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Posts Tagged ‘Jumbo mortgages’

U.S. Mortgage/Housing Market Has Split Personality

Posted by Larry Doyle on August 11th, 2009 11:52 AM |

To speak of the United States housing market in singular terms would be a huge mistake. The different regions of the country have their own housing dynamics. The strengths and weaknesses within the local economies have a huge impact on the strength or weakness of housing.

All this said, there is no doubt that the number 417 has the greatest impact on housing in the United States. Why and how?  417k is the cutoff for individuals looking to receive a conforming mortgage. Above that level, individuals enter the realm of the Jumbo market where rates are appreciably higher and credit standards are significantly tighter. Additionally, Jumbo product is not typically eligible to be underwritten or purchased by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. That restriction was waived and Freddie and Fannie have purchased some Jumbo product, but it has had no meaningful impact on the dynamics within the Jumbo space. Overall, the 417k level remains an enormous line of demarcation.

That line of demarcation is further defined by the ability to modify loans. Loan modifications for Jumbo mortgages are significantly more challenging to accomplish. On top of that, mortgage servicers are now under ENORMOUS pressure by Uncle Sam to produce increased numbers of mortgage modifications. Where is Uncle Sam targeting? Conforming mortgages.

While market analysts may believe housing is turning, they are not looking at the total picture. The Jumbo market remains under real pressure while the conforming market is showing signs of stability. Under the heading of ‘a picture speaks a thousand words,’ high five to our friends at 12th St. Capital (the leading mortgage broker-dealer on Wall Street) for providing an overview of the housing market in Los Angeles. One can see the ‘split personality’ based on sales volumes between the downtown neighborhoods and those in the upper incomes. Please click on the map to view year over year sales volumes in respective Los Angeles neighborhoods. A few miles makes a world of difference.

Would welcome insights and perspectives from people in other regions of the country on the split personality of their local housing markets as well.


Charlie Rose Speaks to Tim Geithner

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 11th, 2009 12:54 PM |

I will provide my insights and perspectives on Charlie Rose’s interview of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner last evening. The interview has been broken down into 6 separate clips, with my commentary preceding each clip.

Part 1
In this clip, Geithner wears both the political and policy hats. While promoting the Obama agenda initially (housing, education, healthcare, energy), he then turns toward the specifics of unlocking the consumer credit securitization markets via the TALF (Term Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility). This facility attempts to restart the securitization market and model which I wrote was broken back on November 12th (The Wall Street Model Is Broken…and Won’t Soon be Fixed). That market provides approximately 40% of the financing to a wide array of consumer finance markets. Geithner attempts to portray a measure of confidence and aggressiveness. The market has currently responded with a vote of no confidence.


Part 2 (more…)

Mortgage Deduction . . . Crossing the Rubicon

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 27th, 2009 1:18 PM |

The mortgage interest deduction has been a cornerstone of American tax and housing policy. In fact, I can’t count the number of times I conversed with my accountant about maintaining mortgage debt based upon the feeling it was the one deduction the government would never touch.  Well, never just pulled into the driveway!

For clarification purposes and at the request of a number of readers, allow me to address this deduction. As proposed in President Obama’s budget, for those households currently paying taxes in the 33% and 35% brackets, the mortgage deduction would now be at a 28% rate. The proposal would not take effect until 2011. 

This Mortgage Deduction Looks Less Sacred. Its effect can and is hotly debated by economists and housing analysts. In my opinion, though, there are a few points not debatable. This initiative is another method of achieving wealth redistribution. It will make housing more expensive at the margin. It will put pressure on housing in general and in upper income areas specifically. Given that there are no initiatives proposed to support those needing Jumbo mortgages, this tax change will only further negatively impact this sector of the market. 

Lastly, is this Obama’s “crossing the Rubicon?” Don’t think for a second that this initiative just developed. How and why did we NEVER hear about this during the campaign? Did he know how negatively it would be received? 

In summary, having “crossed the Rubicon,” how far does he penetrate into the territory? 

We’ll be watching, but knowing how wildly optimistic his growth projections are in his proposed budget, Obama will need more $$$. The mortgage interest deduction just became fair game. 

I need to call my accountant.


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