Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday April 30 Housing and Economic stories

Top Stories:

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Double in First Quarter, Led by Nevada - ( - California cities had six of the top 10 highest metropolitan area foreclosure rates. Stockton ranked first at one filing for every 30 households, almost seven times the national average. The city of more than 285,000 people claims to be California's 13th- largest. Riverside/San Bernardino was second in foreclosures at one for every 38 households. Bakersfield was fourth, Sacramento was fifth, San Diego was ninth and Oakland ranked tenth.
Vacant homes in U.S. set new record high - ( - On Monday, the Census Bureau reported that the number of vacant homes for sale has hit a record high. The report shows that 2.9% of U.S. homes -- excluding rental properties -- were vacant and up for sale in the first quarter. That translates to about 2.28 million properties - the highest quarterly number on record since 1956.
Condo is Tower of Solitude - ( – Worth repeating this story. Condo owner has almost the entire hi-rise to himself.
Maintenance is slow. Not long ago, Johnny clogged the garbage chute with pizza boxes, and when no one showed up to fix the problem, he dragged a concrete block five flights up and dropped it in the chute. When that failed, he tried another. "It just exploded," he says. The pool isn't heated. Johnny suspects it's because there aren't enough residents to justify the bills. He did figure out how to activate the waterfall, which pours down from Disneyfied bluffs. Still, instead of mingling beauties on lounge chairs and late-night Red Bull-and-vodka parties, the only real action on pool deck is the occasional Realtor networking social. Yay.
S&P delivers blow to CDOs - (
FHLB banks advances hit record high in 1st qtr - ( - Freddie Mac (FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research), and the Federal Housing Administration have become favored vehicles of the Bush administration as it makes efforts to stem surging mortgage defaults, falling home prices and rising foreclosures
Las Vegas, Miami and Phoenix house prices plummet by at least 20% - ( GMAC Posts $589 Million Loss on Home Lending Woes - (
Countrywide Reports $893 Million Loss From Bad Loans - (
Foreclosed properties going for much less - ( – Foreclosed properties are often selling for $100K or more less so that brings down all home values.
Real estate guru may go to prision - (
Middle class taps nest eggs to keep overpriced houses - (
A 27-year-old ponders walking away - (
More on Catching the Bottom in Housing - (Charles Hugh Smith)
Buffett says recession may be worse than feared - (

Other Stories:

Loan Industry Fighting Rules on Mortgages - (
Rising Property Taxes Pinch Houseowners - (
Bringing a check to the table - (

Dollar's fall forces new standard of frugality - (
'Tax rebate' checks: short-term benefits, long-term troubles - (
Expensive houses starting to show weakness - (
Mortgage crisis hits prime borrowers in NH - (

U.S. Stocks Decline as Consumer Confidence, Home Prices Fall - (
Dollar Rises to Three-Week High on Bets Fed Will Signal Pause - (
18.6 million houses empty because prices still too high - (
Why Not Let Markets Set Prices? - (
Inflated Appraisals May Become a Crime of the Past - (
Builders say whatever gets them money - (
So many scams, so few watchdogs - (
House Sales, Inventory Chart - (
S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. Home-Price Index Fell 12.7% - (
Consumer Confidence in U.S. Fell to Five-Year Low - (
Truckers protest high gasoline prices - (
Fed's Bailout Is Questioned By Ex-Staffer - (
Philadelphia Fed chief is hawkish on inflation - (
Tip-dependent workers feeling the slump - (
Good credit, bad loans - (
Survey finds millionaires singing the recession blues, too - (
A Credit-Card Crackdown - (
Amid High Oil Prices, Danger Signs in Production - (
Coal price hikes boost electric rates, more increases coming - (

GM to cut production of light trucks, SUVs - (
Fuel costs force airlines to change strategy - (
Inside Citi, a Hedge-Fund Push Blows Up - (
Deutsche Bank Says It Had First Loss in Five Years - (
Gasoline costs force service firms to raise prices - (
Papers' circulation declines continue - (

