Friday, July 27, 2012

Rates Down Again As Prices Finally Turn Back Up

“After four months with rising home values and increasingly positive forecast data, it seems clear that the country has hit a bottom in home values,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “The housing recovery is holding together despite lower-than-expected job growth, indicating that it has some organic strength of its own.” The chart(click to enlarge) shows recent price changes in major U.S. markets. More charts and predictions from

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Looking to Invest in Some Green Land?

For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

FHA Introduces New Distressed Sale Asset Program

On Monday, the Federal Housing Administration is announcing the expansion of the Distressed Asset Sale Program (DASP).

This program is not quite the same bulk sale program being offered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The DASP is a “paper sale” where FHA sells the loans, in bulk, to investors in a competitive bid process. The loans can only be sold after the borrower has gone through the entire FHA loss mitigation process.

Prior to the formal foreclosure proceeding the loans are sold to investors. The Foreclosure is delayed for at least six months while the investor attempts a work out with the borrower (short sale, loan modification, etc.). As many as half of the loans sold are retained by the investor -- if there is not a work out to avoid flooding local markets.

FHA initially hoped to sell 5,000 loans quarterly but decided to increase it's goal to 9,000 loans.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Teenager's Plan to Turn Plastic Waste Into Biofuel

Egyptian teenagers are on a roll lately – if they’re not proposing the next-generation of space propulsion systems, then they’re figuring out how to use the country’s plastic waste for fuel! Sixteen-year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Falad has found that an inexpensive catalyst could be used to create $78 million worth of biofuel each year. Egypt’s plastic consumption is estimated to total one million tons per year, so Azza’s proposal could transform the country’s economy, allowing it to make money from recycled plastic.
More from Inhabitat

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tax-Lien Foreclosures on the Rise

A report released this week by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), says the number of foreclosures tied to delinquent tax payments is climbing. The NCLC, an advocacy group, estimates that $15 billion of tax-lien foreclosures happened in 2010, the latest year for which data are available. Rising tax-lien problems stem from two overlapping trends associated with the weak economy: To close budget deficits, some local governments are increasing proxy taxes to raise additional revenue. But a growing number of homeowners, many unemployed or living on fixed incomes, are finding those tax bills—even before rate increases—a strain. When homeowners fail to pay, municipalities have the legal authority to foreclose or auction off the tax lien to debt collectors, who can charge interest rates as high as 50% on the outstanding balances. If the homeowner doesn't pay —- the deadlines to do so vary across the nation —- many states allow the tax-lien holders to take ownership of the properties and resell them.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

7 Ways to Kill Weeds With Household Items

Here are 7 ways to murder weeds with household items. You’ll save money and show no mercy to your garden’s uninvited guests. Nothing ruins your garden or yard like weeds, those uninvited guests that rob your plants of space and nutrients. So murder those weeds most foul, but without harmful chemicals that can do you in, too. Who says you need standard weeding tools to kill weeds? Here are 7 ways to kill weeds with weapons you already have around your house. Details from Lisa Kaplan Gordon in HouseLogic: (REMINDER: You can find dozens of other House Logic articles at your convenience, by scrolling down the right hand column)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Christie Vetoes Foreclosure Relief Bill

Law 360 reports that Gov. Chris Christie, on Friday, vetoed legislation empowering the state to buy foreclosed properties from lenders and turn them into affordable housing along with other measures from the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

 The veto drew criticism from supporters of the bill, who contend it would have helped New Jersey address its affordable housing needs and revitalize communities impacted by a wave of foreclosures in the state.
 Said one supporter: “The governor took the side of sprawl and overdevelopment over good planning and environmental protection."

 Another commented:"This was a serious bill that attempted to solve the most serious problem still facing this state and this country. We need to stabalized our housing prices. This would have done more than any tax cut would ever do to stimulate our economy."

