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  • Wed, Sep 15 2010
  • 10:06 AM » Buying a Home, Good Idea?
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 10:06 AM by Google News
    With so much gloomy talk about housing, one columnist argues that this is a good moment to get a deal.
  • 8:34 AM » Richmond Fed’s Lacker Wants High Threshold For More Fed Action
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:34 AM by WSJ
    Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, sees modest growth in 2011, little change in inflation and little to spur the Fed to take new actions to support the economy.
  • 8:33 AM » Census Effect Contradicts Keynesians
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:33 AM by NY Times
    The impact of the 2010 census on employment seems to contradict the Keynesian view that government hiring has a multiplier effect, an economist writes.
  • 8:32 AM » What’s Holding Back Small Businesses?
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:32 AM by NY Times
    More companies say their main problem is poor demand, not high taxes.
  • 8:32 AM » Credit Suisse: 6 Bullish Facts About Housing
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:32 AM by Seeking Alpha
    submits: Here’s a contrarian view for you. Credit Suisse says the fears about housing are well overdone. In their analysis they cite 6 different bullish factors that should help to bolster house prices in the USA: The government now owns or guarantees about 70% of US mortgage debt ($11.5trn), thus any knock-on impact from a fall in house prices should be much lower than in 2007-2008 and the flow of foreclosure onto the market can be managed well (recall that since April 2009, 3.1 million trial loan modifications have been made); Valuation is extremely cheap on all measures (price to income, price to rent, affordability index, rental yields). Delinquency ratios, charge-off and foreclosure rates seem to have peaked. Housing starts are about 1m below trend demand of housing units – based on household formation and replacement demand. The question is: What is the level of excess inventory? The number of unsold new and existing homes have fallen by 63% and 14% from the peak, respectively; if we then assume half the foreclosed property becomes vacant (i.e. half of the 2.3m homes currently foreclosed), this amounts to 2.7m homes, which should take 2 ½ to 3 years to absorb. Distressed sales (short-sales, foreclosures and REO sales) are less than a third of the total, after peaking at almost half in 2009; Housing as a proportion of GDP is now just 2.2%, compared with a long-run average of 4.5%. Can’t say I entirely agree, but it’s always nice to keep an eye on both sides of the argument….
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Seeking Alpha
  • 8:32 AM » Moody’s Expects an Increase in the Number of Negative Outlooks Assigned to HFAs
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:32 AM by National Council of State Housing Agencies
    On September 3, NCSHA affiliate member Moody’s Investors Service released
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Council of State Housing Agencies
  • 8:17 AM » Lawler: "Early read" on August existing home sales
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:17 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    CR Note: This is from housing economist Tom Lawler: The “early read” on existing home sales based on regional data suggests that existing home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of around 4.1 million in August, up around 7% from July’s pace. My “best guess” right now on the pending home sales index is that it will show a seasonally adjusted increase from July to August of around 4%. CR Note: some bounce back was expected. This would put the months of supply around 11.5 months. This sales rate would be at about the levels of 1996 or 1997. Existing home sales for August will be released next week on Thursday (Sept 23rd).
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:17 AM » For Recovery, Housing Market Must Clear Out Excess Inventory
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:17 AM by The Big Picture
    Thee is a long and detailed piece in Bloomberg today — — looking at the current state of the Housing market, especially the excess inventory. (I have a quote on the futility of HAMP). Excerpt: “The slide in U.S. home prices may have another three years to go as sellers add as many as 12 million more properties to the market. Shadow inventory — the supply of homes in default or foreclosure that may be offered for sale — is preventing prices from bottoming after a 28 percent plunge from 2006, according to analysts from Moody’s Analytics Inc., Fannie Mae, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Plc. Those properties are in addition to houses that are vacant or that may soon be put on the market by owners.” Here is my quote, which regular readers will recognize (from what I have written here previously) : “If the market doesn’t fall to its natural bottom, price gains in the next five to 10 years won’t keep pace with inflation as the difference is made up “on the backend,” said Barry Ritholtz, chief executive officer of FusionIQ, a New York research company. Price increases that fail to at least match inflation are the same as reductions in value, Ritholtz said. The Obama administration’s effort to help mortgage holders, the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, is another source of future inventory as owners with new loan terms re- default, Ritholtz said. About half of the modifications done in 2009 were behind in payments by the first quarter of 2010, according to the Treasury Department. ‘Day of Reckoning’ “The belief has been: if we stimulate sales with a tax credit and delay foreclosures with modifications, the market would stabilize,” said Ritholtz, author of “Bailout Nation.” “We’re just putting off the day of reckoning and drawing out the pain by not letting the housing market hit its bottom.” I’ll see if I can the updated version of the Ned Davis Research charts showing fair value relative to median income and renting postedlater today . . . > Source: John Gittelsohn...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:17 AM » 1990 Newsweek Cover: The Real Estate BUST
    Published Wed, Sep 15 2010 8:17 AM by The Big Picture
    As a follow up to yesterday’s look at , Paul Macrae Montgomery of Universal Economics was kind enough to share this report from 1992. In that research piece, Paul had made mention of an October 1st, 1990 cover story in Newsweek: The Real Estate BUST. > > How well did that cover work out ? > Pretty well indeed . . .
