Friday, October 31, 2008

NAR - "No Economic Recovery Without Housing Stabilization, Say Realtors®" (10-31-08)

"NAR today provided an economic analysis demonstrating that a reduction, or a buydown, of interest rates by just 1 percentage point could result in up to 840,000 additional home sales and reduce the inventory of homes by as much as 20 percent. Inventories currently at 9.9 months’ supply would decrease to approximately a 7.5 month supply"

NAR - "Americans Want More Government Involvement in Lending, NAR Survey Shows" (10-31-08)

"More than half of those surveyed (56 percent) favor the federal government taking a more active oversight role in lending and mortgages, while 38 percent prefer that private companies oversee their businesses. That is a marked shift from the 2007 survey, which showed respondents were more evenly split on the issue of government involvement."

CNN - "7.5 million homeowners 'underwater'" (10-31-08)

"At least 7.5 million Americans owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth, according to a real estate research firm's report released Friday. Another 2.1 million people stand right on the brink, according to the report by First American CoreLogic. Their homes are worth less than 5% more than the mortgages they're paying on them."

Yahoo - "Banks borrow record amount from Fed" (10-31-08)

"The Fed reported that commercial banks borrowed a record $111.9 billion a day, on average, from the Federal Reserve's emergency lending window over the past week. That's up $6.1 billion from the $105.8 billion they borrowed in the previous week."

Bloomberg - "Depository Trust to Release Credit-Default Swaps Data" (10-31-08)

"Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., the operator of a central registry for the more than $47 trillion credit-default swaps market, will start releasing weekly data on the amount of trades linked to the top 1,000 companies and benchmark indexes. DTCC will begin publishing the data on its Web site starting Nov. 4, the New York-based company said in a statement today. The company will publish both the gross and net amount of contracts used to hedge against losses or to speculate on the creditworthiness of companies, governments and other borrowers."

Bloomberg - "Frank Says Bonuses, Acquisitions Violate Bailout Plan" (10-31-08)

"House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said banks using cash from the $700 billion U.S. rescue plan for bonuses, acquisitions and other purposes unrelated to lending are in 'violation' of the law."

Bloomberg - "JPMorgan Agrees to Keep Customers Out of Foreclosure" (10-31-08)

"JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by market value, said it won't begin new foreclosure proceedings on some loans while it finds ways to make payments easier on $110 billion of problem mortgages."

Bloomberg - "General Re, AIG Fraud Cost $597 Million, Judge Says" (10-31-08)

"American International Group Inc. shareholders lost as much as $597 million because of a fraud that led to the convictions of five insurance executives, the U.S. judge who oversaw their trial ruled."

Orange County Register - "Gov’t actions fail to ease O.C. mortgage rates" (10-31-08)

"The best rate on a 30-year fixed-rate conforming mortgage actually rose a bit to 6.375% with a one-point fee after the Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate to 1% on Wednesday, said broker Al Hensling, who heads United American Mortgage in Irvine. Conforming loans are sold to Fannie or Freddie, and Hensling quoted a rate on loans up to the old conforming limit of $417,000 — rates are lowest on those loans. Rates on larger mortgages were anywhere from 6.625% to 9.500%, Hensling said."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Orange County Register - "O.C. home sellers take 2nd largest U.S. retreat" (10-30-08)

"The Wall Street Journal has reported that the number of homes for sale in Orange County fell 27.1% from the year before at the end of June, the second-highest decrease among 28 major U.S. metro areas. The Journal reported that the it would take 7.5 months to sell the current number of O.C. homes on the market based on the average monthly sales rate for the past year."

Inman News - "Mortgage rates follow bonds upward" (10-30-08)

"Long-term mortgage rates followed Treasury bond yields higher this week, bringing fixed-rate mortgages back up to levels seen two weeks ago, Freddie Mac said today. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.46 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Oct. 30, up from 6.04 percent a week ago and 6.26 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey."

Bloomberg - "Greenspan Slept as Off-Books Debt Escaped Scrutiny" (10-30-08)

"As George Miller welcomed 60 bankers to the chandeliered Charlotte City Club one evening in September, the focus was on more than the recent bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. From their 31st-floor perch, members of the American Securitization Forum, which Miller leads, fretted about the future of their $10.7 trillion industry. The bankers were warned that a Financial Accounting Standards Board plan would force trillions of dollars back onto balance sheets, requiring cash reserves to soar. Their business of pooling and reselling assets had dropped 47 percent in the first six months of the year, and the industry couldn't afford another setback."

Bloomberg - "Hamptons Home Prices Plunge as Wall Street Upheaval Cools Sales" (10-30-08)

"Upheaval in global financial markets has dashed the confidence of wealthy buyers, even those who spurn mortgages and pay cash for waterfront mansions, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel."

Bloomberg - "Treasury, FDIC Said to Consider Guarantees to Stem Foreclosure" (10-30-08)

"The U.S. Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are considering a program that may offer about $500 billion in guarantees for troubled mortgages to stem record foreclosures, people familiar with the matter said."

Orange County Register - "First American swings to loss, cuts jobs" (10-30-08)

"First American Corp., the Santa Ana-based title insurance giant, said today it swung to a loss of $8.3 million in the third quarter vs. a profit of $46.6 million a year earlier. And it cut 1,250 jobs during the period."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Increase In Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (10-29-08)

"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 24, 2008. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 476.7, an increase of 16.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 408.1 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 29.6 percent compared with the previous week and was down 30.0 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

The Wall Street Journal - "Economists Predict Home Prices Will Bottom Next Year" (10-29-08)

"When will housing's sickening slide stop? According to economists at the semi-annual National Association of Home Builders forecast conference, not soon—though the end is in sight. The consensus: Home prices will bottom out as early as the middle of next year."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Growth Will Be Hurt More by Homes Than Stocks, Study Says" (10-29-08)

"Plunging home prices will cut economic growth in the U.S. more than the drop in stock prices this year, economists at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, said. A 10 percent decline in housing wealth results in a $105 billion, or 1.2 percent, reduction in personal spending, according to the three-year study by economists at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of GDP, so that drop would result in a reduction in real GDP growth of 1 percentage point, the study said."

Bloomberg - "Most U.S. Homeowners Say Houses Lost Value, Zillow Survey Finds" (10-29-08)

"The survey of 1,388 homeowners between Oct. 7 and Oct. 9 found 51 percent said their houses had lost value, while 49 percent believed the value had stayed the same or increased, Seattle-based Zillow found. In an earlier survey, taken June 30 to July 2, 38 percent said their homes had lost value and 62 percent said they had gained or stayed the same. Three quarters of homes have actually fallen in value over the past year, Zillow said."

Bloomberg - "Ambac Pushes Treasury for Backstop, MBIA Backs Sales" (10-29-08)

"Ambac Financial Group Inc. is pushing for government help in backstopping its bond insurance portfolio, breaking ranks with competitor MBIA Inc., which said the U.S. Treasury should stick to its main plan of buying troubled mortgage assets and investing directly in financial companies."

Orange County Register - "Fed cuts key rate by half-point to 1%" (10-29-08)

"The Federal Reserve today cut its widely watched Fed Funds rate by a half-point to 1%. Last time this rate was that low was June 2004. Its reasons: The pace of economic activity appears to have slowed markedly, owing importantly to a decline in consumer expenditures. Business equipment spending and industrial production have weakened in recent months, and slowing economic activity in many foreign economies is damping the prospects for U.S. exports. Moreover, the intensification of financial market turmoil is likely to exert additional restraint on spending, partly by further reducing the ability of households and businesses to obtain credit."

