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The biggest obstacle to the housing market – government infighting over who’s in charge

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Yeah, we're upset too, Mr. President. But we have to ask- who is in charge here?

Playing football with the ball that is housing

For months, states attorney generals and several federal regulators have been working toward the common goal of establishing hefty penalties to the banks that foreclosed inappropriately. The solution to the robosigning debacle seemed to be near with an agreement in the next few weeks.

But while the dozen or so regulators and over 50 states attorneys passed the football back and forth despite their disagreements, they were all playing toward the same end of the field. Until the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (really? Remind us who that is again…) decided to play toward the other end of the field goal and during one of the last plays of the game performed a sneaky pass deflection and started running while everyone stood still in confusion.

Flushing months of effort down the drain

The regulators had coordinated to resolve the mortgage probe by punishing banks to the tune of over $20 billion, far above what sources claim the OCC is settling for. The settlement would have helped homeowners foreclosed on inappropriately and let banks contain their litigation risk, with the light at the end of the tunnel being a housing recovery.

The OCC’s pass deflection has them running toward the opposite end of the field where the settlement is much smaller and doesn’t include any loan balance reduction or homeowner assistance.

Reuters probes the probes

Reuters has probed the OCC probers and learned that their reason for splitting from a nationally coordinated effort was not the amount of time it was taking or that there was too much infighting, but because they did a “study” that revealed that only a “small number” of wrongful foreclosure sales have occurred. Reuters has questioned their data and learned that the OCC reviewed only 2,800 foreclosure files, some of which are still in-process, making it difficult to determine if there was a wrongful foreclosure, don’t you think? While 2,800 may sound like a nice round number to you, there were over 1,000,000 foreclosures in 2010 alone and this probe dates back several years. But hey, the OCC is imposing “sanctions,” so they’re still kind of on the same team as the regulators, right?

Crying foul and remembering 9/11

This seems to be a 9/11 moment when several divisions of the government did not work in a coordinated effort and there was a sticky web of reasons that one body (Homeland Security) was born. Is the lending industry headed toward a singular regulatory body of its own? Who is in charge here? No one knows, because the OCC Office of Obscurity can wipe out what all other states and regulators have worked toward with a single pass deflection and lose the game for the entire nation.

Lending will remain THE biggest obstacle to the housing market, but this “piddle contest” as Professor Plath at UNC put it, comes a close second.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Karen Highland

    March 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    The biggest obstacle to the housing market — is government period.

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Economic News

Boomers retirement may be the true reason behind the labor shortage

(ECONOMY) Millennials and Gen Z were quick to be blamed for the labor shortage, citing lazy work ethic- the cause could actually be Boomers retirement.

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Older man pictured in cafe with laptop nearby representing boomers retirement discrimination.

In July, we reported on the Great Resignation. With record numbers of resignations, there’s a huge labor shortage in the United States. Although there were many speculations about the reasons why, from “lazy” millennials to the number of deaths from Covid. Just recently, CNN reported that in November another 3.6 million Americans left the labor force. It’s been suggested that the younger generations don’t want to work but retiring Boomers might be the bigger culprit.

Why Boomers are leaving the labor force

CNN Business reports that 90% of the Americans who left the workplace were over 55 years old. It’s now being suggested that many of the people who have left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic were older Americans, not Millennials or Gen Z, as we originally thought. Here are the reasons why:

  • Boomers are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, so they aren’t returning to work. Boomers are less willing to risk their health.
  • The robust real estate market has benefitted Boomers, who have more equity in their homes. Boomers have more options on the table than just returning to work.
  • Employers aren’t creating or posting jobs that lure people out of retirement or those near retirement age.

As Boomers retire, how does this impact the overall labor economy?

According to CNN Business, there are signs that the labor shortage is abating. Employers are starting to see record number of applicants to most posted jobs. FedEx, for example, just got 111,000 applications in one week, the highest it has ever recorded. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the pandemic-induced increase in retirement is only temporary. People who retired due to the risk of the pandemic will return to work as new strategies emerge to reduce the risk to their health. With new varients popping up, we will have to keep an eye on how the trend ultimately plays out.

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Economic News

Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?

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NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination

When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”

At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?

The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.

In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…

>>>>>Click to continue reading…<<<<<

#CarsonHUD

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Economic News

Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement

The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.

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young executives

job openings

Job openings hit a high point

To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.

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The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.

Good news, bad news, depending on your profession

That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.

Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.

What’s next

If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.

If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.

Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.

#JobOpenings

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