The Home Front


April 2009


Bank of America Retires Countrywide Brand Name

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Is is Countrywho or Countrywhom? (I never know.) From B of A:

The Bank of America Home Loans brand represents the combined operations of Bank of America's mortgage and home equity business and Countrywide Home Loans, which Bank of America acquired on July 1, 2008. The Countrywide brand has ...

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'Stress Test' Home Price Scenarios

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The Fed on Friday released additional details of the "stress test" that regulators are using to determine whether or not the nation's largest banks have sufficient capital to handle the coming economic hardships. In constructing the test, regulators made forward-looking assumptions about key ...

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Are Home Sales Stabilizing? 5 Things You Need to Know

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After existing home sales demonstrated surprising strength in February, fingers were crossed for another increase last month. But when the National Association of Realtors released the March sales data Thursday, housing market optimists got their hearts broken--again--as the figures came in weaker ...

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Housing Starts Plummet in March

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After surging in February, home construction reversed course in March, retreating to its second-lowest level ever, the federal government said Thursday. The Commerce department reported that March housing starts plunged nearly 11 percent from the previous month and almost 50 percent from the ...

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Foreclosures Hit New Record

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ForeclosureS.com reports that 175,199 homes were lost to foreclosure in March--a new monthly record and a 44 percent increase from the previous month--as lenders lifted foreclosure moratoria.

From the press release:

Completed foreclosures hit another monthly record in March as 175,199 ...

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Home Buying Applications Drop

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When the Mortgage Bankers Association reported last week that applications to purchase homes had posted a fairly significant increase--11 percent--it was considered by many to be another hopeful sign that the housing market could be in the early stages of a comeback.

[See Home Buying ...

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The Compassionate Eviction

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After halting evictions several months back, a county in Illinois is taking a softer approach to tossing families out of their homes:

What has emerged is a kinder, gentler eviction process. Now banks must prove that tenants were notified 120 days in advance. Deputies visit the properties ...

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Apartment Rents Falling Fast

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Although it's easy to overlook, landlords in growing numbers have been forced to lower rents and toss in perks to keep their apartment buildings filled, BusinessWeek reports:

Half of apartment buildings reduced rents in the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year—the ...

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More Homebuilders Offering Mortgage Unemployment Insurance

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While most sales gimmicks are unlikely to put a dent into the mountain of unsold inventory out there, it's encouraging to see builders starting to align their incentives more closely with the most-pressing concerns of would-be buyers. Even as mortgage rates fall to all-time lows and prices retreat ...

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High Redefault Rates: Obama's Loan Modification Nightmare

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The backbone of the Obama administration's plan to salvage the housing market is a program in which lenders reduce borrowers' monthly mortgage payments down to a more manageable percentage of their income. In essence, the administration is betting that troubled borrowers will keep paying their ...

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Prime Mortgage Delinquencies Surge

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A report released Friday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision showed that even the most credit worthy borrowers are falling behind on their mortgage payments--and in increasing numbers:

At the end of the year, just under 90 percent of ...

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Manhattan Home Sales Plummet

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Corcoran Report's first quarter look at the Manhattan residential real estate market found that home sales dropped precipitously and prices fell as well:

The number of sales fell significantly in Manhattan during First Quarter 2009. The ongoing recession and economic turmoil are clearly ...

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Top 10 Most Expensive Cities for Expatriates

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Mercer has released a study outlining the world's most expensive cities for expatriate rental property. Here are the top ten:

From the report:

Asian cities dominate the world’s top 10 costliest locations for expatriate rental property, according to a Mercer study of housing costs and ...

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February Pending Home Sales

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The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that pending home sales for February--that's signed contracts, not closed sales--fell slightly from a year earlier, but inched higher from January. (The year-over-year change is the better indicator.)

From the report:

The Pending ...

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