New York, New York, USA
Director of News and Programming
Award winning journalist Gary Baumgarten hosts the News Talk Online show on He asks critical questions, and invites people from all around the world to talk directly to his newsmaker guests using Paltalk's voice over IP technology. Gary came to Paltalk as director of news and programming from CNN where he was the radio bureau chief and correspondent in New York for a decade, where he covered, among other things, the 9/11 attacks in New York and Hurricane Katrina. He was previously reporter and assistant news director at CBS all news radio station WWJ in Detroit. Prior to that he was managing editor at Detroit Radio News Service and a reporter for the Jackson (MI) Citizen-Patriot, the Detroit News and a number of weekly newspapers. Paltalk is the largest multimedia interactive program on the Internet with more than 4 million unique users. News Talk Online is also syndicated by CRN Digital Talk Radio to cable systems serving an additional 12 million households.


Editor’s Pick
MARCH 11, 2009 7:54AM

A Positive Economic Indicator For A Change

Rate: 5 Flag

While all the economic news has been, seemingly, a mix of doom and gloom, there is, today, one positive indicator that gives some hope of a recovery.

Weekly mortgage applications are up, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The MBA is releasing its weekly survey for the week ending March 6, 2009. Showing an increase of 11.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous week. On an unadjusted basis the index increased 5.7 percent over the same week in 1008.

Refinances are up as well, by 13.3 percent.

If you're thinking of getting into a home or refinancing, rates are very attractive. The MBA says the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (and who in their right mind is going to go for an ARM anymore, especially with the rates so low?) is down to 4.96 percent. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is at 4.54 percent on average.

We talk about these issues and more weekdays at 5 PM New York time on News Talk Online on


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Thanks, Gary. I'm inhaling these bits of optimism as if I've been deprived of oxygen. Let's hope it continues.
Yes, one should refinance if they can. This might keep more homeowners out of foreclosure too. Any signs of optimism ought be emphasized by the media.
After nothing BUT gloom and doom, it's nice to hear some good news for a change. I hope it means the bad news is leveling off, and we might be edging into calmer financial waters, however gradually it happens.
The price drops help for sure. That makes the solvency crisis worse for the financial sector. In the end, it comes down to politics, namely, will the Chinese stay on board financing the U.S. government, or will they seek and edge over Taiwan and Unity of the Motherland, just as domestically, will the Republicans make constructive suggestions, or will they pout, and will the Democrats throw them a bone. One can hope...
All true and good to spread the word. But I am still waiting for a reliable auditing source to verify Citi's uptick and sudden profitability. The guys at the the top may just be cooking the books to keep their bonuses. And someone should issue a caveat about all the mortgage and refi scams being aired every day, esp. on cable TV. No one should be lulled into thinking that we went from gloom to bloom in a few short weeks.
If I say this is reaching for straws, I suppose one could answer, Straws to a drowning man etc. Or that every little bit helps, or whatever. I just don't see how a little weekly indicator could mean much in a situation where not only the US but the World financial sector is outmoded, corrupt, and no longer functioning. In the past, world wars seemed to correct the situation. We have the opportunity now to proactively make needed changes... if we don't, then I suppose the situation will take itself in hand, as in the past. Don't mean to rain on the parade, Gary, but short term thinking might be part of the problem. After all, don't Bin Laden and his types teach us, if anything, that patient, long-term strategies are superior to reading the morning's tea leaves?
I work in the title insurance industry - we are intertwined with the mortgage sector. Applications ARE up - closings are remaining steady. Once the closings go up though?

THAT will be fantastic.
If more of the media would report good news more often we might be able to fool more of the people, more of the time.