Monday's Personal Finance stories
- Take away the mortgage deduction at your own risk
- Loan modification plan failing, watchdog says
- Existing-home sales climb 10% in September
- Tougher appraisal standards coming soon
- Costs rise, even if Social Security doesn't
The idea has been proposed before — remember President George W. Bush's tax simplification committee? — but it's even less likely to get through Congress this time around, if the deficit commission does indeed propose it, given the tenuous state of the housing market. Talk about a way to stifle home-buyer demand.
Read more about the unlikelihood of Congress touching that particular tax cut, as well as details on the good-news signs in the real-estate market. Plus, read Amy Hoak's Home Economics column on how federal regulators are cracking down on inaccurate home appraisals.
On the non-real-estate front, read how older Americans report that some costs are rising — even though their Social Security benefits are not.
—Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
Thanks to low average inflation nationwide, retired Americans' Social Security checks in 2011 won't include a cost-of-living increase for the second year in a row. But even though the inflation rate has been low for about two years, older people report that they're paying more for a variety of items.
Read more on costs rise, even if Social Security doesn't.
Food inflation will "accelerate" during the final months of 2010 and into the first six months of 2011, especially for meat, cereal and dairy products, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Monday.
Read more on food inflation to accelerate into 2011.
Appraisers and appraisal management companies are facing new requirements aimed at ensuring home valuations are accurate and fair — and they could be in for tougher penalties if they don't follow the rules.
Read more on tougher appraisal standards coming soon.
Sales of existing homes climbed 10% in September, with a drop in prices helping transactions increase for a second straight month, according to a report released Monday.
Read more on existing-home sales climb 10% in September.
A watchdog on Monday said the government's home-loan modification program is failing, which risks sparking more public anger and mistrust.
Read more on loan-modification plan failing.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair on Monday outlined ideas to tackle the so-called "robo-signing" crisis, saying that lenders, investors and borrowers could reach a broad pact on which foreclosures should be able to go forward.
Read more on Bair backing ‘safe harbor' plan on foreclosures.
U.S. home sales have perked up in the past two months after plunging to a record-low in July, the real-estate agents reported Monday.
Read more on for housing, stability still far off.
It doesn't make much sense to allow homeowners to deduct their mortgage-interest payments on their federal income-tax returns. But then how many dozens of other tax breaks can you say the same thing about?
Read more on take away the mortgage deduction at your own risk.
The hugely popular mortgage-interest tax deduction could be targeted by a bipartisan commission charged with finding ways to chop the deficit, according to a report published Monday.
Read more on mortgage-interest tax break may face ax.
One of the mutual-fund world's dirty little secrets has been that "growth-and-income" and "equity-income" funds provided shareholders with virtually no income.
Read more on stock funds yield surprisingly strong dividends.
An exchange-traded fund that invests in gold-miner stocks has tripled in price since bottoming two years ago, but the ETF suffered a sudden correction last week as an attempt to break through its 2008 apex failed.
Read more on gold-miner ETF fails to break 2008 peak.
Talk about a caffeine jolt. When securities regulators questioned whether Green Mountain Coffee Roasters had improperly booked sales, investors unceremoniously dumped the stock down the drain.
Read more on how to spot some age-old revenue-cooking tricks.
A "head and shoulders" top? Just such a bearish prospect was quite the rage this summer among many bearish advisers. All that was needed for this technical indicator to trigger an actual sell signal was for the market to fall below the "neckline" that connected the right and left shoulders — and the market came dangerously close to doing so.
Read more on two formerly bearish indicators now more positive.
Republican agenda, meet Washington gridlock. On the verge of recapturing the House of Representatives on Nov. 2 but with the Senate still looking out of reach, President Barack Obama's opponents and their smaller-government ideas are facing a scenario of probable political inertia even as they ride a wave of voter discontent and anger at Washington incumbents.
Read more on gridlock would wash in with GOP ‘wave'.
An Obama administration proposal to increase law enforcement's ability to listen in on electronic communications could have far-reaching implications for the future of the Internet and cellular-phone service.
Read more on new cyber law could stifle telecom growth.
Open economies provide more jobs and allow for a better recovery than closed ones in the long run, according to new research presented at the World Bank Monday.
Read more on open economies better for jobs in long run: World Bank.