Saturday, November 13, 2010

Election Spells Doom for Fannie and Freddie -

Election Spells Doom for Fannie and Freddie - "The Republican landslide that swept through the House ensures that the outcome will be a radical policy change that will rely much more on the private sector, especially lenders and investors, and less upon Federal support. Fannie and Freddie will certainly cease to exist in their current forms and government exposure to the risks involved in financing mortgages will be reduced."
If that happens, mortgage interest rates will go through the roof.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Monkey Cage

The Monkey Cage: "The replacement effect of the 2010 Midterm Elections is unlike anything in recent memory. The shift in the House median is two and a half times what was observed after the 1994 Election, wiping out the effect of Democratic gains in the previous two elections and then some. The 111th was the most liberal Congress in the past three decades; the 112th will be the most conservative.... The 2010 Elections [also] had a profound effect on congressional polarization. Not only will the 112th House be the most polarized on record; 2010 will surpass 1994 as the most polarizing election cycle."
And this Congress is the one that has to pull the country's chestnuts out of the fire.

Foreclosure Lawyers Put Second Mortgages on Clients' Homes -

Foreclosure Lawyers Put Second Mortgages on Clients' Homes - "“We thought, ‘Why don’t we use a bit of ingenuity to find an affordable way to represent them?’ ” said Peter Ticktin of the Ticktin Law Group in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “It’s a new model, a new paradigm.”

Foreclosure defense is a new legal specialty whose strategies and techniques are still being worked out. Mr. Ticktin, who has some 3,000 foreclosure clients, says his plan to collect fees by taking another mortgage on his clients’ properties has already been copied by other firms."

On your left: the frying pan.
On your right: the fire.

Take your pick.

Michael Gerson - Blue-state budget crises spell more trouble for Democrats

Michael Gerson - Blue-state budget crises spell more trouble for Democrats: "Having experienced the revolt of red America, Democrats must now deal with the fiscal crisis of blue America."
Yes, because a number of the states that the Democrats continue to run are economic basket cases. And what will those voters be thinking of the Democrats in 2012? Here in Illinois the state legislature and Governor are still Democrats. Tax hikes are on the table. Where are the spending cuts? The unwillingness of Democrats to cut spending, and their enthusiasm for tax hikes, may mean that these states will be in a "throw the bums out" mind set when Obama comes up for re-election. On the other hand, presidents who seek a second term usually get it. The GOP has to come up with a strong candidate. That may prove impossible if the loony right continues to be the dominant force in the party. Lunatic fringe ideas are fine for winning congressional districts in some places, but at the state level you need substance.

Punches fly in Privatopia

HOUSTON - Bet you've never seen a Homeowner Association Meeting like this one. This homeowner says he's speaking for the majority of residents who live in the Catalina Square Subdivision.

All the board members were voted out and told to immediately turn over all records and any other property belonging to the Catalina Square Improvement Committee.

"Our president came towards him to try to shut him down and told him he couldn't do that," homeowner Pat Martin said.

Suddenly the meeting turns violent.

"They got physical, our president (William Harris) swung at one of the homeowners," Martin said.

Fox 26 in Houston has the story. And it reports it is looking into lots of HOA horror stories here.

Sadly, we're likely to see more fisticuffs in Privatopia amid growing tensions brought on by assessment shortfalls as the seemingly never ending train of foreclosures keeps rolling down the tracks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

O Canada: HOA flag flap erupts north of the border

An Ontario couple said they will not give in to their neighborhood association's demand to remove a Canadian flag from their garage unless ordered by a judge.

Brian Cassidy, 63, and wife Linda-Lee Cassidy, 61, of the Mill Retirement Community in Lakeshore, said the homeowners' association told them the flag must be removed from its perch in front of their garage because neighbors had complained about the 8-foot flagpole "changing the architecture" of the house's exterior, a violation of neighborhood bylaws, the Windsor Star reported Thursday.

The homeowners' association said the couple will not be allowed to vote at meetings until the flagpole is removed, but Brian Cassidy said he will not be swayed.

"I put that flag up to stay up," he said. "It's not coming down. I take pride in my country and my flag."
So there! Rest of the story here.

What part of PRIVATE in private local government don't you understand?

A law giving a state agency purview to resolve disputes between property owners and their homeowners associations is illegal, the Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled.

The judges said the Legislature never gave the Department of Fire, Building and Life Safety regulatory authority over homeowners associations. In fact, the judges said, lawmakers provided no such oversight by any state agency.

That, they said, makes unconstitutional a 2006 decision by legislators establishing a hearing process to deal with conflicts between homeowners associations and the governing boards of their planned communities.

Unless overturned by the Arizona Supreme Court, or unless the problem is fixed by the Legislature, the ruling leaves no administrative-review process for such disputes. That makes filing a lawsuit - a far more expensive process - as the only remaining option.

The implicit public policy statement being made here by the Arizona Court of Appeals is "What part of PRIVATE in private local HOA government don't you understand?" The court is saying that private local government means just that: no public oversight or regulation from the executive branch. HOA exceeding its authority? Lawyer up and tell it to the judge.

Read more:

Owners fight the condo blues with go-go dance and grit | WBEZ

Owners fight the condo blues with go-go dance and grit | WBEZ
I am interviewed in this story about a busted condo association that does some creative fund-raising.

Unfortunately, a Bleak Winter Ahead for the Housing Market: Zillow Q3 Real Estate Market Reports | Zillow Blog - Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News

Unfortunately, a Bleak Winter Ahead for the Housing Market: Zillow Q3 Real Estate Market Reports | Zillow Blog - Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News
And on top of this, in the worst housing price crash since the Great Depression, the President's commission on solving our national budget woes wants to cut or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Millions of homeowners keep paying on underwater mortgages -

Millions of homeowners keep paying on underwater mortgages - "...payments on mortgages that are underwater could absorb billions of dollars that might be used for other forms of consumer spending — a drag on family finances, the housing market and the overall economy."
So hurry up and lose your home so you can divert that underwater mortgage payment to buying a plasma TV? That's the socially productive course of action?