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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — June 5, 2008

Items of Interest:

CNN Money:
Homes in foreclosure top 1 million -- Mortgage bankers report hits grim a benchmark in first quarter, showing a record number of homes in jeopardy.

More than one million homes are now in foreclosure, the highest rate ever recorded, according to a trade group which warned Thursday that number will continue to climb.

The Mortgage Bankers Association's first quarter report showed that a record 2.5% of all loans being serviced by its members are now in foreclosure, which works out to about 1.1 million homes. That's up from the 2% of loans, or about 938,000 homes, that were in foreclosure at the end of 2007.

The report also showed that 448,000 homes, or about 1% of loans being serviced, began the foreclosure process during the first quarter. That's up from about 382,000 homes, or 0.83%, that entered foreclosure in the last three months of 2007...

Home Foreclosures Hit Record - Wall Street Journal
Foreclosure rate rises to highest since 1979 - Blown Mortagage
Home Foreclosures: How Many People Are Beyond Help? - Realty Check, CNBC

USA Today:
Americans $1.7 trillion poorer -- Americans saw their net worth decline by $1.7 trillion in the first quarter - the biggest drop since 2002 - as declines in home values and the stock market ravaged their holdings...
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AP/ MSNBC:
Equity in Americans’ homes falls to historic low -- Drops to 46.2 percent in first quarter — level not seen since end of WWII

The equity Americans have in their most important asset — their homes — has dropped to its lowest level since the end of World War II.

Homeowners’ portion of equity slipped to 46.2 percent in the first quarter from a revised 47.5 percent in the previous quarter. That was the fifth quarter in a row below the 50 percent mark, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

The total dollar value of equity also fell for the fourth straight quarter to $9.12 trillion from $9.52 trillion in the fourth quarter, while Americans’ total mortgage debt rose to $10.6 trillion from $10.53 trillion...
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USA Today:
Warren Buffett hones rock-star status
-- Warren Buffett, dubbed the Oracle of Omaha by Wall Street, is making his voice heard these days.

The billionaire investor is out talking to cable TV anchors. To magazines. To shareholders. To Congress. To foreign investors. To a former Wall Street analyst who is writing a book about him...

So what is Buffett talking about? Pretty much everything. His investing secrets (don't buy what you don't understand). The election (Obama is his choice). The economy (the U.S. is in recession). Interest rates (no need for more cuts). Deals (he's always on the prowl). The housing slump (more pain ahead). The Bear Stearns bailout (it averted a financial meltdown). The stimulus package (use the cash to pay down debt). The credit crisis (the effects are far from over). The dollar (its value will fall more). Succession plans at his holding company Berkshire Hathaway (there's a short list of candidates). Taxes (the rich should pay more).
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AP:
Fed Approves Bank Of America Acquisition Of Countrywide -- The Federal Reserve has given approval for Bank of America Corp. to purchase distressed subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp.

The Fed board approved the deal in a 32-page order issued Thursday. Countrywide had said previously that it will hold a special meeting of shareholders on June 25 to approve the proposed sale.

In its order, the Fed board said that after the proposed deal Bank of America would remain the largest depository institution in the country, controlling approximately $773.4 billion in deposits, which represent 10.9% of total insured bank deposits in the country...
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