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Real Estate & Property Law

Housing Watch Housing Watch

By AOL Real Estate

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Last Entry: December 31, 1969 at 20:00:00

Recent Entries: 70

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Why Trump Can Get a Break and You Can't

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyDesperate to get a principal reduction on your way-too-big mortgage? If only you were a real estate mogul. Just like homeowners, owners of commercial real estate like office and apartment buildings have been walking away from their mortgages...

Short Sales Get a Tall Boost From Obama

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyUnderwater on your mortgage? Thinking about asking your lender to sign off on a short sale, or even just mailing back the keys? If you've tried to request clearance for a short sale, you know that most banks have hesitated to give an OK to borrowers who want to bail out for less than their property is worth...

Borrowers: Take Back Your Power!

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News Late on your mortgage? Did you know you might be able to negotiate a 20 percent reduction in what you owe? Josh Rosner, a financial analyst specializing in mortgage-backed securities, says that lenders know that if a home goes into foreclosure, the lender will lose 60 percent or more...

One in Four Homeowners Are Underwater

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsThis week home mortgage borrowers got the latest word on how much they owe compared to the actual value of their real estate - and the numbers are only getting uglier. First American CoreLogic, a company that gathers data on millions of mortgages that have been packaged into securities for investors, reports that nearly one in four home loans nationally is now larger than the actual value of the home that backs it...

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Where is Obama's Plan for Fannie and Freddie?

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsNext Tuesday, March 2, was a date I'd eagerly marked on my calendar. The House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), was supposed to hold a hearing on "Housing Finance and the Path to Reform, Part 1-Government and Stakeholder Perspectives...

Everybody Panic: The Coming Housing Shortage

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, CitiesThe U.S. has a real estate problem. It appears we don't have enough homes to put a roof over everyone's heads. Say what? That's the warning from housing economist David Crowe, who projects that the number of homes now being built - on pace toward 591,000 homes and 87,000 rental apartments in 2010 -- isn't enough to keep up with an ever-rising American population...

At Last: Some Real Aid for Struggling Homeowners

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsIn his latest effort to stop the foreclosure tidal wave, President Obama, flanked by Nevada Senator Harry Reid (D), on Friday announced a Plan B for five states hardest hit by the housing crisis: Nevada, Florida, Michigan, California, and Arizona...

The Coming Foreclosure Flood

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsHeartened by the recent rise in home prices? Don't get too comfortable. Standard & Poor's, the credit-rating agency that tells investors what mortgage-backed securities are worth, reports that the increase was just an illusion. It predicts the nation is about to see a deluge of new foreclosures that will drive real estate values back down...

New Foreclosure Fix: Pay to Stay

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsThe idea kept coming up this week. Since Congress won't push mortgage lenders and servicers to reduce the principal overwhelmed borrowers owe, then why not find another way to give them financial relief: cash payments. First a company called Loan Value Group rolled out a product it calls the "Responsible Homeowner Award," which makes incentive payments to deeply underwater borrowers who might otherwise walk away from their mortgages...

HUD Grants $2Bil to Repair Nabes and Knock Down Homes

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsWhat's a city supposed to do when foreclosures tally into the thousands and streets are glutted with far more empty, falling-apart houses than people willing to live in them? For a growing number of cities, a big part of the answer is: knock 'em down...

The Incredible Shrinking Home-ownership Rate

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsThink time travel is impossible? Then explain how we've moved the clock back to 2003. The latest Census stats on homeownership show that just 67 percent of U.S. households own their home, down from a peak of 69 percent in 2007. That brings the share of homeowners back down to its level seven years ago...

Top TARP Cop Warns: The Bubble Is Back

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsWith home prices continuing to plummet every month, it may be hard to believe. But it's now officially government policy to keep those home values as high as possible. And Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, doesn't like it one bit...

Revenge of the Renters, Washington Edition

Posted on December 31, 1969
Here's a neat trick: In the budget it released yesterday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing to increase spending in 2011, including a new billion-dollar fund to build affordable housing for rent. At the same time, it's cutting its budget request to Congress by 5 percent...

The New Mortgage Revolution: Walk Away

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsBig real estate developers do it all the time - like yesterday, when the owner of New York City's Stuyvesant Town complex decided to stop paying its $3 billion mortgage. So why are you still writing a check every month on that mortgage that's much bigger than your home is actually worth? Good question, University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler says...

Foreclosure Prevention, Take 2: Try Cash

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, Cities Among the usual promises to streamline government services and help the unemployed get jobs, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's State of the City address earlier this week heralded something you don't usually hear in these kinds of speeches: in the mayor's words, "the most ambitious foreclosure prevention effort of any city in the nation...

