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  • Wed, Jun 1 2011
  • 9:31 AM » NY Fed Says Don’t Fear High Bank Reserve Levels
    Published Wed, Jun 01 2011 9:31 AM by WSJ
    For those who worry the vast levels of money banks have parked at the Federal Reserve is an inflation time bomb waiting to go off, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has this to say: Don’t worry. In , bank economists Antoine Martin , James McAndrews and David Skeie wrote the $1.5 trillion in reserves banks have parked on the Fed’s books are unlikely to work in the way many understand, and some fear. “Lending is unaffected by the amount of reserves in the banking system,” the paper said. That suggests that while banks have huge amounts of cash they can potentially put to work, the modest connection between reserves and lending means it’s unlikely there will be some sharp increase in lending that overheats the economy and generates a surging upward inflation surge. “The amount of lending is independent of the amount of reserves in the banking system,” the paper said, based on modeling that encompasses the Fed being able to pay banks interest on their reserves in an environment with “no binding reserve requirements.” The economists also said “large reserve balances do not lead to excessive bank credit and may instead be contractionary.” Fed officials have for some time argued they see little threat in the unprecedented levels of reserves banks have parked at the central bank. The rapid growth in those reserves is the result of a series of Fed actions that have been aimed at boosting liquidity in the financial system. The current $1.5 trillion in reserves compares with the negligible levels banks had at the Fed in mid-2007, before the financial crisis began and pushed the economy toward its worst recession since the Great Depression. Central bankers have long sought to allay fears high levels of reserves will create inflation by pointing to their relatively new power to pay interest on the reserves banks have at the Fed. If a rapid outflow of these reserves were seen to be creating a potential inflation problem, Fed officials have argued numerous times they can simply...
  • 9:30 AM » Drop in Jobless Rate Partly Tied to End of Benefits
    Published Wed, Jun 01 2011 9:30 AM by WSJ
    Some of the drop in the joblessness seen since the unemployment peak nearly two years ago is tied to the exhaustion of extended jobless benefits. , released Tuesday, argued the end of these benefits “contributed modestly” to the drop in unemployment seen between October 2009, when it peaked at 10.1%, and January 2011. They note the former date lines up with when many jobless started losing their extended benefits. The paper’s authors, Luojia Hu and Shani Schecter , wrote that had jobless benefits been extended indefinitely, “the unemployment rate would have been cumulatively about 0.1 to 0.3 percentage points higher between October 2009 and January 2011.” They noted the end of the extended benefits “represents about 10% to 25% of the decline in the actual [unemployment] rate over that period.” While the paper’s time focus is fairly broad, it nevertheless helps shed some additional light on recent dynamics in the employment sector. While much of the post-recession period studied by the paper has been defined by a slow grind lower in unemployment, since November joblessness has dropped more quickly than one would expect given how much hiring has happened. The jobless rate has dropped from 9.8% in November 2009 to its current rate of 9%. As of yet, economists and policymakers don’t have a good explanation for what has happened. Many don’t believe the recent pace of improvement will be sustained. The paper offered this possible explanation: “The cumulative effect of [unemployment insurance] exhaustions on the decline of the unemployment rate since late 2009 could be larger than 0.3 percentage points.” The historically long periods of unemployment defining the recent recession and this period of recovery motivated Congress to extend unemployment benefits beyond the traditional 26-week period, although those extensions are increasingly a thing of the past. The extensions were an increasingly contentious issue. Aside from the cost issues the already financially strapped government...
  • 9:29 AM » Like a Virus, Falling Home Prices Spread the Pain
    Published Wed, Jun 01 2011 9:29 AM by WSJ
    The troubles in housing feel like the summer cold you just can’t shake. The latest sniffles came from Tuesday’s S&P/Case-Shiller report. It showed national home prices dropped 5.1% in the year ended in the first quarter. Prices have lost all the gains made in 2009 and 2010 when home buyers received federal tax credits. The index is back down to readings of 2002. Calling this month’s report a “confirmation of a double-dip in home prices,” David M. Blitzer , chairman of the S&P Index Committee said that “prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight.” The second down leg of home prices will keep housing from making any meaningful contribution to real gross domestic product growth this year. The drag on the outlook doesn’t end there, however. Dropping home values will be a big problem for small businesses, local-government finances and consumer confidence, which is already tumbling thanks to high gasoline prices and worries about paychecks. Entrepreneurs have long tapped home equity to start businesses. According to research done in 2010 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland , 20% to 25% of small companies reported using property holdings (either primary residence or other real estate) to finance the business. If home values are dropping, small businesses have less access to capital to keep their operations running. Given the importance of small businesses in generating job growth, any drag on small businesses is a drag on job creation as well. Then there is the negative impact on state and local governments. About 20% of revenues come from property tax collection, using tax rates and the assessed value of homes and other buildings. Homeowners who see their neighbor’s home selling for less are challenging those assessments. More are going to win those challenges, meaning local governments will see revenues decline at a time when federal stimulus help is winding down. Finally, the loss in housing wealth is another beat-down on confidence, which...
  • 9:28 AM » Mortgage Company Settles Maternity Leave Case
    Published Wed, Jun 01 2011 9:28 AM by NY Times
    Cornerstone Mortgage will settle a federal complaint that accused it of discriminating based on maternity leave.
