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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — April 22, 2008

Items of Interest:

Existing Home Sales down 19.3%Calculated Risk:
March Existing Home Sales down 19.3% from 2007 --

The NAR reports: Existing-Home Sales Slip in March

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – were down 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million units in March from a level of 5.03 million in February, and remain 19.3 percent below the 6.11 million-unit pace in March 2007.
... graph shows existing home sales, on a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) basis since 1993....

The median price of an existing home dropped to $200,700 from $217,400 a year earlier...
Exisiting Home Sales Down 19.3%- The Big Picture
Will Existing Home Sales "Inspire False Hope?"
- TBP
Sales of Existing Homes Fell - Bloomberg

comment: existing homes versus new homes: existing homes is more important since it represents 85% of the housing market.
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End of subprime leading at CountrywideBlown Mortgage:
Bank of America Neuters Countrywide? - CNN reports that Bank of America will eliminate all but the most sound mortgage products as it attempts to complete its takeover of Countrywide. Countrywide was made famous by its option ARM and other non-traditional products which have clearly back-fired. Which begs the question - why Countrywide mortgage at all?

Bank of America announced that the main asset that they wanted from Countrywide was the midwestern retail bank operations where BofA is currently lacking (and the massive servicing customer base), so it makes sense that with their booming retail business they aren’t working hard to make sure that Countrywide’s mortgage-units have a product worth selling...
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LA Times:
Arson to avoid foreclosure? -- Some folks celebrate their last home mortgage payment by setting fire to their loan agreement. Lately, some people behind on their mortgages are simply setting fire to their homes.

In what appears to be the latest symptom of the nation's mortgage meltdown and credit crisis, insurers, law enforcement officials and state agencies nationwide report a jump in home and automobile fires in the last year believed to have been set by owners unable to pay their debts. The numbers are small, but they're leading the insurance industry to scrutinize more closely what seem to be accidental blazes ...
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ABC News:
Harry's Bar in Venice Giving Discount to Americans Hit by Weak Dollar/Subprime woes -- Ernest Hemingway didn't have to worry about a strong euro, but Americans in Venice these days do, so the novelist's old haunt is giving U.S. tourists 20 percent off.

The classy, pricey restaurant near St. Mark's Square now sports a sign telling Americans they'll get the discount on all the items on the menu. The notice cites Americans' economic woes linked to the subprime loan crisis...
"Harry's Bar of Venice in an effort to make the American victims of subprime loans happier, has decided to give them a special 20 percent discount on all the items of the menu during the short term of their recovery."
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Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia