Diana Olick is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, currently serving as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the author of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com. She also contributes her real estate expertise to NBC's "Today" and "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."
Prior to joining CNBC in 2002, Olick spent seven years as a correspondent for CBS News.
Olick began her career as a local news reporter at WABI-TV in Bangor, Maine; WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and KIRO-TV in Seattle. She joined CBS in 1994 as a New York-based correspondent for the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" and "The Early Show." She also contributed pieces to "48 Hours" and "Sunday Morning." During that time, she covered such stories as the World Trade Center conspiracy trial and the Boston abortion clinic shooting.
In 1995, Olick was assigned to cover the Midwest as a Dallas bureau correspondent. In the three years she was there, she covered all forms of natural disaster, including the crash of TWA Flight 800, the JonBenet Ramsey murder mystery and was the exclusive correspondent for the trial of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols. During that time, she also took a temporary assignment in CBS' Moscow bureau, where she chronicled the brief presidential campaign of Mikhail Gorbachev.
In 1998, Olick was reassigned to the New York bureau and then immediately posted to Bahrain for the buildup to a possible second Gulf War. A year later, she went to Albania to cover the U.S. military buildup during the conflict in Kosovo.
Upon her return, Olick was reassigned to CBS' Washington bureau and the Capitol Hill beat. During Campaign 2000, Olick covered the Senate campaign of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and later joined the Bush campaign as a special correspondent for "The Early Show." That fall, she was named Supreme Court correspondent; her first case was Bush v. Gore.
Olick has a B.A. in comparative literature with a minor in soviet studies from Columbia College in New York and a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.
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Yesterday the Treasury Department announced another element to the Home Affordable Modification Program (one part of the Making Home Affordable Program). It addresses what has been a big impediment to loan modifications so far, that is, second liens. Of the $12 trillion mortgage market, about $1 trillion are second liens (often called “piggyback loans”). According to the NY Times, 70 percent of those are held by banks.
Today the National Association of Realtors reported a 12.4 percent year-over-year drop in existing home prices in March. Yesterday the FHFA reported prices on homes with conventional loans fell 6.5 percent year-over-year and rose 0.7 percent from January to February. S&P Case-Shiller reports that home prices in the nation’s top twenty markets fell 19 percent in January, year-over-year. So why would anyone be confused, right?
We knew it was coming, and now it's here...the return of California's foreclosure crisis. DataQuick reports "lenders filed a record number of mortgage default notices against California during the first three months of this year, the result of the recession and of lenders playing catch-up after a temporary lull in foreclosure activity."
The subprime mortgage crisis is for the most part over. Now the second housing crisis is upon us. Too much debt, too little income.
Despite the fact that the press representative in Senator Dick Durbin's (D-IL) office tells me "negotiations are still underway," several outlets are reporting that the Senate version of the so-called bankruptcy "cramdown" bill is imminent. The house passed legislation in March allowing bankruptcy judges to modify home loans, with a couple of caveats, the main one being that the borrower had to have exhausted all possibilities for modification with his/her lender.
The home builders are supposedly more upbeat this month than they have been in the better part of a year. At least that’s what the survey from the National Association of Home Builders says. The first-time home buyer tax credit, combined with lower mortgage interest rates, have potential contract signers out kicking the tires. Optimism is out there, if not actual signed papers.
After that surprising surge in February, housing starts went back to their usual freefall again last month. The nearly 11 percent drop was larger than expected, but inevitable given the huge supply of new and existing homes already on the market.