What We’re Reading: April 12

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The BPC Housing Commission highlights news items that address critical developments in housing policy. Any views expressed in the content posted on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Commission, its co-chairs or the Bipartisan Policy Center.


Foreclosures reach lowest quarterly level since late 2007, RealtyTrac data show

By Brady Dennis

The Washington Post

“The number of foreclosures during the first three months of this year was the lowest quarterly total since the final quarter of 2007. The numbers show that, in March, foreclosures were filed on just fewer than 199,000 properties, a 17 percent decrease from a year earlier and the first time the monthly total has dipped below 200,000 since July 2007.”

Read more here.


It’s Better to Rent Than to Foreclose

By James R. Barth and Peter Passell

The Wall Street Journal

“The idea of renting to owners in default, which has been kicking around since the Depression, was revived by economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in 2007.”

Read more here.


Report finds racial discrepancies in upkeep of foreclosed properties

By Brady Dennis

The Washington Post “Banks and lenders have maintained and marketed foreclosed properties far better in white neighborhoods than in minority neighborhoods.”

Read more here.


Canada’s housing bubble exists, and it’s stretched thin

By Jessica Huseman

HousingWire

“Average house prices are now 12 times personal income levels, which more than tops the 9.7 peak in the last Canadian housing bubble in the 1980s.”

Read more here.


Are Mortgage Credit Standards Loosening? (Hint: No)

By Nick Timiraos

The Wall Street Journal

“While lenders will still underwrite FHA-backed loans with credit scores of 620 and down payments as low as 3.5%, they have sharply tightened up their lending standards for Fannie- and Freddie-backed mortgages out of concern they’ll have to buy back the loan if it defaults.”

Read more here.


Fresh Data on Public Housing Relocation and Crime

By Nate Berg

The Atlantic

“By analyzing quarterly crime and voucher data, researchers at the Urban Institute were able to track changes in crime rates and create a more robust picture of how those rates relate to housing relocation. For the most part, their results show only slight connections between crime rates and relocated public housing residents.”

Read more here.


CFPB considering rules for mortgage servicers

By Ylan Q. Mui

The Washington Post

“The rules would require mortgage servicers to warn homeowners before any interest rate adjustments, provide options for delinquent borrowers to avoid foreclosure, investigate errors within 30 days and improve staff accessibility to consumers.”

Read more here.


Proposed California bill imposes real estate fee for affordable housing fund

By Kerri Panchuk

HousingWire

“California Senate Bill 1220, or the Housing Opportunity Trust Fund Act of 2012, proposes the creation of a fund that would raise revenue by imposing a $75 fee on all real estate instruments recorded at the county level. Revenue from the fee would then be sent to the Department of Housing and Community Development to be deposited in the trust to help finance affordable housing initiatives across the state.”

Read more here.

2012-04-12 00:00:00