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Foreclosure Crisis

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NEWS
June 29, 2007 | By Ellen Schloemer
There has been a flood of news headlines recently about skyrocketing foreclosures in the subprime mortgage market, which serves people with lower incomes or blemished credit histories. In response, the mortgage industry trade association and the Federal Reserve Bank have rushed to reassure us that these foreclosures are just a "speed bump" on the highway to homeownership that subprime lending supposedly provides. But they're wrong. We're just seeing the beginning of the foreclosure crisis.
NEWS
March 26, 2008
Last week, we asked what you thought of Barack Obama's speech on race in America. This week's burning question: Has the foreclosure crisis had any impact on you directly? Tell us how. Send your letters to: Burning Question Box 7788 Philadelphia, PA 19101 By fax: 215-854-5691 By e-mail: Views@phillynews.com
NEWS
February 8, 2008
THAT SPECIAL place in hell reserved for the architects of the mortgage-foreclosure crisis -mortgage brokers who made millions of risky mortgages and investment companies that repackaged and sold them in an investment Ponzi scheme -is growing. According to the Mortgage Lender Implode-o-meter (http://ml-implode.com), which tracks the financial casualties, 226 major lenders have gone bust since 2006. We're not crying for them. A separate room in hell should be built for the wave of companies that has stepped in to scam homeowners facing foreclosure.
NEWS
August 4, 2004
HERE'S SOME really scary news on vulnerable financial markets: According to some experts, home foreclosure rates in the city are worse than during the Great Depression. While Depression-era statistics are hard to come by, it is safe to say that the number of Philadelphians losing their homes each month remains at chilling levels: July saw over 700 foreclosures; in August, more than 600 people lost their homes. The city is not alone: Foreclosure rates across the country are the worst in 30 years.
NEWS
March 25, 2005
IN PENNSYLVANIA in the past three years, an alarming number of homeowners - about 55,000 - have had their American Dream sold at Sheriff's sale. In fact, Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation in the rates of foreclosures for "subprime" mortgages, according to a recent study prepared by The Reinvestment Fund for state Banking Secretary William Schenk. (For loans at prime, it ranks ninth in the United States.) As this editorial page has pointed out frequently - and despairingly - Philadelphia is particularly vulnerable, with the second-highest rate of foreclosures in the counties studied.
NEWS
July 16, 2011
No community in the Philadelphia region has been harder hit by the foreclosure crisis than Willingboro. Read an account of who has been affected and how foreclosures have hurt other local towns in Sunday's Inquirer.
REAL_ESTATE
June 7, 2015 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
A couple of studies have crossed my electronic desk, and I thought I'd share them with you, because both relate to topics I have written about in recent weeks. The first is a Cornell University analysis, published in an article in the June issue of the American Sociological Review, contending that foreclosures "fueled racial segregation in the United States. " The paper, co-authored by Kyle Crowder of the University of Washington and Amy Spring of Georgia State University, acknowledges that nine million American families have lost their homes to foreclosure since the real estate downturn started in 2007.
REAL_ESTATE
May 17, 2015 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Most of us believe in second chances. If we didn't, no one would ever show up at a Phillies game. The second chance I'm talking about, however, is for someone who has lost his or her house as the result of foreclosure. It's been about nine years since the start of the U.S. foreclosure crisis, which peaked at 7.7 million houses in foreclosure in 2012. With the passage of the years, once-distressed homeowners with restored credit are reentering the housing market, even though damaged credit profiles and lender rules will greatly restrict the overall share of those eligible to buy. According to the National Association of Realtors, California, Florida, and Arizona, where the foreclosure crisis started, are expected to have the largest share of return buyers within the next decade.
NEWS
June 2, 2012 | Inquirer Editorial
The mortgage scams just keep coming — and from unexpected places.   Now, the states are raiding funds from a multibillion-dollar settlement among 49 attorneys general, the federal government, and five major banks to plug holes in their budgets. ProPublica.org, a nonprofit news website, reports that states have siphoned off about 40 percent of the $2.5 billion that the settlement put aside to specifically cover foreclosure-related expenses, housing counseling, and legal aid for victims.
NEWS
July 24, 2011
What a week for mortgage scams and abuses. A North Jersey man pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to bilk lenders out of $40.8 million in mortgage payments on resort properties, including 28 condo units in Wildwood Crest. And the Federal Trade Commission announced that borrowers charged exorbitant fees by the now defunct Countrywide Home Loans would share a $108 million settlement. Justice may be late, but it's finally grinding in the right direction. The schemes are a reminder that the foreclosure crisis began with a classic con. Each side thought it was getting over on the other.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
REAL_ESTATE
June 7, 2015 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
A couple of studies have crossed my electronic desk, and I thought I'd share them with you, because both relate to topics I have written about in recent weeks. The first is a Cornell University analysis, published in an article in the June issue of the American Sociological Review, contending that foreclosures "fueled racial segregation in the United States. " The paper, co-authored by Kyle Crowder of the University of Washington and Amy Spring of Georgia State University, acknowledges that nine million American families have lost their homes to foreclosure since the real estate downturn started in 2007.
