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  • Fri, Oct 8 2010
  • 4:27 PM » Unemployment by Level of Education and Employment Diffusion Indexes
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 4:27 PM by Calculated Risk Blog
    By request ... Click on graph for larger image in new window. This graph shows the unemployment rate by four levels of education (all groups are 25 years and older). Note that the unemployment rate increased sharply for all four categories in 2008 and into 2009. Unfortunately this data only goes back to 1992 and only includes one previous recession (the stock / tech bust in 2001). Clearly education matters with regards to the unemployment rate - but education didn't seem to matter as far as the recovery rate in unemployment following the 2001 recession. All four groups recovered slowly. Earlier this year, the group with "less than a high school diploma" recovered a little better than the more educated groups - possibly because of the tax credit related increase in construction - but that changed in September as the unemployment rate increased sharply. For the group with some college or an associate degree, the unemployment rate is at a new high for this employment recession. Diffusion Indexes This is a little more technical ... The BLS diffusion index for total private employment declined to 49.8 from 54.1 in August. For manufacturing, the diffusion index declined to 46.3 from 48.2 in August. Both indexes are down sharply from earlier this year. Think of this as a measure of how widespread job gains are across industries. The further from 50 (above or below), the more widespread the job losses or gains reported by the BLS. From the : Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment. The increases in the diffusion indexes in 2009 and earlier this year, was a clear positive in the monthly employment reports. However the decrease in the diffusion indexes over the last few months (falling below 50% for both in September), is disappointing. Earlier employment posts today (with many...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 3:15 PM » SPECIAL EDITION: Letter from FHA Commissioner to Loan Servicers
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 3:15 PM by HUD
    Over the past several days, it has been widely reported that there are deficiencies in the foreclosure documentation process used by mortgage servicers. In light of these reports, I strongly urge every FHA-approved servicer to immediately conduct a full review of its servicing operations and procedures to ensure full compliance with all HUD requirements.
  • 2:53 PM » Strategic default just got a lot more attractive
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 2:53 PM by Reuters
    Has Bank of America’s PR department been taking lessons in gnomic utterances from Alan Greenspan? Here’s their today in full: “Bank of America has extended our review of foreclosure documents to all fifty states. We will stop foreclosure sales until our assessment has been satisfactorily completed. Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for foreclosure decisions is accurate. We continue to serve the interests of our customers, investors and communities. Providing solutions for distressed homeowners remains our primary focus.” The quote marks are theirs: this is a “statement”, I guess, as opposed to a press release which might actually pretend to explain what’s going on here. But it actually gets even more ridiculous than that: BofA CEO Brian Moynihan is talking at the National Press Club today, and, according to the , “a person close to him said he isn’t expected to discuss the moratorium decision”. If the biggest bank in the country announces that it has halted every single foreclosure proceeding in the country, you’d think it would spend a minute trying to explain what it’s doing and why. Instead, we just get meaningless pablum: “We continue to serve the interests of our customers, investors and communities. Providing solutions for distressed homeowners remains our primary focus.” I can only conclude, here, that this decision was taken in a panicked manner, that it was pretty much imposed upon the CEO rather than decided by him, and that he wants to have some important conversations in Washington before saying anything specific about the bank’s foreclosure strategy. But now that Bank of America has taken this step, expect GMAC/Ally to follow suit sharpish — it is owned by the government, after all, and should therefore be taking the lead in terms of trying to do foreclosures right instead of trying to push them through in a legally-dubious manner. And if those two firms end all foreclosures, the rest of the industry is going to be under a lot of pressure to do the...
  • 1:52 PM » Homebuyers, Lenders Return to Mortgage Market
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 1:52 PM by Google News
    Let the house hunting begin. Mortgage applications were up 9.3% last week, as thousands of buyers rushed to apply for FHA mortgages before that agency tightened its standards – the biggest increase in week-over-week applications since April.
  • 1:52 PM » Can short-term renting affect home values in a planned community?
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 1:52 PM by Washington Post
    While living next to a home used for short-term rentals may be unappealing, some of the alternatives may be worse. If you ban all short-term rentals, values could fall drastically as homeowners unload their empty homes.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Washington Post
  • 12:02 PM » The Politics of Foreclosure
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 12:02 PM by CNBC
    You're not in political fashion these days if you're not "demanding" a federal investigation into shoddy foreclosure procedures or "ordering" a freeze on foreclosures for the foreseeable future, even though you might not exactly have the jurisdiction to do so.
