The Path for Housing Is Dangerous

By: Thursday September 13, 2012 12:59 pm

The other channel of a potential economic recovery would be housing. This was the channel that got Paul Krugman so jazzed last week. I should note that the Federal Reserve’s economic projections show basically no difference from their last ones in June, and Bernanke said specifically that housing is “a piston that has not fired” [...]

Housing Price Index Shows First Year-Over-Year Increase in 21 Months

By: Tuesday August 28, 2012 9:32 am

The housing recovery narrative got a boost today from the Case-Shiller price index, which went positive year-over-year for the first time since a first-time homebuyer’s tax credit goosed the numbers in 2010. So really, this is the first year-over-year increase since the housing bubble collapsed in 2007 2006. And the usual suspects are ecstatic. Brad [...]

Housing Advocates Start Campaign Organizing Underwater Homeowners

By: Thursday August 23, 2012 10:19 am

We’re supposed to turn away from some of the underlying problems in the housing market, because the fundamentals are strong, and a combination of private equity house-flipping and deliberate blight will bring the market back into positive territory. But the truth is that there are still between 11 and 16 million underwater homeowners in America. [...]

Looking at Responses to the Failure of Administration Housing Policy

By: Tuesday August 21, 2012 8:15 am

The response to Binyamin Applebaum’s front-pager on Administration housing policy, which left out the part where the Obama Administration purposefully did as little as possible out of an oversized concern for bank balance sheets, elicited several notable responses. Ezra Klein basically bought the argument that this was a policy failing on the part of the [...]

Merkley’s Rebuilding American Homeownership Plan Gets Economist Support

By: Monday August 13, 2012 10:58 am

Jeff Merkley’s HOLC-type plan for mass refinancing of underwater borrowers is not a panacea for this foreclosure crisis, but it certainly would help us prevent the next one, and without the legal implications that could trip up an eminent domain scheme. Ending the persistent problem of underwater borrowers would not only stabilize the housing market [...]

FHA Short Refi Program Has Helped Under 1,500 Borrowers in Almost Two Years

By: Monday July 30, 2012 1:55 pm

In discussing the potential options for immediate implementation of Jeff Merkley’s HOLC-type plan for current, underwater homeowners, Mike Konczal reveals a pretty amazing stat that says a lot about the relative seriousness with which the Treasury Department and other federal agencies have attacked the foreclosure crisis thus far: The report notes three potential homes for [...]

Geithner Gives Thumbs-Up to Merkley’s HOLC-Like Plan

By: Thursday July 26, 2012 1:04 pm

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gave a fairly strong endorsement to Jeff Merkley’s plan to set up an Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) type authority to purchase and refinance current underwater mortgages, and plans to work with him to set up pilot programs by the end of the year. Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee today, [...]

Jeff Merkley’s HOLC-Type Plan for Underwater Borrowers

By: Thursday July 26, 2012 7:07 am

Despite the heavily lobbied narrative that housing is in the midst of a recovery, the reality is far more stark. New-home and existing-home sales fell last month, and what stability we’re seeing on prices comes in large part from a massive shadow REO that isn’t sustainable. Mortgage delinquencies actually rose in June. And you have [...]

HARP Refi Numbers Not as Strong as Advertised

By: Tuesday July 17, 2012 8:55 am

The Federal Housing Finance Agency engaged in a little back-patting yesterday for improved HARP figures, which they say are a direct result of their changes to the system to allow for more underwater borrowers to take advantage of low refinancing rates. The truth is a little murkier. For the first five months of 2012, more [...]

Bid to Use Eminent Domain for Mortgage Purchase Raises Questions

By: Wednesday July 11, 2012 11:49 am

As additional solutions are cooked up to deal with the historic foreclosure crisis, one possibility hit on by many observers is the idea of having municipalities use eminent domain laws to take over mortgages and then refinance them for borrowers at market value. This would save hundreds of thousands of dollars for borrowers and reduce [...]

Confirmed: HARP 2.0 Ripping Off Underwater Borrowers

By: Monday June 18, 2012 9:37 am

The Wall Street Journal gets around to noticing that the latest version of HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, has been manipulated by the leading mortgage servicers to trap their borrowers. And they add a bit of a twist. Because servicers set the fees from closings on refinances, this trapping of their borrowers also happens [...]

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