Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Apr 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Protecting the Home Front

barbara palmer 1SANTA CRUZ > Real estate agent lobbies for struggling local families

Barbara Palmer, president of the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors, met with 28 out of the 55 U.S. Representatives from California, as well as Treasury and Federal Housing Finance Agency executives on five separate trips to Washington D.C. last year. Lobbying on behalf of cash-strapped homeowners and the statewide realtors association, Palmer emphasized the devastating impacts of foreclosures on families and neighborhoods.  

“I’m looking for practical solutions, “ Palmer says. “There are some very practical rule changes that could be made, that do not necessarily require writing down principal, that could save many people from losing their homes, right now, and in the year ahead.”

Palmer is worried about many exorbitant, adjustable rate mortgages (ARM’s) out there, originated in the hey day of flexible, if not predatory, lending practices beginning around 2003 that are scheduled for significant interest rate hikes on their 10 year anniversaries later this year and next. Palmer says the interest rate hikes of ARMs, in some cases exceeding six percent, may push many families already struggling to stay current over the edge of foreclosure in the near future.   

A practical solution? Palmer advocates for banks to refinance these ARMs into 30-year fixed mortgages at today’s low interest rate of around 4 percent, making loan payments manageable for many households in potential trouble, even if the refinanced loan still renders the homeowner “underwater” in terms of current market value. “At least the family can make the payments and stay in the home,” Palmer insists.

One key obstacle is that, by current rules, the refinanced loan cannot exceed 125 percent of market value, cutting off that option for borrowers more than “25 percent underwater.” “Waive that appraisal requirement and the 125 percent of market value rule,” Palmer  proposes, ”and let families out of these exorbitant ARMs and take advantage today’s low interest rates with a 30-year fixed.” Are there any incentives for the banks to do this? “Yes,” replies Palmer enthusiastically, “the banks have a real PR problem. Here’s a way for them to solve it. ”

Recalling the famous axiom that “all politics are local,” Palmer is serious when she says, “all solutions are local too, we just need to work them out.”

“My vision is to get local bank officials, troubled homeowners trying to avoid default, realtors and public officials all in the same room and come up with workable alternatives to foreclosure,” she says.


Check back with Good Times later this week for an in-depth look at the continuing local foreclosure crisis.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise