Monday, May 12, 2008

Speculative Shit

According to a NY Times article this weekend, "speculators" and second home owners are doing the walking away. But Regular People are riding it out.

The LA Times says that the jingle mail is a suburban myth concocted by lenders to distract the public and regulators from the shoddy loans they gave out.
"So many of the loans made were irresponsible -- for the borrowers and for the lenders," said Kurt Eggert, an expert on predatory lending at Chapman University Law School in Orange County. "Lenders have an interest in painting themselves as responsible, even caring entities. They want to cast blame for the sub-prime meltdown as much as possible on their borrowers."

It is generally agreed that the real culprit in the meltdown is the proliferation of exotic mortgages that hit borrowers -- many with paltry down payments and therefore almost no equity in the home -- with huge payment shocks in the early years of the loan. The new payments are often raised to levels that the borrowers could never have afforded but expected to escape via a refinancing or a sale of the house into a rising market.
It's always looked there was a lot of speculation because the problem seems to be localized in areas where people would be likely to speculate-Arizona, Florida, Southern California.

Here in Manhattan, prices are holding, softening somewhat. The most recent sale in my building had five offers and sold at the asking price.