Piece by Piece Update
July 25, 2012
Please take note of the following news items.
New Web-Based Tool Helps Connect Metro Atlanta Consumers to Down Payment Assistance:
A wide-range of studies reveal that the down payment remains the single biggest obstacle to homeownership. Even with lower home prices, rock bottom interest rates, and local incentives, many would-be buyers remain on the fence. In an effort to raise awareness about the variety of homeownership assistance programs available, Atlanta-based Workforce Resource --- a PBP partner -- recently launched Down Payment Locator. The web-based tool allows consumers to discover what programs are available in the area they want to live and also match their personal situation. After completing a brief survey, consumers are provided with a brief summary of the available assistance programs and links to learn more. Down Payment Locator is currently available only in Metro Atlanta. To learn how to add a link to Down Payment Locator on your organization's site, please contact [email protected].
Foreclosure Crisis Impacts Seniors
(Courtesy of AARP) A new report shatters the myth that older Americans largely escaped harm in the foreclosure crisis by having large amounts of equity or owning their homes outright. In fact, more than 1.5 million people age 50-plus have lost their homes since 2007 and at least 3.5 million more remain at risk at this most vulnerable stage of their lives. MORE
Ruling Could Have Impact on Foreclosure Law Suits
(Courtesy of AJC): A recent appeal court ruling in favor of a Cobb County couple could leave mortgage companies liable for damages for not following state law in an unknown number of Georgia foreclosures.The 4-3 ruling probably won't undo the result of past foreclosures, lawyers say, but could open another avenue for borrowers to sue mortgage firms. The issue involves the many lenders who sell their loans to other parties such as investment trusts, but serve as stand-ins handling the paperwork in the foreclosure process and act as if they still own the loans. The Court held that the name of the actual owner of a mortgage must be present in foreclosure filings and notices sent to delinquent borrowers. MORE
New Disclosures Proposed for Home Loans; Advice for Perplexed Borrowers? Use a Mortgage/Housing Counselor.
(Courtesy of New York Times Opinion Pages; July 18) - Writing for the New York Times Opinion Page, law professor and consumer policy blogger Jeff Sovern advises consumers to consider hiring a mortgage counselor to help navigate new disclosures proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to clarify the terms of housing loans for millions of homeowners. "This sounds like a minor improvement, but in fact it's a significant step toward preventing another subprime disaster.If consumers ignore the new forms, we run the risk of another loan crisis. And critics of consumer-protection efforts will use that to block future reforms. What can be done? We cannot simply eliminate the bulk of the disclosures, because many of them are important and will be of use to borrowers willing and able to work with them. There's no way around it: mortgage transactions are complex and involve a tremendous amount of information. But life is filled with complexities, and we have a way to deal with them: hire an expert. Indeed, consumers who cannot or will not understand mortgage disclosures should be required to hire mortgage counselors. (A proposed companion rule from the bureau does require counseling, but for only a small number of borrowers, far fewer than need it.)" MORE
New Report Shows FHA/VA Lending Concentrated in Communities of Color
Data from home mortgage loans originated in seven US cities in 2010 (analysis doesn't include Atlanta) show that black and Latino borrowers and borrowers living in communities of color received government-backed loans ("GBLs")-insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)-significantly more often than did white borrowers, according to a recent report released by the Woodstock Institute. Borrowers who purchased homes in communities of color received government-backed loans twice as often as did borrowers in predominantly white communities. Homeowners in communities of color received government-backed refinance loans more than three times as often as did homeowners in predominantly white neighborhoods. MORE
HUD Accepts Applications for New Distressed Notes Program - DASP - to Stabilize Neighborhoods in 4 Markets
(Courtesy of HUD): Qualified entities interested in purchasing pools of severely distressed loans formerly insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) can now submit applications for the Distressed Asset Stabilization Program, an expansion of an FHA disposition program that sells pools of defaulted mortgages headed for foreclosure and provides the opportunity for the purchaser and borrower to avoid a costly foreclosure. According to loan pool information released last week, approximately 3,500 loans will be sold in four metropolitan areas that are among those hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis - Chicago, IL; Newark, NJ; Phoenix, AZ; and Tampa, FL - aligning with other neighborhood stabilization efforts to help those communities recover as quickly as possible. If the program is successful, HUD could expand the DASH to serve other metro areas. MORE
Summer Federal Transportation Committee Chairman Speaks out on July 31 Referendum
(Courtesy of Council for Quality Growth):United States House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica spoke at a recent event hosted by the Council for Quality Growth and the Urban Land Institute of Atlanta. During his speech, Chairman Mica stated, "If (Atlanta) want(s) to see your portion of (federal) transportation (funds) go to someplace else...if you're not ready (to invest in yourselves)...it will go somewhere else where they are ready to do things. You don't want Atlanta stuck in neutral; you don't want Atlanta and this region going in reverse. What you need to do is move this community and all communities forward. Think of the jobs and the opportunity (created) for people to work."
Atlanta Fed Releases 2011 Annual Report
(Courtesy of The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta) The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta today released its 2011 annual report, which provides an interactive narrative of four forces that shaped the economy in 2011. According to the Atlanta Fed, these forces including the ongoing process of economic adjustment including deleveraging, certain dynamics in the labor market, a pervasive atmosphere of uncertainty, and monetary policy. MORE
Piece by Piece Coordinator