Waiting for the Next McMansion to Drop
The Wall Street Journal
Despite some tentative signs of recovery, the U.S. housing market remains vulnerable to further price drops—especially in areas where large numbers of mortgages are headed toward foreclosure over the next few years.
The Wall Street Journal's quarterly survey of housing-market data in 28 major metro areas shows sharp drops in the number of homes listed for sale across the country. But the potential supply of homes is far larger because banks are likely to acquire significant numbers of foreclosed homes in some areas, notably Las Vegas, Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, Miami and other parts of Florida, and Sacramento, Calif., over the next few years.
Report: Foreclosure Starts to Decline Next Year
After rising steadily since 2006, one report suggests that the number of foreclosures will begin to decline in 2010. In the meantime, things could get worse.
UFA LLC, Ann Arbor, Mich., said national and local economic conditions, based on a reviving economy, slowing house price depreciation and tighter underwriting of recent loan vintages will cause foreclosures to decline next year. In the near term, however, rising unemployment will continue to mitigate positive factors.
Fannie Mae Offers Hand to Investors
Call it Hope for Home Flippers.
Fannie Mae is replacing a forbearance program for troubled borrowers with one that will make the breaks available to property investors and owners of second homes. In a forbearance, the government-sponsored enterprise reduces the monthly payment on a mortgage for up to six months. The current program only provides this relief for loans on owner-occupied properties.
Beige Book Sees Signs That Growth Is Stirring
The New York Times
Regional economies in most parts of the country are on the mend, largely because home sales are rebounding and factories and manufacturers are stirring back to life, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
The Fed’s regular report on economic activity across the country — known as the beige book — noted the dissonance between tentative signs of a recovery and lingering weakness as the United States struggles to break out of the deepest recession since the 1930s.
TARP Inspector Wants to Subpoena Treasury
The government’s overseer of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) issued a scathing report Wednesday in his regular quarterly assessment of the administration’s bailout efforts.
Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky lashed out at the U.S. Treasury Department for failing to implement clear recommendations from his office that would improve the program and refusing to come forth with critical details of fund usage. Barofsky even went so far as to threaten to subpoena documents from the Treasury and White House.
Treasury Planning to Wind Down TARP Programs
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says it’s time to close up shop on some of the core components of the government’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
“We are now at the point where we can begin to wind down the programs that really defined TARP in its initial stages,” Geithner said at the Reuters Washington Summit Tuesday.