February 29, 2008
FLASH: Paulson and Bush reject Democrats' plans to destroy the profits of investment bankers (aka Housing Gambler Bailout or Foreclosure Rescue)
Gotta love Goldman Sachs' CEO Hank Paulson (i.e. the US Treasury Secretary) and banker best buddy George Bush wanting to protect the investment banks on one side, and the corrupt Democrats wanting to bail out failed flippers and housing gamblers on the other side.
How will this epic battle of evil versus evil end?
Paulson Dismisses Mortgage Rescue Plans
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is hardening its opposition to the chorus of Democrats, bankers, economists and consumer advocates calling for a big-money government rescue program for struggling homeowners.
In an interview yesterday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson branded many of the aid proposals circulating in Washington as "bailouts" for reckless lenders, investors and speculators, rather than measures that would provide meaningful relief to deserving, but cash-strapped, mortgage borrowers.
Ruh-roh: Right on schedule, the Alt-A "Liar's Loan" CDOs start tumbling. The big problem? $1 Trillion of Alt-A, vs. only $650 billion of subprime
Man, if the financial world just read the bubble blogs, they wouldn't have all these little "surprises"
Gee, what a shock! The liar's loans ain't gettin' paid back! Who knew! Oh my!
They called them "Liar's Loans" for a reason. One more time - they called them "Liar's Loans" for a reason.
Not only will Liar's Loan King IndyMac go out of business eventually, after getting sued to the moon by the bagholders who bought their garbage, but I hope to see their mortgage-fraud-enabling stock-pumping CEO Michael Perry frog-marched at the FBI's earliest convenience.
Alt-A Mortgage Securities Tumble, Signaling Losses
Securities backed by Alt-A mortgages and other home loans to borrowers with better-than-subprime credit tumbled this month, causing investment funds to unwind or meet margin calls and signaling larger losses for Wall Street.
About $950 billion of Alt-A mortgage securities are outstanding, compared with about $650 billion of subprime securities and $500 billion of prime-jumbo securities
Bernanke and the Fed come clean - there was a housing bubble, there is a housing crash, they f*cked up regulating mortgages, and it's gonna get worse
Well, I'm glad they got step that out of the way. Only took 'em a few years. The Big Lie is over (for most). So let's move on.
Maybe Norman, Swann, Todd, Retsinas, Lereah, Yun, Atkins, Paulson, Bush, Appleton-Young and the millions of other housing cheerleaders, liars, con-men and swindlers will come clean too.
Hey, one can hope...
Here's Ben "There is no housing bubble" Bernanke yesterday in front of Congress:
Many of the challenges now facing our economy stem from the continuing contraction of the U.S. housing market.
In 2006, after a multiyear boom in residential construction and house prices, the housing market reversed course. Housing starts and sales of new homes are now less than half of their respective peaks, and house prices have flattened or declined in most areas.
Changes in the availability of mortgage credit amplified the swings in the housing market. During the housing sector''s expansion phase, increasingly lax lending standards, particularly in the subprime market, raised the effective demand for housing, pushing up prices and stimulating construction activity.
As the housing market began to turn down, however, the slump in subprime mortgage originations, together with a more general tightening of credit conditions, has served to increase the severity of the downturn. Weaker house prices in turn have contributed to the deterioration in the performance of mortgage-related securities and reduced the availability of mortgage credit.
The housing market is expected to continue to weigh on economic activity in coming quarters. Homebuilders, still faced with abnormally high inventories of unsold homes, are likely to cut the pace of their building activity further, which will subtract from overall growth and reduce employment in residential construction and closely related industries.
February 28, 2008
America is a banana republic run by monkeys. Deal with it. The FBI is now investigating a baseball pitcher, but won't investigate Casey Serin.
We are no longer a nation of laws.
We are no longer a nation of laws.
We are no longer a nation of laws.
Millions of mortgage fraudsters run free, while Roger Clemens is on his way to jail. God help us all.
FBI opens investigation of Roger Clemens
WASHINGTON - The FBI has begun investigating whether Roger Clemens lied to Congress when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs. FBI agents in Washington opened the case a little more than two weeks after Clemens and Brian McNamee, his former personal trainer, testified at a House committee hearing Feb. 13, each accusing the other of lying.
"The request to open an investigation on the congressional testimony of Roger Clemens has been turned over to the FBI and will receive appropriate investigative action by the FBI's Washington field office," FBI spokeswoman Debra Weierman said Thursday.
Feels like a period of consumables and services inflation combined with asset deflation.
Bonds scream recession and deflation. Gold screams inflation. And the data read recession.
But hey, what do I know. Ben Bernanke, like Alan Greenspan before him, are gods and intellectual giants that should not be doubted, who do whatever is best for the American people regardless of the impact on bankers, incumbent politicians and Wall Street.
WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday that the nation is "not anywhere near" the dangerous stagflation situation that prevailed in the 1970s.
With the economy slowing and inflation rising, fears have grown that the country could be headed for the dreaded twin evils of stagnant growth and rising prices known as "stagflation."
"I don't anticipate stagflation," Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee.
How do you say "Ponzi Scheme" or "holy crap I just got killed in real estate" in Turkish? Turkey tourist area home prices crash 40%
Ah, ya gotta love the wide-eyed "rents don't matter" second home property investors who are getting slaughtered all around the world now - Miami, Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and now even Turkey.
Bloody idiots. The biggest problem isn't the Brits and the Californians who started it. Nope, it's the locals who got sucked along into the Ponzi Scheme just like the sheeple in Phoenix, Vegas and Tampa, who got in right when the out-of-state or out-of-country speculators were getting out. They're the real bag holders in this mess now as the investors flee or walk away.
Thanks Mark for the link.
Turkish Daily News - Summer house prices upside down
Real estate prices in Turkey's major tourist areas have dropped by 15 percent to 40 percent, an industry executive said Saturday.
