Mortgage time: Improving economic activity

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The economic data released this week reflected continued improvement in the economy, but there was little market reaction. While some volatility was seen during the final days of 2013, mortgage rates ended the week with little net change.Heading into the new year, recent economic data has provided many reasons to be optimistic about the performance of the economy. The US has added an average of nearly 200K jobs over the past three months, and the Unemployment Rate has declined to 7.0%, the lowest level since November 2008. The ISM national manufacturing index held near the highest level since April 2011. Consumer Sentiment jumped to the highest level since July. Finally, Housing Starts were 30% higher than one year ago, at the highest level since February 2008. The Fed’s recent decision to taper its bond purchases reflects its confidence in the sustainability of the economic recovery.Mel Watt is scheduled to be sworn in on January 6 as the new Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The FHFA is the agency that oversees the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since a large percentage of mortgage loans made today are eventually sold to or insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Watt will have a very significant influence over mortgage lending. Watt has not made public much of what he will do differently from outgoing Acting Director Edward DeMarco, but his policies are expected to be more accommodating to housing finance. Watt has stated that he will delay the recently announced guarantee fee increases that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had planned to begin charging in March.Also Notable:November Pending Home Sales increased slightly from OctoberConstruction Spending rose to the highest level since March 20092013 was the best year for the Dow stock index since 1995The Treasury will auction $64 billion in 3-yr, 10-yr, and 30-yr securities continue reading »last_img read more

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USA: Ecology OKs Pend Oreille County’s Shoreline Program

first_imgThe Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved Pend Oreille County’s comprehensive update of its shoreline master program.The county’s locally tailored shoreline program is designed to protect private property rights, help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to access and enjoy public lands and waters.The updated shoreline master program guides construction and development along more than 60 lakes, rivers, and streams, including the Pend Oreille River, Sullivan Creek and Sullivan, Diamond and Sacheen lakes.Throughout the process, Ecology staff worked closely with local planning staff, their elected officials, and special interest groups.“We are pleased to approve a shoreline program that not only meets the requirements of the law but also remains locally tailored to meet the needs of the county and public,” said Gordon White, Shoreline and Environmental Assessment program manager.“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the county,” said Jaime Short, Ecology shoreline planner. “We believe education and outreach that fosters a greater understanding and enhanced stewardship of our shoreline resources will be a key component to applying the shoreline program.”Under state law, a local shoreline program must receive Ecology approval before taking effect. It then becomes part of the state shoreline master program, subject to a 60-day appeal period.The department will help defend the county’s shoreline program against legal challenges.All of Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014. They are following regulations adopted by Ecology in 2003. The regulations resulted from a negotiated settlement among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology, and the courts.[mappress]Press Release, December 11, 2013last_img read more

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Communities search for solutions to violence against youth

first_imgMiami-Dade residents are calling for action to stem the increasing number of youth affected by gun violence in the community.Following the recent death of 7-year-old boy Amiere Castro, was killed two days after Christmas in a drive-by attack on his aunt’s home in Southwest Miami, members of the community held a special community forum to determine what actions could be taken. However, some were frustrated even as they sought solutions.“How can we fight this violence?” said Myrtle Barnett, mother of three sons. “The youth finds it so easy to get guns. It’s hard to determine who is armed and who is a potential threat. Then there’s drug dealing in homes and on the street, which in itself attracts violence. As long as there are wide-scale guns and drugs, our youth are in danger.”Speaking at the forum, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he and the county commission are very concerned. “We have an epidemic. There are children killing children, and we need to wipe it out.”But former police officer Gervias Daley say “youth-on-youth violence has no easy solution, especially as they are being segregated into gangs characterized by fast cars, guns, drugs, and disrespect. These young people respect no one, fear no life, not even theirs. When they shoot, they shoot to kill. This is a major challenge for law enforcement, but it must be overcome.”Despite the challenge, some community groups have formed to begin to address these underlining issues. Miami-Dade public school students, dubbing themselves the “Peace Ambassadors,” launched the “Declaration of Independence from Violence Against Miami-Dade County Children” to unite social service providers, mentors, and educators in a joint partnership with MDPS and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.And in response to several incidents affected students at Northwestern High School in Liberty City, local mother Tangela Sears, whose son was a victim of gun violence, formed a support and advocacy group called Mothers of Murdered Children.Group member Regina Morales, who also lost a niece to gun violence, believes such community initiatives play an important role, as “there is too much dependency on the police to deal with this crisis.”“”It’s imperative that every parent and relative closely monitor our children to make sure they’re not the ones with the guns, and also not the ones being hurt by the guns,” says Morales. “While police may arrest the offenders, it’s parents and relatives who must rally to curb the violence from within the homes and the community.”One crucial reform that’s needed, says Sears, is to reduce the lengthy time that elapses after a youth is killed or injured before parents get a response from detectives investigating these incidences. “These investigations need to be swift to apprehend those who are responsible for this violence against the youth.”last_img read more

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