Real Estate Review: Mortgage Rates Set New Low, Homeowners Get More Time, Banks Get Blame and “Reverse Foreclosure”
Fixed rate home mortgage loans dropped for the eighth straight week to a new low for 2011 amid concerns of another economic slowdown this year, according to data from Freddie Mac and a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.49%, down from 4.55% last week and 2010’s 4.72% average. Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell from 3.74% to 3.68%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.17% in 2010.
Lawyers Get More Time to Finish Foreclosures
Florida foreclosure defense is translating into more time for plantiff bank attorneys to complete a foreclosure, according to an article in the Palm Beach Post.
Due to the reality of Florida’s overloaded court system and swirling questions surrounding the validity of foreclosure paperwork, Fannie Mae is now allowing bank attorneys up to 450 days (about 15 months) for lawyers to complete a foreclosure before fines are levied. The previous time limit was 185 days, or about six months.
The increased time needed to complete a foreclosure legally and correctly against a homeowner is due in large part to Florida foreclosure defense attorneys working to protect the rights of South Florida homeowners, according to Roy Oppenheim.
Obama Blames Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase for Modification Failures
The three largest U.S. mortgage lenders are getting some heat from the Obama administration for the failures of the federal foreclosure-prevention program, according to The Associated Press.
The lackluster performance of Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase with helping homeowners lower their mortgage payments has led the Obama administration to remove financial incentives it had given these lenders.
Only about one-third of the 1.4 million people who applied for mortgage modifications through the federal program have had their payments lowered permanently.
Angry Homeowners ‘Foreclose’ on Lenders
Owners of a house in Florida have engineered a “reverse foreclosure” against a Bank of America branch in Naples, according to The New York Times.
The homeowners paid $165,000 in cash to buy their home from the bank and never borrowed against it. But last February, the bank began foreclosure proceedings against them. The homeowners hired a Florida foreclosure defense attorney and the case against them was dropped, however they were able to recover a judgment for $2,500 in attorney’s fees against the bank.
When the bank didn’t pay, the homeowners’ lawyer showed up at the bank with sheriff deputies and a moving truck to clean out the building.
The bank eventually settled with the homeowners for more than $5,700 to cover the fees and additional costs.