Real Estate News – August 3-4, 2011

The debt ceiling agreement signed into law on August 2 has no direct impact on real estate tax rules or spending provisions, but the industry isn’t out of the woods yet, because the deal includes authority that could make it easier for Congress to make tax law changes in the months ahead (via REALTORMag):

Bank of America Corp. has held settlement negotiations with some states over home foreclosures separately from talks with a larger group of state and federal officials, two people familiar with the matter said (via

Despite a longtime policy of fostering home-ownership, the federal government in its struggle to cope with a mountain of foreclosures is evaluating various proposals to encourage lenders or investors to convert foreclosed homes to rentals (via

America’s 10 Sickest Housing Markets (via

Real Estate Bug Continues To Bite Celebrities—Victim? Miley Cyrus (via

Lawmakers at a Senate Banking Committee hearing Wednesday were told that reform of government-seized housing finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a manner that limits government guarantees of mortgages would damage the availability of the fixed-rate mortgage (via

Seventy-seven percent of real estate professionals report that closing short sale transactions is “difficult” or “extremely difficult” — up from 70 percent in December 2010, according to a survey conducted in June by the California Association of REALTORS®. The survey gauged real estate professionals’ experience and satisfaction with lenders over transactions (via REALTORMag):

Foreclosed Properties Become Magnets for Thieves (via

PMI Group’s U.S. mortgage losses mounted and the company said its unit MIC might be stopped from writing insurance in more states, wiping out more than half of the mortgage insurer’s market value (via

Real Estate Woes: Five Lawyers Charged In $58M Mortgage Fraud Scheme. (via