Spurred on by a 1-point reduction in mortgage rates, Antalya's real estate sector experienced a boom toward the end of 2004 and at the beginning of 2005, Sağlam said. The effect was strongly felt in such cameo tourist communities as Antalya, Alanya, Mersin, Muğla, Bodrum, Fethiye and Marmaris.
Many civil servants were able to buy houses at that time, Sağlam added, noting that a subsequent 1.9-point jump in interest rates put a damper on the buying spree, causing the construction and real estate sectors to grind to a halt.
“This increase gave rise to stagnation in the Antalyan real estate sector,” he said. “Sales suddenly stopped and began to decline, leading to a 35 to 40 percent drop in prices today.
FLASH: Freddie Mac posts $2.5 billion loss. Or $3.7 billion. Or hell, who the f*ck knows. Mark to market anyone? You ain't seen nothin' yet folks
This turd will cost the taxpayers hundreds of billions when and if they mark to market one day.
Would you like to own the Countrywide, IndyMac and First Fed junk mortgages sitting on Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae's books today?
And what's Congress' best idea for getting out of this mess? Well it's raise the maximum mortgage limit and let them buy more loans of course!
Oh, dear god, we're so f*cked.
Big loss for Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac (FRE) posted a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and warned that a weakening economy will lead to higher credit losses in 2008 and 2009. The McLean, Va., mortgage lender lost $2.5 billion, or $3.97 a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a year-ago loss of $401 million, or 73 cents a share. Analysts on Wall Street were looking for a loss of $2.04 a share.
Under Freddie’s old accounting, its fourth-quarter loss would have been $3.7 billion.
Freddie’s promise to return to timely reporting was partly behind Wednesday’s decision by its regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, to lift limits on the mortgage-portfolio holdings of Freddie and its government-sponsored sibling Fannie Mae. The hope is that Fannie and Freddie can ease the housing crunch by making the mortgage market more liquid. But as Thursday’s numbers show, the companies have plenty of problems of their own.
Well, it looks like Helicopter Ben Bernanke and the Inkjets are doing a fine job of creating new bubbles to drive the fake American economy
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer in Bernanke's America, but damn, aren't asset bubbles just GRRRREEEAAAATTT?
At what point do the sheeple realize that the Fed should be burned to the ground?
And what Bernanke bubble will end up getting the biggest (before its spectacular flame-out of course)?
Well looks like google doesn't think HP is The Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World
Man, I don't know how The Google works. Maybe I should spend $150 and have a realtor tell me.
February 27, 2008
PIGS FLY ALERT!!! George Bush is My Hero as he punks Reid and Schumer's stupid and un-American housing gambler bailout plan
Don't worry - Bush is still an idiot, and he's doing this because his banker buddies at the Mortgage Brokers Association were against it. But hey, at least he's doing the right thing, regardless of the "why"...
But shame on the Democrats for thinking they could destroy the sanctity of contracts. Shame on Harry Reid and the brain-dead Dems for trying to prop up housing gamblers and overvalued house prices in an election year. Shame on the Democrats for trying to pass a law that would have let judges tear up contracts.
And Bravo to Bush for pulling his head out of his ass long enough to threaten a veto of this mess.
Message to Congress: The United States is (was) a nation of laws and contracts. Don't fu*k with it.
We're run by monkeys folks. Corrupt, brain-dead monkeys. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
White House to veto foreclosure bill
$4 billion housing bill is too expensive for the administration and would 'slow the recovery of the housing sector.'
The Democratic housing bill would change bankruptcy laws to allow judges to cut interest rates and reduce what's owed on troubled borrowers' mortgages, provide $4 billion to communities to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed homes, and improve disclosure of subprime mortgage loans in hopes that borrowers won't be surprised by big payment increases.
But the White House said the $4 billion for purchases of foreclosed homes is too expensive and "would constitute a bailout for lenders and speculators, while doing little to help struggling homeowners."
The provision rewriting the bankruptcy code, the White House said, would allow borrowers to effectively rewrite their mortgage contracts, leading lenders to tighten their standards and raise interest rates.
Looks like I need to find a new continent. Wonder how Africa is in the summer?
Ben Bernanke hates you. Expats know that more than others, but you'll find out soon enough. Enjoy earning those depreciating dollars. And you might want to listen to Schiff...
Euro Soars to New Record
Buoyed by Slipping US Economic Reports, Euro Soars to $1.5057, a Record
BERLIN (AP) -- The euro climbed to a record high of $1.5057 in early European trading on Wednesday as sentiment increased that the U.S. Federal Reserve would continue its rate cut campaign.
Ah, the tangled web that Ben Bernanke and the inkjets weave....
Got Cocoa Puffs? Better stock up... And congrats to HP'ers who saw this coming and bought DBA...
Wheat prices in biggest one-day rise
Prices of top-quality wheat jumped 25 per cent to a record high on Monday in their largest one-day increase as Kazakhstan, one of the largest grain exporters, said it would impose export tariffs to curb sales.
The move, which follows similar export restrictions in Russia and Argentina, is likely to put further pressure on already tight global wheat supplies, analysts said.
Posted by blogger at 2/27/2008
February 26, 2008
Now that Obama has the US presidency wrapped up, what should the Dems do with Pelosi and Reid in 2009:
A) Toss 'em, and elect new competent and uncorrupted leaders who might know their heads from their asses (if any of those exist in the Democratic party)
B) Keep them in charge and see if they can improve on their shameful all-time-low approval ratings, while driving the country even further into the ground
Seriously, Obama already has one hell of a mess on his hands in 2009. But with the likes of Reid and Pelosi stinking up the joint, they'll be doing him no favors.
I hope to see the Dems elect new House and Senate leadership, but I'm doubtful this corrupt and incompetent party will do the right thing. Bush was the Worst President Ever, but I think Pelosi and Reid were the Worst Congressional Leaders Ever. And look where that got us - one hell of a mess.
