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Economic News

FHFA to Overhaul Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac?



FHFA changing the game

setting goalsThe Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) aims to set goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would target borrowers with lower incomes (at or below 80% of the area’s median, down from 100%) and give the agencies increased flexibility in measuring success. These goals would disallow them from buying home equity loans and Wall Street’s mortgage securities to prevent hazardous expansions to meet the FHFA requirements.

“FHFA does not intend for the enterprises to undertake uneconomic or high-risk activities in support of the goals, nor does it intend for the enterprises’ state of conservatorship to be a justification for withdrawing support from these market segments,” the FHFA said in a statement.

It seems like ever since Uncle Sam stepped into the scene to run Fannie and Freddie, everyone’s chomping at the bit to be a part of how it is run, take Barney Frank’s call for abolishing the agencies in lieu of whatever new agency he dreams up. HUD has vowed to step things up as have other organizations but we have to wonder, with HAMP being such a colossal failure, how much more “overhaul” can our system handle?

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  1. Real Estate Feeds

    February 18, 2010 at 5:25 am

    FHFA to Overhaul Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac?: FHFA changing the game
    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) aims …

  2. Joe Loomer

    February 18, 2010 at 6:33 am

    “….that would target borrowers with lower incomes (at or below 80% of the area’s median, down from 100%) and give the agencies increased flexibility in measuring success. These goals would disallow them from buying home equity loans and Wall Street’s mortgage securities to prevent hazardous expansions to meet the FHFA requirements…”

    Disallow whom? The lower income borrower or Fannie/Freddie?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Justin Boland

    February 18, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Sounds like PR noise. GSEs relaxed their standards to a dangerous extent in the past 10, but it’s not like they were the ones out originating these loans. Now, by Federal decree, they’ve taken on unthinkably huge portfolios of 100% bad mortgages and nobody in Washington, DC has any idea what to do about that.

    Except, apparently, hope that the general public is ignorant enough to let them get away with blaming the agencies themselves. Woof.

    No matter how cynical I get…

    • Lani Rosales

      February 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

      I said earlier this week that this is the year of the blame game and you and I are on the same page- there is a lot being set up right now (even though it’s after the fact) that will allow politicians to finger point to faceless agencies because of all of this spin. Should be interesting.

  4. Mike

    February 18, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    There is plenty of blame to go around. If HUD sec Cuomo didn’t allow the purchase of the risky loans, there wouldn’t have been a market for them. That was a big mistake. I’m a Capitalist, I’m all for keeping the government out of free enterprise as much as possible. It’s obviously much too late now. Hopefully we, as a Country, will learn from our mistakes.

  5. Nicole Mickle

    February 18, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    FHFA to Overhaul Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac?

  6. BHG Real Estate

    February 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    FHFA to Overhaul Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac?

  7. Seb Frey

    February 23, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Article: FHFA to Overhaul Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac? #realestate #mortgage #fanniemae #freddiemac #santaclaracounty

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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?



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…<<<<<


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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.



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.

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.


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Economic News

Gas prices are down, so are gas taxes about to go up?

Do low gas prices mean higher gas taxes are on the way? Budgeting for 2015 just got a bit more complicated, if some politicians have their way.



gas tax


Gas taxes and your bottom line

Many industries rely heavily on time in their vehicle, not just truck drivers and delivery trucks. Sales professionals hop in their vehicles throughout the day, as do many other types of professionals (service providers like plumbers, and so forth). For that reason, gas prices and taxes are a relevant line item that must be budgeted for 2015, but with politicians making the rounds to push for higher gas taxes, budgeting becomes more complicated.

Gas prices are down roughly 50 cents per gallon compared to a year ago, which some analysts say have contributed to more money in consumers’ pockets. Some believe that this will improve holiday sales, but others believe the timing is just right to increase federal taxes on gas. The current tax on gas is 18.40 cents per gallon, and on diesel are 24.40 cents per gallon.


Supporters and opponents are polar opposites

Supporters argue as follows: gas prices are low, so it won’t hurt to increase federal gas taxes, in fact, those funds must go toward improving our infrastructure, which in the long run, saves Americans money because smoother roads mean better gas mileage and less congestion.

Gas taxes have long been a polarizing concept, and despite lowered gas prices, the controversial nature of the taxes have not diminished.

While some are pushing for complete abolition of federal gas taxes, others, like former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell (D) tell CNBC, “Say that cost the average driver $130 a year. They would get a return on that investment” in safer roads and increased quality of life, he added.

The Washington Post‘s Chris Mooney points out that federal gas taxes have been “stuck” at 18 cents for over 20 years, last raised when gas was barely a dollar a gallon and that the tax must increase not only to improve the infrastructure, but to “green” our behavior, and help our nation find tax reform compromise.

Is a gas tax politically plausible?

Mooney writes, “So, this is not an argument that a gas tax raise is politically plausible — any more than a economically efficient tax on carbon would be. It’s merely a suggestion that — ignoring politics — it might be a pretty good idea.”

Rendell noted, “The World Economic Forum, 10 years ago, rated us the best infrastructure in the world,” adding that we “need to do something for our infrastructure, not in a one or two year period, but over a decade.”

Others would note that this rating has not crumbled in just a few years, that despite many bridges and roads in need of repair, our infrastructure is still superior to even the most civilized nations.

Regardless of the reasons, most believe that Congress won’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole, especially leading up to another Presidential campaign season starting next year.

“I think it’s too toxic and continues to be too toxic,” Steve LaTourette (the former Republican congressman best known for his close friendship with his fellow Ohioan, Speaker John Boehner) tells The Atlantic. “I see no political will to get this done.”

Whether the time is fortuitous or not, and regardless of the positive side effects, many point to a fear of voters’ retaliation against any politician siding with a gas hike, so this matter going any further than the proposal stage is unlikely.

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