Orange County Register - "More homeowners get help to avoid foreclosure" (10-29-08)

"The California Department of Corporations reported Tuesday that state-licensed lenders and loan servicers modified 38,085 home loans in the third quarter to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, up 85% from the first quarter, when the department first began detailed tracking of such efforts."

Realty Times - "Market Conditions" (10-29-08)

"According to a recent report from the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, home prices fell dramatically in August -- by 16.6 percent from the year before."

Monday, October 27, 2008


"Sales of newly built single-family homes turned upward in September, posting a 2.7 percent gain to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000 units, according to U.S. Commerce Department numbers released today. The report also indicated that builders are making substantial progress in winnowing down the months’ supply of unsold units on the market."

Daily News - "Valley foreclosures soar, prices slide" (10-27-08)

"Foreclosures in the San Fernando Valley ballooned to a record level in the third quarter, pounding down prices but driving a huge jump in September sales, according to a report released today. Foreclosures soared 203 percent from July through September compared to a year earlier, as 2,589 local families lost their homes in the market collapse, according to the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center."

CNN - "New home sales tick up 2.7%" (10-27-08)

"Sales of newly constructed homes rose in September, according to the monthly report from the U.S. Census Bureau, inching up 2.7% from August to an annualized rate of 464,000. The reading was above the consensus forecast of 450,000, according to economists surveyed by, and up slightly from the 17-year low in August, which saw 452,000 new home sales."

Bloomberg - "Hovnanian Asks Bondholders to Cut Principal Owed Them" (10-27-08)

"Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., the New Jersey homebuilder that has lost more than half its value in the past month, asked bondholders to reduce the principal on its debt in exchange for notes that pay a higher interest rate. The shares fell 13 percent."

Bloomberg - "California Faith Groups Fight Banks on Foreclosures" (10-27-08)

"For almost a year, Luis Flores has been lobbying mortgage lender IndyMac Federal Bank FSB to cut his house payments. They have doubled since he refinanced his home loan in 2005 and he can't afford them, Flores says."

Bloomberg - "Evil Wall Street Exports Boomed With `Fools' Born to Buy Debt" (10-27-08)

"The bundling of consumer loans and home mortgages into packages of securities -- a process known as securitization -- was the biggest U.S. export business of the 21st century. More than $27 trillion of these securities have been sold since 2001, according to the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association, an industry trade group. That's almost twice last year's U.S. gross domestic product of $13.8 trillion."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Property Insurers Won't Seek Government Capital" (10-27-08)

"U.S. property and casualty insurers are well capitalized and a 'substantial majority' won't sell stock to the government under Treasury's $700 billion bailout of financial companies, the American Insurance Association said."

Realty Times - "Washington Report: Tax Credit For Homebuyers" (10-27-08)

"The National Association of Realtors already is pushing a plan that would give a tax credit to all buyers of houses nationwide -- not just first time purchasers -- and would make the credit non-repayable. Under housing legislation passed this summer, first time buyers can qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, but they have to agree to pay it back to the government over a period of years, or whenever they sell the property."

Realty Times - "Investor Report: Best Opportunities Ahead" (10-27-08)

"Get involved in multifamily rentals if you are not already. Well-located apartment properties are positioned to do well in the emerging softer, post-boom economic climate. People who've lost houses to short sales and foreclosures need to rent … and they're pushing up demand in many areas. Aging baby boomers looking to downsize from their former suburban lifestyles also are opting to rent - at least for the time being -- rather than gamble on buying a replacement home in an unsettled market. Add in the children of the boomers who are forming new households but can't afford to buy, and you've got a substantial base for more rentals in the next couple of years."

Friday, October 24, 2008

NAR - "Existing-Home Sales Rise on Improved Affordability" (10-24-08)

"Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate¹ of 5.18 million units in September from a level of 4.91 million in August, and are 1.4 percent higher than the 5.11 million-unit pace in September 2007."

CAR - "September Sales and Price Report" (10-24-08)

"Home sales increased 96.7 percent in September in California compared with the same period a year ago, while the median price of an existing home fell 40.9 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today."

The San Diego Union Tribune - "Rates fall on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages" (10-24-08)

"Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped sharply this week, falling to the lowest level in five weeks, Freddie Mac reported in its nationwide survey. The rates fell to 6.04 percent, down from 6.46 percent last week."

Bloomberg - "Paulson Weighs Stakes in Insurers, Regional Lenders" (10-24-08)

"The U.S. Treasury is considering taking stakes in insurers, as it prepares a new round of capital injections to target regional banks and other financial companies, a person briefed on the plan said. A final decision hasn't been made on whether insurers will be included in the government's purchases of preferred equity, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Treasury, which had planned to announce investments in about 20 banks, reversed course and will let firms disclose their own share sales in coming days, the person said."

Bloomberg - "Freddie Mac Mortgage Portfolio Shrinks $24 Billion" (10-24-08)

"Freddie Mac said its portfolio of home loans and mortgage bonds shrank at an annualized rate of 38 percent last month as federal regulators seized control of the government-sponsored mortgage-finance company. The portfolio, which had expanded by $85.8 billion in April through July, fell by $24 billion in September to $736.9 billion as Freddie Mac sold off more assets, the McLean, Virginia-based company said in its monthly volume summary today."

Orange County Register - "Downey eyes government bailout" (10-24-08)

"Newport-Beach based Downey is watching to see if the government will give it money by buying its preferred shares, or if the government will buy some of its bad assets. And there are plenty of bad assets. Downey said its dud loans and bank-owned properties climbed to $2 billion in the quarter, or 15.7% of its total assets."

Orange County Register - "Has O.C. office market bottomed?" (10-24-08)

"Studley Inc. thinks O.C.’s office market may have hit the bottom based on a jump in leasing in the third quarter. The company, which represents tenants, says 1.9 million square feet of space was leased in O.C. in the third quarter, up 15.6% from the second quarter and a 32.3% increase from the third quarter a year ago."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

DQNews - "California mortgage default filings drop amid procedural change" (10-23-08)

"The number of mortgage default notices filed against California homeowners fell last quarter for the first time in three years as a change in the state's formal foreclosure process took effect. If that procedural change hadn't kicked in during early September, indications are that third-quarter default filings would have been about the same as the record number filed in this year's second quarter, a real estate information service reported."

Inman News - "Reports: Home prices to keep falling" (10-23-08)

"National home prices fell 11.3 percent from a year ago in August, and recently reported layoffs are likely to push foreclosure-related filings past the 3.2 million mark this year, First American CoreLogic said in releasing its latest home-price index."

Mercury News - "Bad news, good news on valley foreclosures" (10-23-08)

"The number of Santa Clara County homeowners caught up in foreclosure nearly tripled in the third quarter of this year compared with a year ago, according to data released today, but dropped slightly compared with the second quarter of this year. Countywide, 5,777 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice from July through September, up 181 percent from 2,056 filings in the third quarter of 2007, said foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac."

