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Opinion

November 16. 2012 9:40PM

FHA tries to stave off bailout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Housing Administration, facing a $16.3 billion deficit, will increase mortgage fees next year and take other steps in an effort to avoid a taxpayer bailout, the Obama administration said on Friday.

The agency, a primary source of funding for first-time home buyers and those with modest incomes, said it would raise the premiums it charges on loans it guarantees by 10 basis points, adding, on average, about $13 per month to a borrower's cost.

A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Housing officials would not say whether the steps would be enough to keep the agency from turning to the Treasury Department for a cash infusion. "I'm not going to place bets," FHA Acting Commissioner Carol Galante told reporters.

An independent audit delivered to Congress on Friday showed the FHA had depleted the capital it would need to cover expected losses on the $1.1 trillion in mortgages it backs. It said the losses would leave the agency $16.3 billion in the red.

The FHA's troubles stem from rising defaults on mortgages it guaranteed from 2007-2009 as the housing bubble was deflating. As private capital dried up during the bust, the FHA's role grew. It now insures about 1.2 million loans, or about 15 percent of all U.S. home loans, up from 5 percent in 2006.

Galante emphasized that the White House's annual budget proposal in February would be instrumental in determining whether the agency would need taxpayer funds by the time its fiscal year expires on Sept. 30.

Any final determination would not be made until September.




Real Estate

Derry residents angered over property neglect by downtown landlords

Apartments, retail area approved on 150-acre parcel in Merrimack

A rendering of the RiverWalk at Loon Mountain, a 170-unit, fractional ownership luxury resort being built on the banks of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in downtown Lincoln.

Ground broken on new Lincoln resort

Nashua aldermen vote against land buy

Kelly Wieser hugs her father, Tom Mullen, on Wednesday afternoon, several hours after the Owl's Nest Resort and Golf Course, which Mullen and his business partner opened in 1997, was sold for $2 million in a foreclosure auction. Mullen maintains that the foreclosure was the direct result of the announcement that the Northern Pass electrical transmission project would come through an existing right-of-way on the resort which Mullen said caused property sales to collapse.

Called a 'casualty' of Northern Pass, Campton's Owl's Nest Resort sold for $2 million in foreclosure

Home & Garden

Castle in the Clouds decks the halls for Christmas, opens doors

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Thanksgiving may be next on the calendar, but at Castle in the Clouds, mid-November heralds the arrival of Christmas.

Portsmouth's 1763 Moffatt-Ladd House will be decked out for its first Celebration of Wreaths and Trees this weekend.

Portsmouth events put a period on decorating

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Decorations help set the tone for most people's holiday experiences, which serves as the backdrop for two very unique and different events — one brand new, the other well into its fourth decade...

Susan Dromey Heeter's Down to Earth: From free events come great memories

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While driving to school with my daughter, we spotted one of those ancient television sets on the side of the road — the kind that worked not only as an entertainment center in the '60s and '70s...

Some gardeners won't be welcome at Salem community farm

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Overseeing Salem's community gardens at Hawkins Farm has come with its share of challenges over the past several years.

Salem zoning board says no to 2nd hearing for senior housing development on mausoleum property

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There will be no second hearing on a variance that would allow a senior housing development to be built on the property of a Pond Street mausoleum.

Diane Paul's hand-stitched leather work ranges from belts and bags to chaps and sleigh bells.

No machines for North Hampton leather artisan Diane Paul

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Diane Paul, 52, is a self-taught leather artist whose repertoire includes everything from sleigh bells to stick horses. She does everything by hand — everything.

Issues halt development of senior housing project in Salem

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The Planning Board has granted conditional approval of a 16-unit senior housing project off Pleasant Street.

Subdivision road work in Salem under scrutiny

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The issue came up recently when residents of the Deerfield Street subdivision wrote to selectmen asking for help in getting their road completed.

Bedford planners give final OK to elderly housing development

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The Planning Board voted unanimously on Monday night in favor of a request for final approval of a five-unit, detached elderly housing development at 99 Pulpit Road.

Danville stonemason John Wilder has been working with rocks since childhood. “The longer you do it, the better at it you get,” he said.

Danville stonemason John Wilder sees potential in every rock

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John Wilder can just look at a rock and know what to do with it. He knows where it goes, knows if it's any good, knows its limits. But more importantly, he knows all that humble rock could be.