  • 9:28 AM » Real Estate News: Home Prices Still Falling
    Published Wed, Jun 01 2011 9:28 AM by Google News
    Dale Clark/Arc Photography : The owner of this late 19th-century home in Columbus, Ohio, spent seven months upgrading the kitchen and bathrooms and restoring original details before moving in. The home overlooks Schiller Park and features high ceilings, stained-glass windows and a wood-burning fireplace. Here is a look at real-estate news in the weekend’s and Tuesday’s WSJ : : U.S. home prices fell 4.2% in the first quarter, hitting a new post-bubble low, according to the S&P Case-Shiller home-price indexes. Separately, the mood among U.S. consumers fell steeply in May. : Banks initiated fewer foreclosures in April than in any month since late 2008, even though the number of loans in foreclosure remains near records, offering the latest evidence that banks are struggling to repair hobbled foreclosure processes. : With investors fretting about the potential costs of soured-mortgage claims, it is best to get the details out in the open. Adjustable-rate mortgages—popular during the housing boom—are once again looking like a deal. Should you bite? : In a trial set to begin June 6, the billionaire plans to take neighbors to state Superior Court in San Francisco over how their trees have obstructed his floor-to-ceiling views of San Francisco Bay. : Designed by three men of exceptional talent, each at the height of his own powers, the Miller House in the heart of Indiana is a High Modern icon and the apogee of the American Century. : In their own homes, sellers of vintage goods display the cream of their crops. For lessons on working old treasures into a modern life, visit the living rooms of four collecting experts. : The industrial designer spins traditional crafts into luxury goods with a conscience. : This award-winning four-bedroom home near Newcastle is situated on a steep, rocky slope where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea in Northern Ireland. : Severn Road, atop Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak, is considered the world’s priciest road in terms of real estate...
  • 9:28 AM » Five Questions on Tuesday’s S&P/Case-Shiller
    Published Wed, Jun 01 2011 9:28 AM by Google News
    Home prices in March, nearly five years after they first started to fall, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities. Here’s a look at the numbers: Is Tuesday’s report a surprise? Not really. Some analysts had —and the real-estate industry hoped—that home prices had bottomed in 2009, after rising affordability and home-buyer tax credits spurred a surge in demand. But it became clear last summer that home prices were headed for another drop when . Most analysts expect home prices to fall by another 5% or so. It’s important to bear in mind that Tuesday’s report reflects sales that were recorded in January, February and March. These sales were negotiated before that, so we’re getting a report of market conditions from late 2010 and the first two months of 2011. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the housing market isn’t Tuesday’s report about falling prices but more indications that demand hasn’t picked up in the spring, when housing transactions typically rebound. The April reading of the pending home sales index, which tracks contracts signed in April, fell by 11.6% from the March level. Applications for home purchase mortgages haven’t shown a big uptick in May, even though mortgage rates have dropped to their lowest levels of the year. What does the S&P/Case-Shiller index show? The index measures repeat-sales of homes that have sold at least twice in 20 metro areas. During the recent downturn, the Case-Shiller index (and others) have been , whose prices show banks’ willingness to unload assets quickly. These measures drew criticism from last week, who said that averaging distressed and non-distressed sales data “provides a misleading picture to the public regarding home price direction.” What are other price indexes showing? The CoreLogic index, which is used by the Federal Reserve, shows that prices in March were down 7.5% in March from one year earlier. When excluding distressed sales, prices were down by 1%. A separate repeat-sales...
  • Tue, May 31 2011
  • 4:42 PM » Falling Home Prices Hit Big Banks, Fannie, Freddie
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 4:42 PM by CNBC
    Keeping your fingers crossed for the housing market is just the tip of the iceberg. Prices have now fallen, on the S&P/Case Shiller Index, more than they did during the Great Depression.
  • 9:42 AM » The Rest of the Story on HOME
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:42 AM by National Housing Conference
    by Maureen Friar, President and CEO of the National Housing Conference. Housing groups around the country, including many NHC members, are responding in force to a series of articles in the Washington Post that disparage the HOME program. The articles largely ignore the strong track record of the HOME program in creating more than one million affordable homes , instead looking at a few anecdotes and simplistic statistics on project delays, when in fact only 2.5 percent out of 28,000 active developments are delayed. That’s a strong track record, particularly during the worst economy since the Great Depression and the bursting of the housing bubble when many private sector projects are delayed or derailed entirely. provides additional context missing in the Post articles, noting that more than any other federal program, HOME has allowed the approximately 650 states and localities who have used the program since 1992 to deploy federal funds and leverage private capital to provide much-needed affordable housing. HUD’s oversight makes sure that funds committed to projects that cannot proceed are repaid to the government and redeployed to projects that can move forward. Indeed, in the last two months, HUD has cancelled nearly 2,000 stalled projects totaling $290 million. Housing development is a complex process in the best of times, but in the wake of the economic crisis, delays are widespread in the private sector. The economic downturn and severe dislocation in the capital markets over the past few years stalled many projects across the country—both affordable and market rate, subsidized and unsubsidized, and in all markets. A National Association of Home Builders survey (NAHB) from earlier this year found that more than half of builders reported stalled projects. In comparison, HOME’s track record stands out for very strong completion. Share of respondents who reported putting projects on hold until financing climate gets better- percent of respondents by region (Source...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: National Housing Conference
  • 9:34 AM » The Excess Vacant Housing Supply
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:34 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    Last week economist Tom Lawler at the national excess vacant housing supply by using the Census 2010 data and comparing to the 2000 and 1990 census data. I've been looking at the same data, but on a state by state basis. As Tom noted, trying to determine the excess supply as of April 1, 2010 requires an estimate of the normal vacancy rates. Some states always have high vacancy rates on April 1st because of the large number of second homes - like Maine - so what we need to do is compare the 2010 state vacancy rates to the previous census vacancy rates. But we also have to remember what was happening in 1990 and 2000. There was a regional housing bubble in California, Arizona and several other states in the late '80s, and the 2000 Census happened at the end of stock bubble when the demand for housing was strong (so the excess vacant inventory was probably below normal). So calculating excess inventory by comparing to the 2000 Census probably gives a number that is too high - and comparing to the 1990 Census gives a number that is too low. So, like Lawler, I also calculated an excess supply based on a combination of the 1990 and 2000 data. A few notes: • For those interested, here is the (with the 1990, 2000, and 2010 data and some calculations). • Just because a state appears to have no vacant excess inventory doesn't mean there isn't any inventory - this calculation is based on an estimate of a normal level of inventory. • Remember that this is for April 1, 2010. The builders have a completed a record low number of housing units over the last 14 months, and the excess supply is probably lower now. • House prices depend on local supply and demand - and also on the number of distressed homes on the market (forced sellers). But the excess vacant inventory is important for forecasting when new construction will increase - assuming the builders can compete with all the distressed homes on the market (that yesterday on San Diego was interesting). The columns...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:33 AM » Even more Negative Sentiment for Homeownership
