UnderwaterMortgages

New Twist on an Old Law Offers Underwater Homeowners Hope

Governments have long used eminent domain to seize private property for projects in the "common good" -- often to the dismay of the owners. But now, two California cities want to use it to help get besieged homeowners out of their underwater mortgages.

Is It Time to Revive Plans for Home Improvement?

Whether it's adding granite counters to your kitchen or converting your garage into a home theater, nearly every homeowner has some ideas for a makeover. You know all the reasons to wait -- but there are positive signs on the horizon that might encourage you to break out the tools.

Home Ownership: American Dream or Nightmare?

Here's more evidence that the foreclosure crisis has changed the way we think about home ownership's place in the American dream. Nearly half of those polled in a newly released survey said that owning a home today was a "nightmare." But not all polls reflect such a pessimistic view.

No Low-Rate Refis for Underwater Homeowners

Today's record-low mortgage rates are out of reach for millions of U.S. homeowners who would benefit from them most. These "underwater" borrowers have virtually no shot at refinancing. Their plight is a drag on the housing market and the broader economy.

Obama to Announce New Home Refinance Initiative

Seeking to circumvent congressional opposition, President Barack Obama will announce a series of executive branch steps aimed at jumpstarting the economy this week, beginning with new rules to make it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages.

The Opposite of 'Yuppie'? Naming Our Hard Times

The young, upwardly mobile professional was the defining American character in the 1980s, and caused us to coin the word "Yuppies." Today, the dominant trajectory is the reverse: Downward mobility, unemployment and poverty are the defining themes. We're in the Dumps -- so are Dumpies the new Yuppies?

Down Payment Issues Weigh on Housing Market

It's no secret that now seems like a good time to buy a home: Affordability is high and interest rates are low. But those positives aren't translating into sales, and the latest Hanley Wood Housing 360 Survey shows why: Mortgage issues and down payments remain choke points for buyers.

Why More People May Sell Their Gold for Cash

More people have been selling their gold jewelry in the past year, many to cover expenses, others to just to take advantage of record high prices. Prices have dipped a bit from their recent highs, but expect more people to sell in the months ahead, and expect the prices to rise again.

New Face of Foreclosure: Strategic Defaults

Attitudes toward mortgage default are shifting in America. People who've never missed a payment on anything in their lives are walking away from underwater homes, even when they can afford their monthly payments, because staying doesn't make financial sense. But how good a business decision is a strategic default?

How to Finance Home Repairs If You Have No Equity

Financial advice columnist Laura Rowley recently received an email from a homeowner who had negotiated a successful mortgage modification, but may end up as a short-sale candidate anyway -- because she can't finance home repairs. Her options are limited, but possible solutions do exist.

'Divorce Starts': A Leading Indicator for Home Sales?

While not everyone whose marriage ends rushes out to break ground on a new home, some real estate agents say divorcing spouses make up at least a third of their clients. With the economy impacting divorce trends and marital splits pushing spending trends, should economists be watching divorce rates when they chart the economic outlook?

As Foreclosures Rise, Consumer Spending Will Fall

Foreclosure activity picked up by 4% in June, and economic problems which include unemployment and falling homes prices will drive it relentlessly higher. That's bad news for homeowners, but the ripple effect from foreclosures goes beyond their immediate problems, and it will get much worse.