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Ear to the Ground

Housing Signs Point to More Market Woes

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Posted on Jun 5, 2008
for sale sign
Flickr / sfadden

The housing market is continuing its descent into Slumpsville, judging by the way things have gone over the first quarter of 2008, and indicators don’t look good for the immediate future, either. American homeowners have been forced into foreclosure in record numbers this year and late payments have soared to a new high.


AP via Yahoo News:

“The economy is treading water, and the housing market is one of the undercurrents trying to pull it down,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group.

Nearly 1 percent, or roughly 447,723 loans, fell into foreclosure during the January-to-March period, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Thursday in its quarterly snapshot of the mortgage market. That surpassed the previous high of 0.83 percent over the last three months in 2007.

The report also found that more homeowners slipped behind on their monthly payments. The delinquency rate jumped to 6.35 percent—or 2.87 million loans—compared with 5.82 percent for the previous three months. Payments are considered delinquent if they are 30 or more days past due.

Both the rate of new foreclosures and late payments were the highest on record going back to 1979.

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By jackpine savage, June 6, 2008 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

The Economist recently pointed out that our housing woes are actually much worse than the previous worst: 1932.  What that newspaper did not point out, however, is the difference in how our economy functions between then and now.  Home ownership was much less common then; today it is the backbone of family finance.

Hungry people living in tent cities tend not to be very rational.  Yet we had better start thinking/working our way out of this with a great deal of rationality.  And by that i do not mean foisting the problems off on younger generations.

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By Bukko in Australia, June 6, 2008 at 1:32 am Link to this comment

Every time I read something like this, I am SO GLAD my wife and I sold our house in San Francisco and emigrated in 2006, when homes and the U.S. dollar still had some value. We did it mainly because we didn’t want to keep paying taxes for President Cheney’s genocide. But we also saw that the housing bubble would burst and the U.S. economy would implode.

We weren’t sure, and we hoped we were just being alarmist, because we envision some baaaaaad things happening. So far, our predictions have been borne out. I’d mention what else we expect to happen in the U.S., but it would be too depressing. All I can say is, have some food and water set aside, and be sure you know which friends you can depend on. And make a plan for what you will do when it hits the fan…

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