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“What Recovery?” Unemployed ask Federal Reserve at posh Jackson Hole conference

August 28th, 2014 Comments off

 

Fischer, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System, speaks with a demonstrator at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole

Stanley Fischer (2nd R), vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System, speaks with demonstrator Reginald Rounds from Ferguson, Missouri at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming August 22, 2014. REUTERS/David Stubbs

Unemployment is a factor in home purchases that industry leaders such as Cavco Industries Chairman and CEO, Joe Stegmayer, cites as a reason for the current level of home buying. While millions have reportedly given up on finding work, others have taken their case public, with a recent example at the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole WY conference, where Reuters tells MHProNews that Reginald Rounds and others called for action to create economic growth and jobs.

Rounds is a St. Louis area resident, 57 and says he is trained in green technology, but can’t find a job. “From the world where I reside, there is no recovery. We need a boost. We need a jump start,” said Rounds. “The key is jobs creation.” 

Rounds was one of 10 who made the trip to protest, part of a 70 organization coalition, that also released an open letter to Federal Reserve officials urging them to hold off on interest rate hikes until wages and jobs showed gains.

The 10 activists managed face time with senior officials. On Thursday, they spoke conference host Esther George for 2 hours. George is the President of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. On Friday, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer stepped out of a meeting to spend ten minutes to listen to the pleas of Rounds and his associates.

As regular Daily Business News readers know, Rand Ghayad recently raised the topic of Dodd-Frank’s role in a Huffington Post OpEd, for more details, click here. The Collingwood Group’s Tim Rood recently pointed out on CNBC that current dynamics were keeping some 5 to 6 million home buyers on the sidelines. In factory built housing, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says that every home built represents one new job, so if Rood is correct, 5 to 6 million jobs could be added to the work force by having a more pro-housing and less restrictive regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ##

(Photo Credit: Reuters/David Stubbs)

Pennsylvania Conference Conclusion: Manufactured Housing Critical to Area

August 7th, 2014 Comments off

penn state mobile home park  centredailytimes  abby drey creditForty-Five community leaders of varied backgrounds from eight counties in Pennsylvania gathered at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland-Pittsburgh, sponsored by CFED’s (Corporation for Enterprise Development) Innovations in Manufactured Housing (I’M HOME), to discuss an initiative for improving the financial, health and environmental outcomes of residents of manufactured homes (MH). Though the numbers of MH vary county to county in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the units are proportionally older than homes elsewhere in the nation, making it an ideal testing ground to determine the effects of older factory-built homes on the health and welfare of the occupants. According to what CFED.org tells MHProNews, at the end of the conference there was a consensus that MH is vital to the region’s pressing needs for affordable and efficient housing for people of all ages. The first step will be to inventory manufactured homes in the area and determine which ones can be rehabbed and which ones need to be replaced cost effectively. ##

(Photo credit: Abbie Drey/centredailytimes.com–Penn State manufactured housing community)

Regional Fed Head Says Interest Rate Will Remain Low

July 1st, 2014 Comments off

John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, while expressing optimism the economy is well on its way to recovery, says the Fed will need to keep interest rates near zero until the middle of next year. Speaking to members of the Utah and Montana Bankers Association, he said with inflation rising back to normal levels, unemployment falling and economic growth returning, the Fed is tapering its stimulative bond-buying program and intends to end it this fall. The Fed’s swollen balance sheet of over $4 trillion will hopefully shrink at some point to contain no mortgage-backed securities, according to reuters.com. Williams predicts gross domestic product (GDP) will grow more than three percent through the end of this year, as unemployment falls to six percent, eventually dropping to 5.5 percent by the end of 2015, as MHProNews understands. ##

(Image credit: Federal Reserve Bank)

Federal Reserve may Taper Stimulus Program this Year

June 14th, 2013 Comments off

With concerns growing over when the Federal Reserve Bank will slow its quantitative easing and the subsequent effect on the economy, of 39 economists and investment advisors surveyed, nearly two-thirds do not think it will begin before Dec. 2013, and some not till 2014. As MHProNews has learned from CNNMoney, while the intent of the Fed’s policy has been to keep interest rates low in order to allow businesses and consumers to borrow money, it has also provided meager returns on savings. Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak at a press conference Wed. afternoon and may give hints as to the Fed’s plans. “The markets don’t like uncertainty,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist for Decision Economics. “The Federal Reserve should clarify the uncertainty as soon as possible –which would be Wednesday.” In the past the Fed has suggested it intends to keep rates low until the unemployment rate reaches 6.5 percent.

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Home Prices in Texas Rise above 2007 Levels

June 14th, 2013 Comments off

According to nationalmortggenews a report by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank says home prices in Texas have recovered to seven percent above the pre-recession highpoint in 2007. One of just ten states to have reached that milestone, Texas is second only to North Dakota in the amount that today’s prices have exceeded the previous high. (As MHProNews has reported numerous times, the oil boom demand for worker housing and supportive services residences in western North Dakota has money flowing nearly like water.) CoreLogic says four of the top six markets for new homes are in Texas—Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. The Federal Reserve Bank says “in-migration” is drawing people to the state seeking work. Existing home sales have risen 33 percent since the beginning of the housing recovery just over two years ago.

(Image credit: city of Pecos, Texas)

Abandoned Homes Continuing to Hold Back the Market?

April 24th, 2013 Comments off

According to nationalmortgagenews, banks are the ones walking away from vacant homes these days, starting but not completing the foreclosure process because they do not want the responsibility for maintaining the property, resulting in hundreds of thousands of homes being withheld from the market. In some cases, homeowners who have already left the property are being hit with back taxes, repairs, insurance and unpaid debt. Thomas Fitzpatrick, an economist in the community development department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, states “We’re seeing more and more, banks getting a judgment to sell a home but not taking it to a foreclosure sale. It may cost more to cure the back taxes and bring the property up to code than they could ever get from selling the property itself.” Data from RealtyTrac indicates 35 percent of the roughly one million homes in the foreclosure pipeline are abandoned and the servicer has not taken title to the property. Last year the Federal Reserve issued directives requiring servicers to notify borrowers and municipalities when they decide not to pursue foreclosure, but no time line was given and enforcement can be difficult. MHProNews has learned this may be contributing to the increase in prices on existing homes. Says Ruhi Maker, a senior staff attorney at the nonprofit Empire Justice Center in Rochester, N.Y. “I have long been convinced that the current run up in home prices is a false high. Once all these foreclosures are through the system we could see another decline in prices.”

(Image credit: condometropolis)

Fed Prez: Bring on More Stimulus

January 17th, 2013 Comments off

CNNMoney informs MHProNews the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Narayana Kocherlakota, says the Fed should do more to lower the unemployment rate. “I would say that my outlook for unemployment and my outlook for inflation both point to a need for more accommodation than is currently being provided by the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee),” he stated in a talk to the Financial Planning Association of Minnesota. While not a voting member of the FOMC, he has the opportunity to voice his opinion at the policy making meetings, and says the Fed should aim for an unemployment rate of 5.5%. That, he says, will increase the demand for goods but keep inflation below 2.5%. According to minutes from the Dec. meeting, some members believe the central bank should cease the asset purchases this year, others want to maintain the buying at its current level.

(Photo credit: Craig Lassig/Bloomberg via Getty Images–Narayana Kocherlakota)

Vacant Houses a Real Drag

October 8th, 2012 Comments off

Speaking at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, HousingWire tells MHProNews Federal Reserve Governor Elizabeth Duke says the 1.6 million vacant houses across the nation are stalling a housing recovery, as well as harming surrounding house values. Those not on the market in particular present a danger because they tend to fall into further disrepair. Duke says investors will repair the more high-end homes and turn them into rentals, while the lower spectrum homes may receive government assistance. She says, “Doubtless there will be costs associated with solving these problems, but it is important to also consider the costs of doing nothing. For example, it costs local taxpayers to let vacant buildings decline, it costs money to tear them down, and it costs money to convert them to a better use.”

(Photo credit: DorNob–abandoned house)

Jobs, Jobs, and Fewer Jobs

September 11th, 2012 Comments off

BloombergBusinessWeek says just two months before the presidential election, the U.S. economy added only 96,000 jobs in August, indicating recovery from the recession still has a lot of ground to cover. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, due to 368,000 leaving the work force, as the labor-force participation rate (the share of people in the workforce) fell to its lowest rate since Sept. 1981. If the same number of people who were in the workforce when the recession began continued in the workforce today, the unemployment rate would be 11.6 percent. As MHProNews has learned, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta says, given the current workforce, it would take three years of monthly job gains averaging 193,000 to reduce the unemployment rate to six percent.

(Photo credit: SuperStock)

Foreclosure Notations, Mortgage Debt both Drop

August 30th, 2012 Comments off

HousingWire says, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, household indebtedness fell $53 billion from Q1 to the second quarter of 2012 to $11.38 trillion, $1.3 trillion below household debt from the third quarter of 2008. Delinquency rate for mortgages in the second quarter was at 6.9 percent, while home equity lines of credit rose slightly to 4.9 percent. At the same time, mortgage debt is declining as more borrowers take advantage of lower interest rates, pushing mortgage originations to $463 billion. As MHProNews has discovered, foreclosure notations on credit reports for the second quarter of 2012 fell to 256,000, the lowest number since the same period of 2007.

(Image credit: mortgageorb)