Antiquated Laws Make Foreclosures More Likely

Many states have laws on the books that make it difficult for home owners to avoid foreclosure, says a new report by the National Consumer Law Center.

The center identifies these state laws as some of the most antiquated and unfavorable to home owners.

  • Fast track foreclosure. In 30 states and the District of Columbia, mortgage holders who allege that home owners have fallen behind on the payments can bypass the courts and move directly to auction off homes. To defend against the action, home owners must get a judge to review the claims and stop foreclosure.
  • No direct notification of foreclosure proceedings. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, there is no requirement that home owners be personally served with a foreclosure notice.
  • No requirement to find solutions other than foreclosure. In every state but California and Connecticut, mortgage holders can move directly to foreclosure without discussing the issue and other potential solutions with the home owner.
  • Eleventh-hour payments can be ignored. In 29 states, a mortgage holder has no legal obligation to stop foreclosure even if the home owner comes up with enough money to bring the mortgage current, including paying penalties and fees.
  • Big penalties are legal. In every state but Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a mortgage holder who claims a home owner has fallen behind in payments can immediately impose default fees and costs that reduce the chances that the homeowner can catch up by making the payments owed.

“The bottom line is that most state laws are not part of the foreclosure crisis solution today; they are a big part of the problem,” say John Rao, attorney and co-author of the report.

Source: National Consumer Law Center

Target Stores Feel Housing Pain

Among the losers in the housing downturn are Target discount department stores.

Target sells twice as much home-related goods as Wal-Mart and its sales, as well as its stock price, have been feeling the pinch.

Since the housing bubble burst in 2007, sales of home-goods at Target declined more than 20 percent.

“The fact that [home goods] were such a strong core and magnet department certainly had a powerful impact on customers and investors alike,” says Chris Ohlinger of Service Industry Research Systems, Inc.

He believes that housing has now hit bottom and Target will begin to recover–a process, he says, that will take two years.

Source: BusinessWeek.com, Damian Joseph 

Fixing Commercial Real Estate Is Key for Recovery

The commercial real estate market is the “one domestic factor that keeps me up at night,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart told the Association for Financial Professionals meeting Monday in Orlando.

Lockhart told the group that $400 billion of commercial real estate refinancing was hanging over the market and could slow the country’s economic recovery, which he expects to be clearly underway in the second half of 2009.

 He also said he believed many of the predictions for the timing of the end of this downturn to be too pessimistic. “Economic forecasts will tend to be overly optimistic as the economy goes into a recession, but overly pessimistic as the economy comes out of recession and begins its expansion phase. Perhaps, we should take some comfort from that,” he said.

Source: Reuters News, Alister Bull

Which station has Gas??

Suggestion to help us all-I saw this on East Atlanta Village usergroup.  

You can post it here or within your neighborhood’s usergroup but post the Station Name/ Station Address-Location/ Date & Time of Gas Purchase/Cost Per Gallon in the Subject line of emails or posts so that we can all stay current on where there is gas around our neighborhood.

For example if you purchase gas at the Exxon Station at the corner of
Oak & Joseph Lowery on Sept 27th at 10:00 AM and paid $4/Gallon the Subject
Line of your email/ post would look like this:

Exxon/Oak& J Lowery /Sept 27th 10:00 AM/$4.00

This way we could easily see where people were finding gas and all other relevant information, without even having to open up the email.

(Thanks Ed Gilgor of EAV, I hope you don’t mind us copying your idea! )

Simple Steps Help Georgians Conserve Fuel:From Gov Perdue

            ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue today asked Georgians to help with fuel conservation in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike by taking practical steps to improve fuel efficiency.  With gasoline prices rising and crude oil supplies in the Gulf of Mexico temporarily disrupted, fuel conservation is a necessary tool to help manage the supply of fuel and reduce the impact of higher fuel costs.    

“Georgians have been through this before with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and we’ll manage the temporary effects of Hurricane Ike through common sense and conservation,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “We can all help by reducing unnecessary travel, carpooling and using mass transit, telecommuting, driving a little slower, and fueling only when low on gas.”  

            Some practical fuel efficiency tips for drivers include:

  • Drive sensibly:  Speeding, rapid acceleration (jackrabbit starts), and rapid braking lowers gas mileage. 
  • Choose the right vehicle:  If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets better gas mileage whenever possible.
  • Decrease speed:  Gas mileage decreases rapidly when driving more than 60 miles-per-hour.
  • Avoid idling:  Idling gets zero miles per gallon.  Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas while idling than cars with smaller engines.
  • Inflate your tires:  Keeping tires properly inflated improves gas mileage.

 Commute alternatives are also a useful way to conserve fuel, including telework, carpool and transit options, and flexible work schedules.  More information is available about commute alternatives at www.CleanAirCampaign.com.

Fuel efficiency tips are provided by the Drive Smarter Challenge.  The Drive Smarter Challenge (www.DriveSmarterChallenge.org) is a partnership between the Alliance to Save Energy and the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Contact: Office of Communications                404-651-7774        , Shane Hix, GEFA                (404) 584-1043