Housing

11:45am

Wed February 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Freddie Mac's Conflict Is 'Unsavory,' 'Shocking,' 'Stunning,' Key Senators Say

Two senators who have taken the lead on legislation aimed to help homeowners refinance at historically low interest rates were blunt this morning about how concerned they are by the news NPR reported earlier this week that Freddie Mac "has placed multibillion-dollar bets against American homeowners being able to refinance to cheaper mortgages."

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1:54pm

Tue January 31, 2012
Europe

For Hungarian Borrowers, A Mortgage Nightmare

Originally published on Tue January 31, 2012 6:16 pm

A woman passes by a real estate agency in Budapest, Hungary, in January. As the Hungarian currency plunges to new lows, ordinary citizens are struggling to repay foreign-denominated loans.
Laszlo Balogh Reuters/Landov

Since the U.S. housing bubble burst, many Americans have found themselves struggling to pay off mortgages that are worth more than their homes.

Now, imagine if those mortgages were in a foreign currency that has soared in value compared with the domestic currency — the one in which paychecks are issued.

As Hungary's currency plummets to record lows, this is exactly the plight of some 1 million Hungarians, who, during better financial times, took out mortgages and consumer loans in Swiss francs.

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7:41am

Tue January 31, 2012
The Two-Way

For Third Straight Month, Home Prices Dropped In November

Home prices dropped in November for the third consecutive month. Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index found a drop in 19 of the 20 cities tracked.

The AP reports:

"The biggest declines were in Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. Phoenix was the only city to show an increase.

"The decline partly reflects the typical fall slowdown after the peak buying season.

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12:24am

Tue January 31, 2012
Business

Treasury To Probe Freddie Mac's Investments

Freddie Mac last month said it would stop making risky bets against homeowners after concerns were raised by its regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The statement by the FHFA was issued in response to an investigation by NPR and ProPublica that disclosed how Freddie Mac bought billions of dollars in securities that turned a profit if homeowners remained stuck in high rate mortgages. The White House said the Treasury Department is looking into Freddie Mac's investments. Steve Inskeep talks with NPR's Chris Arnold and Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica about their report.

5:00pm

Mon January 30, 2012
The Two-Way

Report Prompts Calls To End Freddie Mac's Conflict Of Interest

A sign for Freddie Mac in front of its headquarters in McLean, Va.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Several U.S. lawmakers and prominent economists on Monday said Congress and the White House should end a financial conflict of interest at the taxpayer-owned mortgage company Freddie Mac.

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