Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
There’s a new development in the Zillow/Move dispute, with a judge on Friday ordering an independent forensic analysis of Zillow computers, including USB devices, email accounts, Zillow computers and even the personal computers of Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley, both former Move executives now employed by Zillow.
Move Inc. and the National Association of Realtors filed suit against Zillow in March 2014 after Samuelson, then Move's chief strategy officer, resigned from Move on March 5, 2014, and joined Zillow as the company's second-highest paid executive on the same day.
Move alleged that Samuelson and Zillow stole trade secrets and proprietary information, and that they have made efforts since to cover that up. Move further alleges that Zillow has been hiding or deleting evidence.
Zillow denies the allegations and in late August the company countersued Move and the National Association of Realtors for defamation.
See our extensive coverage of the lawsuit here.
It’s time for the Mortgage Bankers Association's 102nd Annual Convention & Expo in San Diego this week, and Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans kicks off the first big session of the day at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.
But look for the biggest news coming out of the session with Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt later Monday morning. At 10:15 a.m. local time Castro and Watt take the stage with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Corday, in a an event entitled "The View from Washington."
At last year's MBA convention, Watt and Castro announced several major housing policy changes. Look to HousingWire for breaking news and other coverage throughout the convention as we cover speakers, sessions and all the news that happens in between.
And when you need a break from the convention center, check out our insider’s guide to the best places for food and entertainment within walking distance from the hotel, as provided by the concierge.
Will the Federal Reserve really hike rates in December? Goldman Sachs is about 60% sure that it will happen, according to an excerpt from Goldman chief economist Jan Hatzius that Calculated Risk ran Sunday:
“The low market-implied probability of a December hike of only 30%-40% probably reflects a mixture of concerns about the data (which we find reasonable) and a belief among some market participants that the FOMC will find an ‘excuse’ to stay on hold even if the economy does fine (which we find unreasonable). ...”
Whether the Fed raises interest rates or not, its monetary policy in the wake of the Great Recession means that anything it does has an outsize effect, according to a column in Zero Hedge on Saturday.
“If the Fed raises rates, the market will crash. On the other hand, if it doesn’t raise rates, and continues indefinitely on its course of quantitative easing, investors, middle class and working families, businesses, as well as pensions, benefit programs and insurance policies will also die a slow painful economic death.”
On a happier note, United Shore Financial Services is getting some recognition for its emphasis on work-life balance. CNBC ran a segment highlighting the company’s “firm 40” policy that limits employees to five eight-hour days of work per week. Employees are not just encouraged but required to leave after eight hours. Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Shore said the policy actually saves money through less turnover and happier employees who work harder when they are at work.
HousingWire readers are already familiar with United Shore’s philosophy on work-life balance, highlighted in Ben Lane’s interview with Ishbia in July. Ishbia, who played basketball at Michigan State under Tom Izzo, credits the legendary coach with much of his approach to life and business. "We’re constantly changing," Ishbia said of United Shore. "Where we’re at today has got nothing to do with where we’re going to be tomorrow because we’re constantly getting better.”
Orange County, home not only to the Magic Kingdom but beaches, parks and crazy-good weather, has plenty to offer. Except for housing apparently. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, housing in the Southern California enclave is now close to sold-out conditions, according to a story in the Orange County Register.
“Mortgage rates are low. Lenders seem willing to lend. But just go find a home to buy.
“Selection is limited, especially at price ranges that most people would consider barely affordable. Orange County averaged 5,622 homes listed for sale since 2012 — half the typical inventory of the previous eight years, according to ReportsOnHousing.
“And consider that just 0.7% of owned homes in Los Angeles and Orange counties were vacant in 2015’s first half, according to the U.S. Census. Only nine other U.S. metro areas have lower vacancy rates.”
The situation is just as dire for renters, who face average rents of $1,867 a month and a vacancy rate that never strays far from 5%. Businesses looking for commercial space face similar obstacles. The lack of available — not to say affordable — housing has implications for the entire mortgage market. Read the whole story here.
No banks were reported closed by the FDIC for the week ending Oct. 16.