Sunday, May 31, 2009

Broken Arms

Adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, the vehicle of choice during the housing boom, are now turning into a nightmare for those home owners that took them. ARMs have dominated mortgage delinquencies and home foreclosures. Nationally, 48 percent of subprime ARM loans were at least one payment past due in the MBA's latest report. In Florida, the subprime ARM delinquency rate was more than 60 percent. And, in the second quarter of 2008, Florida and California accounted for 58 percent of the nation's prime ARM foreclosure starts.

With home values dropping anywhere from 20 to 50%, returning values back to 2003 prices, most South Floridians with option ARMs are unable to refinance because their loan is upside-down, meaning they owe more than the house is worth.

Adding to the problem were all of the toxic ARMs that were developled during the bubble, to put people in houses they couldn't afford, and to pay higher commissions to the salesmen pushing them. Often called ''liar's loans'', these were often given to the borower without any income verfication (anyone remember Casey Serin?) , interest-only loans that often balloon when adjusting and ''option'' ARMs in which the homeowner initially may choose from a variety of payments, including one incredibly insane option that doesn't even cover the monthly interest amount, adding to the principal of the loan (so-called negative amortization).

Adding to the problem, rates are rising. Despite Bernanke and the Obama administration printing up hundreds of billions of dollars, and buying up hundreds of billions in Treasuries and MBS's, yields are higher than at the beginning of the year. The average rate for a 30-year loan jumped from 4.82 percent a week ago to 5,45 percent by the end of the week. Every 100bp increase means the borrower has about 10% less buying power, based on payment.

It doesn't really matter where rates are if you are in a negative equity situation, or if you lost your job. How many people have or want to write a check for $50,000 to refinance a house? Most people are stuck in these loans, and have to make the decision to either keep paying or walk way. As evidenced by the massive increase in foreclosures, it appears people are choosing the latter.

To get an idea of how large this problem is, for the next two years we are going to see about 50 billion dollars a month in resets or recasts. That is a ridiculous amount. If we are running at 40 to 60% delinquency rates now, what is going to happen when this next wave of inventory floods the market, depressing prices further?


At 8:57 PM, Anonymous CoachingByPeter said...

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