So the NAR is endorsing housing as an investment. Does that come with a money-back guarantee?
Monkeys I tell ya. Monkeys.
Posted by blogger at 2/26/2008
"Our job is not to bail out imprudent decisionmakers or errant bankers, nor is it to directly support the stock market or to somehow make whole those money managers, financial engineers and real estate speculators who got it wrong. And it most definitely is not to err on the side of Wall Street at the expense of Main Street."
- Richard Fisher, head of the Reserve Bank of Dallas in January 2008, who must be enraged that the other corrupt and clueless monkeys he hangs out with on the Fed are indeed intent on doing EXACTLY what he says the Fed's job is NOT.
People won't be able to say they weren't warned: FDIC getting ready for well over 100 bank failures in the next two years. Wow.
Watch for this list to get REALLY long...
Sure to fail (in my personal first-amendment protected opinion) will be the toxic lenders with banking operations - IndyMac, Washington Mutual and Countrywide. They got access to cash from the FHLB by using hilariously dubious toxic loans as collateral, but that Ponzi Scheme will eventually unravel.
Smaller local banks will also be failing in droves, and not because of housing, but because of the credit unwinding and the blow-up in commercial real estate.
I've had confidential updates from an insider at the FDIC letting me know one of the biggest problems out there now is smaller banks who loaned money to developers to develop new subdivisions and strip malls, and then the development went belly-up or got mothballed. That money ain't gettin paid back either.
Get ready for RTC2. Get ready for the wave of sure-to-come bank failures. And GET YOUR MONEY OUT OF THE BANKS. Only FDIC-insured limits, and not even that in banks that are obviously going to go tits-up since it'll be a pain to get access to your dough.
Here's the FDIC story in the WSJ care of Calculated Risk
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is taking steps to brace for an increase in failed financial institutions as the nation's housing and credit markets continue to worsen.
FDIC spokesman Andrew Gray said the agency was looking to bulk up "for preparedness purposes." ...
The agency, which insures accounts at more than 8,000 financial institutions, is also seeking to hire an outside firm that would help manage mortgages and other assets at insolvent banks, according to a newspaper advertisement.
"Regulators are bracing for well over 100 bank failures in the next 12 to 24 months, with concentrations in Rust Belt states like Michigan and Ohio, and the states that are suffering severe housing-market problems like California, Florida, and Georgia," said Jaret Seiberg, Washington policy analyst for financial-services firm Stanford Group.
That six-percenter ramen-eating realtor contest for "the greatest real estate agent in the world" had spaces between the words. Oops.
Meanwhile, who do you think is the WORST real estate agent in the world?
And then the housing gambler Brits tried to get out of their Bulgarian investment properties as fast as they got in
RUSH FOR THE EXITS!!!
I hope to get to Bulgaria this summer to see the madness up close, and rent one of these "investment properties".
It was a Ponzi Scheme folks, pure and simple. The Brits drove the whole thing, it went worldwide, and now it's all falling apart.
Prices skyrocket when everyone wants in (sight unseen) at the same time. Well, what happens when everyone wants out? Should be fun!
The Financial Times ran a good piece on the Brits getting out of Dodge, here's all you need to know:
Bulgaria loses its allure for UK buyers
British home buyers have disappeared from Bansko, a leading Bulgarian ski resort and until recently a “hot-spot” for people seeking moderately priced holiday properties.
Mihail Chobanov, chief executive of Bulgarian Properties, one of the country’s biggest estate agencies, believes that about 50 per cent of UK investors who took a punt on the Bulgarian market four years ago are now trying to sell their properties. “Speculative buyers want to cash out and move on,” he said.
Rapid development at Bansko and Sunny Beach resulted in an over-supply of lower-priced apartments, putting a severe strain on local infrastructure. An estimated 85 per cent of UK investors bought properties off-plan without having visited Bulgaria.
February 25, 2008
So the ramen eaters are doing a google search contest for "greatest real estate agent in the world". Wouldn't it be funny if HP ranks first?
Let's give it a shot. This I'm sure would make a search-engine-manipulator flame-baiter fake-contest-awarder like Greg Swann's head explode
We are the Greatest Real Estate Agent In The World!!!
HousingPANIC hates the greatest real estate agent in the world!!!
I have no idea how google search works, but I know it's magic, so HousingPANIC should be the greatest real estate agent in the world.
He he he
What is this” GREATEST REAL ESTATE AGENT IN THE WORLD ” phenomena that has been spreading across the web like a California Wildfire?
It’s an SEO contest concocted by creator, Eric Bramlett and fat prize donator, realestatewebmasters.com held to determine who can rank #1 on Google May 1st 2008 for the term Greatest Real Estate Agent in the World.
CA has set up a $5.6 million fund to retrain laid off mortgage brokers. I didn't know drug dealing, used car selling and stripping needed training
And $5.6 million - isn't that about $1 per laid-off REIC ramen eater?
Hat-tip to blownmortgage for the link
Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Actions to Jump Start California’s Economy through Job Creation, Offset Housing Slump
The Governor also announced that the federal government today awarded up to $5.6 million to help mortgage and banking industry workers laid off as a result of the subprime crisis make career transitions to high-demand jobs in other industries.
Posted by blogger at 2/25/2008
McMansions as the Next Slums: "I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen."
The housing crash will play out in ways that will surprise and shock even us. McMansion ghettos. Bullets flying. Scum living in gated communities. Unkempt lawns and foreclosed houses everywhere. And NOTHING like the wine and cheese brochures the realtors showed you.
Coming to an overbuilt unwanted suburb near you. And all powered by no-down, no-doc, no-responsibility toxic loans.
Thanks Bill @ maryland for the link
The Next Slum?
The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements.
