Daily Archives: January 28, 2013

Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Decreased 4.3% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Pending U.S. home sales declined in December for the first time since August, showing uneven progress in the housing market.

The index of contracts for the purchase of previously owned homes fell 4.3 percent to 101.7 after a revised 1.6 percent increase, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey projected no change in the gauge. Compared with a year earlier, pending sales before seasonal adjustment climbed 4.9 percent.


Pending Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Decreased 4.3% in December

Pending Sales of Existing U.S. Homes Decreased 4.3% in December

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Cheaper borrowing costs, improved property values and job gains may combine to drive further gains in housing demand, a source of strength for the expansion.

Cheaper borrowing costs, improved property values and job gains may combine to drive further gains in housing demand, a source of strength for the expansion. 


Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) — Susan Wachter, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Keith Jurow, author of a report on the U.S. housing market for Minyanville, discuss the outlook for the housing market. They speak with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Cheaper borrowing costs, improved property values and job gains may combine to drive further gains in housing demand, a source of strength for the expansion. The Realtors group said fewer homes in inventory are holding back sales after the best year for the industry since 2007.

“Our expectation is that the U.S. housing market will deliver more of the same in 2013 — increased start activity, modest home price appreciation, and continued cleansing of the stock of shadow inventory,” Michael Gapen, a New York-based senior economist at Barclays Plc, said in a research note before the report.

Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 37 economists ranged from a 5 percent drop to a 5 percent gain after a previously reported 1.7 percent increase.

Another report today showed orders for durable goods rose more than forecast in December, reflecting gains in demand for aircraft, communications equipment and electronics. The 4.6 percent surge last month followed a 0.7 percent gain, according to the Commerce Department in Washington. The median projection in the Bloomberg survey called for a 2 percent advance.

By Region

Three of four regions showed a drop in pending home sales last month, including an 8.2 percent decrease in the West and a 5.4 percent drop in the Northeast. Sales contracts advanced 0.9 percent in the Midwest.

Pending sales are considered a leading indicator because they track purchase contracts in advance of actual transactions, which are tabulated a month or two later. Existing or previously owned homes account for more than 90 percent of the housing market.

Sales of U.S. existing homes unexpectedly dropped in December, restrained by the lowest supply of properties in more than a decade, the Realtors group reported last week. Purchases fell 1 percent to a 4.94 million annual rate last month.

“The supply limitation appears to be the main factor holding back contract signings in the past month,” Lawrence Yun, the Realtors group’s chief economist, said in a statement. Still, “buyer interest remains solid.”

New Homes

New-home sales, logged when contracts are signed, declined 7.3 percent in December to a 369,000 annual pace, following a revised 398,000 rate the previous month that was higher than previously estimated and the strongest since April 2010, the Commerce Department reported last week.

For all of 2012, 5.02 million new and previously owned homes were sold, the most since 5.03 million in 2007.

Borrowing costs have remained affordable for those who qualify for financing. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.42 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. A reading of 3.31 percent in November was the lowest in data going back to 1972.

Low interest rates are driving activity for lenders such as Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc. (STI), which saw gains in 2012 bolstered by refinancing applications.

Sales Improving

“We do expect a current favorable mortgage market to remain, certainly for the near-term,” Chief Executive Officer William Rogers said on a Jan. 18 earnings call. “There are a lot more clients that can benefit from refinancing, the purchase market is improving and so is the overall housing market.”

Rising home prices also have helped heal the real-estate market that triggered the last recession. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 4.3 percent in the year to October, the biggest 12-month advance since May 2010, according to data released Dec. 26. The group will report November figures tomorrow.



Dr. Lawrence Yun on Real Estate: Speed Up Foreclosures? | Bedford Corners Real Estate


Speed Up ForeclosuresAt the Washington Realtors’ legislative hill day this year we had an opportunity to hear from the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun.  Dr. Yun spoke about the improving real estate market in Washington state and his optimistic outlook for our state’s housing prices to continue rising at a rate faster than the nation as a whole.

At the same time, he was concerned with the persistence of high levels of “shadow inventory” in Washington, even while those levels have been shrinking significantly across the nation as a whole.  Dr. Yun surmised that the legal system in Washington was one that provided more obstructions to the foreclosure process, and that was creating a huge backlog of foreclosures that should have already been back on the market.  The striking lack of inventory in our current market is holding back a large crop of eager buyers and stifling home sales in general.

