Inflation Threatens and Evictions Loom

Two major issues dominated the news in late July: Inflation – whether it is, is not a problem or is likely to be one; and the prospect that millions of renters would be evicted from their homes as a federal moratorium barring evictions for nonpayment of rent expired. 

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Staggering, unprecedented, dramatic, transforming – analysts and headline writers have struggled for adjectives to characterize the $700 billion Wall Street bail-out plan Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has unveiled in an effort to shore up the nation’s faltering financial markets.

The Bankruptcy Reform law enacted in 2005 made it more difficult and more expensive to seek bankruptcy protection, but it has not offset the effects of job losses, declining incomes, rising living costs, and an erosion in home equity that has eliminated a financial cushion on which many consumers had come to rely.

The federal government’s takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dominated the financial news this month. The action was unprecedented, to be sure, and, depending upon whose analysis you accept, either unavoidable or unnecessary. The impacts are still being assessed.

HUD officials will proceed with plans to implement the agency’ revised RESPA rules, despite mounting pressure from industry trade groups and legislators to redraft the proposal, which HUD has withdrawn and redrafted twice before.