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • Tue, Sep 14 2010
  • 3:47 PM » REITS on a Roll
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 3:47 PM by CNBC
    It sounds counter-intuitive; as we continue to report all sorts of problems in the commercial real estate market, not the least of which is rising defaults in commercial mortgage-backed securities, real estate investment trusts, many of which invest in commercial real estate, are on a roll.
  • 3:47 PM » Economists React: Consumers Buying ‘When Necessary’
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 3:47 PM by WSJ
    Economists and others weigh in on the jump in U.S. retail sales.
  • 1:14 PM » A Tale Of Home Prices Told Through The Cover Pages Of TIME Magazine
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:14 PM by The Big Picture
    I have a commentary on the Time Magazine article coming this week — I find it is both inaccurate and misleading — but meanwhile, here is Jim Bianco’s take on it: ~~~ 1. Time Magazine – September 6, 2010 -Time: Homeownership has let us down. For generations, Americans believed that owning a home was an axiomatic good. Our political leaders hammered home the point. Herbert Hoover argued that homeownership could “change the very physical, mental and moral fiber of one’s own children.” Franklin Roosevelt held that a country of homeowners was “unconquerable.” Homeownership could even, in the words of George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Jack Kemp, “save babies, save children, save families and save America.” A house with a front lawn and a picket fence wasn’t just a nice place to live or a risk-free investment; it was a way to transform a nation. Houses owned by the people who lived in them, we believed, created social and financial stability — more-involved citizens, safer neighborhoods, kids who did better in school. No wonder leaders of all political stripes wanted to spend more than $100 billion a year on subsidies and tax breaks to encourage people to buy.” ~~~ 2. Jim’s Comment : The TIME Magazine indicator was popularized by the Wall Street legend Paul Montgomery of Universal Economics. Paul argues that a TIME Magazine cover signifies a peak in momentum but the price peak could be as many as 12 months away. In the case of the 2005 bullish cover about housing, this was exactly correct. Year-over-year changes in home price indices were near a peak in the summer of 2005 and the high in prices occurred a year later. The cynic would say a TIME Magazine cover marked the last rush of “top buyers.” So how do we interpret the current cover above? The momentum low (year-over-year change) has probably occurred, but prices could languish and even drift (not plunge) lower over the next year before a rebound. In other words, looking back after five...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 1:14 PM » Goldman: Fed May Announce New Asset Purchases in November
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:14 PM by WSJ
    The Fed could announce a new program of asset purchases to support a weak economy as early as November, according to Goldman Sachs.
  • 1:14 PM » Secondary Sources: Mortgage Deduction, Unemployment, Lost Generation
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:14 PM by WSJ
    A roundup of economic news from around the Web.
  • 1:13 PM » Changing Perceptions on Economics and Politics
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:13 PM by NY Times
    Markets seem to think the economic outlook is improving. But polls seem to indicate the economic outlook is more likely to lead to a big Republican victory in November. Can both be correct?
  • 1:12 PM » Safe Rooms as the New ‘Must Have’
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:12 PM by Google News
    Storm shelters or “safe rooms” are a surprisingly popular home renovation, even amid the current laggard real estate market.