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:33 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    As I've noted before, I've been looking for a change in sentiment for homeowership. A shift in sentiment doesn't mean housing prices have bottomed - it just means the market is getting closer. In previous busts it seemed like negative sentiment lasted for a few years. Earlier posts on this with anecdotal evidence: , , and . A few excerpts from David Streitfeld's article at the NY Times: “The emotional scars left by the collapse are changing the American psyche,” said Pete Flint, chief executive of the housing Web site Trulia. “There was a time when owning a home was a symbol you had made it. Now it’s O.K. not to own.” Trulia, a real estate search engine for buyers and renters ... is a hive of renters, including Mr. Flint. “I’m in no rush at all to buy,” he said. ... Tim Hebb, a Los Angeles systems engineer ... sold his bungalow in August 2006, then leased it back for a year. Since then [he] rented a succession of apartments. “I have flirted with buying again many times over the past few years,” said Mr. Hebb. “Let’s face it, people are not rational creatures.” ... “We have more of what we call ‘renters by choice’ than I’ve seen in the 40 years I’ve been in the apartment business,” said Jeffrey I. Friedman, chief executive of [Associated Estates Realty Corporation, which owns 13,000 apartments in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan and other Midwest and Southeast states] ... Susan Lindsey, a San Diego software programmer, was once eagerly waiting for the housing market to crash. She said she would have no guilt about swooping in on some foreclosed owner who had bought a place he could not afford. With prices now down by a third, however, she is content to stay in her $2,500-a-month rental. Weekend ... • •
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:32 AM » FDIC Sues LPS and CoreLogic Over Appraisal Fraud; Shows Investors Leaving Money on the Table
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:32 AM by The Big Picture
    Isaac Gradman was involved in some of the earliest litigation arising from the subprime mortgage crisis. He received his B.A. in Political and Social Thought with Highest Distinction from UVA, where he was a Jefferson Scholar, an Echols Scholar and a member of the Raven Honor Society. Isaac received his J.D. cum laude from N.Y.U. School of Law, where he was a Dean’s Scholar and a Robert McKay Scholar. He blogs at . ~~~ In another sign that the Federal Government is turning its focus towards prosecuting the securitization players who may have contributed to the Mortgage Crisis, the FDIC filed separate lawsuits against LSI Appraisal () and CoreLogic () earlier this month. In the suits, both filed in the Central District of California, the FDIC, as Receiver for Washington Mutual Bank (“WAMU”), accuses vendors with whom WAMU contracted to provide appraisal services with gross negligence, breach of reps and warranties, and other breaches of contract for providing defective and/or inflated appraisals. The FDIC seeks at least $154 million from LSI (and its parent companies, including Lender Processing Services and Fidelity, based on alter ego liability) and at least $129 million from CoreLogic (and its parent companies, including First American Financial, based on alter ego liability). As we’ve been discussing on The Subprime Shakeout this past month, to pursue claims against originators, underwriters and other participants in mortgage securitization over that led to the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression. This has included the over reckless lending and submitting improper loans to the FHA and the over so-called . The FDIC’s lawsuit is just the latest sign that much more litigation is on the horizon, as it focuses on yet another aspect of the Crisis that is ripe for investigation–appraisal fraud. Granted, those familiar with the loan repurchase or putback process have long recognized that inflated or otherwise improper appraisals are a major category of rep...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 9:31 AM » Adjusting Wage Disparities for Cost of Living
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:31 AM by WSJ
    Last week, Real Time Economics at a Labor Department report that compared occupational pay across 77 metro areas. Many readers rightly pointed out that that Labor Department doesn’t adjust pay for cost of living. So though New Yorkers earned $1.14 for every dollar that an average U.S. worker earned, that $1.14 probably bought less in that metro than it would in, say, Mobile, Ala., where workers earned 10% less than the national average. The Labor Department doesn’t produce or endorse cost of living comparisons, but we went to the Council for Community and Economic Research , which produces a commonly used , to see how the figures matched up. The metro areas that the council uses don’t align perfectly with what the Labor Department used. The Labor Department combines San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland into one, giant metropolitan area, for example, and concluded that workers there earn 20% more than the average American. The larger metro area also includes some lower-wage surrounding areas that can bring down the average. The CCER, understandably, provides different cost of living adjustments for each city, and found that residents pay 62% extra in San Francisco, 44% extra in Oakland, and 52.4% more in San Jose. Suffice it to say that the premium workers earn in that metro doesn’t seem to make up for the premium they pay to live there. Or for another big-city example — earners in the New York-Newark-Bridgeport metro made 14% more money than the U.S. average, but the cost of living there varies drastically as you move through that metro, and even within New York City. Manhattanites’ cost of living is more than double the national average. Queens’ cost is 58.5% higher, and Brooklyn’s is 81.3% higher. So this is more of a rough, back-of-the-envelope calculation, and we tried to stick with metros that were either broken up the same way or those where the CCER didn’t find much variation between the metro’s components. In general, the wage discrepancies that the Labor Department...
  • 9:30 AM » Number of the Week: Glut of Vacant Homes Complicates Recovery
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:30 AM by WSJ
    14.3 million: The number of homes vacant year-round as of the end of March 2011 How long will the housing market take to hit bottom? A lot depends on whether people will want to occupy millions of empty homes. Five years after the housing bust began, the market is still groaning under the weight of a near-record 14.3 million vacant residences. That’s about 3 million more than what was normal before the bust — a glut that could take more than 13 years to eradicate, given the depressed rate at which Americans have been starting new households and assuming construction of new homes remains at April’s low annualized level of only 551,000. With so many homes waiting to be occupied, it’s hard to imagine how prices nationwide could recover anytime soon (though, of course, the experience of individual local markets can differ). The only hope, and a perverse one, is that many of those homes are actually phantom inventory — built in such awful locations, or in such disrepair, that nobody will want to live in them. Such an outcome could precipitate heavier losses for the people or banks that own the homes, but it could also mean a quicker recovery for the market as a whole. Even if a big chunk of the U.S. housing stock can be written off, though, that might not be enough to generate a rebound in house prices. The bust has eroded many peoples’ faith in housing as an investment, mortgage loans are harder to get, and the millions of families still in or near the foreclosure process typically won’t be in a position to buy. As more people choose or have no choice but to rent, the U.S. homeownership rate is heading down. As of the end of March, it stood at 66.5%, the lowest point since 1998. Most likely, renters will be the first to feel any recovery in the housing market — in the form of higher rents. Some large landlords are already reporting the lowest vacancy rates they’ve seen in more than a decade, and say they’re planning significant rent hikes this year. Given the fact that rent...
