REwired

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Open commentary on everything impacting the U.S. housing economy. The opinions expressed here represent the author's alone.

NAR considers rules on short-sale listings

Inman News covers a interesting topic taking up plenty of discussion among the realtor crowd these days: just how to quantify short-sales within a multiple listing service. As the housing mess has rolled on, the NAR has been having quiet discussions with MLS participants about how to set standards on listing a short sale.
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Question: what do boxing and ResCap have in common?

Answer: we have no idea. But we do know that Josh Weintraub -- the Bear Stearns expat recently appointed to the board of directors at troubled lender Residential Capital LLC -- has one hell of a right hook. Apparently, at some point in the past, Weintraub got in the ring (for charity, natch) with Shane Kinahan at Goldman Sachs. And Weintraub kicked some serious Goldman tail, to some strong profanity and chants of "Bear Stearns" from the raucous crowd.
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The silver lining of the housing mess

Housing sucks. We get it. But the ongoing correction in the U.S. housing market is doing the one thing that market pundits have suggested for years was needed: making homes more affordable. Via the WSJ's James Hagerty on Thursday: And now for the heartwarming side of the housing bust: It's helping some people buy homes that they couldn't afford a couple of years ago.
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Ambac shocked to find fraud

HW's publisher Paul Jackson penned a viewpoint piece that ran Wednesday, and the message in it was one that we think will become much clearer in the next 12 months -- that fraud is a HUGE problem that has yet to be recognized in the current mortgage mess.
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Dugan on 1990 and bank failures

In an exclusive interview with the Financial Times yesterday, OCC head John Dugan said that the agency sees a wave of bank failures in the not-too-distant future, particularly as the credit and mortgage crunch begins to work its way to regional and community banks most vulnerable to failure. From the story:
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Viewpoint: Finding Fraud, and What it Really Means for Loss Mitigation

Various state AGs and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors put out an update Tuesday to a study originally released in February that found that seven of 10 seriously delinquent loans "were not in any sort of work-out process." The new report sings pretty much the same song -- 70 percent of seriously delinquent subprime borrowers aren't in any stage of loan workout or modification efforts -- and essentially then takes servicers to task for failing to prevent
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The analyst rumor mill weighs in on Merrill's CDO bingeing

Some people binge on food. Others on booze. Still others, on things we won't write about here. For Merrill Lynch, without question, its drug of choice was CDOs. And that has analysts buzzing ahead of the financial giant's earnings report scheduled for Thursday morning. The latest has Merrill cutting 10-15 percent of its staff as it absorbs another $4.5 billion in write-downs on those esoteric and amazingly worthless securities known as CDOs of ABS. (We really should start calling them subprime recyclables, but who's counting at this point?)
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Wachovia: Borrowers in California are going AWOL

Calculated Risk posted some highlights of the transcript from the Wachovia earnings call yesterday -- and in it are some interesting details about how new modeling efforts at the bank led it to write down so much of the value of some of its loans. Specifically, Wachovia has discovered the phenomena known as "ruthless defaults," where a troubled borrower faced with an insurmountable mountain of debt simply walks off into the night, never to be heard from again.
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Brokers in denial

We just had to share with BuzzPost regulars that we received an avalanche of negative response to an earlier story we ran covering a CRL study that allegedly found that brokered mortgages were more costly for subprime borrowers than those loans originated via direct channels. The responses were similar to the below, from a broker we'll not name:
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