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Friday, December 28, 2007

Housing Numbers Weak

Items of interest:

MarketWatch:
U.S. new-home sales fall 9% to 647,000
November decline is more than expected; sales are lowest since April 1995

Sales of new U.S. homes fell by a greater-than-expected 9% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
The pace, the lowest since April 1995, underscored the enduring crunch in the U.S. real-estate market.

On average, economists surveyed by MarketWatch were expecting new-home sales to drop to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 710,000 in November.

At the same time, October's sales rate was revised downward, the data show.
Sales in October were revised to an increase by 711,000, or 1.7%. They'd previously been estimated to have risen to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 728,000. [...]

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The Big Picture:
Dollar Value Inventory of Unsold Homes -- Since we have New Home Sales at 10:00am this morning, let's take a look at U.S. House Inventory, Priced in Dollars:

Inventory of Unsold Homes-----
Bloomberg:
Subprime Losses Are Big, Exaggerated by Some: John M. Berry --As the U.S. savings and loan crisis worsened in the 1980s, analysts tried to top each other's estimates of the debacle's cost to the federal government.

Much the same thing is happening now with losses linked to subprime mortgages, with figures of $300 billion to $400 billion being bandied about.

A more realistic amount is probably half or less than those exaggerated projections -- say $150 billion. That's hardly chicken feed, though not nearly enough to sink the U.S. economy.

A loss of $150 billion would be less than 12 percent of the approximately $1.3 trillion in subprime mortgages outstanding. About $800 billion of those are adjustable-rate mortgages, the remainder fixed rate.

Subprime loans represent about an eighth of the value of all U.S. residential mortgages.
related:
Felix Salmon / Seeking Alpha:
Are Subprime Losses Being Exaggerated?
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Mortgage Fraud Blog:
New Jersey Loan Processory Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme -- Frank Corallo, charged December 21, 2007 in a criminal information, pled guilty to conspiracy for his involvement in a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme that involved the Mahwah, New Jersey real estate mogul Michael Eliasof.

As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Michael Eliasof, Mahwah, New Jersey, was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering in a criminal information filed on November 14, 2007. According to the information, Eliasof assisted underqualified borrowers to obtain financing from several lenders including, GMAC, Argent, Long Beach, Finance America, LLC...
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