Home sales may rise modestly before broader upturn in second half of 2008
New housing site provides state and local governments with forclosure toolsMortgagePress.comforeclosures, foreclosure prevention, Center for Housing Policy HousingPolicy.org, an online guide to state and local housing policy solutions, has significantly expanded its Foreclosure Prevention section, providing state and local officials throughout the country with updated information on how communities are keeping families affordably in their homes. Faced with rising foreclosures and delinquencies, communities are looking for solutions to help stem the tide. HousingPolicy.org provides a much-needed guide to the foreclosure prevention policies and programs that communities are using to help families at-risk for foreclosure, as well as information on how to preserve stability by restoring abandoned properties. Rising foreclosures affect both property owners and renters living in these properties, and also impose substantial costs on municipalities and neighborhoods. Investing public resources to prevent foreclosures makes sense for municipalities' bottom line, and it has additional benefits for neighborhoods which would otherwise be weakened, local property owners whose property values would otherwise be driven down, as well as the financially distressed families themselves. "State and local governments are taking an increasingly active role in foreclosure prevention. While part of the reason is certainly to protect owners and renters from the loss of their home, the reasons extend beyond that," said Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy. "The tools and resources available on HousingPolicy.org provide states and localities with information on how other communities are working to help avoid the often steep costs of foreclosures, prevent losses in homeownership and rental occupancy, and stabilize a malfunctioning mortgage market. We very much hope this information will help communities move faster and more effectively to meet their residents needs." With the increasing use of complex adjustable-rate and non-conventional mortgage products, families' buying and borrowing power may also be at-risk without foreclosure prevention programs designed to help keep them in their homes. As outlined on HousingPolicy.org, one way to preserve families' buying and borrowing power is through suitable refinancing products and emergency loans. Refinance loans with flexible underwriting requirements, for example, can help families to successfully avoid foreclosure despite a weak credit and debt profile or owing more than the current value of the home. According to HousingPolicy.org, it is also critical to marry a refinance loan approach with foreclosure prevention counseling, legal services, and other tools as part of a comprehensive foreclosure prevention strategy. Such strategies are designed to help existing homeowners maintain their homeownership status in the face of confusing mortgage products, rising interest rates and rising property tax bills while also protecting renters and preserving communities. For more information, visit www.HousingPolicy.org.