Register or Sign in        Email This Page     Link To This Page    
Visit MND at MBA in NYC!
# of Visitors Per Month
Select a Date
Use the calendar to view news headlines from a specific date.
Today  |  Yesterday  |  Random
Bottom Right Default
State Name:
State Name underscore:
State Name dash:
State Name lower underscore:
State Name lower dash:
State Name lower:
State Abbreviation:
State Abbreviation Lower:
Suggest a Story
Paste the URL of the story below to submit for editorial review and possible inclusion in ATW.
Please add 6 and 8 and type the answer here:
Leave this field blank.
What is Around the Web?
It is a continuously updated stream of news from around the web
Visit throughout the day for the latest breaking news.
» Click any link below to read more.
  • Mon, Jul 13 2009
  • 9:45 AM » Stock futures flat as caution and CIT offset Goldman
    Published Mon, Jul 13 2009 9:45 AM by Reuters
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock futures were little changed on Monday as caution over the latest earnings season weighed and CIT Group Inc grappled with shoring up its finances, offsetting a broker upgrade of Goldman Sachs
  • 9:45 AM » Lenders Walking Away
    Published Mon, Jul 13 2009 9:45 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: (ht Michael) Rodney Lass figured his days as a homeowner were over when he was hit with a foreclosure judgment more than a year ago. He stopped rehabbing his two-story Bay View home and moved on. But what Lass didn't realize until recently is that the house remains in his name today. He's still responsible for the taxes, upkeep of the property and the mortgage, leaving Lass perplexed. "Why would I pay for something that I don't own anymore?" Lass said. The foreclosure, however, failed to go through after the California-based lender decided it didn't want the gutted house. Lass said he found out for certain that he still owned it from the Journal Sentinel. Today, the house at 703 E. Lincoln Ave. sits condemned ... The home represents a growing phenomenon known as walkaways - properties for which lenders sue for foreclosure but never take the title. We've heard this story before - the lender starts foreclosure, and then discovers the house is worthless (or in this case has a negative value because the house is condemned). In this case, the foreclosure went through, but the lender never recorded the deed with the court leaving the property in the previous owner's name. No one wants the property now, and the city will probably bear the costs of demolition. Meanwhile the abandoned house is a nuisance for the neighbors - even the won't live there.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • Sun, Jul 12 2009
  • 9:56 PM » Now they listen to William White
    Published Sun, Jul 12 2009 9:56 PM by
    This and associated in Spiegel Online (hat tip Tailwind) about William White, former chief economist at the BIS (Bank for International Settlements), offers new hope that maybe, just maybe, the global economy will someday be put on a steadier course. William White predicted the approaching financial crisis years before 2007's subprime meltdown. But central bankers preferred to listen to his great rival Alan Greenspan instead, with devastating consequences for the global economy. Mr. White has been something of hero at this blog, his summer musings in the BIS annual report anxiously awaited year after year, then endlessly fawned over as should be clear from the list of previous posts below: • May 18, 2006 - • Jun 29, 2006 - • Jun 26, 2007 - • Jul 01, 2008 - • Dec 11, 2008 - • Apr 01, 2009 - It's nice to see that others are now listening... This is a quite lengthy article, well worth reading in its entirety. Here's the best part: White recognized the brewing disaster. The analysis department at the BIS has a collection of data from every bank around the globe, considered the most impressive in the world. It enabled the economists working in this nerve center of high finance to look on, practically in real time, as a poisonous concoction began to brew in the international financial system. White and his team of experts observed the real estate bubble developing in the United States. They criticized the increasingly impenetrable securitization business, vehemently pointed out the perils of risky loans and provided evidence of the lack of credibility of the rating agencies. In their view, the reason for the lack of restraint in the financial markets was that there was simply too much cheap money available on the market. To give all this money somewhere to go, investment bankers invented new financial products that were increasingly sophisticated, imaginative -- and hazardous. As far back as 2003, White implored central bankers to rethink their strategies, noting...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 11:07 AM » CIT Prepares to File Bankruptcy
    Published Sun, Jul 12 2009 11:07 AM by
    The WSJ reporting that the lender to over 1 million small sized businesses has hired Skadden Arps in preparation of a bankruptcy filing. The formerly largest competitor to GE Capital for any and every semi- and fully-toxic loan imaginable, has been so far outright denied a bailout by an administration that has rarely professed a non-socialist approach to corporate demise. Unfortunately for the company, whose new HQ office lobby on 42nd street looks more like a club out of Meatpacking, flashing either a blue or deep purple colored decor, may be Obama's first Guinea pig in financial failure since Lehman.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • Fri, Jul 10 2009
  • 4:20 PM » NAR: Strong Commercial Market Vital to Economy
    Published Fri, Jul 10 2009 4:20 PM by Realtor.Org
    NAR cautioned in testimony on Capitol Hill this week that the ramifications of a widespread collapse in the commercial real estate markets would exacerbate the economic crisis.
