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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As we spend the end of the year debating the merits of the various plans to save the subprime borrower, I need to add a dose of reality to the Realty Check: On December 6th, when President Bush announced the brand new Paulson Plan to freeze certain subprime mortgages at their “teaser” rates, a little factoid got lost in the shuffle, and the trouble with this factoid is that it’s not exactly a fact.
Two news items that have me scratching my new hair: An apparent drop in foreclosure filings in November and some truly dismal earnings from New Jersey-based home builder Hovnanian. First to the foreclosure report, which comes from RealtyTrac.
I realize this was a momentous occasion, being allowed to sit in on a meeting of the Federal Reserve board of governors and watch as they considered a proposal critical to the future of the mortgage market. I guess I just expected more. The room is austere, the governors impressive, the staff remarkable, but the meeting was unremarkable.
First off I want to apologize for my lack of blogging on Friday. I meant to get back to my desk in the early afternoon, but that didn’t happen. You see, when you’re in the TV business, every now and again you get the call from the official network “stylist” who wants to “rework” your hair and makeup and “freshen up” your wardrobe. In other words, the bosses think you need some work.
A reader wrote into the blog yesterday, saying I had missed an important point in my breakdown of how a Fed rate cut does or doesn’t affect your mortgage, and he had a good point, so here you go:
I realize we’re in the doldrums of December, not exactly a hot time in housing, even during a boom cycle, but I’m hearing some disconcerting rumblings from some builders, anecdotally speaking of course. One mid-sized private builder told a friend of mine that potential customers coming through their model-home doors are openly hostile. They’re not just looking for good deals; they’re looking for payback.
As we all eagerly await the Fed decision at 2 pm today, I want to just clarify what exactly a rate cut will and will not affect. It’s pretty well accepted now that the Fed will lower its key short-term interest rate (“the Fed Funds rate”) by probably a quarter point, maybe a half, but that’s the outside bet. So what exactly does that do to residential mortgage rates?
I’m not saying that the Realtors are living in la-la land. They have a job to do. They have to sell houses for a living, and therefore it is in their best interests to put the most positive spin they can on the data they offer. I do, unlike some, believe their data, and I don’t think they futz with the numbers to their advantage.