Interesting Housing News Links (February 27, 2009)

* NEW UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS HIT A GRIM 27-YEAR HIGH

WASHINGTON – New jobless claims rose more than expected last week and the number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits topped 5.1 million, fresh evidence that the recession is increasingly forcing employers to shed jobs.

* Bellevue man gets 7 years for fraud conspiracy

A former loan officer has been sentenced to seven years in prison in a $27 million home mortgage fraud case after admitting that he paid borrowers to participate in the scam.

* Mortgage-fraud defendant sentenced to seven years in prison (Sanjay Bhatt, Seattle Times)

A federal judge sentenced a former Bellevue loan officer today to seven years in prison for perpetrating what prosecutors say is one of the largest home-mortgage fraud cases brought so far in Western Washington.

* House prices fall to lowest level on record says Land Registry (Myra Butterworth, Telegraph)

The Land Registry said house prices dropped by a record 15.1 per cent in January compared with a year ago. It is the largest drop since the Land Registry began its records in January 1995.

* ‘ALZHEIMER’ SCAMMER GETS 2 YRS. (William J. Gorta, New York Post)

A former Long Islander was sentenced on hate-crime charges yesterday for pulling a brazen, $800,000 mortgage scam on a 94-year-old Alzheimer’s victim, officials said.

* JPMorgan Chase to cut 14,000 jobs as it braces for losses (Sacramento Business Journal)

JPMorgan Chase told investors Thursday that it will cut 14,000 jobs, up from a previously announced 9,200 in December.

* Economy shrinks at fastest pace in 26 years (Jeannine Aversa-)

The economy contracted at a staggering 6.2 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as consumers and businesses ratcheted back spending, plunging the country deeper into recession.The Commerce Department report released Friday showed the economy sinking much faster than the 3.8 percent annualized drop for the October-December quarter first estimated last m…

* Homeowner Fights Off Home Invasion (Natalie Arnold, WBAY)

Grand Chute police are searching for the man they say broke into a house early Thursday morning while a woman was home sleeping.

* Lloyds counts cost of HBOS takeover and property slump as 500,000 customers slip into negative equity (Times Online)

The number of mortgage-holders borrowing from Lloyds Banking Group that are trapped in negative equity surged last year to half a million, the group, which is 43 per cent owned by the taxpayer, revealed yesterday.

* Decline continues in jobs and goods (Christopher S. Rugaber)

WASHINGTON As bad as it is already, the economy keeps getting worse and government figures Thursday provided more evidence that the downward spiral won’t end anytime soon.

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