How to Owe More on Your Mortgage? Get a Loan Mod

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsWait, aren't loan modifications supposed to provide financial relief? Yes - if you consider a teaser mortgage rate to be a bargain. A new report finds that seven in every ten borrowers who have received a change in their mortgage in order to forestall foreclosure actually now owe more in principal than they did when they started...

Borrowers Pay to Refill FHA's Pot

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsThis morning, the Federal Housing Administration officially announced long-promised news: the agency is moving to shore up its rapidly eroding insurance fund. And here's the deal: you the borrower will be paying for it. Starting this spring, borrowers who take out FHA-insured mortgages will pay an up-front fee of 2...

Inquiry Reveals How Mortgage System Set Buyers Up to Fail

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsWhile the world's attention was riveted on the spectacle of Wall Street leaders like Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon dodging questions about why exactly they didn't bother to tell investors about the many risks attached to the mortgage-backed securities and derivatives they sold, the congressional Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission also swore in some witnesses who had plenty to share about how the crisis came to be...

U.S. Cracks Down on "Reverse Redlining"

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News In all the fallout from the housing crisis, few groups have suffered as much as blacks and minorities, who were saddling with risky subprime loans at rates far higher the whites with the same incomes or credit scores. Yesterday, the Civil Rights Division of the U...

Why Won't Treasury Fix Your Mortgage?

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsHere's an idea: Instead of paying reluctant lenders to modify mortgages for borrowers in over their heads, maybe the Treasury should just step in, buy up the loans and fix them itself. Wall Street Journal mortgage reporter James Hagerty relays this very idea from John Taylor of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition...

What Dodd's Consumer Reforms Mean for You

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyIt's on. The U.S. Senate is finally taking up financial reform. And believe it or not, there's a lot in its 1,300-plus page bill to like - and to defend from lobbyists mobilizing to tear it apart. So listen up, and put your senator and congressman's numbers in your speed dial...

ACORN Housing Sprouts New Identity

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: NewsWhen the community organizing group ACORN fell to a notorious video sting last year by conservative activists posing as a "pimp" and a "ho," some of the biggest losers were thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure. Fortunately for them, ACORN's affiliated housing organization has returned under a new identity, as the Affordable Housing Centers of America...

Investment Banks Are Afraid of Your Mortgage

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyWhile House reps sleep in after their weekend health care marathon, this afternoon the Senate Banking Committee starts poring over the financial reform bill introduced by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). A little detail in there is set to have a huge impact...

Showtime for Fannie and Freddie

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyThey're just starting now? More than a year ago, the Obama administration promised to lay out the future for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage finance enterprises the U.S. government took over in 2008, after massive losses and a shareholder stampede to sell left them insolvent...

Obama Overhauls Failed HAMP Loan Modification Program

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyIt's as good as official: Home Affordable Modification Program, the year-old government program to save homeowners from foreclosure, is a flop. Today, the Obama administration is set to announce new aid for many homeowners in trouble, who have been beyond help under the limited rules of the old HAMP program...

Is Fannie Mae Getting Too Stingy?

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyMany borrowers with existing mortgages are set to get a big break, thanks to the Obama administration's new support for forgiving loan principal, but it's getting tougher out there for new customers to get a mortgage. The latest to strike out are buyers trying to purchase apartments in New York's ritzy Battery Park City...

Fed Pulls Plug; World Does Not End

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyTomorrow is the big day - the day the Federal Reserve pulls the plug on its purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Since December 2008, the Fed has kept the mortgage-backed securities market going by buying $1.25 trillion in securities issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae that no one else wanted...

Greenspan: It's Not My Fault

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyIt's not my fault. That was the message Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan brought to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission this morning. He didn't budge from that script even as commission chair Phil Angelides, former Treasurer of California, pushed back with evidence that Greenspan - under oath - wasn't telling the whole truth...

Better Than Porn? NY Gov Candidate Floats Cuomo Conspiracy

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyNew York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino knows how to grab headlines, intentionally or not. Today he's in the news because of his habit of sending graphic porn and racist jokes out via mass email. Last week, he aimed and fired at his chief rival for the governor's seat, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, accusing Cuomo of being the "initiator" of the financial crisis through his role as HUD Secretary under President Bill Clinton...

Mudd Covers Fannie Mae Record

Posted on December 31, 1969
Filed under: News, EconomyToday Barney Frank's House Financial Services Committee will hear ideas from across the political spectrum about what the next-generation Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should - and should not -- be able to do. Congress had better pay attention to ex-Fannie CEO Daniel Mudd, who with colleague Robert Levin went before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission late last week to give his account of why Fannie Mae ended up as good as wiped out, and in the hands of the U...

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