housing crisis

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Foreclosures Inch Downward ... a Whole 0.1%

Some very small signs of progress

(Newser) - Banks initiated the fewest number of foreclosures since 2007 last quarter, according to new figures from the Mortgage Bankers Associations. But don't be too quick to don the rose-colored glasses: The number of loans in foreclosure remains stubbornly high at 4.4%—down only a hair from last year'...

Pot Growers Head for the ... 'Burbs?

Housing crisis creating bargains for growers

(Newser) - America's green, leafy suburbs are becoming home to an increasing number of people growing a green, leafy product. The housing crisis has caused an influx of marijuana growers from rural areas and commercial zones to the suburbs, the New York Times finds. The growers are snapping up spacious homes...

$26B Mortgage Settlement a 'Modest' Help: Experts

Many struggling homeowners not covered in deal

(Newser) - The $26 billion mortgage settlement announced yesterday will be a boon for some—but the terms of the deal leave many homeowners out in the cold. Recipients of loans owned by the Federal Housing Administration, for instance, won't directly benefit from the settlement; nor will those with mortgages held...

Banks Ink $26B Deal to Help 2M Homeowners

49 states sign on to deal with nation's top 5 banks

(Newser) - America's five biggest banks have hammered out a $26 billion settlement for their role in causing the mortgage meltdown, reports the Wall Street Journal . The deal—the biggest of its kind since 1998's $206 billion settlement with the tobacco industry—was hammered out during almost a year of...

Calif., NY May Sign On to Robo-Signing Settlement

Obama administration nearing deal for mortgage relief

(Newser) - California and New York are close to signing on to the Obama administration's multibillion dollar mortgage robo-signing settlement, significantly expanding the deal, the New York Times reports. If California signs on, the settlement total will jump from $19 billion to $25 billion. In exchange, the states want measures to...

2006 Transcripts Show Fed Was Clueless on Housing

Geithner, Bernanke, others missed signs of the pending collapse

(Newser) - The Fed released transcripts from meetings in 2006 today that reveal just how badly its top officials blew it on the looming housing crisis, the New York Times reports. The industry was showing signs of distress, but the Fed's attitude boiled down to, eh, no big deal. The officials...

Downturn Slams Gen-Xers; Boomers, Not So Much

Housing prices are the real culprit

(Newser) - The recession is hurting most of us, but Gen X has taken the brunt of it—thanks to housing prices that fell off a cliff 5 years ago and are still tumbling. Consider the 30-year-old Gen-Xer who bought a house in 2006 for $250,000. That value has now dropped...

Perry Gave Huge Tax Grants to Subprime Lenders

Countrywide, WaMu got $35M as they upped risky loans

(Newser) - Rick Perry handed mortgage lenders millions to draw them to Texas—right when their risky lending practices surged. The governor gave Countrywide $20 million and Washington Mutual $15 million in what he called an exemplary job-creation move; in effect, that $35 million subsidized dangerous subprime lending, an AP analysis of...

Obama Looks to Keep Feds in Mortgage Biz

Prez reportedly rejects calls to pull gov't out of housing market

(Newser) - Despite two White House proposals floated earlier in the year to get the federal government out of the housing market, President Obama will likely opt for the third option: reforming the housing market over the next decade but continuing to extend federal loan subsidies and insure most mortgages, reports the...

Government Eases Foreclosure Rules for Unemployed

Homeowners with FHA loans can wait 12 months to pay mortgage if unemployed

(Newser) - The Obama administration is making it easier for out-of-work homeowners to stay in their homes, as it tries to revamp its troubled foreclosure-prevention program. Starting Aug. 1, the Federal Housing Administration will extend the period for unemployed homeowners to miss mortgage payments to a full year from three or four...

Consumer Confidence Hits Seven-Month Low

People antsy about unemployment rate

(Newser) - US consumer confidence plunged to a seven-month low in June on continuing worries about high unemployment and stagnating wages. A reading of 90 indicates a healthy economy on the index; the June score was 58.5, a six-point drop from May. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index measures how...

Home Prices Up .7%, 1st Rise in 8 Months

Washington DC, San Fran, Atlanta see biggest gains

(Newser) - Home prices in major US cities have risen for the first time in eight months, boosted by an annual flurry of spring buyers. Prices rose in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index, according to the April report released today. Washington, DC, saw...

JP Morgan Coughs Up $153M to Settle Fraud Case

Investors misled about shoddy securities

(Newser) - JP Morgan has paid $153.6 million to settle SEC charges that it misled investors as it scrambled to offload mortgage-backed securities before the 2007 collapse in the housing market, reports Reuters . " We are soooo pregnant with this deal," wrote an exec in a 2007 email, referring to...

SEC Poised to Charge Fannie, Freddie Execs

But regulatory agency disagrees, and nothing has yet been filed

(Newser) - The SEC is making moves toward charging current and former Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives, sources tell the Washington Post , but the Federal Housing Finance Agency disagrees with the move. The SEC has sent notices to at least four senior executives over the past eight weeks warning them they...

11.1M Households Underwater
 11.1M Households Underwater 

11.1M Households Underwater

Number jumps to 23.1% at end of 2010, more likely on way

(Newser) - Just when it looked like the housing market might be treading water, more American homes slipped underwater at the end of 2010, reports the AP. Now 23.1% of all mortgages, or 11.1 million, outweigh the value of the house they secure—up from 22.5% in the previous...

US: OK, Not Everyone Needs to Own a Home

Plan to dissolve Fannie and Freddie marks a shift in philosophy

(Newser) - The federal government is having a change of heart about what constitutes the American Dream. It long pushed the notion that people should own homes—one of the factors blamed for the housing mess—but a new proposal to dissolve Fannie and Freddie marks a pullback from that philosophy, reports...

Be a 'Foreclosure Supervisor'—for $10 an Hour

Pro Publica looks at want-ads, finds little has changed

(Newser) - In the wake of news that banks and law firms hired unqualified people to process the backlog of foreclosures, Pro Publica decided to spin through the want-ads to see whether things had changed. Not so much. The results varied, but "requirements for many foreclosure jobs—often advertised by staffing...

Feds Start Criminal Probe of Bank Foreclosure Mess

Lenders may have broken fraud laws with flawed paperwork

(Newser) - Banks have begun making moves to get foreclosures moving again, even as federal investigators begin a criminal investigation into the whole sorry affair, reports the Washington Post . The task force will look at whether banks broke wire and mail fraud laws or misled federal housing agencies by submitting flawed paperwork...

Speedy Evictions Made for Big Profits
Speedy Evictions Made for Big Profits

Speedy Evictions Made for Big Profits

Mortgage companies like Fannie became foreclosure factories

(Newser) - The Washington Post fleshes out a fuller, and more outrageous, picture of how the foreclosure mess came to be. Big mortgage companies—including government-owned Fannie Mae—had so many cases to clear off the books, they gave law firms and other processors bonuses for speed and penalties for delays. Guess...

Years of Bank Incompetence Led to Foreclosure Crisis

Banks ignored warning signs, hired 'Burger King kids'

(Newser) - As the foreclosure crisis continues, the stories of clueless employees just get worse. Swamped with delinquent customers, banks hired inexperienced walk-ins one former executive called “Burger King kids,” who, for years, processed mortgages at an astonishing rate. Overwhelmed employees not only signed papers without reading them—they sometimes...

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