Just as Oppenheim anticipated, this year we’ve seen how big this foreclosure mess really is. There were numerous investigations, and a self-imposed moratorium on foreclosures during parts of 2011, resulting in a massive backlog of cases.
It was ludicrous, as Bank of America officials first said, that they would only need 60 days to review their inventory of files.
“It took them virtually a year to figure out that they were doing were just not kosher and had to stop,” Oppenheim explained.
There were several huge financial settlements offered to the banks over their illegitimate foreclosure practices, but the majority just did not stick. Judges told them the settlements were unacceptable and did not go far enough. With various attorneys general and the IRS among the agencies getting involved, these cases are nowhere close to settled.
“The banks literally got their hand not just caught in the cookie jar, but the lid was slammed on it, and everyone got to see the hand just hanging there,” said Oppenheim.
2011 is leaving us with a still unstable market, so people are looking for tangible investments, Oppenheim continued, and with the dollar still weak, Florida real estate is not a bad deal. When you add the fact that there is an excess of distressed properties, prices are not expected to rise anytime soon. he said.
Now every year there is an X-Factor, and this year it was Occupy Wall Street. It was a movement no one really saw coming, and despite some right-wingers attempts to limit Occupy as a fringe movement, Oppenheim said, there is no question the message of Occupy has resonated with middle America.