REAL_ESTATE
May 17, 2015 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Most of us believe in second chances. If we didn't, no one would ever show up at a Phillies game. The second chance I'm talking about, however, is for someone who has lost his or her house as the result of foreclosure. It's been about nine years since the start of the U.S. foreclosure crisis, which peaked at 7.7 million houses in foreclosure in 2012. With the passage of the years, once-distressed homeowners with restored credit are reentering the housing market, even though damaged credit profiles and lender rules will greatly restrict the overall share of those eligible to buy. According to the National Association of Realtors, California, Florida, and Arizona, where the foreclosure crisis started, are expected to have the largest share of return buyers within the next decade.
NEWS
July 7, 2014 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Residential real estate has its own version of the 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead.   Call it Zombie Foreclosures . RealtyTrac, a search engine that collects real estate data nationwide, defines the phenomenon this way: "properties that have started the foreclosure process but have never been foreclosed and the homeowner has vacated. " One in five U.S. homes in foreclosure, or 141,406, are zombies, it says. Andrew Frank, of Long & Foster Real Estate in Blue Bell, said he's been told many zombies rose from the "robo-signing" era of 2008 through 2010, when some mortgage servicers failed to read foreclosure documents before submitting them to courts or other agencies for action.
REAL_ESTATE
February 3, 2013 | By Al Heavens, Inquirer Columnist
Because I've covered the foreclosure crisis as long as I have, even a quick read of the latest proposed rules affecting mortgage servicing highlights all the abuses borrowers have mentioned over the last few years. Choose the situation your servicer dumped on you and send me an e-mail about it. Experiences will be published. The most common abuse that the latest rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau address is "double-tracking," in which a servicer simultaneously pursues foreclosure and offers alternatives to loss of the home.
NEWS
October 26, 2012 | By Matt Katz, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - The Christie administration Wednesday acknowledged failure in managing $300 million in federal money to help struggling homeowners but declared that the problems had been fixed and an increasing number of homeowners were being saved from foreclosure. "Listen, it's indefensible; the program was not being run well," said Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard E. Constable III, who inherited the issues after he assumed his post in January. "We did a disservice to the folks that we were supposed to serve.
BUSINESS
July 28, 2012 | By Alan J. Heavens
Rising home foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies have contributed to an increase in child abuse, a Children's Hospital of Philadelphia PolicyLab study suggests. The study, the subject of a July 16 article in the journal Pediatrics, used data submitted from 38 of 45 pediatric medical centers around the country. The data, which covered 2000 through 2009, show that every 1 percent increase in 90-day mortgage delinquencies over a one-year period was associated with a 3 percent increase in children's hospital admissions for physical abuse and a 5 percent increase in children's hospital admissions for traumatic brain injuries suspected to be caused by child abuse.
NEWS
June 2, 2012 | Inquirer Editorial
The mortgage scams just keep coming — and from unexpected places.   Now, the states are raiding funds from a multibillion-dollar settlement among 49 attorneys general, the federal government, and five major banks to plug holes in their budgets. ProPublica.org, a nonprofit news website, reports that states have siphoned off about 40 percent of the $2.5 billion that the settlement put aside to specifically cover foreclosure-related expenses, housing counseling, and legal aid for victims.
BUSINESS
May 18, 2012 | By Alan J. Heavens, INQUIRER REAL ESTATE WRITER
Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, along with New Jersey, saw higher rates of foreclosure filings in April from a year ago, RealtyTrac reported Thursday. Philadelphia foreclosure filings fell about 11 percent from March, but were 24 percent higher than April 2011, continuing a six-month trend confirmed by a number of other sources, including CoreLogic, the real estate information provider. Even so, at 2,400 filings, Philadelphia's number is one-fifth that of Chicago's, 400 fewer than New York, and well below comparable metro areas.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2012 | By Alan J. Heavens, INQUIRER REAL ESTATE WRITER
As the real estate downturn searches for the escape pod that will carry it to upturn, so-called short sales, which might help, are not living up to their name. Short sales are transactions in which the lender agrees to accept less than what the borrower owes on the mortgage. A short sale now takes 306 days from start to finish, compared with 113 days in 2006, according to RealtyTrac, the Irvine, Calif., firm that tracks distressed-housing data nationally. By comparison, foreclosures take an average of 186 days after the initial documents are filed, compared with 178 days in 2006.
NEWS
February 14, 2012
The $25 billion settlement among 49 state attorneys general, the Justice Department, and five major banks to compensate victims of wrongful foreclosures is a small but significant step toward easing the housing crisis. But as one wary homeowners' advocate put it, "the devil is in the details. " It always has been. This much-heralded settlement seeks to end the practice of "robo-signing," employed by mortgage servicers that foreclosed on homes without proper documentation.
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