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What We're Reading: November 2

Throughout the week, the BPC Housing Commission will highlight news articles 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.

Senate passes $182B spending bill for agriculture, transportation and housing programs

The Associated Press

“The bipartisan 69-30 vote came on a $182 billion bundle of three bills to fund programs including transportation, space exploration, housing subsidies and the FBI for the 2012 budget year that started a month ago. The vote sets up negotiations with the GOP-controlled House on final legislation that could be presented to the president before Thanksgiving.” Read more here.


 

Fed, with few bullets left, unlikely to act on housing

By John W. Schoen

MSNBC

“In recent weeks, Federal Reserve officials have been signaling renewed interest in trying to revive the housing market by buying up mortgage-backed bonds in hopes of driving mortgage rates even lower and freeing up more cash for lending. The Fed last took that extraordinary step shortly after the financial Panic of 2008 and again in March 2009, eventually buying more than $1 trillion in mortgage-backed bonds.

Now, with housing still stuck in a deep recession, the Fed is considering stepping in again. In a speech this month, Fed governor Daniel Tarullo said central bankers should move the idea “back up toward the top of the list of options” to revive the economy.” Read more here.

Regulators Begin Offering Foreclosure Reviews to Borrowers

By Lorraine Woellert

Bloomberg Businessweek

“U.S. mortgage servicers have begun offering case reviews to borrowers who may have suffered financial injury from errors and misrepresentations during foreclosure proceedings in 2009 and 2010, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency…

“A record 2.87 million homeowners received foreclosure filings in 2010, surpassing the 2.82 million total for 2009, according to Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac Inc.” Read more here.

Bernanke Housing Rebound May Hinge on Access to Refinancing

By Jody Shenn

Bloomberg Businessweek

“Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke can’t go it alone when it comes to reviving the U.S. housing market. Fed policy makers, who started a two-day meeting today, are considering buying mortgage-backed securities to push down borrowing costs and help homeowners refinance their debt. That would reduce monthly payments, freeing up cash for other purchases that could spur the economy and reduce unemployment, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo said Oct. 20.” Read more here.

Detached Housing Still A Crucial Part of the American Dream

By Samuel Staley

Reason Foundation

“Wendell Cox has plowed through the Census data and discovered the single-family detached home–the icon of American sprawl–isn’t going away anytime soon. Nearly 80 percentof the households in the top 51 US metropolitan areas chose single-family detached housing over apartments, condominiums, duplexes, mobile homes, and boats. In fact, over the last decade, single family detached housing has increased its market share of total housing, even in metropolitan areas like New York-Newark.” Read more here.

Troubled waters for home loans

By Judy Martel

Bankrate.com

“Nearly one in four homeowners (22.7 percent) owes more on his mortgage than the home is worth, according to California research firm CoreLogic. Almost three-quarters of the underwater homeowners have above-market interest rates, says CoreLogic, but refinancing has proven to be tricky. In an effort to address the problem, last week President Obama announced the new and improved Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which was rolled out in 2009 to help underwater homeowners with loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac refinance without putting down additional cash. The revamped program is designed to reduce fees, loosen restrictions and incent lenders to include more homeowners.” Read more here.

2011-11-02 00:00:00

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