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NY Times Magazine

Interesting slide show of a professional photographer's take on the real estate bust across the US. 2 of the subjects are from the Phoenix area.   GREENLEAF SUBDIVISION Mortgage fraud rose to new heights nationally during the real estate boom, aided by lenient lending rules and lax oversight. For this subdivision in Dawsonville, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, an appraiser and a developer together created false documents that led a California bank to offer nearly $5 million in mortgages for 15 homes — houses that were neither finished nor ready for occupancy. Out-of-state investors, relying on the false appraisals, purchased the properties, usually sight-unseen. The developer, Jeffery Alan Teague, was arrested after an F.B.I. investigation and is now serving more than 15 years in prison. The home buyers — many of whom most likely intended to flip the properties without ever seeing them — are now stuck with a nearly worthless asset. The neighborhood has become a d

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. mortgage applications plunged to a seven-month low last week as demand for home refinancing loans tumbled 30 percent, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.

The drop does not bode well for the hard-hit U.S. housing market, which has been showing some signs of stabilization, with sales rising and home price declines moderating in many regions of the country.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage applications, which includes both purchase and refinance loans, for the week ended June 26 decreased 18.9 percent to 444.8, the lowest reading since the week ended November 21, 2008.