Yahoo - "Greenspan 'shocked' at credit system breakdown" (10-23-08)

"Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress on Thursday he is 'shocked' at the breakdown in U.S. credit markets and said he was "partially" wrong to resist regulation of some securities."

Yahoo - "Goldman Sachs said to cut 10 percent of work force" (10-23-08)

"Goldman Sachs will cut about 3,260 jobs. Goldman's work force, which was at record high levels at the end of the third quarter, will be pared back close to 2006 and 2007 levels. No additional cuts are planned, the person said. This person requested anonymity because the company hadn't publicly disclosed details of the plan."

Yahoo - "US working on plan to help homeowners refinance" (10-23-08)

"Federal regulators told Congress Thursday they're working on a plan that could help many distressed homeowners escape foreclosure in a global financial crisis that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned will get worse before it gets better."

Bloomberg - "Volatile Mortgage Rates to Persist Until Year-End, Analyst Says" (10-23-08)

"Gyrating U.S. residential mortgage rates show no signs of stabilizing, according to Keith Gumbinger, a mortgage-research analyst in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Average rates for 30-year fixed mortgages jumped to 6.46 percent last week, the biggest one-week gain in more than 21 years, according to a survey by Freddie Mac, the McLean Virginia-based mortgage-finance company. That compares with a low of 5.78 percent last month and the year's high of 6.63 percent in July."

Bloomberg - "Bernanke May Seek New Tactics as Fed Rate Nears 1%" (10-23-08)

"Federal Reserve officials are likely to bring interest rates down so aggressively over the next few months that they will have to search for fresh tactics to continue easing credit. The Fed's Open Market Committee will probably reduce the benchmark federal funds rate by half a point next week to 1 percent, the lowest since May 2004, according to futures trading. The official rate has never been lower since the Fed made it an explicit target in the late 1980s."

Bloomberg - "Goldman, Coller May Buy Stakes in Lehman's Private Equity Funds" (10-23-08)

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Coller Capital and Lexington Partners Inc. are weighing bids for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s investments in U.S. and European private-equity funds, people with knowledge of the matter said. Lehman is trying to sell stakes in real estate, merchant banking and venture-capital funds with about $15 billion of assets, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are confidential. The venture capital portion is expected to be sold by November, the merchant holdings and real estate by year end. As many as a dozen potential buyers have indicated interest, one of the people said."

MSNBC - "Homebuilders scramble to downsize floorplans" (10-23-08)

"Los Angeles-based KB, which builds homes to order, began downsizing some of its floor plans last year. The company initially pared down 3,400 square-foot homes that sold for around $450,000 to smaller, 2,400 square-foot homes selling for around $300,000. Now, the builder is shrinking floor plans again. It recently launched a new line of homes in foreclosure-ravaged Southern California that start at 1,230 square feet and are priced a little over $200,000."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NAHB - "Housing Stimulus 'Sorely Needed' As Downside Risks Pile Up, NAHB Chief Economist Says" (10-22-08)

"Congress should consider providing further 'sorely needed' economic stimulus to encourage homeownership and limit foreclosures in order to pull the U.S. economy out of recession, NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders said today at the association’s Fall Construction Forecast Conference. The steep decline in sales of new single-family homes should be coming to an end in early 2009, Seiders said, setting the stage for 'tepid' improvement in new residential construction later that year. However, he warned, that outcome has grown increasingly uncertain in light of the turmoil that has gripped world financial markets."

DQNews - "California September 2008 Home Sales" (10-22-08)

"An estimated 40,317 new and resale houses and condos sold statewide last month. That was up 6.1 percent from 37,988 in August and up 64.8 percent from 24,460 in September last year. California sales for the month of September have varied from last year's record low to a peak of 69,304 in 2003, while the average is 45,035. MDA DataQuick's statistics go back to 1988."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Decrease In Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (10-22-08)

"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 17, 2008. This week’s results include an adjustment to account for the Columbus Day holiday. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 408.1, a decrease of 16.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 489.3 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 25 percent compared with the previous week and was down 44 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Bloomberg - "CDO Cuts Show $1 Trillion Corporate-Debt Bets Toxic" (10-22-08)

"Investors are taking losses of up to 90 percent in the $1.2 trillion market for collateralized debt obligations tied to corporate credit as the failures of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Icelandic banks send shockwaves through the global financial system. The losses among banks, insurers and money managers may spark the next round of writedowns on CDOs after $660 billion in subprime-related losses. They may force lenders to post more reserves after governments worldwide announced $3 trillion in financial-industry rescue packages since last month, according to Barclays Capital."

Bloomberg - "Wells Fargo Chairman Prefers U.S. Plan to Buy Stakes" (10-22-08)

"Wells Fargo & Co. Chairman Richard Kovacevich said the U.S. Treasury's intention to buy stock in banks provides a better stimulus to escape the financial crisis than an earlier plan to purchase soured mortgage-related assets."

Bloomberg - "S&P 500 Dividends to Fall Most Since '58 This Quarter, S&P Says" (10-22-08)

"Dividend payments by companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index may plunge 10 percent this quarter, the biggest decline since 1958, as bank failures and slowing economic growth stifle payouts, S&P said. The firm also cut its estimated 2008 dividend from all S&P 500 companies to $28.05 from $28.85, representing the slowest annual growth since 2001, according to a statement. Financial companies in the index reduced their payouts 35 times in 2008, almost triple the past five years combined, said Howard Silverblatt, the senior index analyst at S&P."

Bloomberg - "Volatile Mortgage Rates to Persist Until Year-End, Analyst Says" (10-22-08)

"Gyrating U.S. residential mortgage rates show no signs of stabilizing, according to Keith Gumbinger, a mortgage-research analyst in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Average rates for 30-year fixed mortgages jumped to 6.46 percent last week, the biggest one-week gain in more than 21 years, according to a survey by Freddie Mac, the McLean Virginia-based mortgage-finance company. That compares with a low of 5.78 percent last month and the year's high of 6.63 percent in July."

Bloomberg - "Paulson Plans to Step Up Relief for Homeowners, Buy Mortgages" (10-22-08)

"Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson aims to intensify efforts to stem record mortgage foreclosures, using part of the government's $700 billion financial-rescue fund to purchase home loans."

Bloomberg - "Wachovia Lost $24 Billion as Customers Drained Funds" (10-22-08)

"Wachovia Corp., the bank that came within hours of collapse last month, reported a $24 billion loss today and said business customers drained a quarter of their deposits as the lender sought a rescuer."

Bloomberg - "Pulte Homes Reports Eighth Straight Loss as Sales Slump Deepens" (10-22-08)

"Pulte Homes Inc., the third-largest U.S. homebuilder, reported its eighth consecutive quarterly loss as the frozen credit markets reduced mortgage lending, deepening the housing recession. The third-quarter net loss narrowed to $280.4 million, or $1.11 a share, from $787.9 million, or $3.12, a year earlier, the Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based company said today in a statement. The loss was more than analysts estimated. Revenue fell 37 percent to $1.56 billion from $2.5 billion a year ago."

