March 22, 2007

Now we've come full circle - Casey Serin and iamfacingforeclosure.com make The Economist - the poster boy of a system run amok


When HP originally broke the iamfacingforeclosure.com story back on September 21, 2006, just six months ago, I had an inkling that the kid would end up getting worldwide pub, and eventually (after a stint in jail) rich from being the poster boy of the late great housing ponzi scheme and everything that went wrong with a corrupt REIC and a financial system designed for a meltdown.

Ah, the American dream...

Well, now the kid has hit The Economist. No, seriously, Casey Serin has hit The Economist. No, seriously. I'm not kidding. Seriously. Yes, the magazine who wrote the best housing bubble story of all time - In Come the Waves. Yes, the world's greatest magazine. That Economist. And now Casey Serin....

Cracks in the fa├žade - America's riskiest mortgages are crumbling. How far will the damage spread?

The Economist

CASEY SERIN knows all about the excesses of America's housing bubble. In 2006 the 24-year old web designer from Sacramento bought seven houses in five months. He lied about his income on “no document” loans and was not asked for anything so old-fashioned as a deposit. Today Mr Serin has debts of $2.2m. Three of his houses have been repossessed; others could share that fate. His website, Iamfacingforeclosure.com, has become a magnet for those whose mortgages are in trouble.

Mr Serin and people like him are Wall Street's biggest uncertainty just now. How many Americans are saddled with mortgages they cannot afford on houses that are losing value? The answer matters to anyone who bought high-yielding mortgage-backed securities when a booming property market made mortgages look safe. It also matters to investment banks, which packaged the securities and often own subsidiaries that originate mortgages. It may determine whether America's economy falls into recession. It could even affect the outcome of next year's elections.

Lenders got the demand for loans that they wanted—and more fool them. Amid the continuing boom, some 40% of all originations last year were subprime or Alt-A. But as these mortgages were reset to higher rates and borrowers who had lied about their income failed to pay up, the trap was sprung. A new study by Christopher Cagan, an economist at First American CoreLogic, based on his firm's database of most American mortgages, calculates that 60% of all adjustable-rate loans made since 2004 will be reset to payments that will be 25% higher or more. A fifth will see monthly payments soar by 50% or more.

A glut of unsold homes will also push down prices, particularly in areas such as California and Florida, which had a disproportionate share of riskier loans. House prices have already been falling in parts of both states, as they have in Midwestern states, such as Michigan, where manufacturing industry has shed jobs in recent years. Will those declines accelerate and spread?

Few doubt that the subprime mess was, in part, a regulatory failure. But now the mistakes have been made, the biggest risk is that populist politicians rewrite the rules hamfistedly. Fraudulent activity should be punished. The vulnerable need protection from predatory lenders. But an ill-conceived swathe of new “consumer protection” could easily make matters worse. If restrictive regulation scared investors away from the subprime market for good, that really would hurt the poor.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

luckily for nyc manhattanites the boom will never bust

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for it to hit the New Yorker, then you know you've made it!!!!


Someday, ages from now, humans will study this blog, and know that freedom didn't go down without a fight.

Anonymous said...

haha yaaaaaaaaa

Anonymous said...

There still is no advertising on the blog, how is this possible?

maidinej said...

Keith,

I always enjoy the images you pick for your site. I think this one takes the cake.

http://www.slate.com/id/2161046/

Anonymous said...

World's greatest magazine? Keith, you are a tofu-eating anglofile. Housing SUCKS, but I really thing you suck more.

Uncle Al said...

Firstly, is Serin familiar with the word infamous?

Secondly, things have changed a geat deal since they published the article you referenced because the Economist now follows the blogs?

veritas_faust said...

In a world where Anna Nicole's baby daddy is headline news and Rosie and Trump have a public war this was to be expected.

It is now official, there is no more news in the news, just bread and circus.

Anonymous said...

Look, after reading the post below about the bank head leaving a mess for his sucessors to sort out, Casey Serin is closer than he might have ever imagined to being knighted and placed as head of the Bank of England or the European Central Bank.

Anonymous said...

So sad. So stupid. So..........................damn predictable.

It's like riding in the back seat of a roller coaster, you see the fall coming long before it hits. I just hope to not get hit by loads of vomit from the front-riders.

Anonymous said...

"luckily for nyc manhattanites the boom will never bust"

It will and when it does, I'll go out and celebrate as it could not happen to a more deserving group of people.

Anonymous said...

anyone have info on nouveou riche university?

christiangustafson said...

I think it would truly be a tragedy, if the Casey Serins of the world didn't matter. Imagine if the RE economy could just absorb his losses and not look back for a second. But the fact is, the Casey Serins of the world, in aggregate, could wreak tremendous damage upon the Bear Stearns and JP Morgan Chases of our day. Casey, in all of his pathetic, small-time, grasping, get-rich-quick desperation, is like a kamikaze bomber hitting the carrier decks with a full $2.2MM impact.

