News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

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  1. Investors Flocking to HUD Homes? News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    The popularity of HUD homes appears to be on the rise these days — and with good reason —everywhere you look, it seems there’s a boarded up house with dead grass and a HUD sign in the front yard. HUD homes originate from foreclosed properties that were purchased with FHA loans. When these homes are foreclosed on, HUD takes possession of the home, puts them back on the market and tries to sell it as quickly as possible to recover their loss. Since these properties are the result of foreclosures and the housing market just came off a record plunge in home prices, followed by record foreclosures, there is a lot of inventory that needs to be sold, and the prices have investors licking their chops awaiting new foreclosed homes to come to market. But can investors even take advantage of these HUD home opportunities? There are opportunities for investors to get involved, but there are also some restrictions.

    … if they are not sold at a discount to market value, and there are restrictions on investors, why all the interest? Because, those properties can be lucrative. Many of these homes were valued at double their asking price in their prime before 2008 when the housing market peaked ahead of its downward spiral. With the market having plunged the way it did — there are many great homes available at prices well below their pre-crash values.

    Out bidding the seasoned professionals without over bidding would be a pleasant surprise.

    Read the source article …

  2. The Wall Street Journal Is Hiring a Mansions Reporter, Because Guess Who Won the Recovery – Matthew O’Brien – The Atlantic News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    The top 1 percent have gotten 95 percent of all income gains since the recovery began in 2009. The top 0.1 percent have gotten 62 percent of all gains. The top 0.01 percent have gotten 32 percent of all gains. And, on a completely unrelated [ha] note, the Wall Street Journal is hiring a mansions reporter. As in, someone who writes stories about very, very large houses.

    Read the source article …

  3. Fed Move Gives Breathing Room to Asian Economies – Real Time Economics – WSJ News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    The U.S. Federal Reserve’s surprise decision [it was only a surprise to people who did not listen carefully to Ben Bernanke] not to pull back on a [sic] $85 billion monthly bond-buying program provides some respite to Asian economies that have been under pressure due to concerns about an end to U.S. easy-money policies.

    Barclays Capital, in a note, points out that Asian countries with large current account deficits — notably India and Indonesia — could see the most short-term benefit to their currencies, bonds and stocks from the Fed’s decision to leave its extraordinary monetary policies in place.

    Both these nations have faced massive selling of their currencies and have had to offer investors much higher rates to borrow money since the Fed intimated in late May it would soon begin winding down its bond buying. [It said it will begin only when economic conditions are right. People read things into Ben Bernanke’s statements that he never said or intended.]

    That’s because investors, anticipating higher U.S. rates, began to reduce their exposure to more-risky emerging markets. India and Indonesia — along with Brazil and Turkey — were especially vulnerable because they import more than they export, making them reliant on foreign capital inflows to fund the deficit.

    Both India and Indonesia have tightened monetary policy in recent weeks in an attempt to stop the outflows. Investors may now start to think more monetary tightening — which risked further squeezing economic growth — may not be necessary.

    But there’s a downside, too. Some observers said the Fed’s surprise move — a result of concern that a recovery in U.S. jobs is not as strong as some would like — will take the pressure off Asian economies to institute much-needed reforms to their economies.

    Others said th e Fed — also spooked by a massive sell-off in emerging markets since the summer — has only delayed a reduction in its bond-buying until later this year.

    Read the source article …

  4. Fed recoils from 1937 tightening error as jobs evaporate – Telegraph News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    The American economy has shed 347,000 jobs over the past two months, roughly comparable with the rate of loss seen during the Great Recession. It is remarkable that the US Federal Reserve should even have been thinking of phasing out life-support in such circumstances.

    The Fed’s tough talk has already led to a 140 basis point rise in US 10-year Treasury yields, the benchmark price money for US mortgages and for the world (ex-China). It might as well have raised rates six times.

    The shock decision on Wednesday night to put off tapering bond purchases is a recognition of what should have been obvious. Rising mortgage costs and the “tightening of financial conditions” could slow growth, it said. Indeed.

