January Unemployment Falls to 8.3 Percent
By Christopher Rugaber, Associated Press, Feb 3, 2012
In the most impressive surge for the job market since the middle of last decade, the United States added 243,000 jobs in January, far more than economists expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years.
Uncle Sam Courts Foreclosure Investors
By Alan Zibel, Wall Street Journal, Feb 2, 2012
On Wednesday, a U.S. housing regulator invited investors to submit initial applications to bid on pools of foreclosed properties owned by Fannie Mae, the government-controlled mortgage finance company, as part of a new pilot program. The goal is to help stabilize the troubled housing market by turning properties into rental units. Similar programs are expected to be launched by Fannie Mae’s sibling company, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration, the government-controlled mortgage insurer. Check out this handy Wall Street Journal chart on where of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA REOs are located.
Ex-Credit Suisse Traders Admit Cooking Subprime Books
By Grant McCool, Reuters, Feb 1, 2012
In a rare criminal prosecution to emerge from the financial crisis, two former Credit Suisse traders admitted on Wednesday to conspiring to manipulate the value of about $3 billion in subprime mortgage-backed securities in order to hide losses as the U.S. real estate market began to collapse in 2007.
Weak Economic Data Sends Mortgage Rates Lower
By Kerri Panchuk,
Housing Wire, Feb 2, 2012
Mortgage rates fell to new lows for the week ending Feb. 2 as economic data showed weaker than expected economic growth, Freddie Mac said Thursday. The McLean, Va.-based government-sponsored enterprise released its primary mortgage market survey, which shows the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage falling from 3.98 percent last week to 3.87 percent. The 30-year FRM hit 4.81 percent a year ago.
New Obama Housing Plan Not Winning Republican Fans
By Alan Zibel, Wall Street Journal, Feb 1, 2012
There was a lot of criticism on Capitol Hill Wednesday of President Barack Obama’s latest housing proposals, an indication that the effort faces steep odds of being enacted. Republicans were quick in their denunciations.
Las Vegas Home Prices Expected to Keep Dropping
By Hubble Smith, Las Vegas Journal, Feb 2, 2012
Home prices in Las Vegas will continue to slide for the next six months and recovery won't come until banks open up the spigot on foreclosures, housing analyst Dennis Smith said Thursday in his annual housing outlook webinar. "2012 in my opinion is going to be the most interesting year yet because of intervention from the government that's trying to manipulate housing recovery," the president of Home Builders Research said during his hour-long presentation. "Just look at the shadow inventory."
Nationwide Title Clearing Sued by Illinois Over Foreclosure Documents
By Andrew Harris, Bloomberg, Feb 2, 2012
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued Nationwide Title Clearing Inc., a Florida company she claims caused the filing of faulty documents with county clerks. Nationwide Title Clearing prepares documents for mortgage servicers to use against borrowers in default, foreclosure and bankruptcy, Madigan said. Among the documents are mortgage assignments used by lenders in foreclosures.