Items of interest:
Housing Summary -- At the end of 2006, there were approximately 3.5 million U.S. homeowners with no or negative equity. (approximately 7% of the 51 million household with mortgages).
By the end of 2007, the number will have risen to about 5.6 million.
If prices decline an additional 10% in 2008, the number of homeowners with no equity will rise to 10.7 million. [...]
Existing-Home Sales Rise in November, Market Likely Stabilizing -- Existing-home sales rose slightly in November, indicating a stabilization in housing in the wake of mortgage disruptions earlier this year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Total existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 5.00 million units in November from an upwardly revised pace of 4.98 million in October, but are 20.0 percent below the 6.25 million-unit level in November 2006. [...]
Existing Home Sales Drop 20% -- First, the bad news: Housing is still a mess, and is likely to be a drag on the consumer spending and the economy in 2008.
However, I am going to surprise a few people, and point out that this single month's report actually has some good housing news in it:- Purchases rose 0.4%;
- October sales were revised upwards;
- Median home price fell 3.3 percent.
- Existing homes for sale fell 3.6% percent to 4.27 million. That's 10.3 months' supply versus 10.7 in October.
Dave Barry on Subprime and the Dollar --
On the dollar:
- On the economic front, the dollar continued to lose value against all major foreign currencies and most brands of bathroom tissue.
- In economic news, the Federal Reserve Board, responding to recession fears and the continued weakening of the dollar, votes unanimously to be paid in euros.
- There was a major collapse in the credit market, caused by the fact that for most of this decade, every other radio commercial has been some guy selling mortgages to people who clearly should not have mortgages. ("No credit? No job? On death row? No problem!") It got so bad that you couldn't let your dog run loose because it would come home with a mortgage. The subprime mortgage fiasco resulted in huge stock market losses, and the executives responsible, under the harsh rules of Wall Street justice, were forced to accept lucrative retirement packages.
- In Washington, President Bush proposes to ease the subprime mortgage crisis via a two-pronged program consisting of interest rate freezes and water-boarding.
The Credit Crunch, as told by Dr. Suess -- The following has ben pinging round the inter-tubes for weeks . . . The author is Cameron Crise of Fortis Investments in London:
Show me some flow
I need the dough!
I’m Broker Joe!
That Broker Joe!
That Broker Joe!
I do not like
That Broker Joe!
Would you buy my CDO?
I do not like them, Broker Joe
I do not like your CDO!
Would you like it here or there?
I would not like it here or there
I would not like it anywhere
I do not like your CDO
I do not like it, Broker Joe ...
Subprime Crisis Inspires Christmas Poems --
And just like the porridge from that childhood fable
The economy earned the "Goldilocks" label.
But lest we forget, Goldilocks was a mere thief
Whose breaking and entering brought her to grief.
S o tho' the economy seemed healthy and strong,
Behind all the numbers there was much that was wrong.
It was clear the housing slump wasn't over just yet.
Its problems compounded in the market for debt.
At the root of the credit market's deep trouble
Was the bursting of the big housing price-bubble.
The bubble had formed back just a few years in time
Inflated by loans that bankers dubbed as "sub-prime.' [...]
Real Estate: The best - and the worst - of 2007
1. Most expensive market: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Key stat: An "executive-type" four-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot home in Beverly Hills costs $2.2 million.
Beverly Hills, the most expensive housing market in the nation, according to the Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index, has been synonymous with wealth for decades. Film stars, software moguls and sportswear execs share its streets with millionaire merchants, oil sheiks and exclusive plastic surgeons [...]
6. Biggest drop in home price: Palm Bay, Fla.
Key stat: From a year earlier, the median home price in the third quarter in Palm Bay dropped 12.4%.
Home prices in many once-thriving Sun-Belt housing markets have cratered, according to the National Association of Realtors.Home price depreciation struck many more markets this year than last and the losses were spread throughout the nation. Cities as far apart as Detroit, Hagerstown, Md., and Reno, Nev. all recorded substantial declines.