17 percent of Charlotte-area mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 7.03 percent during the same time last year. Nationally, 7.24 percent of such loans were delinquent. Statewide, proportionately fewer N.C. mortgage loans are delinquent, with the rate rising to 5.85 percent from 5.63 percent a year ago.

Charlotte's delinquency rate, meanwhile, is sightly less than two years ago, when it reached 7.45 percent.

Other housing data released this week showed falling home prices for existing homes in Charlotte in February. Sales of new homes also fell for the nation but rose around 3 percent in the south.

Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner has said he thinks Charlotte's housing market is doing better than the statistics might suggest. One reason, he said, is the distressed housing is largely concentrated in pockets and not affecting the broader residential market as much as it once did.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Charlotte Regional Realtor Association goes green

The Charlotte Regional Realtor Association is hosting a "Don't Dump, Donate" recycling drive to benefit Goodwill Industries.

The public is invited to drop off household items, furniture, sports equipment, clothes and electronics between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on April 25 at the Realtor association's parking lot at 1201 Greenwood Cliff, Charlotte, N.C. 28204.

For a list of items Goodwill will accept, go to

The drive is part of the association's Green Week, which celebrates Earth Day. In addition to the recycling drive, the association is hosting a conference to educate members about green homes and the green home real estate market.

The Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. is also offering new and improved search fields for green new homes and green upgrades to existing homes. People can search for a home with various green certifications and energy-efficient specifications.

For more information about green homes, go to

Charlotte home prices hit new lows in February

Charlotte-area home prices fell to new lows in February, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday.

Overall, U.S. home prices in the 20 cities tracked by the index fell 3.5 percent in February from the prior year, slightly better than the 3.9 percent drop reported for January.

Charlotte home prices dropped 1.8 percent between February 2012 and the previous year and fell .4 percent between February and January.

The index was unable to publish January statistics last month for the metropolitan area because of delays in reporting by Mecklenburg County. On Tuesday, the index said it had received the necessary data.

"The unfortunate news is that it confirms that Charlotte is one of the cities that is still reaching new lows," said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

Charlotte was one of nine cities posting new lows since the housing market started falling in 2006, joining Atlanta, Chicago ,Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa.

The index, which tracks repeat sales, shows five cities - Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix - posted positive returns. Phoenix, which saw housing prices soar then crash, has posted five consecutive positive monthly returns, yet remains down more than 54 percent from its peak.

Atlanta continued its downward spiral with a 17.3 percent drop, its steepest annual drop in the index's 20-year history.

Some analysts had expected to see home prices increase. Overall, some housing statistics have suggested an improving market. Inventories are falling, as is the percentage of sales involving foreclosed homes. In Charlotte, February home sales jumped 21.8 percent from the previous year, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.

The index, which lags two months, excludes sales of new homes.

"While there might be pieces of good news in this report, such as some improvement in many annual rates of return, February 2012 data confirm that, broadly-speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early months of the year," Blitzer said in a statement.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Charlotte broker A. Scott Hensley named president of local board

A. Scott Hensley has been named President of the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors, a trade group covering 18 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Hensley, who has served on the board since 2009, will also serve as president of SiteIndex, which provides commercial listings in the greater Charlotte area. An 18-year veteran in the commercial real estate industry, Hensley is a principal broker of Piedmont Properties/CORFAC International.

According to the press release, Hensley is also a proud Virginia Tech Hokie and enjoys a "hopeful round of scratch golf."