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Government Affairs

June 4, 2008

The day after votes rejected Proposition 98 but approved Proposition 99, it is time to ask what larger lessons can be drawn from this exercise. Four million voters cast ballots on these issues, a substantial number for a primary election.

June 3, 2008

Voters in California will go to the polls today to decide a number of legislative primaries, as well as several statewide ballot initiatives and a few local measures.

May 28, 2008

On June 3rd, voters in California will go to the ballot box to decide upon two initiatives on eminent domain.  One, Proposition 98, would also establish provisions to gradually phase out rent control in California.

May 16, 2008

Fannie Mae has decided to drop the declining markets policy. This is great news for prospective home buyers, or for people who might sell in the future.

The policy would have put the onus for shoring up Fannie's balance sheet on neighborhoods in markets where home values are dropping. In such places, buyers would have been required to bring a higher down payment in order to get a mortgage that conformed to Fannie's preferences. While such a rule would not

May 6, 2008

With time, it feels like Steve Preston's appointment to lead HUD is making more sense.  Yes, he comes from a background outside of housing.  Yes, he only has a portion of a year to turn around an agency that has been run into the ground by its previous leadership.  Yes, there are good people available

May 4, 2008

The crisis that may befall the 160 residents at Homestead Village Mobile Home Park in North Raleigh does not have to be a regular problem.  Solutions exist in many states to address this very problem.  North Carolina ought to think about what it can do, because safeguards can be applied to protect our citizenry living in mobile home parks.

To review, the residents at Homestead Village will be kicked out of their homes in the near future if the City of Raleigh goes ahead with a proposal to rezone the 38.5 acres in their park to mixed use commercial.  Such a rezoning is the request of a buyer for the land who would presumably build shops, offices, and mixed use on the site.  It is located on a sought after part of land near Capital Boulevard in North Raleigh.

Rep. Susan Fisher (D-Asheville) introduced a bill last session (H1700) that would

April 28, 2008

A new survey suggests that California voters want to put restrictions on the use of eminent domain in their state, but they are not interested in simultaneously eliminating rent control.  The poll, conducted this spring by the Public Policy  Institute of California, hints that Proposition 99 will emerge as the preferred Amendment in the June 4th voter referendum in

April 25, 2008

Legislation has passed unanimously in the California House that would allow mobile homes left on highways to be removed under the authority of the Vehicle Abatement Act.

April 25, 2008

It is not absolutely clear if your home is in a neighborhood scheduled for redlining by Fannie Mae.

Still, GMAC has posted a page for their mortgage underwriters that indicates how they are estimating the same question. Just follow the link and enter your zip code. It is important to note that this is not Fannie's list. It is just a shadow

April 24, 2008

Starting June 1st, the GSEs plan to begin redlining. Seriously. The way it works is that the GSEs will implement a sliding scale of maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratios for loans that they buy. If your home is in a "declining market," then the maximum LTV for your loan product, given other influencing factors (property type, loan type, et al) will be reduced by five percentage points.

It is called the "Maximum Financing in Declining Markets" policy.

Redlining is when lenders don't make loans available to borrowers in certain neighborhoods.