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Tag Archives: Investment

Huntsman’s Departure Highlights Politics of Housing Finance

And then there were five. Republican presidential hopeful and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman threw his support Monday behind frontrunner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Not unlike his fellow candidates ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô or the incumbent himself ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô Huntsman left out any mention of housing finance reform and homeowners as issues for voters in the 2012 general election. Recent polls suggest that the political will exists to make housing finance policy a platform issue. MReport speaks with the experts to better understand housing finance policy and politics.

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Bank Shares Slide on S&P’s Eurozone Downgrades

Stocks and shares for the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós four largest banks slid back Friday on news that ratings agency Standard & Poor's slashed credit ratings for several debt-saddled euro zone countries, including France, Italy, and Spain. A 0.4-percent dip led the Dow Jones Industrial Average to end the day at 12,422 points, a 48.96 loss from the day before. The S&P 500 went south in a 0.5-percent tizzy, losing 6.41 points to close at 1,298. S&P ignited an investor selloff in the markets earlier Friday by announcing credit changes for 16 European countries. S&P slashed U.S. sovereign credit last fall.

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Economy Will Improve With Home Sales, Starts: ABA

Eleven chief economists forecasted Friday that the U.S. economy will continue to improve modestly as job growth steadies, along with easing declines in home prices, sales, and starts. The 11 economists all from banks and members of the American Bankers Association's economic advisory committee said that GDP growth rose to 2.5 percent in 2011. The committee also said home sales and starts could catch an upward draft seen in 2011 that lasts this year, with home prices likely continuing to stagger.

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Mortgage Applications Rose 4.5% Last Week: MBA

Mortgage applications shot up 4.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, above averages seen year-over-year but far below gains in overall volume that occurred over the last several months. Releasing the figures in a weekly survey Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported mortgage application volume expanding 34.4 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. The refinance share of mortgage activity contracted to 80.8 percent of application volume.

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Three in Four Voters Back Federal Housing Aid: NAHB

Americans from both political parties overwhelmingly value a role for the federal government in housing and oppose any efforts by lawmakers to eliminate traditional home buying incentives, according to a recent survey. The National Association of Home Builders polled more than 1,500 likely voters from swing states across the country in early January, with help from conservative-leaning Public Opinion Strategies and left-leaning Lake Research Partners. Three out of four voters agreed that it is appropriate and reasonable for the federal government to back homeownership.

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Zillow Sees New Record Lows for Mortgage Rates

Interest rates for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage smashed new records for Zillow, which reported current rates falling as low as 3.71 percent, the lowest in survey history for the real estate Web site. Zillow found the newest numbers for mortgage rates with Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, which it sources from anonymous quotes and releases weekly. The 30-year fixed-rate loan fell to new lows from 3.73 percent seen last week, and hovered at rates as low as 3.67 percent Monday morning. Zillow reported rates for 15-year loans falling to 3.03 percent.

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MBS Cases Drive Q3 Mortgage Litigation: Study

A surge in suits involving mortgage-backed securities propelled litigation cases for mortgage servicers to 218 over the third quarter last year, according to a recent index. Mortgage-backed securities litigation rose by 36 cases over the third quarter, up from 26 seen from the last quarter and just 12 in the third quarter 2010. Foreclosure-related suits also went up from 67 in the second quarter to 90 in the third quarter, followed shortly by litigation from investors, which leapt from 50 to 82 over the same time frame.

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Only 5% of Americans Want to Refinance in 2012: Poll

More Americans still feel uneasy about their household finances, leaving only 5 percent interested in refinancing their mortgage, according to a recent Harris Poll. Polling 2,237 adults across the country in mid-December, the research firm found respondents overwhelmingly despondent about the fiscal state of the nation. When it came to housing issues, the poll found Americans about as interested in home improvements and equity lines of credit as they were in refinancing their mortgages.

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Record-Low Mortgage Rates Ring In New Year

Uncertainty in the markets helped ring in the New Year with record lows for mortgage rates, as concerns over debt crises and job growth lingered for wary investors. Finance Web site Bankrate.com and mortgage company Freddie Mac released their findings for mortgage rates Thursday in two separate weekly surveys. Bankrate.com reported interest rates for the 30-year loan hitting a record 4.18 percent this week, down from 4.21 percent last week. Freddie likewise found rates for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sliding from 3.95 percent last week to 3.91 percent this week.

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Reports: Morgan Stanley to Eliminate 1,600 Jobs

Amid declining share and revenue across the industry, financial services firm Morgan Stanley announced that it will eliminate about 1,600 jobs, or about 2.6 percent of all employees, multiple news outlets said Friday. The move arrives for the financial services firm amid continued problems for the investment trading industry and debt crises for euro zone countries. Earlier this year Bank of America, Citigroup, and MetLife all followed the same route by announcing job-slashing measures.

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