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Reflection: Obama accused of failing to mitigate the housing crash

(HOMEOWNERSHIP NEWS) Although the Obama administration promised an era of change, the lack of response and accountability after the housing bubble burst in 2008 left millions in debt and without homes.

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Pause for reflection

As we prepare for the inauguration of a new President, it is an understatement to say that the American population is split on quite a few issues. The frustration has led to much reflection on the past years, in order to fully understand where we are as a nation today. However with every new issue that arises, there are more left in the past, some never resolved. An example of this is the detriment of the foreclosure crisis in 2008.

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Movies like The Big Short attempted to break down the narrative of this financial disaster, highlighting the fact that many of the key players to blame never saw the inside of a jail cell. Although the Obama administration promised an era of change, the lack of response and accountability left everyone to think that maybe the rich and powerful really can get away with anything.

Brief breakdown

It is estimated that almost 21 million Americans lost properties due to foreclosure or an associated matter when the housing bubble burst. With every new foreclosure sign hammered into the front lawn of our neighbors, people were left to uproot their lives and find a new place to call home.

It may have not been apparent at the time with so many people suffering great losses, but a large percentage of those affected were families of color. They had been the prime targets for subprime loans, and were known to accumulate wealth in their home equity.

The Atlantic ran a searing story entitled “Obama Failed to Mitigate America’s Foreclosure Crisis,” wherin David Dayen explains how this led to a complete “disintegration of wealth” among these people, which seemed to counter the expectations many had for our first black President.

No justice

Though policies were passed to modify mortgages and funds were allocated to apply some relief, no justice was ever served to punish the banks and companies responsible for the crisis in the first place. Foreclosures continued to take place and banks collected every cent of money from homeowners before their inevitable eviction.

Even with this blatant example of fraud, President Obama and the government did not choose to prosecute banks or executives.

So what is the take away? How can the American public learn from this for future lending?

Unfortunately, it seems that borrowers will never be on the same level as those they borrow from. If the Obama administration planned to restore faith in our democracy in regards to this crisis, then they clearly failed. The apathetic response has been met with surges of frustration from the American public, who can now be sure that the same rules do not apply to everyone.

Power and money will always win out. Unfortunately the chance to prove that statement wrong was ignored.

#Foreclosure

Natalie is a Staff Writer at The Real Daily and co-founded an Austin creative magazine called Almost Real Things. When she is not writing, she spends her time making art, teaching painting classes and confusing people. In addition to pursuing a writing career, Natalie plans on getting her MFA to become a Professor of Fine Art.

Homeownership

Experts, politicians say improving homeownership will be complex

(REAL ESTATE) As tax reform remains hotly debated, experts and politicians discuss the way forward to protect homeownership, and thus the economy.

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jeb hensarling on homeownership

The consensus is that if more Americans can sustainably buy homes, the economy and taxpayers will benefit.

As the nation’s homeownership rate hovers around a 50-year low, it’s time to acknowledge and start addressing the range of issues suppressing the market today, according to individuals at a Realtors and S&P event this month.

“When there is no hope for owning real property, we are taking a huge step backwards for the future of our country,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in her opening remarks.

Politicians and industry experts at this event outlined a number of key issues that need to be addressed to improve homeownership rates and market stability in the U.S: Buying incentives, student loan debt, and affordability.

But most of all, it’s important that the complexity of the housing market never be ignored. There’s not just one issue to be addressed, or a single solution that will fix it all.

For example, leading up to the 2007 housing crash, home buyer enthusiasm peaked as mortgage rates were low and investment return rates high. It was an environment that many Americans felt was too good to pass up.

Many also feared getting priced out of the market if they didn’t buy right away and take advantage of the current market state, a phenomenon dubbed “buyer’s panic,” according to economist Dr. Robert Shiller. Shiller noted that public sentiment about the risks of home buying peaked in 2006, but homes were still bought left and right.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) of the House Financial Services Committee observed that sustainable homeownership plays a key role in protecting the overall economy, citing the “unsustainable housing finance rollercoaster” that caused the Great Recession, a “lost decade” of lost economic growth.

“The lesson is clear: Housing unsustainability doesn’t just create unaffordability,” stated Rep. Hensarling. “It can create economic catastrophe.”

Overall, interest rates and tax law aren’t the only market drivers, something industry leaders should keep in mind as tax reform legislation enters the House and the economy continues to slowly bounce back from the Great Recession.

Post-recession debt burdens aren’t helping the nation’s homeownership rate, either. Student loan debt is suppressing young adult homeownership in particular.

“Eventually, time will start to soften the impact of those high student loans,” Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P Global Ratings, explained during a panel. “Jobs are coming around, wages are picking up.” But this is not to say the issue isn’t having real ramifications right now.

For those struggling to repay student loan debt, homeownership is simply not an option right now, according to Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communication at NAR.

Meanwhile, many who are managing their student loan debt well aren’t in position to buy a home, either, a trend also identified by the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Another panel comprised of Dr. Lawrence Yun of NAR, Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, and Boyd Campbell of Century 21 discussed affordability concerns involving the supply and demand issues facing the housing market today.

Debt burdens aside, homeownership is just becoming too expensive for many Americans. “Prices have risen roughly 40 percent in the past five years, while people’s income has risen at a much slower rate,” Yun said. “This rise in prices forces an affordability concern.”

