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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“They’re pulling themselves out of the market to regroup,” is what one of my mortgage broker buddies told me on the phone this morning when I asked how in the heck Wells Fargo could raise rates on a 30-year jumbo fixed rate mortgage from 6 7/8% to 8% overnight. A jumbo is anything over $417,000, and given today’s home prices, that’s going to hit an awful lot of borrowers.
If I’m wrong, then I’m the first one to say it. But I have to say; I can’t believe I’m wrong about this. Given all the news, data, analysis, and sheer emotion of the current downturn in the housing market, you would think an awful lot of Americans would be worried, concerned, maybe a little, well, interested? Maybe not so much.
One rumor on the floor that Beazer might be in trouble and -- boom -- the whole sector drops like a brick. I run around calling all the analysts I know, and one by one they say it's all unfounded -- yeah, Beazer has some issues with litigation and its lending practices, and there's that SEC investigation that was announced as "formal" last week, but overall they're in no worse position than any of the other beleaguered home builders. Their stock may be, but the company isn't.
So it’s only a few hours after I blogged about C-Bass and American Home Mortgage is providing a crystal ball. Shares of AHM are down 87% after the company said it just can’ fund all those home loans and may have to liquidate its assets. It’s the margin calls, same as C-Bass.
What’s the worst business to be in nowadays? No, not Lindsay Lohan’s PR agent. Try a company that buys troubled subprime mortgages, improves collection rates and then sells them at a profit as packages of debt to hungry investors. That might have been a fun business last year; not so much this year.
I was looking for some information this morning on just how much more it will cost you to get a loan today than it did just a year ago today, and I came upon a survey from the Federal Reserve that is really indicative of just how much the playing field has changed. For several decades the Fed has been doing a Loan Officer Survey, asking a slew of senior bank guys if they’re tightening their standards on residential mortgages.
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Bad news in the housing market this week was enough to rock the stock market right off its foundations. Existing home sales, new home sales, homebuilder earnings reports, no one expected them to be bright, but the numbers cast a heavy shadow on any optimism for a quick recovery in housing.
I have to say that given the earnings of the major public homebuilders that I’ve been reporting all week, Hovnanian CEO Ara Hovnanian’s comments on CNBC this morning made me wonder if his rose-colored glasses weren’t perhaps impairing his vision entirely. No offense at all to the CEO, who, I’m happy to say, is one of very few of his ilk right now that will actually agree to go on TV and speak his mind. The rest have been turning down our requests, several even telling me that I personally make them look foolish.