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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Housing Wacks

Items of Interest:

AP / USA Today:
Homes in foreclosure rose 79% in '07 -- The number of U.S. homes that slipped into some stage of foreclosure in 2007 was 79% higher than in the previous year, a real estate tracking company said Tuesday. Many homeowners started to fall behind on mortgage payments in the last three months, setting the stage for more foreclosures this year.

About 1.3 million homes received foreclosure-related warnings last year, up from 717,522 in 2006, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said. Foreclosure filings rose 75% from the previous year to 2.2 million.

More than 1% of all U.S. households were in some phase of the foreclosure process last year, up from about half a percent in 2006, RealtyTrac said. [...]

FORECLOSURE FILINGS SURGE
State
2007 filings
Change from 2006

California
481,392
238%
Florida
279,325
124%

Foreclosure filings by year
2005 - 885,468
2006 - 1,259,118
2007 - 2,203,295 [35% in California & Florida]
Source: RealtyTrac

related:
Reuters: Countrywide: 1 in 3 subprime mortgages delinquent

You Walk AwayYouWalkAway.com -- Is Foreclosure Right for You

If you are facing or considering foreclosure, you're not alone. [...]

discussion: The Big Picture
---
Seeking Alpha:
Case-Shiller Housing Index Continues to Slide -- For those watching the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes these past couple of years, it's been a bit like watching progressive freeze frames of a car accident. The indexes measure the changes in the prices of existing single-family homes, which have not been doing well at all. With every monthly announcement, the disaster becomes more gruesome, and the November reading—released today—is no exception.

The October results, released shortly after Christmas, saw the 10-City Composite achieve an annual decline of 6.7%, beating a 16-year-old record, and the record-breaking continued in November, with that decline increasing to 8.4%. Meanwhile, the newer 20-City Composite, which only has data going back to 2000, was down 7.7%. October 2007 is the 11th month of negative annual returns and the second full year of decelerating returns, meaning the growth of housing prices essentially ground to a halt two years ago and has been in the equivalent of a slow-motion free fall for almost a year. [...]

Case Shiller Nov 2007 housing pricesCase/Shiller Nov07 10 City index
---
Wall Street Journal: FBI Begins Subprime Inquiry [sub. required]

Housing Wire:
FBI Opens Wide-Ranging Subprime Mortgage Probe on 14 Firms -- Federal investigators at the FBI have opened a criminal investigation of 14 mortgage-related companies, focusing on alleged accounting fraud, insider trading and securitization practices, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon.

Even bankrupt firms aren’t free from the scrutiny, with the Journal quoting FBI economic crimes chief Neil Power as saying that investigators were combing the books of failed mortgage lenders to identify if evidence of wrongdoing exists — given that there aren’t that many really, really large failed lenders, it’s probably not too hard to guess which firms are included in that group of 14. Even if the FBI isn’t naming names right now. [...]

Reuters:
Bear, Goldman, Morgan Stanley probed on subprime -- Bear Stearns Cos, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley said on Tuesday that government investigators are seeking information from them about their subprime mortgage activities. [...]
---
Realty Check / CNBC:
Home Ownership Fading And So Is American Dream -- It’s not like you couldn’t have predicted this, but the home ownership rate in the U.S. fell in the fourth quarter of 2007 to its lowest level since the beginning of 2002--this from a record high in the middle of 2004. [...]

But what really gets me in this report released today from the U.S. Census is the little-reported homeowner vacancy rate. It’s up at 2.8 percent, [...]
---
Spot of good news?

Housing Wire:
Fannie’s Mudd: Boosting Loan Limit Will Provide Liquidity -- Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd went on Bloomberg TV today to discuss the proposal being floated in Congress to temporarily boost the GSE conforming loan limit from its current level of $417,000. In his interview, he suggests that Fannie would be able to provide much-needed liquidity to the jumbo market — which he says represent “working class” mortgages for many borrowers. [...]

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