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Housing

Program Gives First-Time Buyers Leg Up on Investors

LAS VEGAS -- Foreclosed homes in Las Vegas are being snatched up left and right by investors. But starting this week, Fannie Mae is trying to help homeowners get first dibs. The program is called First Look.

First Look allows first-time home buyers to place an offer first over an investor when buying a Fannie Mae-owned home. The window of opportunity has now been extended from 15 days to 30 days in Nevada.

At least 50-percent of the foreclosure sales in Las Vegas are cash only because banks see it as a hassle-free way to get the properties off their books.

With inventory at an all time low, and competition heating up, the First Look program can help people who don't have the cash to pay up front.

"(The) First Look program was Fannie Mae's program designed to strengthen communities and give first-time home buyers an edge," said Claudia Turcaz with the Nevada Association of Hispanic Real Estate.

Housing Market May Be Rebounding

LAS VEGAS -- As more people are finding new jobs, the housing market is getting a boost. Nationally, the number of people behind on their mortgage payments has dropped for the first time in four years.

Across the country, homeowners are finally starting to catch up with payments and experts say Las Vegas is improving as well.

"In the last 18 months, people have been faced with either, 'You make your mortgage payment or we take your house,' and a lot of people say, 'Ok, take my house because the mortgage is twice what the value is,' and that is starting to stop," said mortgage expert Roger Rothberg.

Thanks to some improvements in the job market, people are now catching up with payments. Those who can't afford the homes they're in have let them go, giving the battered housing market a chance to heal.

Expert Says Las Vegas Housing Market Healing

LAS VEGAS -- The Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors says home sales jumped 33 percent in March as buyers rushed to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credits.

The group unveiled its latest numbers at a panel discussion on the Las Vegas housing market Wednesday morning.

Panelists say the emphasis in the coming year will be on short sales. GLVAR President Rick Shelton says he also expects there to be more foreclosures on the market because banks are not willing to work with homeowners on reducing their loans. He says that will result in more homeowners opting to do a short sale. Currently, short sales make up about half of the houses that are for sale in the market.

The panel says home prices are beginning to stabilize with the median home price for a single-family home at $136,000 which is up slightly from February. There has been an increase in home sales for the past 15 months.

More Homeowners Falling Delinquent on Mortgages

LAS VEGAS -- The number of Southern Nevada homeowners delinquent on their mortgage payments has climbed steadily for the past several months. In some cases, it's people just willing to walk away from their homes, and in other cases, homeowners are holding out hope that they will get a loan modification.

In any given neighborhood, chances are good that a homeowner is the process of walking away from their mortgage. In the past, five months was typically the longest a homeowner could stay in their home until the bank would come knocking. But that is no longer the case.

Nick Nolf with The Nolf Group has been in the real estate business through the boom, the bust, and now the slow turn-around.

One Key Unlocks 600 HUD Houses in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Las vegas is on the cutting edge of a new scam: People posing as real estate agents illegally collecting rental deposit money on government-owned homes.

One key gains access to around 600 empty homes in the federal HUD housing program. This creates a gaping hole for scam artists to walk right through.

"They could theoretically get into all 600 houses that we have," said HUD Director Kenneth Lobene. "It could be a problem. Hopefully the things that we're going to do will help to prevent that."

A Las Vegas woman was arrested last week for scamming a local man out of $500. She's accused of posing as a real estate agent, breaking into the government-owned home and posting it on Craigslist.

She allegedly stole rental deposit money from people interested in the deals she was offering.

Fed Foreclosure Help By May: Is It In Time?

LAS VEGAS -- President Barack Obama announced federal foreclosure help is coming to Nevada during his visit to Las Vegas last month. But will it arrive in time to save Nevada families already in risk of losing their homes?

Darrell and Maria McCracken live in a tight-knit community. The Henderson neighborhood on Riddle Glen Street is bound together by a common problem: 70-percent of Nevada's homeowners are underwater on their mortgages. Many aren't qualifying for government- sponsored bank programs to refinance.

"We can't walk away right now. We're going to stay. We've taken our shot with the modification. It's been seven months we've been back and forth with them," says Darrell McCracken.

The McCrackens work as casino dealers. They've seen deep cuts in their paychecks this past year.