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The Mortgage Professor: What are “qualified mortgages”, and what purpose do they serve?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In 2013, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act introduced the qualified mortgage concept, which was designed to eliminate the market abuses that had led to the financial crisis a few years earlier. Like most crisis-induced legislation, Dodd/Frank is replete with flaws, and the qualified mortgage concept (henceforth QM) is...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: What are “qualified mortgages”, and what purpose do they serve?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In 2013, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act introduced the qualified mortgage concept, which was designed to eliminate the market abuses that had led to the financial crisis a few years earlier. Like most crisis-induced legislation, Dodd/Frank is replete with flaws, and the qualified mortgage concept (henceforth QM) is...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Can condo board bar me from using attic?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I live in a two-story condo on the second floor. I have access through a trap door in the ceiling of my unit to the attic. I placed a small deck of plywood and use the space in the attic to store holiday decorations. The fire marshal said it was OK to use the area for noncombustible items. Our board members now say we cannot store anything ...Read more

Does density promote affordability? Economists say yes, public is often skeptical

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MINNEAPOLIS -- A dozen people sat at a table in a rec center in south Minneapolis, debating the city's comprehensive plan as a giant fan roared nearby.

A city staffer explained the rising burden of rental prices on poor residents, and gently pushed a central theme of the draft plan -- that the city must build more homes in more places -- to a ...Read more

Five decades after Chicago's greatest skyscraper boom, city aims high again

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Fifty years ago this month, construction of the John Hancock Center topped out.

It was a dramatic moment in a still-unmatched development cycle in Chicago, where three skyscrapers over 1,000 feet tall -- including the world's tallest, Sears Tower -- were completed in a five-year period ending in 1974.

That era in Chicago stirred ...Read more

On Philanthropy: UN's development goals are a roadmap for powerful donor impact

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and established a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Let's put these new goals into a good news/bad news context.

Between 2000 and 2015, the world made enormous progress on some of its most pressing problems. For example:

--The global mortality rate for ...Read more

The Journey: Balancing college spending and retirement saving

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Let's stop blaming colleges for ruining retirement.

To be sure, student loan debt topped $1.5 trillion in the first quarter, according to the Federal Reserve. That's a huge number.

It's also true that more 60-plus people are carrying education debt, either for themselves, children or grandchildren, though that's a little misleading because due...Read more

Susan Tompor: Think twice about betting on Wall Street's 'fear gauge'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Wall Street's rocky ride in 2018 -- a level of chaos we've not seen in quite some time -- has everyday investors fearing for their 401(k)s.

But many times, panic can drive you into pretty risky deals. The same applies to rushing into something you don't understand because your neighbor has a convincing story on a hot new way to make money.

...Read more

Hot Property: $68 million farmhouse mansion

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- You could call it 68 million shades of Grey.

The Grey Estate, the Holmby Hills home of late Paramount Pictures Chairman and Chief Executive Brad Grey, has sold for $68,822,500.

Even for this tony Westside pocket, tucked in between Beverly Hills and Bel-Air, that's a lot of money.

Designed by Howard Backen, the modern farmhouse-...Read more

Initiative to expand Prop 13 homeowner tax benefits eligible for November ballot

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SACRAMENTO -- Just as a ballot initiative that would dramatically expand Proposition 13 tax benefits for longtime homeowners was deemed eligible for the November ballot on Thursday, its proponents said they were negotiating with the Legislature on a compromise to avoid a bruising and costly initiative battle.

"We're prepared to proceed," said ...Read more

Chicago selling 3,000-plus properties through $1 vacant lot program

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Chicago is again seeking city residents interested in buying vacant lots in their neighborhoods for $1.

The city is marketing 3,219 empty lots on the South and West sides as part of its Large Lots program. About one-third of the properties offered for sale are new to the program while the others previously have been offered and either had no ...Read more

How to buy a home in the Seattle area: a survival guide

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

What does it really take to buy a home in the Seattle area? There are the skyrocketing prices, of course.

But nowadays, to compete in this feverish market, buyers have to deal with so much more: Pay for damage the seller doesn't disclose. Decide whether to buy a house just a couple days after it hits the market. Have a six-figure cash nest egg ...Read more

One woman's plan to solve the Bay Area's housing problem: 10,000 tiny, backyard homes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

What do these two places have in common: Hale County, Ala., one of the nation's poorest communities, and Silicon Valley, one of the nation's richest?

People can't afford homes in either place, says Pam Dorr, director of affordable housing at Menlo Park-based nonprofit Soup.

That's why after spending 15 years helping to produce affordable homes...Read more

Here's how a developer is turning a drab parking deck into a huge art piece

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Workers in hoists are assembling a "gigantic 3D puzzle" to cover up part of a new apartment development in uptown Charlotte, replacing blank concrete faces with something more visually interesting.

The piece, called "Wanderwall," is underway on Crescent Communities' Novel Stonewall Station project. The development includes ...Read more

Son of 'Real Housewives of Orange County' star will represent himself in attempted murder trial

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The son of former "Real Housewives of Orange County" star Lauri Peterson will again represent himself in his attempted-murder case after alleging during a court hearing Tuesday that he can't be sure of the confidentiality of phone calls between himself and his former defense attorney.

Joshua Waring, 29, dismissed his attorney, Joel Garson, ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Some questions about mortgage interest rates

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Why have mortgage interest rates been creeping up over the last few months?

A: Recent declines in unemployment to rock bottom levels and the accompanying increase in the inflation rate have induced the Federal Reserve to tighten credit in order to dampen further price increases. The process will continue until the emergence of the next ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Some questions about mortgage interest rates

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Why have mortgage interest rates been creeping up over the last few months?

A: Recent declines in unemployment to rock bottom levels and the accompanying increase in the inflation rate have induced the Federal Reserve to tighten credit in order to dampen further price increases. The process will continue until the emergence of the next ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Fraudulent real estate rings: Do you know how to protect yourself?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In light of recent arrests in what the Broward County, Fla., Sheriff's Office is calling a fraudulent real estate ring, I want to take this opportunity to provide you with tips on how to protect yourself. With this type of fraud, authorities say homes are illegally taken without owners' consent.

The rise of technology has made it very easy to ...Read more

Locked in: Amazon, Alexa and the connected home of tomorrow

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

VALLEJO, Calif. -- From the outside, homebuilder Lennar's model home in Vallejo could be any other house in a new suburban development. But that's where the similarities end and the future begins, courtesy of a new smart-home partnership with Amazon.

This week, Amazon and Lennar began showing off what they are calling the Amazon Experience ...Read more

Aon Center's planned observation deck, Chicago's third, could create competition for tourist dollars

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- The owners of the Aon Center, Chicago's third-tallest skyscraper, on Monday unveiled plans for an observatory atop the building, potentially setting up a heated competition for tourist dollars with established observatories at Willis Tower and 875 N. Michigan Ave., the former John Hancock Center.

The stakes are as high as the ...Read more