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Economy

Top challenges facing low and moderate-income communities

When surveyed recently by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, service providers chose availability of job opportunities, state and local budget cuts, and federal budget cuts as the top three most important challenges facing low-and moderate-income communities in New England. Access to affordable housing and home foreclosures rounded out the top five most frequently cited responses.

Review the survey results.

Vermont economy recovering amidst global and national challenges

Vermont's econonomy outperformed the U.S. during the past 12 months, with tax revenues that exceeded projections by 2.5%.  Nevertheless, state economists cautioned the legislature and administration of the risks here in Vermont should national policy makers fail to reach an agreement about raising the U.S. debt ceiling. 

Home prices in Vermont will likely continue to decline slightly during the next 3 months, the economic report to the legislature explained.  After that, Vermont's real estate market is likely to begin "an extended period of very low price appreciation."

Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program application deadline coming

The pre-application deadline for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development's (HUD) Emergency Homeowners' Loan Program (EHLP) is coming soon.

Homeowners who want to be considered for mortgage assistance need to complete the pre-application screening materials by July 22.

If there are more potentially eligible homeowners than funds available to assist them, these materials will be entered into a random selection process to pick those invited to complete applications for EHLP loans.

Proposed minimum downpayment rule debated

Proposed mortgage lending rules being considered by federal regulators are drawing fire from a variety of players in the housing industry.

At the heart of the debate is a rule that would require borrowers submit a 20 percent downpayment to purchase a home. Intended to help prevent the type of defaults that contributed to the mortgage crisis a few years ago, critics say the rules would stifle the economic recovery and shutout many credit-worthy buyers or, at least, increase their costs through higher interest rates when they can't meet the proposed requirement.

Town meetings on the economy and budget

Sen. Bernie Sanders will hold a series of "town meetings" on the economy and federal budget priorities.

He hopes to discuss ways to prevent cuts to programs that benefit Vermont's working families.

Report's housing affordability claim debatable

The Vermont Economy Newsletter released its annual housing affordability analysis yesterday.

Art Woolf, the report's author, states

Vermont's housing affordability improved in 2010 for the fourth consecutive year, making last year the 5th most affordable year in the 24 years he's published the report.

Optimism at Vermont Economy Conference

heaps and woolfThe recovery is progressing well for the U.S. and Vermont, according to presenters at the Vermont Economic Outlook Conference last Friday. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, listed five reasons he expected the economy to continue improving well:

Report: Affordable housing drives local economic growth

According to a new report from the Center for Housing Policy, affordable housing development drives local economic growth.

The report cites National Association of Home Builders estimates that building 100 new Low-Income Housing Tax Credit units for families can lead to the creation of more than 120 jobs during the construction phase.

Furthermore, that activity ripples through the economy, supporting businesses that supply the construction trade as well as retailers, health services, and restaurants where newly employed workers spend their pay.

VHFA diligent during foreclosure procedures

Last week, Vermont joined other states in examining complaints some mortgage firms have engaged in questionable practices during foreclosure proceedings.

At the center of the investigation is "robo-signing," when mortgage service employees with no knowledge of a particular case sign foreclosure documents.

Thomas Candon, Banking Commissioner at the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration and a VHFA Commissioner, said his office hasn't received any complaints regarding this practice.

VHFA's low delinquencies, foreclosures on VPR

VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter appeared in a news segment aired by Vermont Public Radio yesterday and today about the Agency's low delinquency and foreclosure rates.

Read the transcript online.

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