Home / Author Archives: Mark Lieberman (page 4)

Author Archives: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.

July Existing-Home Sales at Highest Level Since 2009

Existing-home sales soared 6.5 percent in July to an annual sales rate of 5.39 million--the highest level since November 2009--as the price of a single-family home slipped 0.2 percent, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Wednesday. Despite the month-over-month decline, the median price of an existing-home was $213,500, 13.7 percent ahead of the price in July 2012. It was the strongest yearly price gain since October 2005.

Read More »

Commentary: Summers Time?

With Ben Bernanke set to leave his post as Federal Reserve chairman next January, we could be set for a history-making appointment. Lawrence Summers' appointment would appear to be justified looking solely at his resume, but it was at Harvard he may have shown his true colors. Janet Yellen is considered a ""dove"" on the Federal Open Market Committee--more concerned with unemployment than inflation and thus less likely to press for higher interest rates.

Read More »

Single-Family Starts, Permits Drop In July

Led by multifamily activity, new housing permits and starts rose in July with new construction, continuing a shift from single-family homes. The Census Bureau and HUD reported Friday builders broke ground on new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 896,000 units, up 5.9 percent from June, and filed permits for construction of 943,000 new units, up 2.7 percent from June. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the pace of total starts to increase to 900,000 and total permits to increase to 918,000.

Read More »

August Builder Confidence Up; Reaches Record High in Midwest

The National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index (HMI)--a measure of builder confidence--increased again in August, climbing three points to 59, its highest reading since November 2005, the group reported Thursday. The index has improved 15 points (34 percent) in the last three months. At the same time, the index reading for the Midwest rose to a record high (64), and the reading for the South hit the highest level (56) since April 2006. While NAHB's national survey began in January 1985, the regional readings began in December 2004.

Read More »

First-Time Jobless Claims at Pre-Recession Levels

First-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending August 10 fell to the lowest level since January 2008, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The department said there were 320,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, a drop of 15,000 from the previous week. Economists expected the number of claims to drop to 330,000 from the 333,000 originally reported for the week ending August 3. The number of filings for that week was revised to 335,000.

Read More »

Housing Holds Back Retail Sales

A drop in housing-related retailers slowed retail sales last month. Total retail sales increased 0.2 percent in July, down from June's 0.6 percent increase, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.3 percent. The weaker-than-expected retail sales report decreases the likelihood the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its bond buying monetary stimulus program.

Read More »

Commentary: Solving the Wrong Problem

President Obama is trying to solve the wrong problem by calling, as he did in his speech in Phoenix, for the end of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as we know it. To be sure, Fannie and Freddie were not the hallmarks of responsibility in the mortgage meltdown, but have gotten a bad rap. For all their housing expertise, they missed all the signals of the housing bubble (but then again so did Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and his successor Ben S. Bernanke who dismissed it when the first signs of the meltdown emerged). Instead of suggesting replacing Fannie and Freddie to restore the nation's housing markets, the president should be proposing to return them to their original charters.

Read More »

First-Time Jobless Claims Up, Still Below Expectations

First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased 5,000 to 333,000 for the week ending August 3, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected the number of claims to drop to climb to 336,000 from the 326,000 originally reported for the week ending July 27. The number of filings for that week was revised to 328,000, the lowest level since early May.

Read More »

Job Openings Hit Five-Year High in June

The number of job openings rose 29,000 in June to the highest level in five years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Tuesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). At the same time, the number of unemployed individuals per job opening dipped below 3 (to 2.99) for the first time since October 2008. The number of unemployed per job opening fell sharply in the construction industry to 6.2 in June--the lowest level since July 2008--from a revised 8.7 in May.

Read More »

Demand for Non-Traditional, Sub-prime Loans Up

Adding to concerns of a new housing bubble, lenders reported an increase in demand for non-traditional and sub-prime mortgage loans and that they’ve responded to that demand by easing standards, the Federal Reserve reported Monday in its quarterly Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey. According to the survey, a net 3.1 percent of lenders responding said demand for ""non-traditional"" residential loans increased from the survey released three months ago and a net 25 percent of respondents said demand for loans from sub-prime borrowers was higher than it was in May.

Read More »

Your Daily Dose of DS News

Get the news you need, when you need it. Subscribe to the Daily Dose of DS News to receive each day’s most important default servicing news and market information, absolutely free of charge.