Anyone who’s been in this state in late July has seen the traffic pattern – the long line of cars and trucks with boats or kayaks or bikes on the back, heading north on the highway to New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Some folks are heading toward campgrounds or b&b’s; some others are heading toward their own vacation homes, which in the Lakes Region can be pretty substantial.
Even though the Housing Market seems to be stabilizing, foreclosures are still a major problem. Some homeowners, who have tried to negotiate with banks are now going to court, saying they’ve not been able to get any clarity. Meanwhile, Lenders say they are making efforts, as they still are wading through an unprecedented number of troubled mortgages. We'll look how foreclosures are fairing in the Granite State.
The Great Recession slammed into all age groups, flattening the career dreams of young people and squeezing the retirement accounts of middle-aged savers. It financially crippled many elderly people who had thought they could stand on their own.
In Florida, the foreclosure process takes 861 days, on average.
That means houses often sit in limbo for more than two years after the owner stops paying the mortgage. Maybe the homeowner is still living in the house. Maybe he's renting it out. Maybe squatters are living there, or maybe it's empty and falling down.
Marc Joseph's job is to find out.
Joseph is a real estate agent. On the day I tag along with him, he's representing a bank that had repossessed a concrete block home in Cape Coral, Fla.
To learn more about the mortgage settlement and its potential effects in New Hampshire, All Things Considered host Brady Carlson talks with Dean Christon, executive director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.
The turmoil in the housing market over the past few years has scared a lot of people away from homeownership. That means many people who can afford to buy are now renting. With so much demand for apartments, rents are once again on the rise. And in places like New York City, they're near record highs.
A few weeks ago Lauren Weitz got her first apartment in the city. Every night when she gets home from the office, she upholds a New York City tradition.
Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord.
In 2005, when Willow was 7, the housing market was booming. Home prices in some Florida neighborhoods nearly doubled from one month to the next. Her family moved into a big house; her mom became a real estate agent.
But as Willow moved from childhood to adolescence, the market turned, and the neighborhood emptied out. "Everyone is getting foreclosed on here," she says.
Joe and Carrie were out of work and had run out of money. They had been living in a motel room with their two young daughters. The Crossroads House homeless shelter has helped them get back on track.
JOE: I was teaching in Maine part-time and suddenly there was no more work. So I said to my wife “let’s see what New Hampshire has - substitute teaching and stuff like that." We lost our place where we were living and we were living in a motel.
Despite some green shoots in the economy, the housing sector remains weak. With 11 million Americans still underwater on their mortgages, some housing experts believe it's time for more dramatic solutions.
The idea of reducing the principal on the loans of underwater homeowners used to be a fringe concept, embraced by a few outliers. Today, many policymakers believe principal reduction is necessary to keep some troubled homeowners afloat.
But so far, the nation's biggest mortgage holders, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, haven't embraced the idea.
Not everyone wants to buy a mold-infested foreclosure, but Dan Grohs does.
He and his Realtor are walking through a three-bedroom house in Minneapolis. The copper pipes have been stolen by vandals and the heat doesn't work, but Grohs recently bid on the house — and he sees potential.
"It's got a nice flow to it," Grohs says as he moves through the home. "You walk in — living room, dining room, kitchen. Good spacious rooms."
Across the country, big banks and other large investors are buying up tens of thousands of foreclosed rental properties. They're not always model landlords, according to tenants and regulators. Some banks are failing to follow local and state housing codes, leaving tenants to live in squalor — without even a number to call in the most dire situations.