  • 4:05 PM » Treasury Announces Recovery Act Funds to Create Jobs, Provide Affordable Housing
    Published Fri, Jul 10 2009 4:05 PM by US Treasury
    July 10, 2009 TG-203 Treasury Announces $486 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Create Jobs, Provide Affordable Housing With Funds from Fourth Award Round, More Than $1 Billion Obligated to Date under Innovative Recovery Program to Help Local Communities WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration's effort to create jobs and ease pressures on the housing market, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced $486 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funding to spur the development of affordable housing units in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and Vermont. "Today's announcement of housing funds demonstrates how the Recovery Act is putting our nation on the path to economic stability, one community at a time," said Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin. "This initiative will help spur construction and development, create much needed jobs, and increase the availability of affordable housing for families around the country." The labor and housing crises in this country are deeply inter-connected. Since their peak level at the beginning of 2006, housing starts have fallen almost 80 percent. Houses currently under construction are at a 13-year low, down more than 60 percent from the peak in the first quarter of 2006. This collapse has led to severe job losses in the residential building and specialty trades sector related to housing, with employment down by nearly one-third -- a loss of over one million jobs. Such losses not only indicate significant problems in the residential construction sector, but also suggest that the need for affordable housing has risen markedly during the recession. In response, the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have been implementing new efforts designed to help families while providing important assistance to homebuilders. Specifically, Treasury...
  • 4:05 PM » Downpayment, Closing Costs Biggest Obstacles
    Published Fri, Jul 10 2009 4:05 PM by Realtor.Org
    Saving for a downpayment and closing costs is still a big challenge for 82 percent of house hunters looking to take advantage of the current market, according to the 2009 National Housing Pulse Survey.
  • 10:24 AM » Don't Expect a Quick Recovery
    Published Fri, Jul 10 2009 10:24 AM by Google News
    One of the reasons I've argued this recovery will be slow is that we cannot simply bounce back to where we were before the problems started as we could in some past recessions. We need to move resources out of housing, out of finance, and out of autos, and those resources need to find productive employment elsewhere in new or growing industries, and that is not very likely until things improve. Consumers need to save more and consume less, as they are starting to do, and this too will require adjustment. So does this mean we should expect a U-shaped recovery instead of a V-shaped recovery? Robert Reich says it's neither, this is an X-recovery: : The so-called "green shoots" of recovery are turning brown in the scorching summer sun. In fact, the whole debate about when and how a recovery will begin is wrongly framed. On one side are the V-shapers who look back at prior recessions and conclude that the faster an economy drops, the faster it gets back on track. And because this economy fell off a cliff late last fall, they expect it to roar to life early next year. Hence the V shape. Unfortunately, V-shapers are looking back at the wrong recessions. Focus on those that started with the bursting of a giant speculative bubble and you see slow recoveries. ... That's where the more sober U-shapers come in. They predict a more gradual recovery... Personally, I don't buy into either camp. In a recession this deep, recovery ... depends on consumers who, after all, are 70 percent of the U.S. economy. And this time consumers got really whacked. Until consumers start spending again, you can forget any recovery, V or U shaped. Problem is, consumers won't start spending until they have money in their pockets and feel reasonably secure. But they don't have the money, and it's hard to see where it will come from. They can't borrow. Their homes are worth a fraction of what they were before, so say goodbye to home equity loans and refinancings...
