Categories: Economy

Milken Institute Ranks the Best Cities for Jobs

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on November 13

The Milken Institute came out with its annual list of cities that are best able to create jobs. The top ten were culled from a list of the nation’s...

Americans More Unhappy With Feds' Housing Fixes

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on November 11

Trillions spent on propping up banks, buying mortgages, tax credits and new programs designed to lower payments and prevent foreclosures. And yet a new survey from Move Inc., the...

Should Wall Streeters Give Their Bonuses to the Homeless?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 30

Economist and writer Katerina Alexandraki has launched a creative idea for easing the housing crunch this holiday season. She’s asking Wall Streeters getting big bonuses to contribute them to...

The FDIC's Sheila Bair: "There Will Be Losses."

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 28

FDIC Chief Sheila Bair spoke at the Town Hall Los Angeles this morning, sharing her thoughts on financial markets and some of the policy issues she faces as one of...

The Bonus for Homes Charity Idea

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 10

Economist and writer Katerina Alexandraki has come up a creative idea for easing the housing crunch this holiday season. She’s asking Wall Streeters getting big bonuses to contribute them...

Federal Stimulus Funds Connect A Denver Housing Project

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 08

A lot of people, including Republican lawmakers who want to give the President grief, are asking, where exactly is that $787 billion passed in February through the American Recovery...

Manhattan Apartments: Free Rent But Still Not Cheap

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 25

The analysts at the investment firm Sandler O’Neil recently did a tour of the Manhattan apartment market with some of the biggest publicly-traded management companies including Avalon Bay and...

Stimulus Funds Are Boosting Construction Work

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 23

The stimulus package is well, stimulating. According to the Associated Builders and Contractors trade group, the nation's construction backlog for July rose 8.9 percent to 6.1 months. The backlog is...

Make the AIG Execs Work for Free

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 18

For some reason the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal have been defending the $165 million in rentention bonsues the executives of AIG paid themselves recently. The paper aruges...

How Much Our Government Has Lost on TARP

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on February 23

Wow. You think your personal portfolio has taken a hit, check out how much the government has lost so far on the Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP). According to an...

19 Million Vacant Homes, Or Are They?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on February 03

New data out today out today from the U.S. Census bureau suggests one out of every seven homes in the U.S. is vacant. Before you go thinking that a population...

Congress May Limit Executive Pay and Jets

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on January 16

The Senate voted 52-42 yesterday to allow the Treasury Department to get the second half of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program going. President-elect Obama has said he’ll use...

Worst Recession Since the 30s Will end in 2009

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on January 02

Economists at Wells Fargo predict the economy will improve by the second half of 2009. "The ongoing impact of $2 trillion in government stimulus, with other factors such as...

The Vegas Casino Room Glut

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 31

Steve Wynn's new Encore resort is just what Vegas doesn't need right now--more high-end hotel rooms. Some friends of mine just stayed at the nearby Venetian resort for just...

If the home builders are nervous, what does that mean for the rest of us?

Posted by: Prashant Gopal on November 19

The builders are about as pessimistic as they've ever been. Yesterday, we learned that the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which tracks builder sentiment, fell to...

Washington Debates Loan Modification Proposals

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on November 04

Is the grand plan by FDIC Chairman Shelia Barr in trouble? Bair has been promoting a plan to use $50 billion of the Treasury’s $700 billion bailout funds to guarantee...

Where the Candidates Stand on Housing

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on November 04

It's Election Day. For those still undecided, haven't voted, or otherwise concerened here's where the two presidential candidates stand on housing issues. Barack Obama wants the Federal Reserve to...

Greenspan Gets Pummeled by Congress

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 23

Oh how the housing mess has brought down the both the little folks and the high and mighty. Alan Greenspan got his comeuppance on the witness stand in front...

The Candidates' Battling Economic Plans

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 15

It's going to the battle of the bailouts in tonight's presidential debate. With the withering economy and mortgage meltdown front and center on everyone's mind, the two candidates are...

The Bailout Bill on Executive Compensation

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 08

I've been checking out the big bailout bill, all 400-plus pages. You can read it all here. One of the big debates was whether the bill should include limits on...

Steve Wynn's Plan to Fix America

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 30

Steve Wynn, the billionaire casino mogul had steam coming out of his ears when I spoke to him on the day the big bailout failed. And he wasn't even a...

The Bailout Dies

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 29

It's not often we get to report breaking news on Hot Property, but I see the bailout seems to have died on the floor of Congress. The final vote was...

