Shelli Dore’s Real Estate Blog

Archive for February 2010

By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY

Moving to defuse concerns that an interest rate rise could be just a few months away, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Wednesday he expects rates to stay “exceptionally low” for an “extended period.”In his semiannual report to the House Financial Services Committee, Bernanke cited high unemployment, “subdued inflation trends and stable inflation expectations” as reasons for keeping its fed funds rate near zero.

“That’s significant,” says James O’Sullivan, chief economist of MF Global. He says it likely means the Fed won’t boost its benchmark rate until late fall.

Similar language has been commonplace in Fed statements during the recession. But signs that the recovery is gaining traction — along with the Fed’s move last week to bump up interest rates on loans to banks — have fueled predictions that borrowing costs for consumers may soon rise. 

The Fed last week raised the discount rate it charges banks for emergency loans by a quarter point, prompting a sell-off in stock and bond markets. But Bernanke reiterated Wednesday that the increase in the discount rate is “not expected to lead to tighter financial conditions for households and businesses and should not be interpreted as signaling any change” in monetary policy.

He added that policymakers expect the economy to grow a “moderate” 3% to 3.5% this year and about 4% in 2011. Unemployment, he said, will fall slowly from January’s 9.7%, remaining at 6.5% to 7.5% by the end of 2012. Inflation should stay low — 1% to 2% — through 2012.

The recovery’s fragility was underscored Wednesday as new home sales tumbled to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000 in January.

To jump-start the economy and lower mortgage rates, the Fed is buying $1.75 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, Treasury bonds and other debt. It plans to end mortgage security purchases by March 31. Some economists fear that will drive up mortgage rates. Bernanke said the Fed will “continue to look at” whether more purchases are needed.

But he noted the Fed will still hold $1.25 trillion in mortgage notes. That in itself, he said, should keep rates “below what they otherwise would be.”

Others worry the plethora of Fed-infused cash in markets will spark inflation. Bernanke said the Fed has tools to reclaim the money, including selling securities with agreements to buy them back later.

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By Kevin Flynn on February 15, 2010

The West Corridor light rail project is the first FasTracks rail corridor that RTD has under construction. Denver Transit Construction Group – a joint venture of Herzog Corp. of St. Joseph, Mo., and Stacy & Witbeck Inc. of Alameda, Calif. – has the 12-mile construction zone divided into three areas, and on Friday it gave an update on recent construction progress and a look-ahead to upcoming construction activities in Golden, Lakewood and Denver.

Most of the bridges are well under construction, including the longest bridge on the corridor, the S-shaped 1,600-foot light rail structure that will carry trains on a diagonal path over both Sixth Avenue Freeway and Indiana Avenue.

Also well underway is the bridge over Colfax Avenue at Sixth Avenue, the Wadsworth Boulevard bridge and the Sixth Avenue Freeway bridge – a steel arch structure being assembled on the grounds of the Denver Federal Center. In April, it will be placed over the freeway during a weekend traffic closure by sliding it across from south to north over the abutments.

You can view the report that was given to the corridor’s elected officials by clicking here.

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…Remember! The next time you are in a conversation with someone who is thinking about a move – IN ANY CITY OR STATE IN THE US OR CANADA – call me first! I can help make sure your friends, family members and work associates are very well taken care of.

Daily Real Estate News | January 29, 2010

Fannie Mae, the largest provider of residential home funding in the United States, announced Friday that it would pay the closing costs on purchases of foreclosed homes in its inventory.

The government-controlled company said buyers of qualified properties will get up to 3.5 percent in closing costs, or an equivalent amount for the purchase of new appliances.

The goal of Fannie is to clear out the nearly 50,000 properties it has in inventory— listed on HomePath.com, the Web site created by Fannie Mae last year to sell the growing number of foreclosed homes.

“Attracting qualified buyers to the market and reducing inventory of vacant homes is critical to stabilizing neighborhoods and helping the market recover,” said Terry Edwards, executive vice president for credit portfolio management, in a statement.

Source: Reuters News, Al Yoon (01/28//2010)

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Shelli Dore

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