Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Final robosigning settlement reportedly coming

HousingWire’s Monday Morning Cup of Coffee take a look at news from the weekend, with more coverage on bigger issues.

The New York Times is reporting a final, federal homeowner settlement is in the works.

The reported $10 billion settlement with 14 banks will be the last fine for robosigning abuses, the article states. 

“Under the settlement, a significant amount of the money, $3.75 billion, would go to people who have already lost their homes,” according to the article, “making it potentially more generous to former homeowners than a broad-reaching pact in February between state attorneys general and five large banks. That set aside $1.5 billion in cash relief for Americans.”

The Senate confirmed Carol Galante as an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in a 69 to 24 vote.

Galante has been running the FHA in an acting capacity since July 2011.

Under Galante’s stewardship, various initiatives were put into place including HUD launching as well as integrating the Office of Risk and Management and Regulatory Affairs into the Office of Housing.

“I want to express my deep gratitude to members of the Senate who appreciate the combination of fiscal prudence and public purpose that Carol brings to this important post at this most critical time,” Secretary Shaun Donovan of HUD said in a statement.

He added, “Carol and I look forward to continuing to work with the Congress in the effort to strengthen FHA for future generations of American homeowners.”

Congress resumed talks to negotiate an agreement to head off sweeping spending cuts and large tax increases when Republican senators took a proposed deal off that table that must include a new way of calculating inflation, lowing payments to beneficiaries programs like Social Security, the New York Times said.

Senate Republications agreed with Democrats that the request was “not appropriate” for a quick deal to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff.’

“I’m concerned about the lack of urgency,” Republican leader senator Mitch McConnell said. “I think we all know we’re running out of time.”

To read the full story and to stay up-to-date on the negotiation, click here.

The Federal Housing Agency is attempting to control losses to its insurance funds by putting a moratorium on its standard version of reverse mortgage, but the agency-insured reverse mortgages won’t be disappearing in 2013, the Los Angeles Times said.

However, the FHA plans to institute other changes that would make obtaining a reverse mortgage harder for various applicants including financial qualification standards and escrow set-asides for taxes as well as property insurance.

The moratorium would not shut down all forms of FHA-backed reverse mortgages because borrowers would still have the option “to use a version known as the Saver, which entails smaller maximum drawdowns and lower upfront fees, plus there are adjustable-rate options.”

Click here to read the full story.

Shrinking shadow inventory, rising home prices boosting demand and tightening credit standards are among various trends the housing market will face in 2013, the Wall Street Journal said.

For example, housing inventory is expected to hit bottom. An increase in new construction and price gains could lead to potential sellers to dip their toes in the market.

However, the economy will continue to be a deciding factor in the uptick or downtick of the industry.

Although job growth hasn’t posted sturdy improvements, it has been strong enough to push the housing market forward. If this continues, housing challenges such as tight credit, high levels of underwater borrowers and elevated foreclosures can be overcome.

To read the full story, click here.

After six years of a struggling housing market, South Florida home prices began to go up again.

Homebuilder confidence grew as many filed orders during increasing demand from record-low interest rates.

Foreign investors also help conquer excess condominiums built during the housing boom, which created a new wave of construction across the area.

“What really moved the market in 2012 was the lack of inventory,” said Amanda Wilson, a real estate agent with Esslinger Wooten Maxwell in Fort Lauderdale. “People were looking for properties they could have bought 18 months ago, but they couldn’t find them. They waited too long.”

The rental market in Florida also continued gaining momentum.

For example, apartment occupancy rates rose to 90% in Broward and Palm Beach, allowing landlords to raise monthly rents because of the strong demand.

Click here to read the full story.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. recorded no new bank failures this past week. 

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