Weak Home Sales, Tightening Credit Standards = Multiple Mortgage Apps

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | 12:03 PM

Earlier today on Real Money's columnist conversation, Tony Crescenzi noted earlier that "It would be extraordinarily unusual for the combined figures on new and existing home sales to continue falling in the face of increases in mortgage applications."

I have to disagree.

Based on our interviews with our Real Estate clients (commercial builders, RE brokers) and especially residential Mortgage Brokers, there appears to be a dramatic rise in multiple applications for both new purchases, refis, and home equity lines.

As many of the ARM resets come up over the next 18 months, I would surmise these multiple mortgage apps will increase -- especially amongst the more desperate marginal homeowners.

Meanwhile, we see Defaults on 'Alt A' loans surpassing Subprime ones,  according to Citibank:

"Defaults on some so-called Alt A mortgages packaged into bonds last year are now outpacing those from subprime loans, according to Citigroup Inc.                

The three-month constant default rate for 2006 Alt A hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages is 2.3 percent, compared with 2.2 percent for subprime ARMs, New York-based Citigroup analysts led by Rahul Parulekar wrote in a July 20 report. . . "          

More than $800 billion of subprime mortgage bonds and $700 billion of Alt A bonds are outstanding, with ARM bonds totaling more than $600 billion and $450 billion, respectively, according to a March report by Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group."         

And, as we mentioned yesterday, its NOT just Alt A and Subprime, according to Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozila:

"Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, said yesterday that more borrowers with good credit were falling behind on their loans and that the housing market might not begin recovering until 2009 because of a decline in house prices that goes beyond anything experienced in decades."

Incidentally, I was on Kudlow with Mr. Mozila about a year ago. Nice guy, he gets credit in my book for being a bluntly candid  speaker. As it turns out, he is also a canny seller of his own stock -- a net of $380 million, according to Thomson Financial.

As I said at the time, it was smart they were diversifying away from Housing, but I wouldn't touch Countrywide Financial (CFC) with a 10 foot pole -- and that's still true today.


UPDATE: July 25, 2007 12:34 pm

Bloomie:

"Home resales in the U.S. fell for a fourth straight month in June, a sign housing remained mired in the worst slump in 16 years going into the second half.

Purchases last month declined 3.8 percent to an annual rate of 5.75 million, the slowest pace since November 2002, from a revised 5.98 million in May that was less than initially reported, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington.

Rising borrowing costs are discouraging buyers, leaving a glut of unsold homes on the market and dimming prospects for a quick recovery in housing. Federal Reserve policy makers last week trimmed their economic growth forecast amid persistent weakness in home building."

When even the NAR start revising forecasts diownward, you know that we are nowhere near that elusive bottom . . .


>

Sources:
Defaults on Some `Alt A' Loans Surpass Subprime Ones
Jody Shenn
Bloomberg, July 24 2007
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aeWSvfvHw3cQ&

Top Lender Sees Mortgage Woes for ‘Good’ Risks
VIKAS BAJAJ
NYTimes, July 25, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/25/business/25lend.html

Home Resales in U.S. Fall 3.8% to 5.75 Million Rate
Joe Richter
Bloomberg, July 25 2007
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=abCy7BmqWaYc&

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | 12:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)
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Comments

Exactly. Aaand I know someone who is in the process of filing the multiple apps right now. Aaaaand they're not getting what they want because the lender's are discounting appraisals. Aaaaaaand I am going to be explaining to my friend that it just no longer makes sense for him to be paying $5000 per month in interest for a house that is declining in value that he could be renting for less than $2000/month when he just can't afford the payments AND the jobs he's doing finishing new construction are drying up faster than wet paint in the desert.

Posted by: Bob A | Jul 25, 2007 12:13:33 PM

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