Germany's inflation dip brings relief for ECB - (
Europe faces 'inflationary shock,' EU official says - (
Soaring Rice Prices Send Asian Nations Scrambling - (
European Retail Sales Slumped in April, PMI Shows - (
U.K. Loan Approvals Reach Lowest Since at Least 1999 - (
India's central bank hikes cash reserve ratio to fight inflation - (
As demand for rice climbs, international trade falls - (

Panel to Look at Foreclosure Practices - (
What the Fed Could Learn from Europe's Central Bank - (
Southern California faces higher blackout risk this summer - (
Emptying the Breadbasket - (
The Ethanol Cure's Side Effects - (

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday April 29 Housing and Economic stories

Top Stories:

Condo is Tower of Solitude - ( – This is just a great story. Condo owner has almost the entire hi-rise to himself.
Maintenance is slow. Not long ago, Johnny clogged the garbage chute with pizza boxes, and when no one showed up to fix the problem, he dragged a concrete block five flights up and dropped it in the chute. When that failed, he tried another. "It just exploded," he says. The pool isn't heated. Johnny suspects it's because there aren't enough residents to justify the bills. He did figure out how to activate the waterfall, which pours down from Disneyfied bluffs. Still, instead of mingling beauties on lounge chairs and late-night Red Bull-and-vodka parties, the only real action on pool deck is the occasional Realtor networking social. Yay.
Raised in boom times, many Gen-X and Yers see their dreams go bust - ( – Hmm, it’s just hard for me to feel sorry for these guys.
Jason Liebrecht used to write about his motorcycle adventures on his blog. But since early this month, the 36-year-old San Diego computer software engineer's daily musings have been about a less thrilling new experience: unemployment. "Do I find a job, or do I head to Central and South America on the motorcycle?" he wrote on Day 4. By Day 7, he had become more realistic. After selling some stock and applying for unemployment, Liebrecht figures he can pay his $2,300-a-month mortgage and other bills for just two months. When his company health insurance runs out in a few weeks, he'll go uncovered because he can't afford the premiums. "You have to just hope you land on your feet," Liebrecht said in an interview.
New Houses Turning Old as the Inventory Piles Up - (
History Hints a Recession Would Hit City Hard - ( - The situation has worsened enough that the New York City Independent Budget Office, which said a month ago that it expected a brief and mild recession, is preparing a forecast that is likely to be significantly bleaker, said Ronnie Lowenstein, the director.
While You Weren’t Looking: FHA-Insured Jumbos on the Move - ( - Under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, The Federal Housing Administration received a huge shot in the arm when it saw its lend...
Bank of America to Modify Mortgages, Help Homeowners - ( - Bank of America Corp., seeking approval of its Countrywide Financial Corp. takeover, plans to modify at least $40 billion of mor...
Walkaways Are Over Already? - ( - Alan Nevin, chief economist for the California Building Industry Association and San Diego-based MarketPointe Realty Advisors, predicted foreclosure sales could account for as many as 15,000 out of 25,000 total sales this year. But at some point, the foreclosures will drop off, he Nevin said. “Anybody who's going to walk away from a house or condo has already done it,” Nevin said. “Now it's just a matter of the pig going through the snake.”
Taxpayers Already Bailing Out Housing Market - (
S&P delivers blow to CDOs - (
RBS May Cut 7,000 Investment Banking Jobs, People Say - (
Eos is Fourth U.S. Airline To Shut Down This Month - (
Greenspan, Bush to blame for U.S. crisis - (

Other Stories:

CA Median House Prices Down 29% In March - (Mish at
"Financial" Crisis? - (
Good-Bye, Cheap Oil. So Long, Suburbia? - (
Dealers see SUV glut as drivers trade in gas guzzlers - (
Scholar threatened for warning of housing bubble in Taipei - (
'Estate agents' offer empty houses for squat - (

