Real Estate News – August 5-6, 2011

S&P U.S. Debt Downgrade: Implications For Commercial Real Estate (via

Thieves are continuing to prey on foreclosed properties, removing copper, appliances, and other fixtures, and leaving behind a mess for those who have to sell it (via REALTORMag):

As if there weren’t enough bad economic news this week, Lender Processing Services reported that foreclosure starts were up by more than 10% in June, compared with May (via

The AARP Foundation Litigation unit filed a class action lawsuit yesterday against Wells Fargo Bank and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), charging that they failed to allow surviving spouses and heirs of reverse mortgage borrowers to purchase the property for the appraised value after loans came due — typically after the borrower’s death (via

Bank of America Corp.’s ReconTrust unit failed to conduct foreclosures as a neutral third party as required by law, Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna said in a lawsuit (via

Hedge funds, private-equity firms, pension funds, and university endowments are snapping up foreclosed homes as investments, often working with a local company that identifies the properties and finds renters (via REALTORMag):

Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. lender, posted its worst two-day decline since 2009 after telling investors that claims from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may cost more than previously forecast (via

The legal fallout from high-risk, boom-era mortgage lending never stops, it seems — the latest example being Wells Fargo & Co.’s $590-million proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit centering on controversial “Pick-a-Pay” loans issued by Oakland’s World Savings (via

Shawn Portmann, former head of a defunct Tacoma bank’s home loans unit, and another Pierce Commercial Bank executive have been indicted on bank fraud charges (via