Realty Times - "Builder Hardware Demand to Rise Through 2012" (10-22-08)

"Demand for builders' hardware (in inflation adjusted terms) in the United States will rise 2.1 percent per year through 2012, an improvement over the 1.2 percent annual gains of the period between 2002 and 2007, according to Builders' Hardware, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Gains in demand will be led by the recovery of the U.S. housing market, as housing completions rise from the low levels experienced by the industry in 2007. However, weak pricing, due to the decline of metal prices from the record highs experienced in 2008, and low-price imports will restrain value gains. Imports will account for nearly 42 percent of builders' hardware demand in 2012, up from 35 percent in 2007."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DQNews - "Bay Area home sales up 45% over '07; median price falls to $400K" (10-21-08)

"Bay Area home sales soared last month above the record-low levels of a year ago, marking the largest gain in over six years. The median sale price did the opposite, diving to $400,000 - 40 percent below its summer 2007 peak - as more sales shifted to lower-cost inland markets laden with foreclosures."

San Francisco Chronicle - "HUD says lenders working to aid homeowners" (10-21-08)

"Many of the larger lenders have told us they will take an important slice of their portfolio and put them into H4H. We urge anyone who thinks they may have a problem paying their loan to get to a counselor quickly. Talk to your lender about your options. Potentially go see other lenders about refinancing."

Bloomberg - "Subprime SEC Bungled While Bear Stearns Imploded" (10-21-08)

"At last we're taking steps to tackle the overflow of crises connected to subprime mortgages. But when are we going to get around to the fiasco of subprime regulators? The Securities and Exchange Commission has been the target of four scathing reports by its internal watchdog over the past month, skewered in hundreds of pages that depict everything from deference to the industry it's supposed to regulate to the inability or unwillingness to act in the face of palpable warning signs before Bear Stearns Cos. collapsed."

Bloomberg - "Mortgage Bankers to Ask U.S. to Lift Home-Loan Limits" (10-21-08)

"The U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association plans to ask the Federal Housing Finance Agency to increase the limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchases or guarantees of single-family mortgages to $625,500 to bolster the housing market."

Bloomberg - "Fed to Provide Up to $540 Billion to Aid Money Funds" (10-21-08)

"The Federal Reserve will provide up to $540 billion in loans to help relieve pressure on money-market mutual funds beset by redemptions."

Bloomberg - "Frank Says FDIC's Bair Should Lead U.S. Anti-Foreclosure Effort" (10-21-08)

"Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair should lead a 'government-wide effort' to stem foreclosures and keep struggling borrowers in their homes, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said."

Realty Times - "Real Estate Outlook: Economy in Recession" (10-21-08)

"The 'R' word is back -- and this time economists ranging from former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan to the National Association of Realtors' Lawrence Yun agree that we're likely to be dealing with a declining economy for months to come.'The U.S. has entered a recession,' said Yun in his latest forecast, 'and (the economy) will contract for the next three quarters.'"

Inman News - "Study: Mortgage customer satisfaction grows" (10-21-08)

"Overall, customer satisfaction with mortgage originators increased slightly, to 757 on a 1,000-point scale, up 7 points from 2007. J.D. Power said fewer customers reported being asked for additional information after submitting their application; more customers were provided with time frames for application approval; and fewer customers reported that their closing costs were higher than originally estimated."

Monday, October 20, 2008

DQNews - "Southland home sales up, prices down; foreclosures now half the market" (10-20-08)

"A total of 20,497 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the six-county Southland in September, up 5.8 percent from 19,366 in August and up 64.6 percent from 12,455 in September 2007, according to San Diego-based MDA DataQuick, a real estate information service."

CBIA - "Housing Industry in California Fundamental to Economic Recovery" (10-20-08)

"The report found that new housing construction in California contributed nearly $40 billion dollars to the California economy in 2007, totaled more than 1 percent of the state’s output and supported over 266,000 jobs. While those numbers are still significant, they only represent a fraction of what the industry had contributed in previous years."

Bloomberg - "Paulson Says U.S. Has Sufficient Funds for Bank Plan" (10-20-08)

"Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the government has set aside enough money to buy stakes in every financial company that qualifies for the crisis program aimed at halting the credit freeze. 'Sufficient capital has been allocated so that all qualifying banks can participate,' Paulson said in Washington, announcing details on how banks can sign up for the funds. 'This program is designed to attract broad participation by healthy institutions and to do so in a way that attracts private capital to them as well.'"

Bloomberg - "U.S., Cuomo Open Credit Default Swap Investigation" (10-20-08)

"The U.S. government and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo opened a joint investigation into the $34.8 trillion credit-default swap market, the top federal prosecutor in New York said. The probe seeks to 'determine whether any federal laws have been violated' in the market for the swaps, which function as a kind of insurance contract for bond losses, and will complement an earlier inquiry by Cuomo's office, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia in Manhattan said today in a statement."

Bloomberg - "Turmoil May Make Americans Savers, Worsening `Nasty' Recession" (10-20-08)

"The U.S. may be on its way to becoming a nation of savers, whether Americans like it or not. With home and stock prices declining and credit hard to come by, consumers who have fallen out of the savings habit are being forced to curb borrowing and rein in spending."

Orange County Register - "Number of O.C. distressed properties down 2.6%" (10-20-08)

"Home market watcher Steve Thomas at the recently renamed Altera Real Estate in Aliso Viejo reports that the number of O.C. distressed properties (homes listed by agents as foreclosures or short sales) was 5,453 last week, -144 vs. two weeks earlier or a -2.6% change."

Realty Times - "Washington Report: FHA Still Going Strong" (10-20-08)

"The country's top housing official has an urgent message for potential home buyers: You may have heard that the credit markets were 'frozen,' but FHA has been open for business throughout the credit squeeze, and so are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, FHA's volume has tripled and the agency is now insuring well over a hundred thousand new loans a month."

Realty Times - "Not all Foreclosures are Created Equal" (10-20-08)

"Within the circle of foreclosures there are three basic categories to recognize, the first of these categories has investors buying before the foreclosure auction. The second area is buying homes directly at the auction. The third and final group is to buy after the auction is over, from the bank or an auction company. These bank owned properties are referred to as (REO's) real estate owned."

Friday, October 17, 2008

NAHB - "Housing Starts Decline Again In September" (10-17-08)

"Total housing starts fell 6.3 percent to an 817,000-unit rate in September following a substantial downward revision to the August number. Single-family starts declined 12 percent to a rate of 544,000 units, which is the slowest pace of new-home production since August of 1982. Meanwhile, multifamily starts rose 7.5 percent to 273,000 units, partially offsetting a big decline in the previous month."

Bloomberg - "AIG May Tap U.S. Commercial Paper Program for Cash" (10-17-08)

"AIG probably will borrow less than $10 billion through the new commercial paper program, said the person, who declined to be identified because no agreement had been reached. AIG has already used two-thirds of its $122.8 billion credit line in the past month to cover bad bets made on the U.S. housing market."

Bloomberg - "Lehman Judge Approves Auction of Neuberger Division" (10-17-08)

"Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. can proceed with an auction of its investment-management business under modified rules that will help potential buyers including Carlyle Group compete with lead bidders Bain Capital LLC and Hellman & Friedman LLC."

Orange County Register - "North O.C. draws largest rent hikes" (10-17-08)

"Our review of a new quarterly rent report from RealFacts, which tracks 489 Orange County apartment complexes, shows tenants in North County cities suffering the largest rent increases."

Orange County Register - "O.C.’s late Sept. home price at 5-year low" (10-17-08)

"DataQuick’s freshest O.C. homebuying stats for the 22 business days ended Sept. 26 show a $430,000 median selling price that is 26.5% off a year ago and 33% below June 2007’s peak of $645,000."