  • 9:29 AM » Economic Soft Patch Creates Political Problems
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:29 AM by WSJ
    Washington politicians are discovering what has been evident to consumers and economy watchers. The U.S. economy is barely growing, and hiring isn’t strong enough to bring down the jobless rate. If energy prices recede and job growth beats current expectations, the recovery could rev up on its own in the second half. Washington decision-makers don’t appear to want to take that gamble. But they will be caught between a rock and a hard place. Do they keep past promises to reduce government’s role or step in to jumpstart growth? According to , both the Democrats and Republicans are discussing ideas to boost business activity and hiring. The 2011 economy was supposed to be helped by the cut in the withholding of Social Security taxes. But that extra money simply shifted out of Washington’s coffers and into the pockets of oil producers. The economy is losing momentum. Jobless claims have been above 400,000 mark for seven weeks. Pending home sales — a measure of future home buying — plunged 11.6% in April. And consumers have had to shift more of their money to buying gasoline and food, leaving other spending barely rising. Yet politicians have to square current talk of more government help with their past comments about the need to cut government spending. True, many ideas now being floated will aid the economy in the long run. The White House efforts to eliminate regulations or paperwork for businesses will reduce constraints on activity. But it takes time it takes to implement bureaucratic changes. The economy needs help now. Meanwhile, the Republicans are expected to propose cutting the top tax rates for individuals and corporations so that small businesses and large companies will have the cash to add workers. But U.S. businesses are awash in money. They booked a record level of profits in the first quarter – -and layoffs are rising this quarter. Moreover, in the short run, less revenue worsens the deficit — the same issue the GOP has been railing against for more than...
  • 9:28 AM » Behind the Numbers: Reaction to Drop in Pending Sales
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:28 AM by Google News
    That was fast. On Thursday, we Toll Brothers’ solid quarterly results and April’s strong new-home sales. It seemed that maybe, just maybe, recovery was inching closer. Well, Friday brought a disappointing statistic: The National Association of Realtors’ seasonally adjusted index for pending sales of existing homes plunged 11.6% on a monthly basis to 81.9, the industry group said Friday. , the index, which tracks agreements to purchase homes, had increased the two previous months. A reading of 100 refers to the level of sales in 2001. The reading indicates more pain lies ahead. Good numbers. Bad numbers. It’s hard to make sense of all these data points. Here’s how industry watchers viewed today’s report: (Hint: They’re not optimistic.) Adrian Miller, senior vice president, Miller Tabak: “What can you say about the housing market that hasn’t already been said? Sales will continue to underwhelm at best and be outright horrible at worst as the decline in prices remains unabated. As long as we have a supply overhang of 6.5 months of new homes, 9.2 months of existing homes and an estimated 3.87 million of homes as part of the so called “shadow inventory” tied to foreclosures, home prices have no catalyst to begin to improve. Look for the housing market to remain stuck in the mud for the foreseeable future, which could mean another two years.” Michael Gapen, economist, Barclays Capital: “The decline was much worse than our forecast (+1.0%) and consensus expectations (-1.0%). … The much weaker-than-expected reading likely reflects the effects of adverse weather in many parts of the country. The large declines in the Midwest and South are consistent with the severe weather that hit that region of the country, producing record numbers of tornadoes and significant wind and flood damage. This report foreshadows weakness in upcoming existing home sales, as pending home sales normally transition into sales with a lag of one to two months.” Daniel Oppenheim, analyst, Credit Suisse...
  • 9:27 AM » Foreclosure Activity Plunged in April
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:27 AM by Google News
    Banks initiated fewer foreclosures in April than at any time since late 2008 even though the number of loans in foreclosure remains near record high levels, offering the latest evidence that banks are struggling to repair hobbled foreclosure processes. Mortgage companies started foreclosures on 187,400 properties in April, a 31% decline from March and a 15% drop from one year ago, according to LPS Applied Analytics, a data firm. The decline came in a month where 14 banks signed consent orders with federal banking regulators to revamp their foreclosure processes. The orders were prompted by last fall’s document-handling problems that had led major banks, including Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., to suspend some foreclosures. Foreclosure timelines are likely to stretch out longer as banks slow the pace of foreclosures. The average loan that went through foreclosure in April had been delinquent for 567 days, up from 548 days in March and 523 days in January. The delays in the foreclosure process threaten to raise expenses for banks. They also create considerable uncertainty for the housing market, which remains a big drag on the economy. A separate report Friday showed that pending home sales declined by 11.6% in April from March, underscoring the continued weak demand for housing. In the short run, delays could limit the flow of foreclosures onto fragile markets, putting less pressure on prices. But they could also push back any recovery by extending the time it takes to clear out the inventory of bank-owned and other distressed properties. “You don’t have to sell every foreclosed property before prices stabilize, but I would venture to guess we’ve got to sell a third of them,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo & Co., at a housing conference this past week. State attorneys general, federal officials and representatives of the nation’s largest banks are in talks to settle alleged foreclosure abuses, which analysts hope will help...
  • 9:27 AM » Will your homeowners insurance cover you if disaster hits?
