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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

October Payrolls Add 80K, Chipping at Unemployment

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Nonfarm payrolls counted more than 80,000 new jobs for the economy over October, slashing the unemployment rate by a few percentage points but at a clip that analysts say will marginally improve an otherwise uncertain economic outlook. The Labor Department reported Friday that the jump to more than 100,000 new jobs over September - a facelift driven largely by a return to work by striking Verizon employees - slid back to new figures with few surprising numbers for several industries.

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HUD Scorecard Delivers Mixed Results for Housing

An October scorecard released Thursday by the Obama administration portrayed the housing market as one beset by mixed circumstances over September and the months before. A still-heavy foreclosure glut matched with declining home values and prices left the market slightly worse for the wear in some areas. The report measured up home prices, home sales, and refinance originations, finding declines for some and stabilization for others. A positive portrayal of efforts by the Obama administration also met with less favorable consumer sentiment.

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Policymakers See GSE-Free Future as Freddie Asks for $6B

The head of the agency that regulates the GSEs addressed one lawmaker's recent proposal to eliminate the federal lifeline for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Thursday even as the latter filed staggering third-quarter losses and requested another $6 billion in taxpayer funds. Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco and several others testified before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, which heard the chief regulator describe why the federal government needs to slowly phase out taxpayer support for the GSEs.

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Mortgage Rates Plunge Amid Euro Zone Trouble

After inching forward in the last few weeks, mortgage rates again plummeted on fresh concerns about the euro zone crisis, with rates dropping to 4.00 percent, the second-lowest reading for Freddie Mac. The GSE released a weekly survey alongside finance Web site Bankrate. Freddie reported the 30-year loan falling from 4.24 percent recorded last week, not a far cry from the 10-percentage point plunge to 4.23 percent from 4.33 percent that Bankrate.com recorded. Investor confidence shot up after Europe agreed to bail out Greece.

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Lawmakers Argue for More HARP 2.0 Modifications

A bipartisan group of lawmakers called for more modifications to the Home Affordable Refinance Program Wednesday in a public letter addressing federal officials. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) joined eight other lawmakers to call for the FHFA and other federal regulators to lift access barriers to borrowers with higher-equity government-backed loans. The letter argues that new modifications could benefit approximately 12 million other borrowers.

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Bernanke: No New Action, but Fed May Still ‘Deploy Tools’

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The Federal Reserve restrained itself from announcing any new monetary or fiscal stimulus measures, deciding instead that it will continue to reinvest principal payments for agency debt in mortgage-backed securities while it keeps a heel on historically low interest rates. Continuing a public relations tour at a time of increasing unpopularity on both the right and left, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed reporters from behind a desk.

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Mortgage Applications Inch Forward Amid Market Uncertainty

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As mortgage rates rose, then fell on a debt deal in Europe, mortgage application volume also crept forward last week, with the uncertain economy and high unemployment forcing homeowners to stay on the sidelines. In releasing a weekly survey, the Mortgage Bankers Association found mortgage applications on a seasonally adjusted curve upward to 0.2 percent from the week before. Refinance activity fell on the whole as purchases, still near historic lows, remained overwhelmingly near bottom, the MBA said.

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CoreLogic: HARP 2.0 Will Help GSEs, Homeowners

Modifications in line for the Home Affordable Refinance Program from the Obama administration will buoy homeowners with negative equity and origination markets, but field few other benefits for investors in mortgage-backed securities, according to a new outlook. Analytics provider CoreLogic released a statement Monday demarcating HARP├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós benefits and problem areas, skewering assertions that the program will alleviate a chronic lack of demand and showing that economic troubles may persist despite government assistance.

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Big Four Release Earnings, Citing Economy, Litigation

Litigation fees, bold restructuring moves, and new regulation helped shape earnings figures over the third quarter for the nation's largest lenders and financial institutions in October. Along with numerous other banking holding companies and investment firms, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo released their reports to the media and investors over the past two weeks. The results: more mortgage lenders continue to exit the business, while financial institutions stepped up the public debate against onerous regulations.

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Hearing Portrays a Public Divided Over Dodd-Frank

As debate heats up about whether to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, witnesses testifying before the House Financial Services Committee Monday appeared as divided over the issue as the general public, with some criticizing the law and others praising it. The leaders of banks and credit unions largely panned the financial regulatory overhaul, highlighting the demand for more resources and manpower in compliance issues even as regulators themselves continue to scrutinize new loans. Others said that Dodd-Frank benefited the recovery.

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