Citigroup cut a Better Deal

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 29

As my blog colleague Dean Foust lays out in an excellent story on businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/sep2008/db20080929_369126.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index+-+temp_news+%2B+analysis">Businessweek.com, Citigroup could end up getting quite a deal on its $1 a share purchase of...

Alternatives to the Big Bailout

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 24

As Congress continues to debate the $700 billion bank bailout plan, I’m hearing much opposition to it from friends and other authorities. There are people like my friend Kim White,...

How Much Should Bank CEOs Earn?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 23

A movement to include limits on executive pay as a clause in the new bank bailout bill is gaining support from both ends of the political spectrum. House Democrats, including...

Debating the Mortgage Bailout

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 22

President Bush has proposed a massive rescue plan for homeowners, banks and mortgage investors. The government will buy troubled home loans from troubled banks. The plan is audacious in size—at...

Wall Street's Worst Week Ever

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 15

Just another manic Monday? No quite. Lehman Brothers is bankrupt. Merrill Lynch is being swallowed by Bank of America. Bear Stearns is already dead. Other major financial institutions such...

Why Do We Listen to this Man?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on August 01

Former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan sent the stock market into a tailspin this week after declaring home prices were "nowhere near the bottom." Just a month ago Greenspan said:...

The President's Reluctant Signature

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 30

President Bush signed the big housing bill today. He didn’t love it and put his signature on it privately rather than in a big press event in the Rose...

Ben Bernanke's new nickname: Bernie Mac

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 17

At first glance it's hard to see much resemblance between Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Bernie Mac, the comedian. Bernanke is an economist from Princeton...

Lowe's Gets Hammered

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on May 19

Big home improvement chain Lowe’s posted weak numbers today, a 19% decline in earnings, same store sales were down 8%. The stock dropped 2%. It was already 30% off...

The Millionaire Next Door

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on May 13

Well even with the housing market’s collapse and the stock market’s tumble at least some people are still rich. That’s according to the latest data from the market research...

Mr. Stern Goes to Washington

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on April 11

Scott Stern runs St. Louis-based Lenders One, which provides services to 110 mortgage banking firms. On Thursday he testified before the Senate Banking Committee on what he calls Scott Stern's...

The McCain Mutiny

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on April 10

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That’s how presidential candidate John McCain must feel after announcing his own plan to fix the housing mess today. McCain proposed...

A housing economist who doesn't want the Fed to cut

Posted by: Peter Coy on March 25

Econ 101 says lower interest rates are good for the housing market. But the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, worries there could be too...

Back to 2004?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on March 05

Economist Robert Samuelson argues today in the Washington Post that home prices have to fall at least 20%, back to 2004 levels, before sales can start to climb again and...

How Big Cities Will Weather the Housing Slump

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on February 27

A new report from bond rating agency Standard & Poors says the finances of the nation’s largest cities should be able to withstand the housing slump. Yes, I know, S&P...

Did the 'death of distance' hurt Detroit and help New York?

Posted by: Peter Coy on January 07

I recommend a fascinating piece of academic research whose title is the headline above. It's by Edward Glaeser and Giacomo Ponzetto, both of Harvard. They argue that advances in communications...

Suddenly everybody hates Fannie and Freddie

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 16

This is the B side of the blog item I wrote a few days ago, called Suddenly everybody loves Fannie and Freddie. In that item, I worried that Congress was...

Suddenly everybody loves Fannie and Freddie

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 13

Amazing how quickly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have gotten back into the good graces of Congress. The two heavyweight companies insure mortgages. They also buy mortgages and mortgage-backed...

The Rate Cut and You

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 31

Another rate cut is upon us. As had been expected, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke cut the federal funds rate for the second time in two months, to 4.5% now from...

California Is Surfing the Housing Tidal Wave

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 19

Wouldn't you think that California would be devastated by the housing crash? After all, California has had some of the nation's most unaffordable housing, along with one of the heaviest...

The Mortage Bust and Online Ads

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 18

The subprime mortgage implosion is spreading its radioactive dust on everything from homeowners to ratings agencies. One industry that may be forgotten is online advertising. Yes, online ads, that hot...

Optimism on housing and the economy!!!???!!

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 26

All those punctuation marks on the headline are a tribute to the inimitable writing style of James W. Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. Paulsen is optimistic that...

Greenspan Confesses (Sort of)

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 14

Former Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan has told 60 Minutes that he "didn't really get" that the huge surge in subprime lending was significant enough to hurt the economy until...

The Economic Near Miss

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on September 13

Back when the housing market was inflating, one of the few institutions to try to stick a pin in the bubble was UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Edward Leamer, director...

What about us??? One woman's plea for help

Posted by: Peter Coy on August 30

This is the California home that Sheila Boer, single mother of five, fears she may soon lose. She wrote a letter to BusinessWeek's Dawn Kopecki after reading Dawn's online...

"Helicopter Ben" to the rescue

Posted by: Dean Foust on August 17

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke rides to the rescue this morning with a half-point cut in the discount rate. The discount rate is not to be confused with the Fed...

Will "Helicopter Ben" Bernanke Ride to the Rescue?

Posted by: Dean Foust on August 16

There’s growing sentiment on Wall Street that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will cut interest rates—if not now, certainly at the Fed’s scheduled September meeting—to stabilize the financial markets and...

From the Golden State to Guatemala

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on August 13

The Los Angeles Times had a poignant feature over the weekend showing the impact of the mortgage meltdown on all sorts of related businesspeople, from the 27 year old loan...

Yet Another Housing Victim

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on August 07

Even if you don't have a "toxic" mortgage or any plans to sell to your home, rising interest rates and the slowdown in housing prices could still pinch your pocketbook....

The Housing Woes Spread

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 11

This is the week the stock market seems be acknowledging that the housing slowdown is spilling over to other industries. On Monday aluminum giant Alcoa reported that it missed its...

Iraq and Housing: Are There Similarities?

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 19

Daniel Gross, Slate's Moneybox columnist, has a piece comparing the denial over how badly the Iraq War has gone with the denial over how badly the U.S. housing market is...

A Mystery: Why So Many Carpenters?

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 01

One of the greatest mysteries of the housing slump is why there have been so few layoffs in residential construction. The mystery deepened today when the Bureau of Labor Statistics...

Canary in the coal mine?

Posted by: Dean Foust on March 21

Bill Fleckenstein is a private money manager who has always found time over the years to write a regular column for MSN Money and others. Fleckenstein is a card-carrying contrarian,...

Fallout from the subprime bust

Posted by: Dean Foust on March 20

Much ink has been spilled on the number of subprime lenders that have failed (and if you're keeping score at home, the Implode-O-Meter provides an up to the minute list.),...

Why We Ignore the Margin of Error--And Everyone Else Does, Too

Posted by: Peter Coy on January 25

A reader named Dave makes an important point in a comment on my item last week about the supposed 4.5% rise in housing starts in December. Dave says--accurately--that we don't...

Foreclosure: How Big a Risk?

Posted by: Peter Coy on December 19

A study out today from the Center for Responsible Lending predicts that subprime borrowers are going to lose their homes to foreclosure on a massive scale. Looking at more than...

Housing Slump Drags Down Productivity

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 08

Economists were dismayed when the government announced recently that there was no increase in labor productivity in the nonfarm business sector in the third quarter. Now, one economist is fingering...

Oh, the Humanity!

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 28

Every problem has to have a public face, and to many people, David Lereah is the public face of the housing slump. There is an entire blog devoted to trashing...

This Winter: The Mortgage or the Heat?

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 14

We've all heard stories about people who had to choose between paying the mortgage and paying the winter heating bill. Maybe some of us have even been there. A new...

Canadian Market Holding Up Better

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 12

Canada's housing market is softening but not nearly as much as the U.S. market, says Action Economics LLC, a forecasting firm. Action Economics says that, "Indeed, still-high price growth suggests...

What Determines Demand for Housing?

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 11

Interesting discussion over at calculatedrisk.com on determinants of demand for housing. In the early 2000's nearly 200,000 housing units died per year--they burned or were bulldozed or whatever. An increase...

Is Your Money Safer in Stocks?

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 19

Housing is shaky. Is your money any safer in the stock market? I ask that question in an article on the home page of the BusinessWeek website today: Can Wall...

The Brits, the Aussies, and the Price of Your House

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 07

Housing prices zoomed in Britain and Australia before the big boom in the U.S., and they began to soften earlier. So Americans might be able to get a glimpse into...

Housing: Where the Market Is Really Headed

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 03

The headline on this blog item is the headline of the Business Outlook column in the current issue of BusinessWeek, by my colleague James C. Cooper (pictured). I think it's...

Construction Down, Prices Up

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 01

So this is how the housing market cools. Demand softens. Builders cut back. But prices keep going up for awhile, almost like a car gliding to a stop long after...

Housing Slump in the Second Inning?

Posted by: Peter Coy on May 23

Housing construction has cooled abruptly. Economist David Rosenberg of Merrill Lynch calculates that the number of starts on construction has fallen at an annual rate of 56% over the past...

Housing Construction Softens

Posted by: Peter Coy on April 18

It's probably a healthy sign that starts on construction of homes fell 7.8% in March, as the Census Bureau reported today. It's healthy because the pace of construction was getting...

