May 2, 2012 WBEZChicago has dug in its heels on a new city ordinance that puts banks on the line for securing and maintaining vacant homes. But the federal government, on behalf of mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is fighting the law in a test case that could affect other cities, too.
May 1, 2012 Falling prices and low interest rates are making it even cheaper to buy a house these days. And rising rents in many areas make it more tempting to take the plunge. According to the Census Bureau, the national homeownership rate is at a 15-year low.
May 1, 2012 The real estate market has turned around in some parts of the U.S., but many buyers aren't seeing true bargains anymore. Investors are driving up prices, and inventory is low, especially for homes priced under $250,000. That's not great news for anyone hoping to buy an affordable house to live in.
April 26, 2012 Earlier this month, a judge approved a $25 billion settlement between five major banks and nearly all of the state attorneys general over shortcuts lenders took to push through some foreclosures. Housing counselors say the deal has yet to make an impact in communities around the country.
April 16, 2012 With the huge supply of foreclosed homes, the rental housing market is becoming increasingly dominated by investment companies — not the mom-and-pop operations down the street that used to fill that role. Some experts worry about what kind of landlords the companies will make.
April 12, 2012 Where could a newspaper (or radio) reporter pick up a mansion/castle like the one David Niven and Doris Day take over in Please Don't Eat the Daisies?
April 11, 2012 Some economists say the government-run enterprises should be allowed to help distressed homeowners by lowering their loan principals to reflect today's lower values. But critics of the move say it would cost taxpayers money and encourage strategic defaults.
March 28, 2012 Housing prices are still falling nationwide, but some analysts see reason for optimism in the real estate market. Home listings are dropping closer to healthy market levels, and some real estate agents report more interest among would-be buyers.
March 23, 2012 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have concluded that giving homeowners a big break on their mortgages would make good financial sense in many cases, NPR and ProPublica have learned. But a key regulator has resisted principal write-downs, and some economists fear they would lead to abuses.
March 18, 2012 At the height of the housing crisis, low-income Americans had many opportunities to buy a home with the help of subprime mortgages, which proved to be disastrous. But those battered by the crisis continue to find paths to home ownership, despite financial disincentives.
March 16, 2012 The rate at which foreclosures are processed varies widely depending on the state. In New York, for example, it's taking about three years on average, compared with three months in Texas. The difference often has to do with whether courts are overseeing the process.
March 16, 2012 Texas processes foreclosures fastest, with an average of 90 days. At the other end is New York, with an average of 1,019 days. Experts say there are pros and cons to getting through them both too fast and too slow. The national average is 348 days to complete a foreclosure.