Just Listed brings you the latest news and information from the Twin Cities-area commercial and residential real estate market and beyond from veteran reporters Jim Buchta and Kristen Leigh Painter.

Posts about Debt

Under water on your mortgage? Here's how to refinance

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: July 11, 2012 - 10:46 AM


If you read our recent story about record low mortgage rates and owe more than your house is worth, you might feel like you’ve missed the refi boat.

Don't give up just yet. Check out the government’s newest Home Affordable Refinance Program, which is aimed at helping people who are underwater on their mortgages refinance. Unlike an earlier version of the program, HARP2 has no limit on how underwater you are on your mortgage, but  you must have a Fannie Mae- or Freddie Mac-funded mortgage and be current on your payment.

Click on this link to find out if you might be eligible.

Thursday's housing news

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: May 24, 2012 - 1:41 PM

Lots of housing news today, so here's a quick wrap-up: 

  • Sales of new single-family houses during April were up 3.3 percent compared with the revised March estimate to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 343,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • One third of all U.S. homeowners (31.4 percent to be precise) owed more on their mortgage than their house was worth during the first quarter, according to recently revamped negative equity survey by Zilllow.com. That's a total of of $1.2 trillion in negative equity and an increase over previous estimates. In the Twin Cities metro a whopping 40 percent where underwater, but most were still paying their mortgage on time. Specifically, 5.2 percent were more than 90 days late compared with 10 percent nationwide. In greater Minnesota, the situation was worst in Isanti County where more than half of all homeowners with mortgages were underwater.
  • Freddie Mac said that mortgage rates remained at record lows again this week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortage dropped a tiny bit to 3.78 percent and the 15-year held steady at 3.04 percent. 

New multi housing exec has a message: "Rent Your Home, Own Your Life."

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: May 3, 2012 - 6:41 PM


The Minnesota Multi Housing Association (MHA), the state’s largest association for rental property owners, has a new chairperson: Angelina French, a portfolio and manager with Mid Continent Management.



French has been a member of Minnesota Multi Housing Association for more than 18 years, has been active on several committees and has served on the organization’s board of directors. She also takes her experience in the industry into the classroom, where as a member of the MHA’s speakers bureau, she spreads the word about vocational opportunities within the industry. French got her start as an apartment caretaker in rural Minnesota but quickly rose through the management ranks at various companies. She’s been with Mid Continent since 2004 and succeeds Jon Segner, president and chief operating officer of Dominium as MHA chair. Also on the executive committee: Jon Hornig of Hornig Companies, Inc., Becky Yonts of Timberland Partners, Inc., Tom Backstrom of Pinnacle and Brad Kittleson of CSM Corporation.

French told Just Listed today that one of her top priorities in her new role will to reinforce that "renting is a (smart) (viable) (economical) (fulfilling) (satisfying) lifestyle choice.

"One of our goals," she said. "is to promote this reality to our current and potential residents with the tag line "Rent Your Home, Own Your Life.'"






Home insurance poised for biggest increase since market downturn

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: March 9, 2012 - 11:03 AM


As if homeowners don't already have enough to worry about, now comes news that homeowner's insurance premiums are on the rise, according to the Insurance Information Institute. You can read more about the issue in a story on the WSJ's  Smart Money website.

Has your premium increased? 





Shed that second mortgage? Recent court decision says "yes"

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: November 16, 2011 - 3:27 PM


A recent ruling from the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said that people who file for Chapter 13 protection can discharge their second or any junior mortgage (it’s called lien stripping) and still keep their house if the value of the house is less than the first, or primary mortgage.

The decision is being hailed a significant one because it means that people who have a paycheck and want to keep making the payments might be able to do so through the financial reorganization that comes with the bankruptcy process.

A significant challenge for many of those who are trying to recast their debt to make it more manageable is that they owe so much more than their house is worth and have a second mortgage. There’s more about the case that inspired the decision and details about what it means on Craig Andresen’s website. He’s the bankruptcy attorney who represented the debtor in the case that resulted in the decision. Andresen said that the case has been appealed by the Chapter 13 trustee to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appels and that the parties are briefing the court on the issue. A deciision is likely in early summer 2012.


Renters getting squeezed.

Posted by: Jim Buchta Updated: April 27, 2011 - 5:47 PM


Being a renter isn't getting any easier: A record number of renters now pay more than half their income for housing, according to a new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS).

Here's what's happening: Falling homeownership rates mean more people have to or choose to rent, and that's putting upward pressure on occupancy rates. That gives landlords an option they haven't had for years: raise rents. At the same time, renters are earning less money, putting more pressure on the working and middle class Americans. The report says that one in four renters, or 10.1 million households, spend more than half their income on rent and utilities. Another quarter of renters, 26.2 percent, spend 30 to 50 percent of their income on rent and utilities.

Are you a renter feeling the pressure? Finding any rent deals out there? 


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