As the economy lost another 651,000 jobs in February, bringing the jobless rate to 8.1 percent, some economists believe a fundamental restructuring is underway. The latest grim scorecard of contraction in the American workplace largely destroyed what hopes remained for an economic recovery in the first half of this year, and added to a growing sense that 2009 is probably a lost cause.
In an effort to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding in the credit and housing markets, the administration announced that the 'Making Home Affordable' initiative could help three million to four million families avoid foreclosure, and it is expected to cost the government $75 billion over the next several years.
In a vote of confidence on the long term viability of the Manhattan economy and amid news of projects from other developers that are being postponed or curtailed altogether, Extell Development Co. has filed plans with the city for an upcoming residential-hotel complex. Reportedly totaling 830,000 square feet, the complex will rise on a 110,891-square-foot vacant lot diagonally across from Carnegie Hall at 157 W. 57th St.
Executives from the company synonymous with the excesses that led to the housing bubble are now making money by buying up distressed properties. It is quite evident that their efforts are, in fact, helping many distressed homeowners...But to some, it is disturbing to see former Countrywide executives in the industry again. “It is sort of like the arsonist who sets fire to the house and then buys up the charred remains and resells it,” said Margot Saunders, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, which for years has sought to place limits on what it calls abusive lending practices by Countrywide and other companies.
Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman gives his insight; in a nutshell: "We’re living in a world of troubled borrowers, ranging from shopping mall developers to European “miracle” economies. And new kinds of debt trouble just keep emerging. How did this global debt crisis happen? Why is it so widespread?...One way to look at the international situation right now is that we’re suffering from a global paradox of thrift: around the world, desired saving exceeds the amount businesses are willing to invest. And the result is a global slump that leaves everyone worse off."
Despite assurances that the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be temporary, the giant mortgage companies will most likely never fully return to private hands, lawmakers and company executives are beginning to quietly acknowledge. The possibility that the mortgage giants could remain in government control is shaping the debate over the financial industry’s future.
A wide range of economists have long found fault with the mortgage interest deduction. This opinion piece by economist Edward Glaser at Harvard cites a few of his reasons. President Obama's recent proposals are not as radical as his, and seek to even out disparities, while preserving the deductions for everyone.
In order to pay for health care reform, President Barack Obama is proposing to take the axe--or at least the scalpel--to a longtime sacred cow: the mortgage interest deduction. The plan, which was included as part of the president's budget proposal for 2010
The tax increases would raise an estimated $318 billion over 10 years by reducing the value of such longstanding deductions as mortgage interest and charitable contributions for people in the highest tax brackets. Households paying income taxes at the 33% and 35% rates can currently claim deductions at those rates. Under the Obama proposal, they could deduct only 28% of the value of those payments. A taxpayer in the top bracket paying $1,000 of mortgage interest, for example, would see a tax break worth $350 reduced to $280.
This was a widely commented upon article by several clients today. Developers are unique sellers who must sell to pay off their construction loans, and their product has been higher priced than older resale properties. The auction technique is an interesting technique that attempts to create urgency in a market where there is very little. I attended a couple in the early 90's and was surprised at how high the apartments sold for. In any event, it will be good to get this inventory off the market. The new development pipeline's spigot is turned off now and once absorbed, there won't be much behind it. Manhattan, unlike the Florida examples cited in the sidebar, doesn't have nearly the inventory.
The real estate market in Manhattan has become so unnerving to buyers that some are forfeiting six-figure deposits rather than close on deals they have made.
The budget blueprint for fiscal year 2010 is one of the most ambitious policy prescriptions in decades, a reordering of the federal government to provide national health care, shift the energy economy away from oil and gas, and boost the federal commitment to education.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development would get more funds to crack down on mortgage fraud under the fiscal year 2010 budget. The budget would also boost funding to HUD to promote affordable housing, a key Democratic priority.
The relative cost of owning versus renting is swinging back in favor of homeownership in some U.S. markets, buoyed by several quarters of sharp declines in home prices.
There are opaque and early signs that the U.S. economy has started the beginning of a bottoming process. Just like a diving submarine needs to stop its downward motion and reach its lowest depth before it can resurface, the economy needs to go through the steps of slowing its decline and stabilizing before it can start rising again. Some recent economic data seems to suggest that the rate of economic decline has started to slow and that sometime in the second or third quarter the bottom may be found.
President Obama addressed a joint session of congress and the American people about the economy and other challenges facing us. Thank heaven we have intelligent leadership back in Washington.
Everything is relative. In a moribund housing market, success means bleeding less than others. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index shows a record 18.5% drop from the previous year. New York City is still ranked #1. Would your money be better off in stocks?
After a generation of increasingly relaxed regulation of the financial services sector, the very concept seems stunning: Nationalization of banks in Europe and the United States. But with many global banks still teetering on the brink of insolvency even after rescue efforts that have included multi-billion dollar infusions of capital and other forms of assistance a growing number of economists now argues that government takeovers of the most deeply troubled institutions, at least temporarily, may be the only remaining solution.
Group of Seven finance chiefs pledged to restore confidence to financial markets and growth to the world economy, stopping short of spelling out what new policies they would implement to meet those goals.