Sales of existing homes up 10 percent, says National Association of Realtors
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Sales of existing homes were up 10 percent last month — that word from the National Association of Realtors — still well-short of what’s normal for this time of year. Part of the problem, is uncertainty over shoddy paperwork for some foreclosures.
Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer is with us live from Washington with that.
Good morning, Nancy.
NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Good morning.
CHIOTAKIS: So the numbers were up a bit last month. But just not enough?
GENZER: That’s about the size of it, Steve. As we can see from the numbers we got today sales increased. But they’re still down 19 percent from the same time last year. And last year wasn’t so great.
CHIOTAKIS: What’s keeping buyers away, Nancy?
GENZER: We’ve got the usual suspects. High unemployment and tight credit. But now some people are shying away from buying foreclosed properties. They’re afraid the former owners will sue to get their homes back, claiming that banks made mistakes in the foreclosure process.
CHIOTAKIS: Can the government do anything to resolve this?
GENZER: All of the state attorneys general across the country are getting together and conducting a joint investigation of foreclosure procedures. And just this morning, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed’s banking regulators are looking into whether banks cut corners in the foreclosure process.
BEN BERNANKE: We are looking intensively at the firms’ policies, procedures and internal controls related to foreclosures and seeking to determine whether systematic weaknesses are leading to improper foreclosures. We take violations of proper procedures very seriously.
GENZER: Bank of America has admitted there were some mistakes with the paperwork. Like missing signatures or misspelled names. It says it’s going to resume foreclosures in almost two dozen states this week, anyway.
CHIOTAKIS: Alright, Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer in Washington. Nancy, thanks.
GENZER: You’re welcome.