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Tag Archives: Federal Reserve

Upbeat FOMC Votes No Change in Stimulus

With a somewhat upbeat assessment of the economy, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said Wednesday it would continue its policy of near-zero interest rates and its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program. In the statement issued at the conclusion of its two-day meeting, the committee said it ""sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the fall,"" a more optimistic assessment than May 1 when the Committee said it ""continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook.""

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Fed Report: Housing Market in Texas Poised for Growth

The steady influx of out-of-state transplants, along with stronger than average employment growth, should keep the housing and apartment sectors in Texas strong, a report from the Dallas Federal Reserve concluded. Using data from the Census Bureau, the report authors D'Ann Petersen and Christina Daly pointed out that Texas is the No. 1 state for domestic in-migration. From July 2011 to July 2012, the Long Star state saw a net 140,888 new arrivals when excluding births or international migration.

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Commentary: Eminent Digression

In a newly published paper posted on the New York Federal Reserve website, Robert Hockett, a Cornell University professor of financial and monetary law, proposes using government's eminent domain authority as a solution to underwater mortgage debt. In reviewing Hockett's suggestion, the Wall Street Journal concentrated not on the idea itself, but on the fact that Hockett ""turns out to have been on the payroll of none other than Mortgage Resolution Partners."" There may be a lot of good reasons to discard Hockett's suggestion, but his past relationships are not among them. His idea deserves a fair hearing, not a digression.

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Freddie Mac: Fixed Rates Climb, 30-Year Close to 4%

Mortgage rates continued to climb this week, but the near-term future is going to depend on how the Federal Reserve reacts. According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent (0.7 point) for the week ending June 13, up from 3.91 percent last week. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.71 percent. The 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.10 percent (0.7 point), up from 3.03 percent in the last survey.

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Fed Report Proposes Use of Eminent Domain for Underwater Mortgages

There's a mortgage debt ""overhang"" that threatens the health of the national economy, and one possible solution to the problem comes in the form of eminent domain, according to a new report authored by Robert Hockett. Of the roughly 11 million underwater mortgages, about 3 or 4 million are in default, foreclosure, or foreclosed and awaiting liquidation, the report, Paying Paul and Robbing No One: An Eminent Domain Solution for Underwater Mortgage Debt, found.

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Home Equity Jumps 2.5% in Q1

Household net worth jumped by $3 trillion in the first quarter as real estate values grew $836 billion, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday in its quarterly Flow of Funds report. With a drop in mortgage debt, owners' equity in real estate increased a sharp 2.5 percentage points to its highest level since 2007. Owners' equity as a percentage of real estate value has been on a steady upward trajectory since dropping to 36.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

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Beige Books Sees ‘Modest to Moderate’ Growth

The nation's economy grew at a ""modest to moderate pace"" from early April through the end of May, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. From late February through early April, the last Beige Book released described economic growth simply as ""moderate."" The sole bright spot in Wednesday's report was in the Dallas Federal Reserve District, which had ""strong economic growth."" The Beige Book reported slowdowns as a result of federal budget sequestration, which forced a mandatory cutback in spending.

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OCC Update: Cashed, Deposited Foreclosure Review Checks at 2.6M

As of the end of May, borrowers have cashed or deposited 2.6 million foreclosure review checks, according to the latest update from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). The checks are valued at $2.3 billion and are part of a foreclosure settlement reached in January between the OCC, the Federal Reserve Board, and 13 servicers.

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Freddie Mac: Fixed Rates Soar to Highest Level in a Year

Encouraging economic data helped lift fixed mortgage rates to their highest level in the past year this week, according to surveys from Freddie Mac and Bankrate.com. Freddie Mac's survey showed the 30-year fixed rate rising to an average 3.81 percent (0.8 point) for the week ending May 30, up from last week's 3.59 percent. Since the beginning of May, the 30-year fixed average has jumped up nearly half a percentage point. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) also soared this week, rising to 2.98 percent (0.7 point) from last week's 2.77 percent.

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Commentary: Housing Recovery? Hold the Champagne

Recent reports from the National Association of Realtors and the Census Bureau/HUD showed sharp increases in unit sales and prices, as well as increases in the inventory of homes for sale for April. Has housing turned the corner? Look again. Sales up, prices up, what's wrong with this picture? The last time both prices and sales of new homes increased in the same month was last September. In all of 2012, sales and prices moved in opposite directions in seven of the 12 months. What of course is missing from the two data sets is any indication of demand.

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