Plenty more Caseys out there, I'm glad and grateful that he's sharing with us the horror of his predicament. I hope he can convey in his blog the gritty aspect of what it means to be truly broke, with creditors calling you round the clock. There, but for the grace of God (and good sense), go we.

Mark in San Diego said...

Let's hope some web site or library is archiving HP. . .HP broke ALL the stories first - I guess that is why Blogs were the "person of the year" this past year. . .do we think traditional reporters are history???

BTW - we don't even need to discuss housing anymore - it is finished, done, yesterday's newspaper. . .Pets.com and DrKoop.com (remember THAT one?)

Tulsa Time said...

$10.8 million in PR for $2.2 million in debt. A good deal if the young lad had something of value other than his histrionic personality.

For those of you that wonder what histrionic personality disorder is...

"In psychiatry, histrionic personality disorder (HPD), or hysterical personality disorder, is a personality disorder which involves a pattern of excessive emotional expression and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriate seductiveness, that usually begins in early adulthood.

The essential feature of the histrionic personality disorder is a pervasive and excessive pattern of emotionality and attention-seeking behavior. These individuals are lively, dramatic, enthusiastic, and flirtatious. They may be inappropriately sexually provocative, express strong emotions with an impressionistic style, and be easily influenced by others."

Casey fits this perfectly (except perhaps the sexuality part.. that's a "may" be issue). It appears that to him there is nothing of greater value than getting attention, whether good or bad. Any attention is good attention, just as in advertising any PR is good PR ... That is IF you're really selling something of value.

Anonymous said...

i know a guy (friend in fact) who has about 2 million in debt on 2 houses. he is the casey serin in the making. it's not a question of if, but when. right now, he has 2 full time jobs just to make the mortgage payment, no time for his only daughter 11 years of age. sad - sad - sad.

i predict, in a year or two, i will hear something from him. btw, i don't want to see him go down the tubes. however, there's nothing much i can do now. had he listened to me back in late 2004 when i started blogging, it would have been different. me, i can sleep soundly at night.

Peahippo said...

At this rate, Casey's story will have to hit the Alpha Centauri Daily News before the feds will finally march in and arrest the f*cker. (And his wife Galina, who from the blogger reports has been in on the RE deals such that she assisted flipping them.)

On the bright side, such blatant and continued nose-thumbing at law enforcement only means that more mortgage-fraudsters will be emboldened, will commit another several dozen billion in fraud per month, and then the Great American Housing Crash will "auger in" that much deeper in time. Just think, we could have "professional parks" where legions of unemployed realtors can live in tents with cheap broadband and cellphones, trying to swing "sweet deals" for food money.

Hopefully his lenders keep track of him and when Casey writes his book ("I Was a Moron and You Can be a Moron Too" -- with a foreword written by David Lereah (Federal Inmate #22928235)) they can suddenly seize the royalties, attaining all those 'dirty pennies' that Casey swore he'd repay. The image of Casey reading his mail (late, of course) telling him his royalties have been seized, while he starts cryin' and wailin' in his jail cell, is just TOO PRECIOUS an image for me to give up.

Anonymous said...

Casey is a screw up. The worse may be far from over for him. Any of the lenders get pissed enough to nag the District Attorney, Casey could be fighting for his freedom.

But who cares? I just want a cheap house and the joy of evicting the squatters (former owners), preferably in the snow.

GreedKills said...

The Economist is my favorite magazine too.

I also read the New Yorker and am waiting for their full blown housing bubble story that shows Casey as the fool and Keith as the prophet.

DrKoopDotCom said...

It took a while for drkoop.com to actually die.

I worked at another failed dot con back in 2001 in the same building. They looked so glum after the crash and weekly layoffs started.

I think this is technically the same bubble -- stock market 'equity' transferred to housing in a messy manner.

Anonymous said...

Arrest Casey Serin!

www.ArrestCaseyserin.com

Anonymous said...

CASEY SERIN knows all about the excesses of America's housing bubble...

I think this kid is finally looking at bankruptcy... it took him a mighty long time to realize his buys were excessive...

bubbleglum said...

Has anyone ever checked into whether Serin is really what he claims: a fraudster who actually is $2.2 million in debt from bad loans? I think he's just a publicity seeking shyster.

After all, would Willie Sutton have built a website to thumb his nose at the feds who were chasing him??

Anonymous said...

Keith,

Casey is planning on turning IAFF into advice page. I would love to hear your thoughts on that subject.

Anonymous said...

mark san diiego said: "do we think traditional reporters are history?"

Let's not get carried away. Blogs, this one included, break many basic rules of good journalism. These rules are part of what bogs down MSM, but also what makes the MSM, flawed as it may be, more reliable.

We all love Keith's pictures - hate to say it, but that is exhibit A. I would be shocked if he has permission to use every single image. So right off the bat, copyright infringement. Then there's the hyperbole, no shades of gray, and repetitiveness. Blogs' sole advantage is speed and two-way communication. Please support pro journalists!

Anonymous said...

"Arrest Casey Serin!"

And spoil all the fun? No no no. Never let it end! Just read exurbannation so you're not actually supporting his site.

Sweet deals forever.