Real Estate News – February 12, 2012

A settlement announced this week among state and federal officials and the nation’s five largest banks is the largest joint state-federal settlement in history against an industry. The settlement, which amounts to somewhere between $25 billion and $26 billion, is aimed at fixing some of the mortgage abuses over the last few years that caused people to lose their home (via REALTORMag):

Ben Bernanke said declines in home prices have forced many Americans to cut back sharply on spending and warned that the trend could continue to weigh on the U.S. economy for years (via

In today’s topsy-turvy housing market, cash rules (via

Authorities entering a home in Florida certainly were surprised and unsure what they’d find after the out-of-state home owner alerted them that two people had taken up residence in the home illegally. Authorities called in the bomb squad to take a look. They found drugs, a handgun, 10 grenades, and a pig roaming around the house (via REALTORMag):

A former Lafayette real estate agent has been convicted of forgery for allegedly falsifying sales disclosure documents to avoid paying property taxes (via

The Andover Forest Homeowners Association upheld its decision that a Lexington family’s playhouse for their 3-year-old son with cerebral palsy violates deed restrictions.
However, the attorney for the homeowners association said the board of directors would allow the playhouse to stay in the family’s yard for the time being (via

Following two weeks of trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., today returned guilty verdicts against Joseph Mazella, the founder and president of the Great Atlantic Group Inc., a Staten-Island based real estate and financial consulting company, on charges of securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. These charges arose out of the defendant’s operation of a Ponzi scheme that led to more than $14 million in losses. When sentenced by U.S. District Judge Carol B. Amon, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison on the most serious charge (via

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday that making loans more easily available to real estate investors for bulk purchases of homes would be an important step in resolving the imbalances in the housing and rental markets (via