Mortgage purchases up, refis down as tax credit expiration approaches: MBA

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The rate of mortgage applications for the week ending April 23 decreased 2.9 percent from the previous week on a seasonally-adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly survey. But while the overall rate of mortgage applications declined, this was largely due to a drop in refinancings, not a decline in demand for new mortgage purchases, the report says. The MBA’s purchase index increased 7.4 percent, as the homebuyer tax credit expiration approached, while the refinance index dropped 8.8 percent. The average interest rate on 30-year mortgages stayed relatively flat, increasing to 5.08 percent from 5.04 percent week-over-week. TRD

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Doormen Union Strike Averted

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I am pleased to report that the Realty Advisory Board (RAB) and Local 32BJ reached an agreement just past midnight last night. The agreement, ratified by the RAB and subject to ratification by the Union, appears to be a fair and reasonable settlement. Over the four year agreement, building service workers will receive an increase in wages averaging 2.16% per year.  The total package will average 2.92% per year. The agreement calls for protection to owners from unexpected future cost escalation for health benefits.  For the first time, Management has now transferred the risk of extraordinary regulatory or inflationary increases in benefits to the Union.  This was not part of the previous agreement. In addition to this important change, the agreement calls for a significant reduction in the health benefit cost starting in 2012. The projected reduction will cover a significant portion of the wage and benefit increase over the four year agreement.
I want to thank Howard Rothschild, President of the RAB, lead negotiators Charlie Dorego, Eric Rudin, Jeff Brodsky and our lead attorney Paul Salvatore for the time and effort required to achieve this fair and positive agreement for all parties.

Steven Spinola – President, REBNY

NYC Doorman Building Worker Strike Deadline Tonight (as reported elsewhere):

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Buildings throughout NYC are preparing for a doorman building strike. Residents are being issued security passes and strike packages and signing up for volunteer building duties. Negotiations between the Realty Advisory Board and local 32BJ have resumed this morning. The contract covering 30,000 building workers expires tonight at 11:59 pm. The union has been running ads featuring doormen and porters. Robocalls featuring actress Cynthia Nixon have been calling apartment residents urging them to stand with building workers.

New Yorkers who live in condos and coops receive their building financials annually. The building financials include operating budgets and staff salaries. Most shareholders and condo owners are aware of what the building staff gets paid excluding tips and perks. The last strike by building workers was in 1991 also during a recession. A strike not only disrupts “the quality of life for NYC apartment residents. It will affect real estate closings, Open Houses and move-in and move-outs.

Let’s hope a strike is averted!

What do you think? Should anyone be asking for a raise in the midst of a recession?