Believe it or not, the practice of filibustering has its roots in real estate and land management policy. During the reign of Julius Caesar as consul in the Roman Republic, the Roman Senate had a rule that all legislative business must be accomplished before sunset. This had the laudable effect of prohibiting legislators from passing measures “in the dead of night.” But it also created a window for those in a minority coalition to
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For generations, the longstanding goal of homeownership as a key component of the American dream was propped up on … strategic ambiguity. When Congress chartered the twin government-sponsored enterprises of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to create a ready secondary market for mortgages to encourage bank lending, they didn’t specify any sort of government guaranty or backing should these enterprises fail.
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Senate Republicans have successfully stalled the nomination of Congressman Mel Watt as Federal Housing Finance Agency director. And they make no sign of relenting anytime soon. While this seems like a minor political spat over a backwater subcabinet post – we’re not even talking about the secretary of housing and urban development here – there’s actually potentially quite a bit riding on the nomination for those in the real estate
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Credit for many homebuyers is about to get substantially tighter, come November 16. No, it has nothing to do with the debt ceiling or the government shutdown or event the Federal Reserve. In this case, it’s a long-scheduled program changeover at Fannie Mae, which is planning to change the code on the “Desktop Underwriter” program. This is the computer software program lenders frequently use in the field to ensure
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Once again, we find ourselves at the precipice of a government shutdown. Unless Congress comes to an agreement with the President to pass at least a continuing resolution, all nonessential federal government functions will grind to a halt come October 1. Federal employees will be furloughed – possibly never to make up the wages lost. This also means that key bureaucracies in the IRS, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and
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With the massive reduction in home values over the last six years (a recovery in 2012 notwithstanding), and low interest rates, it’s actually been a tough period for the reverse mortgage industry, from a portfolio management perspective. True, a weak economy and a bear market in stocks in 2008, combined with stubbornly low interest rates, forced a lot of older Americans to look to the reverse mortgage industry to supplement their retirement incomes in recent years.
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The President has just called for the dismantling of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) – that is, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – as we know them. As most in the real estate world are aware, these corporations were created during the Great Depression to create a market to which banks could sell mortgages, receive cash in return, and replenish their capital reserves and get back to lending. On the flip side, these GSEs also provided an attractive investment for
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A recent report by the New York Federal Reserve got the ball rolling: A visiting Cornell professor authored a paper, “Paying Paul and Robbing No One,” advocating the practice of state and local politicians using the power of eminent domain to seize mortgages where borrowers are deeply underwater. Eminent domain refers to the legal power of government to seize property for the benefit of the public. A common example of eminent domain at work would be
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The home mortgage interest deduction – long as close to a sacred cow as you could get in the tax code, is beginning to come under scrutiny among legislators and policy wonks. As Congress hunts and pecks for ways to increase the tax revenue they extract from citizens, they are increasingly looking at eliminating or curtailing tax benefits and incentives that have been long-established. In the case of the mortgage interest deduction, that particular benefit has been in place since
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