Archives: July 2007

I confess: I caused the housing downturn

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 31

Go ahead, tell me. I can take it. Am I to blame for the downturn in the housing market? I mean "me" as in "we" as in "we" in the...

Lose a Wallet, Gain a House

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 31

Want to know how sloppy mortgage underwriting was in recent years? This sloppy: The Washington Post published an amazing story today about a local man, Jose Lara, who was surprised...

What's the Opposite of Exuberance?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 31

"No signs of a turnaround," says Robert J. "Irrational Exuberance" Shiller in announcing the May results for his national home price survey. The S&P/Case-Shiller 10-City Index showed an annual decline...

Mortgages for illegal immigrants

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 30

Bank of America kicked up a stink when it came to light several months ago that it had been quietly testing a credit card in California that didn't require an...

When your ship sets sail...

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 30

Regular readers of this blog will recall that a few weeks back I posted an item on how John Devaney, a Florida hedge fund manager who was one of the...

Foreclosures Are Up, Up, Up— No Matter How You Count

Posted by: Maya Roney on July 30

The total 2007 U.S. foreclosure tally is quickly nearing one million and could exceed two million by the end of the year, RealtyTrac said this morning. The Irvine, Calif.-based Web...

Flipping Out Indeed

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 30

The real estate boom on television has just about played out—witness E.W. Scripps, owner of HGTV, putting out an earnings warning last week. So it's fitting I guess that the...

Found: The Biggest Closets in Manhattan

Posted by: Maya Roney on July 27

Just as Manhattanites were beginning to embrace their closet-size apartments, a new development on this island is claiming to have the most expansive closet space ever offered in a residential...

The Best Is Yet To Come!

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 27

With home sales plunging, Beth Ann Shepard “Home Stager to the Stars” in Los Angeles, offered some tips for sellers. Shepard’s publicist says she’s helped celebs like Greg Kinnear, Christina...

Trouble for Terabitz?

Posted by: Maya Roney on July 26

Already, the real estate Web site that claims to be “better than Zillow” is stirring up Zillow-grade controversy. On Tuesday, Inman News reported that Palo Alto-based Terabitz, which launched just...

Applying for Mortgages Is Like Applying to Colleges

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 26

Ambitious high school students routinely apply to 10 or more colleges these days, in part because applications are standardized so it's not so much work to fire off lots of...

Where Will Housing Recover First? Would You Believe D.C.?

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 26

Intriguing predictions from John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting: With so much doom and gloom in the market, we are going to focus on the positive this month....

Cashing In at Countrywide

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 25

For all the buzz over Countrywide's poor earnings report on Tuesday and CEO Angelo Mozilo's bearish comments about the housing market, I think we'd be remiss if we didn't discuss...

Did the Media Get the Story Wrong?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 25

Some more nuggets from Countrywide Financial’s three hour long conference call with investors yesterday. The company says the recent spike in loan losses is not--as widely expected--due to adjustable rate...

The Blame Game at Countrywide

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 24

Angelo Mozilo usually doesn’t mince words. But the billionaire founder of Countrywide Financial certainly is trying to deflect criticism as his company reported its worst earnings results in years. Countrywide...

Fannie: The downside of the affordable housing push?

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 23

There was a big push during the Clinton era to get more Americans into their own homes, under the belief that homeowners made for more stable communities, which is admittedly...

Florida hurtling toward recession

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 23

Bob Ivry at Bloomberg has a pretty detailed report on the Florida condo scene, including a good line from Florida Gov. Charlie Crist--that the state bird should now be the...

Who Owns Times Square?

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 18

Labor unions are at war with the private equity industry. They say the big buyout firms cut U.S. jobs to boost profits at the companies they acquire. They’re lobbying Congress...

No Turnaround this Year for Housing Starts

Posted by: Maya Roney on July 18

Today we learned that housing starts rose 2.3% in June to a rate of 1.467 million units. But we know by now to ignore such news. In May, starts fell....

Better than Zillow?

Posted by: Maya Roney on July 17

Yet another consumer real estate Web site has launched today. Given the success of Zillow and Trulia, brand-new site Terabitz.com has high hopes (the site’s PR person has already promised...

An Alt-A Lender Goes Bust--Valiantly?

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 16

Most of us don't have enormous sympathy for home lenders who made bad decisions and consequently went bust. But it's obvious from the following that the troubled lenders see themselves...

Tales From The Water's Edge

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 15

My Mother and her friends visited the beautiful new Water's Edge community on the Manasquan River in Point Pleasant, New Jersey last week. It's being developed by Pulte Homes,...

NAR Says Just Wait For '08

Posted by: Maya Roney on July 11

Another NAR prediction today—will this one flop like all its predecessors? Keep your fingers crossed. The National Association of Realtors said today that it expects home prices to recover in...

Southern Calif. Realtors Stop Disclosing Days on Market

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 11

Ask any real estate agent: When a house has been on the market for a long time, potential buyers figure they can drive a harder bargain. And, of course, homes...

The Housing Woes Spread

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 11

This is the week the stock market seems be acknowledging that the housing slowdown is spilling over to other industries. On Monday aluminum giant Alcoa reported that it missed its...

Now Hear This: Peoria, Ariz., Is Bigger Than Peoria, Ill.

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 11

I just received a copy of a book called Boomburbs: The Rise of America's Accidental Cities. It was from Boomburbs that I learned that Peoria, Ariz. (a typical boomburb) now...

D.R. Horton: So Much for the Power of Positive Thinking

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 10

If wishing could make it so, homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. would be hammering its way to untold riches. In the spring of 2006, even as the storm clouds were beginning...

Manhattan: A World Unto Itself

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 10

BusinessWeek's headquarters are in this quaint little structure in midtown Manhattan. But just because I work here doesn't mean I understand the stupefyingly strong local housing market. Manhattan seems to...

Real Estate Guru Admits He's "In a Pickle"

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 10

Paul Wenske of The Kansas City Star dug up the story of a real estate guru named Michael Ledman who ran afoul of the housing slump and a felony charge....

A multi-vitamin where a flu shot is needed

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on July 06

The nation’s leading financial regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, released their long-debated guidance on sub-prime mortgage lending on June 28. You can read the...

Everyone's a critic...

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 03

The weekend of June 23-24 was a hectic time for Richard Marin, an executive at Bear Stearns that ran two troubled hedge funds heavily invested in subprime-backed bonds. And after...

Is this the "big one"?

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 03

In recent days, Wall Street executives have been out front assuring investors that the problems in the subprime market won't create a contagion that spreads to other markets. It's as...

Masters of the Universe aren't so masterful after all

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 03

Every generation has its "Masters of the Universe." In the late 1980s, it was junk bond impresario Michael Milken and the gang at Salomon Brothers that writer Michael Lewis captured...

The other side of "the American dream"

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 02

It's only proper that on the same day I post a story about a sheik selling his $135 million mansion in Aspen that I make note of the other side...

Another sign of a market top?

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 02

There are several individuals in the world that I'd never want to do business with. John Schuerholz, the general manager of baseball's Atlanta Braves, is one such individual. Schuerholz has...

Are you the owner of this house? You might be...

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 02

For all of those investors who bought into hedge funds or into collateralized debt obligations -- seduced by the high returns that the fund managers promised -- here's a look...

Talk about your jumbo mortgages...

Posted by: Dean Foust on July 01

Actually anyone who buys this house is paying cash. Serious cash. And there are probably less than a thousand people who can afford. News from the Aspen Times is that...

About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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