RadarLogic: mortage ownership questions may hurt MBS
Radar Logic believes the foreclosure fiasco of the past few weeks will depress home prices, further slow home sales, and possibly undermine the mortgage securitization process. The data and analytics firm said although mortgage lenders maintain the problems are merely procedural, they are "raising questions about legal standing and suspicions of fraud that threaten to unleash a raft of legal challenges that could tie up foreclosures for months." In its RPX monthly housing report, the company said the threat to the foreclosure process and the housing market has not passed despite some lenders planning to resume foreclosure proceedings, as soon as next week. Meanwhile analysts estimate the latest crisis in the housing market could cost large lenders anywhere between $42.3 billion and $85 billion, as investors of mortgage-backed securities begin demanding the banks repurchase non-performing loans. "Matters could get much, much worse if questions about title and mortgage ownership undermine the mortgage securitization system, which supplies lenders with cash for new mortgage loans," according to Radar Logic. "For over thirty years, banks have bundled and securitized mortgages in a process that requires ownership of mortgage loans to change hands a number of times," Radar Logic said. "If banks cannot convince investors that their processes for transferring mortgage rights during securitization are sound and can stand up in court, then the securitization process could break down. Financing the purchase of a home would become much more difficult and demand for all homes – not just those sold by banks – would dry up." Radar Logic expects demand to decline in the short term because uncertainty over titles makes foreclosed homes less desirable. Write to Jason Philyaw.