Real Estate News – September 14-15, 2011

Declines in home values have pushed a high number of home owners to be “underwater,” in which borrowers owe more on their properties than they are current worth, and it’s hampering home sales, according to new data by CoreLogic (via REALTORMag):

Freddie Mac borrowers ineligible for participation in the Home Affordable Modification Program or previously in default on a HAMP or other loan workout will be able to take advantage of a new option that reduces mortgage principle and monthly payments by at least 10 percent each (via REALTORMag):

A California mortgage banker has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in an $18.5 million loan fraud scheme (via

Berger & Montague, P.C. Announces Class Action Lawsuit against Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc. and Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (via

10 States With the Highest Foreclosure Rates (via REALTORMag):

President Obama’s proposal to expand access to mortgage refinancing has reignited a debate about the appropriate role for government in supporting the housing market. Some economists argue that the best way to spur the recovery is to stop intervening, let matters run their course, and allow home prices to normalize naturally (via

A high-level executive who reported corrupt lending practices at Countrywide Financial Corp. was improperly fired for leading internal investigations that “revealed widespread and pervasive wire, mail and bank fraud” at the lender, a federal agency ruled Wednesday (via

Bank of America Corp’s $8.5 billion proposed mortgage-backed securities settlement is now in the hands of a New York federal judge. But it could end up back before state court in a legal tug-of-war over who should decide whether the pact passes muster (via

A multimillion-dollar fraud investigation involving a former real estate agent and purported radio pastor accused of preying on San Francisco’s Hispanic community has now expanded to the man’s brother and niece (via