Los Angeles Times - "Layoffs at Zillow, Redfin: 'We're headed for a big dip.'" (10-17-08)

" and, rapidly growing web-based real estate companies, both announced major layoffs this week amid a weakening housing market and what Zillow says could be a 'prolonged recession.'"

The Wall Street Journal - "Housing Starts Hit 17-Year Low" (10-17-08)

"Housing starts decreased 6.3% to a seasonally adjusted 817,000 annual rate, after falling 8.1% in August to 872,000, the Commerce Department said Friday. Originally, Commerce reported August starts 6.2% lower at 895,000. July starts plunged 12.9%."

Realty Times - "Does Your Home have a Fiery Appeal?" (10-17-08)

"Outdoor living is becoming more popular as indoor living space is shrinking and becoming an extremely high-cost premium. But what gives your home a fiery spark to send buyers rushing to write an offer? Perhaps, bringing the comforts of indoor living outside may help. Outdoor fireplaces create a visual focal point and are often a quality of the home that attracts buyers."

Realty Times - "Mortgage Rates Shoot up Following Bond Yields" (10-17-08)

"Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 6.46 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending October 16, 2008, up from last week when it averaged 5.94 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 6.40 percent. This week’s increase of 52 basis points was the largest weekly increase since the week ending April 17, 1987, when the 30-year FRM rose 84 basis points."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NAHB - "Builder Sentiment Retreats In October" (10-16-08)

"Reflecting profound uncertainties tied to the financial market shocks of recent weeks, builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes receded to a new record low this month. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) declined three points to 14 in October after having edged up slightly in the previous month."

The Wall Street Journal - "FDIC Chief Raps Rescue for Helping Banks Over Homeowners" (10-16-08)

"Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair on Wednesday criticized the federal government for failing to take more aggressive steps to prevent Americans from losing their homes, highlighting a rift between her and other senior U.S. officials over terms of the $700 billion rescue package. The government plan will help stabilize financial markets but it doesn't do enough to address home foreclosures, the root of the crisis, she said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal."

Bloomberg - "U.S. Apartment Occupancy Falls as Unemployment Rate Climbs" (10-16-08)

"Rental apartment occupancy dropped across the U.S. West and South in the third quarter as rising unemployment forced some renters to give up their apartments and move in with friends or family members."

Bloomberg - "Prosecutors Look to Enron, Refco in Subprime Probes" (10-16-08)

"U.S. prosecutors are adding employees to investigate New York-area financial firms for possible fraud linked to a global credit crisis that has wiped out $30 trillion of equity value in the past year."

Orange County Reigster - "Fed sees West’s housing slump as ’severe’" (10-16-08)

"The District’s severe housing slump continued, while demand for commercial real estate eroded further. Demand and sales remained very weak for new and existing homes, and prices continued to fall. Foreclosure rates on existing homes, which were already high in parts of Arizona, California, and Nevada, rose noticeably in Utah and Idaho. Widespread availability of foreclosed homes at bargain basement prices spurred sales of existing homes to exceed their levels from twelve months earlier in some parts of California."

Orange County Register - "Downey Financial to cut staff, stop using mortgage brokers" (10-16-08)

"Downey Financial, the parent of Orange County’s largest thrift, said today it is immediately closing its department that does business with mortgage brokers and will reduce its retail loan operation. The Newport Beach-based company said the changes will affect about 200 people."

Inman - "'Price cutting hurts all homes'" (10-16-08)

"This is more like a race to the bottom ... price cutting just gets more price cutting. This sounds more like a revenue hunt on the part of Coldwell Banker. While many homes are indeed overpriced, price cutting hurts all other homes on the market. While many believe we have just a supply problem, we may also have a 'demand' problem. It is now more difficult for borrowers, especially with 'jumbo' financing needs or for those that need larger down payments."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NAR - "NAR Urges Passage of 4-Point Housing Stimulus Plan and Return of Congress for Lame-Duck Session" (10-15-08)

"The National Association of Realtors® will offer a four-point legislative plan to reinvigorate the housing market, calling on Congress to act during a lame-duck session. NAR believes the plan will give a boost to the economy and help to calm jittery potential homebuyers. The plan features such consumer-driven provisions as eliminating the repayment of the first-time homebuyer tax credit and expanding it to all homebuyers, making higher mortgage loan limits permanent, pushing banks to extend credit to Main Street, and prohibiting banks from entering into real estate."

CBIA - "California New Home Market Conditions Remain Challenging, CBIA Announces" (10-15-08)

"Sales at California new-home communities in August continued to move along at a lackluster pace, the California Building Industry Association reported today. The monthly CBIA/Hanley Wood Market Intelligence (HWMI) New Home Sales and Pricing Report showed that new home sales in August were 39 percent below August 2007. The decline was smaller than the 57 percent year-over-year drop seen during July, but August 2007 was a particularly bad month last year, which makes the comparison look less dire."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Increase In Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (10-15-08)

"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 10, 2008. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 489.3, an increase of 5.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 465.5 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 5.4 percent compared with the previous week and was down 17.0 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

Bloomberg - "Americans Embrace Big Government to Help Solve Market Crisis" (10-15-08)

"Americans are looking to big government to dig the country out of the financial crisis, a Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows. A plurality of voters support the $700 billion financial- market rescue bill President George W. Bush signed into law Oct. 4. That is a turnaround from a Bloomberg/Times poll in September, when a solid majority said it wasn't the government's responsibility to bail out private companies."

Bloomberg - "Kravis Says Bank System Is `Beginning to Stabilize'" (10-15-08)

"Kravis followed Blackstone Group LP Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman in welcoming the U.S. government's attempt this week to unfreeze credit markets and boost confidence in the financial system. The U.S. said yesterday it will invest $125 billion in nine of the country's banks, including Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., in return for preferred shares. The plan follows similar moves by European leaders."

Bloomberg - "GMAC Has Limited Funding, May Scale Back Outside U.S." (10-15-08)

"GMAC is restricting auto lending to buyers with credit scores of at least 700, who represent about 58 percent of U.S. consumers. The move this week added to the global credit squeeze that threatens to choke economic growth as companies and consumers find it harder and more expensive to borrow. Plummeting auto sales and record foreclosures have resulted in $5.4 billion in losses at GMAC over the past year and led credit agencies to reduce the debt to junk."

Bloomberg - "AIG Bonuses, Retreats Violate State Law, Cuomo Says" (10-15-08)

"New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is investigating 'unwarranted and outrageous expenditures' at American International Group Inc., which received an $85 billion federal bailout last month. In a letter to AIG's board of directors, Cuomo demanded the company stop 'extravagant' expenditures and recover millions of dollars in unreasonable payments, or face legal action."

Realty Times - "Condo Trends: Bigger Units, Higher Prices Coming" (10-15-08)

"Nationally, condominium inventory is at its highest levels, however, many metropolitan areas are starting to see the number of condominiums on the market decrease dramatically. This latest trend means higher prices are on the way, according to San Diego's largest condo development company."
Mortgage Bankers Association - "MBA Reports Multifamily Lending Hit $147.7 billion in 2007; Leading Lenders Part of Industry Consolidation" (10-14-08)

"In 2007, 2,739 different multifamily lenders provided a total of more than $147.7 billion in financing for apartment buildings with five or more units, according to a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Lenders closed 48,577 individual loans, with an average loan size of $3 million. The average lender made 18 multifamily loans over the course of the year."

