In order for the Great Housing Con Game to work, the bagholders (the buyers of the toxic subprime and liar's loan crap) had to believe that one day they'd get paid back. Even though this garbage was being lent out to people who lied about their jobs, their income and their ability to pay. Or worse yet to people with no jobs, no credit, no income, no honesty, no problem gaming the system themselves and absolutely positively no possible way to make good on the loans once the Ponzi Scheme ended.
Yes, think Casey Serin. Think David Crisp. Think of all the get-rich-quick failed flippers, think the $30,000 income families buying $800,000 homes, think Phoenix, think Miami, think all the sheeple who thought real estate could only go up and up.
So why did the bagholders of these mortgages (China, hedge funds, pension funds, overseas investors), which were so nicely bundled up into neat little CDO's, think they'd get paid back? Why did they think that obvious hilarious loan garbage was worth the price they were paying?
Because the "unbiased ratings agencies" told them so.
Well, not anymore. S&P, one of the three major CDO ratings agencies, now staring lawsuits, jail sentences and the collapse of their game straight in the face, bitchslapped the housing and mortgage market today and simply came clean, in one of the ugliest financial mea-culpas I've ever seen. Simply put, the charade is over. And hundreds of billions, more likley trillions, will now be lost.
So now, the housing collapse goes into overdrive. The Subprime and Alt-A industries die. Hedge funds worldwide fail. Pension funds screw their retirees. Markets crash. China gets pissed. Lending tightens even more. Demand plummets even more. And home prices crash even faster.
It's all over folks. Now we just count up the damage and look for someone to blame.
S&P finally says subprime is mostly junk - New methodology is death knell for the troubled industry
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Standard & Poor's just drove a huge harpoon into the heart of the mortgage credit bubble and it's going to take a long time to clean up the mess once the beast finally dies.
S&P, one of the three main credit-rating agencies that served as enablers of the subprime mortgage boom, announced Tuesday that it would lower its ratings on 612 bonds, a small portion of the mortgage-backed securities it had given its seal of approval to.
But the bigger news is that S&P isn't going along with the charade any more. S&P said it would change its methodology for ratings hundreds of billions of dollars in residential mortgage-backed securities.
And it would review its ratings on hundreds of billions of dollars in the more complex collateralized debt obligations based on those subprime loans.
A lot of debt will be downgraded to junk status. A lot of that debt will have to be sold at fire-sale prices. A lot of pension funds and hedge funds that once thrived on the high returns they could get from investing in subprime junk will now lose a lot of money.
S&P's announcement is a death warrant for the subprime industry. No longer will mortgage brokers be able to help buyers lie their way into a home. Fewer stressed homeowners will be able to refinance their mortgage, thus extending and exacerbating the housing bust.
"We do not foresee the poor performance abating," S&P said. Prices will fall, and foreclosures will rise. More mortgage fraud will be uncovered as the tide goes out.
For true HP wonks, you can read the whole nasty report here.