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:27 AM by
    Many families in Joplin, Tuscaloosa and other tornado-hit towns will discover their insurance won't cover all of their rebuilding costs.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 9:27 AM » A Guide for the Co-op Neophyte - Mortgages
    Published Tue, May 31 2011 9:27 AM by
    Plenty of lenders are comfortable with co-ops; all will review the building as well as the borrower, examining its finances over several years.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • Fri, May 27 2011
  • 8:51 AM » Economic Slowdown: Temporary or Something Worse?
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:51 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    I'll have some thoughts on this topic in the next few days, but here are a couple of articles with differing views. From David Leonhardt at the NY Times The latest economic numbers have not been good. ... Macroeconomic Advisers ... tries to estimate the growth rate of the current quarter in real time, and it now says annualized second-quarter growth is running at only 2.8 percent ... Not so long ago, the firm’s economists thought second-quarter growth would be almost 4 percent. An economy that is growing this slowly will not add jobs quickly. For the next couple of months, employment growth could slow from about 230,000 recently to something like 150,000 jobs a month, only slightly faster than normal population growth. That is certainly not fast enough to make a big dent in the still huge number of unemployed people. ... The latest signs of weakness suggest that policy makers remain too sanguine. It is easy to see how the rest of 2011 could end up disappointing, much as 2010 did. And from Patti Domm at CNBC: "We can put our finger on the problems, and they're temporary, I think," said Mark Zandi of Moody's "Oil prices were a blow. You can see that in the consumer spending numbers in Q1, and prices are coming back down." ... Goldman Sachs economists Andrew Tilton said the ripple effect from supply chain issues were a big part of the reason for the [slow down, however] "That doesn't explain all the weakness relative to our original forecast. There are other things going on, the most obvious of which is oil prices," he said. ... "If oil is coming back down you certainly wouldn't want to be cutting your growth forecast for the second half of the year," he said. ... "In so far as you think it's supply chain-related, the deeper the cutback due to supply chain factors now, the better you should feel about second half because it should bounce back," said Tilton. The supply chain issues should...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:50 AM » Lawler: Census 2010 Demographic Profile: Highlights, Excess Housing Supply Estimate, and Comparison to HVS
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:50 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    CR Note: This is a long piece from economist Tom Lawler. First Lawler looks at the Census 2010 data and compares to the Housing Vacancies and Homeownership (HVS). This is very important because the HVS is used by many analysts to estimate the excess housing supply. Later in the piece, Lawler looks at several quick and dirty methods of estimating the national excess housing supply. I suspect housing analysts and journalists will want to read the entire post (the excess supply is critical and just about everyone uses the HVS). For those only interested in the excess supply section, scan down to "excess supply" NOTE: I've added a page break because this is very long! I will work up my own estimate of the excess supply very soon. The following is from Tom Lawler ... From economist Tom Lawler: Census 2010 Demographic Profile: Highlights, and Comparisons to the Now Officially Discredited HVS/CPS Census released the decennial Census 2010 demographic profile of the United States today, and the data confirmed that other Census housing data derived from the Current Population Survey are based on a sample not representative of the US housing market as a whole. On the homeownership front, the Census 2010 data showed that the US homeownership rate on April 1, 2010 was 65.1%, or 1.9 percentage points below estimates from both the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) for March and the CPS Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) for the first half of 2010. According to Census, the 90% confidence interval for the annual CPS/HVS US homeownership rate was +/- 0.5 percentage points. Given the actual “gap” between the CPS/HVS estimate and the Census 2010 homeownership rate, it is pretty clear from a statistical standpoint that one can firmly reject the hypothesis that the sample used to generate housing tenure estimates from the CPS/HVS is NOT representative of the US as a whole. Here is a chart showing homeownership rate estimates for (1) the last...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 8:49 AM » FDIC: Regulatory Actions Related to Foreclosure Activities
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:49 AM by The Big Picture
    Regulatory Actions Related to Foreclosure Activities by Large Servicers and Practical Implications for Community Banks
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:48 AM » Peter Wallison Discusses Fannie and Freddie for the American Spectator, or: Where are the Fact Checkers?
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:48 AM by The Big Picture
    Mike Konczal is a fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, and is a blogger at the Blog and ~~~ So the American Spectator ran a story by Peter Wallison about Fannie/Freddie and the FCIC report, , that could have used some fact checking. Leprechauns, Unicorns But first, as always, Wallison brings out the same argument that blames the crisis on Fannie and Freddie that he’s been using since 2009. Introduction (my bold): overnment housing policies…fostered the creation of an unprecedented number of subprime and otherwise risky loans immediately before the financial crisis began….In March 2010, Edward Pinto, a resident fellow (and my colleague) at the American Enterprise Institute who had served as chief credit officer at Fannie Mae, sent the Commission a 70-page, fully sourced memorandum on the number of subprime and other high-risk mortgages in the financial system in 2008. Pinto’s research showed that he had found more than 25 million such mortgages (his later work showed that there were approximately 27 million). Since there are about 55 million mortgages in the U.S., Pinto’s research indicated that, as the financial crisis began, half of all U.S. mortgages were of inferior quality and liable to default when housing prices were no longer rising. This usually leads to the conservative talking point: half of all subprime and other high-risk mortgages were held by the GSEs! But wait, what’s that “and other high-risk mortgages” doing there? This zombie argument finally got fully dismembered by Center for American Progress’ David Min in his recent report taking apart Wallison’s FCIC dissent, Wallison and Pinto claim that the GSEs were responsible for half of all subprime and subprime-like mortgages. They do this by making up a confusing definition of “subprime-like,” what above is mentioned as their “and other high-risk” mortgages. The fun part of making up your own definition is that it can be whatever you want it to be. If we define a conventional loan made to a borrower with...
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    Source: The Big Picture
  • 8:47 AM » Mortgage Companies Settle Suits on Military Foreclosures
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:47 AM by NY Times
    Subsidiaries of Bank of America and Morgan Stanley will pay scores of service members at least $22 million for violating a law on foreclosures.
