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BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose | eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com | March 29, 2010
Every day more homeowners are underwater — meaning they owe more on their house than it's worth — and a growing number of them across the country are simply walking away. They pack up, throw the house keys in the mail to the bank and start over. Sounds like an easy solution to a difficult problem. "Anything that sounds really easy or guaranteed is not," says Anne Balcer Norton, director of the foreclosure prevention division at St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center in Baltimore.
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BUSINESS
By Natalie Sherman | April 8, 2014
State lawmakers approved a bill Monday that bars the state from using eminent domain to seize mortgages or deeds of trust for a two-year period. The move, sponsored by State Senator Joan Carter Conway, pre-emptively blocks municipalities from enacting a program pioneered in Richmond, Calif. designed to spur refinancing of underwater mortgages, in which a home is worth less than the original loan.  Baltimore City Councilman Bill Henry, who is campaigning for Conway's seat, had asked the city last year to look at the idea, which would establish a municipal authority to offer to buy underwater loans from lenders and, if refused, seize them for refinancing using the home's current value.
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BUSINESS
By EILEEN AMBROSE | January 19, 2003
PATTY AND Don Kuklinski are looking for a bigger house with more land than their Abingdon home, and are prepared to take out a mortgage that will increase their monthly payments by about 20 percent. But they are unwilling to pay 60 percent more a month, which would happen if they borrowed as much as the bank was willing to lend them. "It was so astronomical," said Patty Kuklinski, who sells textbooks. "We're being very conservative, and I'd rather live my life that way," she said. "You never know what will come up in life."
BUSINESS
By Natalie Sherman, The Baltimore Sun | November 25, 2013
A California city's controversial plan to use eminent domain to help its residents burdened with mortgages worth more than their homes has caught the eye of some Baltimore leaders, who say the city might benefit from the program. There are thousands of such underwater mortgages in Baltimore, so 4th District Councilman Bill Henry has asked the City Council to explore the possibility of using the city's power to take mortgages from banks and then work with a private firm to refinance the loans based on current property value.
BUSINESS
By David Streitfeld and David Streitfeld,LOS ANGELES TIMES | September 11, 2005
As they happily watch their houses swell in value, Americans are changing their attitudes toward mortgage debt. Increasingly, a home is no longer a nest egg whose equity should never be touched, but a seemingly magical ATM enabling the owner to live it up or just live. Homeowners who refinanced took $59 billion in cash out of their houses in the second quarter, double the amount in the year-ago quarter and 16 times the average rate of the mid-1990s, according to data released last month by mortgage giant Freddie Mac. People are cashing out so quickly that the term "homeowner" soon might be inaccurate.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | May 23, 2012
For a long time, you had to pay income tax on debt that your mortgage lender forgave. During the height of the housing crisis, the federal government offered a reprieve - it stopped collecting income tax on up to $2 million of forgiven mortgage debt on a primary residence. This tax leniency is expected to expire at the end of the year, and there's some doubt it will be renewed. Maryland will step in with its own relief if the federal tax break disappears. Under legislation signed into law yesterday, Maryland won't collect state income tax on up to $1 million of forgiven mortgage debt for singles, and $2 million for joint filers.
BUSINESS
October 23, 2005
I live in Bel Air, am married and own a townhouse deeded in my name, and with a mortgage in my name. I also have a will leaving everything to my wife. If I die, would ownership transfer automatically to my wife? If so, would she have to pay an inheritance tax? Would she have to report my death to the mortgage holder? Does it matter? Or could she just continue to make the payments? Would she have to get her name on the deed to sell it? Right now I assume I just can't add her name to the deed without notifying the mortgage holder and reapplying jointly for a new mortgage.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella and Lorraine Mirabella,Sun Staff Writer | December 11, 1994
The continued increase in the number of single-person households will drive up homeownership rates in the next five years despite a parallel decline in the traditional "Ozzie and Harriet" model, predicts a top economist with the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp."
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | December 14, 2010
From The Consuming Interests blog: Maryland remains the wealthiest state in the nation, according to the latest Census data. But we have lots of debt. According to CreditKarma.com, the typical Marylander last month had: Ã?Â?Ã?Â? $7,996 credit card debt (And this before the holiday spending splurge is over.) Ã?Â?Ã?Â? $243,430 in home mortgage loans Ã?Â?Ã?Â? $15,884 in auto loans Ã?Â?Ã?Â? $31,730 in student loans Marylanders were more in hock in each of these categories compared to the national average.
