Tax Time: Small Business Tax Advice
washingtonpost.com's Sharon McLoone, who writes the Small Business Blog hosted an online discussion with Keith Hall, the tax adviser for the National Association for the Self-Employed on Monday, March 2 at 11 a.m. ET to answer tax questions from small business owners.
Ex-NY Gov. Spitzer Makes D.C. Real Estate Deal
Disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is working as a commercial real estate investor and has bought an office building just a block from the site of the infamous encounter with a high-class prostitute that led to his downfall.
Lawsuit Targets Coast Title Companies
After pumping nearly $100,000 into the purchase and renovation of a house in the Point Clear subdivision, a Gautier family now fears it doesn't legally own the place.
SBA's 'Goodwill' Leaves Bad Taste for Small Businesses
The business brokers, who guide buyers and sellers of companies through those transactions, say a new government rule could dramatically harm their businesses while blunting the ability of many recently laid-off Americans to find new avenues of work and income.
Getting a Mortgage Can Be More Difficult if You Are Self-Employed
On paper, self-employed people can look risky to lenders, particularly now because of the credit crunch. In fact, they have never looked great on paper, partly because there is not enough of a paper trail on them.
Small Business Weathers the Recession
Owners of a New York butcher shop, bicycle manufacturer and movie tourism service talk about the hard realities of keeping business alive during the down economy.
So, You Want to Be an Entrepreneur
Thinking about starting a business? Make sure you're cut out for it first. In this bleak economy, lots of people are contemplating striking out on their own -- whether they're frustrated job seekers
Small Biz Loan Failure Rate Hits 12%
Bank lending to small businesses has dried up in recent months. One reason credit has grown scarce: They're risky loans. A new analysis of Small Business Administration-backed loans found that the failure rate has hit the double digits, with 11.9% of the SBA's loans last year going into default.
How Entrepreneurs Are Feeling
Starting a business can be an appealing option for laid-off workers - but actually running one is rough in a recession. We polled small business owners to see how they're doing.
9 Tips for Buying A Foreclosed Home
A tide of foreclosed properties has been sweeping into the beleaguered housing market, bringing down property values, dislocating families, and sending municipal governments scrambling to manage the crisis. But some buyers see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the gloomy headlines; they are buying up foreclosed properties at ultra-low prices.
SBA Readies Emergency Biz Loans
Small businesses owners struggling to keep up with their bills may see some relief from a new $255 million emergency loan program authorized this week as part of the economic recovery bill.
Stimulus: What's In It For Small Biz?
The number of small business loans banks issue has cratered since the recession took root last year. Rebuilding that number is the focus of the small business provisions in the economic recovery bill that President Obama signed into law on Tuesday.
Smart Ways For Small Businesses to Cut Costs
If the early returns are any indication, the hot technology for 2009 will be . . . anything that can save money. With the recession in full effect, businesses are cutting costs across the board.
Small Businesses Face More Fraud in Downturn
Employee fraud -- from check-forgery schemes to petty-cash theft -- tends to rise during tough economic times, when workers are feeling financial pressure in their personal lives, experts say. And small companies are especially vulnerable because they often lack stringent internal controls to prevent fraud. Sometimes, managers at affected companies attribute lost funds to lower sales -- never even suspecting foul play.
Barter Fits The Bill For Strapped Firms
Small businesses, squeezed for cash and unable to get loans, are turning to an ancient payment system: barter. As small businesses find it impossible to borrow money and customers are slower to pay bills, the barter economy is becoming a crucial way for many companies to find the cash they need to keep operating.
Homebuilders a Bit More Upbeat
U.S. homebuilder sentiment climbed in February but held tightly near all-time lows, suggesting sales of new single-family homes would be meager as long as foreclosures flood the market, the National Association of Home Builders said on Tuesday.
Obama Plan on Housing Said to Push on Lenders
President Obama’s plan to reduce the flood of home foreclosures will include a mix of government inducements and new pressure on lenders to reduce monthly payments for borrowers at risk of losing their houses.
African-American Success Stories Rooted in Real Estate
A little more than 100 years ago, the South's first black millionaire, Robert Reed Church Sr., tapped real estate holdings to purchase the first city bond issued by Memphis, TN to help the struggling town regain its city charter from bankruptcy.
When Bad Banks Buy Worse Banks
Nine banks have failed so far this year. That's not good news, particularly since 25 failed last year. Fortunately, customers of these banks have had little to worry about.
Home Prices to Bottom Out in 2009
House prices in much of the U.S. will bottom out in this year's fourth quarter, Moody's Economy.com says in a new report. In some of the hardest hit markets, however, prices won't reach a bottom until 2010 or 2011.
Real Estate Industry Cheers Tax Credit
A proposed tax credit for home purchases is raising the hopes of the real-estate industry, which believes the credit could be just the stimulus needed to stabilize the housing market and get hesitant buyers to take the plunge.
Real Estate Investors Seeking Deals Among Economic Rubble
Karen Simon and a group of private investors picked up several properties on fire sale during the savings and loan crisis of the '80s for pennies on the dollar and sold them off piece by piece during the years that followed, easily doubling and tripling their investment.
U.S. Jobless Rate Soars as Payrolls Plunge by 598,000
The unemployment rate in the U.S. climbed to the highest level since 1992 in January and payrolls tumbled as the recession showed no sign of abating. The jobless rate rose to 7.6 percent from 7.2 percent in December, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Payrolls fell by 598,000, the biggest monthly decline since December 1974, after dropping by 577,000 in the previous month.
Foreclosures Rising: One Every 13 Seconds
For anyone who needs a constant reminder of misery, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) has added a new feature to its Web site.Tracking MBA data of the estimated number of home foreclosures started since Jan. 1: the total stood at more than 237,000 early Thursday afternoon and is rising at a rate of one every 13 seconds.
Title Insurance Executive Who Conducts "Promotional Work" Exempt Under The FLSA "Outside Sales" Exemption
In a recent decision that provides a potentially expansive counterpoint to recent federal authority and Department of Labor opinion letters, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit applied the "outside sales" exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to employees who perform "promotional work" to obtain commitments for sales, but who do not finalize or process those sales
Fannie Mae to Loosen Refinancing Rules
Fannie Mae will loosen rules for homeowners seeking to lower their mortgage payments by refinancing.The District company, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the $12 trillion in U.S. residential mortgage debt, is seeking to break a "logjam" in refinancing and allow more homeowners to take advantage of near-record low interest rates, which like its rival, Freddie Mac, is under government control.
Reviving the Housing Market: Will Loan Modifications Work?
The Obama administration wants to spend up to $100 billion on efforts to help homeowners, especially those facing foreclosure. But one of the leading ideas on how to do that — rewriting home loans to make mortgages affordable to struggling borrowers — is based on a startling lack of data about what works, and early evidence suggests that many lenders aren't going to make substantial changes without serious strong-arming.
Senate Approves Tax Break for Homebuyers
The Senate voted Wednesday night to give a tax break of up to $15,000 to homebuyers in hopes of revitalizing the housing industry, a victory for Republicans eager to leave their mark on a mammoth economic stimulus bill at the heart of President Barack Obama's recovery plan.
Obama Calls for ‘Common Sense’ on Executive Pay
In announcing executive pay limits on Wednesday, President Obama is trying to hold the financial industry accountable to taxpayers while aiming to change an entrenched corporate culture that endorses outsize bonuses and perks that often bear little relationship to corporate performance.
Now Better-heeled Americans Are Defaulting on Mortgages
Of particular concern are “Alt-A” mortgages, offered to borrowers sandwiched between subprime and prime. This market was trumpeted as a means of extending home ownership to those, such as the self-employed, with a reasonable credit standing but unsteady income.
Murray Reportedly Moves to Raise Loan Limits
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., plans to introduce a measure raising the limit on loans that mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may buy or guarantee, according to a Dow Jones Newswires story. The conforming loan limits are important because larger mortgages go through the private "jumbo" market, where interest rates are significantly higher.
Refinancings Boost Fidelity National
Fidelity National Financial saw its shares jump 9.9% on Wednesday after it noted a substantial increase in its number of refinancings.