Strange days are upon the residents of many a suburban cul-de-sac. Once-tidy yards have become overgrown, as the houses they front have gone vacant. Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading.
In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, “I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”
February 24, 2008
"Yeah yeah yeah. End of the world. Great depression 2. Blah blah blah. Where have I heard all this before...oh yeah on HP for the last 3 years. Keep renting your shithole 1 bed 1 bath and driving the 20 year old Hondas"
- Anon HP Troll, February 2008
Housing bubble over - check. Housing ATM closed - check. Wages flat and declining - check. What to do now? Run up the credit cards of course!
The housing crash doesn't end with the REIC layoffs, missed payments and foreclosures. It just starts there... And Americans just LOVE those credit cards - MORE FREE MONEY THAT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PAID BACK!!! YIPPEE!!!
So will Congress put together a credit card junkie bailout plan too?
This downward spiral doesn't stop until the banks figure out they should just stop lending. Looks like we've still got a ways to go.
Housing crash fuels rise in card debt
Like many Americans, 34-year-old Jack Zenteno and his wife, Betty, found their finances taking a severe hit from the housing crisis.
"My wife went into real estate right when the market began to fall apart," Zenteno said. "And it occurred at the same time I lost my job."
With no savings to draw from, the Zentenos found themselves quickly racking up $30,000 worth of credit card debt — mostly to pay for daily expenses.
As more homeowners struggle with skyrocketing house payments, several experts expect many of them to start using their credit cards as a means to get by. Once unpaid balances reach five figures and interest rates creep past 20% or even 30%, however, credit card users face trouble.
"Anybody who is having trouble servicing their mortgage is going to try using credit cards to finance those other expenditures," said Tom Cargill, an economics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The mortgage market is now so reliant on funds from government-related entities that it has been "effectively nationalized," says Richard Iley, an economist at BNP Paribas.
These institutions have kept the credit spigots open for home mortgages, but "potentially there are very large liabilities for the taxpayer," Mr. Iley says.
"Greg Swann isn’t selling houses so now he’s trying to sell $150 seats to tell people how they can be successful selling houses. Sucker born every minute"
-Bubble Sitter, February 2008
After being proven as a discredited hack, Greg Swann calls HP'ers some really stupid and unprofessional things.
When the market turns, the bubble boys will go back to their old lives of drunkenness, wife-beating and masturbation
-Greg Swann, the most discredited realtor in America, February 2008
What's on your mind?
February 23, 2008
The banks now want the taxpayers to bail them out. What message would you like to get out to the banks? Fire away, and don't be kind.
The banks, led by Rich Whitey himself, Ken Lewis at Bank of America, are appealing to Congress for the biggest financial bailout in the history of the civilized world, which will run in the hundreds of billions if not trillions.
So after they made hundreds of billions in profits and fees and commissions and bonuses these past few years getting us into this mess, they now want the taxpayers to bail them out, while they keep their ill-gotten gains.
Here's HP's simple message to the bankers.
BANKERS OF THE WORLD WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE SUBPRIME/ALT-A/OPTION-ARM/CDO/SIV/ETC MESS, HOUSINGPANIC HAS A MESSAGE FOR YOU. GO F*CK YOURSELVES.
WE ARE ROOTING FOR YOU TO FAIL. WE ARE ROOTING FOR HOME VALUES TO GO DOWN TO REASONABLE LEVELS. WE ARE ROOTING FOR HOMEDEBTORS TO WALK WAY. AND YOU WILL NOT GET OUR MONEY, NOT WITHOUT AN EPIC BATTLE.
A ‘Moral Hazard’ for a Housing Bailout
A confidential proposal that Bank of America circulated to members of Congress this month provides a stunning glimpse of how quickly the industry has reversed its laissez-faire disdain for second-guessing by the government — now that it is in trouble.
The proposal warns that up to $739 billion in mortgages are at “moderate to high risk” of defaulting over the next five years and that millions of families could lose their homes.
To prevent that, Bank of America suggested creating a Federal Homeowner Preservation Corporation that would buy up billions of dollars in troubled mortgages at a deep discount, forgive debt above the current market value of the homes and use federal loan guarantees to refinance the borrowers at lower rates.
“We believe that any intervention by the federal government will be acceptable only if it is not perceived as a bailout of the bond market,” the financial institution noted.
In practice, taxpayers would almost certainly view such a move as a bailout. If lawmakers and the Bush administration agreed to this step, it could be on a scale similar to the government’s $200 billion bailout of the savings and loan industry in the 1990s.
The arguments against a bailout are powerful. It would mostly benefit banks and Wall Street firms that earned huge fees by packaging trillions of dollars in risky mortgages, often without documenting the incomes of borrowers and often turning a blind eye to clear fraud by borrowers or mortgage brokers.
A rescue would also create a “moral hazard,” many experts contend, by encouraging banks and home buyers to take outsize risks in the future, in the expectation of another government bailout if things go wrong again.
You want the REALLY big debt bomb that is about to explode, pouring fuel on the banking panic fire? It's the "negative amortization" loan timebomb
These "PayOption ARM" loans quite frankly shouldn't have been legal, and if they were, they shouldn't have been made because nobody should have been stupid enough to buy the debt.
They allowed the sucker (or mortgage fraudster) to pay no principal, and less interest than what was due. And every month the idiot didn't pay up, the balance grew and grew and grew some more. What a deal! Until house prices crashed, and now nearly every one of these loans will go bad as the debtors simply walk away.
And just to make this "innovative financial product" one of the worst financial products ever invented, GAAP allowed the holding bank to recognize the shortfall in what was owed every month as NONCASH INTEREST INCOME.
You got it folks, when the homedebtor didn't pay the amount due, the bank could recognize the shortfall not as bad debt, but as FU*KING INCOME, making the banks who held the cancer look good (for awhile) and their management earned massive bonuses.
