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Economy

Tighter credit standards may thwart community stabilization

Formerly foreclosed upon, newly renovated homes might sit vacant as a result of stricter credit standards following the foreclosure crisis. That's the concern reflected in a survey conducted by NeighborWorks at a recent meeting in Philadelphia.

Two dozen non-profit organizations representing $740 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds were polled.

“The concern is real and it is across the board,” said Thomas Deyo, Deputy Director of National Initiatives and Applied Research at NeighborWorks America.

Census: Number in poverty hits 50-year high

The U.S. Census Bureau released figures today showing the nation's poverty rate jumped to 14.3% in 2009. That's the highest level since '94.

That rate indicates 43.6 million Americans are poor — the highest number in the nation's 51 years of keeping track.

The Office of Management and Budget defines poverty for 2009 as earning less than $21,954 for a family of four.

Read more details about the report at CNN.com.

Dartmouth students report on Vermonters in poverty

At the request of the Vermont Child Poverty Council, students and faculty of Dartmouth's Policy Research Shop prepared a report titled "Poverty in Vermont: Reduction and Profiles," which describes the population of Vermonters in poverty and identifies areas for further research and action.

The report concludes:

Report: Homelessness rises in 2010

The number of people served in Vermont’s shelters rose by 8% during state fiscal year 2010, when compared to 2009, according to Emergency Shelter Grant program figures released this month by Vermont’s Office of Economic Opportunity.

This was the largest jump of the decade, up to a total of 3,834 people, 22% of whom were children.

Read the report.

Fewer troubled home loans in Vermont than other New England states

An estimated 4.76% of home mortgages in Vermont were seriously delinquent in the second quarter of 2010. No other state in New England — and only six states in the U.S. — fared this well, according to recent data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey.

A loan is considered “seriously delinquent” if it's delinquent by 90 days or more, or if it's entered the foreclosure process.

Approximately 2.71% of Vermont’s mortgages were in the foreclosure process as of June 31, 2010 — substantially fewer than in New England and the U.S.

Vermont home prices down 4% from last year

Prices of homes sold in Vermont were approximately 4% lower during the second quarter of 2010 than 12 months earlier, according to repeat sales data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

Vermont was no different than other northeastern states. All of them experienced lower prices during 2010’s second quarter, in comparison to 2009’s second quarter.

For additional information, see the FHFA press release (PDF).

Housing market lags in Vermont's economic recovery

reportEven though the state’s economy is recovering by many indicators, economists project a continued decline in Vermont home prices and foreclosure rates hovering at an all-time high through at least mid-2011.

All states except North Dakota experienced home sales declines in January-March 2010 relative to 12 months earlier, according to Federal Housing Finance Agency repeat sales indices.

Congress gives homebuyers more time for tax credit

Congress has granted homebuyers three additional months to close on their properties and still be eligible for federal tax credits.

The bill could be signed into law by President Obama as early as this morning.

The legislation would give buyers until Sept. 30 to complete their home purchases and still qualify for up to $8,000 in tax credits. Previously, buyers had until April 30 to sign a sales contract; June 30 to close.

The bill passed the House Tuesday and the Senate yesterday.

CNN claims most homes affordable

A news headline we spotted yesterday took us by surprise: According to CNN.com, "Nearly 75% of homes are affordable."

A closer examination of the story reveals a couple of key conditions to their definition of affordable: "Nearly anyone with a decent job and a good credit score [our emphasis] can afford to buy ..."

VPR: Vermont foreclosures rise

Vermont Public Radio aired a story this morning about foreclosures in Vermont.

Vermont Deputy Commissioner of Banking and Securities and VHFA Commissioner Thomas Candon is heard in the segment, reported by Susan Keese.

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