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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — August 14, 2008

Items of Interest:

Greenspan Sees Bottom In Housing in first half of 2009David Wessel / Wall Street Journal:
Greenspan Sees Bottom In Housing, Criticizes Bailout -- Alan Greenspan usually surrounds his opinions with caveats and convoluted clauses. But ask his view of the government's response to problems confronting mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and he offers one word: "Bad."

In a conversation this week, the former Federal Reserve chairman also said he expects that U.S. house prices, a key factor in the outlook for the economy and financial markets, will begin to stabilize in the first half of next year.

"Home prices in the U.S. are likely to start to stabilize or touch bottom sometime in the first half of 2009," he said in an interview. Tracing a jagged curve with his finger on a tabletop to underscore the difficulty in pinpointing the precise trough, he cautioned that even at a bottom, "prices could continue to drift lower through 2009 and beyond." ...

related:
Paul Krugman / NY Times:
Greenspan: not a mensch -- The truly astonishing thing about Alan Greenspan’s performance since the bubble he insisted was “most unlikely” burst, inflicting the macroeconomic damage he said it wouldn’t, has been his lack of menschhood — his inability to own up to his mistakes...

Paul Kedrosky / Infectious Greed:
Greenspan's Greater Foreign Fool Theory -- I laughed out loud at ex-Fed chair Alan Greenspan's other rationale letting more people into the U.S...

Why wait around for sovereign wealth funds to bail the U.S. out when you can simply invite foreigners in and suggest they buy real estate? Alan's soo-oooo clever.
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ben bernanke bailout
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Housing Wire:
Home Prices Fall in Q2 as Foreclosures Pressure Market -- A rising glut of foreclosed property is pressuring key local housing markets, pushing the median existing single family home price down 7.6 percent to $206,500 from $223,500 in the second quarter of 2007, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.

OK, technically, that’s not what the NAR really said — the realtor-led group instead suggested that home buyers were “responding” to lower metropolitan-area prices, focusing on the thirteen states that saw transaction volumes rise during the quarter (and ignoring the 37 states that saw volumes remain flat or drop).

Nonetheless, the fact that foreclosures are pressuring prices is pretty evident in the group’s data: only 35 out of 150 MSAs tracked by the NAR posted annual gains between Q2 2007 and Q2 2008.

The NAR, not surprisingly given the group’s agenda, suggested that the widespread price declines were being “distorted” by such a high number of REO properties on the market, and said that a surge in foreclosures had pushed prices below where they otherwise would be...
related:
CNNMoney:
Home prices down 7.6% -- Foreclosures drove down prices in the last 12 months, with cities in the Sun Belt leading the decline...
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July 2008 Foreclosure Filings Are Up 55% Year Over YearSeeking Alpha:
Foreclosure Filings Are Up 55% Year Over Year -- It is bad. It will continue to be bad. When it "recovers" it will be a long period of scraping along the bottom. Think tech stocks from the early part of the decade and how they "recovered" - long, drawn out process and many never came back. Or think Japan 1990s.

Keep in mind as you read the below data that certain states have put a pseudo moratorium on foreclosures as a preventative measure, so the numbers would be even worse if not for that.

  • The number of homeowners stung by the dramatic decline in the U.S. housing market jumped last month as foreclosure filings grew by more than 50 percent compared with the same month a year ago, according to data released Thursday.
  • Nationwide, more than 272,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice in July, up 55 percent from about 175,000 in the same month last year and up 8 percent from June, RealtyTrac Inc. said. That means one in every 464 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing last month...
related:
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FT Alphaville:
Chart of the day: Surging US inflation -- The folks over at EconomPicData have produced some fine charts breaking down the components of July’s US consumer price inflation data. Makes for grim viewing.

CPI components: Surging US inflation----

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