The essence of Dr. Yun’s point was that we should speed up foreclosures.  On its face, that’s not an argument you’re likely to hear from real estate professionals.  Our organizations are constantly working for property owners’ protections and rights, and fighting fraudulent or predatory practices that force homeowners out of their homes.

This issue, however, is more complex than simply pitting banks against homeowners.  When we really examine the broken foreclosure process in our state, and nationally, we have to make clear distinctions between the protections that distressed homeowners already have in place, and the unacceptable extensions of the actual foreclosure timelines taking place in the market.

There are an increasing number of homeowners who have realized that, even though their home is underwater and they have no intention of keeping it long-term, they can live in the home without making a payments for years on end.  As long as the lender is inhibited from closing the actual foreclosure sale, the number of people living in homes for two and even three years, rent free, continues to build.  The homes are a drag on the community, as these long-term foreclosures deflate nearby housing prices, instead of being resold and fixed up by the new homeowners.  The homeowners can’t just abandon the property, because it is still legally in their name (see Zombie Titles).

The effort to shorten the timelines on these foreclosures would make no changes to the protections already built into the process for the truly distressed homeowner.  There are already a number of steps for that person to repay their debt, work out an adjusted payment schedule, or find another means to save their home.   These people usually have at least a year from the time they stop making payments until the foreclosure sale goes through, and those protections can and will continue to exist for them.

For those homeowners who have already been through the normal foreclosure process and are one, two, or even three years behind on payments, the process needs to be expedited.  These folks have accepted that the home will be foreclosed upon, and the only question is when.  It will be better for the neighborhood and, frankly, better for these former homeowners to move on with their lives and begin to rebuild their credit.  This artificial backlog of foreclosure inventory has an eager market of buyers ready to move in, and our communities could benefit from a healthy gain in home sales as we continue to recover.

So, should we speed up foreclosures?  If the current legal protections are preserved, but the unnecessary multi-year extensions can be avoided, then the answer is “Yes.”  Sometimes, facing up to reality and moving forward is the only way to begin correcting the difficult times we’ve been through.




Town of North Castle cancels activities | Armonk Homes

Due to the snow and ice forecast, Byram Hills Schools are having early dismissal.  All afternoon and evening activities of the Byram Hills Schools are cancelled.


Therefore, all afternoon and evening activities of North Castle Recreation which are held in Armonk are cancelled.  Additionally, Open Studio for adults and Jump Start Kinder Prep for pre-school children are cancelled today.  Programs will be made up, by adding an additional class to the end of the session. 


The drop in for seniors will be held at Hergenhan Recreation Center but may be forced to end early due to the weather.  There will be limited bus service.


No determination has yet been made for Kidz Club or any other programs at the North Castle Community Center in North White Plains.  Please call us if you have any questions, 273-3325.
To Reach Us


If the North Castle Recreation staff can be of any assistance to you, please call us at 273-3325 or visit us at Hergenhan Recreation Center. In general, Recreation Office hours are weekdays 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. We can also be reached by e-mail at  recreation@NorthCastleNY.com. 


Best Regards

Susan Snyder,  Superintendent 

U.S. home prices crawl upward | Chappaqua Realtor

U.S. home prices continued to inch their way up, showing a 0.5% increase from October to November, according to the latest Lender Processing Services home price index.

Home prices grew 5.1% year-over-year, based on LPS’s analysis of homes in 15,500 ZIP codes.

The LPS HPI is a study of non-distressed home sales and discounts the influence of REO sales and short-sale transactions.

The average price for a home sold in the U.S. in November reached $207,000, dropping from a peak of $266,000 in June 2006, but up from $197,000 in November 2011.

The states that saw the greatest price appreciation in the report were Florida (prices up 1.5%); New York (prices up 1.1%); Washington D.C. (prices up 1.0%); and Georgia, Minnesota and Nevada (all up 0.9%).

Conversely, Rhode Island and Massachusetts both saw negative monthly movement, dipping 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

Individual metros that saw strong price gains included Chicago (prices up 0.7%), Dallas (prices up 0.3%), Los Angeles (prices up 0.8%), New York (prices up 1.0%) and Washington (prices up 0.5%).

