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Friday, August 29, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — August 29, 2008

Items of Interest:

Prime Foreclosure Starts Surge Past Subprime in JulyHousing Wire:
Prime Foreclosure Starts Surge Past Subprime in July -- There can be no remaining doubt that the nation’s mortgage crisis has become a problem for prime credit borrowers: data released by the HOPE NOW coalition on Wednesday finds that prime foreclosure starts have finally moved ahead of subprime foreclosure starts, for the first time since the industry coalition began collecting data in July of last year — and likely for the first time in a much longer timeframe, as well, sources suggested to HousingWire Thursday afternoon.

It’s a point that was missed in many media reports touting HOPE NOW’s success in preventing more than 2 million foreclosures during the past year; but it’s a critical shift that should be garnering more public policy focus than it currently is.

HOPE NOW’s monthly data shows that during July, foreclosures were initiated on 105,000 prime borrowers and 92,000 subprime borrowers. Prime foreclosure starts in July were well more than double the 51,000 recorded one year earlier, and up almost 10 percent from June; in comparison, subprime foreclosure starts in July were up 22 percent from one ago, and up 10 percent month-over-month as well...

Housing Wire:
Mortgage Insurers See Defaults Increase in July -- Home owner delinquencies are ratcheting back up again after a few months of easing; the latest data suggesting this comes Friday morning from the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, a trade group representing many of the nation’s private mortgage insurance companies. MICA reported that July defaults were up nearly 34 percent from one year earlier, reaching 68,831; that compares to 67,908 in June.

The year over year comparison is potentially inflated, however, as one large lender altered how it reports insured defaults in April; it’s unclear what the impact of that change has been in subsequent months.

Further, starting with July’s data, MICA no longer includes data from Triad Guaranty Inc., the nation’s seventh-largest insurer. Triad said in June that it would stop selling new policies and move its portfolio into runoff after failing to raise fresh capital.

“We are continuing to see a return to basics in the housing market, and home loans with private mortgage insurance are playing an important role in that effort,” said Suzanne Hutchinson, executive vice president of MICA.

With Triad missing from July’s data, it’s tough to say just how much defaults rose in July; but we know defaults are on the rise, given data released earlier this month...
NY Sun:
Unthinkable Happens: Manhattan Apartment Prices Fall -- Recently released city records indicate that apartments in prime Manhattan neighborhoods are selling for less than their purchase prices - a phenomenon that until now was virtually unheard of in the seemingly invincible New York City real estate market.

Among the apartments selling for a loss is a unit at 80 John St., in the financial district, which recently sold for $590,000, much lower than the $720,000 selling price in January. At 515 West End Ave., on the Upper West Side, an apartment recently sold for $2.1 million - $50,000 less than its 2005 purchase price. There are also apartments currently on the market that are listed for below their previous purchase prices:

A three-bedroom condominium at 166 Duane St. in TriBeCa - the wealthiest ZIP code in America, according to Forbes magazine - is on the market for $4.495 million, well below the $4.7 million paid for the unit in April.

"This clearly indicates that the market is not what it was," the president of the real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, Jonathan Miller, said. "Two years ago, you'd be pressed to find an apartment that sold for less than its purchase price." ...

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