Freddie Mac Plans New Troubled Loan Strategy
Mortgage finance company Freddie Mac said Tuesday it is launching a pilot program to identify borrowers who are at risk of foreclosure in an effort to keep them from losing their homes.
Citigroup, Pressured by FDIC, Expands Mortgage-Relief Program
Citigroup Inc., the U.S. bank forced to curb executive pay and slash stock dividends as a condition of its $346 billion bailout, now has to expand the use of a government mortgage-relief program to meet regulators’ demands.
Lawsuits Target Home Loan Appraisals
Twin federal lawsuits filed in Phoenix and Seattle accuse the nation's two biggest mortgage lenders of using their industry muscle to twist the independent home-appraisal process into a corrupt moneymaking scheme.
Key Obama Officials Reveal Executive Pay Limits
Executives of companies receiving federal bailout money will have their pay capped at $500,000 under a financial compensation plan that President Barack Obama is expected to announce Wednesday, two senior administration officials said.
Fed Sets Foreclosure Policy
The Federal Reserve announced on Jan. 30 a policy to help avoid preventable foreclosures on certain residential mortgage assets held, owned, or controlled by a Federal Reserve Bank. The program calls for a proactive review of residential mortgage assets and loan modifications to prevent foreclosures through such means as reductions in interest rates, extensions of loan terms and deferrals or reductions of outstanding principal.
Fidelity Title Insurer Cuts 1,500 Jobs, Has Loss
Fidelity National Financial Inc the largest U.S. title insurer, on Wednesday said it cut 1,500 jobs in January, and posted a fourth-quarter loss as the housing slump drove down home sales and refinancings.
FASB Wants More Fair Value Disclosures
The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued a proposed standard that would require disclosures about the fair value of financial instruments in interim financial statements as well as annual statements.
Hand-wringing Over Bankruptcy Bill
A battle is heating up over proposed federal legislation that, if passed, would give bankruptcy judges unfettered power to modify mortgage loans in an effort to stop the surge in foreclosures sweeping the nation.
Direct Sales Of Title Insurance Could Cut Lawyers' Fees
There's a shake-up going on in the arcane world of title insurance that could save consumers in Connecticut and many other states hundreds of dollars when buying or refinancing a home.
Banks Bypassing Mortgage Brokers
Mortgage brokers have long served as an important loan source. Compared with the loan officer at a local bank, brokers typically offer a wider range of mortgage products from a variety of lending institutions.
U.S. Mortgage Time Bomb Needs Defusing Yesterday
When talking about the U.S. home market, mentioning “the other shoe to drop” was quaint about a year ago. Now we are referring only to bombs.
New Home Sales Post 14.7 Percent Drop in December
The homebuilding industry's nosedive won't let up. Sales of new homes plunged to the slowest pace on record last month and builders posted their worst annual sales results in more than two decades. Even with mortgage rates hovering around 5 percent and prices sinking dramatically, buyers have yet to return to the market as the recession deepens.
In an About-face, Republicans Push for Cut-rate Home Loans in Stimulus Bill
It sounds too good to be true, and it just might be: 4 percent, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans to buy or refinance houses, guaranteed by Uncle Sam.
Freddie Mac to Let Residents Rent Homes After Foreclosure
Freddie Mac on Friday plans to announce a first-of-a-kind plan that lets homeowners and tenants temporarily stay in homes in foreclosure by renting them back, an effort to stop many of the sudden evictions that have come along with the housing crisis.
Cramdowns, Renegotiation Authority Or Leave it to Lenders?
Despite a deal Democratic senators reached with Citigroup earlier this month, a bill to allow judges to impose mortgage modifications as part of bankruptcy proceedings will reportedly not be part of the stimulus package now headed through Congress.While the mortgage industry fights the measure, an economist has proposed a third way.
Investors Seeking Safety Flock to Ginnie Mae Funds
Home foreclosures and market volatility are running high. So any investment even remotely connected to mortgages is the last place to look if you're trying to protect your retirement savings, right?