  • 8:18 AM » Congressional Oversight Panel Releases Oversight Report on TARP Repayments and Repurchase of Stock Warrants
    Published Fri, Jul 10 2009 8:18 AM by
    So Far Treasury Has Sold Warrants Back at 66 Percent of Panel's Best Estimate of Fair Market Value WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) released its July oversight report today, "TARP Repayments, including Repurchase of Stock Warrants." In late 2008, the economy faced an exceptional crisis, and Congress created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in an effort to stabilize the financial system. When Congress authorized the commitment of $700 billion to rescue the financial system, it decided that taxpayers should have the opportunity to share in a potential upside if the banks returned to profitability. The opportunity to profit from TARP investments comes through special securities called warrants. Banks that received financial assistance were required to give the government warrants for the future purchase of some of their common shares. If the value of the bank stock rose above the warrant price, Treasury could make a profit for the taxpayers. Currently many banks want to exit the TARP program by repaying their financial assistance and repurchasing their warrants from Treasury. Any exit from the TARP system implicates an important policy question: If the banks give up federal support prematurely, will the economy suffer as a result? The Panel discussed this issue in its June report examining whether the stress tests were rigorous enough to test the strength of the banks. Now that Treasury has decided that some banks can repay, it is the Panel's mandate to determine whether the taxpayer is receiving maximum benefit from TARP. Because the warrants that accompanied TARP assistance represent the only opportunity for the taxpayer to participate directly in the increase in the share prices of banks made possible by public money, the price at which the warrants are sold is critical. To determine whether Treasury is valuing the warrants in a way that maximizes the taxpayers' investment in the financial institutions, the Panel...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 7:58 AM » Housing Op Ed: A Government Failure, Not a Market Failure
    Published Fri, Jul 10 2009 7:58 AM by WSJ
    The housing bubble was a fully rational response to a set of distortions in the free market—distortions created primarily by the public sector.
  • Thu, Jul 9 2009
  • 6:05 PM » FHFA Releases First Five-Year Strategic Plan
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 6:05 PM by FHFA
    Federal Housing Finance Agency Director James B. Lockhart today released the Agency’s first Strategic Plan since FHFA was created nearly one year ago in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). The plan details the goals and objectives for 2009-2014 that will guide the Agency in its actions to restore the financial health of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, enhance the Federal Home Loan Bank System and contribute to the strength and stability of the nation’s housing finance market and affordable housing
  • 5:50 PM » Productivity Swings and Housing Prices.
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 5:50 PM by NY Fed
    James A. Kahn. Productivity Swings and Housing Prices. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Current Issues in Economics and Finance , Volume 15, Number 3, July 2009.
