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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Economists: Fed Buy-Up Will Do Little for Housing

Fed

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke again made waves Wednesday with an announcement that the central bank plans to sell $400 billion in short-term Treasuries to keep a heel on still-low interest rates and offset widespread fears that the U.S. economy may soon enter a downturn. The move follows successive efforts from the Fed, which more recently pledged to keep interest rates low until 2013. Speaking with MReport, economists largely panned the effort.

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Mortgage Applications Tick Up 0.6% on Low Rates

application

Mortgage application volume crept up from last week, with refinancing activity leaping ahead of purchases, according to a weekly survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Stacks of applications around the nation thickened by less than 1 percent from the previous week, largely as a result of climbing mortgage rates. The Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, a measure of total application volume by the trade group, pulled together several indices that reflect volume.

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After Irene, Housing Starts Fall 5% from July

Fewer-than-expected housing starts fell in line Tuesday with dismal forecasts threatening a global economic slowdown, with the Commerce Department and HUD jointly revealing a 5-percent slide back for single-family home construction over August. Market watchers slapped severe weather with the blame for a slump in new home starts across New England, while a nudge up in building starts framed the dark recession cloud with a silver lining. Housing starts plunged to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 571,000 over August.

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Fannie: U.S. Economic Recovery ‘Flirting’ with New Downturn

Fannie Mae cast the U.S. economic recovery as on the rocks Monday with a report suggesting that events at home and abroad primed the country for a return to recession. The GSE cited restlessness in European financial markets, sluggish growth in emerging economies, and upheaval in the Middle East as reasons why America may be bordering on a double-dip. According to the GSE, third-quarter data suggests that U.S. GDP will chug below 2 percent over the remainder of 2011 and 2012.

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Mortgage Rates Smash New Records on Europe Debt Fears

A rush by overseas investors to the safe haven of U.S. Treasury debt helped whittle away at yields and force mortgage rates to all-time lows, a short-term boon to creditworthy homebuyers. With the 30-year benchmark loan smashing new records, analysts for mortgage giant Freddie Mac and finance Web site Bankrate.com chalked up the favorable rates to a wobbly Greece and unsettled concerns over euro zone markets. Bankrate.com and Freddie Mac report the latest mortgage rates each week.

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Mortgage Applications Jump to Seasonal 6.3%

Mortgage application volume jumped from the previous week by 6.3 percent, reflecting the highly attractive plunge by interest rates to record lows, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Even so, the good news comes amid a fall in home valuations and cash buyer interest, which Capital Economics says will likely depress sales activity across the housing market. Frank Nothaft, VP and chief economist for Freddie Mac, spoke to MReport about the forces behind anemic demand for home purchases at the Five Star Conference and Expo in Dallas.

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Bush, Lawmakers Mull Housing Finance, Past and Future

Lawmakers butted heads over their intentions for GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at a hearing Tuesday, with Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee seeking private-sector solutions while a number of Democrats called the federal government a needed buttress in housing finance. MReport captured a look back by former President George W. Bush at the federal bailouts orchestrated by his administration during the financial crisis.

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Stocks for Mortgage Banks Fall on Euro Zone Fears

The surprise resignation of a key official at the European Central Bank sent stocks and shares plunging in markets across Europe and overseas, furthering fears about a global economic slowdown and the potential for sovereign defaults across the European Union. Sagging stocks doubled up woes for Bank of America, whose CEO, Brian Moynihan, announced plans for some 40,000 layoffs as the mortgage giant reassesses its capital position in the market and undertakes restructuring efforts, according to multiple news reports.

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