Bo’s clips: The H+T (Housing + Transportation) index better measures true cost

An updated metric for affordability  by HUD and the U.S. DOT calculates the costs of commuting to jobs and services as part of the calculation for housing costs. 

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, homeownership rates decrease as foreclosure rates taper-off but continue. JPMorgan, a leader in fraudulent mortgages and foreclosures, is now being forced by federal courts to put some of its fines into correcting underwater mortgages.

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HUD and U.S. DOT Embrace Housing + Transportation Metric for Affordability

By Tanya Snyder       Streetblog         November 13, 2013

A few years ago, the Center for Neighborhood Technology gave a wonderful gift to urbanists and planners: the Housing + Transportation Index. This simple calculation clarified and popularized a key concept: that transportation costs must be taken into account in any measurement of “affordability.”

Without that, potential homebuyers and renters make the mistake of “saving” money by buying a home far outside the city, only to see those savings vanish when they end up driving multiple cars hundreds of miles per week, racking up fuel and maintenance expenses. The H+T index is a simple tool for making better decisions — for families, for planners, and for the federal government.

Today, U.S. DOT and HUD announced that they’re launching a new version of H+T. They’re calling it the Location Affordability Index, and CNT helped develop it. LAI differs from H+T in some key ways here’s an infographic detailing those differences) but at its root, it gets at the same important question: Where is the best place to live without breaking the bank?

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Homeownership rate dips after recession – but doesn’t plunge

New Census Bureau report finds that fewer families are owning their homes, but foreclosures are also down and home prices are rising – signs that the US housing market is in recovery mode.

By Mark Trumbull       Christian Science Monitor       November 14, 2013

Homeownership has waned under the stresses of the Great Recession and its aftermath, according to Census Bureau numbers, released Thursday.

Some 64.7 percent of US housing units were owned, rather than rented, during the period from 2010-12. That represents a meaningful drop from the level of 66.4 percent that prevailed during the prior three-year period, from 2007-09.

The downward trend isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Rather, it may be sign of the housing market normalizing after a period, before the recession, in which home-buying was pushed to what many economists viewed as unhealthy and unrealistic levels.

Today, by many measures, the US housing market is in recovery mode: Foreclosures are fading, home prices are rising, and low mortgage rates are helping to keep housing relatively affordable by historical standards.

The downward adjustment of homeownership rates has been part of that recovery process.

The downshift has been biggest in states and cities that were hit hardest by the housing bust – and that had often seen the biggest boom times a decade ago. But the drop in homeownership was a nationwide phenomenon.

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JPMorgan Chase agrees to pay $4.5 billion on mortgage security claims

By Karen Freifeld        Reuters       November 15, 2013

JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Friday it has agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle claims by investors who lost money on mortgage-backed securities before the collapse of the U.S. housing market.

The bank reached the agreement with 21 institutional investors in 330 residential mortgage-backed securities trusts issued by JPMorgan and Bear Stearns, which it took over during the financial crisis, according to the bank and lawyers for the investors.

The deal still has to be accepted by seven trustees overseeing the securities holdings, the parties said.

The settlement does not include trusts issued by Washington Mutual, which JPMorgan also acquired.

The deal is separate from the preliminary $13 billion settlement JPMorgan has reached with the U.S. government that would resolve a raft of actions over mortgage-backed securities.

“This settlement is another important step in J.P. Morgan’s efforts to resolve legacy related RMBS matters,” the bank said in a statement. The bank said it believes reserves it has built will cover the expense of “this and any remaining” mortgage securities litigation.

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JPMorgan’s $13 billion settlement to include deadline for assisting homeowners

By Danielle Douglas and Lori Montgomery      Washington Post      November 18, 2013

The government plans to impose a deadline for JPMorgan Chase to dole out consumer relief as part of a tentative $13 billion settlement, insisting the bank would face an additional penalty if the condition is not met, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

A final deal between the Justice Department and the nation’s biggest bank could come as early as Tuesday, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Federal prosecutors have been working with JPMorgan for months to resolve allegations that the bank knowingly sold securities made up of low-quality mortgages in the lead-up to the financial crisis.

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