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March 2010 Archives

REO The Way to Go

In his recent posting on HousingWire.com, publisher Paul Jackson scrutinizes current data from Lender Processing Services – which showed that a record 7.5 million loans are non-current – and posits that the real key to resolving the housing market problems yet-to-come is REO property sales.

RSVP: Yes, Please

Last week Bank of America said that it would forgive some mortgage debt to help keep distressed borrowers from losing their homes.

Same Problem, Different Plan

The Obama administration announced new modifications to the HAMP and FHA programs late last week to “better assist responsible homeowners who have been affected by the economic crisis through no fault of their own.”

Off to Jail Fed-Style

Two Florida men were sentenced in federal court last week to prison terms for mortgage fraud and four more were added to another federal mortgage fraud indictment, including a banker and an attorney.

A Good Dip?

The median price for California homes rose for the fourth consecutive month in February, according to a report released March 18 by MDA Dataquick.

Seeing Double

In an interview with CNBC this week, Meredith Whitney of the NY-based financial services advisory firm Meredith Whitney Advisory Group predicted that the housing market would face another downturn once government-backed programs fade away, causing a double-dip for the U.S. housing market:

Government programs to support housing have been "murky" and when the modifications caused by them come to an end, a lot of supply may come to the market and that's when the real-estate market is likely to go down, she explained.

NAR Defends BPOs

Appraisers -- who have seen their fees cut in half in recent years as a result of a mandated clearing house approach to appraisal assignments which was a knee jerk reaction by the Legislature resulting from lender fraud cases where the Bank insisted appraisers keep values inflated -- are now protecting what is left of their disappearing turf.

Taking It In The Shorts...Again

Californians who received mortgage modifications or participated in a short sale or foreclosure could be getting the short end of the stick again in the form of a huge tax bill.

Will Walk for Cash

The Obama administration has announced a new program taking effect April 5 that will pay homeowners in danger of foreclosure cash to walk away. Lenders will also get a cash payment for agreeing to a short sale.

An Understatement on Foreclosures

Hey American taxpayers, get your wallets ready...a group of economists from the NY Federal Reserve and NYU say the FHA is understating how much risk it’s taken on, which may make it a candidate for a taxpayer bailout.

Foreclosure Shake-Up

The foreclosure crisis will be over sooner as a result of Chilean earthquake!

Let It Snow

The numbers on February foreclosures are out this week from RealtyTrac, which reported that foreclosure filings fell 2% from January and, overall, that February filings had the lowest year-over-year increase since January of 2006.

Grab Your Floaties

The predicted wave (tsunami, really) of new foreclosures is detailed last Friday in a report by the Washington Post:

About 5 million to 7 million properties are potentially eligible for foreclosure but have not yet been repossessed and put up for sale. Some economists project it could take nearly three years before all these homes have been put on the market and purchased by new owners. And the number of pending foreclosures could grow much bigger over the coming year as more distressed borrowers become delinquent and then, if they can't obtain mortgage relief, wade through the foreclosure process, which often takes more than a year to complete.

21st Century Squatting

According to a piece last week in the Los Angeles Times, more and more underwater mortgage holders are staying in their foreclosed homes – and lenders are letting them.

Throughout the country, people continue to default on their home loans -- but lenders have backed off on forced evictions, allowing many to remain in their homes, essentially rent-free.

David Sues Goliath

California homeowners suing lenders about to foreclose on their homes has skyrocketed from 388 in 2008 to nearly 1.400 in 2009 – another sign of desperate measures homeowners are willing to take to hold on to their homes.

Sad Sac

Approximately 12.3% of Sacramento mortgages in January were more than 90 days late, in foreclosure or tied to a bank-owned property, according to a report out this week from mortgage industry tracking firm First American CoreLogic.

WSJ: OK to Walk Away

An article last week by Wall Street Journal personal finance columnist Brett Arends advised homeowners that are deeply underwater on their mortgages to “do the math” and walk away, pooh-poohing any “morality” argument thusly:

Your instincts, while honorable, are leading you astray.

CA Homeowner Aid: Dam or Damn?

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration announced that California is one of five states that will receive a portion of the new $1.5 Billion federal aid package to be distributed in hopes of slowing the tidal wave of home foreclosures.

HAMP to Hamper Foreclosures?

A report on Bloomberg.com recently said that the Obama administration was considering a ban on all foreclosures unless they have been reviewed and rejected by the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP):

The proposal, reviewed by lenders last week on a White House conference call, “prohibits referral to foreclosure until borrower is evaluated and found ineligible for HAMP or reasonable contact efforts have failed,” according to a Treasury Department document outlining the plan.

More on Fewer Foreclosures

The real estate community continues to be abuzz about the recent Mortgage Banker’s Association quarterly report on foreclosures for the end of the fourth quarter of 2009, which showed that fewer homeowners are falling behind on their loans.

Driven to foreclosure?

A report last month from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says those homeowners who spend a lot of time driving everywhere are at a greater risk of foreclosure.

Foreclosure Crisis Over? Really?

The Mortgage Banking Association, based in Washington DC (the same people that bought their HQ building for $79 million and sold it three years later for $41 million) announced last week that the foreclosure crisis is “over.”

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