    The title of the article (“Fed recoils from 1937 tightening error as jobs evaporate”) refers to when President Franklin Roosevelt mistakenly listened to deficit hawks and the New Deal recovery was reversed. It’s called the 1937 Mistake. Once the New Deal reversed again, back away from what the deficit hawks (fiscal conservatives) had advocated, the recovery commenced again and never stopped the trend until the US hit its global economic peak of power in 1950.

    The general rule is to never tighten government spending during a recession or recovery or you’ll kill the recovery.

    Read the source article …

  5. Lies, damned lies and the US unemployment statistics | Gavyn Davies News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    This is pre-Fed announcement of no taper yet, but it’s still relevant going forward.

    For several important demographic groups, there appears to have been a long term downtrend in participation rates for structural reasons which may not be at all connected to the economic cycle. For example, teenagers are spending longer in education [partially because the employment market has been bad], and male participation rates for most age groups have been declining continuously for several decades (possibly because child caring responsibilities are being shared slightly more equally between males and females). These downtrends do seem to accelerate during recessions, but they do not necessarily then reverse during subsequent recoveries.

    The key point, as John Williams says, is that it is very difficult indeed to distinguish between a permanent, structural change in the participation rate, and a temporary change which will be reversed if there is a strong recovery in labour demand. This means that we do not really know with any great confidence how much additional slack there may be in the labour market, on top of the amount detected in the unemployment statistics.

    Until recently, I thought the Keynesian view had been fairly strongly supported by the published empirical evidence [1]. Lately, though, I have been increasingly concerned that some or all of the unexplained 1.3 percentage points drop in participation should be counted as structural. This is because the participation data seem to have been almost wholly impervious to recent fluctuations in the economy.

    Research by the BLS has always expected the participation rate to trend downwards during the current decade [2], and it is beginning to seem that the recession has brought forward that adjustment into the first part of the decade. In that case, the participation rate will not bounce back, the unemployment rate would be the right measure of slack, and the Fed is right to set its thresholds by reference to this yardstick.

    Read the source article …

  6. Loan servicers keep making messes – Bankrate, Inc. News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    Mortgage servicers still have not gotten their act together when it comes to following rules designed to protect consumers.

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found numerous problems at the companies that collect borrowers’ mortgage payments after examining various mortgage servicers nationwide from November through June, shows a recently-released CFPB report.

    Do as they say, not as they do?

    Despite new servicing regulations and a push by the federal agency to improve servicing standards, some servicers still fail at basics ….

    It makes renting look relatively good.

    Regardless, let’s hope they get their act together, as their failures harm the whole economy.

    Read the source article …

  7. “Get closer…” — UK workplace density increasing further | Jones Lang LaSalle EMEA Research Blog News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    The drivers for increased density are not new. Occupiers in both the public and private sector remain under pressure to manage costs effectively. As office rents usually represent about 60% of occupancy costs, reductions in space offer significant savings potential. But it’s not just economic pressures. Technology is another game changer: Laptops, tablets and smartphones have transformed the way we work and enabled flexible and mobile ways of working (see for example our “Offices 2020” research). To be able to work from home, on the train, at a client’s office, or wherever necessary, whilst seamlessly connecting to the company network is now standard. Even small solutions such as more efficient use of meeting rooms by using booking software reduces requirements for meeting room space. Many corporates have also discovered, that stimulating collaboration between employees is increasing innovation and have taken profound workplace change programs. This — among other factors — has changed our working culture and made us all less chained to our desks.

    being mobile inside the office and outside means we don’t spend as much time at the actual desk as we used to. So while density ratios are going up, our reduced fixity to the office means that in reality we might actually not be getting that much closer.

    Read the source article …

  8. Delinquencies Continue Decline; Highest Among Alt-A, Subprime Loans News Alerts. Sept. 20, 2013. Afternoon Edition. #RealEstate

    Both delinquencies and foreclosures declined over the 12-month period among all types of loans, except Alt-A and subprime loans.

    Delinquencies rose 1 percent among Alt A loans and 3 percent among subprime loans.

    In fact, more than one-third of current delinquencies are made up of these two loan categories.

    Read the source article …