BUSINESS
By Kenneth R. Harney VTC | December 29, 1996
Ballooning credit card debt among American consumers is stoking demand for a new -- and potentially risky -- home mortgage product: a loan that allows you to borrow up to 125 percent of what it's worth.Lenders across the country are scrambling to offer what some industry analysts believe will be the hottest mortgage concept of 1997.Wall Street mortgage market analyst Jonathan Lieberman, a senior researcher for Moody's Investor Services, predicts that lenders will make more than $7 billion worth of no-equity and negative-equity home mortgages in 1997, up from just $200 million in 1995 and $3 billion in 1996.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | June 13, 2013
The Inn at the Black Olive, a boutique hotel in Fells Point, was sold at auction for $3.9 million Thursday to mortgage holder 1st Mariner Bank. Bidding for the South Caroline Street hotel, restaurant and cafe-market opened at $2.5 million, said Bradd Caplan, auction agent for Alex Cooper Auctioneers Inc. One other registered bidder competed to buy the 12-suite luxury inn, he said. The two-year-old inn will remain open and continue to be run by the Spiliadis family, said Stelios Spiliadis, whose family operates the inn and separately runs the Black Olive restaurant on Bond Street nearby.
NEWS
By Doyle McManus | February 6, 2013
Would you support a tax reform measure that could help reduce the federal deficit, remove a needless distortion in the economy and make the system fairer? Me too, which is why I'm taking aim at a sacred cow: the home interest mortgage deduction. That's right, the mortgage interest deduction that every homeowner, including me, loves. If you listen to home builders and real estate agents, they'll tell you that the mortgage interest deduction is what makes homeownership possible for millions of Americans.
BUSINESS
Jamie Smith Hopkins | July 20, 2012
Almost everyone who has bought or tried to buy a short sale can attest to this: "Short" is not the word for the time involved. The reason they're called short sales is because they're on the market for less than the owner owes and require a bank's approval. That's also the reason they often take a while. In a new report that looks at the Mid-Atlantic area , Rockville-based RealEstate Business Intelligence says it's taking more than twice as long for a short sale to get from newly signed contract to settlement than it takes foreclosures and regular home sales.
NEWS
By Hanah Cho, The Baltimore Sun | May 30, 2012
Norman Harvel is growing old under a mountain of debt. At 60, Harvel faces medical and credit card bills topping $80,000. Yet Harvel is unable to work, having been injured at a job site more a decade ago. The former building maintenance worker now lives on $904 a month in Social Security disability benefits. "I was so sick and tired of getting the bills, so I would throw them away," Harvel said from his tiny basement apartment in Dundalk. "I've had to try to tell myself that it's something I will wake up from.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | May 23, 2012
For a long time, you had to pay income tax on debt that your mortgage lender forgave. During the height of the housing crisis, the federal government offered a reprieve - it stopped collecting income tax on up to $2 million of forgiven mortgage debt on a primary residence. This tax leniency is expected to expire at the end of the year, and there's some doubt it will be renewed. Maryland will step in with its own relief if the federal tax break disappears. Under legislation signed into law yesterday, Maryland won't collect state income tax on up to $1 million of forgiven mortgage debt for singles, and $2 million for joint filers.
BUSINESS
Jay Hancock | February 26, 2012
There comes a time for every trader to tally the bets that paid off, revalue the stinkers and recalibrate assumptions according to changing facts. Mutual funds do this every day. Banking companies, which still hold subprime mortgage bonds that are vastly overvalued on their books, don't do it often enough. Business columnists, if they are honest and faithful, mark their beliefs against reality every few months, if only to themselves. When they stop writing a semiweekly column after more than a decade, however, perhaps the reckoning should be explicit and public.
BUSINESS
December 29, 2002
A record number of mortgage refinancings during the past two years has supported 20 percent of the real growth in the gross domestic product, according to a study by West Chester, Pa.-based Economy.com. The study analyzed how refinancing activity helps the economy through consumer spending and other means. Experts have pointed to mortgage rates that have hit four-decade lows during the past year as a source in helping to keep a slumping economy afloat. Millions of homeowners have refinanced their mortgages at lower rates to lessen their monthly payments and to take advantage of increased housing values to capitalize on the equity in their homes.
BUSINESS
April 20, 1997
The Affordable Housing Alliance Inc., a Columbia-based nonprofit housing agency, is offering "loss mitigation" and reverse-mortgage counseling for homeowners in Central Maryland.Loss mitigation programs attempt to help families avoid foreclosure and retain their homes by working with mortgage lenders to develop a repayment plan that is agreeable to both parties.Options include a special forbearance plan, a mortgage modification plan, partial claim to cure a loan default, a deed in lieu of foreclosure or a preforeclosure sale.
NEWS
By Jonah Goldberg | October 11, 2011
Brian Phillips is the head of communications for the NYC General Assembly, the group primarily responsible for occupying Wall Street. I learned about him while listening to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition. " According to NPR, Phillips is "an ex-Marine with a bachelor's in computer science. Today he is wearing a sock on his head. " "My political goal," Phillips says, "is to overthrow the government. " Note: That's not some random nut job pulled from his Lyndon LaRouche desk or tricked-out refrigerator box/time machine.
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