Archive for December, 2009 Nothing in your hand; it is what underwater homedebtors have. They occupy a house -- just like renters do -- but most of them do so at a huge premium to renting. Underwater homedebtors have no equity; what they do have is the dream of equity in the future. They have a position in a financial market that most resembles an option contract that is out-of-the-money. People who are underwater today and paying a premium are still hoping they will get a return on those premium dollars when their house value rises above their mortgage and puts them back in-the-money. Mostly this is based on fantasy or Zillow Zestimates or some other such nonsense, when in reality, their property values…[READ MORE] Today I briefly want to again Revisit Option ARMs, and I want to address a common misperception about REO; lenders do not have to sell REO due to regulatory pressure. Shareholders may dissuade lenders from becoming real estate investors, but the banking regulators will not. The Option ARM Kingpins: Who Holds the Elusive Option ARMs? $189 Billion Securitized and Outstanding and big Three of Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, and Bank of America Playing with Time. There have been many charts ... and much of the confusion is around a few key points: -1.  Banks have been circumspect given the actual number of option ARMs -2.  Many option ARMs are in California (roughly 60 percent of the market) -3.  Many of…[READ MORE] The California housing market is volatile, but people only see the ups. Trying to capture appreciation, they "stretch" to get into a property by putting larger and larger percentages of their income toward housing (until the entire system collapses). This stretching is (1) recorded in the aggregate debt-to-income ratio for a particular market and (2) observed in the struggles of individual homeowners.   As you might surmise, the peaks in the DTI ratios correspond to peaks in our three California housing bubbles.   Today, I want to move from the macro down to the micro; the charts above show aggregate numbers and big-picture relationships, but what about the individual? What struggles does all of this mean for you and me?…[READ MORE]

In Memoriam: Tony Bliss 1966-2012