Category Archives: housing

Why using eminent domain for liens is a bad idea

A couple of weeks ago, Matt Goldstein and Jenn Ablan had an intriguing story: Mortgage Resolution Partners, a politically well-connected firm in San Francisco, was shopping to municipalities the idea of using eminent domain to restructure mortgages.

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Miami Beach Datapoint of the Day

Josh Giersch finds a Zillow map of the SoFi district of Miami Beach – a five-by-five block are south of Fifth Street which has 317 properties for sale, including 21 in just one building. The problem is that with that … Continue reading

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Obama’s Housing Plan Unveiled

I have to say I like the look of Obama’s housing-bailout plan. It’s quite elegant, and makes full use of the fact that Fannie and Freddie are now owned by the US government — which means they can be forced … Continue reading

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A Housing Thought Experiment

I’ve been thinking a bit about the idea of housing as an asset class, and I wondered if it was possible to somehow separate the shelter aspect of housing from the financial-asset aspect in order to work out just how … Continue reading

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Is Foreclosure the Solution?

Ramsey Su has a novel fix for America’s housing woes: No fix at all! Instead, he says that a wave of foreclosures is the best option. For homeowners, says Su, going through foreclosure is a great way to solve both … Continue reading

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How to Fix America’s Housing

Ed Glaeser’s massive, 3,000-word TNR review of the new book by Robert Ellickson is a thought-provoking must-read for anybody interested in the dynamics of the housing boom and bust, and the policies which should be followed now. I’m not going … Continue reading

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Mortgage Payment Datapoint of the Day

What happens to home prices when mortgage rates fall sharply? The median home price was $175,400 in December, down 15.3% from $207,000 in December 2007. The median price in November this year was $180,300… The average 30-year mortgage rate was … Continue reading

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Rental Datapoint of the Day

If you want another reason why it’s often better to rent than to buy, even when mortgages are cheap, consider this: rents can go down. A lot. A buddy of mine that works for a private equity shop is renting … Continue reading

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Why Mortgage Payments Should be Lower than Rents

It’s clearly Ryan Avent morning here at Market Movers, since I also find myself with a minor case of siwoti upon reading this: We have folks trying to sell homes of necessity (and increasingly this will be due to job … Continue reading

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The 4.375% Fixed-Rate Mortgage

Remember all that speculation about the Fed trying to drive mortgage rates down to 4.5%? Well, they’re pretty close: here’s a screenshot from the Chase Home Mortgage website. According to Bloomberg, these rates "are for borrowers with excellent credit who … Continue reading

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Dubious Statistics of the Day, Toxic Mortgage Edition

Interest and pressure groups put out garbage masquerading as useful research on a daily basis; it’s the job of the press to recongnise it as such and ignore it. Most of the time, the press does a very good job … Continue reading

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Property Crash Datapoint of the Day

Edmund Tadros reports: The average price of cyber land has dropped from 12.06 Linden dollars (seven cents) a square metre at its peak in January 2007 to 1.98 Linden dollars (1 cent) last month. I fear to think what’s happened … Continue reading

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Who Killed Frannie?

Bethany McLean, from her new perch at Vanity Fair, has delivered a 10,762-word magnum opus on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which spends most of its time giving a detailed history of what Hank Paulson called the "Holy War" between … Continue reading

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Living in a Mall

Do you want to live within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants, and other such amenities? Do you want to live in a condo with a doorman, its own private grounds, a screening room, and similar bells and whistles? Up … Continue reading

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The Problem With Option ARMs

The NYT’s Christmas Day installment of its big series on the financial crisis, The Reckoning, concentrates on Herbert and Marion Sandler, mortgage lenders in California who more or less invented the toxic option ARM. The Sandlers come across as sympathetic … Continue reading

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The Limited Usefulness of Shared-Equity Mortgages

Paul Kedrosky pleads: I’d be delighted if someone would explain to me why we aren’t talking more seriously about shared equity home mortgages in the U.S. The answer is very simple, I think: the perceived cost to the borrower of … Continue reading

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Housing Gets Even Worse

November is never a great month for home sales, but don’t let that fool you: today’s reports are truly gruesome, falling significantly short of very bearish expectations. New home sales, at an annualized rate of 407,000, are at their lowest … Continue reading

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The Housing Unwind: Who Suffers?

Tyler Cowen is impressed by this sentence from Paul Krugman: Anyway, it’s striking that the worst of the crisis is hitting states that largely didn’t experience a housing bubble. I would actually consider this to be one of the more … Continue reading

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Rent vs Buy: Buying Becomes More Attractive

I’ve been playing around with mortgage calculators this morning, after getting an email from a renter in Long Island who wants to buy but isn’t happy with falling mortgage rates: I have saved enough for a substantial down payment – … Continue reading

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Against Lower Mortgage Rates

Glenn Hubbard and Charlie Mayer have a WSJ op-ed saying, in the clear words of their headline, that "Low-Interest Mortgages Are the Answer"; Brad DeLong agrees, and yes, he’s more astonished than anybody else that he’s siding with Hubbard. I, … Continue reading

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Loan Mod Datapoint of the Day

From the NYT’s Sheila Bair article: A $300 billion foreclosure prevention program passed by Congress this summer to help up to 400,000 homeowners wound up larded with requirements, like requiring background checks and restricting eligibility for mortgage relief to people … Continue reading

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Homeownership Makes You Fat and Unhappy

Grace Wong dived deep into a survey of 809 women in Columbus, Ohio, in 2005 — before the property bubble burst — and came up with some startling results: An interesting portrait of homeowners emerges from my analysis. I find … Continue reading

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Re-defaults

The word of the day is re-default: Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan said today that new data shows that more than half of loans modified in the first quarter of 2008 fell delinquent within six months… A key … Continue reading

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When Lower Mortgage Rates Don’t Boost House Prices

There’s been some very good commentary in recent days about whether a reduction in mortgage interest rates might help boost house prices. Counterintuitively, the answer seems to be that there’s a good chance it won’t: A 2006 study of mortgage … Continue reading

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Mortgage Datapoint of the Day

Who can get a 123% loan-to-value mortgage these days? George W Bush, that’s who! He’s just taken out a $3,074,239 loan from Community National Bank in Midland, Texas, to buy an 8,500 sqft bungalow in Dallas which was appraised at … Continue reading

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