Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
"U.S. foreclosure filings more than doubled in the second quarter from a year earlier as falling home prices left borrowers owing more on mortgages than their properties were worth.
One in every 171 households was foreclosed on, received a default notice or was warned of a pending auction. That was an increase of 121 percent from a year earlier and 14 percent from the first quarter, RealtyTrac Inc. said today in a statement. Almost 740,000 properties were in some stage of foreclosure, the most since the Irvine, California-based data company began reporting in January 2005. "
June new house sales were down 33.2% from the same month last year to seasonally adjusted annualized rate of just 530,000 units.
At present sales rates, builders have 10 months worth of unsold inventory.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Through the first half of 2008, some 2.39 million existing homes have been sold, down 16.7% from the same period of 2007. At the present sales pace, there is an 11.1-month inventory of unsold homes on the market, 22.0% higher than inventory levels at this time last year.
Median sales price of an existing home in June was $215,100, down 6.1% from June of 2007.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"During an eight-month investigation, The Miami Herald analyzed computer records for more than 222,844 Florida mortgage professionals, examined thousands of records from the Office of Financial Regulation, reviewed hundreds of court files and interviewed dozens of regulators, brokers and victims.
The newspaper found:
• From 2000 to 2007, regulators allowed at least 10,529 people with criminal records to work in the mortgage profession. Of those, 4,065 cleared background checks after committing crimes that state law specifically requires regulators to screen, including fraud, bank robbery, racketeering and extortion.
• More than half the people who wrote mortgages in Florida during that period were not subject to any criminal background check. Despite repeated pleas from industry leaders to screen them, Florida regulators have refused."
Friday, July 18, 2008
"Securities regulators from several U.S. states on Thursday inspected the
St. Louis headquarters of Wachovia Securities, seeking documents and records on
the company's sales practices."
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The seasonally adjusted annualized starts rate for the month was 1.07 million units, down 26.9% from the rate for June, 2007. The single family start rate was 43.0% behind the pace for June of 2007, at just 647,000 units. It was the weakest performance for single family starts since January, 1991.
Through the first six months of 2008, some 515,900 permits had been issued, 33.2% below the total for the same period last year. Over that span, single family permits fell 41.1% to 332,300 permits.
“The current economic woes, brought on by the collapse of the so-called "housing bubble," are considered the worst to hit investors since the equally untenable dot-com bubble burst in 2001. According to investment experts, now that the option of making millions of dollars in a short time with imaginary profits from bad real-estate deals has disappeared, the need for another spontaneous make-believe source of wealth has never been more urgent.
"Perhaps the new bubble could have something to do with watching movies on cell phones," said investment banker Greg Carlisle of the New York firm Carlisle, Shaloe & Graves. "Or, say, medicine, or shipping. Or clouds. The manner of bubble isn't important—just as long as it creates a hugely overvalued market based on nothing more than whimsical fantasy and saddled with the potential for a long-term accrual of debts that will never be paid back, thereby unleashing a ripple effect that will take nearly a decade to correct."”
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
"The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Pasadena-based IndyMac late
Friday and has assured depositors that accounts with $100,000 held in a single
name or $250,000 in a retirement account are safe.But many customers have said
that when they checked their balances online, tens of thousands of dollars
appeared to be missing. And when they went to branches in search of answers,
they encountered lines hundreds of people deep and unhelpful staff members. On
Tuesday, reports of unruly crowds brought police to branches in Encino and
Northridge, although there were no arrests or injuries.Noelle Gabay of
Northridge, a budget analyst for the state of California, said FDIC officials
acknowledged that she was owed $213,500 but provided her access only to $99,000.
"My trust in the FDIC is gone," said Gabay, 49. "The question is now, where do
we put our money? Do we buy a bigger mattress?""
Through the first half of 2008, kitchen appliance shipments lag behind shipments for the same period last year by 10.3%, with 19.9 million units shipped. The chart below gives first half breakdowns by category:
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
"...the Federal Reserve Board on Monday voted unanimously to bar lenders
from making higher-priced mortgages without regard to a consumers' ability to
Monday, July 14, 2008
The bank reopens today under Federal control.
