U.S. foreclosure filings climbed to a record in the third quarter as lenders seized more properties from delinquent borrowers, according to RealtyTrac Inc.
A total of 937,840 homes received a default or auction notice or were repossessed by banks, a 23 percent increase from a year earlier, the Irvine, California-based seller of default data said today in a report. One out of every 136 U.S. households received a filing, the highest quarterly rate in records dating to January 2005.
“The problem is prime loans going into foreclosure and people being underwater and losing their jobs,” Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said in an interview. “It’s a really bad number.”
Shantytown in Sacramento
Ironically, as more people than ever are being forced out of their homes, the central bank is propping up housing prices by printing money and pushing it through federal agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Federal Reserve bought $170 million of two-year notes sold yesterday by Fannie Mae, the quickest purchase after issuance of benchmark bonds from the company or similar institutions since the central bank began acquiring so-called agency debt.
The purchase was part of $2.6 billion of buying today, the New York Fed said on its Web site. The central bank listed the notes among ones it would accept bids for yesterday, about 90 minutes after Washington-based Fannie Mae announced the results of its $5 billion sale in a statement.
The Fed last month said it would begin buying “on-the- run” agency debt, or the most recently issued notes in different maturities. It has purchased $136.3 billion of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Federal Home Loan Bank bonds since December, according to data complied by Bloomberg.
The result is that property prices are prevented from falling to a figure that people can afford. This is perpetuated by cheap government credit which allows underqualified borrowers to take out loans.
Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have become “the new subprime,” and these loans are exposing taxpayers to the same kinds of soaring default rates and losses that brought down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as destroyed many banks and the private market for mortgage loans.
While private lenders learned a lesson from the mortgage crisis and are shying away from easy-money loans, the FHA has stepped into the breach. The agency has provided backing for 37 percent of all mortgages used to buy homes this year.
Wages are approaching an 18 year low, the dollar is losing value, as evidenced by the inverse rise in gold, and the economy is entering a period of stagflation similar to what occurred in the late 70’s under the Carter administration.
“We essentially are printing money. Quantitative easing is debasing our currency,” he says.
“Congress is spending like drunken sailors. The investigator general for TARP has stated that it’s possible that the cost to the American taxpayer for all the bailouts, backstops, guarantees, etc. could exceed $23 trillion.”
That picture isn’t too pretty. “We’ve never seen anything like this in our history,” Tice says.
Of course what’s bad for the economy and financial markets is good for gold, and that’s why he likes the precious metal.
The only parties which benefit from this situation are the banks which, after seizing your home, avoid having to lose money by inflating its price. These special interests are safeguarded by politicians in Washington such as Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad who do their bidding.
Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad lawyered up when the Senate ethics committee asked about their VIP loans from Countrywide Financial. But the sweetheart Senators may not be able to stop another look at their dealings with the subprime mortgage factory. A Democrat on the House oversight committee, Illinois freshman Mike Quigley, tells us that he supports a subpoena to obtain documents on the “Friends of Angelo” loan program.
Named for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, the program was used to curry influence with government officials. Bank of America, which bought the failed lender last year, has said it’s ready to turn over the files as soon as it receives a subpoena.
In the upcoming election, let us kick corrupt politicians out of their own residence in Washington D.C.
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