Monday, April 4, 2011

A Sign of Difficult Times?

Last week's Reminder contained a full page advertisement entitled "Town Collector's Notice of Taking" which according to Longmeadow Town Collector of Taxes, Mary Pequignot is required by law before the town places a lien on the property at the Registry of Deeds. Notices and letters had already been sent to the property owners.  The Comm Pres notation with this notice is the money owed through the Community Preservation Act.
For those Buzz readers who did not see this ad, it contained a list of 19 property owners with owed FY2010 taxes ranging from $81 --> $6700.

In 2010 there were 11 foreclosures in Longmeadow according to filings at the Hampden County Register of Deeds. This compares to 1 foreclosure in 2009 and 1 in 2008.

A comparison of Longmeadow home foreclosures in 2010 with surrounding towns showed the following:
Longmeadow- 11; East Longmeadow- 11; Hampden- 5; Wilbraham- 17; Agawam- 32

I believe that these foreclosure numbers do not show the real financial stress on Longmeadow homeowners.  Analysis of the real estate results from last year show that there was likely a pretty high level of "short sales" of properties in Longmeadow wherein the bank accepted less than what was owed on the property and so the owner was able to sell to an interested party at a bargain price.

In addition, a large percentage of homes were sold in Longmeadow at prices below the official assessment value continuing a trend that has been in place for the past two years. In 2010 49% of the homes (86 out of 158) were sold below the current assessed value. For the final three months (Oct --> Dec) 73% of the homes (22 out of 30) were sold below the current assessed value. In 2010, 10 homes were sold at greater than $100,000 below assessed value.

Anyone who has tried to sell a home in Longmeadow (or anywhere else) knows how difficult it is.  Because of this difficulty, there are many homes in Longmeadow that are being rented (or are vacant).  In many cases, rents being paid do not adequately cover the homeowner (or landlord) costs.
This information was obtained at the Hampden County Registry of Deeds at: which has a free public database that anyone can access. 

Additional information and analysis can be found on the Real Estate Buzz at LongmeadowBiz blog.

The Longmeadow Select Board, School Committee and School Building Committee should consider the above information when making decisions about Longmeadow spending.