I haven't yet figured out what's really behind the bloggists and commenters who seem to fervently hope for an even more drastic plunge in home prices. Jawboning the market down doesn't seem to have much purpose, and I don't see the fun in all that cynicism. Conversely, trying to cheerlead the market back to health doesn't work very well, either. In Saturday's Real Estate Section, I have a story about the "Surround Sound" campaign the National Association of Realtors has pursued over the past 16 months, which tries to counter the gloomy economic news that prevailed in the press.
interviewed Donna Evers, president of the Evers & Co. brokerage in the District yesterday for a story coming up this weekend, and she had an interesting observation that didn't quite fit into the story, but I thought Local Addressers might find interesting. She said she's seeing more nervousness now among buyers and sellers. Realistically priced homes are drawing multiple offers, upsetting people's notions that it's one big buyer's market out there. "It's almost equal nervousness, and there are some standoffs on negotiations," she said. "Both sides feel like they've got some strength."
Apparently, it's still a booming market for housing discrimination. There were 10,552 formal complaints of housing discrimination during fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30. That's a record, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"While reverse mortgages can provide real benefits, they also have some of the same characteristics as the riskiest types of subprime mortgages -- and that should set off alarm bells," Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan said in a speech to a banking group.
Want to give the feds a piece of your mind about unfair or deceptive mortgage lending practices? Hot under the collar about the guy who charged you a thousand bucks for help getting a loan modification? The Federal Trade Commission says it wants to hear from you. They've published two separate requests for comment about practices that could result in new prohibitions in two areas: