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Local Address: August 2, 2009 - August 8, 2009

Short Sale Plan Coming, and The Weekend Poll

The federal government may try to nudge lenders to approve more short sales soon. But will the feds really be able to convince lenders to clear the path for more of these deals? Here's an interesting snippet from the online chat held Thursday with the Post's Renae Merle and Michael S. Barr, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial institutions.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  August 7, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Buying , Foreclosure , Loan modifications , Poll , Selling , The market , Weekend Poll  
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Choosing Bankruptcy to Avoid Foreclosure

Even though you cannot get rid of your mortgage payments through bankruptcy, about one in five people who went through mandatory pre-bankruptcy credit counseling said they were doing so to avoid losing their homes to foreclosure, according to Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Greater Atlanta. That organization provides counseling throughout the United States.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  August 6, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Foreclosure , Loan modifications , Mortgages , Statistics , The economy , The market  
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Housing Demand in Area Outpacing Supply

The inventory of homes listed for sale in the Washington metro area dropped to just 5.1 months' worth in June, according to a report from Delta Associates, a real estate consulting firm, and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., the local multiple listings service. That's an important milestone for the local housing market. Analysts usually cite a six-month supply as normal for a balanced market. Five months' supply takes us out of a buyer's market and toward one that favors sellers.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  August 5, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Statistics , The economy , The market  
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Do High-Voltage Lines Zap Property Values?

The verdict is delivered as if it's a clear-cut conclusion: Being near a high-voltage electric power line does not affect home values. But reading beyond the headline in the current issue of The Appraisal Journal reveals a different story. Their "no effect" message is a surprise. Electric lines have to go somewhere, of course, but few people relish the idea of living next to big metal towers that carry high-voltage current. It's logical to think there might be at least some downward tug on home values. And plenty of people may be happy to buy a nice house at a bit of a discount because it's next to power lines. Markets tend to sort such things out. But a closer read of the actual report on which the story is based, High-Voltage Transmission Lines: Proximity, Visibility, and Encumbrance Effects, reveals that this is hardly a trustworthy research paper. If appraisers in the field rely on this article, they could produce skewed valuations.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  August 4, 2009; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Neighborhoods , Outdoors , Selling , Statistics  
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