  • 8:46 AM » Oregon Judge Denies Foreclosure, Challenges MERS
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:46 AM by Google News
    A federal judge in Oregon delivered a potential setback to the mortgage industry’s electronic lien-registry system in a ruling issued Wednesday. Oregon allows lenders to foreclose without going to court, but the state requires banks to record the ownership history of the mortgage with local county governments in those non-judicial foreclosures. The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, or MERS, was created by the mortgage industry in the 1990s to facilitate the recording of mortgages that were being bundled and resold as securities. Wednesday’s ruling says that banks should be required to process foreclosures through the court system in Oregon for loans that are in the MERS system. But it’s not clear whether the ruling by itself will turn Oregon into a judicial foreclosure state for loans assigned to MERS. A spokeswoman for MERS said the ruling was “inconsistent” with other state decisions, citing two in the past year that found MERS had satisfied state law. The spokeswoman said MERS planned to appeal. “That’s the problem. We have rulings on both sides, so it’s very difficult to determine what’s going to happen,” said James Stout, the lawyer who represented the homeowners. The case concerned Ivan and Katherine Hooker of Tigard, Ore., who took out a $260,000 mortgage from GN Mortgage LLC in 2005. The Hookers defaulted on their mortgage in 2009, and Bank of America Corp., which had acquired the loan, went to foreclose on the borrower. MERS had been named as the nominee for the mortgage in 2005, ostensibly allowing banks to record the assignment electronically, eliminating the step of recording it with the county. But the court found holes in the chain of title. While the loan had been made by GN, the mortgage had been assigned to MERS by a different entity, Guaranty Bank. “The record is silent as to how or when Guaranty Bank obtained” the mortgage, wrote Judge Owen M. Panner. The court also concluded that MERS’s use had run afoul of Oregon statutes that require all...
  • 8:45 AM » Foreclosure Sales High, But Volumes Drop
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:45 AM by Google News
    Distressed home sales comprised 28% of all home sales in the first quarter, up slightly from a share of 27% in the previous quarter. But the total volume of sales dropped significantly, raising concerns about how long it will take to clear out the huge inventory on the banks’ books. RealtyTrac, a real-estate research firm, reported today that there were a total of 158,434 sales of homes either owned by banks or in some stage of foreclosure during the first quarter, a 16% drop from the previous quarter and down 36% from the year-ago quarter. At the peak in the first quarter of 2009, banks sold nearly 350,000 distressed properties. While the decline in total foreclosure sales can be misleading because millions of loans are still in the foreclosure process, the volume drop does mean that prices will face less near-term pressure from a glut of distressed sales priced at a big discount. And it might even spark bidding wars for certain properties, as about in recent weeks. James Saccacio, chief executive of RealtyTrac, says that at this sales pace, it would take three years to clear the current inventory of 1.9 million properties on the banks’ books, or in foreclosure. (Stages of foreclosure include default, scheduled for auction or bank-owned, known as REO.) The foreclosure sales data, and a reported earlier this month by RealtyTrac suggest banks are moving cautiously in the wake of investigations into foreclosure-processing problems at mortgage servicers. There appears to be correlation between foreclosure-filing activity and foreclosure sales because a rise in foreclosure sales has led in places to a rise in repossessions. Other factors could also contribute to the decline, including the sorry state of some properties. Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, said banks could be reluctant to pay for repairs, keeping the bank-owned homes on the sidelines even longer. He said allowing investors to take advantage of a Federal Housing Administration rehab program could...
  • 8:45 AM » How Important is Character in Today's Mortgage Industry?
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:45 AM by
    I recently posted the above question and the following on the blog section of National Mortgage Professional Magazine’s Web site: “In October of 2010, Angelo Mozilo, the former iconic leader of not only Countrywide Financial Corporation, but of the industry, agreed to a $67.5 million settlement to avoid civil trial on fraud and insider trading charges brought by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 8:45 AM » Freddie Mac Single-Family Advisory - Bulletin 2011-10
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:45 AM by Google News
    As the housing market continues to change, we remain focused on providing you business opportunities that are grounded on responsible lending standards. At the same time, we are committed to improving data and loan quality in support of a strong...
  • 8:45 AM » Builders Urge Congress to Maintain Ongoing Federal Role to Ensure a Healthy Mortgage Market
    Published Fri, May 27 2011 8:45 AM by NAHB
    Press Release
  • Thu, May 26 2011
  • 12:27 PM » With Buyers Scarce, Investors Rule Housing Market
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 12:27 PM by Google News
    If you think there’s no competition in this sluggish real estate market, think again. A survey released Thursday by online real-estate firm Move Inc. suggests housing markets around the country are heating up with more activity from investors. The survey of 1,000 investors found that they will be more active than typical homebuyers by 3:1. More than half think prices will stay about the same over the next six months to a year, but 22% said prices will rise. And 23% said prices will fall. For the traditional homebuyer, the flood of investors represents robust competition. Why will investors usually win out? Two-thirds surveyed say first-time home buyers’ struggles to secure a mortgage actually helps investors; investors can often and command deep discounts for doing so. How this plays out on the ground was the lead anecdote in a recent : It took Susan Hunter just one month to unload her home in Redondo Beach, Calif., last fall. But she has been outbid on four homes at a lower price point in Eagle Rock, an emerging neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. Some sold to investors who paid cash. Other listings, she says, are being resold by investors at prices that she says are too high. “It’s the Wild West out here. It’s a daily, tireless search,” says Ms. Hunter, who works in television production and marketing. Demand is up because “we haven’t been able to find homes here below $500,000 since the 1990s.” Among other key findings of the survey: Farewell, flippers. Half of the investors surveyed say they plan to hang onto their properties for five or more years. Hello, newbies. A whopping 59% are new to real estate investing. Cash is king but… more than three-quarters plan to combine cash and credit to build their real estate empires. What happens when they all want to sell? Great expectations reign. Nearly half expect a profit of 20% or more.
  • 12:26 PM » Ohio, Illinois have steepest discounts on foreclosure prices
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 12:26 PM by
    Foreclosed homes sell at discount prices of 35% or more in 10 states, study finds
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  • 12:26 PM » NAHB: Housing Affordability Hits 20-Year High
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 12:26 PM by
    Nationwide housing affordability during the first quarter of 2011 rose to its highest level in the more than 20 years it has been measured, according to National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) data. The HOI indicated that 74.6 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter of 2011 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400. This eclipsed the previous high of 73.9 percent set during the fourth quarter of 2010 and marked the ninth consecutive quarter that the index has been above 70 percent.
