* Mortgage lending falls to its lowest monthly level since 2001 (Paul Farrow, The Daily Telegraph)

Gross mortgage lending declined to an estimated �9.9bn in February, down 15pc from �11.7bn in January and 60pc from February 2008, according to new data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

* SOUNDING OFF:When eyeing staff cuts, dont discount good news (Steve Smith, Daily Pilot)

These days, there is a tremendous amount of good economic news besides a gently rising stock market, but you are going to have to work hard each week to find it.

* Feds may have home sellers disclose energy cost (Kenneth Harney, San Francisco Chronicle)

The Obama administration’s top housing official, Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said consumers deserve more information on the energy efficiency of the houses they buy – resale and newly built. And he said mortgages should come with lower rates or better terms to encourage purchases and retrofits that save energy.

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* Key to economic recovery may be in California (Matt Krantz, USA Today Magazine)

* Sweating out the job hunt at the YMCA (George Morse, Times Gazette)

* Phone scam seeks credit card info (Tony Simmons, News Herald)

* Key to economic recovery may be in California (Matt Krantz, USA Today Magazine)

* Sweating out the job hunt at the YMCA (George Morse, Times Gazette)

* Phone scam seeks credit card info (Tony Simmons, News Herald)

Jim Wasserman raises many interesting points.

All the breathless media coverage of the Fed’s decision this week to spend another $1.2 trillion to buy mortgage-backed securities and more Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages insinuated that interest rates would take a quick and deep dive into 4 percent territory.

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A short and simple article by Alan Zibel.

Rates on 30-year mortgages fell this week to the lowest level on record after the Federal Reserve launched a new effort to assist the staggering U.S. housing market.

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WASHINGTON Rates on 30-year mortgages plunged this week to the lowest level since January and may fall further after the Federal Reserve launched a new effort to prop up the flailing housing market.

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From today’s Bloomberg News:

Americans fell behind on their mortgages and banks seized homes at a record pace in the fourth quarter as unemployment rose to a 15-year high and real estate values tumbled.

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Another great article by Harry Gross of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dear Harry: I know how you hate those ARMs (adjustable-rate mortgages), but I went for one five years ago, because I didn’t think my job assignment in New Jersey would last this long. It now appears that I will have at most another three years here and then be transferred back to St. Louis. Here’s the problem: Our ARM had a fixed rate of 5 percent for the first five years. Now it is about to ad…

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Here is today’s story from South Florida Business Journal on South Florida.

While 2008 will be remembered in South Florida as the year the bottom fell out for residential mortgages, 2009 could become the year of the commercial mortgage meltdown.

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