During the past 3 weeks I've received 3 letters from 3 different banks about HELOC's on 3 different properties in 3 different towns. Each letter essentially cut off all of the credit in the HELOC. Each bank claimed that the property values had dropped drastically in the past year in "my area" and so, by the terms of the HELOC agreement, they were, without providing any comps or data, going to revalue my houses 20-30% lower.
Now certainly in some areas of the country when housing prices were increasing 20-30% a year and with prices are crashing back to reality this makes sense. But in Western New York housing prices never increased more than 2-3% a year during the great real estate boom. And data from the local Realtors showed that last year was the first time prices increased a lot - a whopping 5%!! I've been watching real estate sales this year and they are pretty brisk and there is no sign of price drops - quite the contrary.
But in order to prove this, I have to hire an appraiser and shell out $400. This I'm not going to do. So the banks are doing their best to hurt the local economy by over-reacting to their poor choices in other areas of the country earlier in this decade.
The average time to foreclosure is 445 days in NY. I sometimes think about punishing these banks by just collecting the rent for a couple years without paying the mortgage. Unfortunately, the fools that run these institutions never pay the price for their stupidity.