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MARCH 2, 2011

ARMs Helped Sink the Economy — Now They’re Back!

The history and resurgence of the adjustable rate mortgage is covered in this article, with particular focus on the 5/1 ARM. According to Mortgage Bankers Association, this product is still a good option for buyers who are likely to move within five to seven years and does not put the homeowner in danger since the reset can only go as high as 8.5%. Despite the industry’s support of these products, many buyers are opting out. Many of their fears are founded in the mortgage meltdown, which was triggered by the exploding use of ARMs.

SOURCE: CNN, 2/14/11

URL: http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/14/real_estate/adjustable_rate_mortgages_rise/index.htm

MARCH 2, 2011

Historic Makeover for Vallejo’s Former Masonic Lodge

In Vallejo, California, the city is working with Domus Development to transform an old Masonic lodge into the new Temple Art Lofts. The building had been vacant for a number of years and had problems with vandalism. The new project will involve 29 affordable live/work units for artists who earn less then 50 percent of the area median income. The building will also house a performance hall, art café, commercial art gallery, music school, and studio for performing arts.

SOURCE: Vallejo Times-Herald, 2/27/11

URL: http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_17495388

MARCH 2, 2011

Servicers Face New Rules, Penalties for Foreclosure Processing Mistakes

This article outlines the work done over the past few months to investigate the foreclosure and servicing practices of 14 mortgage companies, including the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and Lender Processing Services (LPS). The findings include shortcomings in specific processes related to foreclosure governance, document preparation and oversight of third-party law firms, some of which violated state and local foreclosure laws.

SOURCE: DSNews, 2/17/11

URL: http://www.dsnews.com/articles/servicers-face-new-rules-and-penalties-for-foreclosure-processing-mistakes-2011-02-17

MARCH 2, 2011

Maine Court Rules for GMAC in Robo-Signing Case

On February 16, a district court judge in Maine dismissed three of four class-action suits filed by homeowners against GMAC in October 2010. This article highlights the basis of the claims as well as the reasons behind the final rulings. Claims that abuse of process occurred were denied, as well as claims for breach of good faith and fair dealing. One claim is still pending under the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.

SOURCE: Housingwire.com, 2/18/11

URL: http://www.housingwire.com/2011/02/18/maine-court-rules-for-gmac-in-robo-signing-case

FEBRUARY 21, 2011

RED Gets $34M Bridget Loan for Kimpton Palomar Hotel

In Phoenix, neighborhood revitalization includes downtown business revitalization and stabilization. One example is the Phoenix Community Development and Investment Corp grant of a $34.3 million “new markets tax credit bridge loan,” which will be used by RED Development to build a new hotel. This loan program supports small businesses, developers and nonprofits by providing below–market-rate financing. This project will transform an unused area into a sustainable business that will provide jobs as well as tax revenue for the city.

SOURCE: Phoenix Business Journal, 2/15/11

URL: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2011/02/15/red-gets-34m-bridge-loan-for-kimpton.html

FEBRUARY 21, 2011

West Coast Foreclosure Sales Climb to Pre-Robo-Signing Levels

Tracking firm ForeclosureRadar is reporting that the number of foreclosures going to auction have returned to the levels they were at before the robo-signing moratoriums took effect. The company tracks this data in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The article describes specific trends in each area and notes an overall increase in REO inventories in all states. The surge is believed to be an effect of the delay in foreclosures that occurred after the moratorium was passed.

SOURCE: DSNews, 2/15/11

URL: http://www.dsnews.com/articles/west-coast-foreclosure-sales-climb-to-pre-robo-signing-levels-2011-02-15

FEBRUARY 21, 2011

Enterprise Named Freddie Mac Targeted Affordable Housing Lender

Freddie Mac has approved Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., as an originator of affordable multifamily loans. Targeted loans will help finance rental developments that provide families with affordable rental options. The details that qualify Enterprise to fill this role are outlined in this article as well as the mortgage types that will be included in the program.

SOURCE: Fierce Finance, 2/9/11

URL: http://www.fiercefinance.com/press-releases/enterprise-named-freddie-mac-targeted-affordable-housing-lender

FEBRUARY 21, 2011

Banks More Willing to Work With Homeowners to Prevent Foreclosure

This article highlights loan modification support available through Neighborhood Housing Services of Hamilton, as well as potential strategies for working with lenders on alternatives to foreclosure. Banks have been more willing to offer modifications since they were criticized for their part in the mortgage meltdown, while lenders participating in the Making Home Affordable program are required to consider modifications. The increase in lender cooperation benefits everyone, including lenders who do better under modifications than foreclosure.

SOURCE: Journal News, 2/12/11

URL: http://www.journal-news.com/news/hamilton-news/banks-more-willing-to-work-with-homeowners-to-prevent-foreclosure-1080193.html

FEBRUARY 16, 2011

More Stringent Screening Means Borrowers Must Watch Credit Until Closing Day

The new requirements for credit transparency mean that buyers must be ready for an in-depth look at their credit histories, including inquiries into new credit sources. Lenders may respond to inquiries or new debts by revising the terms or rates that they have offered. In addition, Fannie Mae now requires lenders to track an applicant’s credit up to the day of closing, including credit inquiries that could spur the lender to rewrite the original quote if the applicant has taken on new debts.

SOURCE: The Washington Post, 2/4/11

URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/04/AR2011020402736.html

FEBRUARY 16, 2011

Home Affordability Returns to Pre-Bubble Levels

In an increasing number of housing markets, affordability has returned to the levels they were at before the housing boom. The data for this analysis came from Moody’s Analytics and shows that housing affordability is reaching the average it was from 1989-2003 in 47 of the 74 markets studied. The reasons for home inflation are described as well as the current opportunities for buyers. The problem with this affordability trend is that decreasing prices hurt homeowners who are already underwater. Both overvalued and undervalued markets are described in the article.

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal, 2/9/11

URL: http://tinyurl.com/4pe5p96

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