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March 16, 2011

Shiller Defends Fannie/Freddie. 23% of Homes Underwater. FHA Head Now MBA Head.

March 16, 2011

Shiller Defends Fannie/Freddie. 23% of Homes Underwater. FHA Head Now MBA Head.

Robert Shiller Defends Fannie/Freddie
Are we really better off winding down Freddie and Fannie entirely? Most, including Robert Shiller of S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index fame, of the mortgage and real estate professionals in the US would suggest that we’re better off with those agencies staying around in one form or another.

Core Logic: 23% of Homes Underwater
According to the US Census Bureau there were 167,564 empty houses in Nevada, which is about one out of every seven houses—putting three people in each one would cover the population of Kansas City, and four people would cover the population of Seattle. While many of these homes may actually have some kind of occupant, something tells me that home building will not be flourishing there for a while, which was confirmed by this morning’s housing starts number. As for the rest of the country, CoreLogic 4Q2010 data shows 23% of borrowers nationwide, or 11.1 million, were holding “underwater” mortgages which is a collective $750 billion of negative equity. Here are states hardest hit by negative equity: Nevada (65%), Arizona (51%), Florida (47%), Michigan (36%), and California (32%). The Obama administration is still working on more forceful loan modification plans to resolve this.

FHA Head To Become MBA Head
FHA Commissioner Dave Stevens, who announced his resignation last week, will be merely having a different morning commute: he will become the MBA’s president and CEO in early May. The MBA “represents more than 2,400 firms in the nation’s real estate finance industry,” although critics claim that the membership has such divergent goals and objectives that it is nearly impossible for the MBA to adequately address them. One story noted that, “An administration official said Stevens signed a pledge when he took office not to lobby any official for the remainder of the Obama administration and not to speak on official matters for two years with anyone from HUD, if he left government.”

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