  • 12:02 PM » Home shopping: Where to rent and where to buy
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 12:02 PM by CNN
    With painfully high foreclosure rates and falling home prices nationwide, you would think now would be a great time to buy a home anywhere in the country.
  • 10:16 AM » Broader U-6 Jobless Rate up to 17.1%: Why the Jump?
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:16 AM by WSJ
    The U.S. jobless rate was flat at 9.6% in September, but the government’s broader measure of unemployment rose even more to 17.1%, the highest rate since April.
  • 10:16 AM » Biggest Local Cuts in 30 Years
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:16 AM by
    Job cuts by local governments have been larger over the last three months than in any period since the early 1980s. What's next for the economy?
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:15 AM » Robo-Signer Debate: Was It Fraud?
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:15 AM by Google News
    State Attonery Generals have been raising a ruckus over the foreclosure document fraud since late last month. Now, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray specifically names Jeffrey Stephan, GMAC's alleged robo-signer, as a defendant, targeting him for fraud.
  • 10:14 AM » Spending on Housing and Transportation Fell in 2009
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:14 AM by
    Average annual expenditures per consumer unit fell 2.8 percent in 2009. This was the first annual decrease in spending since the Labor Department began publishing this data in 1984.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

  • 10:13 AM » 10 U.S. Cities Where Renting Beats Buying
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:13 AM by CNBC
    10 U.S. Cities Where Renting Beats Buying
  • 10:12 AM » FDIC to Propose New Rules on Liquidations: Report
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:12 AM by CNBC
    FDIC to Propose New Rules on Liquidations: Report
  • 10:12 AM » Flawed Foreclosure Documents Thwart Home Sales
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:12 AM by CNBC
    Flawed Foreclosure Documents Thwart Home Sales
  • 10:12 AM » Commentary: Home Ownership and Taxes: Buyer/Owner Perspective
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 10:12 AM by Google News
    Find out how the life cycle of ownership affects the deductions a home owner takes.
  • 9:26 AM » Lawler: “Foreclosure-Gate”: Who Will, and Who Should “Pay”?
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 9:26 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    CR Note: This is from economist Tom Lawler , who joked today: Maybe large servicers should be forced to put up billions in "claims fund," like BP? (the latter "caused" slime, while the former are just "slimy"!) The mortgage-foreclosure debacle, which started with a story about a GMAC “technicality” (and included a “GMAC denies foreclosure moratorium” story) but which quickly “ballooned” as more mortgage servicers were “implicated,” has now exploded into a full-blown “issue” of unknown proportions. One thing is pretty clear – many larger mortgage servicers simply “screwed up” by trying to deal with the surge in foreclosures by taking shortcuts to keep costs down, and this mistake has blown up in their faces. But … is it just “their” faces? It seems pretty clear that one of the outcomes of the recent “revelations” is that many foreclosures will be postponed; there will be more “refilings” of foreclosure petitions that will cost money; more borrowers facing foreclosures will hire lawyers, and servicers will have to reimburse more borrowers for legal fees; and some foreclosures could be delayed for quite a while. It is unclear at this point whether there will be any significant number of completed foreclosures that might be reversed, but if so that’s gonna cost! Net, there are going to be significant costs that someone is going to have to bear. But who will bear those costs? Will it be mortgage servicers? Well, if they also own the mortgage, sure. But what about for loans they service for others (including private-label securities, Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, …)? Who’s a’ gonna’ pay? From a “who should” perspective, any increase in losses associated with mistakes made by mortgage servicers, especially if those mistakes involved not following state foreclosure laws, which is a “violation” of most servicing contracts, the answer is crystal clear – the mortgage servicers. But how easy is it going to be to determine losses associated with mistakes...
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
  • 9:26 AM » NY Times: Foreclosure-Gate starting to impact home sales
    Published Fri, Oct 08 2010 9:26 AM by Calculated Risk Blog
    From Andrew Martin and David Streitfeld at the NY Times: [A]s a scandal unfolds over mortgage lenders’ shoddy preparation of foreclosure documents, the fallout is beginning to hammer the housing market, especially in states like Florida where distressed properties are abundant. ... the agents are being told the freeze will last 30 to 90 days ... [One Florida] agency had 35 deals that were supposed to close this month. As of Thursday, Fannie had postponed 11 of them. This will probably just be a delay. And the delays will mostly be in the judicial foreclosure states, although the story has one example of a house withdrawn from the market in California.
    Click Here to Read the Full Article

    Source: Calculated Risk Blog
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