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The Blame Game—Who are you pointing a finger at?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 | Link | Spread The Word!

“Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities have dropped a record 15.3% in the past year. We are back to where we were in 2004, according to the Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s.” Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article started a firestorm of opinion and thoughts amongst my friends and colleagues and I wanted to share it with you. While home prices are at their lowest in the last five years, market saturation is at its highest; no one is buying or selling homes.

 

I started reaching out people in the industry to chat about the implications of a market where low home prices were not selling and it spawned quite a few responses. Even the guy sitting next to me on the airplane had something to say about it. This seems to be a topic on the tip of every American’s tongue. See what just a few of them had to say: (Note these are not necessarily my opinions but opinions of my peers and past clients in and out of the mortgage industry.)

 

“Home buyers are irrational – 2 years ago subprime & prime buyers bought second and third homes. Now even prime buyers are not buying in sufficient numbers. Why not? Are they crazy?! Irrational enough to buy in a market driven by a trifecta of poor lending, brokering and buying decisions but now when it makes the most sense to buy, not buying. Just crazy.”

-Anonymous Real Estate Client

“The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In a restricted liquidity market, the middle to lower class almost always suffers. Credit costs soar for lower FICO holders, while limited purchases and lending leads to incentives for those with ‘prime’ credit. Go to any car dealership this weekend and ‘Prime’ credit holders can buy a car with no money down, $2.99 gas for two years and a $5000 rebate; got bad credit, don’t waste your time.”

-Noel Collins (Myself)

“Banks caused the problem. Bad lending practices caused ancillary markets to collapse. If banks had not lent to borrowers with lower FICO scores or offered brokers the ability to borrow money for 0% down payments we would not be in trouble. In the past, the average down payment needed for a home purchase qualification was at least 10%. Because of the lack of liquidity time shares, rental cars, hotel reservation rates, food costs, restaurants and tourist attractions are failing.”

-Passenger on flight from LA to Phoenix

“The home buyer is at fault. Even subprime buyers obtained a good loan, paid off credit cards and inserted a positive cash flow in their banks. What happened? They spent the money, got new credit cards, bought a new car or home and paid their mortgages late. If they had followed our financial advice they would be able refinance at prime rates even in today’s market.” –

Chris Stone – EDMC – California

“It is the President’s fault. If George W. Bush had lowered interest rates sooner and not hedged his bet on big oil and the Iraq war, the financial industry would not have collapsed.” —

Anonymous Human Resource Director – Mortgage Industry

“Hedge funds and overreaction compounded the problem. If people had not focused on making money during this crisis we would be better off”.

-David Staral – The Staral Group

“Inexperienced loan originators. Many loan officers – I use the word loosely were inexperienced and only learned how to take orders. One bank/broker I talked with said it was fine when lending was like “Clubbing baby seals” but in today’s market a loan originator/agent needs to b a financial EXPERT! - Period! Inexperienced loan originators looking for a quick buck didn’t point our customers in the right direction; they pointed them into their bank account. I cannot reach my agent any longer; he went back to selling cars.”

– Subprime Customer stuck in an ARM

 

“My agent went bankrupt and is now facing felony charges in Georgia.”

-Failed Mortgage Banker/Broker

 

How far will the downturn in our economy take us? Some of my more outspoken colleagues say this will only lead to more money making by the richest of the richest and that more needs to be done for the middle and lower classes. Didn’t we take the financial decision making out of the hands of the wealthy and extend it to our poorer peers? Where did that put us? Banks, buyers, Bush—whose fault is it?

Pass the Beans!

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