Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Some happy housing news.

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- As many as half of the 450,000 subprime borrowers whose mortgage payments increase in the next three months may lose their homes because they can't sell, refinance or qualify for help from the U.S. government.

``Short of the cavalry riding in over the hill, a lot of these people are just stuck,'' said Christopher Cagan, director of research and analytics at Santa Ana, California-based First American CoreLogic, the risk management unit of the biggest U.S. title insurer.

The number of borrowers whose mortgage payments jump in the next three months will be the second-highest ever for a quarter, according to Credit Suisse Group, Switzerland's second-biggest bank. Twenty-seven percent have already missed a payment, said First American LoanPerformance, which owns the largest database of U.S. mortgages. That makes them ineligible for the Federal Housing Administration bailout proposed last month by President George W. Bush.

As this chart of ARM resets shows, the worst is yet to come in the subprime world.

And on the construction side:

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Builders in the U.S. began work on the fewest homes in 12 years in August, raising the risk the real-estate recession will spread to other parts of the economy.

The 2.6 percent decline to a lower-than-forecast annual rate of 1.331 million followed July's 1.367 million, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Building permits dropped 5.9 percent to a 1.307 million pace, also the lowest since 1995.