OVERNIGHT MONEY: Housing snapshot

Anthony Sanders, a real estate finance professor at George Mason University, said Tuesday to not expect improvements in the new home sale numbers. One problem the new home market faces, analysts have said, is that foreclosed homes are readily available and often cheaper than new houses.

“While we will see some pickups in a variety of indicators like new home construction, these need to be taken into context that they are often below or just equal to previous years,” Sanders said. “There are an estimated 5.3 million homes in limbo between foreclosure and the liquidation."

The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that existing home sales dropped 9.6 percent in February after three consecutive months of gains — and that the median sales price, $156,000, was at its lowest point in nine years.

On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that housing prices fell 0.3 percent in January — the third consecutive month the agency’s index has recorded a drop.

House Republicans have already voted to eliminate several administration housing relief programs and announced last week they would mark up several measures in the coming weeks to overhaul Fannie and Freddie and limit taxpayer exposure. 

Democrats have generally opposed GOP efforts to kill off programs like a Federal Housing Administration mortgage-refinancing initiative, but have also stressed that they, too, believe Fannie and Freddie should be revamped. 


This one’s not going away: As our friends at Hillicon Valley have detailed, there is a fairly deep bench of opponents to the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint is thought to be leading the lobbying charge against the merger, which still needs to get past federal regulators, but Verizon is expected to take a hands-off approach. 

For their part, AT&T has said it's confident the deal will go through. 

Think tank daybook: The American Enterprise Institute is scheduled to have a morning event focusing on Japan’s post-earthquake recovery that is bound to touch on economic issues. 

Back to the drawing board: A federal judge in New York has rejected a settlement that would have allowed Google to create an Internet library of sorts in exchange for sharing the profits with authors and publishers. The New York Times reports that the judge, Denny Chin, said the $125 million deal — which was opposed by corporations like Microsoft and Amazon — went too far and was “not fair, adequate and reasonable.”

(Other) economic indicators:

— The Energy Information Administration releases its weekly petroleum report.


Heading home: President Obama has decided to leave cut his Latin America trip short by about two hours, leaving a earlier Wednesday than previously planned.  

And, in his last full day on a trip that in many ways focused on strengthening economic partnerships, the president told reporters in a joint Tuesday appearance with Mauricio Funes, El Salvador’s president, that he wanted to work with America’s neighbors “to make borders more efficient and more secure, so we're encouraging trade and economic growth rather than constraining it.”

Supreme Court Roundup: Not the best day for business at the country’s high court, as The Los Angeles Times reports. In deciding to make it easier for both workers to sue and drugmakers to be sued, the Supreme Court is continuing a run of ruling for plaintiffs and workers in cases involving businesses. 

Up on Wall Street: The Dow fell slightly on Tuesday, after three days worth of gains had almost taken it back to where it stood on the day before the Japanese earthquake. As The Associated Press reports, the dip of 17.9 points came after the Dow had moved at least 100 points in either direction in four of the previous five days.  


On the Money’s Tuesday:

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