Housing Market Shifting Into Dangerous Equilibrium

By: Thursday August 23, 2012 7:08 am

Existing-home sales rose slightly in July, and while the numbers are still at a historical low, this has spurred a new round of optimism over the housing market. At the same time, the fragility of the market can be seen in the report by the National Association of Realtors that applications for home mortgages fell [...]

Ed DeMarco’s Fight Against Banks Over Repurchases

By: Wednesday August 15, 2012 9:35 am

I think I’ve established that I disagree with Ed DeMarco’s position on principal reductions. And under his oversight, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have consistently tried to evade transfer taxes to local governments, and employed foreclosure mill law firms that used falsified documents in court. It’s not a good record. However, where DeMarco has done [...]

Treasury Could Force Principal Reductions at the GSEs

By: Thursday August 9, 2012 9:35 am

Last week, when Ed DeMarco rejected principal reductions on Fannie and Freddie loans, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pronounced himself disappointed. Housing advocates called for DeMarco to be fired; I explained why that won’t happen. And here’s another reason, courtesy Joseph Cotterill. The truth is that the Treasury Department has all the tools it needs to [...]

FHFA Threatens Localities on Eminent Domain Solution for Foreclosures

By: Wednesday August 8, 2012 9:35 am

Ed DeMarco is really feeling his oats, no doubt thanks to projections of profits at Fannie and Freddie paradoxically spurred by a housing shortage. (Those profits are at least partially derived from Fannie and Freddie evading local government transfer taxes, by the way, not DeMarco’s “responsible stewardship.”) He rejected principal reductions as a means to [...]

Housing Recovery Narrative Surges Forward, But Reasons for Price Rise More Sinister

By: Wednesday August 8, 2012 7:37 am

The “housing is back” narrative got another boost with a story in the Wall street Journal that simultaneously makes an unequivocal statement about home prices, and then acknowledges wild variance in the data set. Home prices rose by their largest percentage in at least seven years during the second quarter, propelled by low inventories of [...]

Why Ed DeMarco Won’t Be Fired

By: Wednesday August 1, 2012 6:18 am

When Ed DeMarco rejected participation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the HAMP principal reduction program, condemnation on the left was fast and furious. My inbox swelled with calls for DeMarco to step aside. Some were more blunt. “Fire Ed DeMarco,” Paul Krugman wailed. The statute is a bit unclear on this point, because [...]

FHFA Opts to Reject Principal Reductions for Fannie and Freddie Loans

By: Tuesday July 31, 2012 11:41 am

I was wondering whether FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco would respond to that Wall Street Journal article today pressuring him to allow participation from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an Administration principal reduction program. Well, he has. DeMarco rejected participation for Fannie and Freddie, opting to go ahead with principal forbearance and other loan [...]

FHFA Analysis Shows Principal Reductions as an Even Better Deal for Taxpayers

By: Tuesday July 31, 2012 6:59 am

FHFA leader Ed DeMarco has indefinitely put on hold the question of whether he will allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to offer principal reductions to delinquent underwater borrowers. He’s actually said nothing about it publicly since April. But Nick Timiraos leaks out the details of a new study that shows the benefits of principal [...]

Report: Lawmakers, Top Officials Knowingly Received VIP Loans from Countrywide

By: Thursday July 5, 2012 12:19 pm

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Darrell Issa’s perch, has released a new report on the practice of now-defunct mortgage lender Countrywide handing out special mortgages at low rates to members of Congress and other key officials through their “VIP” program. And it does not appear to pick sides or divvy up the information [...]

Housing Market Depressed By Unending Foreclosure Machine

By: Monday June 25, 2012 11:50 am

I came away from Barry Ritholtz’ column in Sunday’s Washington Post fairly well convinced that we could see a flood of foreclosure filings over the next year or so. There’s a certain logic to that. While the legal issues for banks and servicers on their foreclosure processes have not ended, the national settlement certainly took [...]

Don’t Believe Everything You Read Dept.: Foreclosure Case in Massachusetts Gives New Protections to Homeowners

By: Friday June 22, 2012 12:56 pm

A ruling in a long-awaited foreclosure case in Massachusetts had an ambiguous result today, though it’s presented here by Nick Timiraos as a win for banks: The highest court in Massachusetts rejected a challenge from a Boston homeowner who had contested the validity of her foreclosure in a widely watched case that threatened to create [...]

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