  • 5:03 PM » RGE Monitor – U.S. Economic Outlook: Q2 2009 Update
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 5:03 PM by Google News
    Greetings from RGE Monitor! The first half of 2009 has ended and we at RGE Monitor are in the process of updating our quarterly Global Economic Outlook. Below you will find a preview of our views on the short-to-medium term prospects for the U.S. economy. The full version of the RGE U.S. economic outlook (available for RGE Premium subscribers) will include analysis on: U.S. Consumer Comeback? Is the U.S. Housing Sector Stabilizing? U.S. Commercial Real Estate the Next Shoe to Drop? U.S. Industrial Production and Investment in a Severe Downturn U.S. Exports Under Pressure U.S. Labor Market Pain Continues Fiscal Stimulus Provides Inadequate Stimulus Ballooning U.S. Fiscal Deficit Raises Concerns Fed Too Soon to Exit Easing Mode, but Time to Talk About It Inflation Pressures Not in Sight Quite Yet U.S. Treasuries U.S. Dollar Structural Weaknesses Will Constrain the U.S. Economic Recovery The RGE Monitor Global Economic Outlook presents analysis on over 70 countries and several global crucial issues. Specifically, in this Q2 update, our analysts cover trade and protectionism, risks of rising fiscal deficits around the world, global imbalances and climate change, among other issues. The RGE Monitor Global Economic Outlook will be available soon to RGE Premium subscribers. Now back to our U.S. preview. The United States is in the 20th month of a that has been by far the longest and most severe of the post-war period. While comparisons with the Great Depression are frequent and appropriate (especially if we look at the pace of contraction in industrial production), the aggressiveness of policy measures has significantly reduced the probability of a near-depression. Economic activity fell off a cliff in Q4 2008 and Q1 2009, with two consecutive quarters of sharp contraction – by 6.3% and 5.5% respectively – in line with our previous forecasts. The general consensus is that this recession will end sometime in the second half of 2009. While RGE Monitor expects more quarters of...
  • 5:03 PM » Report Expects Next Wave of Investment From Asia, Oil Nations
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 5:03 PM by WSJ
    Big oil investors and Asia’s central banks and sovereign wealth funds are poised to grow twice as fast as other institutional investors, underscoring how financial power is continuing to shift away from the West, from the McKinsey Global Institute found. According to MGI, the McKinsey’s economics research arm, petrodollar investors — including central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and individual magnates based mostly in the Middle East and Russia — will see the value of their foreign assets soar to at least $9 trillion by 2013, up from an estimated $5 trillion at the end of 2008. Similarly, foreign financial assets held by Asia’s sovereign investors will collectively swell to $7.5 trillion by 2013, up from $4.8 trillion in 2008. The projected rate of growth between 2009 and 2013 will be the slowest since 2000, but, as the report notes, “impressive” nonetheless. What explains these two group’s ability to sail right through financial turmoil that wrecked some of the West’s biggest and boldest investors? Mostly, it’s the nature of the assets they hold, says one of the report’s co-authors Charles Roxburgh . As the economy rebounds, oil prices will go up responding to growing demand for gasoline products tied to greater economic activity. Likewise, when global trade picks up again, Asian reserves will resume building up, reflecting those countries’ ample trade surpluses. In other words, both petrodollar and Asian investors have a hedge over other institutional investors not so much because of the investment decision they’ll make but because their existing portfolios will benefit from “structural flows that will bring money in,” as the world economy heads toward recovery, says Mr. Roxburgh. At least some of these structural advantages may wind down in the long run –China, for example, is slowly steering its economy more towards satisfying domestic demand — but in the short-term, they’ll help tick the financial power balance increasingly toward the economic power centers in...
