Happy Talk on Housing and Mortgages Masks Dangers

By: Thursday May 24, 2012 6:00 am

Over the last several months, analysts have become invested in the narrative of a recovery in housing, hyping positive data and downplaying either negative data or the explanations that temper the good news (the large amounts of uncounted shadow inventory, for example). This pervasive talk feels a lot like the bubble years, only we’re now talking about how the bottom for housing has been reached instead of marveling that prices will never go down again. And it’s led to a pernicious outcome – the selling off of housing stock to large investment groups who plan to rent it out.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, nor is it surprising. Rich investors were always going to buy up low-end housing stock if they felt it was undervalued.


Bank of America Rolls Out Pilot “Right to Rent” Program

By: Friday March 23, 2012 6:45 am

The government is already experimenting with bulk sales of foreclosed, vacant properties (Fannie Mae actually has a right to rent pilot program, but they keep it well hidden). Why not eliminate the middle step and just keep the family in the home? It saves everyone lots of aggravation and can still work on a business level.

The New America: Home Demolition Rises as “Solution” to Housing Crisis

By: Friday October 14, 2011 7:25 am

Foreclosures continue to increase, with 610,337 filings last quarter (that averages out to almost 2.5 million annually), and new default notices also increased 14%. And the foreclosure backlog continued to pile up, because banks cannot prove ownership of many of the homes. So some banks are finding it cheaper to just demolish foreclosed homes than pay to keep them up.

Defending Obama with a Failure of Imagination

By: Monday August 22, 2011 4:15 pm

I’ve found one of the saddest yet most common defenses of President Obama’s handling of his job to be the weird argument that it simply wasn’t possible for him to do a better job, or to do anything different from what he did. It always reminds me of the mantra of the misguided extreme optimist Dr. Pangloss in Candide, “all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.”

Ezra Klein is up with another post defending Obama with this same basic argument.

Hard to Solve Foreclosure Fraud Mess with a Third-World Legal System

By: Friday October 15, 2010 11:45 am

The Obama Administration has preferred having the banks undertake “internal reviews” and hoping the whole thing blows over. As Krugman says, “I mean, that’s worked so well in the past, right?”

The Mortgage Mess: Are Solutions Out There?

By: Saturday September 4, 2010 7:00 pm

What the HAMP series shows in excruciating detail is that the current set of procedures to reduce foreclosures and keep people in homes just haven’t worked for the vast majority of borrowers at risk. But what can be done to reverse this trend and achieve the following goals: 1) help borrowers, 2) clear the market and return housing prices to a sustainable level and 3) mitigate the overall financial risk to the economy. These are the near-term crisis points for housing, what hasn’t been resolved by focusing on anti-predatory lending laws or the future of Fannie and Freddie. So what’s out there?

Data Suggests Imminent Spike in Foreclosures

By: Tuesday August 31, 2010 9:56 am

This chart showing US home vacancies tells you everything you need to know about the near-term future of the economy. The United States has twice as many vacant homes as the entire housing stock of Canada. The US has ten times more people than Canada, too, but that doesn’t exactly help us think about the problem.

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