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Tag Archives: Federal Reserve

Housing Mixed in Largely Positive Beige Book

The Federal Reserve reported continued growth in economic activity through the United States over the past month, reinforcing recent reports that the economy is moving in a more positive direction after a dismal first quarter. Reports on real estate activity were mixed across the country, though low inventory and rising home prices were common themes in most districts.

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Yellen Maintains Dovish Stance in Senate Testimony

In a testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made the case that while the economy has seen improvement, the economic recovery is still too fragile to deviate from the present course of Fed policy. Notably, Yellen noted the recent cooling in housing as a sign.

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Agencies Issue Guidance on End-of-Draw HELOCs

On Wednesday, four federal financial regulatory agencies and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) issued risk management guidelines for financial institutions that need to be aware of the challenges borrowers may face in paying off their home equity lines of credit after coming out of a recession.

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Leading Economic Indicators Up for Fourth Straight Month

The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index (LEI), which tracks signs of future developments, rose 0.5 percent in May to 101.7, building on gains of 0.3 percent in April and 1.0 percent in March. "Housing permits held the index back slightly but the LEI still points to an expanding economy and its pace may even pick up in the second half of the year," said Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim.

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Mortgage Rates Hover Following Fed Announcement

A year ago, interest rates were on their way up on speculation that the Fed may soon start tapering its bond stimulus. Now that the central bank is on track to potentially end its stimulus purchases by the end of the year, rates have actually shown little movement, defying expectations. While the first quarter's economic contraction is partly responsible for rates staying put, analysts at Bankrate.com say developments overseas are also having an effect.

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Fed Stays on Track with Bond Purchases

The FOMC concluded its June meeting with the announcement that members have once again voted to bring down the Federal Reserve's stimulative monthly asset purchases. Taking a cue from improvements in labor market indicators, household spending, and general economic activity, the committee members voted to reduce the Fed's monthly purchase of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to a combined $35 billion per month.

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Beige Book Records Continued Growth in All Districts

Fed

In its latest Beige Book, released Wednesday, the Federal Reserve noted economic activity has expanded in recent months, with the pace of growth "characterized as moderate in the Boston, New York, Richmond, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts, and modest in the remaining regions." Wednesday's summary reinforces comments offered by Fed Chair Janet Yellen recently.

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Fed Chair Voices Concerns on Housing Slowdown

While the sudden stop in economic growth in this year’s first quarter might have some market-watchers sending up red flags, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen isn’t especially concerned. One warning sign has caught her eye, however: housing. Faced with recent sales figures, the Fed chief admitted, “[T]he recent flattening out in housing activity could prove more protracted than currently expected rather than resuming its earlier pace of recovery.”

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Fed Survey: Prime Loan Standards Mostly Unmoved

A newly released survey of senior loan officers around the country finds credit standards remained largely the same on basic prime mortgage products over the latest quarter, while demand came in weaker. On the topic of subprime loans: On net, the handful of banks offering such products reported tightening, though more than half still said standards changed little.

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