Click on the table below to see the recent HPI changes.



Jonathon Weiner, vice president of research & development at LPS Applied Analytics believes the upward trajectory of home prices will continue throughout the year.

“Given the duration and strength of the recent upturn, and the absence of any obvious short term cause, it is probably related to a fundamental demand for housing,” said Weiner. “While there are any number of external events which could yet impact home prices, barring any unseen developments, we expect this trend to continue through 2013.”



Twitter Blog: Vine: A new way to share video | Armonk Realtor

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today, we’re introducing Vine: a mobile service that lets you capture and share short looping videos. Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine (6 seconds or less) inspires creativity. Now that you can easily capture motion and sound, we look forward to seeing what you create.

You can read more about the app on the Vine blog. Vine is currently available on the iPhone and iPod touch. You can download it for free from the App Store. We’re working now to bring it to other platforms, so stay tuned for that.

Rather than tell you more about the app, we thought we’d just show you some of our favorite videos:

Posted by Michael Sippey (@sippey)
VP of Product

Posted by @twitter at 8:10 AM

11 Reasons Your Blog is on a Road to Nowhere | North Salem Realtor


You’re smart.

You got drive.

You’re blogging, and blogging, and blogging. You’re producing good content. But somehow your efforts are not rewarded.

Your enthusiasm for checking your traffic stats is gone. Because the trickle of traffic makes you feel down, lonely, and maybe a little desperate. Are you wasting your time?

Let’s be honest.

Building a blog is hard work. It’s tough. And you need to be business savvy. That’s right. You need to treat your blog as a business. You need to get serious about marketing your blog. Because if you don’t market your blog, it’s going to remain lonely out there.

Let’s have a look at 11 common blog marketing mistakes. Avoid these mistakes, and you’ll gain more traffic, more shares, and more comments. And eventually, you’ll be able to make serious money.

Mistake 1: You’ve jumped straight in

Of course, it’s great to get started.

Get a domain name, a web host, a theme, a topic you love writing about; and you’re ready to go. Right?
I don’t think so. You need to know what your audience likes; what they want to read about, what they’re passionate about.

Before launching Social Triggers, Derek Halpern knew exactly what his audience wanted: fact-based advice on how to grow web traffic. That’s why he combines academic research with blogging tips.

Before you start your blog, research your audience. Read comments on the big blogs your audience is reading. Which topics resonate most? What are readers passionate about? What questions do they ask? What do they struggle with?

Mistake 2: Your audience is too diverse

When you’re writing your blog posts, who do you write for? Are you trying to write for as big a crowd as possible? Are you trying to appeal to as many readers as you can?

Writing to a crowd makes your writing bland; writing to one person makes you engaging and fascinating.
Start by describing your ideal reader. Have you seen how the Word Chef describes her ideal client? You don’t have to publish your ideal reader. But you need to know who you’re writing for.

When you write your next blog post, imagine writing to just one reader: your ideal reader.

Mistake 3: You’ve picked the wrong topic

Do you think you need to avoid the big topics, because they’re too competitive? Think again. If you pick a topic nobody has written about, then most probably hardly anyone is interested in your topic.

The truth is: the big topics are the topics people want to read about. Finance. Personal development. Blogging. Parenting. Marketing. Gadgets.

Yep, those topics are competitive. Hugely competitive. But you can be sure there’s an audience waiting for you. You just have to figure out how you’re going to stand out from the other blogs. And that’s why you need a purple cow.

Mistake 4: You don’t have a purple cow

A purple cow is what makes you different. If you’d see a purple cow, it would draw attention, wouldn’t it? You’d be fascinated by it and you’d remember it, wouldn’t you? That’s why you need a purple cow—a term coined by Seth Godin.

Why would people read you blog rather than a competing blog? A few ideas:

  • Your personality appeals to your readers.
  • Your passion attracts followers.
  • Your writing style is special.
  • Your opinion is appreciated.
  • Your experience is unique.

You’re not Walmart or Target. You don’t need to appeal to everyone. If you create something truly different, some people may think you’re crazy. But that doesn’t matter. As long as other people love your blogging, that’s absolutely fine. Don’t be afraid to put readers off. Because you’ll build a stronger bond with your core audience.