Yes, the world went mad. And now we all pay the price.
HP'er Extra Credit - go do some digging around and see what banks are holding this cancer. I saw reports that WaMu had $67 billion of these turds and Countrywide had $35 billion - and of course were recognizing income for the payment shortfalls. I'd like to know where banks stand today. And invest accordingly!
In finance, negative amortization, also known as NegAm, occurs whenever the loan payment for any periodic is less than the interest charged over that period so that the outstanding balance of the loan increases. As an amortization method the shorted amount (difference between interest and repayment) is then added to the total amount owed to the lender.
Accounting For Negative Amortization
Accounting for negative amortization is a perennial favorite amongst those who follow banks and thrifts with large Option ARM portfolios. It outrages a lot of folks that the neg am balances, which represent interest that has been earned but not paid, is considered noncash interest income.
Too funny - failed (and now nationalized) UK bank Northern Rock FINALLY pulls its 125% loan-to-value really-bad-idea mortgage
Want a house worth $500,000? Northern Rock would loan you $625,000. Party time!!!
Then, of course, you simply default, and enjoy the proceeds! Meanwhile, the UK taxpayer is fuc*ed.
Please tell me one day that they'll put the bankers who did this in jail.
Northern Rock pulls plug on 125% mortgages
In an effort to limit its risky lending, Northern Rock yesterday pulled its Together mortgage range, which offered a loan to value (LTV) of up to 125 per cent.
The range, launched nine years ago, proved popular with first-time buyers as it allowed them to combine a mortgage and personal loan to borrow more than the amount their property was valued at.
February 22, 2008
It is now official - the United States is no longer a nation of laws - "FBI Will Not Go After Borrowers Who Lied on Mortgage Applications"
When I read reports like these, I feel sorry for America. A country founded on the rule of law. A once-proud country of order and fairness.
This sends a terrible message, that crimes will not be prosecuted, that laws will be ignored, that crime pays, and that playing by the rules is the wrong thing to do.
George Bush, the Justice Department, the FBI, the IRS and the 50 state attorneys general should be ashamed. This is un-American, and those involved in allowing this illegal behavior to go unpunished should be investigated by Congress, and tried for treason. But that would involve Conress not being corrupt and un-American themselves.
Hat-tip to ml-implode for the link
FBI Will Not Go After Borrowers Who Lied on Mortgage Applications
Borrowers who defrauded lenders by lying on their mortgage application could be thrown in prison for up to 30 years and forced to pay a $1 million fine under the current federal law. But the FBI says there is no intention to pursue borrowers at this time.
Almost 60 percent of stated-loan applicants inflated their incomes by at least 50 percent, according to the Mortgage Asset Research Institute. The worst part is that everyone knew the income was being inflated. The industry even had a name for these kinds of loans--'liar's loans.'
Although lying on a mortgage application is a federal crime, borrowers who committed mortgage fraud are low on the FBI's list of priorities. Joseph Schadler, an FBI spokesman, said investigators will be focusing on organized property flipping rings and bogus foreclosure rescue schemes instead of lying buyers.
The only thing that can stop Barack Obama from being the next President of the United States might be Henry Paulson and the US Secret Service
This is unacceptable, scary and if true, dangerously corrupt. If true, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his Director of Secret Service Mark Sullivan should be immediately called before Congress to testify. And I mean IMMEDIATELY, as in today, as in right now.
Americans should ask - what would Bush, Paulson and friends have to gain if something were to happen to Obama, why this order to drop his security was given, and who gave it.
Obama is running against the entire military industrial complex, the Clintons, the Bushes, hundreds of years of racism, the insurance companies, Rove and Rush, and more than a handful of crazies. And yes, he's also running against the GOP establishment, led by Paulson and Bush.
Until he can have full faith in his Secret Service protectors, or better yet a private security force of his own, he needs to go into hiding. He is not safe, and nor are we.
Police concerned about order to stop screening
DALLAS -- Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.
The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.
Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.
Posted by blogger at 2/22/2008
What should the government do with the millions of mortgage fraudsters?
1) Fine them
2) Jail them
3) Reward them with taxpayer money and programs so they can stay in the homes that they can't afford, which they committed blatant fraud to get into
The stench over at Greg Swann's Bloodhoundblog grows, his fellow realtors turn on him, and his writers are leaving in droves
Every dog has his day
I never understood why any six-percenter would want to be associated with Swann. It can't be good for what's left of their business or reputations.
It's tough to keep up with the downfall of Swanndive and all the associated realtor-on-realtor violence, but I guess this is what happens when homes don't sell. Here's the latest below, and also check out the drama-filled comments here. Thanks HP'ers for the links.
Prominent Bloggers Leave Bloodhound Blog
Jay Thompson, Kris Berg, Jim Duncan. If you read real estate blogs, you know these highly respected and talented writers. All were contributors to Greg Swann’s Bloodhound Blog. No longer.
Jay Thompson (Phoenix Real Estate Guy), was the first to announce his withdrawal in a comment to this post. Later, it was learned Kris Berg (San Diego Home Blog) and Jim Duncan (Real Central VA) also left.
Greg Swann had no comment on why the bloggers decided not to write for his blog any longer.
One can only speculate the reason(s) for the mass exodus. I use the word “mass” not based on numbers or posts but on the impact to Mr. Swann’s blog with the departure of such prestigious and popular bloggers.
It's the dying days of the Roaring '20's all over again: Doormen in Vegas pulling in $500,000 a year (tax free)
The easy money, reckless spending and over-consumption has to end folks. One way or another, the system has to cleanse itself.
When the clubs are closed down, and the banks have failed, and the easy money has gone away, you'll remember stories like these.
Sources have been telling me that doormen at several clubs are clearing $8,000 to $10,000 a night before they share tips. So much cash is pouring in that some doormen are making $400,000 to $500,000 a year, several nightclub executives told me.