  • 10:03 AM » Reis: Strip Mall Vacancy Rate Hits 10%, Highest Since 1992
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 10:03 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Click on graph for larger image in new window. Reis reports the strip mall vacancy rate hit 10% in Q2 2009, the vacancy rate since highest since 1992. And rents are cliff diving ... From Reuters: During the second quarter, the vacancy rate at U.S. strip malls reached 10 percent, the highest level since 1992, [Reis] said. ... asking rent fell 1.7 percent from a year ago to $19.28 per square foot. Asking rent fell 0.7 percent from the prior quarter. It was the largest single-quarter decline since Reis began tracking quarterly figures in 1999. ... effective rent declined 3.2 percent year-over-year to $17.01 per square foot. Effective rent fell 1.1 percent from the prior quarter. About 7.9 million square feet of space was returned to the market during the quarter. The amount was second only to the 8.1 million square feet in the first quarter. ... U.S. regional malls ... vacancy rate rose to 8.4 percent, the highest vacancy level since Reis began tracking regional malls in 2000. Asking rents for regional malls continued to deteriorate but at a faster rate, falling 1.4 percent in the second quarter, compared with 1.2 percent in the first. ... "Right now it looks like all signs are pointing to rents and vacancies, big components of income, getting shot down," [Victor Calanog, director of research for Reis] Inc said. "Until we see stabilization and recovery take root in both consumer spending and business spending and hiring, we do not foresee a recovery in the retail sector until late 2012 at the earliest ." A record decline in rents. Record regional mall vacancies. And no recovery seen in the retail CRE sector "until 2012 at the earliest" . Grim.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:48 AM » Mortgage Defaults and Skin-in-the-Game: Why This Correlation Is Wrong
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 9:48 AM by Seeking Alpha
    John Preston submits: This is the first of a series that I will be posting to respond to inaccuracies, falsehoods and fabrications which permeate much of the discussion as it relates to housing and mortgage lending. There is a significant amount of chatter, even on a strong site such as Seeking Alpha, regarding the issue of down payments… the skin-in-the-game concept…and the housing/foreclosure problem. There are repeated attempts to correlate the crisis and leveraging on the part of borrowers and buyers…and, the evidence does not pass scrutiny. It is simply kool-aid served to willing readers. There is a lot of extrapolation…a nice word for an educated guess…and a lot of “bobble-head” nodding…but no real evidence.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 9:47 AM » Housing, Regional Banks Lead SPX Lower
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 9:47 AM by Seeking Alpha
    Housing and Community & Regional banks look weak. The S&P 500 is below its 200-day simple moving average.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 9:47 AM » Disaggregating financial development: The effects of lending to households and firms
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 9:47 AM by
    Thorsten Beck , Berrak Buyukkarabacak , Felix Rioja , Neven Valev , 9 July 2009 How does financial development affect macroeconomic outcomes? Previous studies have relied on aggregate measures. This column introduces a data set that distinguishes between lending to enterprises and households and investigates the consequences for economic growth, income inequality, and consumption smoothing. Full Article:
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:47 AM » Economists' Commentary: First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Resources
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 9:47 AM by Google News
    NAR offers a wealth of information to help everyone make sense of the tax credit.
  • 9:46 AM » Poll Shows Potential Home Buyers Skittish
    Published Thu, Jul 09 2009 9:46 AM by
    More than half of potential homebuyers say they’re still not prepared to jump into the market, and fear of losing their jobs is the No. 1 reason, a new poll shows.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • Wed, Jul 8 2009
  • 7:51 PM » Timing of Mortgage Loan Disclosure Statements and Appraisal Reports: Truth in Lending and the HVCC
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 7:51 PM by Google News
    The Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) adopted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as of May 1, 2009, requires that a copy of the appraisal ordered by the lender must be given to the borrower at least three business days prior to the closing. The requirement can be waived by the borrower. Under HVCC, real estate agents and brokers may not select, retain or compensate in any manner an appraiser providing an appraisal to the lender. .
  • 5:47 PM » FHFA Launches New Integrated Accounting System
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 5:47 PM by FHFA
    July 8, 2009: FHFA Launches New Integrated Accounting System
  • 5:47 PM » Freddie Mac YouTube Video Shows Delinquent Borrowers How to Make More Effective Phone Calls to Servicers
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 5:47 PM by Freddie Mac
    McLean, VA – Freddie Mac today posted a new video on that shows late-paying borrowers how gathering a few financial documents before calling a mortgage servicer can cut the time needed to determine their eligibility and process their application for a loan modification under President Obama's Making Home Affordable program or Freddie Mac's other workout initiatives.