Apple has raving fans who queue up to trade in their iPhone 4S to an iPhone 5 as soon as it’s launched. But Apple also has its haters, who avoid buying Apple products.

Do you know Johnny B Truant? He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, because he tells it as it is and he swears a lot. But he has hugely passionate fans, too. You see? You don’t need to appeal to everyone. You just have to build your own tribe.

Mistake 5: You don’t know how you want to change the world

You can’t create passionate readers if your message is lame. If you want to fascinate people and create a loyal following, you need a mission. Strong brands are on a mission. Think Nike, Apple, or Harley Davidson. Popular bloggers are on a mission, too.

Leo Babauta at Zenhabits teaches people to live simply, to keep themselves centered and at peace as they make a slow journey to creating good habits and achieving their goals. A clear mission, isn’t it?

How are you going to change the world?

Mistake 6: Your design puts people off

If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to look professional. Your blog is your brand. What impression do you want to leave? Professional? Full of fun? Warm? Corporate? Artistic?

Compare these two social media blogs: Simply Zesty looks fresh, but rather corporate. The {grow} blog from Mark Schaefer looks just as professional, but a little more fun.

Also, keep in mind that your design has a large impact on readability. Use white space, large fonts, and sub headlines to guide your readers through your content.

Mistake 7: Your blogging voice is erratic

You’re a blogger. You’re a writer. You communicate through your content.

Your brand is not just your blog design; and not just what you’re blogging about. It’s also how you blog. What’s you’re writing style? And does it match your blog design? Does it match your brand?

You need a unique voice that reflects your brand. Have you read the Aweber and MailChimp blogs? Aweber is quite serious and a bit corporate. MailChimp is cheeky and more personable. One is not better than the other. They’re just different. And their tone of voice reflects their brands.

Jon Morrow and Darren Rowse both blog about blogging. Jon Morrow is like your favourite high-school teacher. He tells you off when he needs to and uses strong language, but inspires you to study harder. Darren Rowse is like a friendly neighbour. Full of useful advice, helpful when you’re stuck, and he never says a bad word about you.

How are you positioning yourself? And does your tone of voice match?

Mistake 8: You’re hiding yourself

As a blogger, you are an important part of your brand. People connect with you because of who you are.
Nobody enjoys phoning a call centre. Nobody wants to get in touch with a boring corporation. Nobody wants to chat with a faceless company.

To build a loyal following you need to be human and get a little personal. Show your passion, mention some titbits about your life, share your experience, and let your passion shine through.

Even though I mainly write about copywriting and content marketing, my email subscribers know I love cycling, because I use cycling analogies to explain copywriting tricks and I’ve even included cycling holiday snaps to illustrate points. That’s how I’m building a connection with my readers.

Mistake 9: You think your traffic will snowball

You need to market your blog to gain an audience. Overnight success doesn’t exist.

Generating traffic is hard work, and no shortcuts exist. Social media and SEO can generate traffic, but guest blogging is often the best way because guest blogging allows you to borrow the audience from a big blog.

Don’t have enough time for guest blogging? Reduce your own blogging schedule, post once a week rather than daily; post once a month instead of weekly. And use the time you’ve freed up to post on other blogs.

Mistake 10: You’re not enticing people onto your email list

Getting blog readers to sign up to your email list should be your priority. Because once they’re subscribed, you can email them when a new post goes live. And when you’re ready to sell, your email list is your most precious marketing asset.

Email is more powerful than social media, especially when it comes to selling. Have you seen this graph from Darren?

Email drives profits


That tells you enough, doesn’t it? Get an email subscription form on your home page, your about page, and each blog post. Consider removing the option to subscribe to your RSS feed, because it distracts from your email subscription form.

Mistake 11: You’re a dreamer

Of course we’re all dreaming of success, of more readers, more shares, more comments, more money.

But dreaming about success isn’t going to get you there. You need plan. Not a Soviet-style ten-year plan. Just a plan for your next month. Decide on your mission, define your brand, your design, your voice, and think about how you’re going to grow your audience during the next month.

And then in a month’x time you can see what worked, and what didn’t work. And then you can write another one-month plan. To increase your traffic. To grow your audience. And to build your email list.

The truth about building your audience

Let’s be honest.

