Industry Watch


December 05, 2004

Holiday home tour of Union Square set for next Sunday

Fresh baked cookies and a tour of historic homes will be offered at the 19th annual Union Square Holiday Cookie Tour next week.

The walking tour, which is centered on Union Square Park between the 1500 blocks of W. Lombard and Hollins streets, will feature more than 20 homes decorated for the holidays.

Participants will receive a different cookie at each house as well as a booklet containing historic information about the home and cookie recipes.

"It's a great holiday mood setter," said Karen Fretz, Cookie Tour planning committee member.

Between 500 and 1,000 people are expected to attend.

The tour will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday . Tickets, which will be sold at 1401 Hollins St., can be reserved for $12 each by calling 410-945-2538 or at the event for $15.

Realtors offer workshop on finding, fixing up home

The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors will sponsor a free workshop this week on the basics of shopping for a home and rehabbing it.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the group's Lutherville offices, 1306 Bellona Ave. Registration is recommended. Information: 410- 337-7200.

Yield gap shrinks on bonds backed by fixed mortgages

Bonds backed by fixed-rate U.S. mortgages are their most expensive relative to benchmark government debt in a decade amid a slowdown in new issuance.

The extra yield investors demand to own current coupon, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bonds issued by Fannie Mae rather than 10-year Treasury notes narrowed to 0.91 percentage point last week, the smallest gap since June 14, 1994. The margin this year was as wide as 1.18 percentage points on May 7.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae issued $868 billion in fixed-rate mortgage bonds this year through October, down from more than $2.1 trillion in all of 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Adjustable-rate loans will make up about 35 percent of all mortgages this year, nearly double that of 2003, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, an industry trade group.

"The production is a telltale sign that it can stay tight," Kevin Jackson, a senior mortgage analyst at RBC Dain Rauscher Inc. in Chicago, said of the yield spread.

Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell buy Pacific Palisades home

LOS ANGELES - Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have purchased a home in the Pacific Palisades section of Los Angeles for close to its asking price of $4.5 million, according to public records.

The actors bought a gated, traditional-style estate with five bedrooms and 5 1/2 bathrooms in about 6,000 square feet. The home, built in the 1950s, has a formal living room with a fireplace, a kitchen with a breakfast area, a bonus room with a fireplace, a loft bedroom that could be used as a playroom or office, and a master bedroom suite with a sitting area.

The couple have had another home in the area as well as one in nearby Malibu, which they have been refurbishing.

Hawn, 59, and Russell, 53, have been together since 1982, when they met during filming of the movie Swing Shift.

From staff, Bloomberg News and Los Angeles Times reports. The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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