CNN - "U.S. pulls the trigger" (10-14-08)

"The federal government on Tuesday announced an extraordinary and historic direct investment in the nation's banks - the biggest bet ever made with taxpayer dollars on the U.S. financial system. As a start, the Treasury will pump $250 billion into financial institutions. Nine of the nation's largest banks have already agreed to take the capital and in return will give preferred shares to taxpayers and accept limits on executive pay. Half of the money, or $125 billion, will go to the nine large banks."

CNN - "Home prices may plummet, but taxes won't" (10-14-08)

"Housing prices have plummeted, but property tax bills probably won't budge. This January, local tax authorities will begin to send out property assessments for 2009, telling homeowners what their property is valued at, and how much their tax bill is. But many assessments won't reflect any of the steep home price declines that have been making headlines for the last year or so."

Bloomberg - "Roubini Sees Worst Recession in 40 Years, Stock Drop" (10-14-08)

"The economist said the recession will last 18 to 24 months, pushing unemployment to 9 percent, and already depressed home prices will fall another 15 percent. The U.S. government will need to double its purchase of bank stakes and force lenders to eliminate dividends to save them from bankruptcy, Roubini added. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said today he plans to use $250 billion of taxpayer funds to purchase equity in thousands of financial firms to halt a credit freeze that threatened to drive companies into bankruptcy and eliminate jobs."

Orange County Register - "Economy’s shadow felt at Realtor convention" (10-14-08)

"Here’s what some said when asked if the financial crisis will impact the housing market:
Joel Singer, CAR executive director: "There’s kind of a sense that things are getting better, albeit very, very slowly. That’s coupled with concern about what’s happened lately … We were heading for a really nice recovery until a couple weeks ago.'"

Monday, October 13, 2008

CNN - "Credit squeeze: Small signs of easing" (10-13-08)

"Lenders remained reluctant to lend Monday, even as a key interbank interest rate eased ever-so-slightly in a tentative first step in the right direction for the choked credit markets. Investors were also waiting to see whether the most recent global efforts would increase liquidity and jump start world economies."

Inman News - "Mortgage approval is no easy task" (10-13-08)

"It wasn't too long ago that home buyers made offers without financing contingencies and closed the deal in as short as 14 days following acceptance. Quick closes are virtually impossible today if you're buying a home with the aid of a mortgage. And, it's highly recommended to include loan and appraisal contingencies in your offer."

Bloomberg - "Fannie, Freddie to Step Up Mortgage Bond Purchases" (10-13-08)

"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are ready to start purchasing $40 billion a month of underperforming mortgages and bonds as the U.S. government expands its options to remove troubled assets from the slumping financial markets, according to three people briefed about the plan. Fannie and Freddie began notifying bond traders last week that each company needs to buy $20 billion a month in mostly subprime, Alt-A and so-called scratch-and-dent mortgage securities that contain a higher portion of underperforming loans, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are confidential. The purchases would be separate from the U.S. Treasury's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program."

Bloomberg - "Merrill Raises $2.65 Billion for Asia Property Fund" (10-13-08)

"Merrill Lynch & Co., the securities firm being bought by Bank of America Corp., raised $2.65 billion for its first fund dedicated to Asian real estate investments, it said in an e-mailed statement. Investors have continued to pump money into real estate funds even as a global credit crisis that began with U.S. subprime mortgage defaults saddled financial firms with more than $630 billion of losses and writedowns since the beginning of 2007. LaSalle Investment Management recently received $3 billion for a fund to invest in Asian property and expects to double its holdings in the region in three years."

Orange County Register - "O.C. foreclosure inventory hits 3,300 homes" (10-13-08)

"A special report by MDA DataQuick shows banks had 3,338 unsold foreclosures in Orange County on their books as of early last month."

Orange County Register - "Mission Viejo home market weakens" (10-13-08)

"Cal Berkeley researcher David Zetland’s Mission Viejo housing index — a blend of median price, sales volume, and median days on market — for September fell to pre-summer levels after August’s 'market activity has reached levels last seen 11 months ago' report."

Friday, October 10, 2008

NAHB - "Housing Jobs Key To State And Local Economic Recovery" (10-10-08)

"Job losses and declining tax revenues resulting from the deep housing slump and the decline in property values require state and local governments to consider innovative ideas to help put the housing market back on track, according to Sandy Dunn, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va."

Yahoo - "Greenspan sees 1st half 2009 U.S. housing recovery" (10-10-08)

"Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said the U.S. housing market will begin to recover in the first half of 2009, according to an article he wrote for Emerging Markets magazine published on Friday."

CNN - "Home deals go bust" (10-10-08)

"The Dow has shed thousands of points and the global economy is in crisis. So who wants to buys a house right now? Not many people, it turns out. The National Association of Home Builders, for instance, has seen its contract cancellations spike recently to as high as 30%, compared with an average rate of about 20%. During the housing boom, as few as 5% of sales were cancelled."

Bloomberg - "Wells Fargo Gains After $12 Billion Bid for Wachovia" (10-10-08)

"Wells Fargo & Co. jumped 3.9 percent in U.S. trading after sealing a $12.2 billion deal to acquire Wachovia Corp., creating the largest U.S. bank by branches."

Bloomberg - "Lehman Credit-Swap Auction Sets Payout of 91.38 Cents" (10-10-08)

"Sellers of credit-default protection on bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. will have to pay 91.375 cents on the dollar to settle the contracts, setting up the biggest-ever payout in the $55 trillion market. An auction to determine the size of the settlement on Lehman credit-default swaps set a value of 8.625 cents on the dollar for the debt, according to, a Web site run by auction administrators Creditex Group Inc. and Markit Group Ltd. The auction may lead to payments of more than $270 billion, BNP Paribas SA strategist Andrea Cicione in London said."

Bloomberg - "Colony's Barrack Says `Better to Be Late' Amid Credit Crisis" (10-10-08)

"Colony Capital LLC's Thomas Barrack, who founded his private-equity firm in 1991 in the wake of the savings-and-loan crisis, told investors it's too early in the financial crisis to start buying assets."

Bloomberg - "Fannie, Freddie Mortgage-Bond Spreads Exceed Pre-Takeover Level" (10-10-08)

"Yields on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage bonds jumped relative to Treasuries for a second day, pushing spreads above their levels before the U.S. seized the companies and vowed to support the market to bolster home prices. The difference between yields on Washington-based Fannie's current-coupon 30-year fixed-rate securities and 10-year Treasuries rose 12 basis points to about 204 basis points at 3:05 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rise in yields this week suggests higher interest rates on new home loans of about 50 basis points, or 0.50 percentage point."

Orange County Register - "Can a church assume your mortgage?" (10-10-08)

"As a general rule, fixed-rate loans are not assumable but adjustable-rate loans are assumable, at the option of the lender. Having a church be the borrower is unusual but not impossible. You just have to ask and be persistent because their knee-jerk reaction will be NO. These days one would think they would be happy to have someone making the payments. Another option is to have one of the wealthier parishioners buy the property, assume the loan and lease it to the church under generous terms."