Growing your audience is hard work. It requires energy, enthusiasm, and guts. Dare to be different. Build your own unique brand. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Your most loyal followers, your raving fans are reading your blog because your style suits them; because your message inspires them; and because you are you.

Come on. What are you waiting for? Start marketing your blog, your brand, yourself.



Converting Customers and Prospects into Clients | South Salem Real Estate

There are two ways for real estate agents to obtain a client: (1) convert an existing customer into a client; or (2) convert a prospect into a client.

Converting Customers

Existing customers represent excellent opportunities to obtain clients. You just assisted them in one of the largest financial transactions they’ll ever undertake with a successful outcome. These customers feel good about their recent purchase or sale of a property and they associate you with their recent real estate success. These customers are poised to become your clients. The easiest way to convert a customer to a client is during your initial, discovery consultation.

Like any introductory meeting, listen to your client and present your credentials to demonstrate your ability to get the job done that they require successfully. Also show the value you bring to the transaction and what differentiates you from other agents competing for the customer’s business. Here’s what prospects want to hear to become clients:

  • Client vs. customer business philosophy
  • Contrast the client approach and the customer transaction approach so prospects understand the additional benefits of selecting you as their agent.
  • Begin with the following statement:
  • “My business approach is to serve clients for life, rather than just during this transaction. My objective is to be a trusted advisor, providing services and guidance throughout and after the property transaction.”
  • Here is what a client expects:
  • A meaningful number of value added products and services (later in this document)

Converting Prospects

Virtually everyone you meet in your service region is a prospect. A new acquaintance doesn’t need to purchase a home within the next six months to become one of your clients. It’s important to distinguish between client prospects and customer prospects.

Customer prospects are people who are undertaking a property buy or sell in the near-term. Since these prospects deliver a potential transaction in the not-too-distant future, agents compete aggressively for this business. The agent’s ability to win the prospect’s business depends on a number of factors, including their credibility, reputation in the community, capacity to deliver quality transaction services, personal referrals and guidance and hand-holding during the complex transaction. This free-market competition to represent a buyer or seller is fierce.

Client prospects are much easier to obtain. There is little competition from other agents to obtain them. Most agents spend the majority of their prospecting activities on obtaining customers, not clients. Not enough agents have interest in expending time and energy with a person who has no immediate interest in the buying and selling of property. To them, that person is not a customer prospect, so why spend (read “waste”) the time?

The search for client prospects is actually easier than finding customers – individuals about to undertake a property transaction on which you serve as facilitator, negotiator and, yes, trusted advisor.

There are fewer agents against which to compete for long-term prospects since most agents are focused on current transaction customer prospects. So a client-first agent focuses on the ways to obtain clients with little regard given to competing agents.

The longer view also requires a shift in attitude. The agents’ objective then becomes to increase the quality of clients, placing less focus on the quantity of clients. For example, an agent with a book of 100 high-quality loyal clients is likely to generate more leads, referrals and future transactions than an agent with a book of 100 marginally-engaged clients. Thus the challenge is to target those upper-tier buyers and sellers and convert these lead generators and property buyers and sellers into your expanding client base.

They get added to the mailing lists for your client base or bases (commercial, property management, rentals, special sales, etc.).

High-quality client prospects have common attributes that are more likely to generate leads, referrals and future transactions over time than lesser-engaged client prospects.

For example, a socially active family with children living in an active neighborhood is likely to generate more leads, referrals and future transactions than a retired couple living in an older neighborhood. In fact, the quality of a client prospect is determined, to some degree, on stage in life of the prospect’s real estate needs.

Prospect Level by Life Cycle


Quality Level


First-Time Buyers


There’s some risk that they will move away from the community, but if they remain, there it’s usually for trade-up transactions.
Mature households


Mature households usually experience healthy earnings growth over time, increasing the likelihood of trade up, resort and investment transactions. In addition, these households become established in the community, resulting in more referrals and leads.
Established households


These households are at the peak of their social interaction in the community, making it like that, as a group, they generate the greatest number of leads and referrals.

In addition, ,established families’ children are in the first-time buyer group and this, combined with this demographics’ financial ability to purchase resort property and/or invest in real estate, increases the likelihood of future transactions.

Retirement Households


Retired households are high risk prospects relative to other households. These home owners are entering the end of their home ownership years, and thus, may only have one transaction – a retirement home – remaining.

