ABC 2 News reports a vacant caught fire and burned in SW Baltimore — according to state and city tax records, the address in question doesn’t exist.
Harriet M Taylor of Ellicott City was sentenced to two years in prison and five years supervised release for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Steve Kilar from the Baltimore Sun listed all of the housing-related bills before the Maryland Legislature so far — a few look good, and a few…not so much.
The City plans to sell off the “Superblock” properties at a fraction of their actual worth, says Baltimore Brew.
Interesting discussion about the Housing Trust Fund in the New York Times — should the mortgage-interest deduction turn into a tax credit for middle- and low-income homeowners?
Five people from Maryland and one from Virginia were indicted for conspiracy in a $4.5 million mortgage fraud scheme.
Detroit revealed its 50-year redevelopment plan. Great planning ideas, but sad to think that some of the folks who developed those ideas will never live to see them carried out. Should cities create plans that far ahead in the future?
Camden Crossing development lots go into foreclosure, hit the auction block in December, the Baltimore Business Journal reports. Backstory on Camden Crossing — the environmental issues are truly frightening. (Link opens a PDF)
Also in the BBJ, Baltimore City median home prices fell in 2011 to $82,000. Houses are selling faster, but they’re selling cheaper — a sign that desperate sellers are ready to flee?
Federal funding for rehabbing vacants — should it go to investors, nonprofits, or homeowners?
NYT Opinion piece — The Death of the Fringe Suburb
Baltimore Sun Op-Ed – Overdue Justice for Lead Paint Victims
Vacant houses as art, in Cleveland.
Lead poisoning cases are down in Maryland, however — the number of cases linked to homes not covered by Maryland law is on the rise. Sounds like it’s time to amend the law.
Speaking of lead paint — the venerable Kennedy Krieger Institute is being sued in a class-action lawsuit filed by Baltimore attorney Billy Murphy. In the lawsuit, Murphy alleges Kennedy Krieger exposed poor black children to dangerous levels of lead.
Not only is Paul Graziano in the hot seat for refusing to pay settlements of lead paint cases, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa would also like to know how Baltimore’s Housing Authority spent $67 million in federal stimulus money. We’d like to know the answer to that, too.
Jamie Smith Hopkins reports the number of vacant homes in Maryland has increased by 35%, in Baltimore alone, the number rose by 10%. Jamie also wrote a post about rents in Baltimore — and a number of commenters wondered if the high rents charged by landlords who own subsidized housing is skewing the average rent figures — In 2009, the Cato Institute brought this up in an article on federally subsidized housing:
Some landlords, in fact, specialize in Section 8, becoming experts at the complex regulations, and they skillfully work the system to their financial advantage. With Section 8 tenants, landlords don’t have to worry about nonpayment, because the government deposits its share of the rent—the lion’s share—directly into the property owner’s bank account. Moreover, for many buildings the government-paid rent is more than the market rent would be. The reason is that the program allows voucher holders to pay up to the average rent in their entire metropolitan area, and landlords in lower-income neighborhoods, where rents are below average, simply charge voucher holders exactly that average rent.