About six months ago, on a busy night at Pure, I overheard two men bitterly complaining about the cover charge. "They wanted $1,000 per person. I said the highest I'd go was $800!" one said.
Then there's bottle service, which means you have to buy a bottle to sit in the VIP section. The usual requirement is one bottle per three patrons. Two-bottle minimums are not uncommon. Bottles at most clubs are going for $350 to $650 a piece.
Posted by blogger at 2/22/2008
Steve Forbes, after being schooled like a little girl on Fox News by Peter Schiff, and watching his wealth go away, does a hit piece on Schiff
Actually, I've gotta give it up for Forbes' good little slave reporter, Michael Maiello, because doing a "go out and trash this guy" article on a guy who's NAILED IT, and been COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY RIGHT on ALL of his predictions has actually got to be a tough thing to do. But Forbes sent the right guy, since Maiello bizarrely is a fiction writer, not a journalist.
Steve Forbes, Mr. Establishment, is obviously sick and tired of all this "doom and gloom", with the banks failing, housing crashing, trillions being lost in real estate, the dollar tanking, gold and commodities soaring, and his wealth going away. And Steve Forbes' massive ego just couldn't take the beating it took on Fox the other day I guess.
Forbes magazine, and Steve Forbes himself, are now completely and totally discredited, just like Schiff's other two defeated Fox News hacks Mike Norman and Tom Adkins. I could just hear Forbes in his gold-plated office, yelling out to the newsroom after being schooled by Schiff - "Go out and get this guy - tarnish him, ruin him, take him down! I'll show that gold-bug jackass who's boss!"
I actually feel sorry for Steve Forbes. A man's reputation is more important than his bank account, especially if he portrays himself as a journalist, and Steve Forbes should now be seen as the propagandist he is. His little minion, Michael Maiello, should be excused. Guy was just doing what he's told to do . Like Lawrence Yun. Or Eichmann.
Here's the hit piece and some lowlights - read the whole thing and feel free to add your comments on their rag - and don't be nice.
Spin Cycle - Want to make a pile in money management? Step 1: Attract attention. Step 2: Attract assets.
"As the dollar goes down, my clients are getting the same bargain as tourists from Europe: They have rising income from assets in euros, Swiss francs and Canadian dollars," gloats Schiff, who then squirms into a sport coat and dashes to his bmw and a date to trash the dollar on the Fox Business Network.Schiff, dubbed the Doctor of Doom by CNBC, is a favorite of magazine, newspaper and TV journalists looking for a particular point of view--namely, that U.S. stocks, U.S. real estate and the dollar are bad for investors. Type his name into YouTube and you can find 300 clips from his appearances on cable shows. Many feature him talking up Ron Paul, the libertarian with presidential aspirations, for whom he is an economic adviser.
Herein is a formula for making a lot of money as a money manager. Have a shtick, get known, wait for your sector to get hot.
Schiff's Chicken Little take on the U.S. economy--that it is on the brink of collapse--isn't new. He's been serving up the same spiel for a decade.
In 2006 Schiff told a roomful of mortgage brokers at a meeting of the Western Regional Mortgage Brokers Conference that they would all be out of a job soon and that their only hope was to buy foreign stocks. Geoff Zwemke, an organizer of the meeting, notes, "I hear people saying they wished they'd taken his advice."
Schiff learned the power of a rallying cry from his father, long-running tax protester Irwin A. Schiff. Press mentions of the elder Schiff, who argues that the Internal Revenue Service has no right to force people to reveal their incomes or collect taxes, would fill a very fat scrapbook. But in the end, Schiff Sr. got a little too much attention for his own good. He is being held in a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y. for tax evasion.
February 21, 2008
Lots of chatter about what the government should do to prop up the housing market and bail out housing gamblers. Here's HP's plan for consideration
1) Stand back, let the free market correct, and get the hell out of the way
I hope that plan isn't too grandiose or bogged down in minutiae to be understood by the monkeys in government.
Posted by blogger at 2/21/2008
PIGS FLY ALERT!!! LAWRENCE YUN ADMITS TO HOUSING BUBBLE AND COLLAPSE, AND LOUSY NAR FORECASTS, AND CALLS SUBPRIME MORTAGES A "FOOLISH INVESTMENT"
No, this is not a HP April Fools joke, it's real. Yun still has his head up his rear, and is still putting out bulls*it forecasts, but I think he's trying to prepare the ground for his eventual and unavoidable resignation from the NAR, knowing he'll need to find new work after that.
You'll love the latest commentary from Yun - he tries to throw HousingPANIC under the bus, and even defends Alan Greenspan, saying he didn't cause the housing bubble. Unreal.
A simple question comes to mind - how much longer will the six-percenters keep paying their dues to the very organization doing them the most harm?
Here's the latest musings from the most discredited economist in the world, Lawrence Yun, writing for the most discredited organization in the world, the National Association of Realtors:
Back in 2001, in the aftermath of the internet stock bubble collapse and the September 11 terrorist attacks, Alan Greenspan — then the Fed chairman — made deep cuts in interest rates in order to stave off a possible economic recession. Many also blame Mr. Greenspan for having fueled the housing market bubble and subsequent collapse by keeping the rates too low for too long.
Though some in the blogosphere have figured Alan Greenspan as one of the key persons to blame for the current housing mess, I do not blame Mr. Greenspan. I believe there is plenty of blame to go around due to other factors.
It is also fine for people to point the finger at me. In a fast changing market conditions, I too have been off on my forecast. I knew that the boom was clearly unsustainable and I made the forecast in early 2007 that home prices were likely to experience a price decline on a national level for the first time since the Great Depression. The national median home price indeed fell by 1.4%.