  • 1:11 PM » Commercial Property REITs Rebound in Troubled Market
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:11 PM by CNBC
    Commercial Property REITs Rebound in Troubled Market
  • 1:10 PM » Wanted: A Unified Message in Support of Affordable Housing
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:10 PM by National Housing Conference
    The housing and financial crisis in the U.S. hasand the housing industry. With foreclosure rates at a record high and the threat of double-dip recession looming, the future of the housing industry has never before been more unstable and uncertain. And the affordable housing industry finds itself in an especially precarious situation, with some unfairly blaming the victims of the crisis. Against this backdrop, the National Housing Conference today launches its’ new communications initiative– the (HCN). The network of housing policymakers and communications professionals is designed to promote affordable housing as a positive force in American communities and raise it to a first-tier issue on the national agenda. A change in the way we talk about housing is sorely needed given the recent changes to the housing market and the fractured nature of affordable housing advocacy. Through the HCN, NHC hopes to start a dialogue that will lead to a more unified message in support of affordable housing. And that support means support among ordinary Americans as well as policymakers. The launch of the HCN in Washington, DC today includes a series of events, including a stimulating panel discussion among communications experts John Buckley, Managing Director of the, , former Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary in the George W. Bush Administration, and Jody Shenn, Mortgage and Housing Reporter for Bloomberg News. Panel moderator Erika Poethig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will lead the discussion on the communications challenges facing housing today. The panel follows the first convening of the NHC Housing Communications Network Working Group of housing communications professionals and culminates with a rooftop networking reception. The launch events will be attended by more than 100 housing industry leaders, advocates and policymakers. Check back throughout the day for , pictures...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Housing Conference
  • 1:10 PM » Centerpiece: Meet Mortgage Mediation
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:10 PM by National Housing Conference
    The Center for Housing Policy has been an occasional contributor to Open House for a long time, but, starting today we are making it official. Every Thursday the Center will post a column called Centerpiece. It will be a place for the Center to contribute in an informal way to the wider housing policy discussion, and hopefully point readers to useful resources and research. Centerpiece’s opening remarks are penned by Laura Williams, Research Associate for the Center. Some of the useful research the Center intends to bestow among Open House readers can be found on one of my pet projects, . Yes, it is sad to say, but foreclosure is still a big problem, even as the situation -- nearly three years in --begins to feel normal and our best efforts in the face of it futile. But there is hope! Some of the most promising programs to prevent foreclosures are in . Instead of a one-size-fits-most approach mandating refinancing, payment plans or other measures, mediation lets homeowners and their loan services work things out in the way that best suits everyone involved. It’s not a new idea, but it’s one that is gaining traction. Mediation is an excellent policy tool because it not only gets the parties – homeowners and loan services – talking, but it does so in a regulated context in front of a neutral third party who can referee negotiations and bridge impasses. Some of the best programs are happening in and Connecticut, but many cities and states are pursuing programs that appear promising. And what’s even better in a poor economic climate is that most of the programs have cost little or no money to implement. We recently updated our with lots of information on how to design and implement a mediation program, based mostly on the excellent work of Andrew Jakabovics and Alon Cohen at the Center for American Progress. Their reports and are a comprehensive analysis of current policies nation-wide, and must-reads for anyone dealing with foreclosures. Mortgage mediation seems to be a...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Housing Conference
  • 1:10 PM » How Buyers Compete in a Sellers' Market
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 1:10 PM by Google News
    No matter the market, sellers can find a competitive edge, whether it be through pricing, staging, or even negotiating closing costs. What about buyers? Do they have any hope for an edge during a sellers market?
  • 12:55 PM » FHFA Releases Key Data on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Single-Family Mortgages for 2001-2008
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 12:55 PM by FHFA
    September 13, 2010: FHFA Releases Key Data on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Single-Family Mortgages for 2001-2008
  • 9:17 AM » A Downside of Short Sales
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:17 AM by
    About 2 percent of the short sales completed in the last two years were most likely fraudulent, and instances of fraud are increasing.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:03 AM » Plan Offers Hedge on ‘Strategic’ Default
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:03 AM by Google News
    Loan Value Group has come up with a way for banks to guard against the risk that more homeowners will voluntarily walk away from homes.
  • 9:02 AM » Will There Ever Be a ‘Tidal Wave’ of REO Listings?
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:02 AM by Google News
    Banks are taking greater steps to avoid foreclosures, including loan modifications and short sales, where a home sells for less than the amount owed.
  • 9:02 AM » Foreclsoure Sale: ‘Deal of the Year’ in the Hamptons?
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:02 AM by Google News
    In 2006, this home sold for $1.28 million. The Montauk home just went at auction for $795,000.
