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GOP tax plan may not be so bad for housing after all, analysts claim

National Mortgage News - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 08:28
A House Republican tax proposal that infuriated housing groups and sent homebuilder stocks sliding would only have a modest impact on the market for new homes and could end up being a net positive for the industry, according to Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analysts.

FHFA’s g-fee calculation ignores the law

National Mortgage News - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 08:28
The Federal Housing Finance Agency must set fees equal to the cost of capital that private banks hold against similar risk, not just the amount of capital that Fannie and Freddie think are right for themselves.

Douglas Elliman's profitability falls over 50% with fewer new dev closings

Implode Explode - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 19:16
The New York-based brokerage pulled in $190.4 million in revenue, up 3.2 percent from $184.5 million during the prior-year period, according to filings by its parent company, Vector Group. But net income was $4.2 million -- down from $8.7 million in 2016.

Those numbers were the result of a strong low-end market but softer new development segment, where Elliman has had fewer closings despite a robust pipeline of projects it is marketing.

"There were more closings in '16 than in '17 -- quite a bit more," Chairman Howard Lorber said during an earnings call Tuesday.

Overall, Elliman closed $7 billion worth of sales during the quarter compared to $6.8 billion in 2016. For the first nine months of the year, Elliman closed sales worth $19.8 billion compared to $18.9 billion a year earlier.

Lorber said the low-end of the market is "very, very strong," as is the high-end. The mid-market segment is "kind of quiet," he said.

Douglas Elliman's profitability falls over 50% with fewer new dev closings

IEHI News feed - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 19:16
The New York-based brokerage pulled in $190.4 million in revenue, up 3.2 percent from $184.5 million during the prior-year period, according to filings by its parent company, Vector Group. But net income was $4.2 million -- down from $8.7 million in 2016.

Those numbers were the result of a strong low-end market but softer new development segment, where Elliman has had fewer closings despite a robust pipeline of projects it is marketing.

"There were more closings in '16 than in '17 -- quite a bit more," Chairman Howard Lorber said during an earnings call Tuesday.

Overall, Elliman closed $7 billion worth of sales during the quarter compared to $6.8 billion in 2016. For the first nine months of the year, Elliman closed sales worth $19.8 billion compared to $18.9 billion a year earlier.

Lorber said the low-end of the market is "very, very strong," as is the high-end. The mid-market segment is "kind of quiet," he said.

Nonbank mortgage employment plunges after hurricanes

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 17:13
Nonbank mortgage employment took its biggest drop since January following the recent hurricanes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Lone Star Brewery to be auctioned at foreclosure sale

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 14:06
The Lone Star Brewery in San Antonio was supposed to be buzzing with construction workers and equipment by now — after sitting vacant for decades.

Mortgage insurance drives Genworth's 3Q profitability

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:04
Genworth Financial had net income of $107 million because of its U.S. mortgage insurance business, but it is considering a partial sale of the unit if the parent company isn't acquired by next May.

People on the move: Nov. 3

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:04
Mortgage industry hiring and new job appointments for the week ending Nov. 3.

Denver home inventory takes a scary dip in October

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:04
Denver's housing market continued to struggle with a frighteningly low number of homes and condos available for sale in October, which helped push up prices and cut into the pace of sales.

Seattle marks a full year as hottest housing market

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:00
Seattle is now a full year into its reign as the hottest housing market in the country, an unusually long surge that doesn't look likely to end anytime soon.

Big unknown for banks: Will tax plan boost growth enough?

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:00
Top banking executives called the Republican tax plan an important first step toward tax reform and economic stimulus, but questions immediately arose about whether trade-offs and complexities in the bill would undercut it.

Trump makes it official, taps Powell to head Federal Reserve

National Mortgage News - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:00
Fed Gov. Jerome Powell, who was first nominated to the central bank by former President Obama, is widely seen as a continuity choice.

Housing groups pan GOP swipe at mortgage deduction

National Mortgage News - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 16:36
Hopes that tax reform might soften a weakening of the mortgage interest deduction were quickly dashed as the GOP plan landed a double punch on the incentive cherished by the mortgage and housing industries.

China's Central Bank Chief Warns of ‘Sudden, Contagious and Hazardous' Financial Risks

IEHI News feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:55
China's financial system is becoming significantly more vulnerable due to high leverage, according to central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who has made a series of blunt warnings in recent weeks about debt levels in the world's second-largest economy.

Latent risks are accumulating, including some that are "hidden, complex, sudden, contagious and hazardous," even as the overall health of the financial system remains good, Zhou wrote in a lengthy article published on the People's Bank of China's website late Saturday.

The nation should toughen regulation and let markets serve the real economy better, according to Zhou. The government should also open up markets by relaxing capital controls and reducing restrictions on non-Chinese financial institutions that want to operate on the mainland, he wrote.

