The Year in Foreclosure Reports

BY Paul Solman and Elizabeth Shell  December 31, 2010 at 1:50 PM EST

Mortgage paperwork was a mess. Foreclosures were rampant. Homeowners went through months-long modifications, losing hope when it all fell through.

Making Sense

The housing crisis was one of the major stories of the year. And as 2010 draws to a close, we’ve given it a second look, updating a series of reports we produced this year on foreclosure.

All this week, the NewsHour has presented encore looks at four of Paul Solman’s foreclosure and mortgage pieces — revived and revamped. We’re also continuing the story online with blog posts, Q&As, follow-ups and conversations with some of the key people you’ve met over the year.

In case you missed it, here’s a recap of our year-ending foreclosure reports:


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Florida’s Foreclosure Fiasco: Losers and Winners: Paul reports from Florida on people who lost their homes to foreclosures and the buyers who were snapping them up

Online: a follow up with two strategic defaulters profiled in the piece, asking just how long they’ve now gone without paying. You may find their answers as surprising as we did.

Here’s the broadcast piece. The online post resides here.

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Government Loan Modifications- Driving Homeowners to Distraction: Struggling homeowners, counting on government-mandated loan modifications via to keep them afloat, have found themselves infuriatingly adrift. When this piece ran in October, Lauraine Yaffe was facing yet another of several stays of execution: a Nov. 26 auction of her home. The auction has been stayed yet again — until January 26. But Yaffe now owes even more, as arrearages continue to add up.

Online is Paul’s response to a reader’s frustration — with the inability of his bank to produce the mortgage paperwork.

The broadcast piece is here and the blog post here.

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The Best Alternative — for Foreclosed and Foreclosers Alike? Many Americans are facing foreclosure on homes they could have afforded, had they bought at today’s market price and current interest rates. The foreclosing banks are facing losses as they evict, re-list, re-sell. Non-profit Boston Community Capital has come up with a solution.

Online, we’ve posted a request to Business Desk readers, prompted by one reader’s grim experience. The question: have you been victimized by so-called “loan modifiers” who take the money and run, without getting any modification at all? We aim to do a story on this.

Broadcast piece here, and Paul’s online request here.

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Loan Mods: Justice or Ripoffs?: A follow up with questions and viewer reaction surrounding the ethics of mortgage modification.

Online, new thoughts from Alyssa Katz, a journalist and author who warned of the foreclosure crisis on our show back in 2006. Three years later, we featured her historical analysis and book on the housing crisis, “Our Lot.”

Watch the latest broadcast piece here and read Katz online.

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Next week: an online exclusive series delves deeper into the strategic default question, profiling homeowners who’ve decided to walk away and start anew. Should you? An online interactive tool from San Francisco PBS station KQED helps provide an answer.

In addition, follow the fantastic fate (and flow chart) of one man’s mortgage. Finally, Paul ‘webterviews’ three experts who debate the moral and ethical implications of just saying no and walking away from an underwater mortgage.

Tune in. Drop in. And for our polls: turn out.