State Taxes: Vermont vs. New Hampshire

Posted by: Peter Coy on April 08

Vermont and New Hampshire may be geographic twins, but they are fiscal opposites. Vermont (right-hand flag) had the highest state tax burden per person in the nation this past fiscal...

Downside of Debt

Posted by: Toddi Gutner on March 16

Most market watchers would agree that the air is slowly seeping out of the housing bubble. Appropraitely, now attention is being paid to what the impact is of this sea...

Fewer Apartments Available

Posted by: Peter Coy on March 08

Scary report out today from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Here's an excerpt from the press release: New York City, NY – The nation is losing approximately 200,000...

Will Housing Make Bernanke Cranky?

Posted by: Peter Coy on February 03

He's genial. Personable. Open. He's Ben S. Bernanke, who this Wednesday succeeded Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. But Bernanke might get a little cranky in the...

More and More Unsold Homes

Posted by: Peter Coy on January 10

A huge boom in housing construction may be about to create a glut in the market. The inventory of unsold new homes doesn't look too scary when you view it...

In 2006, a Harsher Reality for Realty

Posted by: Peter Coy on December 27

One of the smartest and best-read publications on residential real estate is the monthly REAL Trends, edited by an industry veteran named Steve Murray out of Littleton, Colo. (Click here...

A Gloomy Christmas for Real Estate?

Posted by: Peter Coy on December 23

The Commerce Dept. put a damper on Christmas for real estate agents today when it announced that new home sales in November fell 11.3% in November, seasonally adjusted, from their...

The Reflex Effect

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 22

Paul McCaulley, chief Fed watcher at bond giant Pimco, just shared his firm's latest take on housing. Pimco has identified three key indicators of market weakness: inventory of unsold homes,...

A Sunnier Forecast in California?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on December 07

The UCLA Anderson Forecast has earned the ire of California's real estate community in recent years by continually forecasting that the state's housing bubble was about to pop. Now amidst...

Rising Inventories of Unsold Homes

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 28

There was worrisome news today in the report from the National Association of Realtors on October sales of existing homes. But the scary part wasn't where you would think to...

British Housing's Soft Landing, So Far

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 22

If you're trying to figure out what's likely to happen to the U.S. housing market, check out what's going on elsewhere. Britain's housing market surged more than America's and stopped...

Is 2 Million Housing Starts 2 Many?

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 18

The optimistic take on this week's housing starts number is that the market remains strong in spite of rising interest rates. The pessimistic take is that the homebuilding market is...

The tax attack

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on November 01

The President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, a nine-member bipartisan group created by President Bush in January and charged with figuring out a way to simplify the tax code,...

A Less Curvaceous Yield Curve

Posted by: Peter Coy on November 01

What could kill the housing boom? David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist for Merrill Lynch, argues that the trigger could be a flattening of the yield curve. Here's what...

Land Sales Could Slow

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 31

Owners of undeveloped land still have dollar signs in their eyes. But with the housing market cooling, builders aren't so willing to pay up for buildable lots. That means there...

Greenspan's Legacy in Housing

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 24

Forget inflation, recessions, and stock market crashes. Hot Property aficionados want to know one thing about Alan Greenspan and one thing alone: What did he have to do with the...

What the Federal Reserve Is Seeing

Posted by: Peter Coy on October 20

Here's what the Federal Reserve had to say yesterday about the housing market in its Beige Book summary of economic conditions: Residential real estate activity remained generally strong, but reports...

Pimco's take on housing

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on October 03

Pimco, the big bond fund manager run by Bill Gross, has a long record of beating the market. Their take on housing prices and the economy? Pimco predicts a "stagflationary...

Housing Numbers Continue to Surprise

Posted by: Amey Stone on September 27

This week has brought the latest monthly home sales data from the National Association of Realtors. Reading these releases is starting to be a bit of a yawn -- sales...

America's Fastest-Growing City (No, Not Vegas)

Posted by: Peter Coy on September 07

The title of America's fastest-growing city goes to sleepy Baton Rouge, 75 miles upriver from New Orleans (which, sadly, is America's fastest-shrinking city). In our real estate-obsessed culture, it took...

CPI and housing prices

Posted by: Amey Stone on August 16

Wondering why inflation figures are so tame when real estate prices are soaring? There is a simple explanation: the Consumer Price Index factors in rising rents, not rising home prices....

Real estate's outsized contribution to economy

Posted by: Dean Foust on August 15

Kathleen Bostjancic, an economist with Merrill Lynch, just produced a sobering look at housing's outsized contributions to the economy. While I can't provide a link to the full report, I...

About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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