Fed Report: Real Estate Stabilizing in Key Cities

While real estate and other industries remained weak in all 12 of the Federal Reserve districts, there is reason for optimism in several areas, according to the Federal Reserve, which released its periodic “Beige Book” report of economic activity on Wednesday.

In Boston, Fed contacts reported “early signs of improvement” in the residential real estate sector, and the news was equally good in New York where the book said banks are reporting “the most widespread rise in demand for residential mortgages in more than seven years.”

In Richmond, Va., commercial real estate is reporting moderate increases in activity and residential lending is rising because of strong demand for refinancing, the report said. Demand for refinancing is “hard to keep up with,” one of the Fed’s contacts said.

Meanwhile, commercial real estate weakened in Kansas City while residential real estate is holding steady, the report concluded.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Meena Thiruvengadam

Housing Meltdown Hurts Minorities the Most

Minority Americans were the biggest losers in the subprime mortgage crisis, according to a study by an advocacy organization United for a Fair Economy.

The study concludes that African-Americans and Hispanics lost as much as $213 billion in wealth over the last eight years because of predatory lending. “This was “the most massive loss of wealth for African Americans in U.S. history,” the study said.

The study also pointed to data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which suggests that 40 percent of African-Americans given subprime housing loans could have qualified for cheaper mainstream mortgages.

Source: Electronic Urban Report 02/09/2009