Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Sean Hannity amassed property fortune in wake of subprime crisis

Also, when was the last time we had jobs so good?

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.

For most of America, the years following the subprime housing crisis brought nothing but darkness.

Families scattered into the wind as big banks' foreclosure and property vultures circled. For the most part, it was arguably the biggest land grab since the Manifest Destiny, in which savvy real estate developers earned unforetold riches.

And, according to this piece in the Guardian, so did a certain cable news host, who cursed the foreclosure crisis while capitalizing on its misery, all at the same time.

Fox News personality Sean Hannity may yet prove to be one of the most savvy of said developers, according to the article. His haul is exceedingly impressive for a part-time gig.

From the author Jon Swaine, who claims to have pored through many court documents in order to make his claim:

“The records link Hannity to a group of shell companies that spent at least $90m on more than 870 homes in seven states over the past decade. The properties range from luxurious mansions to rentals for low-income families. Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies and his attorney did not dispute that he owns all of them.

Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages. Before and after then, Hannity sharply criticised Barack Obama for the US foreclosure rate. In January 2016, Hannity said there were “millions more Americans suffering under this president” partly because of foreclosures.

Hannity, 56, also amassed part of his property collection with support from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development [sic] (Hud), a fact he did not disclose when praising Ben Carson, the Hud secretary, on his television show last year.”

Despite the negative news headlines surrounding Hannity, the network stands by their man. So as they say: To the victor, the spoils.

Meanwhile, mortgage lending continues to move from strength to strength since the crisis. For example, Kate Adamson, head of mortgage at Plaid, a San Francisco-based fintech provide, claims the tech revolution is finally reaching the mortgage space. [Listen to that podcast here.]  

And she has a point, this article from Reuters breaks down app advances at the “big banks” as part of that revolution.

Elizabeth Dilts writes that:

Big U.S. banks are racing to launch websites and mobile apps to make getting a mortgage faster and easier, investments that may have modest near-term payoffs as home lending activity slows.

Lenders have been spending on digital tools to cut costs, eliminate error-prone paperwork and appeal to younger home buyers. However, they are chasing a shrinking pool of refinancing business and new home loan volumes are still below pre-crisis levels.

Among the big banks listed is Quicken Loans, so oops there! But Reuters can’t be blamed for confusing the terms bank and nonbank, it’s actually common for these little errors.

Take this piece in CNN that covers the CFPB fine against Wells Fargo, calling it, “the harshest action taken by the Trump administration against a Wall Street bank.” To which I ask: Since when is Wall Street headquartered in San Francisco? Cleary, they need more finance-savvy journalists at CNN, just like Sean Hannity over at Fox.

And finally, since we mentioned Manifest Destiny earlier, let’s end with another history lesson.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs, who sent an email to clients predicting the current, provide this gem of a fact strong jobs market will continue.

So how strong is the market in a historical perspective?

"Meanwhile, the pace of job creation shows no sign of slowing. Both trend payroll gains and our job growth tracker are running above 200k, more than double our estimate of the breakeven rate," they write. "We see little evidence that supply constraints will impose a forceful natural deceleration any time soon, and instead expect robust labor demand to drive the unemployment rate to 3.6% by end-2018 and 3.3% by end-2019, the lowest rate since the Korean War."

The Korean War took place in the early 1950s, for reference.

Have a great week everyone!

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