FDIC says 90 banks are currently at risk of failing.
"In a statement timed to precede the opening of Asian markets Monday, as well as
a closely watched auction of debt by Freddie, the Treasury said it plans to seek
approval from Congress for a temporary increase in a longstanding Treasury line of credit for the two companies.
The Fed's Board of Governors met Sunday in Washington and voted to grant the New York Fed authority to lend to Fannie and Freddie "should such lending prove necessary," the central bank said in a statement. The move would effectively give the two companies access to the Fed's discount window if necessary, providing a backstop in case the firms were to face a short-term funding crisis down the road."
Friday, July 11, 2008
"As we explored our options for appliances, it became clear that the
fastest, most efficient step we could take in completing the transformation of
our industrial portfolio would be to focus on a possible spin-off of the entire
unit," GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt said.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Chances are increasing that the U.S. may need to bail out Fannie Mae
and the smaller Freddie Mac, former St. Louis Federal Reserve President William
Poole said in an interview. Freddie Mac owed $5.2 billion more than
its assets were worth in the first quarter, making it insolvent under fair value
accounting rules, he said. The fair value of Fannie Mae's assets fell 66 percent
to $12.2 billion, data provided by the Washington-based company show, and may be negative next quarter, Poole said.
James J. Saccacio, CEO of the firm, said, "The year-over-year increase of more than 50% indicates we have not yet reached the top of this foreclosure cycle. Bank repossessions, or REOs, continue to increase at a much faster pace than default notices or auction notices. REOs in June were up 171% from a year ago, while default notices were up 38% and auction notices were up 22% over the same time period.”
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
NAR says existing-home sales are expected to total 5.31 million in 2008, and then increase 5.0% in 2009 to 5.58 million. There were just over 5.65 million existing homes sold in 2007. (and to put that in persepctive, in 2005 there were almost 7.08 million sold).
Officials said that the Federal Reserve remained concerned that the declining housing market would not reach its bottom and financial markets would not become more stable before some time next year, and that the economy would continue to suffer as a result of declining consumer confidence, a sluggish global economy and the widespread effects of the rapid jump in oil prices.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Be kind to your webfooted friends
For a duck may be somebody's mother...
Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.
Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.
Overall, construction employment fell 2.9% to 7.43 million in June; some 785,000 workers were unemployed. The construction unemployment rate climbed to 8.2%, up from 5.9% in June of last year.
Average weekly earnings for construction workers during the month was $853.01, up 2.7% from June, 2007; average hourly earnings were up 3.5% to $21.65.
"Consumers fell behind on loans secured by their homes at the fastest pace
in two decades in the first quarter, signaling deeper distress in the U.S.
economy, the American Bankers Association reported.
Home-equity lines of credit at least 30 days past due rose 14 basis points to 1.1 percent of accounts in the quarter, the Washington-based group said today in a statement. Delinquent credit-card accounts increased 13 basis points to 4.51 percent, the highest since 2006. Late rates worsened in five of eight categories of non-revolving loans tracked by the group. "
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
"Billionaire investor Eli Broad said the U.S. economy is in the worst recession since World War II and a recovery in the housing market is 'several years' away.
'This is worse than any recession we've had since World War II,' Broad, 75, said in an interview yesterday. Broad, the founder of homebuilder KB Home, said the U.S. should avoid a depression on the scale of the 1930s because the country now has sufficient 'safety nets'.''
Two of the signers (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) became Presidents of the U.S. Three became Vice Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Eldridge Gerry of Massachusetts, after whom the word “gerrymander” gets its name.) Two became Supreme Court Justices (Samuel Chase of Maryland and James Wilson of Pennsylvania). Four became senators; four, ambassadors; seventeen, governors of their states; fifteen, state judges, including nine chief justices; five, speakers of their state legislatures.
The last survivor was Maryland’s Charles Carroll, who passed on in 1832 at age 95. He had also been the wealthiest signer; when he affixed his signature, one of the other fifty-six quipped “There goes a million dollars.”