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Friday, June 6, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — June 6, 2008

Items of Interest:

Rule of law is ignored in Philly- contract law is null and void. Not good.

Philadelphia Sheriff John Green won't follow rule of lawWall Street Journal:
He's Taking Law Into His Own Hands To Help Broke Homeowners
-- Trouble Is, He Is the Law; Philly's Sheriff Green Doesn't Do Foreclosures, to Lenders' Dismay

Sheriff John Green has spent 37 years in law enforcement. But these days he's best known around town for the law he won't enforce.

With the economy soft and thousands of Philadelphians delinquent on their mortgages, Sheriff Green this spring refused to hold a court-ordered foreclosure auction. His move raised eyebrows on the bench and dropped jaws among lenders and their attorneys, who accuse him of shirking his duty to enforce legal contracts.

It also prompted a sweeping, court-endorsed deal, scheduled to go into effect next week, that aims to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Even as Congress moves forward with a federal plan that could insure up to $300 billion in refinanced mortgages, Mr. Green's unilateral approach has pushed Philadelphia to the leading edge of local responses to the national crisis....

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Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Holyfield: 'I'm not broke' -- Boxing icon Evander Holyfield says he's "not broke," and that he's always taken care of his children, despite reports this week that the three-time world champion's 109-room mansion in Fairburn was in foreclosure and that he's behind in child support payments.

"I'm not broke. I'm just not liquid," Holyfield told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday. "I do feel kind of sad because things have always been positive and now everybody wants to jump on me like I'm the worst person in the world and I went out and blew all my money." ...
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Gimme Shelter / NY Post:
What's Up, Holmes -- Chopping Koppel

TED Koppel could be the king of all price-slashers.

The former "Nightline" host has chopped the price of his suburban Washington, DC-area home by more than half since he first put it on the market in 2005 for $4.1 million.

He's now asking $1.94 million for the nearly 9,000-square-foot spread in Potomac, Md., after lowering it to $2.3 million last August. The six-bedroom Contemporary on 2.5 landscaped acres includes an indoor pool, a gym with a sauna, maid's quarters and a horse barn.

Koppel and his wife, Grace, have since moved to a larger place on the Potomac River a few miles away...
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More pain for prime mortgagesWall Street Journal:
Housing Pain Hits Prime Borrowers -- Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures continued to surpass record levels in the first quarter, as the prolonged decline in home prices and shifting economic conditions trapped a growing number of prime borrowers.

Delinquencies and foreclosures increased at the fastest pace for borrowers with prime adjustable-rate mortgages, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, though borrowers with subprime ARMs still account for the largest share of troubled loans. The number of new prime ARM foreclosures increased by 29,000 to 117,000 in the first quarter, while the number of new subprime ARM foreclosures increased by 20,000 to 195,000. This is the first time prime foreclosures have grown faster than subprime foreclosures, the MBA said...

The data provide little evidence things will improve soon. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, notes credit-bureau data from April show delinquencies have become "measurably worse" in the second quarter. "The problem now is negative equity combined with a weakening job market," he said, rather than resetting adjustable-rate mortgages....
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