Housing rescue bill may fall short, who benefits?

USA Today
by Anna Bahney

07/27/08

Is it a remedy for the worst housing slump the nation has suffered in decades? Or merely a taxpayer-funded bailout that will fail to reverse the plunge in home prices, the surge in foreclosures and the grave threat that overhangs the economy? The housing act, which won final approval in Congress on Saturday and which President Bush has said he will sign, is historic in its sweep and ambition...

//tinyurl.com/6bm6wt


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

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Time to Address Foreclosures

Truthout contributor Dean Baker writes: "Last week Congress finally passed its long-debated housing bill. In addition to securing the multimillion-dollar salaries of the top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and protecting their shareholders from facing the full consequences of their bad stock picks, the bill also provided funds for guaranteeing new mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure. The bill allows lenders to bring failing mortgages to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), which will guarantee a new mortgage at 85 percent of the current appraised value of the home. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that lenders will bring 400,000 mortgages to the FHA over the next three years. CBO expects that 140,000 of these mortgages will go into foreclosure a second time, leaving a net of 260,000 homeowners who will hang onto their homes as a result of this program. By contrast, there are likely to be 2.5 million to 3 million foreclosures in both 2008 and 2009. This means that the housing bill will likely help less than five percent of the families facing foreclosure over the next two years, leaving 95 percent of this group out of luck."

//www.truthout.org/article/after-housing-bill-time-address-foreclosures



Home Prices Fall in May; Consumer Confidence Is Flat

Michael M. Grynbaum, of The New York Times: "Two trouble spots in the economy showed little sign of improvement in the last few months, as home prices fell again in May and consumer confidence stagnated in July, according to a pair of reports out Tuesday. Home prices, already falling at the steepest rate in two decades, tumbled again in May, according to the Case-Shiller index, a widely watched survey that measures prices in 20 major metropolitan areas."

//www.truthout.org/article/home-prices-fall-may-consumer-confidence-is-flat



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