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  • 12:26 PM » Frustrated with your mortgage servicer? Write a letter
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 12:26 PM by Google News
    On this blog, the comments from readers frustrated with their mortgage servicers never seem to stop rolling in. By now, most of you are likely familiar with the complaints we’ve been hearing for years. Whether it’s HAMP trial payments that extend past the stated three months (often continuing for a year or even more), or an unexplained denial from one of the government’s housing-preservation efforts, the crux of most of our comments deal with a frustration over the lack of communication between borrower and servicer. Well, there’s a way to enhance your communication with your servicer: write them a letter. A ”qualified written request” allows the borrower to initiate communication with their servicer on a variety of issues. “This is a vehicle for the borrower, the consumer, to initiate a complaint action,” , a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “If they have a complaint with their loan servicer, they should absolutely seek a remedy — and the way to do it, at least initially, is this qualified written request process.” Once the letter is sent, servicers must acknowledge the request within 20 business days, and attempt to take action within 60 days. A qualified written request is another way for borrowers to document their ongoing communication with their servicers. While the letter is not a guarantee that your servicer will give you want you’re looking for, it’s mechanism to get your voice heard. Here’s a sample of a qualified written request, provided by HUD: Attention Customer Service: Subject: [Your loan number] [Names on loan documents] [Property and/or mailing address] This is a “qualified written request” under Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). I am writing because: Describe the issue or the question you have and/or what action you believe the lender should take. Attach copies of any related written materials. Describe any conversations with customer service regarding the issue and to whom you spoke...
  • 12:11 PM » Real Estate News: States Expand Foreclosure Probes
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 12:11 PM by Google News
    Dorian Bennett Sotheby’s International Realty : Situated on more than nine acres, this home in Shreveport, La., was built in 1988 and features multiple kitchens, two pools, a conservatory, a wine cellar, a media room and a master suite with a sitting area. Here is a look at real-estate news in today’s WSJ : : Attorneys general in California and Illinois said they issued subpoenas to two companies that help mortgage servicers manage home loans, in the latest sign state officials are stepping up pressure on the mortgage industry. : The Utah attorney general sent Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan a letter last week warning him one the bank’s units was conducting illegal foreclosures in Utah. : Sarah Palin has bought a roughly 8,000-square-foot home in North Scottsdale, Ariz., for $1.695 million. : The IRS has a low-profile but sweeping effort under way to use state land-transfer records for evidence of omissions in reporting gifts of real estate to family members. : Alpine Château: This French château, which was built in 1032 as a priory for Benedictine monks, has been completely restored by its American owners. : Situated on more than nine acres, this home in Shreveport, La., was built in 1988 and features multiple kitchens, two pools, a conservatory, a wine cellar, a media room and a master suite with a sitting area. : The federal government and a New York real-estate company are negotiating to settle alleged federal housing-discrimination violations against the disabled, the company’s attorney said. : Two Westchester villages are locking horns over an $800 million real-estate development planned for a former auto plant. : Children’s Aid Society said that it will sell two Greenwich Village buildings for $33 million despite protests from parents seeking to keep the nonprofit’s nursery school operating in the area. : NoHo ‘Treetop’ Loft: Located on the third floor of a 10-story building in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood, this full-floor loft has 22 windows and views over...
  • 8:21 AM » New REIT Values Private Backing
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 8:21 AM by Google News
    There is a key shift underway in the REIT world, and a newly launched real estate investment trust is an example of it. Despite the commercial real-estate recovery, REITs haven’t been welcomed with open arms in the public market. It’s been particularly daunting for so-called blind-pool REITs, or companies that have virtually no assets, but raise money to buy buildings. Blind-pool REITs have been mostly shut out of initial public offerings because investors want candidates to hold a sizable number of assets and not too much debt. And they require potential REITs to price their IPOs at a significant discount to net asset value, because the prospects for bigger returns are better. In response to this trend, commercial real estate veterans raised $500 million in the private market to form a REIT that will invest in chain restaurants, supermarkets, drug stores and other retail properties. Based in Scottsdale, Ariz. and called Store Capital, the new REIT is also a blind pool. “We elected to do this privately because we believed it to be the most efficient,” says Christopher Volk, co-founder and chief executive of Store Capital via email. “Plus, one is dedicating oneself from the outset to one source of capital (public capital) whereas private capital comes in more varieties.” The company received a $400 million commitment from Oaktree Capital Management, LP, a Los Angeles-based money management firm. Store Capital declined to comment on where the additional $100 million was secured. “Investors will clearly have a say in what we invest in, because the company is controlled by Oaktree. So, this makes the blind pool issues far less than, say, a blind-pool public company,” Mr. Volk added. Mr. Volk and partner Morton Fleischer are not new to commercial real estate. The pair founded Spirit Finance, a REIT focused on single-tenant retail properties in 2003 which was sold to a consortium led by Macquarie Bank in 2007. Mr. Fleischer also founded a similar REIT called Franchise Finance...
