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Homeowner help plans have limited succes [04/16/2008]

Homeowner help plans have limited success

HARRISBURG, Pa. (UPI) -- State programs designed to help troubled homeowners in the United States have sprung up quickly, but with limited success, mortgage officials say.

While homeowners wait for federal action, at least nine states have jumped into the fray with commitments totaling $450 million, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Pennsylvania has two programs, one designed to turn adjustable-rate mortgages into 30-year fixed-rate loans, and one set up to reduce principal and purchase loans from lenders.

Since November, the two programs have refinanced or renegotiated principal on 78 loans.

New York has helped with refinancing for only three homeowners since September; Massachusetts has helped with 12 in the past nine months, the report said.

Nationally, RealtyTrac estimated Tuesday that 234,685 homeowners faced some level of foreclosure proceeding in March.

"We need something bigger and bolder, like some of the proposals in Congress," Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, told the Post.

And states, which sacrifice budget dollars to the effort, have difficulty reacting to the mortgage crisis in the worst of the overvalued markets, said Michael Collins, a mortgage researcher in Ithaca, New York.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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