How a 'Perfect Storm' Led to the Economic Crisis
The U.S. economy is clearly in terrible shape. What is less clear is how we got here. Opinions vary on when and where to begin the story, but many experts trace the origins of the current economic situation to the housing bubble that came about earlier this decade.
Demoralized Mortgage Insurer Overlooked Challenge in Crisis
With credit remaining tight and banks continuing to restrict lending, it’s been up to the government to keep the mortgage markets moving. And a major player these days is the Federal Housing Administration, a Depression-era insurer of mortgage loans specifically tapped to take on a much larger role as savior of the housing sector and rescuer of homeowners facing foreclosure.
Bailout Oversight Panel Calls for More Regulation
A congressional panel overseeing the government's financial bailout has concluded that the economic crisis could have been prevented with better regulation and called for a raft of proposals to overhaul government oversight of the financial sector.
Lawmakers Weigh Bad-Bank Plan
Top U.S. House and Senate Democrats are taking a wait-and-see approach to the Obama administration's potential plan to create a "bad bank" to buy up toxic assets, though there remains a sense of urgency for policy makers to put something in place fast.
First American Taps ex-Freddie Mac Exec as CFO
Santa Ana-based title insurer First American Corp. said on Wednesday it has hired former Freddie Mac Chief Financial Officer Anthony "Buddy" Piszel as its chief financial officer and treasurer.
Fed Says Prepared To Buy U.S. Debt To Aid Economy
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday inched closer to buying U.S. government bonds in a new front in its fight against the credit crisis and signaled unease over the risk of deflation with the economy weakening.
Homebuyers Get a Bonus in the Stimulus Bill
Among its many provisions is a $7,500 tax credit for first time home buyers. The House passed the $819 billion stimulus plan, including this tax credit, in a vote late Wednesday. The Senate may vote on its version of the bill some time next week.
New Jobless Claims Up, Continued Claims A Record
The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose 3,000 last week, data on Thursday showed, while so-called continued claims hit the highest level on record as a year-long recession chilled employment.
Will U.S. Spending Bill Stimulate The Economy?
On Wednesday night, stimulus legislation cleared the House of Representatives, where members hew more closely to party ideology than the Senate. The 244-188 vote was along party lines, with every Republican voting against the bill designed to fight the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Backgrounder: The U.S. Economic Stimulus Plan
The package comes amidst a global wave of stimulus spending, and if it succeeds in pulling the U.S. economy from recession, economists say, the positive impact could be felt around the world. Yet experts also see a number of ways the plan could go wrong.
Portfolio Limit for Freddie, Fannie to Ease
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be allowed to increase their mortgage holdings to a maximum of $850 billion through the end of the year before their regulator requires them to eventually reduce their portfolios to $250 billion, under an interim final rule published Tuesday by their regulator.
Fed to Modify Troubled Mortgages
As required by the federal bailout law, the Federal Reserve will look to prevent foreclosures by modifying the terms on certain delinquent loans, lawmakers said Tuesday.
FBI Saw Mortgage Fraud Early
The FBI was aware for years of "pervasive and growing" fraud in the mortgage industry that eventually contributed to America's financial meltdown, but did not take definitive action to stop it.
U.S. Economy: Confidence and Home Values Sink
Consumer confidence in the U.S. sank to the lowest level on record in January as jobs evaporated and home values sank, signaling a further slide in spending at the start of 2009.
Fed Enters Uncharted Policymaking Territory
When Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting today, they will be starting a new era in American monetary policy.
Housing Market May Have Turned a Pivotal Corner
The coast-to-coast fire sale in the U.S. housing market appears at long last to have caught a bit of a bid.
Fannie Mae Tightens Florida Lending Requirements
As of Jan. 15, Fannie Mae implemented new rules that the agency says are designed to protect new buyers from buildings crippled by defaults and unpaid maintenance fees. It was customized for Florida because of the large inventory of condos in here coupled with the high volume of partially complete and unoccupied buildings.
Geithner, Man At The Center, Wins New Crisis Role
The crumbling U.S. economy put a premium on a unique quality that Timothy Geithner brought to his candidacy for Treasury secretary -- he has been involved in every major action in the past year to try to prop it up.
