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Unemployment Rate Unchanged at 9.7%

For months, industry experts have lamented the nation's poor job market as a stranglehold on the housing market's recovery and a dead weight dragging down occupancy rates and new development in the commercial real estate sector. But according to data released by the Department of Labor Friday, the national unemployment rate was flat from January to February at 9.7 percent. Employers shed just 36,000 jobs during the month - far fewer than economists were expecting.

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HUD Addresses Root Causes of Foreclosure Crisis

As mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the secretary of HUD recently released a report to Congress addressing the root causes of the foreclosure crisis and made recommendations on actions that should be taken to mitigate the crisis and help prevent similar crises from occurring in the future.

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Bair Defends HAMP, Voices Support for Principal Write-Downs

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair - a recognized champion of homeownership preservation whose loan modification model has set the standard for the industry - is throwing her support behind the administration's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). She also points out that the nation's mortgage problem has evolved, and it's underwater mortgages that are now the biggest threat. Bair says the FDIC is actively looking at principal write-downs as one way to encourage borrowers to stick with their mortgages and help mortgage owners avoid costly foreclosures.

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REO Brokerage Aids Homeowners in Default

Desiree Patno Enterprises, Inc., a women-owned REO brokerage based out of Irvine, California, has announced the integration of a new department designed to provide assistance to homeowners in default at no cost. The company is now offering free information regarding loan modifications and short sales both in-office and online.

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HOPE NOW Helps Almost 2,100 Troubled Borrowers in February

Thousands of homeowners across the nation are facing foreclosure, but nearly 2,100 of these troubled borrowers received help through HOPE NOW's homeownership preservation events in Februaary in Sacramento, California and Houston. The workshop in Sacramento, California had 1,200 attendees, and almost 900 families attended the Houston workshop.

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Loan Modifications Lead to Fewer Mortgage Insurance Claims: Report

Mortgage insurance claims filed by servicers on defaulted loans are showing signs of tapering off, according to data released by the risk analysis and due diligence firm Clayton Holdings. Clayton's analysts attribute the decline to the increase in servicers' foreclosure prevention initiatives and fewer loans moving into REO status. They also noted that mortgage insurance providers are spending more time reviewing individual claims and evaluating servicers' modification decisions for continued insurance coverage.

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CRE Market Conditions Mean Big Investment Opportunities: Report

It's no secret that for quite awhile commercial real estate (CRE) transactions, including distressed assets, have been at a standstill. But according to a new study by the global advisory firm AlixPartners, that could all change in 2010. In fact, the firm's findings suggest that investment opportunities in the commercial sector could be bigger in the months ahead than even in the heady days of the early 1990s.

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Saxon Appoints New EVP

Saxon Mortgage Services, Inc., based in Irving, Texas, announced Wednesday that it has named Stephen Staid as EVP of customer relationship management. His appointment comes as Saxon repositions itself into the residential subservicing space, specializing in distressed asset servicing.

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Two Companies Partner to Provide Streamlined Short Sale Solution

Riverside, California-based PartnerFirst, LLC, recently announced its partnership with Coraopolis, Pennsylvania-based ServiceLink, the national lender platform for Fidelity National Financial. By combining resources, the two companies are aiming to provide a ""one-stop-shop"" solution to national mortgage servicers and homeowners through the ServiceLink Short Sale Agent Network.

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