Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Housing News Digest, March 7

Greccio's affordable housing inventory grows again
With help from funds distributed by a federal program to revitalize older, distressed neighborhoods and communities, Greccio Housing has purchased a 36-unit apartment building on East Bijou Street — the third addition to its affordable housing portfolio in the last month.

Aspen real estate market shows turnaround
The number of real estate deals in Pitkin County in January fell, but the value rose considerably from a year earlier, The Aspen Times reports.

Pitkin, which is home to the tony town of Aspen, had a drop in transactions to 55 from 78 in January 2011. But during that same span, the combined value of those property sales increased to $96.65 million from $84.14 million.

Consumer Attitudes About Personal Finances and Housing Stabilize Alongside Positive Economic News
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Americans' concerns about key economic and housing issues are beginning to subside, according to results from Fannie Mae's February 2012 National Housing Survey. Consumers' attitudes have stabilized across most indicators - including personal finances, housing, and employment - demonstrating their sense that downside risks have abated somewhat compared to late summer and fall of 2011.

FHFA, Freddie faulted for overlooking mortgage servicers
Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Finance Agency did not implement stronger oversight of mortgage servicers when they had the chance, according to an FHFA Office of Inspector General report.

Freddie contracts with more than 1,400 servicers, but the largest banks handle the majority of its $1.8 trillion portfolio. In 2010, evidence surfaced of mishandled foreclosures, lost paperwork and improper signatures at the big servicing firms. The top five servicers agreed to a $25 billion settlement with the state attorneys general in February.

FHA to Reduce Premiums for Certain Loans
Through a streamline refinance program, borrowers with FHA-endorsed loans may find it easier to lock in lower interest rates while paying less in fees.

Beginning June 11, 2012, FHA will lower upfront mortgage insurance premiums to .01 percent and reduce annual premiums to .55 percent for certain FHA borrowers, Carol Galante, acting FHA commissioner, announced today.