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  • Mon, May 10 2010
  • 8:24 AM » Bernanke Offers a Lesson on Happiness
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by WSJ
    Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke dives into the economics profession's very long-running discussion of happiness in a commencement speech at the University of South Carolina.
  • 8:24 AM » Real-Estate Pain to Continue
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by WSJ
    As the economy struggles to regain its strength, real estate is expected to continue to act as a break, rather than an accelerator.
  • 8:24 AM » Moody's May Face SEC Action
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by WSJ
    The SEC told Moody's Investors Service that it may face a civil suit for misleading regulators in a license application. The regulator says the ratings firm failed to adhere to policies it detailed in its application.
  • 8:24 AM » FHA Wants Lenders to Police Brokers
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by WSJ
    The government agency that insures a bigger and bigger portion of home loans plans to rely more on lenders to police mortgage brokers. The changes will put more of the onus on lenders to make sure there's no fraud or faulty underwriting in the loans they fund.
  • 8:24 AM » Fed Hinting on Mortgage-Bond Sales Brings Bernanke Tightening
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by Business Week
    Words may speak louder than actions for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke when the time comes to outline plans to raise interest rates and shrink the central bank’s balance sheet.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 8:24 AM » Income Inequality and Great Depressions
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: More than a year ago I had wondered in the financial crisis. Mike Konczal has put up a in which he blames the financial industry for the divergence in incomes. This is the main graph:
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:24 AM » Home Values Continue Nationwide Decline in First Quarter Amid Encouraging Signs in California
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by
    Mixed Market Results in Q1 2010 Zillow® Real Estate Market Reports As Several Large Metros in California Show Evidence of Reaching Bottom in Past Year, Yet Growing Negative Equity and Record Foreclosures Will Likely Delay a Broader Recovery
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:24 AM » House Passes Home Star Energy Retrofit Act
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:24 AM by National Council of State Housing Agencies
    On May 6, the House passed by a vote of 246 to 161.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Council of State Housing Agencies
  • 8:08 AM » IMF Approves €30 Bln Loan for Greece on Fast Track
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:08 AM by IMF
    The IMF approves a €30 billion three-year loan for Greece as part of a joint European Union-IMF €110 billion financing package to help the country ride out the debt crisis, revive growth, and modernize the economy.
  • 8:08 AM » Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Canada, Bank of England, and Swiss National Bank announce re-establishment of temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap facilities
    Published Mon, May 10 2010 8:08 AM by Federal Reserve
    Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Canada, Bank of England, and Swiss National Bank announce re-establishment of temporary U.S. dollar liquidity swap facilities
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Federal Reserve
  • Fri, May 7 2010
  • 6:52 PM » NMHC Quarterly Survey: Apartment Market Conditions Tighten
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 6:52 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC): The Market Tightness Index, which measures changes in occupancy rates and/or rents, rose sharply from 38 to 81. This was the highest figure in nearly four years. Fully 64 percent of respondents said markets were tighter (meaning lower vacancies and/or higher rents). Only two percent reported looser markets. This is the sixth straight increase for this measure. ... “We saw a sharp increase in the Market Tightness Index, which fits with the surprisingly strong (for a seasonally weak period) effective rent growth. ... Even so, a sustained recovery in the apartment market needs a firm economic and demographic foundation ... in the near-term the industry’s prospects still depend upon a stronger rebound in both the job market and household formation.” [said NMHC Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky] Click on graph for larger image in new window. This graph shows the quarterly Apartment Tightness Index. A reading above 50 suggests the vacancy rate is falling. Based on limited historical data, I think this index will lead reported apartment rents by about 6 months to 1 year. Right now I expect BLS reported rents to continue to decline through most of 2010. This data is a survey of large apartment owners. The data released last week from the Census Bureau showed a for all rental units. A final note: at some point the apartment market would start to tighten from the very high vacancy rates (record levels according to the Census Bureau and ). The question asked was: Q: [O]n balance, apartment market conditions in your markets today are: Of those surveyed, 64% answered: "Tighter than three months ago" and 34% answered "About unchanged from three months ago". So it appears the bottom in vacancy rates was reached in Q4 2009. The improvement in the labor market is probably leading to more household formation - and combined with a record low number of new apartment units being completed this year - the apartment market is...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 5:04 PM » Oil Spill and the Municipal Bond Market