Obama And Congress
How will the much-maligned Congress deal with a president with sky-high approval ratings? And, further, how will that president work with Congress?
Fed Expected To Keep Rates At Record Lows
With the country stuck in a painful recession, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to keep its key interest rate at an all-time low this week and examine other unconventional ways to lift the economy.
Stimulus Package Gives Credit To New Home Buyers
Should you give the $7,500 home buyer tax credit a second look? Now that Congress may be on the verge of transforming it into a true tax credit - one that never has to be paid back - you just might want to do so.
Foreclosure Debate Shifts To Bankruptcy Court
Homeowners struggling with unaffordable mortgages soon may have a place to turn to get the loans modified: bankruptcy court.
More Buyers Turn to FHA Loans
Three years ago, the Federal Housing Administration was doing hardly any business, insuring less than 2 percent of all home-purchase loans. But things have changed for the agency, created in 1934 during the Great Depression. In the year ended Sept. 30, it insured more than 8 percent of all home-purchase loans, as measured by total dollar volume.
Summers Says Economy Entering a ‘Difficult’ Time
The U.S. economy faces “very difficult” months ahead, requiring quick passage of a stimulus package and a retooled bank rescue plan aimed at reviving lending, said Lawrence Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council.
Ways and Means Completes New Tax Plan
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have released a tax plan that they hope will provide additional economic stimulus to taxpayers who have yet to demonstrate the effectiveness of last year's stimulus package.
Few Borrowers Can Revise Mortgage Loans
Regulators, lawmakers and economists alike believe helping borrowers get into loans with more favorable terms - smaller loans, lower interest rates - is crucial to ending the recession. But despite the creation of a number of programs, only a small percentage of struggling homeowners have received help.
Rates Are Borrower-Friendly, But Will That Spur Sales?
Falling mortgage rates have set off a refinancing frenzy, but there's no evidence yet that these cheap loans have had any effect on the stagnant homesales market.
Home-Loan Banks Struggle to Maintain Capital
The Federal Home Loan Banks, which have thrived on obscurity for more than seven decades, are moving uncomfortably into the spotlight as souring mortgage investments threaten to leave some of them below their capital requirements.
Builders Predict More Housing Pain
The worst U.S. housing downturn since World War II is likely to deepen further this year, with no broad recovery until at least 2010, according to a consensus of building-industry economists.
Analysts: Title Insurance Business May Drop in 2009
New York-based financial services firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods projects a 1.3% decline to $1.8 trillion in title insurance's mortgage market this year over 2008.
Stetson's Wilson named Attorney's Title Insurance Fund Professor
Darryl C. Wilson, professor and co-director of the Institute for Caribbean Law and Policy at Stetson University of Law, has been named the Attorney's Title Insurance Fund Professor of Law.
Housing Starts Tumbled in December
Jobless Claims Jump 62,000 in Latest Week
Home builders cut groundbreakings a sixth time in a row during December and brought construction to a new low, according to a report that suggested the industry will get worse.
Fannie, Freddie Strive to Serve Housing Market, Taxpayers
Four months after the U.S. government takeover of home-mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, their chief executives and regulators again find themselves with conflicting goals.
Obama Resists Effort to Include Bankruptcy Law Change in Stimulus
President-elect Obama and his advisers are resisting attempts to include a provision in the economic stimulus bill backed by congressional Democrats that would allow bankruptcy judges to shrink mortgages.
Customers File 2nd Suit Over 1031 Exchange
A class-action lawsuit claiming breach of contract, fraud and theft of property has been filed relating to LandAmerica Financial Group Inc.'s 1031 Exchange business.
The suit, filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, is on behalf of LandAmerica 1031 Exchange Services customers.
Swindlers Find Growing Market in Foreclosures
As home values across the country continue to plummet, the authorities say a new breed of swindler is preying on the tens of thousands of homeowners desperate to avoid foreclosure.
Foreclosures Up by 81% in U.S.
Foreclosures rose 81% in 2008, ensnaring 2.3 million U.S. households during the year, according to RealtyTrac Inc. data released today. The Irvine, Calif.-based foreclosure Web site said December filings rose 17% from November and by 41% from December 2007 levels.
