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By Edward J. Pinto | December 31, 2012
Imagine that a federal agency wanted to hurt America's working-class families on purpose. How would it inflict maximum damage? It might start by aggressively marketing homeownership to marginal borrowers. It would tell them that bad credit scores aren't a problem. It would push them into homes they can't afford, saddle them with loans that barely build equity and provide no incentives for fiscal discipline. And when many of these homes go underwater and into foreclosure, it would leave families in financial ruin.
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NEWS
By Edward J. Pinto | December 31, 2012
Imagine that a federal agency wanted to hurt America's working-class families on purpose. How would it inflict maximum damage? It might start by aggressively marketing homeownership to marginal borrowers. It would tell them that bad credit scores aren't a problem. It would push them into homes they can't afford, saddle them with loans that barely build equity and provide no incentives for fiscal discipline. And when many of these homes go underwater and into foreclosure, it would leave families in financial ruin.
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BUSINESS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | December 16, 2012
Homes with federally insured mortgages - afforded to mostly lower-income borrowers - are expected to see a spike in foreclosures because of dicey lending practices, according to a recent study. More than a dozen ZIP codes in the Baltimore metropolitan area could see foreclosure rates above 15 percent and as high as 43 percent for Federal Housing Administration-backed loans, according to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. Historically, such loans have put homeownership within reach for Americans who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. The minimum down payment on an FHA loan is 3.5 percent, while private lenders typically require as much as 20 percent.
BUSINESS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | December 31, 2012
Federal officials have extended a regulatory waiver that makes it easier to "flip" properties - a move meant to encourage the renovation of foreclosed homes but that critics say could herald the return of predatory schemes. The Federal Housing Administration has waived through 2014 an anti-flipping regulation, which had prevented the agency from insuring mortgages on properties sold within 90 days of acquisition. The waiver, first implemented in 2010 to bolster the flagging housing market, is intended to enable investors to buy and quickly rehab properties as the market continues to struggle.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella and Lorraine Mirabella,Sun Staff Writer | July 30, 1995
Easing fears that congressional budget slashing would halt ++ efforts to build and renovate affordable apartments in Maryland over the next few years, lawmakers partially restored funding to a federal housing program late last week.The House voted Thursday to retain Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance for multifamily housing, a turnaround from an earlier bid that threatened the construction, renovation or refinancing of up to 21 privately owned projects with more than 4,000 market-rate apartments.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | January 14, 2006
The federal government's biggest home mortgage program streamlined itself at the end of December, and that could be good news for buyers, sellers, realty agents and builders in 2006. In fact, the Federal Housing Administration's decision to eliminate or soften many of its onerous rules about property conditions and mandatory repairs should be a stimulant to the entire housing market this year. It could help open low-down-payment mortgages with no prepayment penalties to thousands of first-time, moderate-income purchasers who might have turned to higher-fee "sub-prime" alternatives instead.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | August 8, 2004
DOES IT really matter if the appraisal on the house you buy is accurate? Is a little fudging a big deal? You bet. If your valuation is inflated to hit the contract price - a not-uncommon occurrence, according to appraisers themselves - you could end up with a mortgage that's larger than the market resale value of your home. Or if the appraiser ignores some key value-depressing features of the property, you could be stuck with thousands of dollars in unexpected repair bills. Now the federal government is weighing into this issue with a blunt new message to appraisers and the lenders who hire them: Don't play games with home appraisals.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | November 5, 2000
Call it a banner week for home mortgage applicants. The nation's largest federal source of home loans for first-time buyers announced plans to cut costs for new borrowers substantially, and to pass on millions of dollars in savings to its current customers. On top of that, the nation's second-largest private source of mortgages rolled out several groundbreaking loan concepts, including one that eliminates the need for down payments from people who don't care to make them. The Federal Housing Administration produced the biggest splash of the week by reducing the cost of mortgage insurance premiums for future borrowers by a third.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | September 24, 2000
A transformation has been under way here that is changing the homeownership prospects - and choices - of thousands of first-time, moderate-income and minority families. It's also keeping more owners in their houses instead of facing foreclosure when they fall behind on payments. The Federal Housing Administration, long derided as the lending choice of last resort, has turned itself into what is arguably the consumer-protection leader in the mortgage industry, both for buyers and owners.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | June 3, 2006
Clarification In a recent column on legislation to expand Federal Housing Administration mortgages to more potential homebuyers, the maximum mortgage amount under the bill would be the median home price for any metropolitan area, but not to exceed the Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac limit, which is adjusted annually. The current limit is $417,000. An unusual Capitol Hill alliance of liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans, commercial banks, real estate brokers, ethnic group lobbies, homebuilders and mortgage brokers is pushing for legislation that could give thousands of first-time home purchasers a better deal than they get in the mortgage market today.