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 5:04 PM by The Big Picture
    May 6, 2010 John Mousseau is a portfolio manager and heads the tax-free Muni section of Cumberland. He is a member of the Management Committee of Cumberland Advisors. His bio is found at His email is ~~~ The Associated Press reported (Wednesday, May 4) satellite images which indicate that the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the Mississippi delta and some islands off the coast of Louisiana. Our recent piece (“Oil Slickonomics”) laid out various economic/ecological scenarios – all of which are bad. We have analyzed some of the impacts on municipal bonds. While the long-term impacts are uncertain and unknown, there are certainly concerns for total-return municipal portfolio managers. The problem here is much more complex and troublesome than that presented by the disaster of the Exxon Valdez. In that spill there was a finite amount of oil which impacted Prince William Sound. In this one, we do not know when this oil flow of 5,000 barrels per day will be stopped. There are other estimates of this flow which are higher. There are some bold initiatives and new technologies right now being put into place to cap the ruptured well. This is a first-time effort to use them at this depth. Meanwhile the oil slick is growing and threatens five states. And the only thing heading to these states faster than the oil are the lawyers. Industry Fishing industries, which still have not recovered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, will be devastated. Already there is a spike in seafood buying ahead of the slick. However, after the slick, the fishing industry will be handicapped for many months, if not years. The problem of course will be the consumer, who will rightfully ask, “Are the fish safe to eat?” For smaller communities along the Gulf that are fishing-dependent this will be a long-term problem and could be a lethal blow. Clearly, general-obligation bonds in this area are facing a possible developing risk. Tourism Our biggest concern...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 4:48 PM » Financial Reform Amendment Would Address Loan Mod Problems with ‘Homeowner Advocate’
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 4:48 PM by
    by , ProPublica - May 7, 2010 11:37 am EDT An amendment to the financial reform bill filed yesterday by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, would create a special office to assist homeowners who are facing problems with the administration’s mortgage modification program. The measure has , but is opposed by the financial services industry. As we’ve reported, homeowners and housing counselors frequently complain that mortgage servicers frequently and —mistakes that can . Homeowners regularly wait for an answer on their application.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 4:48 PM » New MLS Standards Will Help Realtors® Better Serve Home Sellers and Buyers
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 4:48 PM by Google News
    Real estate data sharing on multiple listing services is about to get easier, with the Real Estate Standards Organization's approval of real estate property standard names.
  • 4:48 PM » Off the Charts: Except for Homes, Construction Spending Falls
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 4:48 PM by NY Times
    The Commerce Department said residential construction spending rose at an annual rate of 1.6 percent in the first quarter, but nonresidential construction fell 17.4 percent.
  • 4:48 PM » Bursting the bubble about the causes of the housing bubble
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 4:48 PM by Washington Post
    Everybody knows what caused the housing bubble, with its breathtaking, though ephemeral, increase in prices, right? A long run of low mortgage interest rates, loose lending and low (to nonexistent) down payment requirements are the usual culprits cited by experts.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 2:59 PM » 5/7/08--Perspective on a Wild Day
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 2:59 PM by
    *I typically take Friday off because I tend to have late hockey games (and even later beers) on Thursday nights, however after the market activity of Thursday I feel i would be remiss if I didn't at least throw a few thoughts out there. First off, everyone will talk about the absolute numbers, down 1000 points, but only closed down 350 points in the stock market. But it isn't just about the numbers. That is like looking at the box score and saying you saw the game. You need to look more closely to try to figure out exactly why this happened, and more importantly why it could or could not happen again.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 1:41 PM » New rules making tax-credit closing deadlines tough to meet
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 1:41 PM by Washington Post
    For thousands of home buyers who scrambled to meet the April 30 federal tax-credit deadline for completed contracts, a new challenge is looming: Can they nail down their mortgage financing and get to closing before the program terminates? - - - -
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 12:23 PM » A Bullish View on Housing Construction
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 12:23 PM by Google News
    One analyst predicts that housing starts may be about to double.
