Mortgages and Housing: Southland CA, FC Review Extended, Debt Forgiveness Tax Waiver Extended?, Citi Pays, Beverly Hills Walkaways, Robo-Settlement For Votes, Shaun Donovan Wants Writedowns, Renting is Better, Ownership Is Affordable, Bottom in Construction?, QE3 Possibilities, D-F Needs Fixing Already?

BillCoppedge_26Nov2011original content selection by MortgageNewsClips.com

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Median home price falls in Southland - By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times – The 3.7% drop in January in Southern California to $260,000 comes as cash-carrying bargain hunters buy distressed homes. Many observers expect the housing market to finally hit bottom this year. 
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Deadline to Request Foreclosure Review Extended Three Months – BY: CARRIE BAY – Consumers who want their foreclosure cases checked by a third party as part of federal regulators’ independent foreclosure review directive now have until July 31, 2012, to submit their requests.  – DS News

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Obama Proposes Extending Tax Waiver on Mortgage Debt Forgiveness – BY: KRISTA FRANKS BROCK – Obama’s FY2013 budget proposal includes an extension of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. The Act ensures that homeowners who received principal reductions or other forms of debt forgiveness on their primary residences do not have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven. Without the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, debt reduced through mortgage modifications or short sales qualifies as income to the borrower and is taxable. Under the act, up to $2 million in debt elimination can be tax-free. – DS News
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Citi Admits Role in Bad Mortgage Claims, Settles for $158.3M – BY: RYAN SCHUETTE -  … The payout means that CitiMortgage acknowledges that it qualified nearly 30,000 bad loans for government insurance, a move that bilked the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) out of millions of dollars as more than 30 percent of the mortgages went into default. The settlement resolves a suit filed by the civil fraud unit at the office of the U.S. attorney for Manhattan. … – The M Report

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(Walk away is new cocktail party chatter) The U.S. foreclosure crisis, Beverly Hills-style – Tim Reid – … But the dynamics of the residential real estate collapse are very different in elite neighborhoods such as this. The majority of delinquent homeowners here owe more than $1 million. Many are walking away not because they can’t pay, but because they judge it would be foolish to keep doing so. "It’s a business decision, not an emotional one which it is for normal people," said Deborah Bremner …. "I go to cocktail parties and all people are talking about is whether it is time to walk away, although they will never be quoted in the real world." … – Reuters Yahoo
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The Farce-Hole Gets Deeper: Obama’s "Robo-Settlement For Votes" Cost To Taxpayers: $40 Billion – Submitted by Tyler Durden – Plunging deeper into the farce-hole, the FT reports tonight that Obama’s foreclosure settlement with the banks over their improper seizure of tax-paying US citizens’ homes will in fact be subsidized by those very same US taxpayers. It is a hidden clause (that has not been made public yet) that allows the banks to count future loan modifications under the $30bn (taxpayer funded) HAMP initiative towards their $35bn agreement to restructure obligations under the new settlement – Zero Hedge
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Shaun Donovan, HUD Chief, Hopes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Will Write Down Mortgages – Ben Hallman – After a year of arguing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the benefits of loan write-downs, the Obama administration is taking another approach: show, rather than tell. Officials are betting that the eventual success of the government’s $25 billion deal with five of the nation’s largest banks will convince the mortgage giants to fall in line. In an interview with The Huffington Post on Thursday, Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said that last week’s national foreclosure settlement could "catalyze the national effort" for loan write-downs, also called principal reductions, and bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on board to follow suit. – Huffington Post

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(Renting is better) New American Dream is renting to get rich – By Lou Carlozo – … Examining 250 properties around the U.S., … Arzaga, … found that, "100 percent of the time it was better to rent, rather than own." That’s right: 100 percent. … The carrying costs - what’s needed to hold and maintain the asset – range from property taxes and home insurance to emergency repairs and renovations. In a rental situation, the landlord covers those costs, leaving the occupant free to invest revenue in other areas. … – Reuters
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Home buying: Most affordable in decades - By Les Christie @CNNMoney – if you can qualify for a mortgage)

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US Housing Starts, Permits Up Modestly From Depressed Levels; Tentative Signs of a Bottom in Construction – Michael Shedlock – Housing starts are near three-year highs, but that is in comparison to extremely weak numbers for the past few years. Builders began just 430,900 single-family homes last year, the fewest on records dating back a half-century. … Yet, signs of a bottom in construction, not prices, may be at hand. Yahoo! Finance reports US housing starts rise modestly to start new year … – MISH’S Global Economic Trend Analysis
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(running out of rope?) QE Moving Beyond ‘Risk-free’ Assets – Oxford Analytica expects central banks to expand their quantititave easing activities to include riskier assets. – suggests 4 types of purchasesResearch Recap

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(D-F already needs fixing?) House panel moves on capital raising, Dodd-Frank fixes – (Reuters) – The U.S. House Financial Services Committee approved a series of bills on Thursday designed to spur capital formation and make fixes to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street overhaul law of 2010.

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