Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Archive: January, 2012

POSTED: Monday, January 30, 2012, 3:42 PM

A report broadcast Monday by National Public Radio and co-authored by ProPublica and NPR alleges that Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned provider of mortgage money, is making it hard for borrowers to refinance to lower rates so it can keep getting huge income from higher ones.

The report says that Freddie has spent billions of dollars on securities called "inverse floaters," which receive all the interest payments from specified mortgage-backed securities.

While the investment arm of the company was profiting from homeowners with high-rate mortgages, Freddie was making it more difficult for those locked in high-interest mortgages to refinance to a lower rate, the report said.

@ 3:42 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 3:43 PM

A few days ago, it looked like a done deal, but  California appears to have thrown a monkeywrench into the tentative agreement between states’ attorneys general and five major lenders over questionable foreclosure-processing practices.

Newspapers in that state reported that Attorney-General Kamela D. Harris considers the $25 billion proposed settlement inadequate. In October, Harris had pulled out of talks to hammer out such an agreement, concerned that the accord would keep individual homeowners from pursuing complaints against the lenders involved (she launched a mortgage fraud task force in May 2011).

California has had more foreclosures than any state since the housing bubble burst in 2006-2007, so what Harris says may determine the future of the agreement.

@ 3:43 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012, 1:03 PM

Alan J. Heavens of The Inquirer will chat Monday, Jan. 23, about whether the real estate recovery is real, starting at noon.

On a mobile device: Click here to join the chat

Alan J. Heavens @ 1:03 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012, 12:01 PM

There’s nothing funny about the real estate downturn.

Nor is there anything particularly humorous about the apparent inability of the Fed Open Market Committee to get a handle on how housing problems would take down  the whole economy, a fact that became widely known when the panel’s 2006 minutes were made available

One thing I did notice as I read  minutes of some of the FOMC meetings was the number of times the committee members laughed.

@ 12:01 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 4:09 PM

The nation’s homebuilders appear to be more confident about the future of residential construction than they have been in five years of real estate downturn.

January’s index measuring builder confidence reached 25, a place it hasn’t been since June 2007.  It was the fourth month of increases in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

Officials of the National Association of Home Builders suggest that we not break out the bottles of bubbly yet. “Caution remains the word of the day,” said association chief economist David Crowe, as many of the longstanding problems, including tight credit for buyers and construction, remain unresolved.

@ 4:09 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 5:18 PM

The 129 unsold condominium units at 10 Rittenhouse Square at 130 S. 18th St. in Center City were sold at sheriff’s sale today to Istar Financial, the lender that had foreclosed on the developer, ArcWheeler, last year.

The developer agreed in May 2011 not to contest the foreclosure.

Istar Financial was the senior lender on the $300 million, 33-story project, comprising 150 units and ground-floor commercial/retail space. It is owed $175 million, while the mezzanine lender, Delaware Valley Real Estate Investment Fund, is due about $35 million.

@ 5:18 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, January 5, 2012, 3:36 PM

Alan J. Heavens of The Inquirer will chat Monday, Jan. 9, about real estate and home improvement topics, starting at noon.

On a mobile device: Click here to join the chat

Alan J. Heavens @ 3:36 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
Alan J. Heavens blogs about home improvement and the real estate industry and hosts regular chats on those topics. Reach Alan J. at

Alan J. Heavens Inquirer Real Estate Columnist
Business Videos:
Also on
Stay Connected