BUSINESS
By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun | December 16, 2012
Homes with federally insured mortgages - afforded to mostly lower-income borrowers - are expected to see a spike in foreclosures because of dicey lending practices, according to a recent study. More than a dozen ZIP codes in the Baltimore metropolitan area could see foreclosure rates above 15 percent and as high as 43 percent for Federal Housing Administration-backed loans, according to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. Historically, such loans have put homeownership within reach for Americans who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. The minimum down payment on an FHA loan is 3.5 percent, while private lenders typically require as much as 20 percent.
NEWS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | November 9, 2011
State regulators said Wednesday that they have ordered a large mortgage broker to stop making loans to Marylanders after federal investigators alleged the company had violated lending rules. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced last week that it was no longer allowing Allied Home Mortgage Corp. to originate loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration because it said the company had played "fast and loose with FHA's standards. " The Justice Department is alleging mortgage fraud in a lawsuit against Allied.
NEWS
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | August 30, 2011
State auditors have questioned $88,000 in claims paid to health care providers by the Family Health Administration in the last two fiscal years. The auditors said in a report made public Tuesday that the FHA, which provides health care services to at-risk communities, did not adequately make sure claims were legitimate. For instance, from January 2008 to July 2009 the agency paid for several medical procedures that were considered questionable because records show accompanying care, such as anesthesia, was not provided.
NEWS
April 30, 2011
The situation in Ruxton is full of complexities ("Discrimination in Ruxton," April 25). If representatives of Sheppard Pratt Health System are to be believed, Ruxton residents are a bunch of elitist snobs with no moral standing. In reality, the personal issues surrounding this are just the beginning. Put aside the obvious name-calling and look at the more important legal issues. The heart of this issue lies around the misguided actions of Sheppard Pratt. Without question, Sheppard Pratt is a first-rate institution with exceptional staff and services.
NEWS
By Antero Pietila | February 8, 2010
A small paid notice in Wednesday's Sun announced the death of Anne Irene Ruth Salzman at Charlestown Retirement Community. She was 97 and "was preceded in death by her husband of fifty years, Sidney Salzman," the notice said. Missing was the rest of the story - how the Salzmans in 1941 fought the Federal Housing Administration for the right to live in a neighborhood of their own choosing. Much has changed since then, but studies suggest that each year millions of Americans still face similar discrimination - not by the government, perhaps, but by the real estate marketplace.
BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins | jamie.smith.hopkins@baltsun.com | January 27, 2010
Great Oak Lending Partners, a Timonium broker, is being fined $11,000 for what U.S. officials describe as misleading advertising about Federal Housing Administration mortgages. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees FHA, said this week that its mortgagee review board found several problems with Great Oak Lending's direct-mail ads. In addition to the fine, the company will have to forward its advertising to the FHA for monthly reviews during a six-month probation, HUD said.
BUSINESS
August 2, 1998
Higher loan limits on Federal Housing Administration loans may become a reality after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday.The legislation raises the FHA's mortgage insurance limits for single-family homes to a higher range, beginning at $109,032 up to $197,620. The current range is $86,317 to $170,362.The Senate approved the FHA measure July 17 as part of its appropriations legislation. A compromise bill must be approved by Congress before it goes to President Clinton to sign into law.The Department of Housing and Urban Development wanted to raise FHA-insured loans to a single limit of $227,150, which would put it on a par with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits.
BUSINESS
By KEN HARNEY | October 5, 2008
In the current credit squeeze, if you have less than a 20 percent down payment, there's pretty much only one major source of mortgage financing available: the Federal Housing Administration, the Depression-era home loan insurance agency that still offers 3 percent down, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with consumer-friendly credit standards, even on jumbo loans in high-cost areas. But there is a potentially troublesome problem looming for FHA: New loan volume is exploding - tripling in the past 12 months alone - and Congress just handed the agency the responsibility for virtually all the government's efforts to keep economically distressed homeowners out of foreclosure by refinancing their unaffordable loans.
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