Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Housing News Digest, October 5

Wobbekind: Jobs remain the main sticking point to recovery
LAFAYETTE -- "Bumping along the bottom" is a description CU economist Richard Wobbekind said he has heard in reference to the current state of the housing market. But that comment could easily apply to the overall state of the economy, Wobbekind told an audience Tuesday morning.

The economy is growing, not contracting, Wobbekind said. But for many people it just doesn't feel like it's growing, he said.

"I really do think we're going through something right now that we haven't experienced in our lifetimes," said Wobbekind, the executive director of the Business Research Division at the University of Colorado-Boulder's Leeds School of Business and the senior associate dean for academic programs. "I don't
think we're in, quote, a technical recession right now, but when you're growing at 11/2 percent, to the person on the street it certainly feels like it."

Planned job cuts more than double in September
The number of announced job cuts in September more than doubled from the prior month, climbing to the highest level in more than two years, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The Chicago-based personnel consultancy firm said employers announced plans to cut 115,730 jobs last month, up 126% from 51,114 in August. Last month's level is 212% higher than September 2010, and the highest since 132,590 cuts in April 2009.

Fannie Mae ignored foreclosure abuses
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Fannie Mae (FNMA, Fortune 500), the government-controlled mortgage giant, ignored indications that attorneys it hired to handle defaults were abusing the foreclosure process, according to a report from the inspector general for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency that oversees Fannie.

The inspector general concluded that as early as 2003, legal firms retained by Fannie engaged in misdeeds. These included filing false documents and "robo-signing," in which law firm employees signed filings and affidavits attesting to knowledge that they did not possess.

Hornung: Denver homes no longer in lock-step with nation
In a recent Case-Shiller report, David M. Blitzer noted that it appears the country is shifting “back to regional housing markets, rather than a national housing market.”

In other words, some markets may begin breaking away from the first national housing downturn since the Great Depression.

Blitzer, the chairman of the Index Committee Index Committee at S&P Indices, included Denver, along with Dallas and Washington, D.C., as “relatively strong” markets.

The shift from a national to more regional markets caught the eye of Lane Hornung, CEO and founder of and 8z Real Estate.

Housing Recovery May Not Come Until 2020
Over the short term, things are looking a bit better: According to the Standard & Poor's Case-Schiller Home Price Index, the housing market has shown four straight months of home value growth, with S&P's 10-city and 20-city indices, both up 0.9% in July. The Case-Schiller reading, taken Sept. 27, shows that even sluggish markets such as Detroit and Minneapolis showed improvement on a month-to-month basis.