Banks On Hook For Rundown Foreclosures

On a 28-10 vote Monday, the California State Senate passed a bill imposing fines on lenders neglecting foreclosed properties. Lenders would face fines of $1000 per day for letting properties languish. Rundown properties, lawmakers argue, lead to crime, attract squatters, and make communities less safe. Under the passed Senate bill, lenders would have 14 days

Preview of Bernanke Testimony April 2, 2008

Tomorrow Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will give his economic outlook on Capitol Hill to the Joint Economic Committee. The statement shouldn’t diverge from what we’ve heard so far: recent monetary policy moves are made in a crisis mode, inflation is still a concern, they might hike rates back up just as aggressively if inflation becomes

U.S. Housing Chief Resigning, Effective April 18

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, the highest ranking U.S. housing regulation official, announced his resignation today, effective April 18. He cited family reasons, but the FBI has been examining the ties between Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson’s department as a construction manager in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Also the housing

WeeklyBasis 03/31/08: Housing “By Far” Greatest Economic Risk

Fixed and ARM rates are down about .125% this week following last Friday’s Personal Income & Spending report which includes the Fed’s favorite measure of inflation—Personal Consumption Expenditures. The PCE number showed that year-over-year inflation was 2%, within the Fed’s 1-2% target range. Tomorrow and Thursday the Institute for Supply Management releases monthly reports on

Financial Regulation Overhaul Announced (Full Text)

This morning Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced a 2-8 year plan for modernizing financial market regulation with three main tiers: (1) Increased Federal Reserve power to promote market stability, (2) Consolidating all federal bank charters and insurance companies under one regulator, probably the Treasury, in order to promote safety and soundness of institutions with federal

WeeklyBasis 01/07/08: Issues To Watch In 1st Quarter

Glad to say that my first WeeklyBasis of 2008 is good news! Fixed and ARM rates are down .375% from pre-holiday levels, and it seems to be sticking because of continued recession signals implicit in recent economic data. The volatility I talked so much about in the 4Q2007 may return and make me eat those

WeeklyBasis 12/10/07: End Of Year Rate Overview

My alert to lock last week proved effective, as extreme volatility continues. Fixed and ARM rates opened this week .375% to .5% higher than last week. Last Wednesday, mortgage bond yields (that lenders use for rate pricing) were at 2-year lows, and today bond yields (and ARM but not fixed rates) are at the highest

Proposed Changes To Homeowner’s Tax Breaks

As the saying goes, “There are only two certainties in life: Death and Taxes.” But recently, even that seems uncertain. The tax part anyway. As you may have heard or read in the news, there’s currently a tax reform plan floating around Washington, DC that proposes changes to homeowners’ tax benefits. To be clear, it’s