Mortgage Bankers Aflutter Over Refi Boom
The new year brought new hope for the embattled mortgage industry, but it also brought a continuation of low interest rates, which has spurred a refinancing boom unlike any in recent memory in Memphis and elsewhere. Although mortgages taken at the time of sale have decreased dramatically in light of the housing slowdown, homeowners have been taking advantage of low rates and saving thousands of dollars annually off their mortgage payments.
HUD Nominee Lauded for NYC Housing Programs
As Barack Obama's selection to be the next federal housing secretary, Shaun Donovan will be leading the government's response to the nation's foreclosure crisis.
Foreclosures Up a Record 81% in 2008
Filings continued to soar through the end of the year - and there's no relief in sight for 2009.
U.S. foreclosure filings spiked by more than 81% in 2008, a record, according to a report released Thursday, and they're up 225% compared with 2006.
Shift to Original TARP Could Ease Housing Crisis
The Treasury is being urged to soak up billions of dollars of soured mortgage investments in a move that would return the $700 billion financial rescue fund to its original purpose.
Signs of Credit Market Thaw Begin to Emerge
Credit markets are beginning to thaw after months of a deep freeze. In a promising turn that could bolster the economy, companies are selling bonds at a pace not seen since last spring. At the same time, companies are finding it easier to issue commercial paper, the short-term loans necessary for quick access to cash.
Bernanke Urges ‘Strong Measures’ to Stabilize Banks
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned that a fiscal stimulus won’t be enough to spur an economic recovery and that the government may need to buy or guarantee banks’ tainted assets to revive growth.
New Rules Making Appraisers Angry
When you apply for a mortgage to buy or refinance a house, should you be concerned that your appraiser is being paid much less - maybe just half - of the $300 to $600 you're charged on your settlement sheet? Should you know who pockets the rest, or that cut-rate fees are too low to attract the most experienced, highly trained appraisers?
Bernanke Says More Steps Needed to Stabilize Banks
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday fiscal stimulus alone would not be enough to promote a lasting U.S. economic recovery and that further steps to backstop banks may be needed.
Ahead of the Bell: HUD Secretary
President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for housing secretary is likely to face tough questions Tuesday about how the government can help revive the U.S housing market, which has been battered by a tidal wave of foreclosures and defaults.
Atlanta Fed Chief: Economy Likely to Improve in 2nd Half of ‘09
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said Monday the economy is still sliding, but aggressive action has set the scene for improvement later this year.In a prepared talk to the Rotary Club of Atlanta, Dennis P. Lockhart said he believes the U.S. economy contracted by 4 to 6 percent last quarter and is likely to keep shrinking at a similar pace this quarter
Federal Reserve: How Texas Dodged Most Subprime Trouble
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has put together a study on what specifically helped Texas avoid the same pain other states have felt through the mortgage meltdown and recession. Tight regulations on lending, housing price appreciation, steady job growth and a strong state economy are the keys to what kept Texas out of the early stages of the mortgage mess.
Fee Hikes Draw Ire of County Service Users
In an effort to recoup retirement, salary and cost-of-living increases, two Santa Barbara County departments are asking the Board of Supervisors to increase fees on services that can only be provided by the county.
U.S. Mortgage Meltdown Linked to 2005 Bankruptcy Law
There’s no shortage of blame for the mortgage crisis that drove the economy into the ditch.But here’s a fresh culprit: the 2005 bankruptcy reform act, which was strongly pushed by the credit card industry.
Industry Recoils at Citi's Mortgage Deal
Citigroup's support for a plan to let bankruptcy judges modify the terms of troubled mortgages and help borrowers avoid foreclosure left its banking industry counterparts on the defensive yesterday, insisting that the plan would do more harm than good.
Commercial Mortgage Bond Defaults May Double-Fitch
U.S. commercial mortgage-backed bond defaults may more than double this year as the economic recession hurts office building, retail store and multifamily housing assets, Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday.
U.S. Banks Offer Mortgage Rates Below 5% as Fed Buys Securities
The largest U.S. banks are starting to offer fixed home loans below 5 percent after the government began buying mortgage securities to bolster the housing market.
