The FHFA will not allow short sales to friends and relatives of the seller. But Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that such arrangements should be allowed as a way to keep the owners in their home.
One of the ironies of short sales is that many owners could afford to keep their dwellings if they could buy them at the short-sale price.
But that’s not allowed, nor can they sell their home to friends or family members with an arrangement to rent the house or buy it back later.
That’s wrong, says Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who was instrumental in setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has caused a stir with a piece she wrote arguing that the Federal Housing Finance Authority, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should not only allow such inside deals but should encourage them rather than classifying them as fraud.
Some experts see the real-estate bust as basically over and housing on a strong road to recovery. But others say the fundamentals are weak.
Just a few years ago, no one would have expected we would be debating again so soon whether we’re in a real-estate bubble.
But behind the talk about the bubble is a disagreement among experts about the strength of the recovery. While some are breaking out the champagne and declaring the housing crisis over, others are warning that the momentum may not continue.
How strong is the recovery?
Professional group sees potential risks in rising interest rates, looser loan standards and the potential for natural disasters. Gen Y also holds a big piece of the puzzle.
Rising interest rates, relaxed loan underwriting and natural disasters are all risks facing real estate in the next year.
Plus, the future of housing depends very much on whether Generation Y maintains its love of urban living or follows its parents to the suburbs when it’s time to raise families.
Those issues are among the top 10 issues affecting real estate in 2013, according to Howard C. Gelbtuch, chairman of the Counselors of Real Estate, who spoke to a recent conference of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.
A monthly Fannie Mae survey had found respondents optimistic about buying for some time. More optimism about selling may get more homes on the market.
The number of Americans who think it’s a good time to sell a home rose sharply in May, to 40%. That’s up from 30% in April and 16% in May 2012.
The number who think it’s a good time to buy a home also rose, to a three-year high of 76%, according to Fannie Mae’s May 2013 National Housing Survey.
"Sentiment toward selling a home appears to be catching up with the strengthening housing market," Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae, said in a news release. "The share of consumers who think it's a good time to sell a home spiked this month, the largest increase in the survey’s three-year history. This jump may foreshadow a gradual return to more normal levels of housing supply from their lows of recent months."
The actor's home in the star-studded enclave had been on and off the market for nearly two years. The original asking price was $18 million.
After almost two years, actor Jim Carrey has sold his Malibu home.
The selling price was $13.4 million, down from the $18 million listing price when the home first went on the market in July 2011. The actor paid $9.75 million for the modern house in 2002.
The beachfront home, built in 1957, has walls of windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean and decks with movable walls. But it’s small as far as homes of the rich and famous go, at 2,866 square feet with three bedrooms and four baths. You can see photos here.
Nine longtime residents whose buildings were demolished to make way for a luxury building made a deal with the developer to get a big discount on co-op units.
When a building goes condo, the tenants usually are offered a unit in the new building – though many can’t afford it and have to find housing elsewhere.
But nine tenants of two neighboring New York City buildings got an amazing deal when a luxury apartment building replaced their dwelling spaces: new co-op apartments for $10 each.
The 51 other tenants of the new 12-story Jupiter 21 building in the East Village will pay $3,000 to $10,000 a month in rent.
Wells Fargo is one of three lenders accused of failing to maintain foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods. The money will be used for housing programs in 45 communities.
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $42 million to settle a complaint that it failed to maintain foreclosed homes in minority neighborhoods.
The bank did not admit any wrongdoing but agreed to spend $39 million on housing improvement efforts in 45 cities and $3 million toward legal fees and education as part of a settlement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Fair Housing Alliance. The alliance and affiliated local groups had filed a complaint with HUD alleging that the lender was violating the Fair Housing Act by failing to maintain homes in minority neighborhoods.
"We are thrilled to see Wells Fargo’s renewed efforts and leadership in this area," Shanna L. Smith, president and CEO of the housing alliance, said in a statement. "Many neighborhoods all across the country have been seriously damaged by REO homes left unattended. This partnership will help to get some of those neighborhoods back on their feet."
Country singer's circular, 14,795-square-foot home has a spectacular, curved infinity pool and a unique modern vibe. Asking price is $9.995 million.
Dallas isn’t known for its modern architecture, though it actually does have all kinds of modern homes, from midcentury modern to more recent contemporary designs.
One of the most unusual designs is a round home built in 2007 for country singer Darren Kozelsky and his wife, Amy. The 14,795-square-foot home sits on 1.77 acres in North Dallas.
The couple first offered the home for sale in January 2011, when Amy Kozelsky told Candace Evans of Candy’s Dirt that they were testing the waters. After two months, the price was dropped to $9.5 million, and in September 2011, the couple took the home off the market. Now, it’s back, with an asking price of $9.995 million.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.