Orange County Register - "O.C. homebuying takes biggest jump since ‘96" (10-10-08)

"DataQuick’s freshest stats show a $437,250 median selling price for the 22 business days ended Sept. 19 — 26.6% below a year ago and 32% less than June 2007’s peak of $645,000."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Bloomberg - "Bailout Is Big, Bad, Ugly, the Only Answer" (10-9-08)

"Is the U.S. taxpayer losing $700 billion? No. We're bailing Wall Street out of bad mortgage-related loans and other assets that no one else wants to buy. The Treasury will buy them at something more than their current, depressed market value. That adds some capital to struggling banks, which they sorely need. At some point, the government will resell the assets to private investors."

Bloomberg - "BlackRock, Pimco Submit Bids for Treasury Bailout" (10-9-08)

"BlackRock Inc. and Pacific Investment Management Co. submitted proposals to manage troubled mortgage- backed securities in the biggest portion of the U.S. Treasury's $700 billion financial-rescue program, people familiar with the matter said."

Bloomberg - "AIG May Tap $37.8 Billion From Fed, on Top of $85 Billion Loan" (10-9-08)

"AIG can swap as much as $37.8 billion of its 'investment- grade, fixed-income securities' for cash to 'replenish liquidity' at the New York-based insurer, the Fed said late yesterday in a statement. AIG spokesman Nicholas Ashooh said the assets were held mainly in U.S. life insurance subsidiaries and declined to say how much of the new program has been used."

Los Angeles Times - "California's Prop. 12 would provide mortgage funds for veterans" (10-9-08)

"With hundreds of veterans returning to California from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, voters are being asked to borrow $900 million to provide low-cost mortgages for those who served in the military."

Inman News - "Feds waive capital rules for Fannie, Freddie" (10-9-08)

"Federal regulators have made an official determination that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are undercapitalized, but have suspended rules that would have required the companies to raise additional money. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which placed Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship on Sept. 7, said today that Fannie and Freddie have effectively been undercapitalized since June 30."

Inman News - "IMF: Global recession can be averted" (10-9-08)

"The International Monetary Fund projects a global recession can still be averted if financial markets stabilize and U.S. housing markets bottom out in 2009. The financial crisis that began in U.S. housing markets has the world teetering on 'the cusp of a global recession,' according to a top IMF official. But IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said today that if countries act together, a slow economic recovery should begin in the second half of 2009."

Realty Times - "Market Conditions" (10-9-08)

"San Diego is seeing a true buyers market at this time, with prices on a downward trend. Local expert Dawn Lewis reports that the downtown San Diego median condo price for 2007 was $538,000. This median condo price for Downtown San Diego condos was $52,000 less than last years median condo price."

Realty Times - "Deploy A Strategic Assault On Your Mortgage Application" (10-9-08)

"Today's volatile housing market demands that home buyers take an exacting, almost surgical approach to completing a mortgage application in order to speed the paperwork through the narrowed arteries of the home loan pipeline. Profusely sweating the details of a mortgage application gives lenders fewer reasons to reject your quest for the American Dream. And the need for speed is crucial if you want to beat today's realty market clock which frequently resets itself."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

NAR - "Pending Home Sales up Strongly" (10-8-08)

"The Pending Home Sales Index,1 a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in August, jumped 7.4 percent to 93.4 from an upwardly revised reading of 87.0 in July, and is 8.8 percent higher than August 2007 when it stood at 85.8. The index is at the highest level since June 2007 when it stood at 101.4."

Mortgage Bankers Association - "Mortgage Applications Increase Slightly In Latest MBA Weekly Survey" (10-8-08)

"The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending October 3, 2008. The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 465.5, an increase of 2.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from 455.4 one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 2.2 percent compared with the previous week and was down 28.6 percent compared with the same week one year earlier."

The Wall Street Journal - "Housing Pain Gauge: Nearly 1 in 6 Owners 'Under Water'" (10-8-08)

"The relentless slide in home prices has left nearly one in six U.S. homeowners owing more on a mortgage than the home is worth, raising the possibility of a rise in defaults -- the very misfortune that touched off the credit crisis last year."

Yahoo - "Fed leads global coordinated rate cut, eases by half point" (10-8-08)

"The U.S. Federal Reserve led a coordinated round of global official rate cuts on Wednesday, easing by a half percentage-point, as did the European Central Bank, Bank of England and Swiss, Canadian and Swedish central banks. In an attempt to stem unprecedented global market turmoil, the Fed cut its key federal funds lending rate by half a percentage point to 1.5 percent and also lowered its discount rate by the same amount to 1.75 percent."

Business Week - "IndyMac's Fast-Track Mortgage Modification Program" (10-8-08)

"Officials from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have moved quickly to tackle the 60,000 delinquent mortgages in IndyMac's 742,000-loan portfolio. In late August letters went out to 7,500 distressed borrowers, offering new terms. IndyMac says those taking part have seen their monthly payments lowered by $430, on average."

Bloomberg - "Morgan Stanley Can Avoid Borrowing Until Summer, Analysts Say" (10-8-08)

"Morgan Stanley doesn't need to issue debt in the bond market until the third quarter of next year, letting it withstand the current jump in its borrowing costs, according to analysts at UBS AG and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. The cost of credit-default swap protection for Morgan Stanley's debt rose to a record this week and the company's $4.5 billion of 6.625 percent 10-year notes are trading at 66 cents on the dollar to yield 13 percent. That has fueled concern the New York-based firm won't be able to finance its business."

Bloomberg - "Subprime Devastation Retraces Path of S&L Crisis in U.S. States" (10-8-08)

"The $700 billion bailout of Wall Street's subprime-tainted securities harkens back to the real- estate bets that sparked the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s. The geography's the same, too.
Then, as now, the government created a taxpayer-funded enterprise to absorb the fallout from bad real-estate investments. A Bloomberg map of the hardest-hit areas shows that, with the exception of Nevada, regions with the highest foreclosure rates also had the most savings-and-loan failures, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp."

Bloomberg - "Wells Fargo May Get Most of Wachovia in Negotiations" (10-8-08)

"Wachovia Corp. is bracing for a split that may give most of the bank to Wells Fargo & Co. with Citigroup Inc. taking the rest, as regulators prod the suitors to end their takeover fight, two people briefed on the talks said. Citigroup and Wells Fargo are competing for control of Wachovia's $448 billion of deposits in 21 states. Citigroup offered $2.16 billion last week for the banking operations, and Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, trumped that by bidding about $15 billion for the whole company. The banks agreed Oct. 6 to halt the ensuing court battle for two days while regulators tried to broker a compromise."

Bloomberg - "Lower Mortgage Rates May Be Silver Lining in Turmoil" (10-8-08)

"There are few silver linings for consumers who have seen the Standard & Poor's 500 Index drop more than 30 percent this year. Lower mortgage rates may be one of them. A nationwide survey of consumer credit rates showed 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.8 percent yesterday, according to Rates were 6.26 percent on Aug. 29 and also July 31, in the same survey. Home-loan applications rose 2.2 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association and purchases were at a six-year low the previous week."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mortgage Bankers Association - "MBA Study Shows Mortgage Industry Production Profits Fell Again in 2007" (10-7-08)

"Mortgage companies lost an average of $560 on every loan they originated last year, a drop from the $50 per loan they lost in 2006, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) annual cost study. While loan origination and ancillary fees grew on a per-loan basis, they did not keep pace with increases in production operating expenses, which grew seven percent to $3,663 per loan."

