March 29, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - A little-known career bureaucrat temporarily filling a key government job has emerged as the person with the most impact on the nation's battered housing market - and is rapidly making enemies. As the regulator over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or back 60% of the nation's mortgages, Edward J. DeMarco is considered by a growing number of people to be the single biggest obstacle to the housing market recovery for opposing the use of a major foreclosure prevention measure.
March 10, 2012 |
Much of the real estate market is still stuck in deep winter, but Highland Park is showing signs of spring. Investors have descended on this and other communities in Northeast Los Angeles, snatching up bargain-priced Craftsman homes located within an easy distance of downtown. It's an echo of the housing boom, only this time speculators are drawn by the crash in prices. Attracted by an abundance of foreclosures and aided by interest rates near record lows, renovators are giving distressed properties a makeover.
February 16, 2012 |
The Southland's housing market is flooded with cash-rich, bargain-hunting investors snapping up distressed homes and dragging down overall prices - but their presence also indicates the market could be nearing bottom. At $260,000, the region's median home price was only 5.2% above the low hit during the worst of the recession in 2009, according to San Diego research firm DataQuick. January brought a 3.7% decline in the median price, the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less, compared with both a month earlier and a year earlier.
February 15, 2012 |
When a big bank goes bust in Manhattan, forcing a thriving construction site in Mumbai to shut down and the price of recyclable scrap to plummet, entire families in the slums of India go hungry. This is the butterfly effect of the harrowingly interrelated global economy described in Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo's first book, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. " This narrative nonfiction work catalogs a period of three years, beginning before the global market crash of 2008, of the Husain family, supported by a teenage trash-buyer named Abdul, and others who scrape together a living in a slum called Annawadi on a half-acre of polluted land beside the gleaming Mumbai international airport.
January 15, 2012 |
It's been nearly 15 years since his last feature, but the influence of writer-director Whit Stillman, the indie auteur who assayed the social and emotional mores of an urban haute bourgeoisie with his films "Metropolitan," "Barcelona" and "The Last Days of Disco," has only grown, his talky nuance and spiky affection becoming more resonant with time. Which makes the new "Damsels in Distress" both such a welcome return and somewhat of an unexpected departure. Pitched as something of an old-fashioned campus comedy, the film, set to open in March, follows a group of coeds led by the determined Violet (Greta Gerwig)
December 27, 2011 |
The flight of medical mercy that abruptly turned tragic this week, killing an organ transplant team, began as a routine flight, say federal investigators probing the crash. Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, Jose Obregon, the chief investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said there was no distress signal or other warning before the Bell 206 helicopter crashed and burned in a wooded area about 12 miles northeast of Palatka, Fla. "It looked like a normal flight," Obregon said.
December 4, 2011 |
How big a whack did your credit scores take during the grim years of economic distress after the housing bust? Was it 20 points, 50 points, 100 points — or maybe no drop at all? These are key questions for millions of potential home buyers who hope to qualify for mortgages and current owners looking to refinance. New research from a major credit-risk evaluation company suggests that the drop in huge numbers of Americans' scores was dramatic. FICO (formerly known as Fair Isaac Corp.)
September 30, 2011 |
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is attracting increasing pressure from powerful Golden State players to reject a major settlement with U.S. banks accused of wrongful foreclosures. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has joined a group of California union leaders, activists and politicians in calling the direction of negotiations "a deeply flawed settlement proposal with the banks at the heart of the nation's mortgage crisis. " Harris has emerged as a key player in pursuing the nationwide settlement with major U.S. banks accused of wrongfully foreclosing on homeowners.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 2011 |
A series of armed robberies of distressed motorists along Inland Empire freeways earlier this month has prompted the California Highway Patrol to form a special task force and increase early morning patrols. The robberies all occurred in the early hours of Sept. 18 and 19. In two incidents, the robbers fired shots, though no one was hurt, authorities said. The suspects, who remain at large, are described only as three or four men wearing hooded sweat shirts. "There are isolated incidents where things like this happen," said CHP Officer Daniel Hesser, a spokesman for the department's Inland Division.
August 17, 2011 |
Prices paid for California homes dipped last month as distressed properties continued to make up more than half of the market. The median price paid for new and resale houses and condominiums last month was $252,000, down 0.4% from June and down 6% from July a year ago, real estate data provider DataQuick said. The state's median — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — has fallen year-over-year for 10 consecutive months. The median's bottom for the current real estate cycle was $221,000 in April 2009 and the peak was $484,000 in early 2007.