Sales of New Homes Slide Downward

By: Wednesday July 25, 2012 1:35 pm

Home sales are rising year-over-year, then, but falling over the last month. Maybe that data is noisy and we’ll see some revisions, but I think you cannot just say that it will automatically happen. What’s more, new home months-of-supply increased, suggesting that the inventory is starting to sit, and there’s still the shadow inventory hanging over the market.


Breaking Down DeMarco’s Brookings Speech on Principal Reduction

By: Tuesday April 10, 2012 1:30 pm

Ed DeMarco, the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency for the past three years, will deliver a speech today at the Brookings Institution that leans in the direction of allowing principal reduction on Fannie and Freddie-backed loans in certain cases. This is definitely a crack in the otherwise rigid objection to principal reduction on these loans, but his preliminary analysis suggests the idea may not produce that great an effect.

HUD Secretary Donovan Faces Questions on C-SPAN

By: Sunday April 8, 2012 12:00 pm

I read a rough transcript of this C-SPAN interview with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and there isn’t a whole lot there that’s all that different from the PR pronouncements he’s made in the past. So this won’t be extensive. I just have a few comments…

Treasury’s Ridiculous Defense of their Second Lien Policies

By: Monday April 2, 2012 12:40 pm

Gretchen Morgenson’s story about banks being enriched by Fannie and Freddie principal reductions if their second liens aren’t wiped out is simply an expression of reality. If the seconds are allowed to stand, the banks make money on the increased ability to pay on the seconds as a result of reducing principal on the firsts. Now the Treasury Department has issued a tepid defense of this result.

Pro Publica Continues Its War on Ed DeMarco

By: Thursday March 29, 2012 6:50 am

Pro Publica continued its jihad against Ed DeMarco yesterday with yet another piece blaming him for the sins of the Administration’s housing policy. This is just an overview piece that muses about how to best get rid of DeMarco. Actually, it’s a bit off-message, because they’re just supposed to say that the White House has no choice and this one dude is holding up an economic recovery single-handedly.

DeMarco Confirms Second Lien Issue in Principal Reductions

By: Monday March 26, 2012 11:15 am

One of the big arguments against Gretchen Morgenson’s quasi-defense of Ed DeMarco and the implications of principal reductions on Fannie and Freddie loans was that surely nobody is suggesting that the GSEs write down their primary loans while the second liens are kept intact. But in fact that is the argument, DeMarco makes, while ignoring cases in which there is no second lien.

Principal Reductions By GSEs Would Enrich Banks if Second Liens Remained Intact

By: Sunday March 25, 2012 8:35 am

Since the publication of an article from Pro Publica’s Jesse Eisinger and NPR’s Chris Arnold about alleged new analyses by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac finding that principal reductions are good business, the growing community has been on the warpath around demanding that the FHFA, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, allow a principal write-down program to go forward. Organizations like The New Bottom Line and the Campaign for America’s Future have confidently said that the Pro Publica article proves that Ed DeMarco must stop holding up write-downs for delinquent underwater borrowers before they slip into foreclosure.

More Concerns on the Mortgage Settlement Docs: The Vague Release, the “Work Plan” to Be Named Later

By: Monday March 19, 2012 8:15 am

The release part of the foreclosure settlement document appears to release everything in the world and then goes back and names exemptions, which seems a little screwy. Yves Smith seems to have the same concern, adding that because the exemptions are phrased so vaguely, anything state or federal regulators manage to sue over in court could get challenged:

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs (IV): Association of Mortgage Investors Planning to Challenge in Court

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 6:30 pm

One of the things I looked at in an earlier installment of the foreclosure fraud settlement documents is how banks can satisfy their obligations by modifying mortgages they don’t own. HUD again tried to push back on this with a blog post about “myths v. facts” in the mortgage settlement. But it seems they’ve confused the issue, and investors who could be hurt by paying for the banks settlement credits don’t agree either.

Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Docs (II): Giving Homes to Charity as a Penalty

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 9:15 am

Part II in this series discusses credits the banks get towards meeting their multi-billion dollar settlement obligations. The federal government and state AGs want you to assume that means a set amount of principal reductions that the banks will grant. But in reality, the banks can employ a variety of non-modification strategies to receive credit toward the settlement, including a number of routine actions they would probably undertake whether or not there was a settlement in place.

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