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NATIONAL
February 18, 2009 | Maura Reynolds and Janet Hook
President Obama will roll out his much-anticipated housing plan today in an effort to stem the tide of foreclosures that has triggered the worst recession in decades. The president will outline the plan during a speech in Phoenix, where home values have dropped 33% in the last year -- the steepest decline of any metropolitan area in the country. Across the nation, thousands of people continue to be forced from their homes every day.
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BUSINESS
February 18, 2009 | Stuart Pfeifer
Was it the real estate downturn, or were people misled into a risky investment scheme? That's the question at the center of a lawsuit filed Tuesday that accuses Orange County real estate lender Dan J. Harkey of bilking dozens of investors out of more than $15 million. In an added twist, the investors claim that their money helped fund the election of Harkey's wife, state Assemblywoman Diane L. Harkey (R-Dana Point).
BUSINESS
February 11, 2009 | Roger Vincent
Battered by falling sales and leasing activity, international commercial real estate brokerage company CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. reported a 94% drop in profit during the fourth quarter Tuesday but still managed to beat Wall Street's expectations. The Los Angeles company said it had net income of $6.5 million, or 3 cents a share, compared with $122.4 million or 54 cents, in the same period a year ago. Revenue was down 30% to $1.3 billion.
BUSINESS
February 6, 2009 | Tom Petruno
The Federal Reserve is trying to push mortgage rates down. But the marketplace has other ideas. Home loan rates rose this week to the highest level since mid-December, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac's latest national lender survey. The average rate on 30-year loans was 5.25%, up from 5.10% last week and the highest since 5.47% the week of Dec. 7. "I don't think this is going as planned," said Tom Atteberry, a money manager at First Pacific Advisors in Los Angeles.
BUSINESS
February 2, 2009 | Peter Y. Hong
The Southern California real estate crash has finally reached the high-end areas of the Westside. Home prices in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu -- which continued to soar well into 2008 -- finally tanked at the end of the year, losing between 26% and 30% of their value in just a few months, the latest data show.
BUSINESS
January 28, 2009 | William Heisel
More than 236,000 homes were lost to foreclosure in California last year, topping the previous nine years combined, data released Tuesday show. And the number of borrowers who defaulted on their payments hit a record high of more than 404,000. The wave of foreclosures, which began in early 2007, was initially triggered by falling home values and resets on adjustable-rate loans.
BUSINESS
January 16, 2009 | Dina ElBoghdady, ElBoghdady writes for the Washington Post.
Borrowers are rushing to refinance their mortgages at record low interest rates but face unexpected delays as swamped lenders struggle to cope with the surge at a time when layoffs have sharply cut staffing. Bank of America Corp., which started shedding 7,500 employees after its July merger with Countrywide Financial Corp., recently yanked 300 workers from its home equity line department to help deal with refinancing requests, said Matt Vernon, the bank's national sales executive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 8, 2009 | Roger Vincent
Harold "Hal" A. Ellis Jr., a founder of real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis Co. and one of the best known figures in U.S. real estate, died Monday of metastatic melanoma at his home in Piedmont, Calif. He was 77. Ellis built a small Oakland brokerage into a powerhouse whose circular yellow and black signs dot thousands of stores, offices, factories and other commercial properties for sale or lease across the country.
NATIONAL
January 4, 2009 | JAMES RAINEY
A couple of Sundays ago, the White House erupted with a fury. Spokeswoman Dana Perino accused the New York Times of "gross negligence." Its reporters, she said, let their "myopic point of view" cloud their front-page story on President Bush's role in the mortgage crisis. A wave of complaints poured into the newspaper. Closer to home, a friend asked me if it wasn't yet another proof of the left-wing media bias. So I thought I'd better take a look.
BUSINESS
December 27, 2008 | Peter Y. Hong
Real estate experts who were troubled by a 10% drop in median home prices near the end of last year from the previous year probably were stunned by the 35% drop in values since then. But that may be overshadowed by what they now worry lies ahead. Growing unemployment, more declines in consumer spending and a particularly long and deep recession are expected to batter home prices even further next year, they said. "As unemployment keeps rising, demand for housing softens.
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