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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I'll be heading off on vacation next week, so no new posts, unless of course my travels compel me to note something housing-worthy that I see along the way. And regarding my posts: I want to thank all of you who have written in to the blog. ... I do try to reply to the most urgent questions. Some of you have expressed concern that I'm not being an impartial journalist on the blog — and you're right, I'm not. That's not what a blog is about...
The fact is, modification programs won't work unless the principal on the loan is written down, giving the homeowner at least some financial stake in the house. But we all know how willing lenders are to write down principal.
Mortgage brokers I talked to this morning said the floodgates are open, and it’s mostly refis. In fact, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly applications survey showed that last week, with rates historically low, 77 percent of applications were for refis, not new purchases.
In Las Vegas, which boasts 30,000 foreclosures in 2008, two out of three home sales are foreclosed properties. In California, foreclosure sales are pushing up total existing home sales like never before.
The trouble is that Fannie is inevitably going to have to sell those properties off into the marketplace, such as it is. The renters may get a stay of execution and some notice that eviction will come at some point, but it’s not home sweet home for the duration.
There seems to be some renewed energy behind a housing proposal leaked early last week. It’s the plan to have the Treasury buy home loans from Fannie and Freddie if the loans are given at 4.5 percent interest rates.
I applaud Fannie for trying to get ahead of the defaults, and I hope borrowers who don’t really need the workouts don’t waste Fannie’s time trying to get something for nothing. I fear that’s a big possibility.
The idea is that if a borrower can’t afford a home because the mortgage payment or principal is too high, they can instead sell equity in their home to a passive investor who would consequently share the equity gains or losses.
For several months, in discussions about the various and varied loan modification programs out there, we've been noting that re-defaults are rising, but we never actually had any numbers. Today we do.
As one industry-type put it to me, we thought we were going to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel by 2009, now we see a runaway freight train coming back at us.