Nation: “The Big Squeeze — Unwitting Tenants Caught Between Defaulting Owners and the Banks,” by Gary Stein, The Huffington Post, September 30, 2010
An interesting by-product of any downturn in an economy is that you can categorize the stakeholders into four categories — victims, users, scavengers and survivors. The category that you fit into is not always one of your choosing but there is one universal thread between all of them — they are all trying to make the most of their situation.
In this current situation, the banks, for the most part, are survivors, although there are exceptions (i.e. Lehman Brothers). Survivors and also be victims — looks at the massive inventory of Real-Estate-Owned (REO) Properties on and off the market that are doing nothing but depreciating rapidly. As this case also shows, sometimes the survivors are also the cause, since they probably knew what was about to happen before it occurred (i.e. Bernie Madoff ‘s Ponzi-scheme and Goldman-Sach’s mad rush to package and sell derivatives and betting against there value increasing). Sure Bernie’s in jail and G-S seems like they are in trouble, but Bernie’s family is set for life and you won’t find the folks at Goldman-Sachs at the shelter or in line to apply for food stamps any time soon.
San Francisco: “Dollars or sense?”, by Rebecca Bowe, San Francisco Bay Guardian, September 28, 2010
It’s no secret that San Francisco is a particularly costly place to live. It consistently ranks in the top 10 most expensive cities nationwide, and it isn’t uncommon to see people renting out their walk-in closets as makeshift bedrooms to make ends meet.
There’s ample evidence that the city’s market-rate housing is out of reach for many families, middle-class workers, and low-income populations, particularly during the recession. Yet the shortage of affordable housing is a problem that is going largely unaddressed at City Hall.
New York: “NY-area rents are not as high as one might think,” by Jeremy Smerd, Crain’s New York Business, September 28, 2010
It may be little comfort, but the New York metropolitan area is not home—as a renter might think—to the highest rents in the country. That distinction goes to the San Jose metro area in northern California, where gross median rents cost $1,414, making it the most expensive in the country. San Francisco came in second, followed by the Washington, D.C., area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey released Tuesday.
The New York metro area, which includes northern New Jersey and Long Island, was sixth. Median gross rent was $1,125 a month. The median rent in the city alone was $1,086.
Nation: “U.S. State Officials Investigate After Ally’s GMAC Unit Suspends Evictions,” by Dakin Campbell, Bloomberg News, September 25, 2010
Attorneys general in three U.S. states are investigating foreclosures at Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage unit after the lender said it would halt some evictions following a discovery of faulty documentation.
Texas, Iowa and Illinois have started investigations into mortgage practices at Ally, while California, which isn’t affected by GMAC’s action, ordered the company to stop foreclosures unless it can prove compliance with state law, according to statements. Ally said it has issued a “more robust policy” on processing foreclosures, increased staff to handle documents and instituted more training for employees.