Cardoza Submits Plan to Refinance Mortgages
Rep. Dennis Cardoza proposed a bill Wednesday to have the government refinance mortgages for all homeowners in an effort to stop foreclosures, put more Americans in homes and jump-start an economy in recession.
Paulson Urges Resolution Of Fannie, Freddie Status To Avoid Future Crisis
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday that the government should replace mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a system that either explicitly backs certain mortgage loans with government credit, or leaves housing to the market.
The $1.2 Trillion Problem
If you thought 2008 was bad for the economy, wait till you hear what the U.S. government is predicting for 2009. According to a report released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the U.S. federal deficit will reach $1.2 trillion in 2009--more than twice the figure last year. Unemployment will climb to 8.3% this year and top 9% in 2010. Real economic output will decline by as much as 2.2%. The U.S. will be faced with the lingering specter of deflation and a continued correction in the housing market.
Florida’s Housing Market Won’t Recover Until 2011, Study Says
Sales of existing homes in Florida will hit bottom this year and won’t return to a pre-slump level until 2011, taking longer than the national recovery, according to a report by Orlando-based Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund. Florida’s real estate decline has fueled the worst statewide recession since the Great Depression, according to Hank Fishkind, the fund’s chief economist.
Housing Slump Not Over Yet
Florida will lag the rest of the country in recovering from the current nationwide recession, partly because of its relatively heavy dependence on construction and real estate -- key drivers of what's likely to be the longest economic slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s, Fishkind said during a media conference call to discuss his annual forecast.
U.S. Economy: Services, Pending Home Resales Drop
Bloomberg) -- The U.S. economy ended the year in a steep decline, with factory orders, home sales and service industries all contracting further, reports showed today
Consumer Bankruptcies Jump in 2008
Bankruptcy filings by American consumers increased nearly a third in 2008, according to a new report. The American Bankruptcy Institute said overall consumer filings rose to 1.06 million in 2008, compared with 801,840 during 2007.
Credit Crunch Shows Little Sign of Easing
To some extent, a tightening of credit simply reflects the reality of cooler economic times. But economists generally say the credit markets also face an abnormal squeeze now – one that justifies many of the extraordinary actions that the Federal Reserve and Treasury have taken in recent month.
Banks Trying to Cope with Rise in Bad Loans
2.31% of loans nationwide non-current, highest level since 1993
Reducing the Cost of Refinancing
You do need a new title insurance policy when you refinance, but you might be able to get one for less than you think. You can find a list of local independent title insurance companies at the website of title industry trade group American Land Title Association (homeclosing101.org).
Bailout Report Card: How Successful Have the Financial Relief Efforts Been?
You have probably read about the $700 billion approved by Congress in a contentious vote in early October. But that's only the most public portion of the money the government is shelling out to restart the nation's stalled financial system.In the past 16 weeks, the government has pledged, loaned or invested some $10 trillion.
Jumbo Mortgage Loan Rates Put Damper on Refinancing
While plunging mortgage rates have spawned a frenzy of refinancing, borrowers with larger, so-called jumbo loans are still seeing interest rates in the 7 percent range, prompting many to abandon refinancing plans altogether or resort to creative transactions.
Real-Estate Markets Still Plumb for Bottom
What began as a bad year for real estate turned into one of the worst on record, driven by an unprecedented drop in home prices, a tide of foreclosures and a credit crisis whose magnitude few anticipated.
Rule Change May Hurt 'Jumbos'
Though mortgage rates are falling, a Jan. 1 decline in the maximum size of a mortgage that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may buy or guarantee in certain costly U.S. housing markets is likely to push interest rates higher on larger home loans.
Who Saw The Housing Bubble Coming?
The current economic crisis is raising many legitimate questions about the failure of economists and financial analysts to foresee the housing bubble and warn of its collapse.
Housing, Credit Crises Slammed Bank Stocks in '08
While problems in banks' mortgage portfolios had surfaced some time before, 2008 was the year in which a landslide of deteriorating credit and concerns over capital took down industry stalwarts like Washington Mutual Inc. and Wachovia Corp., and sent stocks plunging to multiyear lows.