  • 12:23 PM » BofA's Countrywide OKs $624 million lawsuit settlement
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 12:23 PM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Countrywide Financial Corp, the mortgage lender acquired by Bank of America Corp, has agreed to a $624 million settlement of a lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors about its lending practices.
  • 12:23 PM » Fed to sell some of mortgage-backed portfolio: report
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 12:23 PM by Reuters
    (Reuters) - Federal Reserve officials have agreed to sell some of the central bank's $1.1 trillion portfolio of mortgage-backed securities, but many are undecided on how soon or how aggressively to do so, the Wall Street Journal said, citing several people familiar with the matter.
  • 10:35 AM » Economists React: Jobs Report Confirms ‘No Double Dip’
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 10:35 AM by WSJ
    Economists and others weigh in on the jump in the number of jobs added in April and the increase in the unemployment rate.
  • 8:19 AM » Fed Option for Europe Crisis: Swap Lines
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 8:19 AM by WSJ
    Federal Reserve officials view Greece's financial woes as largely a European problem, but there are levers they can pull if the fallout spreads deeper into other markets.
  • 8:18 AM » Conservatives Lead in Close U.K. Vote
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 8:18 AM by WSJ
    Nearly complete returns showed that Britain's Conservative Party outpolled rivals but likely fell short of a parliamentary majority in a closely contested U.K. election. Nick Clegg, the leader of the kingmaker Liberal Democrats, said the Conservatives should seek to govern.
  • 8:17 AM » Simon Raises Bid for General Growth
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 8:17 AM by WSJ
    Mall giant Simon raised its bid to acquire General Growth in a "last and final" effort to sway its rival from going forward with a competing offer to finance its exit from bankruptcy.
  • 8:16 AM » Senate Rejects Bid to Shrink Biggest U.S. Banks
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 8:16 AM by NY Times
    By a vote of 61 to 33, the Senate decided not to force big banks to shrink. An amendment for a one-time audit of the Fed is expected to pass next week.
  • 8:15 AM » Libor for 3-Month Dollar Loans Climbs to Highest Since August
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 8:15 AM by Business Week
    The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, that banks say they charge each other for three-month loans in dollars rose to 0.428 percent, the highest level since Aug. 17, according to data from the British Bankers’ Association today.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Business Week
  • 8:15 AM » Treasury Releases New Build America Bonds Data
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 8:15 AM by US Treasury
    To view or print the Microsoft Excel content on this page, . May 6, 2010 TG-692 Treasury Releases New Build America Bonds Data Recovery Act Bonds Program Provides Nearly $97 Billion Nationally to Date, Estimated to Save State and Local Governments Billions Compared to Tax Exempt Bonds WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today released its monthly comprehensive update on Build America Bonds issuances, including state-by-state data, showing nearly $97 billion have been issued through April 30, 2010. Build America Bond issuers benefit from substantial savings in borrowing costs when compared to issuing tax exempt debt. "Build America Bonds continue to be used by a wide range of state and local governments, which have saved billions of dollars in net borrowing costs from issuing these bonds," said Alan B. Krueger, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist at the Treasury Department. "At the same time, the functioning of the municipal bond market has been improved by the addition of Build America Bonds. The success of Build America Bonds so far makes a powerful argument for the permanent extension of this program at a revenue neutral rate." Build America Bond issuance in the first twelve months of the program will save state and local governments across the country an estimated $12 billion in net present value relative to what they would have paid had they issued tax exempt bonds according to an analysis conducted by the Department of Treasury. For example, through April 30, 2010 issuers in Washington State have issued $2.6 billion of Build America Bonds and Washington taxpayers will save an estimated $256 million due to the Build America Bonds program, according to the Treasury analysis. "When Washington State ventured into the taxable Build America Bond market last fall to finance $500 million of transportation projects, we received the lowest interest rates in our state's history," said Governor Chris Gregoire...
  • 8:15 AM » Freddie Mac Proves:  Govt. Can't Bail on Housing Now
    Published Fri, May 07 2010 8:15 AM by CNBC
    Freddie Mac's request for an additional $10 billion in aid from the Federal Government, coming at the same time that the current and former Treasury Secretaries testify before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, has debate swirling once again around GSE reform.
  • Thu, May 6 2010
  • 6:20 PM » Value of Home Appraisal Process in Question - St. Petersburg Times
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 6:20 PM by Google News
    Reported by In February, Neumann found his dream home: a lovingly restored, 1936 traditional with garage apartment in St. Petersburg's desirable Woodlawn area. He signed a contract for $375,000, and the lender ordered an appraisal. The results flabbergasted everyone....
  • 6:20 PM » 5/6/10--Europe and Asia, Inflation, Freddie Losses
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 6:20 PM by
    *Focus remains squarely on Europe and Trichet speaking this morning.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 5:02 PM » Congress Considers Mandate on 5% Minimum Down Payments
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 5:02 PM by Google News
    Some Republican lawmakers are calling for the Senate’s financial-overhaul bill to include specific mortgage standards that originators would be required to meet when underwriting home loans.
  • 5:02 PM » Bernanke’s Fannie/Freddie Doublespeak
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 5:02 PM by Google News
    When it comes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there is a word that regulators and politicians dare not speak.
  • 3:29 PM » Freddie to Strategic Defaulters: Please Don’t Do It
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 3:29 PM by Google News
    Freddie Mac has a message for any homeowners who are thinking about are thinking about walking away: Please don't do it.
  • 12:22 PM » Bernanke on Stress Tests
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 12:22 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: Importantly, the concerns about banking institutions arose not only because market participants expected steep losses on banking assets, but also because the range of uncertainty surrounding estimated loss rates, and thus future earnings, was exceptionally wide. The stress assessment was designed both to ensure that banks would have enough capital in the face of potentially large losses and to reduce the uncertainty about potential losses and earnings prospects. To achieve these objectives, for each banking organization included in the SCAP, supervisors estimated potential losses for each major category of assets, as well as revenue expectations, under a worse-than-expected macroeconomic scenario for 2009 and 2010. Importantly, the SCAP was not a solvency test; rather, the exercise was intended to determine whether the tested firms would have sufficient capital remaining to continue lending if their losses were larger than expected. The assessment included all domestic bank holding companies with at least $100 billion in assets at the end of 2008--19 firms collectively representing about two-thirds of U.S. banking assets. ... The assessment found that if the economy were to track the specified "more adverse" scenario, losses at the 19 firms during 2009 and 2010 could total about $600 billion. After taking account of potential resources to absorb those losses and capital that had already been raised or was contractually committed, and after establishing the size of capital buffers for the end of the two-year horizon that we believed would support stability and continued lending, we determined that 10 of the 19 institutions would collectively need to raise an additional $75 billion in common equity. Firms were asked to raise the capital within six months, by November 2009. Importantly, we publicly released our comprehensive assessments of each of the firms' estimated losses and capital needs under the more-adverse scenario...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 12:22 PM » The Fight Over Fannie, Freddie Is Just Beginning
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 12:22 PM by Google News
    The measure to get rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac foreshadows a bigger fight that may start next year.
  • 12:22 PM » Bernanke Letter to Dodd Opposing Amendments to Audit the Fed
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 12:22 PM by WSJ
    The following is the full text of a letter Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd over a proposed amendment to the financial overhaul to audit the Fed.
  • 11:04 AM » Housing Inventory Rises in Many Cities
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 11:04 AM by Google News
    The number of homes listed for sale grew in many metropolitan areas in April.
  • 10:30 AM » HUD Secretary Announces Disaster Assistance for Tennessee Storm Victims
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 10:30 AM by HUD
    WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to four counties in Tennessee and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes following the ongoing severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds and tornadoes.
  • 8:13 AM » Audit the Fed Legislation: What Will It Mean?
    Published Thu, May 06 2010 8:13 AM by Seeking Alpha
    Rortybomb submits: I understood that there was an Audit the Fed amendment that passed the House, and that Bernie Sander’s amendment duplicating it in the Senate was getting a lot , with administration officials suggesting that they will try to stop it “at all costs.” I wanted to get a better sense of why such a proposal might be important, and what it would actually do and mean for the Federal Reserve. So I was lucky to speak with Dean Baker about the matter.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
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Mortgage Rates:
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  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 3.93%
MBS Prices:
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  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 109-09 (0-04)
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Recent Housing Data:
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  • Refinance Index 0.44%
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  • Purchase Index 5.34%