Bring it on W

First American Title economist Chris Cagan said it first: the Bush Administration will save the housing market in 2004. No doubt, listen to the president for the clues.

This week in a speech at a windy port in Charleston, S.C., President Bush interlaced his defense of the decision to go to war in Iraq with 30 seconds of hoopla about the housing market. He praised the climb in home ownership, the role the housing industry plays in the economy and the importance of the rising minority home ownership rate.

It is nice to be in an industry that isn’t just a robust part of the economy but the nation’s central social policy.

Bundle up, it’s cold out there

Mortgages and home sales go hand in hand like bread and butter. But recent trends show a fundamental divergence emerging. On one side, lenders and closers like ABN AMRO and First American are bundling mortgage packages to make the closing process simpler for buyers. On the other side, real estate franchises like Help-U-Sell and GoneHome have unbundled home sale services to make the process easier and cheaper for sellers. What’s common to both is their respective industries’ resistance. Traditional bankers, most notably the MBA, strongly oppose bundling mortgages. And most traditional real estate brokers sour at the idea of competing with fee-for-service models. It’s hard to say who’s right or wrong, but the new products at least add color, competition and innovation to the industry. –Jessica Swesey

A 23-car salute

Another real estate advertising goof has been reported in a weekly Los Angeles Times humor column. This one mentions an “attached 23-car garage.” Los Angeles may be the most car-fixated city in the country, but a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom house with 23 parking spots? Now that would be truly horrifying. –Marcie Geffner

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