Pipeline Shock: Wells Wholesale adds 3 points - immediately!!! - ( - "Due to secondary market execution risk, Wells Fargo Wholesale Lending has implemented a new 3.00 price adjuster." We were warn...
How the mortgage industry nurtured deceit - (
Privatized profits and socialized risk - (
Prosecute the Mortgage Sharks - (
I wasn't wrong in '02, just early - (
Mr. Mortgage: Gov’t Reports Record Number of Vacant Homes - ( - ``What does this mean? It means the ’Month’s Supply’ figures, which the press and market get so hot and bothered over each month ...
The Shrinking Pie Effect - (
Iowa's Largest Home Builder Implodes - (
Will They Call FHA A Predatory Sub Prime Lender Too? - (
Investors pull out of mutual funds - (
The Brighter Side of Housing: LOWER PRICES - (
Housing Market is Nowhere Near Bottom - (
Brookfield Net Income Declines as Property Sales Fall - (
U.K. House Prices Decline the Most in Three Years - (
Too Many Houses, Not Enough People - (
Prices down 20% in Bangalore, India - (
Three Reasons Why Mortgage Bailout Is a Terrible Idea - (
Fed rates down, Mortgage rates up - (
6.5 Million Foreclosures; Is There a Behavioral Problem? - (

Gold Rises as Oil Costs Jump, Signaling Inflation; Silver Gains - (
Fed's Bailout Is Questioned By Ex-Staffer - (
Home vacancies rise to record 2.9% in first quarter - (
Truckers protest high gasoline prices - (
Stimulus program rebates start today - (

Amid High Oil Prices, Danger Signs in Production - (
Muni Auction Market Shrinks by 33%, Driving Down Interest Costs - (
S&P Lowers CDO Assumptions, Signaling More Downgrades - (
OPEC president sees $200 oil possible: report - (
Credit card rates hustle higher - (
Resales of homes a house divided - (

Loan Industry Fighting Rules on Mortgages - (
Canadian economy stalling - (
Trichet Says Beating Inflation Is Sole Aim of ECB - (
Turf wars hobble China's financial markets - (
Russian Central Bank Raises Rates by Quarter Point - (
Brazil Oil Trapped by 500-Degree Heat, Salt Barrier - (
Japan's Inflation: Bad Timing - (
Panel to Look at Foreclosure Practices - (
Global adjustment will be long and painful - (
Where Every Meal Is a Sacrifice - (

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday April 28 Housing and Economic stories

Top Stories:

Eos Airlines collapses into bankruptcy - ( – Will cease operations immediately. Aloha Airgroup Inc., ATA Airlines Inc. and Skybus Airlines Inc. ceased operations earlier in April and Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection but continues to operate. Oasis (business airlines) also filed for bankruptcy in April.
Recording Of Republican Convention In Texas Which Illegally Ejected Ron Paul Supporters - ( - The sound of fascism. This kind of thing has happened before -- we are reminded of Rockefeller's browbeating of Goldwater suppo...
Countrywide CEO Made $132M In 2007 Pay, Stock Sale - (
How drunk do you have to be to buy a Miami condo? - ( - ''With the party-like atmosphere, some people become regular open-house goers, even if they aren't looking for a house. Judy Geo...
S.F. landlords charged with tenant terror - ( - A landlord couple have been charged in San Francisco with waging a campaign of terror against their renters in a South of Market building, including cutting out the floor supports at one apartment after the tenant went to court to keep from being evicted, authorities said Wednesday
Loan crisis hits home - ( – Of course, she (local woman) is blaming everyone except herself. Local woman finds obstacles abound in trying to work out new deal with lender • Nearly 15,000 borrowers across the state could see terms reset in the next 18 months
Calpers-Linked Land Partnership Gets Default Notice - (
Condo loans just got harder – ( - Starting May 1, AIG United Guaranty, a major private mortgage insurer, no longer will write coverage on condominiums in hundreds of ZIP codes across the country that it designates as having "declining" market conditions. The ban is irrespective of applicants' credit scores, assets or equity stakes. Even in the healthiest real estate markets, United Guaranty will require buyers to put at least a 10 percent down payment into the deal, and will reject applications on units in condo projects where more than 30 percent of the owners are investors
Lennar Property Pawned Off Onto CALPERS Hits Default - (
Beware the fine print in tax waiver law - (
Foreclosure Hits Even Connecticut's Wealthy - (
Bank-owned homes are real estate's new gold rush : Real Estate ... - ( – Yes, the na├»ve press setting up the next wave of victims
The Choice: A house price crash or soaring inflation - (
Lenders Swamped by Delinquent Mortgages - (
Inventory at 27-year high - (

Other Stories:

C.A.R. Median Home Prices Down 29% In March - ( - The California Association of Realtors® has released its report for March. Home sales decreased 24.5 percent compared with t...
Greenspan Long-Lost Thesis Was About Housing - ( - No wonder they hid it: An anticipation of a bursting housing bubble. Greenspan even wrote: "There is no perpetual motion mach...
Wells: More Liquidity Issues in the Secondary Market - (
Recession Diet Just One Way to Tighten Belt - (
Food squeeze feared as chance of U.S. drought seen - (
Trouble for the Dodd-Frank mortgage bailout plan - (
Wachovia Is Under Scrutiny In Latin Drug-Money Probe - (
Huge Derivative Losses Upcoming? - (
Interest rates rise in O.C. on safest mortgages - (
Horatio Alger Multiplied by 1.3 Billion - (
Where Was the Wise Man? - (

Effort to Rein In Fannie, Freddie Gains Steam - (
Oppose the Mortgage Lender Bailout - (
New House Sales And Recessions - (
Real Estate the Tip of the Iceberg - (
The Feds' Subprime Suspect - (
Why the housing market is cyclical - (
Robert Shiller on America's 'Speculative Culture' - (
Subprime Country: A Nation Within a Nation - (Charles Hugh Smith)
Alternative Script for NAR's Economist - (
Save 20-30% more - just wait! - (

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday April 25 Housing and Economic stories

Top Stories:

Bailout of the Year - ( - The student loan side of the credit crunch has been exacerbated by recent legislation from Congress, and now a crisis is brewing on top of a crisis: To summarize: Congress mandated a return on student loans that is too low to attract private capital in the current market. So Congress will now use your money to create artificial investor demand. Taxpayers will bear more risk so that Congress can fashion a new business model to replace the one it just destroyed. The Bush Administration, unwisely but typically, has endorsed this approach
California Treasurer Fires Shots at Rating Agencies - ( – Rips S&P and says they “rip off taxpayers”. Subtly implies California pension funds to unload shares of S&P parent.
Frank pushes for mortgage intervention - ( - High cost of failure to act, says Democrat
A federal cure for the U.S. housing crisis faces obstacles - (
Students Lose Billions as Colleges Petition for Loans - (
London hit with 'Code Red' by Moody's - (
New-Home Sales in the U.S. Plunge More Than Forecast - (
Debt Collection Done From India Appeals to U.S. Agencies - (
Fannie and Freddie Warned to Play "Fair" - (
Ambac May Need More Capital After Reporting Loss, Analysts Say - (
GE's Immelt: Housing Great Depression - (
Walking Away From Foreclosure Becoming Socially Acceptable - (
The Worst Is Not Over - (
Trader charged with spreading false rumours - ( - SEC accuses Blackstone short-seller
Fed bank bailout totals $360 billion - (
FHLB Chicago to stop mortgage-buying program - ( – “The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago on Wednesday said it would halt its program of purchasing mortgage loans, citing onerous costs. The FHLB of Chicago will no longer make or renew commitments under the program after July 31, Matthew Feldman, acting president of the bank, said on the company's website.”
Moody’s Begins Downgrading AAA-Rated Alt-A RMBS to Junk - ( - 'Moody’s Investors Service issued more Alt-A downgrades on Thursday morning, this time taking a heavy hand to 32 different Aaa-r...
Tidal wave of inventory yet to hit market - (
Want to Know When Housing Has Bottomed? Here's How - (Charles Hugh Smith at

Other Stories:

Sam’s Club, Costco limit bulk rice purchases - (
Bailout backlash - (
BailoutWatch: I Can't Even Keep Up - (
How housing slump bites newspaper profits - (
Libor to Rise as Banks Stay Wary, Derivatives Signal - (
Lower payments double interest paid - (
Forclosure activity continues to climb - (
Mortgage crisis has not really started yet - (
ResCap Cut By Moody’s, Borrows $468 Million from GMAC - ( - ''Moody’s Investors Service said late Wednesday that it had again downgraded Residential Capital LLC amid concerns that the mone...
Forget The Name "Countrywide" ... - ( - Bank of America CEO answers a shareholder's question...
Mortgage Rates Rise on Inflationary Concerns - (
ML-Bulletin: Citi Residential announces "last days", First Horizon sells to Met Life, and more - (
Tax Receipts: Unmitigated Disaster - (

Housing Crash Contrarians Say Buy! But Who Buys That? - (
How Many People are Really Walking Away From Mortgages? - (

FBI Wants Widespread Monitoring of 'Illegal' Internet Activity - (
Feds Meddle In Brewer's Choice of Beer Name (Weed) - (
Whirlpool Posts Lower Profit; Warns on Year; Stock Down 9% - (
Apple Profit Jumps 36% - (
Amazon Gains in Slowing Economy - Revs up 37% - (
US New Home Sales Plunge More than Expected - (
US Regulator Fears Wave of Bank Failures - (
Howard Ruff: It is Too Late. Hyperinflationary Depression on the Way - (
Inflation, deflation, or both? - (
California Price Declines by County and City - (
The High End: Desirable Yes, Immune No - (
Banks holding tight on prices at fake foreclosure "auctions" - (
Real estate's new hidden market - (

Merrill and TPG in talks on closer ties - ( - Possibility of investment (i.e., dilution of shares for existing shareholders) to help raise capital
Crude Oil Falls More Than $2 After Dollar Gains Against Euro - (
Dollar May Extend Gain Against Euro on Fed Rate Expectations - (
U.S. Durable-Goods Orders Ex-Transportation Rise 1.5%, More Than Estimated - (
Fed Weighs Pause After Next Rate Cut - (
U.S. Unemployment Claims Unexpectedly Fell Last Week - (
A federal cure for the U.S. housing crisis faces obstacles - (
Sam's Club, Costco limit rice purchases - (
Rising fuel, hotel costs the pits for NASCAR fans - (

Restaurants Feel Sting Of Surging Costs, Debt - (
Microsoft Earnings Decline 11%; Forecast Is Tempered - (
Toyota takes world sales lead from General Motors - (
Inflation Stalks Emerging Markets - (
German Business Confidence Drops to Two-Year Low - (
Credit Suisse Posts SF2.15 Billion Loss on Writedowns - (
U.K. Retail Sales Fall on Dearth of Consumer Credit - (
China's Shanghai Composite Index Surges 9.3% on Trading Tax Cut - (
A Chinese dream: The first car - (
Why this crisis is still far from finished - (

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday April 24 Housing and Economic stories

Top Stories:

Good Bush Clip – We are not in a recession - ( – We are in a slowdown, not in a recession J
First National Mortgage Sources Files BK - (
Buybacks, Lawsuits Move Cameron Financial Group, Inc. (1st Choice Mtg) To File BK - ( - Cameron Financial Group, Inc. (dba 1st Choice Mortgage) has filed for Chapter 7. View the petition, lawsuits and more in our la...
AMBAC: Lawyers Scrutinizing Certain Transactions - ( - "Bond insurer Ambac Financial Group Inc. has hired legal and forensic experts to examine 17 of its financial guarantee transact...
Roubini predicts 12 to 18 month recession - (
Americans slaves to jobs to keep houses - (
Excessive House Prices Cause Divorce - ( – I am sure excessive house prices caused marriages initially when couples were blinded by how smart their spouses were J
The cost of a lifeline: Humbled financial groups brace for more regulation - ( – Do any of us feel sorry for the financials?
Countrywide ripped at hearing - ( – Again, do any of us feel sorry for CFC? Of course, Countrywide did not attend the hearing.
If the public knew more, they wouldn't use realtors - (
Nevada: Borrowers trash homes - (
The House-Burning Foreclosure Alternative - (
Stuck with two mortgages - (
3% of Housedebtors To Be In Foreclosure In Next Two Years - (
Government Seeks to Buy Student Loans - ( – If the government buys student loans from the servicers, then these servicing companies should make very little profit. They are not finding investors or using their own money so what exactly what value will they be providing? None that I can see except helping users fill out the needed paperwork.
Financial groups raise $28bn - ( – Of course, they are raising the money by diluting their existing shares.
Lenders Swamped by Delinquent Mortgages - (
Office Investor Broadway Partners Faces the Music on Short-Term Debt - ( - Broadway's strategy for dealing with its mountain of debt will involve several pieces falling into place amid a challenging real-estate finance market. It wants to raise $200 million in equity to purchase some of its short-term debt back at a discount to its face value. That will involve both persuading equity partners to put up more cash, and getting debtholders to part with their investments at a loss. It also needs to execute property sales at a time when buyers are having trouble securing loans.
Subprime crisis provokes ‘tsunami’ of lawsuits - (
Ambac Posts Loss on CDO Writedowns, New Business Drop - ( – Ambak stock drops 45% on the news and is again at 52 week lows.
Americans hoard food as industry seeks regs - (

Other Stories:

Target credit-card defaults jump - (
Equifirst Halts All Lending Pending FHA Rollout - ( - "Effective today, EquiFirst is suspending our subprime lending products until further notice. We will focus all of our efforts o...
Ailing Ambac - ( - Even worse, its “good bank” line of work has evaporated more quickly than its “bad bank” operations. Business in public finance ...
Washington Mutual spent $980,000 lobbying - (
Bank Of America CEO Lewis Defends Countrywide Acquisition - (

Foreclosures soar in state, SF Bay Area - (
Foreclosures surge in California - (
California foreclosure surge 327% from '07 levels - (
Prices tumbling in Florida's luxury market - (
Financial regulatory limitations - ( - Regulation can and often does add more systemic risk to the system because people believe the regulators will see problems and ...

Starbucks Sees First Annual Profit Decline in 8 Years - ( Net Rises 29%; Shares Decline on Forecast - (
Housing slump may exceed Depression - (
Deflation In A Fiat Regime? - (Mish)
Mortgage rescue plan will hurt more than it helps - (
No help yet for most subprime borrowers - (
Anatomy of a Collapse - (
Triple-A Failure - (
Why Wall St. Needed Credit Default Swaps - (
Piling On: Borrowers Buried by Fees - (
$200K per year, and still not "rich"? - (
Lenders Swamped by Delinquent Mortgages - (

California home foreclosures hit a record - (
Inflation Fears Could End Fed's Fiddling - (
U.S. Architects' Services Index Falls to Record as Demand Slows - (
Gasoline prices have yet to peak - (
Texas and area nurses consider pros and cons of unionization - (
Libor Hits U.S. Borrowers - (
Credit vehicle defaults continue to climb - (
Regulators Back Away From Changes to Commodity Hedging - (

Yahoo's earnings report fails to wow Wall Street - (
Effort to Rein In Fannie, Freddie Gains Steam - (
Loans fear spreads beyond mortgages as defaults climb - (
UPS 1Q profit, revenues up; outlook lower for the year - (
Regulator fears wave of bank failures - (
New rules would raise fuel-economy standards - (

Wall Street losing patience with UnitedHealth - (
FDA Short of Funds For Inspections - (
Surging Energy Costs Take a Big Toll on Airline Earnings - (
UBS to Slim Down Investment Bank After Record Losses - (
Craigslist fires back at eBay over lawsuit - (

European Services Growth Unexpectedly Accelerated - (
India to take steps to control rising prices for food - (
Bank of England Splits Three Ways in Rate-Cut Vote - (
Australia's core inflation rises at fastest pace in nearly 17 years - (
Singapore's March Inflation Accelerates to Fastest in 26 Years - (

The emerging markets will export inflation across the globe - (
Food Crisis Is Depicted As 'Silent Tsunami' - (
Service contracts provide never-ending angst - (