Property Grunt

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Roll Call: The Recession edition

Let the Roll Call begin.

Countrywide does the right thing. For themselves.

Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest home lender and loan servicer, announced yesterday that it would help borrowers restructure some $16 billion in mortgages to avoid foreclosure or financial stress associated with quickly rising adjustable-rate loans.

As many of you know, I am not the biggest fan of Countrywide and as far as I am concerned they really had no choice. First of all if they foreclosed on all those buyers they would end becoming one of the biggest landlords of distressed properties which is bad because they do not have the infrastructure to be property managers and brokers and would have to outsource those tasks which would cost them more money.

Another option would have been to sell the company and let it be someone else's quagmire but that option was eighty-sixed for obvious reasons.

The SEC has been watching them carefully ever since it was reported that Angelo R. Mozilo has been made some well timed sales of his company's stock. So they need as much good press as possible.

US Home sales have dropped again for September.

US existing home sales fell 8.0 percent in September as a persistent housing slump continued to weigh on the property market and the world's biggest economy, an industry group said Wednesday.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said in a monthly snapshot that sales of existing homes and apartments tumbled to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.04 million units in September from 5.48 million in August.

The drop was worse than expected. Most economists had only expected sales to decline to around 5.25 million.

As I have stated before, if you can, wait it out. Of course there are others who disagree and say this is the time to jump in and you are free to follow their path.

Some rich guy states the obvious.

Jim Rogers, the veteran investor who predicted the 1999 commodities rally, declared that the US economy was "in recession" as he said he would take flight from the dollar and switch his investments into currencies including the Chinese yuan.

Everyone is raving about China that they are the next big thing. However, I am not as bullish on China. Yes, they are experiencing hyper growth in their economy. But if you read the NYT's coverage on China, well let me put it this way. The candle that burns twice as bright burns out twice as fast. In the near future I plan on doing more entries on China and how much of an impact it will have on our future.

This article has been getting heavy rotation on the New York Time.

Buyers Pounce on Deals as Homes Go on the Block

In a down real estate market, they came to buy. They came early, they came in numbers and they came with bank checks for $5,000.

By 10 a.m. Saturday, more than 700 people filled a hall in the convention center here for what real estate agents say is the largest auction of foreclosed properties ever in Minnesota, with more than 300 houses or apartments for sale in two days. Opening bids ranged from $1,000 — for a three-bedroom house — to $729,000, for a five-bedroom house on 11.9 acres. The crowd was standing-room only, with more waiting to enter. Some were looking for homes, others for investments.

“It’s a symptom of the foreclosure crisis,” said Jim Davnie, a Democratic state representative in Minnesota. Mr. Davnie said he had concern that areas already hit by the foreclosure crisis would now be hit by investors buying properties to rent them out, “which makes neighborhoods less stable than owner-occupied housing.”

I am not a big fan of these auctions. They are only suitable for people who have insider knowledge about the property that is for sale and they are not ideal places for first time buyers. However from this article it appears that people are listening to their bank accounts rather than their emotions. Also these auctions play a key role in the recovery of this market. The quicker these distressed properties move, the quicker we will be able to get this economy back its feet.