  • 9:02 AM » All U.S. taxpayers have a stake in Congress' tax-cut maneuvering
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:02 AM by
    Every U.S. --
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:01 AM » OPEC Is Happy with Oil Price Between $70 and $80
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:01 AM by CNBC
    OPEC Is Happy with Oil Price Between $70 and $80
  • 9:01 AM » RBS' First Mortgage-Backed Security Since Crisis
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:01 AM by CNBC
    RBS' First Mortgage-Backed Security Since Crisis
  • 9:01 AM » Sunday Open House: Fall Housing Market Gets Underway
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 9:01 AM by CNBC
    Sunday Open House: Fall Housing Market Gets Underway
  • 8:49 AM » Capital One CEO: "Very cautious about the housing market"
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 8:49 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From William Alden at HuffPo: "I think we feel very cautious about the housing market," [Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank] said. "I think that even despite some of the recent months where home prices have gone up, I think it's a very plausible case for home prices to go back down again." ... "We are managing to a view that home prices are more likely to be headed down rather than up." I think house prices started falling again in July, but it might take some time before we see prices falling in the repeat sales index. CoreLogic will probably release their July HPI this week, and that might show declining prices - but that is a weighted average of May, June and July.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:48 AM » Investment Contributions to GDP: Leading and Lagging Sectors
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 8:48 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    By request, the following graph is an update to: The following graph shows the rolling 4 quarter contribution to GDP from residential investment, equipment and software, and nonresidential structures. This is important to follow because residential investment tends to lead the economy, equipment and software is generally coincident, and nonresidential structure investment trails the economy. For the following graph, red is residential, green is equipment and software, and blue is investment in non-residential structures. The usual pattern - both into and out of recessions is - red, green, blue. Click on graph for larger image in new window. Residential Investment (RI) made a positive contribution to GDP in the Q2 2010, but RI will be a drag on GDP again in Q3. RI was positively impacted in Q2 by the housing tax credit in two ways: first, builders rushed to complete homes by the end of June, and, second, real estate agent commissions were boosted in Q2 and will decline sharply in Q3 (just look at existing home sales in July). The rolling four quarter change for RI just turned positive, but will turn negative again in Q3. Equipment and software investment has made a significant positive contribution to GDP for four straight quarters (it is coincident). The contribution from nonresidential investment in structures was flat in Q2 - only because of a surge of investment for petroleum and natural gas - while investment in hotels, malls and office buildings continued to decline. As usual nonresidential investment in structures is the last sector to recover. The key leading sector - residential investment - has lagged the recovery because of the huge overhang of existing inventory. Usually RI is a strong contributor to GDP growth and employment in the early stages of a recovery, but not this time - and this is a key reason why the recovery has been sluggish so far.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:47 AM » U.S. posts $90.53 billion budget deficit in August
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 8:47 AM by Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States posted a $90.53 billion budget deficit in August, Treasury Department data showed on Monday.
  • 8:46 AM » Small-Business Optimism Recovers Slightly
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 8:46 AM by WSJ
    Small-business activity in the U.S. rose slightly in August, but remained at a low level as the overall recovery showed signs of flagging this summer, according to an NFIB report.
  • 8:46 AM » White House Renominates Peter Diamond to Fed Board of Governors
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 8:46 AM by WSJ
    President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Peter Diamond to the Federal Reserve board, according to a White House press release.
  • 8:45 AM » Voters Head to Polls in Final Primaries of Season
    Published Tue, Sep 14 2010 8:45 AM by WSJ
    Seven states and the District of Columbia hold nominating contests that will set final pairings for the Nov. 2 elections, with pumped-up Republicans gunning for big gains in House, Senate and governor's offices.
  • Mon, Sep 13 2010
  • 7:27 PM » NY Fed to Buy $27 Billion in Treasurys Over Next Four Weeks
    Published Mon, Sep 13 2010 7:27 PM by WSJ
    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced Monday that it would buy $27 billion in Treasurys in nine separate operations.
  • 1:44 PM » Foreclosure Fraudsters: The Criminals Who Slow Down Recovery
    Published Mon, Sep 13 2010 1:44 PM by Google News
    The next leg down in home prices may come from pressure brought by foreclosed home inventory hitting the market, these fraud cases aren't helping.
  • 1:43 PM » Real Estate News: Banks’ Key Role in Housing Prices
    Published Mon, Sep 13 2010 1:43 PM by Google News
    Here is a look at real-estate news in today's WSJ:
  • 1:43 PM » Who Chooses to Work? Who Doesn’t? Who Can’t?
    Published Mon, Sep 13 2010 1:43 PM by WSJ
    A new paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco plumbs the difficultly of getting a handle on the fundamentals of the labor market, namely the labor force participation rate.
  • 1:43 PM » Geithner Urges Passage of Small-Business Bill
    Published Mon, Sep 13 2010 1:43 PM by WSJ
    Geithner urged lawmakers to pass a bill aimed at spurring small business lending and cutting taxes for small business owners.
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