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Showing posts from March, 2010

Mortgage Reset Nightmare Recedes

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This year was supposed to be the final blow to the housing market. A wave of resets of Option ARMs, Interest Only (IOs) mortgages and plain-old adjustable-rate (ARM) mortgages were supposed to lead to a surge in foreclosures, pushing down the weak housing sector as it was showing some signs of stability. New data, however, suggest that is unlikely to happen. For one thing, people been refinancing and modifying their home loans ahead of the resets to avoid rising mortgage payments at the time of the reset. Further, many mortgages on homes that were supposed to reset this year have already gone into foreclosure.

Due to these trends, the number of outstanding Option ARMs -- the mortgage that allows for negative amortization -- have fallen from a peak of 1.05 million active loans in March 2006 to 580,000 loans outstanding at the end of 2009, according to First American CoreLogic.

So, maybe the reset threat has been cut down to size.

Vincent Fernando at The Business Insider makes the case at …

Retirement Slip Sliding Away for More Americans

The annual Retirement Confidence Survey released today finds that while the state of American confidence about retirement is stabilizing, more ground has been lost in prepration for retirement since the survey from 2009. The survey is jointly sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Mathew Greenwald and Associates, a market research firm.

An EBRI Issue Brief contains lots of details on the findings of the survey. It is authored by Ruth Helman at Greenwald and Craig Copeland and Jack VanDerhei at EBRI and can be dowloaded as a pdf at this link: http://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_03-2010_No340_RCS.pdf

Below are the highlights from a press release:
The Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) also finds that a growing number of American workers are also planning to delay retirement—which has negative implications for the U.S. job market, where unemployment is high and layoffs continue to grow. As older workers stay at their jobs longer, the RCS results suggest that f…

Manufacturing Demand

Will home sales fall off a cliff once the latest version of the homebuyer tax credit expires? Experts vary on the precise impact of the credit, and on what will happen when it ends. But most agree the credit created a big wave of sales pulled forward in time to when the housing market really needed a boost.

Mortgage Banking
March 2010

By Robert Stowe England

The homebuyer tax credit--all three versions adopted since its first effective date of April 1, 2008--is widely believed to have boosted overall home sales at a time when the housing market was in a deep slump.

At this point, opinions vary on the extent of the boost, while early data support the view that the credit has had a positive impact. But the big question that remains, is how much of future sales were pulled forward in time, leaving the period after the credits expire badly starved for demand.

"Tax credits like this are designed to essentially pull demand forward," explains Jay Brinkmann, chief economist with the Mortg…