These older home owners are more likely to move away from the community. In addition, they are less likely to generate leads and referrals because they are not as engaged in community activity, as a general rule.

To build a client base of quality, all prospects offer opportunities for the client-centered agent and none should be overlooked. However, it’s both prudent and productive to focus on those home owners who have the greatest potential for referrals or future transactions.

How the Crash Battered America’s Housing Stock | Katonah Real Estate

Spending on home improvements and repairs totaled $275 billion in 2011, down 4 percent from 2009 levels and some 16 percent below the market peak in 2007. Loss of home equity with the onset of the housing crash contributed to the decline in home repairs, according to a new study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

With the decline in spending on discretionary projects, home improvement expenditures per owner in 2011 stood well below levels averaged over the previous decade. In fact, per-owner spending fell from about 25 percent above the decade average in 2007 to about 10 percent below that level in 2011,

Near the top of the list of causes for the decline in home improvement spending is the loss of home equity resulting from the unprecedented plunge in house prices during the housing crash. After several years of strong house price appreciation, homeowners nationwide had almost $13 trillion in equity in 2006, or almost $170,000 per owner on average. By 2011, however, aggregate home equity had dropped by half to $6.5 trillion, or $87,000 per owner.

Since home equity is a major source of wealth for most owners, sharply lower house values make owners feel less wealthy and therefore less likely to spend in general and on improvements in particular. And with less equity available and credit still tight, households are finding it more difficult to get financing for projects. In 2011, owners with under 20 percent equity in their homes spent about 22 percent less on average on home improvements and about 30 percent less on discretionary projects than owners with at least 20 percent equity. In fact, owners with some but less than 20 percent equity spent about the same as those with zero or negative equity in that year. Owners without mortgages-primarily older owners-also spent about the same as owners with less than 20 percent equity.

In 2011, the Harvard study found that more than a million distressed properties came back onto the housing market, including 760,000 lender-owned units and 300,000 short sales. Lenders improved about a third of their foreclosed properties prior to sale, with an average expenditure of about $6,500 per unit. About 60 percent of owner-occupant purchasers undertook improvements, averaging $11,100, while investors spent even more per unit on average than either lenders or owner-occupants, $15,600.

The Harvard study also noted the role investors are playing turning foreclosures into affordable rentals. Some 4.4 million formerly owner-occupied units were shifted to the rental market between 2007 and 2011. Another 4.6 million were vacant in 2011 and may become part of the rental stock as demand continues to grow.

The unexpected investor expenditures to improve the quality of America’s single family housing stock came as the nation began to experience what the Harvard study calls an “uptick” in the deterioration of housing quality at the outset of the housing crash. In 1997, 4.4 percent of owner-occupied homes were considered inadequate, the study said. By 2007, these same units accounted for almost 8 percent of homes that were no longer owner-occupied (i.e., stood vacant or were converted to rental or nonresidential uses), indicating their increasing deterioration. Even more telling is that these inadequate units accounted for almost 17 percent of the homes that were demolished within the decade.

The study also tracked lender spending to restore REO properties for sale. During the housing downturn, the plunge in house prices precipitated a wave of foreclosures in many metropolitan areas. The foreclosure process often takes years to complete, wreaking havoc on mothballed and backlogged properties. But once foreclosure is completed, banks and other institutions typically invest in repairs to get the homes ready for sale and back into active use.

According to Joint Center estimates, lender expenditures on distressed properties amounted to $1.7 billion in 2011, with Atlanta, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, and Riverside posting the highest shares of spending . Local housing market conditions dictate the average amount that banks and institutions expend to prepare distressed properties for the market. In 2011, lenders invested considerably more per property in higher-priced markets such as Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, Raleigh, and Washington, DC. In large measure, this disparity reflects the fact that properties in these markets often need to be in better condition to sell at a competitive price within a reasonable amount of time.

By comparison, in depressed Rust Belt metros such as Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh, improvement spending per REO property was less than a third of outlays in more competitive markets.

“Renovating foreclosed or abandoned homes benefits the entire neighborhood. Joint Center research has shown that home prices in neighborhoods with higher levels of improvement spending appreciate more rapidly, explaining why investing in blighted neighborhoods has been a national priority in dealing with the foreclosure crisis,” said the report.