Morning Money Memo…
A dramatic drop in homes entering foreclosure is the latest sign of real improvement for the housing market, which continues to recover from the collapse six years ago. “The overall picture is we’re on a path back to normal foreclosure activity,” says Darren Blomquist of the listings firm RealtyTrac. “We’re really over two-thirds on the way there.” RealtyTrac says nearly 56,000 homes entered the foreclosure process last month. That’s down 8 percent from July and down 44 percent from August last year. Foreclosure sales by banks rose. “That actually I believe is a function of the recovering market,” says Blomquist. “The banks now feel more comfortable foreclosing because home prices are higher.” They can recoup more of their losses.
Consumers who are shopping for a mortgage could be better off if they close this year. In January loan limits for government-backed mortgages are scheduled to drop, reports The Wall Street Journal. New mortgage rules which restrict the types of products lenders can provide will go into effect. Some experts say the changes could leave homebuyers with fewer and more expensive financing options. The Federal Housing Finance Agency is planning to slash the maximum size of mortgages eligible to be backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Final rules on what the new limits will be have not been announced.
Stunning changes in how the world opts for technology. Sales of tablet computers will outnumber personal computers for the first time in this year’s fourth quarter, according to research firm IDC. Consumers are opting for smaller mobile devices over desktops and laptops. The growth of smartphones and tablets is making up for a likely 10 percent drop in PC sales this year.
Facebook stock is at an all time high: $45 a share – up 70 percent this year. But Apple had a miserable showing one day after its new product announcement. The company’s share price plunged 5.4 percent. But not everybody is selling. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn told CNBC investing in Apple is a “no brainer,” calling the share price cheap.
For the third day in a row The Dow Jones index had a triple digit gain. The rise came as the threat of military action by the U.S. in Syria receded. The next big worry for the market may be the threat of a government shutdown, as Congress deals with a major split among Republicans about what to do next. Moves by the Federal Reserve are also a continued cause for concern.
For the first time the U.S. government has come up with window labels that show the gas mileage and pollution of used cars. The Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency say the labels can be viewed on the website www.fueleconomy.gov. Labels are available for all vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1984.
China’s Cabinet is trying to clear the air. The government announced today that it will ban new coal-fired power plants in three key industrial regions around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Its latest bid to combat China’s notorious air pollution
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow