Monday morning quick news

Happy Monday, happy Valentine’s Day, and so on. Here are a couple of things going on in the world of real estate.

Last week we told you about some of the ideas the Obama Administration was floating to reform the housing market. NAR has had time to look them over, ponder and process the implications, and give us its take.

The full analysis is attached as a PDF, and is worth downloading (it’s only four pages).

In short, while "[t]he National Association of Realtors® (NAR) welcomes the Obama Administration’s call for an orderly transition from the current form of the secondary mortgage market," NAR considers it crucial that any plan for reform won’t work "with entities that take private profits and push losses onto the taxpayer."

The report cautions against cutting back Fannie and Freddie’s involvement, although NAR agrees that reform is necessary. Other proposals make the NAR economists worry — increasing the down payment for FHA loans, for example.

Really, your best bet is to read the report.

* * *

In other news, the Denver Post is reporting on a study out of Arlington (yes, our Arlington) that banks are reporting a 62% drop in their lending to African-Americans and Latinos.

Together, African-Americans and Latinos were able to borrow 62 percent less to buy or refinance homes in 2009 than in 2004, before the market crashed, the computerized analysis found. With lenders imposing tighter credit standards, mortgage dollars going to non-Latino white borrowers also declined, though by considerably less, 17 percent. Asians fared best, obtaining nearly an equal amount in mortgages.

Yes, the issue is a lot more complex — for example:

The Mortgage Bankers Association declined to comment on the report because, spokeswoman Melissa Key said in an e-mail, "The author does not control for any of the factors that could lead to rate or approval differences across borrowers."

So read the whole piece to get the details.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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