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Tag Archives: Federal Reserve

Fed Beige Book Shows Modest Growth but Weak Real Estate Conditions

The Federal Reserve's popular Beige Book released this week suggests economic activity across most of the nation is showing signs of ""modest"" growth, but it's not enough to improve the anemic jobs picture. Housing markets remained weak with most of the 12 regional districts reporting sales below year-ago levels. But the central bank says its seeing stability in home prices. Conditions in the commercial real estate sector were soft, while overall lending activity was described as stable in most districts.

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Mortgage Rates Continue Descent, Hitting New Record Lows

Mortgage interest rates dropped again this week, setting new record-lows across the board. Analysts say we have bond investors to thank for the continuing declines. Investors are expecting the Fed to begin pumping more money into the economy to reinvigorate the now lukewarm recovery, so there's been a rush to buy up mass amounts of government- and mortgage-backed debt. This, in turn, has served to drive mortgage rates lower - now at their lowest point in more than a half-century.

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Lawmakers Call for Federal Foreclosure Investigation

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and fellow members of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation are petitioning federal regulators and the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a formal investigation into servicers' foreclosure practices. The request was prompted by the recent reports of systemic mishandling of foreclosure affidavits by three major mortgage servicers. Delegation members say they have received thousands of complaints from their constituents, which ""appear to outline a clear pattern of misconduct on the part of lenders and servicers.""

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Mortgage Rates Fall to New Lows…Again

How low can we go? When it comes to mortgage rates, the floor keeps dropping. Industry reports released Thursday show that interest rates for home loans - already at their lowest marks in more than a half-century - dropped again this week. Market analysis conducted by Freddie Mac puts the 30-year fixed rate at 4.32 percent and the 15-year rate at 3.75 percent. Bankrate says rates for the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage also inched lower to 5.16 percent.

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Financial Stability Oversight Council to Hold First Meeting

Tomorrow, Friday, October 1, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will host the Financial Stability Oversight Council's first meeting at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Geithner is the chairperson of the Council. The meeting will include both a closed session and an open session, which begins at 2:30 p.m. EDT and will be streamed live on the Treasury's Web site.

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Mortgage Rates Still Hovering Near Record-Lows

The weekly reports on mortgage interest rates were mixed this week - but figures are still lingering close to record-lows, improving affordability for both homebuyers and borrowers looking to refinance. Freddie Mac reported Thursday that both the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate and the 15-year fixed-rate were unchanged from last week, while shorter-term rates were mixed. Bankrate said mortgage rates across the board dropped to new record lows it its study.

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Moody’s Forecast for Housing and the Economy: Dim

The analysts at Moody's are downbeat in their outlook for both the U.S. economy and the housing market. They warn that the there's a stronger chance the country will slide back into a recession, and they are forecasting a longer and deeper housing correction. Because of weak housing demand, soft job creation, and the slow speed at which the industry is working through distressed mortgages, Moody's says recovery is already back-sliding into a double-dip. The agency expects house prices to fall until the third quarter of next year.

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Advocates Call on Fed to Modernize Home Mortgage Disclosure Rules

A coalition of community groups called on the Federal Reserve to overhaul a 35-year old law that requires lenders to report vital information on their mortgage lending practices. At a Federal Reserve Board hearing held last week in Chicago, advocates urged the Fed to increase the scope of information mortgage lenders must report and to use the data to crack down on lenders that engage in the sorts of discriminatory and abusive lending practices that led to the current foreclosure crisis and financial meltdown.

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Obama to Name Warren to Start Up Consumer Protection Bureau

The big news coming out of Washington today -- President Obama will hold a special press briefing Friday to name Elizabeth Warren to set up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She won't be nominated to fill the role of the bureau's chief, as has been widely expected, at least not yet. Instead, she'll be appointed assistant to the president and special advisor to the secretary of the Treasury. She'll head a steering committee responsible for getting the new agency, which will oversee mortgage lending, up and running.

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Industry Reports Show Mixed Results for Mortgage Rates

Two closely-watched industry studies that track weekly mortgage interest rates were sending mixed signals on Thursday. The good news for homebuyers and borrowers looking to refinance is that rates are still hovering near 50-year lows. Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year rate edged up to 4.37 percent this week, while the 15-year rate dropped to 3.82 percent. Bankrate reported declines across the board.

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