Interest-only mortgages: They’re baaack

Oh this is a great sign.

It does sound like the parameters around these new interest only loans are pretty conservative, 20% down, 720 FICO score, etc. But take it as a bellwether. Watch to see if more of this stuff comes on the market, with less stringent guidelines. Caution, always caution when it comes to housing, which is a highly government manipulated market.

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Mortgage applications plunge to 14-year low

A minuscule move up in mortgage rates caused a significant downdraft in mortgage applications.

And with cash buyers increasingly out of the picture, mortgage dependent buyers are where it’s at for real estate. The problem is the latter group is still on very shaky economic ground.

All the meddling in the housing market by the government. All the below market rates of interest from the Fed. All the “stimulus.” And this is where we are, spinning our wheels.

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Big crony gamble: Hedge funds lobby hard for privatization of Fannie Mae

Generally speaking we are for things being private and as far from the hand of government as is feasible.  But right now some hedge funds are buying up preferred shares of Fannie Mae in hopes that the mortgage behemoths will be privatized. They are betting that the government will opt not to liquidate the entities but instead will seek private hands to take them over.

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Stealth Bailout for the Big Banks, Write Downs

In yesterday’s New York Times Gretchen Morgenson examines the plight of Ed DeMarco who is the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Committee. He has suffered the slings and arrows of many in Washington because he hasn’t forced Fannie and Freddie to write down principal for underwater homeowners. He says he has an obligation to the taxpayer not to do so. Barney Frank disagrees. (Others do too.)

The author makes the argument that such write downs actually constitute yet another bailout for the banks.

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