Week in Review: What We Liked From the Week That Was

As the worst storm in 30 years tore through the Midwest, the foreclosure tornado continued to sweep across the housing industry. Clean up in the Midwest will hopefully be swift; the same can not be said for the latter. A 50-state task force is hoping to change that by helping struggling borrowers. Stay tuned…

According to Bloomberg, refinancing may be the only bright spot in the mortgage industry amidst “shoddy loans and botched foreclosures.”  The number of people refinancing increased last week as borrowing rates hover near record lows. Freddie Mac reported that in the third quarter, 33 percent of homeowners who refinanced lowered their principal balance.

Speaking of foreclosures, a suburban-Chicago town is refusing to let foreclosed properties drag down value in its neighborhoods. The town of Cicero is investing in foreclosed properties, fixing them up and selling them as subsidized housing, according to Housing Watch. I like to see the community embracing the current market and turning it into something positive!

As home prices fell again in August, many wonder when we will reach the bottom. Some industry analysts are calling for 2011, others suggesting 2012. I am a firm believer in hoping for the best but expecting the worst… Speculation aside, actual numbers were released this week.  NAR reported that existing home sales in September rose 10 percent, the biggest monthly gain in 28 years. (New homes also climbed 6.6 percent).  Here’s to continuing to hope for the best!

In a week of extreme weather, it is fun to look at extreme houses. Long Island Georgian mansion anyone?

Sadly, Paul the Octopus has died. The sea creature gained international fame this summer by predicting all seven of Germany’s World Cup contests.  On a happier note, more than 1200 new species have been discovered in the Amazon over the past decade.  (If this news inspires you to be more environmentally friendly, check out 10 easy energy-efficient upgrades.)

Happy Halloween! (What may be scarier than ghosts and goblins this year may come in the form of the midterm elections).

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