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Robert Trigaux

With rise of blighted titles, foreclosed homes start to get yanked off market



foreclosure2-house-for-salesign.jpgWake up and good morning. Now that a wider audience is starting to realize the nation's home mortgage foreclosure mass production system is broken, real estate markets are roiling. Foreclosed homes that were on the market for sale, and even those that were moments away from final sales are being rapidly pulled off the market. A poignant example here in the Tampa Bay market appears on this WTSP Channel 10 report out of Wesley Chapel where buyer Joshua Cooper, after a long house hunt, was ready to close on a four-bedroom home on Chapel Pines Boulevard. Then the house was suddenly taken off the market. As WTSP is told by Peter Murphy, president of Home Encounter: Hundreds of foreclosed homes have been pulled off the market in recent days. Read the story and watch the video report here.

The same story plays out in Ocala in this New York Times storyAmanda Ducksworth was supposed to move in to her new home this week, a three-bedroom steal here in central Florida with a horse farm across the road. Instead, she is camped out with her 7-year-old son at her boss’s house. Like many buyers across the country, Ducksworth was about to complete the purchase of a foreclosed house when it suddenly went off the market. Fannie Mae, the giant mortgage holding company that buys loans from commercial lenders, is pulling back sales of homes that might have been foreclosed in bad faith.

Is this an emerging national crisis or, as some banks insist, a matter of clearing up systemic paperwork errors? Some observers warn there's more to it, as this commentator states at Seeking Alpha: "It is impossible to overstate the severity of the real estate crisis in the United States which has been caused entirely by the reckless fraud of the nation’s largest banks – the Wall Street Oligarchs. We now have mortgage-fraud being openly acknowledged by the banksters, and on a scale never before seen in human history."

That may a bit over the top but this much we know: What’s happened over the past few years is that the very system of keeping track of who owns what property in the U.S. has been undermined by banks too busy to bother with doing it correctly.

How screwed up is it? Ask Jason Grodensky, who bought a South Florida house for cash (no mortgage) only to watch Bank of America erroneously foreclose on his mortgage-free home seven months later. Read the details

Want more background on what's happening? Read more here, then here, then here.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Friday, October 8, 2010 7:01am]


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