Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.
Crime may not pay, but politics certainly does, and not just with hard cash.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, when Tony Yarber was elected to the office of mayor in Jackson, Mississippi, Well Fargo paid off his mortgage.
That may be two years ago, but Yarber is not shy about discussing the event.
"Bank records show that Wells Fargo authorized the release of the remaining lien, $91,621.94, on April 22, 2014, the day of his election. Essentially, they wrote it off, Yarber said."
“Wells Fargo said don’t worry about sending no more money,” he said to local reporter Anna Wolfe.
Yarber, a pastor, delivered a sermon declaring the lien extinguished, mentioning being part of the “very unfortunate real estate swindle of the early 2000s.”
He also discussed the Wells Fargo letter that said, ‘Dear Mr. Yarber, concerning loan number whatever it was, at 1605 whatever street you stay on, we have no more interest in that property. Consider the $92,000 that you owe us washed away,’” Wolfe writes.
Wells Fargo said the release is not part of the national mortgage settlement, but wouldn’t comment further.
Speaking of real estate swindles: The Weekend Edition Sunday, which is broadcasted on National Public Radio, covered the times and travails of two homebuyer stories as they navigate the tricky real estate market of the past decade.
The story is titled: A Decade Out From The Mortgage Crisis, Former Homeowners Still Grasp For Stability
The promise of delivering a tale of struggle is delivered by NPR, and perhaps a little too thick; little else is provided about the troubled homeowners.
As readers of HousingWire are keenly aware of, furthermore, the homeowners weren’t exactly honest themselves with many of these mortgages. Further, many of the solutions presented by regulators are road blocking many from returning to homeownership.
The point is, nearly a decade on, the housing crisis still strikes a nerve; the NPR piece is pushing 600 reader comments and many of them very personal.
Listen and judge for yourself.
Now that they aren't being swindled in real estate, what do Americans like to spend their money on?
After the car payment, student loan and mortgage gets covered for the month, the income of American households is being diverted in a very different way than in the past.
Goldman Sachs economists sent an email to clients discussing the recent slowdown in consumer spending, pointing to temporary events, like low gasoline prices.
Economist Zach Pandl, along with a few other analysts, describe the shifting sands of household spending.
The biggest challenges today are presented to department and apparel stores as more consumers move to online purchases.
Further, spending towards healthcare and restaurants is also increasing.
So what does this mean for the mortgage market?
“Consumer spending continues to shift towards services,” Pandl writes.
Is your mortgage products being marketed to potential homebuyers as a service? Is it online?
If the answers to both of those are “no,” you may have problems growing your business.
Pandl offers this as evidence:
“In the late 19th century, when the first department stores sprouted up across the US, about three quarters of consumer spending went to goods, rather than services, and many of these purchases were made at these new “palaces of consumption” and through catalogs. But even at that time a shift in consumer spending habits was emerging, and the trend has continued to the present: services spending now accounts for 70% of consumption, and goods just 30%.”
On a (nearly) final note, not everyone buys this real estate doom-and-gloom.
Steven Russolillo over at the Wall Street Journal presents an exceedingly positive outlook on housing in the United States right now.
"Home builders are feeling pretty optimistic about current conditions, which should bode well for Toll. A gauge of home-builder sentiment, released last week, held firmly in positive territory, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Perhaps more important, expectations for sales in the next six months jumped to the highest level of the year."
WSJ reader Trevor Shammas isn't buying Russolillo's case: "Everything is always so sunny and bright in these articles. As if simply being told something is promising is going to take over every-day reality," Shammas writes at the bottom. "People cannot afford homes at these ridiculous prices that have been bid up by Fed 0-rate policies and investors alike."
Oh dear, sounds like someone who's been swindled in a real estate deal or two.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. closed no banks this weekend.