I believe I downgraded my forecast for ten or so straight months in 2007 as it was strongly pointed out to me. At the same time, the Blue Chip consensus forecast, comprised of about top 50 private forecasters, including forecasts by Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, UCLA, and the like — had also downgraded the housing forecast by more than 20 straight months. Forecasting is never perfect. Forecasts are bound to be off but the forecaster's job is to make the best prognosis given the available information at the time. The readers should always view any forecast with caveat emptor.
Will we experience a re-emergence of a housing boom from the current easy money policy by the Fed? The answer is no because as Abraham Lincoln said — fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. It will be impossible to part global capital providers' money with another foolish investment.
Seriously, I can't believe that Angelo Mozilo hasn't been arrested yet.
Really. I cannot believe that Countrywide's offices haven't been raided, and Mozilo and gang frog-marched to the pokey for the world to see.
It will happen. And when it does, it will be glorious.
Rise of the Bezzle
If there is one person more responsible for this mess than any other, it’s Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide Financial, and one of America’s best-paid executives. His company emerged as the leading practitioner of the kind of sub-prime lending that led to these problems. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer recently singled out Countrywide as most representative of the “greed … motivated widespread, irresponsible lending that contributed to what could have been the largest home foreclosure crisis in our country.”
Schumer went on to accuse Countrywide of giving sales staff incentives to market the most expensive mortgage loans for the company “and its partners.” According to Schumer, “We have learned that Countrywide’s promise to get borrowers the ‘best possible loan’ have been nothing more than a commitment to squeeze every dollar possible from homeowners. In fact, Countrywide’s lending business model prioritizes fees and commissions over the financial viability of the loans.”
Thank you, Mr. Schumer, for the confirmation. Fully one-quarter of Countrywide’s mortgages have now gone under, which should be considered criminal. Any respectable loan office can tell you there are commonly accepted business practices that can be easily applied to a loan portfolio that would allow you to avoid a default rate like that.
Bernanke and the fools at the Fed lower their economic growth rate while raising their inflation & unemployment projections. HP calls for pitchforks.
America is gonna be pissed when it wakes up.
I am seriously sick of these fools at the Fed and the NAR and their stupid bullsh*t forecasts.
Here's a message to both:
YOU CAN TAKE YOUR F*CKING FORECASTS AND STICK THEM WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE. YOU CAN FOOL MOST OF THE PEOPLE MOST OF THE TIME, BUT NO LONGER. YOU'RE A BUNCH OF DISCREDITED HACKS, YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS, AND IT'S TIME FOR THE PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES TO COME OUT IN AMERICA.
The on Wednesday lowered its projection for economic growth this year, citing damage from the double blows of a housing slump and credit crunch. It said it also expects higher unemployment and inflation.
"With no signs of stabilization in the housing sector and with financial conditions not yet stabilized, the committee agreed that downside risks to growth would remain even after this action," minutes of the Fed's Jan. 29-30 closed door meeting showed.
And if/when McCain does drop out, we've got ourselves a whole new race - it would be the best thing to happen to the GOP and they know it. It simply wouldn't be the lambasting that was gonna happen if he was the candidate...
Watch for more lobbyist scandals, a reintroduction of Keating Five (especially in the context of more failing banks) or even the raising of health issues between now and the convention as the GOP becomes convinced that they're nominating a sure-loser.
quoted longtime aide John Weaver, who split with McCain last year, as saying he met with Vicki Iseman and urged her to stay away from McCain.
suggested an inappropriate relationship between the Arizona senator and Iseman, a . The New York Times quoted anonymous aides saying they had confronted McCain and Iseman, urging them to stay away from each other, before his failed presidential campaign in 2000.
The published reports said McCain and Iseman each denied having a romantic relationship, and the paper offered no evidence that they had, saying only that aides worried about the appearance of McCain having close ties to a lobbyist with business before the on which McCain served.
Posted by blogger at 2/21/2008
February 20, 2008
When you buy a home, should you consider what global warming will do to its value over the next 50 or so years?
So I was boarding these past few days in southern France and Italy (Isola 2000 and Limone if you're interested). OK snow conditions, nothing to write home about, good spring skiing with warm balmy weather, bright sun and blue skies.
It got me thinking about all the homes and condos in these areas, many for sale today. Will they hold their values as ski conditions continue to deteriorate? When the snow goes away, will the people still come? I think not.
I spoke to some of the locals and to a person they all said that it just gets worse every year. And I think this scenario is playing out around Europe and around the world. If you want good skiing, you'll have to go north - which will be good for those areas (hello Canada and Sweden), bad for the popular and famous ski areas around here.
But what other cities will have homes declining in value as global warming really kicks in, and the reason for their popularity goes away, or they go under water, or get their butts kicked by wild storms, or insurance gets impossible to buy.
New Orleans - no brainer.
Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Naples, etc - goodbye.
The Carolinas - wouldn't want to be near the coast.
Amsterdam - better build on stilts
Venice - get there while you still can.
Phoenix and Vegas - good luck finding water or a cool place in a few years.
And on the flipside - what areas will be global warming winners? I need to spend some time in Iceland and the Nordics, and Canada ain't looking too bad in NA.
Chime in here. I know a few of you (probably part of the 19% below) still doubt (or don't understand) global warming science. I hope you spend a couple hours of your life and at least start doing your own research and get beyond your Al Gore hatred. Forget the messenger, read the science yourselves. I doubt the nay-sayers have spent 1 minute looking at the science, which is par for the course and to be expected among the ignorant.
No matter what you do, think twice about buying that house on the beach in Tampa. Or that ski condo in Bulgaria.
FLASH: Bush approval rating drops to 19%. No, that's not a typo. 81% of Americans now realize that George Bush is a total failure and disgrace
Again, HP asks... "What took so long".
We've been saying it for years. George Bush is the worst president ever. Nice to see 81% of Americans finally come to their senses.
