Updates from August, 2011

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  • Mortgage Rates Reach Record Lows as Stock Market Losses Mount

    9:11 am on August 11, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Credit, economy, FHA, Interest Rates, mortgage, Statistics, Stock Market, The Economy, Wall Street

    RISMEDIA, August 11, 2011—Mortgage rates continued to move lower as investor concerns over the health of the U.S. economy increased, reports mortgage rate research website, ForTheBestRate.com. Interest rates advertised on the site have dropped to near their lowest point of 2011 for most products, with the 15 year fixed reaching historical record lows. On August 4, 15 year mortgage rates as low as 3.250% were posted (APR: 3.387%, Lender: Gateway Bank Mortgage).

    Mortgage pricing has edged lower while US and global stock markets are seeing losses, including a drop in the Dow of more than 500 points on Thursday, August 4, the largest single day loss since December of 2008.

    The downward trend of mortgage rates was confirmed in the weekly survey from Freddie Mac, a government sponsored enterprise that purchases residential mortgage loans in the secondary market. The data released August 4 showed a decrease in the average 30 year fixed rate pricing to 4.39% (0.8% points) from 4.55% (0.8% points) from the previous week. 15 year fixed rates fell to a new historical low, an average of 3.54% (0.7% points), after averaging 3.66% (0.7% points) the week before.

    5 year adjustable rate loans also moved lower to an average of 3.18% (0.6 points), down from 3.25% (0.6% points) the week of July 28.

    “While we’d love to see more positive economic news coming from other sectors, right now there is a huge opportunity for homeowners,” comments Shaun Hamman of American Financial Resources, a National mortgage lender offering a range of products including home improvement loans and debt consolidation mortgages. “Buying a home or refinancing a higher rate mortgage at these incredibly low rates can allow one to make a significant positive impact on their long term net worth,” he adds.

    For more information, visit http://www.ForTheBestRate.com.


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  • Austerity, Wall Street-Style

    1:44 pm on December 14, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , Wall Strret   Filed under: Agent information, Stock Market, Wall Street

    Booking Yachts Is Out, Carpooling on Private Jets Is In as Boffo Pay Ticks Lower

    The Wall Street Journal

    December 13, 2010


    In Christmases past, the top bankers on Wall Street would often load their families onto a private jet and head to the beaches of St. Barts or slopes of Aspen for the holidays.

    This holiday season, many Wall Streeters are flying commercial, according to jet brokers. Those who are still flying private are jet-pooling with strangers to cut costs. Some are even skipping the catered in-flight meals, which can cost $1,000 or more for four people.

    “They’re telling me, ‘We’ll just bring our own lunch,’ ” said Ricky Sitomer, chief executive of Blue Star Jets, a private-jet charter company. “They still want to travel in luxury, but they want the best value they can get.”

    Austerity is a relative concept on Wall Street, where year-end bonuses are measured in “bucks” (millions) and flying private nal shopping spree in favor of more restrained indulgence. Brown-bag lunches aboard the Gulfstream are just the start.

    Yet this year, amid the largest decline in bonuses since the onset of the financial crisis, the Street’s big spenders are reining in their seasonal shopping spree in favor of more restrained indulgence. Brown-bag lunches aboard the Gulfstream are just the start.

    December is usually a time when bankers crowd the showrooms and aisles shopping for their next big bonus toys. But jewelers, sports-car dealers and yacht brokers say bankers this Christmas are hard to find.

    “We haven’t seen them come in yet,” says Jeff Drajin, looking out over a largely empty showroom at Manhattan Motorcars. Mr. Drajin, who sells Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Lotuses, says that in the good old days of 2007 and even 2009, December would see bankers start pouring in. “This year is different. It’s a little quiet.”

    While pay may increase slightly in the broader financial-services world—including retail banks, hedge funds and private-equity firms—bonuses at the core Wall Street firms are likely to take a double-digit hit, analysts and pay consultants say. On Monday, New York Stock Exchange member firms that conduct business with the public reported third-quarter after-tax profits of $4.7 billion, down from $8.7 billion in the third-quarter of 2009.

    Wall Street bonuses are likely to be down 22% to 28% this year, according to Options Group, an executive-search and consulting firm. The drop follows last year’s much-criticized surge in banker pay and highlights growing uncertainty on Wall Street ahead of regulatory scrutiny and weak financial markets.

    Bankers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. say they are being told bonus pools are likely to be down between 10% to 25%. Some divisions, like proprietary trading, could be down as much as 50%, bankers said.

    Exact bonus amounts won’t be known for another month or two, since most banks pay out bonuses early in the new year. Yet senior bankers who have seen bonus-pool estimates say many employees are likely to be disappointed.

    One Citi banker said colleagues who have been coming out of compensation meetings in the past two weeks “look like they’ve been hit by a truck.”

    Bankers will get less cash this year in part because of new pay structures. Regulators and shareholders have pushed banks to link pay to long-term performance rather than short-term trading gains. As a result, some bankers, accustomed to getting as much as 50% of their bonus in cash, may get only 20% this year, with the rest usually paid out in deferred stock, according to Wall Street compensation consultants.

    Not that Wall Street is exactly hurting. Total pay for the top three dozen publicly held securities and investment-services firms is expected to top $140 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal study. Goldman Sachs set aside $13 billion for compensation and bonuses in the first nine months. That is down about 20% from last year but works out to more than $367,000 per employee.

    “Let’s be honest, 2010 is still going to be a pretty darn good year,” said Michael Karp, chief executive of Options Group. “But people have been humbled. I don’t think we’ll see them resume their exuberant habits or the wild crazy parties.”


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