Friday, December 30, 2011

Housing News Digest, December 30

Foreclosure free ride: 3 years, no payments
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Delinquent borrowers facing foreclosure are learning that they can stay in their homes for years, as long as they're willing to put up a fight.

Among the tactics: Challenging the bank's actions, waiting to file paperwork right up until the deadline, requesting the lender dig up original paperwork or, in some extreme cases, declaring bankruptcy.

2011 was a good year for real estate market

Recent headlines about the national housing market certainly seem to be in conflict with one trumpeting "Good Signs for the Real Estate Market" and another "Home Prices Down in Most Cities." Or how about "New Home Construction Bounces Back - Soars 9.3 percent in November" versus "Home Sales Remain Weak."

And to add to the confusion, the National Association of Realtors just revised its annual home sales report knocking down annual sales 14.3 percent from 2007 through 2010.

PulteGroup offloads Colorado land assets
Homebuilder PulteGroup Inc. (PHM: 6.3701 +0.95%) sold Colorado land slated for 1,500 residences to private real estate investment firm Wheelock Street Capital LLC.

The move is part of an ongoing initiative to push for greater returns on its invested capital.

Colorado Crossing at standstill, but revival possible

Colorado Crossing, which became one of Colorado Springs’ biggest real estate busts in recent memory, remains a ghost town on the city’s north side after development of the 150-acre mixed-use project came to a halt three years ago.

However, various steps have been taken over the last several months in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver and in 4th Judicial District Court in Colorado Springs to position Colorado Crossing for a revival — although the project’s resurrection remains at least a year away at the earliest and it’s uncertain what direction it would take if work resumes.

HOW TO PLAY IT: Signs of life in the housing market
Recent reports paint a mixed picture. In a sign of renewed demand, sales of existing homes hit a one-and-a-half year high in November. Still, home prices have fallen for 13 consecutive months and any recovery would come from a very low level.

In the past there have been false signs that the worst of the housing bust had passed, but if housing is finally improving, it could be a boon for investors. Here are targeted real estate plays for the new year.