The New Year is beginning where the old one ended -- with uncertainty about when – or whether – the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates.Read More
“Wherever you look, things look bleak.” We could begin and end this month’s update with economist Robert Shiller’s grim but accurate description of the housing landscape. Current statistics certainly don’t provide any reason to dispute his assessment or to predict that conditions will improve any time soon.
No! No way! Absolutely not! Never mind. That pretty much summarizes the dramatic reversal in policy that led the Bush Administration to support a reduction in the capital requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, freeing the secondary market giants to play a larger role in efforts to contain the damage caused by the subprime mortgage crisis.
Twice in the past six years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has floated a plan to overhaul the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (RESPA), a statute that nearly everyone views as dysfunctional at best and counter-productive at worst, only to see the proposed reforms shot down by industry opposition.