Over Engineered Government Housing Aid Still Playing Catch Up

It’s easy to throw melons from the cheap seats but I will resist the temptation to harshly critique the programs put in place by both the Obama and Bush administrations to assist distressed homeowners and stop the bleeding in home values. However, a helpful lesson can be taken away from this experience… “Real life has more variables than the small set he has chosen to estimate.” -Nasim Taleb, Black Swan. What I mean by that is government sponsored and engineered programs like Help or Homeowners, HomeSaver, HAMP, HARP, etc, etc have struggled to stay ahead of an unprecedented amount of unknowns in the housing market. Consequently, these programs have ended up fighting yesterday’s wars. Initiatives first focused on delinquent borrowers, then negative equity, then unemployment…(read more)

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $20 million in technical assistance funding to 12 organizations that will, in turn, help local communities across this country stabilize neighborhoods hard-hit by foreclosure through HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).

Momentum Seen for Home Improvement Spending

on home improvements and remodeling have shown signs of a rebound and the
Remodeling Futures Program at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies is
projecting that sector of the economy will end 2012 on a positive note.

Joint Center produces the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) each
quarter.  It is designed to estimate
national homeowner spending on improvements for the current quarter and the
following three quarters.  The indicator, measured as an annual rate-of-change
of its components, provides a short-term outlook of homeowner remodeling
activity and is intended to help identify future turning points in the business
cycle of the home improvement industry.

figures from the most recent quarter, the fourth quarter of 2011, showed an
estimated four-quarter moving total of $112.4 billion in home improvement
spending compared to $113.8 billion in the third quarter.  This number is expected to dip further in the
first quarter of 2012, to $108.1 billion before starting to build at mid-year.

 “Sales of existing homes have been increasing
in recent months, offering more opportunities for home improvement projects,”
says Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint
Center.  “As lending institutions become less fearful of the real estate
sector, financing will become more readily available to owners looking to
undertake remodeling.”

…(read more)

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HUD Provides $54 Million to Help Missouri Recover from Last Year’s Severe Storms

WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today allocated $400 million in emergency aid to help communities in eight states to recover from presidentially declared natural disasters in 2011.

Square Feet: The Kushner Companies’ Deal for 666 Fifth Avenue Avoids Foreclosure

The Kushner Companies’ $1.8 billion deal for 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007 quickly ran into trouble as the recession took hold. But with the help of another investor, the loan has been modified.