"High leverage is the ultimate origin of macro financial vulnerability," wrote Zhou, 69, who is widely expected to retire soon after a record 15-year tenure. "In sectors of the real economy, this is reflected as excessive debt, and in the financial system, this is reflected as credit that has been expanding too quickly."

China's Central Bank Chief Warns of ‘Sudden, Contagious and Hazardous' Financial Risks

Implode Explode - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:55
China's financial system is becoming significantly more vulnerable due to high leverage, according to central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who has made a series of blunt warnings in recent weeks about debt levels in the world's second-largest economy.

Latent risks are accumulating, including some that are "hidden, complex, sudden, contagious and hazardous," even as the overall health of the financial system remains good, Zhou wrote in a lengthy article published on the People's Bank of China's website late Saturday.

The nation should toughen regulation and let markets serve the real economy better, according to Zhou. The government should also open up markets by relaxing capital controls and reducing restrictions on non-Chinese financial institutions that want to operate on the mainland, he wrote.

"High leverage is the ultimate origin of macro financial vulnerability," wrote Zhou, 69, who is widely expected to retire soon after a record 15-year tenure. "In sectors of the real economy, this is reflected as excessive debt, and in the financial system, this is reflected as credit that has been expanding too quickly."

Paradise Papers: Apple's (new) secret tax bolthole revealed

IEHI News feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:50
The world's most profitable firm has a secretive new structure that would enable it to continue avoiding billions in taxes, the Paradise Papers show.

They reveal how Apple sidestepped a 2013 crackdown on its controversial Irish tax practices by actively shopping around for a tax haven.

It then moved the firm holding most of its untaxed offshore cash, now $252bn, to the Channel Island of Jersey....

Up until 2014, the tech company had been exploiting a loophole in tax laws in the US and the Republic of Ireland known as the "double Irish".

This allowed Apple to funnel all its sales outside of the Americas - currently about 55% of its revenue - through Irish subsidiaries that were effectively stateless for taxation purposes, and so incurred hardly any tax.

Instead of paying Irish corporation tax of 12.5%, or the US rate of 35%, Apple's avoidance structure helped it reduce its tax rate on profits outside of the US to the extent that its foreign tax payments rarely amounted to more than 5% of its foreign profits, and in some years dipped below 2%.

The European Commission calculated the rate of tax for one of Apple's Irish companies for one year had been just 0.005%.

...

After the EU announced in 2013 that it was investigating Apple's Irish arrangement, the Irish government decided that firms incorporated there could no longer be stateless for tax purposes.

...

Paradise Papers documents show Apple's two key Irish subsidiaries, Apple Operations International (AOI), believed to hold most of Apple's massive $252bn overseas cash hoard, and Apple Sales International (ASI), were managed from Appleby's office in Jersey from the start of 2015 until early 2016.

This would have enabled Apple to continue avoiding billions in tax around the world.

Apple's 2017 accounts showed they made $44.7bn outside the US and paid just $1.65bn in taxes to foreign governments, a rate of around 3.7%. That is less than a sixth of the average rate of corporation tax in the world.

...

Leaked emails also make it clear that Apple wanted to keep the move secret.

Fannie Mae keeping an eye on servicers' hurricane response

National Mortgage News - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:33
Fannie Mae servicers are facing pressure from the recent hurricanes, but so far are bearing up under the strain.

Nationstar profit blunted by MSR write-down

National Mortgage News - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:33
Nationstar Mortgage Holdings posted net income of $7 million for the third quarter, its first under the new Mr. Cooper consumer-facing brand.

Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite's hidden wealth

IEHI News feed - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 11:44
The material, which has come from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 tax havens, was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times.

The project has been called the Paradise Papers. It reveals... Millions of pounds from the Queen's private estate has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund -- and some of her money went to a retailer accused of exploiting poor families and vulnerable people.

Extensive offshore dealings by Donald Trump's cabinet members, advisers and donors, including substantial payments from a firm co-owned by Vladimir Putin's son-in-law to the shipping group of the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross.

...

"Tax havens are one of the key engines of the rise in global inequality," he said. "As inequality rises, offshore tax evasion is becoming an elite sport."

At the centre of the leak is Appleby, a law firm with outposts in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. In contrast to Mossack Fonseca, the discredited firm at the centre of last year's Panama Papers investigation, Appleby prides itself on being a leading member of the "magic circle" of top-ranking offshore service providers.

...

Appleby says it has investigated all the allegations, and found "there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients", adding: "We are a law firm which advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business. We do not tolerate illegal behaviour."

Attacking the zombies across Western New York

National Mortgage News - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 10:29
As is the case with most communities across Western New York, Lockport has its share of "zombie" properties.