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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Housing/Subprime/Credit Roundup — September 3, 2008

Items of Interest:

Housing Wire:
Housing’s Recovery Won’t Arrive Until 2011: Report -- A report released Tuesday afternoon by property information firm Radar Logic Inc. suggests that borrowers may be waiting much longer than some have suggested to see recovery in much of the U.S. housing market. How long? Try 2011.

Radar Logic publishes price-per-square-foot data used as the basis for the Residential Property Index, or RPX market, used by most hedge funds and institutional investors to hedge their mortgage-related bets. The RPX in particular has become a popular source of hedging for distressed mortgage investors purchasing whole loans.

The 2011 estimate is not the company’s own, but is based on a forward curve produced from futures trading in the RPX market, Radar Logic said. “That curve suggests weakness through 2009, stability in 2010, and a recovery in 2011,” according to the report. “This is in contrast to some industry economists who are calling for a bottom in 2009.” ...

Diana Olick / Realty Check:
Florida's Housing Woes: Banks With "Troubled" Exposure -- Some interesting intelligence from one of the ground zeroes of the housing market: Florida. Paul Miller of FBR published some financial “ramblings” (his word not mine) on a recent trip to Florida’s West Coast.

The group from Friedman Billings Ramsey visited St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, meeting with realtors, mortgage lenders and land brokers.

The takeaway is that most down there believe it will take two to four years to work through the over-swelled inventories and that the lower end of the market will recover more quickly than the higher-priced homes...
Ex-Credit Suisse Brokers Charged With Subprime Fraud -- Two former Credit Suisse Group AG brokers were charged with violating securities laws by fraudulently selling corporate clients subprime mortgages linked to auction-rate securities...
GM, Ford Drag U.S. Car Sales to 10th Straight Decline -- General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., the biggest U.S. automakers, dragged the domestic industry to its 10th straight monthly sales decline in August as consumers continued to snub trucks because of gasoline prices.

GM dropped 20 percent and Ford was down 27 percent. Each further pared production plans for the rest of the year. Deliveries at their main Japanese rivals, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., fell less than 10 percent.

A weak U.S. economy, falling home values and gasoline prices near $4 a gallon combined to drop industrywide sales 16 percent...
GMAC slashes 5,000 jobs - CNNMoney
Auto Sales Crater - The Big Picture
NY Times:
Hard Times Hitting Students and Schools -- With mortgage foreclosures throwing hundreds of families out of their homes here each month, dismayed school officials say they are feeling the upheaval: record numbers of students turning up for classes this fall are homeless or poor enough to qualify for free meals.

“We’re seeing a lot more children in poverty,” said Lauren Roberts, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County school system, a 98,000-student district that includes Louisville and its suburbs.

At the same time, the district is struggling with its own financial problems. Responding to a cut of $43 million by the state in education spending and to higher energy and other costs, school officials in Jefferson County have raised lunch prices, eliminated 17 buses by reorganizing routes, ordered drivers to turn off vehicles rather than letting them idle and increased property taxes.

The Jefferson County system is typical this school year...
Financial Armageddon:
Another Casualty of the Alleged Non-Recession

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