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Feds to crack down on reverse mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration plans to impose new restrictions on reverse mortgages starting next year (i.e. tomorrow).

The move will put a small crimp in the sales of homes by seniors, but it won’t really impact the overall housing inventory, as far as we can tell. Remember: Most reverse mortgages, by design, are structured to allow seniors to stay in their homes until they pass away or move for whatever reasons.

But there are two people who definitely will be impacted by the restrictions: Reverse-mortgage pitchmen Robert Wagner and Henry “The Fonz” Winkler.

File under: Crocodile Shed tears

A day made of glass

The clip below shows how technology will change our homes, workpace and how we shop.

Google Glasses:

Score one for the bricklayers

Deutsche Bank has agreed to settle a housing-investment dispute that involves, of local interest, the Massachusetts Bricklayers and Masons Trust Fund.

Basically, the plaintiffs accused Deutsche Bank of lying about the quality of mortgages stuffed  into massive securities products. Can you believe it? A giant financial institution accused of lying to investors? Anyway, it looks like no one is admitting wrongdoing, as usual, but at least investors, including the Bricklayers, will get about $32.5 million from the settlement.

File under: Hitting a brick wall

Condo buyer wants out after S&M disclosure

This sounds like an “only in San Francisco” story if I ever heard one.

A San Francisco man who paid $621,000 for a condo to share with his 10-year old son is fighting to rescind the deal after learning the other unit in the two-unit building is home to sadomasochism enthusiast who engages in loud “leather sex.”

Read the full  real estate story

March housing numbers are not good

Preliminary data for March home sales and prices are not very encouraging. But a prominent housing economist, Karl Case, thinks it’s time to to give more credence to month-to-month comparisons, rather than year-to-year comparisons, because of how last year’s numbers are distorted by the housing tax credit.

Seen from the month-to-month perspective, the market is slowly improving, Case said.

Business quote of the day

Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.

~Robert Orben

Can a computer do your job. Good luck college grads

Last week I blogged about how technology is replacing retail jobs. Today, Paul Krugman took it a step further on how technology is replacing college eduacted jobs.

The day after the Obama-Bush event, The Times published an article about the growing use of software to perform legal research. Computers, it turns out, can quickly analyze millions of documents, cheaply performing a task that used to require armies of lawyers and paralegals. In this case, then, technological progress is actually reducing the demand for highly educated workers.

NY Times

Real Estate: Quote of the day

“Very little is written about what will happen when all the dollars, built up as foreign central bank and private holdings, get spent. Indeed, we believe that not only will the dollars get spent, but this spending will have massive inflationary implications for America.” —Richard Branson

Amercian jobs & the Boston real estate market

As I have stated many times before on this Boston real estate blog, look at the job market as one major (not the only) indicator on forecasting the real estate sales market. Click on the visual video below.

The total number of  jobs in America fell by nearly two million over the past decade. That doesn’t bode well for real estate agents in many parts of the country. Fortunately for Boston, education and health care were one of the strongest job sectors where we actually had job growth. So maybe, I’ll have a good year selling Boston condos after all.

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