  • 8:21 AM » Toll: Talk of Home Price Declines Exaggerated
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 8:21 AM by Google News
    Associated Press A sign this week outside of a Toll Brothers development in Chatsworth, Calif. Home builders nationwide are probably breathing a sigh of relief today. Toll Brothers, the best-known builder of higher-end homes, a narrowed second-quarter loss Wednesday. The company said sales improved, while the closely watched cancellation rate slipped to 3.9% from 5.3% a year earlier. That’s quite an improvement from the housing crash, when the average cancellation rate , saddling builders with unplanned, unsold and unwanted homes. In a conference call with analysts and investors, Toll CEO Douglas Yearley said that buyers finally seem to be leaving the sidelines. “The family with elementary school kids and a puppy when the housing debacle began five years ago, now has middle-school kids and the dog weighs 80 pounds. The 55-year-olds who wanted an active, adult lifestyle in 2006 [are] now 60,” he said. “Some people would rather move on than wait for a better housing market.” It gets better. Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported that new home sales gained 7.1% in April from March. As the Journal reported, this raises “expectations that the downturn in residential construction .” Not surprisingly, shares of home builders rallied Wednesday. At last check, Toll was up nearly 3%, while Beazer Homes USA climbed 2.5%. With no major builder showing a loss, the DJ builder index added 1.3%. We admit to being rather on the state of housing – something to which himself seemed : “We question the recent media headlines announcing that home prices continue to fall. Many studies quoted in the media combine distressed sales data, including foreclosures and short sales, with new and/or non-distressed existing home sales data. We believe that averaging distressed and non-distressed sales data provides a misleading picture to the public regarding home price direction.” Ouch! But in our defense: Toll’s quarter was solid, but this follows from builders that saw quarterly financial results weaker...
  • 8:21 AM » Real Estate News: Banks Face $17 Billion Foreclosure Liability
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 8:21 AM by Google News
    Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Company : Called Paradise Cove, this six-acre waterfront property has two three-bedroom main houses and two guest homes, as well as two pools and a marina with nine slips. Here is a look at real-estate news in today’s WSJ: : State attorneys general told the nation’s five largest banks they face a potential liability of at least $17 billion in civil lawsuits if a settlement isn’t reached to address improper foreclosure practices. : Under pressure to reduce its holding of troubled loans, Allied Irish Banks has struck a deal to sell a portfolio of roughly $1 billion in U.S. commercial mortgages to Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo. : Toll Brothers reported a narrower loss on sharply lower write-downs as the luxury-home builder posted stronger sales and an improved cancellation rate. : DLF, the property developer, has more than doubled its fund-raising target to $2.2 billion. The company will sell some non-core assets over the next two to three years to generate cash for its core property development business and cut debt. : Howard Lutnick, CEO of investment-banking firm Cantor Fitzgerald, doesn’t just want to join the commercial real-estate game. He wants to change how it is played. : Condo associations, struggling as troubled homeowners stop paying condo assessments, are becoming increasingly aggressive about ways to recoup unpaid fees. And they have lawmakers on their side. : Germany is famous for its beer, but its breweries are becoming an attraction to real-estate investors in their own right. : The recent sale of a small brick office building near the Stamford, Conn., railroad station says a lot about the changing of the guard occurring across the country as the commercial real-estate market picks up. : Ian Schrager, the famed boutique hotel pioneer, said he is close to securing deals to develop five hotels under his new brand Public. : Sales of new homes posted a 7.1% gain in April from March, raising expectations that the downturn...
  • 8:21 AM » Steep Quarterly Drop For Home Prices
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 8:21 AM by Google News
    Bloomberg News Here’s some more bad news for the housing market: U.S. home prices posted the sharpest quarterly decline in more than two years in the first three months of this year, according to a government index. On a quarterly basis, home prices adjusted for seasonal factors were down 2.5% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2010 and were down 5.5% from the same quarter a year ago, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price index released Wednesday. It was the steepest quarterly decline since the end of 2008. “The housing downturn has gone from bad to worse,” wrote Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “This time prices are not being driven down by a plunge in confidence and a sudden contraction in credit. Instead, they are being depressed by a chronic lack of demand and the effects of many foreclosed sales.” On a monthly basis, however, there was a bit of a silver lining. Home prices fell 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis in March from February, The monthly results were better than expected. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a 0.5% monthly decline. The monthly change suggests “some of the recent weakness in home prices may be abating,” wrote Barclays Capital economist Michael Gapen. However, he noted that “house prices will face headwinds as the large inventory of foreclosed properties makes its way through the market.” February’s results were revised to a 1.5% decline from an initial estimate of a 1.6% drop. The FHFA’s index is calculated by using the prices of houses purchased with mortgages backed by government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • 8:21 AM » More Negative Sentiment for Homeownership
    Published Thu, May 26 2011 8:21 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    During the housing busts that followed the California housing bubbles of the late '70s and late '80s, there came a period when sentiment for homeownership changed. The evidence was anecdotal, but it was not uncommon to hear people say owning a home was "dumb". So one thing I've been looking for is a change in sentiment. Earlier posts on this with anecdotal evidence: , , and . A shift in sentiment doesn't mean housing prices have bottomed - it just means the market is getting closer. In previous busts it seemed like negative sentiment lasted for a few years. Last week Trulia and RealtyTrac released a survey of when Americans thought the housing market would recover. (ht , Keith is far more bearish than I am bearish). Here is the survey: As more cities across the nation experience double dips in home prices , more than half (54 percent) of U.S. adults believe recovery in the housing market will not happen until 2014 or later, according to the survey released today. In a previous survey conducted six months ago , 42 percent of American adults said they thought the market would turn around by 2012 or had already turned around. Now, only 23 percent continue to think this will happen. When American Adults Believe Housing Market Will Recover Apr-11 Nov-10 % Change Already Recovered[1] 5% 5% 0% By the end of 2011 3% 10% -70% 2012 15% 27% -44% 2013 24% 24% 0% 2014 or Later 54% 34% 59% Clearly there has been a sharp shift in when people think the housing market will "recover". Expecting a recovery is somewhat different from asking when people will want to buy, but I think they are somewhat related - if non-owners think the market won't bottom for several years, they would probably also say they won't buy soon too. Just a little more evidence of a shift in sentiment ...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • Wed, May 25 2011
  • 2:37 PM » House Price Index Falls 2.5 Percent in First Quarter 2011
    Published Wed, May 25 2011 2:37 PM by FHFA
    May 25, 2011: House Price Index Falls 2.5 Percent in First Quarter 2011
  • 9:11 AM » Proposal to Raise FHA Loan Down Payment
    Published Wed, May 25 2011 9:11 AM by Google News
    A Republican draft bill proposes hiking FHA loan down payments to 5 percent and cutting FHA loan limits in several areas of the country, a move that NAR says isn't good for consumers.
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