Time for More Housing Stimulus?
By Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 22, 2011
A New York congressman — Rep. Gary Ackerman (D., N.Y.) — is preparing legislation designed to provide a heavy dose of stimulus to the housing market by enticing first-time home buyers and investors to buy homes. Billed as a 21st century version of the “Homestead Act,” the legislation is designed to help plow through a glut of foreclosed homes that are weighing on housing markets. Housing demand remains weak, even though mortgage rates have fallen to record lows.
Home Prices in U.S. Declined 5.9%
By Kathleen M. Howley, Bloomberg News, Aug. 24, 2011
U.S. home prices fell 5.9 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the biggest drop since 2009, as foreclosures added to the inventory of properties for sale, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
American Home Mortgage Files 'Robo-Signing' Suit
By Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 23, 2011
One of the nation's largest mortgage servicers filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Lender Processing Services Inc., a top mortgage industry technology and services vendor, alleging that the firm improperly signed mortgage documents on its behalf and triggered millions of dollars in legal expenses as a result.
Banks Ease Stance on Short Sales
By Jill Capuzzo, The New York Times, Aug. 19, 2011
A short sale — when a lender agrees to accept less than the outstanding balance on the mortgage — is an attractive alternative to foreclosure, which takes longer and more severely affects a homeowner’s credit rating. These days it is even starting to dawn on long-reluctant banks that there is value in short sales, which promise higher returns than foreclosures (not to mention the benefit of keeping a house from abandonment).
It’s a Flawed Settlement
By The New York Times, (Editorial), Aug. 22, 2011
The Obama administration has turned up the heat on Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, to go along with a proposed settlement with the nation’s largest banks over dubious foreclosure practices. Mr. Schneiderman should stand his ground in not supporting the deal. The administration says that a settlement would quickly deliver much needed relief to hard-pressed borrowers, but it’s doubtful it would provide redress on a par with the banks’ wrongdoing or borrowers’ needs.
New York Loses Foreclosure Panel Post for ‘Undermining’ Deal
By David McLaughlin, Bloomberg News, Aug. 24, 2011
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was removed from a leadership role in negotiating a nationwide foreclosure settlement with U.S. banks because his office “actively worked to undermine” the effort, a state official said. Schneiderman, who doesn’t want a settlement to bar further investigations of mortgage practices by individual states, was removed from the executive committee of state officials working on the deal, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said yesterday in a statement.