News Alerts, Sept. 15, 2013, Morning Edition, #RealEstate +

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  1. Tighter Rules Will Make It Harder to Get a Reverse Mortgage –

    Reverse mortgages, through which people over 62 can tap home equity, are getting streamlined rules to protect both borrowers and lenders.

    Read the source article …

  2. Calculated Risk: WSJ’s Hilsenrath: September FOMC Meeting “Cliffhanger”

    A few months ago I thought the Fed would wait until December, but the upward revisions to GDP and the decline in the unemployment rate has made it less clear. I don’t know how much the Fed will weigh the decline in the participation rate.

    The participation rate and the quality of wages both matter greatly. Whether the hawks on the Fed will see it that way is doubtful. We think tapering even this year would be a mistake. We want to see much more progress on jobs before we see any tapering.

    Of course, we’d like to see more fiscal stimulus and that going to Main Street as opposed to Wall Street. That’s something the Fed can’t make happen though. It’s up to Congress.

    Read the source article …

  3. Mortgage Rates Recover but Remain Near 2-Yr Highs

    First of all, the employment data that facilitated the improvement wasn’t quite bad enough to clearly suggest the Fed hold off on reducing the amount of Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed-Securities they’re buying each month. Markets have generally been planning on this reduction, and those expectations play a key role in the past 4 months of rising rates.

    Of course jobs are good for the American economy, but the price is higher interest rates. In addition to not being bad enough to change the Fed’s most likely course of action when it comes time to decide on September 18th, the report wasn’t good enough to remove any doubt as to the timing and the size of the reduction! These are important details as far as interest rates are concerned, and the difference between tapered asset purchases being announced in September vs October or December makes a meaningful short term difference.

    The way they handle this speedbump in employment data will also provide clues as to how they may respond to economic fluctuations in the future as they continue trying to extricate themselves from deeply embedded positions in financial markets.

    We don’t agree that the jobs data wasn’t bad enough for Ben Bernanke to hold off on the taper, but we could be unpleasantly surprised.

    The last of the three quoted paragraphs is quite observant regardless. “The way they handle this speedbump in employment data will also provide clues as to how they may respond to economic fluctuations….” We completely agree, with the proviso that a new Chairperson and a handful of other new members could shake things up yet, especially if the new Chairman is Larry Summers of old rather than the “new” one described here:

    News Alerts, Sept. 12, 2013, #RealEstate +.

    R ead the source article …

  4. Life Without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – News Alerts, Sept. 15, 2013, Morning Edition, #RealEstate +

    Talk of doing away with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is still just that — talk. But as Congress considers whether and how to get rid of these agencies, consumers ought to be aware of how a substantial reduction in the government’s role in housing finance could affect their ability to borrow in the future.

    “What’s at stake here is access to mortgages at an affordable price,” said Julia Gordon, the director of housing finance and policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

    Well, renting really doesn’t have to be viewed with general negativity. Plenty of younger people appear to be realizing that renting affords greater flexibility and less time consumed by maintenance, etc.

    If Fannie and Freddie are replaced by privatization, it won’t be bad for residential-real-estate investors and supporting sectors of the industry.

    Real estate agents might not like it, but they could involve themselves more in the rental business.

    Read the source article …

  5. Chinese Contactors Grapple With Risks of Working Globally | ENR: Engineering News Record | McGraw-Hill Construction News Alerts, Sept. 15, 2013, Morning Edition, #RealEstate +

    Imagine having to face down violent attacks just to construct buildings.

    With 82.6% of their market share in Asia and Africa, Chinese construction companies working globally and in mostly unstable nations face unforeseeable risks that, if not managed properly, could weigh heavily on their business. Attacks on construction sites have pushed companies to adopt more comprehensive defenses and take further precautions for risk recovery and management.

    Read the source article …

  6. External liabilities and crisis risk | vox

    Debt seems to be a lightning rod for crises. This column presents new research showing that the ratio of net foreign liabilities to GDP, and in particular its net external debt component, is indeed a significant crisis predictor for both advanced economies and emerging markets. Large current-account deficits and real exchange rate appreciation – the standard predictors – still matter, but we should be thinking more about net external debt.

    Read the source article …

  7. States where the most homebuyers pay cash News Alerts, Sept. 15, 2013, Morning Edition, #RealEstate +

    In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., RealtyTrac CEO Daren Blomquist explained that higher levels of institutional investing — rather than private purchases of families buying a home to live in — were the likely cause of the increased cash purchases in some of these states. This is because institutional investors almost always pay for homes in full upfront. Indeed, the majority of the states with the 10 highest cash purchases in July also had among the highest levels of institutional buying. In Georgia, which was sixth in the country for home cash purchases, 22% of all sales were to institutional investors, compared to a national rate of just 9%.

    Many of the states with the most homes sold for cash are among the ones hardest hit by the housing crisis. Home prices in Florida, Nevada and Michigan plummeted 50% or more. Homes [sic] prices also are particularly low in some of these states. The median list price in Ohio was just $118,900 in July. This was more than $75,000 below the national median.

    …First, distressed homes can be bought at a significant discount — a median of just $52,000 in Michigan, for example. Second, “By nature, with distressed sales, besides the fact that it’s low-priced, when you buy a foreclosure property at the public foreclosure auction, in most states, you do have to pay cash there. No matter what the price, you do have to pay cash,” Bloomquist added.

    Read the source article …