Saturday, January 14, 2012
Barry Ritholtz, author of Bailout Nation, says:
"Over the past 2 years, I have warned repeatedly about the dangers to American property rights caused by massive bank fraud, A deadly combination of MERS, robo-signing, and illegal shortcuts have created a horrific situation. A bedrock of our society — the ability for the owner of a piece of real estate to confidently convey that property, along with all associated property rights — is now in danger."
This includes some interesting recent cases where judges have refused to allow mortgage foreclosure, even where the owner didn't answer the complaint, because the mortgage servicer can't prove they own the note.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The Post and Courier of Charleston reports 53-year-old Linda Ruggles has sold blood and even volunteered for medical experiments to get money to keep her home from foreclosure.
There have been a number of new "debtors' prison" stories where people went into debt, were ordered by a court to make payments, and then were jailed for contempt for not doing so. Here she didn't pay a fine. But given that the entire situation for which she was fined resulted from her having NO MONEY, it seems fairly inevitable that she would end up in jail for not paying the fine--if this is the way we are going to do things...
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tiny houses are the norm for most people in the world, but have been out of fashion in the US for many decades. Recently some Americans are rediscovering the joys of very tiny homes for several reasons: hard economic times, a reaction against modern excess, and a realization that a digital world does not require a lot of space. There are now a handful of blogs and a whole shelfful of books about tiny homes. Mostly good stuff.
Monday, January 09, 2012
I am thinking about requiring registration because so many people comment anonymously that it hinders communication. Often people will write, "As I said previously..." and nobody has the slightest idea what they are talking about because the previous post and the current one are anonymous. The conversations would be a lot more interesting if people knew whose comments they were reading and commenting on.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
Across California, there seems to be an emerging trend of homeowners associations increasingly eyeing rental restrictions in the lingering wake of the housing bust, said Richard Monson, president of the California Association of Home owners Associations. But he added it still seems to be a relatively small number of the state’s roughly 47,000 HOAs representing over 4.8 million homes.
“Because there are many more foreclosures and short sales, the buyers of these units are more likely to be investors than for owner-occupancy,” Monson said. “That’s a greater number of renters.”
The residential real estate correction is having a big impact on Privatopia as this blog has detailed over the past four years. This is one of them. As more absentee investor owners purchase dwellings in HOAs, the question becomes are they homeowner associations or property owner associations? HOA rental restrictions are designed to keep the "home" in HOAs. But HOAs cannot control housing market forces. If the market prefers investor owned rental properties, failing to accommodate that preference could lower the value of properties within HOAs that restrict rentals since it would limit their marketability.
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US Federal Reserve policymakers are increasingly urging fiscal authorities to consider reducing distressed borrowers’ loan balances, a politically fraught position for a central bank that has long sought to distance itself from fiscal policy.
Principal reduction should have been done three years ago, but I think the banks should just write it down rather than have the taxpayers take the hit. The financial parasites who crashed the economy, and who then were bailed out by the taxpayers and the Fed, have had a free ride to date. The economy will never recover until the middle class gets some relief from the burden of debt--mortgages, student loans, credit cards--that is the substitute for lost wages. The article says this would be politically unpopular, but I am not so sure about that.
Two local organizations, IFF and Access Living, are in the early stages of developing a new model of affordable housing, first in Chicago and then throughout Illinois, for people with disabilities who want to live on their own.
Armed with a budget of slightly more than $19 million, the Home First Illinois program also will take a crack at filling up some of the city's empty condominiums. That's because the program revolves around the idea of placing people with disabilities in scattered-site housing rather than grouped together in state-funded or private institutions.
"It's a new model for affordable housing," said Michelle Hoereth, director of housing for IFF, a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant that helps nonprofit organizations in the Midwest. "We can purchase condos that are foreclosed, in a short sale or the owner just wants to sell. There are plenty of units that aren't distressed but are vacant."
The money comes from the state, Chase bank, and the Chicago Community Trust. The owner of these units will be IFF, and will rent the units to the tenants. IFF will be checking the condo association finances carefully, they say: "You don't want to buy into a financial mess," Giornalista said. "At the end of the day, I think condo associations should welcome our purchases because now they're going to have an institutional investor in their building. It means their assessments are going to be paid on time."
What I don't see in this article is the issue of ADA accommodations for these disabled tenants. Renovation of the individual unit would be up to IFF, but what if there are accommodations needed in the common areas? Who pays for that?
Occupy Wall Street is going door to door in single family neighborhoods asking for permission to set up tents in the yards of people who are facing imminent foreclosure. The article notes that they couldn't contact the owners in gated communities, so they left cards. Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.