A short story by Clinton Manning.

Half a million homeowners will struggle to pay their mortgage next year, lenders forecast yesterday.

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* Sister Libby Fernandez leads battle for the homeless in Sacramento (Cynthia Hubert, Sacramento Bee)

Jackie Fitzgerald, who is homeless, rallies with others Tuesday at the Capitol. The recent flap over Sacramento’s tent city – which has now been dismantled – has given rise to a new push to help the area’s homeless, led in part by Sister Libby Fernandez of Loaves & Fishes. She envisions a series of smaller, legal campgrounds with sanitation services, running water, and mental health and drug co…

* Cities clicking together to fight foreclosure blight (Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune)

With so many new incentives for home buyers, Danetta Saul is considering taking the plunge. The Woodbury schoolteacher was excited to learn about a project being launched today by St. Paul and Minneapolis to lure more home buyers to the two cities.

* Falling prices mean we can finally buy our first homes (Karen Rockett, Mirror)

Talk to most homeowners and they will tell you they are horrified at the way their houses are plunging in value.

* USDA approved (Beth W. Orenstein, Morning Call)

Jamie and Danielle Brannon bought a $133,500 two-bedroom home in Nazareth in January and paid only $134.63 out-of-pocket.

* Buy while rates are low (Beth W. Orenstein, Morning Call)

Lenders expect that with mortgage interest rates at historic lows, with home prices declining and many first-time homebuyers eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit, they will be kept busy with applications for home loans this spring.

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A short story by Jim Wasserman at Sacramento Bee.

Irvine-based Real Estate Disposition Corp. has auctioned 1,912 Sacramento-area foreclosed homes for $261.4 million since mid-2007:

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* Mortgage stabilization law effective (Michael Symons, Asbury Park Press)

In the growing whirl in the state capital, a couple of laws took effect last week without being noted here.

A great article by Pamela Yip of Dallas Morning News.

One of the fundamentals tenets of financial planning is you should build up enough of a cushion to withstand an unexpected financial emergency.

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* HUD chief promotes efficiency (Kenneth Harney, KWTV)

Picture this: Youre shopping for a larger home, dropping by open houses on a weekend. Each house you visit has an easy-to-understand disclosure about something thats typically unknown today its energy-guzzling costs.

A short and simple article by Benny L. Kass at San Francisco Chronicle.

If I let the property go into foreclosure, can/will the bank that gave me the mortgage try to get at my other assets (equity in my home, stocks, etc.)?

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* Bold business owners get in position early for economic upswing (Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee)

Some businesses are beginning to gear up for the next economic growth cycle. Here’s a quick glance:

* Graduating U.S. college seniors entering grim market (Andrew Stern, Reuters US)

(Reuters) – A college diploma has long been the ticket to a good job, but the deepest economic slump in decades has dampened the dreams of many U.S. college seniors.

* Metro KC construction down in first quarter (Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star)

McGraw Hill Construction reported today that total building activity in the metropolitan area was down 36 percent through the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year.

* Recovery programs offer treasure trove (Arleen Jacobius, Pensions & Investments)

Alternative investment managers are turning to Washington for some of their best portfolio opportunities.

Here is today’s story from The Daily Telegraph on Interest Rates.

Borrowers are spending less than a third of their monthly wage packet on their mortgage compared to half last year

sharp drop in interest rates and falling house prices means that buying a new home has become the most affordable in seven years, Halifax said.

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* Moffett Returns to Freddie (James R. Hagerty, Barron’s)

David Moffett, who resigned as chief executive officer of Freddie Mac in March, will temporarily return to the company as a consultant on financial management.

* Sacramento region’s repossessed home sales boom hits lull (Jim Wasserman, Sacramento Bee)

Months of foreclosure moratoriums, stepped-up loan modifications and bank decisions to keep repossessed homes off the market are biting hard into a slice of the economy that has come to depend on sales of distressed homes.

* New pet food pantry to aid Northlanders (Meagan O’Donnell, The Smithville Herald)

The economic crunch has forced many people to make tough choices as they cut the household budget including decisions about family pets.