  • 4:47 PM » Joint Statement on the Legacy Asset Program
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 4:47 PM by US Treasury
    To view or print the PDF content on this page, download the free . July 8, 2009 TG-200 Joint Statement by Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Ben S. Bernanke, and Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Sheila Bair on the Legacy Asset Program To view the Letter of Intent and Term Sheets, please visit . To view the Conflict of Interest Rules, please visit . To view the Legacy Securities FAQs, please visit . The Financial Stability Plan, announced in February, outlined a framework to bring capital into the financial system and address the problem of legacy real estate-related assets. On March 23, 2009, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC announced the detailed designs for the Legacy Loan and Legacy Securities Programs. Since that announcement, we have been working jointly to put in place the operational structure for these programs, including setting guidelines to ensure that the taxpayer is adequately protected, addressing compensation matters, setting program participation limits, and establishing stringent conflict of interest rules and procedures. Recently released rules are detailed separately in the Summary of Conflicts of Interest Rules and Ethical Guidelines. Today, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC are pleased to describe the continued progress on implementing these programs including Treasury's launch of the Legacy Securities Public-Private Investment Program. Financial market conditions have improved since the early part of this year, and many financial institutions have raised substantial amounts of capital as a buffer against weaker than expected economic conditions. While utilization of legacy asset programs will depend on how actual economic and financial market conditions evolve, the programs are capable of being quickly expanded if these conditions deteriorate. Thus, while the programs will initially be modest in...
  • 4:46 PM » List of Firms Picked as PPIP Fund Managers
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 4:46 PM by WSJ
    The Treasury Department approved nine firms to serve as fund managers for its PPIP program. This is the list: AllianceBernstein, LP and its sub-advisors Greenfield Partners, LLC and Rialto Capital Management, LLC; Angelo, Gordon & Co., L.P. and GE Capital Real Estate; BlackRock, Inc.; Invesco Ltd.; Marathon Asset Management, L.P.; Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.; RLJ Western Asset Management, LP.; The TCW Group, Inc. Wellington Management Company, LLP.
  • 4:45 PM » S&P Increases 2005-07 Subprime and Alt-A Loss Assumptions
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 4:45 PM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: Standard & Poor’s has increased its loss assumptions for projected losses for U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) transactions backed by subprime and Alternative-A (Alt-A) collateral issued in 2005, 2006, and 2007. “We are updating all of our 2005, 2006, and 2007 deal-specific subprime default projections. In aggregate, our remaining 2005, 2006, and 2007 default projections, as a percentage of the original pool balances, are approximately 11%, 30%, and 49%, respectively. As a result of our increased default and loss severity estimates, we are raising our 2005, 2006, and 2007 vintage subprime and Alt-A lifetime loss projections.” We are raising our remaining 2005, 2006, and 2007 Alt-A and subprime loss severity assumptions to reflect additional market value declines and the increasing inventory of real estate-owned properties.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 4:45 PM » Fitch Expects Further Downgrades of U.S. CMBS
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 4:45 PM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: With recent vintage U.S. CMBS deals expected to substantially underperform older transactions, significant rating actions across the capital structure are likely, according to Fitch Ratings in its refined surveillance methodology for 2006-2008 vintage CMBS. “Super senior ‘AAA’ rated classes are expected to keep their top-tier ratings with a Stable Outlook, though the Rating Outlook for mezzanine ‘AAA’ tranches in certain deals will be Negative. Fitch may downgrade these tranches over time should property market conditions continue to decline or if transactions perform substantially worse than expected.”