The Sacramento Bee - "Accord aims to save homes" (10-7-08)

"A legal settlement announced Monday by Countrywide parent Bank of America and California Attorney General Jerry Brown promises an $8.4 billion rescue operation to save an estimated 125,000 California borrowers – among 400,000 households nationally – from losing their homes. Bank of America agreed to freeze and lower interest rates, suspend foreclosures and waive late fees for live-in homeowners who took Countrywide loans from 2004 through 2007. A few who already lost homes also are eligible for some aid. The firm said it will begin reaching out Dec. 1 to borrowers deemed eligible for help."

Yahoo - "Bernanke sees worsening economy, hints at rate cuts" (10-7-08)

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted that the global financial markets crisis is likely to restrain the economy well into next year and signaled that the Fed may be getting ready to cut interest rates."

Bloomberg - "Fed Sets Floor Below Rate Target, Engineering `Stealth' Cut" (10-7-08)

"The Federal Reserve may have trimmed borrowing costs yesterday without actually saying so.
The central bank used power granted under last week's financial-rescue legislation to effectively set a floor under its main interest rate that's lower than the 2 percent target set by policy makers last month. The Fed may now pay interest on bank reserves while it floods financial markets with liquidity, pushing down the overnight lending rate by about 0.75 percentage point to 1.25 percent."

Bloomberg - "IMF Says World Economy Heading for `Major Downturn'" (10-7-08)

"Global growth is headed for a 'major downturn' next year, as U.S. gross domestic product grinds close to a halt, the International Monetary Fund said in a staff report prepared for a Group of Seven meeting this week."

Bloomberg - "General Growth Leads REITs Down on Debt Concern" (10-7-08)

"General Growth Properties Inc. led U.S. shopping center owners lower on concern over the company's ability to repay its debt. Chicago-based General Growth declined 42 percent amid speculation the company may not be able to refinance $1.2 billion in debt coming due this year, said Jeffrey Laverty, an analyst at Oscar Gruss & Son, in New York, who has a 'sell' rating on the company's shares. Standard & Poor's cut its corporate credit rating on General Growth yesterday to B+ from BB. A restructuring 'is inevitable,' Laverty said."

Bloomberg - "Lenders Squeeze Companies Amid $112 Billion of Losses" (10-7-08)

"McClatchy Co., Building Materials Holding Corp. and almost 100 other companies across the U.S. are suffering payback from lenders stung by at least $112 billion of losses in the loan market."

Orange County Register - "28 O.C. ZIPs on most expensive U.S. homes list" (10-7-08)

"Orange County placed 28 of its 83 ZIP codes in Forbes magazine’s ranking of the most expensive ZIPs for homes. Forbes based its rankings on median home sales prices in the year ended June 2008. The data was collected by First American CoreLogic. Newport Coast’s 92657 was tops in O.C., ranking 4th nationally with a median selling price of $2.8 million. It only trailed Miami Beach ($3.85 million); Alpine, N.J. ($3,59 million) and Mill Neck, N.Y. ($3 million.)"

Orange County Register - "O.C. property tax appeals soar 72%" (10-7-08)

"A hand count of property tax appeals filed by the Sept. 15 deadline shows that 13,609 property owners have disputed the county’s assessed value for their home or business. That’s 72% more than were filed in 2007, the agency that processes real estate tax appeals reported. The number is preliminary, since the Orange County Clerk of the Board’s office is still processing the appeals. The agency has entered 11,142 into its computer system so far."

Monday, October 06, 2008

NAR - "Realtors® Join With Mayors and Others to Bring Workers Home" (10-6-08)

"Rising home prices, increased housing costs, and today’s tightened mortgage market have put homeownership out of reach for many working families. In fact, an NAR survey found that eight out of 10 Americans believe that having enough money for down payment and closing costs is an obstacle to purchasing a home. Another 69 percent think it’s difficult to find a home that they both like and can afford."

Bloomberg - "FHA Will Take on Subprime Loans Shunned by Lenders" (10-6-08)

"The Federal Housing Administration has grown so large that by the end of the year it will guarantee mortgages for three in 10 U.S. borrowers, many of whom have bad credit or loans that required no verification of income. Congress wants FHA to do more. The Hope for Homeowners program, unveiled Oct. 1, authorizes the agency, part of the cabinet-level Department of Housing and Urban Development, to guarantee up to $300 billion of 30-year, fixed rate home loans for struggling borrowers over the next three years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 400,000 households will get FHA- insured loans and about one-third of those will fall behind again on their new loans."

Bloomberg - "Countrywide Settles Fraud Cases for $8.4 Billion" (10-6-08)

"Countrywide Financial Corp., the mortgage lender acquired by Bank of America Corp., will settle fraud complaints in 11 states by cutting the amount borrowers owe and their interest rates at a cost of $8.4 billion. The accord, which includes relocation assistance for homeowners whose homes have been or are about to be foreclosed, will affect about 400,000 customers and resolves lawsuits filed by attorneys general in California, Illinois, Connecticut and Florida, and complaints from seven other states."

Bloomberg - "Citigroup, Wells Fight May End by Splitting Wachovia" (10-6-08)

"Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. may end up splitting Wachovia Corp., the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank staggered by almost $53 billion of mortgage- related losses. Wells Fargo's $15.1 billion offer on Oct. 3 trumped New York-based Citigroup's $2.16 billion bid with assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for parts of Wachovia, setting up a takeover fight for a bank with 20 million customers and almost $450 billion of deposits."

Bloomberg - "Fed Boosts Cash Auctions to $900 Billion, May Do More" (10-6-08)

"The Federal Reserve will double its auctions of cash to banks to as much as $900 billion and is considering further steps to unfreeze short-term lending markets as the credit crunch deepens."

Reuters - "Coldwell sets 10-day price cuts to spur home sales" (10-6-08)

"One of the largest U.S. real estate brokerages on Monday said it is asking its sellers to cut listing prices by as much as 10 percent to kick-start U.S. home sales in a market plagued by a two-year price slump and near-record unsold supply. Coldwell Banker Real Estate said some 25,000 sellers listing homes with its brokers will cut prices during its first national, 10-day sales event starting on Friday that aims to lure potential buyers off the sidelines of the worst housing market since the Great Depression."

Yahoo - "Court tilts Wachovia fight toward Wells Fargo" (10-6-08)

"The battle for control of troubled bank Wachovia tilted toward Wells Fargo Sunday as a state appeals court blocked a lower court ruling that had favored rival bidder Citigroup. At stake is the $339 billion in Wachovia deposits and its network of more than 3,300 branches throughout the country that would solidify the winner as being in the top tier of U.S. retail banking."

Yahoo - "Bank of America settles suits over bad mortgages" (10-6-08)

"Facing a lawsuit over deceptive mortgage practices, Bank of America Corp. is agreeing to pay more than $8 billion to modify hundreds of thousands of loans to keep people from losing their homes."

Orange County Register - "O.C. house shoppers face smallest supply in 18 months" (10-6-08)

"Orange County house shoppers had 12,940 residences listed for sale to choose from, as of last Thursday, the smallest inventory in 18 months, according to Steve Thomas of the newly renamed Altera Real Estate in Aliso Viejo."