Results for Think Out Loud (Other Results)
Drive down any residential street these days and it is likely you'll see at least a For Sale sign or two. You might even catch sight of an ominous Foreclosure notice. For some people this signals the possibility of a great deal. For others it evokes fear, as the economy continues to suffer. Could your home be next? On July 30th, Governor Kulongoski signed a bill aiming to prevent unnecessary home foreclosures in Oregon. The legislation makes new requirements of lenders: they must make a “good faith effort” to consider modifying the borrower’s loan; and they must notify borrowers whose homes might be foreclosed upon that they have a right to meet with the lender. The legislation passed following a significant spike in home foreclosures across Oregon in the first half of 2009. Oregon now ranks eleventh in the nation for foreclosures. There have been 19,503 foreclosure-related actions in the last six months. Portland, Salem and Eugene all had at least double the number of foreclosures compared to the first half of 2008. It’s speculated that this rise in foreclosure activity might have more to do with unemployment than subprime mortgages.
“Despite the perception that older Americans are more housing secure than younger people, millions of older Americans are carrying more mortgage debt than ever before.”The report also showed the fastest rise of mortgage debt belonged to Americans 75 or older. The percentage increase of seriously delinquent loans among people 50 years or older also made headlines, increasing about 456 percent from 2007 to 2011.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales discusses the city’s new approach to foreclosures on abandoned properties. And best-selling author Mary Roach joins us to talk about her latest book, “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans At War.”
We begin a new regular segment where we check in on the local business buzz. Our series kicks off with a look into banks and housing. While banks caught up in the housing foreclosure debacle are hurting, others are showing confidence in the future by announcing expansions. JP Morgan Chase plans to open 21 branches around the Portland-metro area and hire as many as 500 employees by the end of 2012. Key Bank's expansion is underway and Portland-based Umpqua Bank may follow suit. News on the housing market has been mixed. Central Oregon is reporting a drop in foreclosures but Portland still holds the distinction of being No. 1 in missed mortgage payments. The "serious delinquency rates" are no surprise to industry analysts who say that the Northwest was last into the recession and it appears that it will be the last out.
Home foreclosure filings are on the decline across much of the state. The most dramatic is in Linn and Jackson counties. They each saw declines of 56 percent. Does this mean that the Oregon housing market is on its way to recovery? Maybe not. In Portland the story is a little different: foreclosure rates increased by 36.8 percent. That's the highest level in three years. Meanwhile, low interest rates don't seem to be spurring home buying. Due in part to the continued high unemployment rate, many potential home buyers are apprehensive of large investments. Many of the people who are buying houses tend to be those that already have houses, as opposed to first time buyers which are indicative of an improving housing market. And many people who do want to get loans, aren't having success. Because of the current economic instability, lenders now have tougher requirements for who qualifies for a loan.
One of the new Oregon laws to come out of the short legislative session in February adds a step in the foreclosure process that could help homeowners. The law allows homeowners to request mediation with their bank when foreclosure is imminent. It also requires banks to honor homeowners' requests for mediation. The first step homeowners must take to kick off the mediation process is to request a meeting with a federally certified housing counselor. The law doesn't go into effect for a few months, but counselors are already seeing a sharp increase in demand for their services. Similar laws exist in Washington and other states, but some say they're not doing much to keep people in their homes. Either troubled homeowners don't know about the programs or they don't believe that mediation will motivate banks not to foreclose.
In the last show we did live from the state capitol, we talked to two political reporters about the progress toward adjournment. We got an update on where the budget stood with the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee. And, at the end of the hour, we discussed conflict-of-interest legislation. But throughout the hour a lot of people online (and some on the phones) wanted to know about possible foreclosure bills — and amendments to them. KXPX wrote:
What about foreclosure reform? In less than a month, the Oregonian has had three editorials about legislators needing to address it this session.Jane B said:
SBs 1552 (pre foreclosure mediation) and 1564 (ending the dual track) are SUPER IMPORTANT this session. Give homeowners a fighting chance to save their homes and get the economy back on track.Jane B also mentioned the new emergency rule put out by Attorney General John Kroger that would make mortgage lenders subject to Oregon consumer protection law. We didn't have a chance to talk about those bills last week — or the new emergency rule the Attorney General recently put out about mortgage lenders, so today, that's on the proverbial table. Have you lost your home to foreclosure? Are you trying to negotiate with your lender to make your house payment?
The Oregon Legislature had a self-imposed goal to wrap up its first constitionally mandated short session by February 29, but it looks like that's not going to happen. (Technically, lawmakers have until March 6 to finish up.) The budget plan released last week has yet to be officially passed and legislators appear to be deadlocked over the governor's school policy bills, changes to the way foreclosures work, and a few other things. Oregonian capitol reporter Michelle Cole will join us once again to give us an update on what's going on in Salem as the legislature hurtles towards the finish line.
If you're one of the lucky people who live in your own house or apartment, you might look at a white picket fence and think the same thing I do: home, with all the positive associations that come with that word. But for many people who struggle to find or keep a roof over their head, they may look at the fence from the other side: as a reminder of what they don't have. Today on Think Out Loud we're launching a new series called Finding Solutions: What Works and Why where we'll try to explore just that — solutions to some of Oregon's most pressing problems. Take the need for affordable housing as our first case. We've done shows on the economy, on foreclosures, and on homelessness. Today we'll explore some of the factors that lead people to need affordable housing, but, more importantly in this case, we'll examine what ideas are out there to provide homes to more people. We'll focus on people who are taking on different aspects of the problem of unaffordable housing and the people whose lives have been transformed by being able to find affordable housing for themselves and their families. In other words, the possible solutions instead of the problem itself.
Just a day after signing the $787 billion stimulus package in Denver, President Obama traveled to Phoenix today to announce his plan to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. The $75 billion plan has been called ambitious and it certainly has its critics. Millions of homeowners could be affected by the plan, which would create incentives for mortgage brokers to renegotiate home loans and put more funds towards government-owned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. READ MORE >>
Results for OPB
Are you trying to decide who to vote for this November for Mayor of Portland? If so, here's your opportunity to hear both candidates, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith, answer the tough questions about the future of the city. From fluoride to foreclosures, development to diversity, we'll get the straight talk from both of them on the issues of most importance to Portlanders.
The 2012 candidates for Portland mayor, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith, were on OPB's Think Out Loud October 9 for a "candidate conversation.+ Candidates, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith, answered questions about the future of the city, from fluoride to foreclosures, development to diversity.
The Portland-Vancouver area has the second highest percentage of "zombie foreclosures" in the nation, according to a new report from the Internet housing firm RealtyTrac.
Some Oregon homeowners caught in the housing market crunch will benefit from the foreclosure relief settlement negotiated by 49 state attorneys general.
Oregon’s home foreclosure numbers continued to drop last month. That’s according to Eugene-based Gorilla Capital.
A new state program to prevent home foreclosures launches today in 33 Oregon counties.