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 3:26 PM » States Use Stimulus Money for Short-Term Needs
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 3:26 PM by Google News
    The Government Accountability Office, finds that the $787 billion stimulus package is being used to "cushion" state budgets, prevent teacher layoffs, make more Medicaid payments and head off other fiscal problems. Gee, who woulda thunk? Please consider . Cash-strapped states have used federal stimulus dollars to close short-term budget gaps and avert major tax increases but generally have not directed the money toward long-term expansion, according to a new report. The report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, found that the $787 billion stimulus package is being used to "cushion" state budgets, prevent teacher layoffs, make more Medicaid payments and head off other fiscal problems. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 10 percent of the Recovery Act funds have been released so far, with about half of the money expected to be spent by October 2010. That dispersed money is being used to prioritize short-term projects and needs over more ambitious goals, the GAO report states. For example, the GAO said about half the money set aside for road and bridge repairs is being used to repave highways, rather than build new infrastructure. And state officials aren't steering the money toward counties that need jobs the most, auditors found. Taxpayers have also recently complained that the federal government has wasted money by advertising stimulus-funded construction projects with road signs which costs between $500 and $1,200 to produce. Interestingly I talked about that very thing the other night on Coast-To-Coast and online in . All this talk of multipliers is nonsense. If government spends money in a manner that private industry would not, the multiplier is far less than 1, and perhaps even negative. Case in point: There are numerous road construction and repaving operations where I live. The thing is, most of the roads did not even need repair. Money came in for roads, Obama said...
  • 3:10 PM » 25 charged in $100 million mortgage fraud
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 3:10 PM by CNN
    The Manhattan district attorney indicted 13 suspects and a mortgage company on Wednesday for running a $100 million mortgage fraud, in which they allegedly fooled banks into financing sham sales.
  • 2:24 PM » Obama not talking about second stimulus: official
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 2:24 PM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's administration is not discussing a second stimulus plan to jolt the U.S. economy out of recession, a White House budget official told Congress on Wednesday.
  • 2:24 PM » Bank-owned Inventory: Move it!
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 2:24 PM by CNBC
    Posted By: Call me old-fashioned, but I still believe in that whole supply and demand thing; that’s why I’m slightly obsessed with the inventory of existing homes floating around the nation’s local MLS’s and more importantly those not floating around the MLS’s. I’m talking about the inventory of foreclosed properties that banks are holding onto, refusing to unleash onto the sales market. Topics: | | Sectors: |
  • 2:08 PM » PMI: US Home Prices Likely Lower In 2 Years
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 2:08 PM by The Big Picture
    Falling home prices any be moderating, but they are not likely to be heading higher anytime soon. That’s according to mortgage insurer . One of the the largest mortgage insurers in the US, PMI is forecasting that home prices will be lower in 2011 than they are today, including 30 of the 50 largest metro areas. The decline is likely to spread to “all regions of the nation” from California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, the states most affected by the housing slump. This line really grabbed me: “The 15 areas with the highest probability of lower prices in 2011 each have a 99 percent chance.” Newswire: “The report said as many as 85% of the country’s 381 metropolitan areas are facing an increased risk of lower home prices in 2011, with Florida, California and Nevada continuing to be at the highest risk. Among the country’s 50 most populated metro areas, the PMI study showed 28 to be in the highest risk category, signaling the greatest probability for lower house prices by the first quarter of 2011. The credit crisis was set off after the housing bubble deflated and popped - and that crisis only reinforced an extremely difficult dynamic in the housing market.” The charts below are not at all encouraging: US Home Prices, 1890-2009 click for larger charts > Real Home Prices, 1890-2009 > Year-Over-Year Change Home Prices, 2001-2009 > Sources: Dan Levy Bloomberg, July 7 2009 Kerry Grace Benn, Dow Jones Newswires, JULY 7, 2009
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:43 AM » What Causes Foreclosures?
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 8:43 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: The had a great article on the housing foreclosure crisis last week. Thanks to reader Alan M. for bringing it to my attention. Stan Liebowitz, professor of economics at the University of Texas, breaks down the statistics of the mortgage market to reveal the real problems. We all marveled at the creative financing that was done. Only in America could you find a zero down, adjustable, interest only, low documentation loan. It takes a special kind of marketing department to dream up these kinds of financial instruments.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:43 AM » Why Banks Prefer Foreclosures Over Mortgage Modifications
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 8:43 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: At the center of most efforts to provide relief to struggling homeowners is an attempt to take on a single housing paradox: Banks get a much better return on a mortgage modification than they would on a default, foreclosure, and sale, and yet banks renegotiate only a tiny share of seriously delinquent mortgages—only 3% or so. This is money left on the ground, and the key to helping homeowners would seem to be knocking down whatever is standing between banks and this opportunity for mutual gain. That whatever, in most tellings, is securitization. The pooling and chopping of mortgage payment streams that is part of the securitization process would seem to pose a significant structural barrier to loan modifications. But is this actually the case?
