Interesting Housing News Links (February 13, 2009)

* What bailed-out RBS and HBOS bankers did was unforgivable.. (Tony Parsons, Mirror)

I reckon many people felt curiously unsatisfied after that bunch of bailed-out bankers from RBS and HBOS hung their heads and said sorry.

* Stocks fall as investors can’t shake economic woest

NEW YORK — Investors sent Washington a message this week: They won’t commit to stocks until the government commits to a plan.

* Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac again suspend foreclosures

Government-controlled mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Friday they have immediately suspended all foreclosure sales involving occupied single-family and 2-4 unit properties through March 6, to give troubled borrowers more time to work with loan servicers to avoid losing their homes.

* Independence police involved in overnight standoff (Kansas City Star)

Independence police spent all night at a standoff with a man who refused to come out of a house in the 17300 block of East Kentucky Road.The standoff started about 10 p.m. Thursday, after police received a report of a trespasser at the residence, police said. The man was reportedly related to the homeowner.Officers were still on the scene about 7 a.m. No injuries had been reported…

* Brokers under the microscope as FSA acts (The Scotsman)

Just one of last year’s cases was in Scotland. The FSA said Kilmarnock-based Ian Sanderson, of Mortgage Master, admitted to deliberately inflating people’s salaries so applications would be dealt with by lenders using a fast-track process, which is subject to less scrutiny.

* California foreclosures down 23% in January (Peter Hong, Los Angeles Times)

ForeclosureRadar, the online seller of default data, says California homes sold at foreclosure auctions were down 23% in January from a year ago. The company attributes the drop to big banks being preoccupied with their mergers and thus too swamped to deal with defaults. Lenders say there may be something to that, but they’re also working to modify loans to avoid foreclosures. Here’s the Times …

* Mortgage lending at 34-year low (Hilary Osborne, Guardian Unlimited)

The number of mortgages taken out by people buying a home fell to its lowest level in 34 years during 2008, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said today.

* Recession squeezes farmers on two sides (News & Observer)

Even in hard economic times, it might seem the state’s farmers could take refuge in the simple fact that laid-off workers and nervous 401(K) watchers still need to eat.

* White House and major banks act on housing crisis (Maura Reynolds, Los Angeles Times)

Reporting from Costa Mesa and Washington — With pressure growing for government action to stem foreclosures, the White House moved up to next week the unveiling of President Obama’s housing rescue plan, while major banks said they would freeze seizures of homes for at least three weeks pending the rollout of the initiative.

* 3 suspects in rental fraud surrender (Sacramento Bee)

Three suspects in an alleged home rental fraud in Natomas turned themselves in to police Thursday, leaving only one still being sought, police said.

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