Interesting Personal Debt News Links (February 22, 2009)

February 22, 2009

* US mortgages shake-up raises lawsuit fears (Saskia Scholtes, The Financial Times)

The US governments plan to pay mortgage servicers for modifying troubled home loans could expose servicers to a new breed of lawsuit from disgruntled mortgage investors, say industry insiders.

* Home construction plunges to record low (KABC)

Construction of new homes and applications for future projects both plunged to record lows in January as all parts of the country showed big declines in building activity.

* Family allowed to remain in home as mortgage fraud case proceeds (Susan Essoyan, Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Question: Whatever happened to Debbie Aurelio and her family, who lost title to their Ewa Beach home and faced eviction after allegedly being swindled by mortgage scammers?

* Construction’s worst year (Jeff Collins, Orange County Register)

Construction’s worst year With residential and commercial projects reaching their lowest levels in at least 62 years, builders and the companies they hire are struggling to survive.

* The art of mortgage renegotiation (Rob Carrick, The Globe and Mail)

Falling mortgage rates have revealed yet another way the banks are charging their clients more in these financially stressful times.

* Tax delinquencies, foreclosures up in Ottawa (Jeff Cunningham, Advance Newspapers)

As if Ottawa County officials needed any more proof that the recession has hit Ottawa County as well as the rest of the state, Ottawa County Treasurer Bradley Slagh revealed late last month the county has seen a 36-percent increase in property taxes that are delinquent and nearly a 100-percent increase in the number of properties facing tax foreclosure.

* Obama’s bankruptcy reform taking shape (Houston Chronicle)

WASHINGTON When President Obama touted reform of the bankruptcy code while unveiling his foreclosure prevention program, it wasnt much of a surprise. He had advocated allowing judges to modify troubled loans several times before, including during the presidential campaign.

* Median home price takes big drop in California (Jacob Adelman-)

The median home price in California dived a whopping 41.5 percent from a year ago, as deeply discounted foreclosures drove down the market to a level last seen eight years ago, a real estate tracking firm said Thursday.

* Lawmakers fight Newark on water rates (News Journal)

A showdown is expected at Monday’s Newark City Council meeting, where state lawmakers are rallying critics of proposed water rate hikes.

* Guides awaited to fight home loss (Alexander Coolidge, Cincinnati Enquirer)

The Obama administration’s foreclosure plan has won plaudits for tackling an issue at the heart of the current financial crisis, but an exact pattern for identifying at-risk mortgages and how to restructure them has yet to be unveiled.


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