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Monday, June 16, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — June 16, 2008

Items of Interest:

Housing Wire:
NAR’s numbers proven wrong in New Jersey -- File this under too good to pass up: it turns out the National Association of Realtors got their quarterly sales numbers wrong in New Jersey, and not just by a little bit. On May 13, the NAR’s first quarter sales summary was released with the requisite highlighting of those few remaining “pockets of strength” in key metropolitan areas.

One such area was New Jersey, which apparently had seen sales jump 4 percent on a year-over-year basis. Except for one problem: they didn’t...

Agence France-Presse / CBN News:
[Frenchman says] Worst of subprime crisis may be over: report -- PARIS - The worst of the financial crisis sparked by the near collapse of the US subprime mortgage market may be over although markets remain under stress, the head of French bank BNP Paribas said on Monday.

The crisis is "far from over" but "one can hope that the worst has passed," Baudouin Prot told the newspaper Les Echos.

"We have come back to a 'normal financial crisis' situation compared with the month of March, which was truly awful," he said...
USA Today:
Bank robberies up around USA -- Bank robberies are up in cities across the USA this year and, although the reason is unclear, the down economy is a suspect.

"The economy is driving some of this," says Chris Swecker, chief security officer for Bank of America and former assistant director of the FBI's criminal division. "We're even getting some anecdotal stuff from bank robbers."

Swecker said Bank of America analysts study the interplay between the increase in bank heists and foreclosures, credit defaults and unemployment rates...
  • In San Francisco, bank robberies jumped from 20 in the first five months of 2007 to 32 for the same period in 2008, said Sgt. Wilfred Williams, spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.

  • Bank robberies in the Houston metro area more than doubled in 2007 to 115, and the city is on pace to match — or break — that mark with 51 robberies already, said Detective Robert Schobey of the Houston FBI Joint Bank Robbery Task Force.

  • Jackson, Miss., had its eighth bank robbery of the year last week. It had seven in all of 2007, according to Jackson Police Lt. Joe Wade.
FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak said bank robbery numbers fluctuate annually, but overall change usually is slight.

"I've seen trends go up and down," he said. "But I've never seen anything really double." ...
The Republican / Springfield, Mass.:
Fires fueled by 'gas' hoarders spur fears among Western Massachusetts fire officials
-- Recent fires blamed on gasoline-hoarding in the eastern part of the state and elsewhere are fueling fears that it could happen here.

Earlier this month in Dartmouth, fumes from gasoline stored in office water-cooler-type jugs started a fire inside an apartment, officials said. No one was injured in the blaze.

"All of us have felt the pinch of skyrocketing gasoline prices, but hoarding gasoline and storing it in the home is not a solution," said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan this week...

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