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:43 AM » Don’t Expect a V-Shaped Recovery in Real Estate Prices
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 8:43 AM by Seeking Alpha
    Anyone who knows me is aware that I have a unique perspective on real estate. My family is in the commercial real estate business and I worked in the business for a number of years before becoming a securities analyst. However, even as an analyst I have continued to follow the sector very closely. Not so much the REITs as the regional banks. If you think about it these banks are not much more than real estate companies. While their main business is not to own properties (at least not by choice), a large percentage of their loan books are tied to real estate. Aside from some business or what are known as C&I loans, the majority of the loans on the books of the banks I follow are tied to commercial real estate, residential real estate and construction.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:27 AM » Toxic Asset Program May Be Too Late to Help Banks
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 8:27 AM by
    A U.S. government plan designed to rid banks' books of the troubled assets that exacerbated the financial crisis will do little to address a fundamental weakness of the industry or the economy, analysts say.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:27 AM » Navigating Today's Real Estate Market
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 8:27 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: Back in March I began helping a client execute a search for homes under $325k in the Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Vista areas. We had 20% down, plenty of reserves, solid credit, and great income. We ultimately negotiated the successful purchase of a great home that fit their goals and budget… but not before viewing literally 150+ homes, spread across a 25 mile radius, and making 10+ offers on different properties before our bid was finally accepted after three months of aggressive searching. In one case we were outbid even after offering 20% above list price. Talk about a seller’s market.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:27 AM » Here's a Statistic I Dare You to Challenge
    Published Wed, Jul 08 2009 8:27 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: Sellable listings in the San Diego MLS represent only 25% of the distressed loans out there. This short sentence gets right to the point, but admittedly contains some open-ended terms that vary widely by interpretation. By narrowing down the definitions of these terms, and by getting our arms around their underlying sentiment, we will shed light on some significant implications, unlock some “aha” observations, and stimulate a whole lot of thought… not so much about where things stand in today’s real estate market, but about the types of questions we should be asking.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • Tue, Jul 7 2009
  • 2:51 PM » Lenders Avoid Loan Modifications
    Published Tue, Jul 07 2009 2:51 PM by Realtor.Org
    A survey by the Boston Fed found that only a handful of those with delinquent mortgages were able to lower their payments after redoing loans.
  • 2:51 PM » Commercial Real Estate Decline a Major Challenge for Banks
    Published Tue, Jul 07 2009 2:51 PM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: First posted by Jeff Bernstein on Urban Digs, July 6, 2009 at 2.48 PM I have noted several times in the past that the commercial real estate market decline is a continuing major challenge for the banking industry (especially regional and local banks) and, as a result, a continuing stumbling block for the economy as a whole. I have laughed along with you at the new industry maxim that "a rolling loan gathers no loss" and averred that pushing the problems out further in time is not a recovery strategy.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
Did you know?
You can see a list of all comments on MND by clicking the 'Read the Latest Comments' option under the 'Community' menu.

More From MND

Mortgage Rates:
  • 30 Yr FRM 4.15%
  • |
  • 15 Yr FRM 3.85%
  • |
  • Jumbo 30 Year Fixed 4.05%
MBS Prices:
  • 30YR FNMA 4.5 104-05 (0-04)
  • |
  • 30YR FNMA 5.0 105-17 (0-03)
  • |
  • 30YR FNMA 5.5 106-16 (0-01)
Recent Housing Data:
  • Mortgage Apps -2.47%
  • |
  • Refinance Index -2.02%
  • |
  • Purchase Index -2.63%