I hope George Bush is eventually investigated, arrested and brought before a tribunal. And I hope Obama doesn't pardon him. If he is not imprisoned, then I hope to see him sued in civil courts for his misdeeds, and I hope that he is hounded until the day he dies for the damage he has caused to America and the world.
This has been a shameful, corrupt, illegal and just plain awful Administration. January 2009 can't come fast enough.
Here's the George Bush report card, HP-style, and the latest approval rating data.
* Ran the nation's debt up to $52 trillion and counting
* Lost our manufacturing base
* Allowed and encouraged the illegal invasion of America
* Encouraged sheeple to buy homes at the peak, when the fundamentals made no sense
* Bogged us down in a stupid war on false pretenses, spending over $2 trillion and costing countless lives
* Broke the military
* Did nothing about the growing entitlement bomb
* Passed no significant constructive legislation
* Killed the morale of Americans
* Illegally spied on Americans, tortured people and got rid of habeas corpus
* Did nothing about global warming (and even denied the science)
* Damaged the "USA" brand around the world
* Spread hatred, discrimination and fear across the land
* Made a bunch of money for oil companies and military contractors
* Embarrassed America and all Americans
* Did all this without getting arrested, or brought up on impeachment charges
Concerns over Economy Push George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval to New Low
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.
Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.
February 19, 2008
When you look at the housing crash and mortgage meltdown (and America in general) you see stupid people everywhere:
- Stupid people at the ratings agencies giving AAA ratings to worthless crap
- Stupid mortgage brokers committing rampant fraud, thinking they wouldn't get caught
- Stupid appraisers wildly overstating the value of homes
- Stupid realtors telling their suckers there were 21 Reasons to Buy, when instead there were 21 Reasons to Sell and Rent
-Stupid people at the Fed not seeing the housing bubble, not raising rates faster, and not regulating the out of control lenders that they were supposed to be regulating
- Stupid people in the White House telling people it was a great time to buy at the peak
- Stupid people in the MSM not doing their jobs, and interviewing stupid realtors as "experts"
- Stupid people by the millions buying second homes as investments, spending five times their incomes on a home, or believing what MTV, HGTV and the Learning Channel were selling them
- Stupid people who stood in lines to "buy" a house that cost three times more than renting the same house would have cost, while using stupid toxic loans that they knew would explode
I think I'm seeing even more stupid people than corrupt ones. Stupid people who blew up the United States real estate and financial markets, stupid people that didn't understand that we were in a classic financial mania, and stupid people who are now unemployed and asking for government handouts by the millions.
I think it's time for the stupid people to learn a valuable (albeit tough) lesson. And hopefully that'll make them a bit smarter.
In April 2007, HousingPANIC asked "Did Osama Bin Laden Cause the Housing Bubble". In February 2008, the MSM finally asked the same question
The answer, of course, is yes.
When OBL took down the twin towers (and yes, truthers, his cult members did), Greenspan panicked and took rates down and kept them down. And then we all know what happened next.
Here's HP's post from 2007, and the recent column on the MSN homepage (thanks Ray)
Did terrorists cause the housing mess?
The link may not seem obvious at first. But if you look at the Sept. 11 plotters' goals -- and at what has happened in the US since the attacks -- it's hardly far-fetched.
The federal funds rate continued to drop, hitting a low of 0.98% in December 2003. That was more than two years after the attacks. We were well into a powerful stock market recovery. The federal funds rate stayed around 1% long enough to set off a boom in low-cost mortgages and in home prices.
Home buyers discovered that very ordinary paychecks could now buy extraordinary homes. People with cash to deposit learned their money earned virtually nothing.
We could, of course, blame the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates too low for too long. We could also blame Wall Street. Or mortgage lenders and their brokers. And we could blame the borrowers for being foolish. We certainly can't take any pride in the greed-driven decisions that fueled the problem.
But one big fact remains: None of this misery would have happened if Sept. 11 hadn't happened first.
"Prices would have to come down from peak to trough about 40 percent to be back in line with income the way they were in the late '90s"
- Christopher Thornberg, February 2008
Next up for realtors and mortgage brokers - lying on their resumes so that nobody will find out they were unethical commission-hungry fraudsters
Hundreds of thousands of these Ponzi Scheme and mortgage fraud enablers will now be out on the market looking for new work, and what they'll find is that "Mortgage Broker" or "Real Estate Agent" are as desired as "Crack Cocaine Dealer" or "Escort Service Manager" on business resumes.
I feel sorry for the one or two "honest" and "ethical" ones in this business, but seriously how "honest" or "ethical" could you have been to push toxic loans on ignorant sheeple for a commission? Guilt by association I say. Thanks SoCal for the link..
Life amid the ruins - With the end of the economic good times, local people adjust to diminished expectations.
When Tracy Railsback submits her resume for a job, the first thing managers notice is that she worked in the mortgage industry. It doesn't get her a warm reception.
"Reputable companies, they don't want to look at you because they think everybody in that industry was bad and that's not true. Not everybody made tons of money and not everybody was dishonest," she said.
"Maybe if I stayed in waitressing I wouldn't have this problem at all, because the restaurant business doesn't go away," she said.
February 18, 2008
I know fakes that have invaded Scottsdale, Vegas, Miami, LA and other poser towns are confused by the above statement, but this little cleansing underway should help them come to understand.
Houses "bought" with toxic loans. Cars leased and not owned. Spending fueled by credit cards and not income. It was all fake. Just like the people.
And now it's getting real.
This should get more and more interesting as it all unwinds, right here for everyone to see. Let's hope people learn a valuable life lesson out of this mess.
And HP'ers ask:
What took them so long?
Read the posts and the hilarious comments. I'm not sure what's caused this realtor on realtor violence, but it's fun to watch... Thanks HP'ers for the links... and remember, don't go to his blog, he only wants traffic.
Why Greg Swann Should Ban Himself from Bloodhound Blog