Interesting Housing News Links (February 15, 2009)

* Trial set in mortgage fraud case (Peter Boylan, Honolulu Advertiser)

The top two executives of a Honolulu mortgage company accused of orchestrating a foreclosure bailout scheme that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks and distressed homeowners pleaded not guilty in federal court yesterday.

* The Distress in the West (Alan J. Heavens, Philadelphia Inquirer)

If you are looking for a word that sums up today’s housing market in Arizona, Nevada and California, Tolleson is it.

* Failing Spanish builder used TV tips to rob banks and pay debts (Anita Brooks, The Independent Online)

When Spain’s decade-long construction boom collapsed last year, builders called for desperate measures. They announced layoffs. They slashed prices. They clamoured for government aid. But one builder in Catalonia found a quick solution for his failing business: he started robbing banks.

* 15 of 50 victims of Buffalo crash recovered

CLARENCE, N.Y . — The remains of 15 people have been recovered from the wreckage of Flight 3407, authorities said Sunday as crews raced to finish their work before a snowstorm arrives later in the week.

* Baby-faced dad, 13, raises “broken Britain” fears (Gregory Katz)

Ahhh, Britain. The land of Shakespeare and the Beatles, Churchill and the Queen. Rolling green hills, groovy London shops, hip plaids splashed over raincoats and umbrellas.

* Grim warning from legal frontline (The Irish Independent)

PORTENTOUS warnings about Ireland ‘s swift slide into the gloom don’t often emanate from the High Court. Last week’s prediction that an “avalanche” of house repossessions lay ahead took on added gravitas because the warning was issued by no less than a senior figure in that august body.

* 30-year mortgage rates fall this week

McLEAN, Va. Rates on 30-year mortgages edged down this week, but remained above 5 percent, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

* Rise in bankruptcy filings consistent with economy, experts say (David Flaum, Commercial Appeal)

As the area economy crumbled, joblessness grew and home foreclosures mounted last year, it’s no surprise bankruptcies also rose.

* Some what-ifs from the IRS (Seattle Times)

The Internal Revenue Service is offering taxpayers some guidance on the tax implications of economic hardship because of the deepening recession. Among the “What If” scenarios presented by the agency, and its response:

* Townhouse ‘renters,’ owner victims of scam (Dan Nakaso, Honolulu Advertiser)

KAILUA “Nigerian scammers” duped an O’ahu family into paying rent on a townhouse the scammers do not own and have left the legitimate homeowner angry and afraid after she discovered her locks had been changed and strangers had moved in.

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