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

One Family's Independence Insurrection

This is a day for reflecting on our country's roots in the human need for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." For my extended family, I can't help reflecting on my ancestor's little known contribution to the revolutionary fervor that culminated in the events of 1776.  Doug Gove has submitted the following account of the man he calls "my grandfather":

     Traveling back in time out 308 years. The King has given Robert Tufton Mason the authority to take care of the affairs of the new province. He is a failure and appoints Unprincipled Governor Cranfield to become his tool. The governor disbands the January 1683 assembly. The people considered this an unreasonable act and an unwarrantable abuse of power. Most however, though indignant at Cranfield's conduct, considered themselves good citizens and remained passive. Not so for Gove and a few others under his leadership who, in the exuberance of patriotism, "determined to revolutionize the government or at least to effect a reform." Friday, January 26, 1688, Reuben Hull, a Portsmouth merchant, was in Dover to pick up. a load of barrel hoops when he met Gove who had his sword and boots on, and said to him, "How now Gove, where are you bound? What's the matter with you?"
"Matter?" said Gove, "matter enough. We at Hampton have had a town meeting and we resolved as one man that. things shall not be carried on as it is like to be, and we have all our guns ready to stand upon our guard. I have been at Exeter and they are resolved to do the same. I have my sword at my side, and brought my carbine also with me which I have left some where."
Gove undoubtedly expected that when his arrest was attempted, there would be resistance and then a general uprising. It didn't happen. He returned to Hampton Saturday,Jan.27,1683. He and 11 other rebels, all on horseback, moved in two lines into the tiny colonial village on the New Hampshire Seacoast, shouting, "Freemen, come out and stand for your liberties."
Led by Gove, they were nearly all from Hampton, with their leader waving his sword and the trumpeter sounding their arrival with a military medley. Gove, seeing no demonstration in his favor at his appearance, lay down his arms and gave himself up to the authorities of the town, as did the others.
They were taken into custody by the militia, except the trumpeter, who escaped. They were brought before the governor and his council, where Gove behaved himself very insolently. Each of the prisoners then defended himself and his activities. Edward Gove acknowledged that the testimony against him was true. He "railed" at Governor Cranfield, saying he was a traitor and acted under a pretended commission and demeaned himself with "insolence and impudence." Judge Richard Waldren pounded his mallet, then solemnly pronounced the sentence. (The followers of Gove were to be held for a later judgment, and most of them were pardoned).
"You, Edward Gove, be drawn on a hedge to the place of execution, and there you shall be hanged by ye neck, and when yet living, be cut down and cast on the ground, and your bowels shall be taken out of your belly, and your privy member cut off and burnt while you are yet alive, your head shall be cut off and your body divided in four parts, and your head and quarters shall be placed where our Sovereign Lord the King pleaseth to appoint. And the Lord have mercy on your soul."
After the trial in Portsmouth in Feb. 1683, Cranfield, fearing to execute the sentence on Gove, sent him to England for the King to deal with. Gove was on board the ship Richard of Boston when it left port March 29. The Tower of London is in the east end of the city, a group of stone buildings including an ancient fortress, a dark prison, and a royal residence surrounded by a shallow moat and a high stone wall. This was the destination of Edward Gove, where he was sadly to spend the next three years. Many letters were written by the prisoner and people on his behalf during this time. Finally, Gove, in his cell, took up his quill pen and sent a petition to the King which brought results. In it he stated, "want of rest for 18 days before my apprehension deprived your Petitioner of the use of his reason and the control of his tongue and was the cause of your Petitioner's indiscreet actions towards the said Mr. Cranfield." He was released on his own recognizance to plead his pardon April 9, 1686. After Gove's incarceration in the the spring of 1683, the rule under Cranfield continued in its arbitrary and cruel manner.
From the Gove Book, written by William Henry Gove and published at Salem, Mass., in 1922, most of the preceding information has been researched. The author wrote, "the people were horrified at the bloody sentence of Gove and cried aloud for vengeance. It was already whispered about that public meetings would be held to express the indignation at the baseness of the manner in which the conviction was obtained and the cruel barbarity of the sentence, which was intended to awe the people into submission. It had a directly contrary effect." Like returning from the dead, Gove came back to his home and renewed his life in Hampton. He had the respect of the people of the province. From the earliest days of the Province of New Hampshire, Gove was involved in its government. He was elected as a member of the assembly from Hampton. He must have known the widespread disaffection and determination of the people not to yield to the demands of the Cranfield regime, and his views were well known to them because of his outspoken sentiments. He was thought to be the right man for the assembly. Gove died in Hampton on July 29, 1691, at the age of 61. He always contended that a slow poison was administered to him while in prison.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Global Burning Predictions Become Reality

Nearly two years ago, President Obama's science adviser, Dr. John Holdren, gave a presentation on the causes and effects of global warming. One of his slides indicated the areas in the west that were most susceptible to fires for each additional degree of average annual temperature. Since 16 of the past 17 years have broken all historic records, this summer's fire outbreaks should come as no surprise.