Daily Digest - April 14
- Major Lenders Say They Will Write Down Second Mortgages
- U.S. Postal Service Risks Taxpayer Bailout: GAO
- Retail Vacancies Continue to Creep Higher
- Strip Mall Vacancies Hit 30-Year High
- 20 Houses Demolished, Many More To Go As Lansing, County Clean Up
- City Considers Vacant Building Fees
- Detroit-Area Home Sales Up 6.2%
- Teacher Pension Deficit at $900 Billion May Be Triple Reported
- Does The State Of Illinois Owe You Money?
- Illinois ‘Poster Child’ of Debt Crisis Draining State Services
- Unfunded-Liabilities Nightmare in Connecticut
- China Official: Won't Bow To Foreign Pressure On Yuan<
- China Raises Diesel, Gasoline Prices 4.6% as Crude Oil Gains
- IEA: OPEC Had First Big Drop In Output In A Year
Executives from four of the nation's largest lenders- -Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), JP Morgan Chase and Co.(JPM), and Citigroup Inc. (C)--told a House panel Tuesday that they are willing to reduce the principal on second mortgages if the lender of the first mortgage offers a similar reduction....At Tuesday's hearing, JP Morgan Chase Home Lending CEO David Lowman said a broad-based principal reduction program for second liens would have industry- wide costs of $700 billion to $900 billion.
The GAO said Congress should form a panel of independent experts to make recommendations that could include removing the requirement that mail be delivered within six days, reducing USPS' operations, and allowing it to do business in new, non-mail-related areas.
"If no action is taken, the risk of USPS's insolvency and the need for a bailout by taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury increases," the GAO said.
Real estate research firm Reis Inc.’s data for the first quarter of 2010 shows that fundamentals at neighborhood and community centers and regional malls continued to slide. And while the pace of declines in occupancies is slowing, rents are still falling at a brisk pace.
Vacancies at both property types rose. For shopping centers, vacancies are at their highest point since 1991 and for regional malls vacancies are at their highest point since Reis began tracking the figure at the end of 1999.
Chicago strip malls are emptier than they've been in at least 30 years, and they're likely to get even emptier.
The vacancy rate at area shopping centers has climbed for three straight years to 11.8%, the highest since at least 1980, when real estate research firm Reis Inc. began tracking the data.
Clutter is plainly visible through the windows facing Prospect Street, where Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing shows a keen eye for features that either mean the Lansing house's salvation or demolition....Soon, city and county officials will decide whether the parcel will be rehabilitated into a more appealing structure or taken down with approximately 225 others through a $23 million federal program aimed at putting a chokehold on blight threatening foreclosed properties.
Across El Paso, there are an estimated 5,600 vacant and unoccupied homes and commercial buildings, and city officials want to keep track of them all.
So the city’s Department of Development Services is working on an ordinance that would require property owners to register unoccupied homes or other structures.
In Detroit, the median sales price last month was up 33% to $7,725. And the number of houses for sale in Detroit dropped by 28% to 3,919 from 5,460 last March. Yet 804 homes sold in the city last month, compared with 1,173 in March 2009.
Inventories fell across the board in March as banks continue to limit release of foreclosed properties, said Karen Kage, president of Realcomp.
April 13 (Bloomberg) -- Taxpayers across the U.S. owe public school teacher retirement accounts about $933 billion, nearly triple the amount reported by the plans themselves, a study says.
The $332 billion gap estimated by teacher retirement funds between what they have on hand and the cost of promised benefits is low because it includes an “aggressive” 8 percent assumption on future investment earnings, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research said in the study, released today. It also doesn’t reflect the full cost of stock market losses suffered in the past two years, the New York-based research organization said.
The state has more than $5 billion in unpaid bills, and a lot of that money belongs to businesses all across Illinois doing work with state government. Does the state have an outstanding balance on your books?
The Quad-City Times will be telling the stories of local businesses, organizations and individuals struggling with late payments from the state.
Illinois, with the largest unfunded pension and health care liability among U.S. states, is a “poster child” for municipalities that have borrowed money to cover up budget deficits without addressing spending issues, said R. Eden Martin, president of the committee. Since the U.S. economy went into a recession in 2007 the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market has been a “slow-motion collapse of a very large building,” as cities and states borrowed, Martin said.
Connecticut's pension system serving 175,000 active and retired state employees, teachers, and those in the judicial system reports an unfunded liability approaching $16 billion — an amount nearly equal to the state's entire annual budget. Yankee's analysis concludes the real unfunded liability is between $51 billion and $81 billion — or at least three times as much. Yankee believes the state has counted on unrealistic assumptions about discount rates and rates of return in underestimating the real magnitude of the problem.
But Cui argued that the yuan's value isn't the cause of many problems in the global economy. On Monday, Hu told Obama that the yuan's revaluation won't solve the trade imbalances between the two countries, nor would it address the high unemployment rate in the U.S.
"You got a cold and you asked your neighbor to take pills. That won't solve the symptom of your flu," said Cui..... But Cui cautioned that actions related to Iran need to take into consideration the "well being of ordinary people" there, as well as the "legitimate need and demand" from other countries that have normal trade and economic ties with Iran.
China, the world’s second-largest energy user, will increase gasoline and diesel prices by as much as 4.6 percent from today after global crude costs climbed.
The average retail gasoline and diesel price will rise by 320 yuan ($47) a metric ton, the National Development and Reform Commission said on its Web site yesterday. The NDRC said the fuel price gain will add 7 basis points to the April consumer price index month-on-month.
The agency, the energy arm of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a grouping of the world's richest nations, said concerns remain that global oil markets are "overheated," with crude around $85 per barrel.
"Ultimately, things might turn messy for producers if $80-100 (per barrel) is merely seen as the new $60-80 (per barrel), stunting economic recovery while prompting resurgent non-oil and non-OPEC supply investment" the Paris-based IEA said in its monthly oil market report.