For the second straight year, Washington, D.C., is the place lenders are most likely to encounter mortgage fraud, according to the annual Mortgage Fraud Risk Report released by Interthinx. The company studies loan applications processed by its Fraud Guard system to determine the riskiest places in the country for mortgage fraud, and found that national fraud risk rose by 4 index points to a total of 104. This continues the rising trend in fraud risk observed over the past three years as inventories shrink, prices rise, and markets stabilize.
More alarming is that nationally, the risk of occupancy fraud, whereby a borrower lies that a house will be occupied in order to secure a mortgage, rose 24 percent to an index rating of 135. Greeley, Colorado, was the riskiest for occupancy fraud, with an index of 227. According to Interthinx, this increase is likely due to a more purchase-driven market and continued investor interest in acquiring real estate. Perhaps more encouraging is the geographic distribution of fraud risk was less dispersed in 2013. Still, California holds an unusually intense concentration of risky areas, claiming 9 of the top 10 riskiest metros.
The government renewed its commitment to homeless support programs across the United States with the awarding of $1.6 billion in grants. The funding, provided through HUD's Continuum of Care Program, will support operations for nearly 7,100 homeless housing programs in every state as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. HUD estimates that from 2010 to 2013, the administration's housing programs helped bring the long-term or chronic homeless population down by 15.7 percent.