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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — April 16, 2009

Items of Interest:

USA Today:
Foreclosures 46% higher in March than a year ago -- The number of homeowners facing foreclosure surged in March as lenders lifted temporary moratoriums and resumed legal actions against delinquent mortgage payers.

Foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 341,180 properties in March, 46% more than a year ago and 17% above February's total, RealtyTrac reports today.

One in 159 U.S. housing units received at least one foreclosure notice in the first quarter, for a total of 803,459, according to RealtyTrac, which lists foreclosed properties around the country...

Foreclosures Up 9% in First Quarter — Foreclosure filings -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- were reported on 803,489 properties in the first quarter, a nine percent increase from the previous quarter and an increase of nearly 24 percent from the first quarter of 2008, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties...

Housing Wire:
‘Record’ Foreclosure Volume in March: Report

L.A. Times
Housing starts plunge in March — The West sees a 67% drop in the groundbreaking of new homes. Nationwide, starts are down by nearly half. The number new homes starting construction fell sharply in March to almost half the level of the same month a year ago and near a record low, according to federal data released today...
General Growth Files Biggest U.S. Property Bankruptcy -- General Growth Properties Inc. filed the biggest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history after amassing $27 billion in debt during an acquisition spree that turned it into the second-largest shopping mall owner.

The owner of Boston’s Faneuil Hall and the South Street Seaport in New York City ended a seven-month effort today to refinance its debt. The company listed $29.5 billion in assets and debts of about $27.3 billion in the Chapter 11 filing. General Growth will continue operating its more than 200 properties...
Carol Couts defrauded out of her houseWall Street Journal:
Older Borrowers, Out in the Cold -- In 2006, Carol Couts, a 66-year-old widow in Yuba City, Calif., was living in her home, payment-free, when a mortgage broker persuaded her to refinance her no-cost mortgage for one that exceeded her monthly income by more than $400.

She can't afford the payments, and unless her lender modifies the loan to make it affordable, she'll lose her home of 25 years. She's given away most of her furniture and her cat, and packed her belongings in cardboard boxes. "We've got nowhere to go," she says, referring to herself and her dachshund, Ollie.

As the government presses lenders to modify mortgages, a large subset of distressed borrowers is being left out: older homeowners on low fixed incomes. Many of them are now facing foreclosure, say legal-aid advocates and AARP attorneys, because they were sold loans they could never afford, often fraudulently...
Jeff Matthews: The New McCarthyists, Part II: Where the Culprits Are
U.S. job losses over the last two years by regionChris Wilson / Slate:
When Did Your County's Jobs Disappear? -- The economic crisis, which has claimed more than 5 million jobs since the recession began, did not strike the entire country at once. A map of employment gains or losses by county tells the story of how those job losses first struck in the most vulnerable regions and then spread rapidly to the rest of the country. As early as August 2007, for example—several months before the recession officially began—jobs were already on the decline in southwest Florida; Orange County, Calif.; much of New Jersey; and Detroit, while other areas of the country remained on the uptick...
Paul Kedrosky / Infectious Greed: Visualizing U.S. Job Losses/Gains
Is China's Economy Strong Enough To Save the World? -- The latest indicators show a bottom may be close. But economists say China'srebound will be too anemic -- and potentially too short -- to ease the global 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