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.
Follow Diana Olick on Twitter @Diana_olick.
To say that the housing starts number from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce today defied the Street's expectations is simplification to the Nth degree. The starts number defies logic, and it defies common fiscal sense. To be fair, many of the experts I spoke with today wrote it off as a "fluke," and the Commerce Dept.'s number has a notoriously high margin of error, especially in the permits breakdown.
You bloggers don’t mince words do you? First off, I want to thank all of you for writing in—a one day record for the Realty Check blog, 165 responses in one day and 9 more floating through the ether overnight (seriously, Jay J., what are you doing blogging at 1:21am???). I can’t possibly post all your responses, so I thought I would at least list some of the subject lines ...
I was reading an article from last weekend’s Washington Post (sue me, it’s been a busy week) about Condos feeling the “Mortgage Crunch.” The article explains how condos are bearing the brunt of defaults and foreclosures because condo fees are going unpaid and condo associations are being forced to dip into reserves to make repairs like fixing the roof or replacing the water heater.
Bravo, to all of you for writing in, and may I just say that perhaps the politicians should be reading this, because if they think a government bailout would be popular, they’d better think again. We got about 57 emails to the realty check site in the hour after I did the bailout piece on TV, and I can’t find even one post that supports a bailout.
I’m interested in getting some opinions on a story I’m reporting today because I’m not sure I agree with any of it. As the subprime crisis continues to unfold, and tightening lending standards bring the already sluggish spring market to a crawl, the blame game is heating up on Capitol Hill. Some lawmakers want to hold the big banks accountable. Bear Stearns, UBS, Lehman Bros., Merrill Lynch, they buy the loans, pool and securitize them. It is estimated that mortgage backed securities issued in 2007 will top 2 trillion dollars, not all of them consisting of subprimes of course.
I’m reporting a story on Lennar today. The sixth largest public homebuilder in the nation sent out an interesting letter to its contractors a few months ago offering them two choices: (A) Reduce your unpaid invoices as of 1-26-07 by a minimum of X [many have reported up to 20%]… or (B) Not reduce your unpaid invoices and be excluded from bidding future work for a minimum of 6 months. Those companies who choose to participate in this request and/or can exhibit the best price possible will continue to have every opportunity for future business with Lennar.
I’m not going to talk about mortgages today. I’m not tired of the topic; I just want to remind myself that there are other stories playing out in the real estate market. Lest we forget, people are still buying and selling homes, legally and responsibly, and I want to focus on that for a minute.
Ok, I want to take a little space here to respond to a number of complaints you readers have been sending to the RealtyCheck mailbox. Don’t get me wrong, I love it that you’re riled up, I love it that you disagree, most of all I just love it that you read all this stuff, so here goes:
I’m working on this story today about the ripple effects of the subprime crisis on the wider mortgage markets, specifically something called an Alt-A loan. What’s an Alt-A? Well, I did a little net-search and found a wide variety of definitions:
Housing starts in February jumped 9% from a month ago but were still down 28.5% from a year ago, the Commerce Department reported. The February increase was the biggest since January of last year and followed a 14% drop the previous month.