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President’s Corner Possible improvement in housing market this year

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Diane Gallagher

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 1:50 pm

According to data from the California Association of Realtors, California home sales declined from both the prior month and year, in January. The median price also was lower, primarily due to a sales increase in the distressed market.

Record low interest rates and favorable home prices continue to offer opportunities for potential home buyers,” said C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold.  “If the overall economy continues its recent upward trend, we should see an improvement in the housing market throughout the year.”  This is great news. Keep your eyes open.

If you remember a few articles back, I told you I would try and keep you updated on the HARP 2 Program. First, these are the five largest banks involved in the settlement: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, which used to be GMAC.  Second, I was surprised to see that the National Mortgage Settlement is still waiting to be approved by a federal judge. Released earlier last week, an official from Bank of America said, “The foreclosure deal was subject to ongoing discussions.... as well as required regulatory and court approvals.” Remember, this program which promises principal reductions, refinances and restitution to about 466,000 Californians, may not be implemented for a while. I was reading some of the stories that some homeowners have already had, trying to see if they qualified for this program. Here are just a few examples of what some homeowners have experienced.  

Some homeowners were told that the media came out with the information prematurely; others were transferred multiple times by their bank operators who were not aware of the deal, and did not know what they were talking about.  One homeowner was told it would take approximately 50 to 60 days to know anything. I would have to agree with the one that said, “They came out with the information prematurely,” this can only be more frustrating for the homeowner who is sitting on the fence not knowing which way to go. Do I sell now or wait to modify, and if I wait, am I eligible for this program? There will be many questions your Realtor can help you to answer some of those questions.  Remember, there are no guarantees, but here are some phone numbers for you to call in efforts to help you along the way.  Call (800) 569-4287 for a referral to a free HUD-approved counselor to help you. Also, here are the individual numbers to the participating banks:

  • Ally/GMAC: (800) 766-4622
  • Bank of America: (877) 488-7814 (Available Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific time.)
  • Citi: (866) 272-4749
  • JPMorgan Chase: (866) 372-6901
  • Wells Fargo: (800) 288-3212 (Available Monday to Friday, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time)

If you would like to contact me, you can reach me at, or by phone at 209-327-3642. See you next week! Diane Gallagher is the President of the Lodi Association of Realtors.