Monday, March 21, 2011

Housing News Digest, March 21

California wants $20,000 per foreclosure from lenders
ACCE has teamed up with a California assemblyman who is proposing legislation that would force lenders to pay $20,000 for each home foreclosure they initiate in California.
Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D- San Fernando Valley) said the money would go to local schools, fire departments, and other community services, in an effort to make up for lost property taxes and other state expenses that arise from foreclosures.

Supreme Court Lets Fed Bailout Records Release Stand
The Supreme Court let stand a ruling that the U.S. Federal Reserve must disclose details about its emergency lending programs to banks during the financial crisis in 2008.

A group representing major commercial banks had asked the high court to reverse a ruling by a federal appeals court that required disclosure of the lending records.

Homeowners frustrated with home modification loan process
The process is frustrating. The banks don't return phone calls or deny your modification without giving you a clear reason. So we decided to investigate how the system works.

Judy Landrum recently went through a home modification. She calls the experience a big game. Medical bills made it tougher and tougher to pay her mortgage. Like so many Americans, she'd heard of Obama's plan to help Americans avoid foreclosure. She thought her hardship would make her eligible to get help from her bank.

Facets of homelessness main focus of forum
LOVELAND - The many facets of homelessness in Northern Colorado were the main topic of discussion at a forum on homelessness held at Ferguson High School in Loveland.

Sales of Previously Owned Homes Slump 9.6%
Existing-home sales fell in February following three straight monthly increases, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Monday.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, dropped 9.6 percent to an annual rate of 4.88 million in February from an upwardly revised 5.40 million in January. February’s reading is 2.8 percent below the 5.02 million pace for the same period last year.

Treasury tiptoes toward housing exit
Don't look now, but the government is gingerly tugging at one of the smaller slats propping up the mortgage market.

Treasury said Monday it will sell a big portfolio of mortgage-backed bonds over the next year or so, in a move to wind down a crisis-era program providing financing for residential housing.

The move comes as house prices are once again headed lower -- though not because loans, recently around 5% for a 30-year conforming mortgage, are expensive. So it is with government support for housing: even programs that succeed on their own modest terms, as this one did, are tarred by the feds' failure to come up with a coherent policy objective.