This particular issue isn’t just a real estate matter. The labor market plays a role as college-educated workers are priced out of areas where the job market is strong but housing prices are high.

As the number of families buying their first single-family homes remains well below the 50-year average, conversations about the range of issues impacting the housing market must continue.

“Prospective homebuyers face headwinds from the market, in the halls of Congress and in their own family’s budgets,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “We can’t solve them all, but we know more can be done to smooth the way for creditworthy borrowers who want to own a home.”

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Homeownership

Preparing your clients for a long-distance move

(REAL ESTATE) You’re a community resource, even when a client is looking to move far away – here’s how to help prepare them.

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A local move is never easy, but when moving across the country, it becomes a lot more complicated. The internet has made it easier to research utilities, communities and services.

But when you have clients who are preparing to move out of the area, you might want to make sure they are aware of these six mistakes that commonly occur.

1. Falling for a moving scam.
Rogue operators often give cost estimates sight unseen. Make sure clients know that this is a red flag. This publication of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a good place to start.

2. Waiting until the last minute
Many people put off doing the research to move and be ready. Don’t make that mistake. Start packing early. This gives time to purge and pack. Label all boxes as you go. Have a timeline that shows when the moving company will pick up belongings, when the new place will be ready and where to stay in between.

3. Paying for clutter to travel across the country
The moving company charges for weight and size of goods. Purge the clutter and unused items from the house before the move to avoid adding extra charges to the move.

4. Setting up utilities in your new home
There are so many details to manage before the move, it can be easy to overlook this step. Moving into a home without electricity or water can be trying.

5. Forgetting to cancel services at the old home
The landscaping service, pest maintenance company, or pool person may not realize the family moved. Don’t run up unnecessary charges by neglecting to cancel these services.

6. Getting too stressed
Moving across country should be an adventure. Sure, there is going to be stress. Remind your clients to manage their stress and make the most of their last days in the community with friends and family. With careful planning, everything will go much smoother and this can happen.

You don’t have to credit anyone, just have your own materials prepared for clients moving long distances – you’re the ultimate resource and the community relies on you, even when they’re leaving!

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Homeownership

The Granny Pod could be the alternative to nursing homes (and why people will soon demand bigger back yards)

The Granny Pod looks like a guest house and sits conveniently in any backyard – they plug right up to existing plumbing and electrical and allow both caregiver and senior to have their own space while remaining connected.

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I’ve spent most of my life living everywhere but the United States, and from what I’ve seen in other cultures, when couples tie the knot parents come with the marriage! That doesn’t necessarily mean the parents live with the kids (although I’ve seen that in countries like Japan, Korea, and Turkey), but I feel safe saying that it’s a given the kids will taken in/take on/take over their ailing parents at some point in said parent’s lives (Italy for example).

I’m not sure the US is set up that way. The big business of senior living facilities and nursing homes tells me otherwise.

But that might be changing thanks to the Granny Pod and similar mono-living facilities that can be installed in a person’s backyard (which is why we suspect people may demanding bigger back yards in coming years).

Close, but not TOO close

MedCottages or “Granny Pods” seem to be a viable solution for taking care of elderly family members without giving up the independence Americans put so much emphasis on.

A recent story explains that Reverend Ken Dupin created the MedCottage as an alternative to nursing homes, as 78 million baby boomers head toward retirement.

These 12 feet by 24 feet pods can sit conveniently in any backyard and plug right up to one’s existing plumbing and electrical. The pods allow both caregiver and senior to have their own space while remaining connected.

Retiree support for Granny Pods

For its part, AARP, the lobbying group for aging Americans, has gone on record to assert that local zoning laws pose one of the biggest obstacles to making such dwellings a practical solution to caring for aging family members in what it calls “accessory dwelling units.”

AARP spokesperson, Nancy Thompson said “the MedCottage has some of the features the organization advocates in accessory dwelling units, but not all of the universal design features that could be useful for people of all ages.” She does add that it’s a step in the right direction for accessory dwelling units.

No more condo fees

I’m no social worker, but studies bear out that human contact is vital as we grow older. Even in a worst case scenario (when an individual living in a nursing home is alone in their room for much of the day), they at least meet other patrons at lunch or dinner, and at whatever social outings are plugged into a daily schedule. For all the close circuitry and monitoring the Granny Pod offers, I don’t know if it takes the place of human contact, so hopefully families will remember the ties that bind them and do more than just monitor a screen to see if Granny is okay.

Another benefit of the Granny Pod is that once it’s paid for and installed, that’s it – no more monthly rent or condo fees that can deplete a retiree’s resources.

Granny Pod starting a movement

According to the Washington Post, other companies seeking to make similar structures are Seattle-based FabCab (whose name comes from Fabulous Cabin), and San Francisco-based Larson Shores Architects, which designs what it calls “Architectural Solutions for the Aging Population,” or ASAP, and its “Inspired In-Law” dwellings” demonstrates that assisted living facilities aren’t the only item on the menu.

As this type of structure catches on, it may threaten nursing homes and even retirement condo villages, and could influence the sizes of yards builders offer in coming years. Industry practitioners should be aware of the trend, and be able to offer this type of setup to clients who are actively considering options for their parents (the solution may just be a bigger back yard).

#GrannyPods

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