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

Focus shifts to HELOCs

We've been covering emerging problems in second liens for roughly a month now here at HW, including highlighting HELOC weaknesses in Bank of America Corp.'s recent earnings report and covering BofA's recent disclosure that losses on HELs are mounting and will be worse that the bank had expected even one month ago.
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This is news?

Some of the industry's trade press today is buzzing about a potential exit from mortgage banking by Tennessee-based First Horizon National Corp. -- and we can't help but scratch our heads. After all, HW reported on the potential exit way back in the middle of April, as company executives said then that they were likely to exit the business, if it couldn't be sold.
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Who's bailing out whom?

In the secondary market, things can change in an instant. One minute, its hedge funds bailing out banks. The next, it's banks bailing out hedge funds. Bloomberg takes a look Wednesday at -- surprise! -- a flickering pulse in the battered CDO market:
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Burning down the house

Talk about ruining the mojo for a classic 80s tune: CNBC on Monday took a look at a growing trend of arson among troubled homeowners, either looking to get back at a lender they feel wronged them or as part of an attempt to collect insurance dollars. Take a look: Speaking of, why didn't the segment make use of some Talking Heads as background? We're just asking.
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Toll blames media for housing's demise

Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers reported operating results through April on Tuesday morning, and the tally shows that the housing mess is far from over. Some highlights: Revenue of approximately $817.9 million, down 30 percent from one year ago. Inventory backlog 50 percent lower than year-ago, signaling a slowing in build activity. Average prices fell to $590,000, compared to $711,000 in the year ago quarter, and $634,000 in FY 2008's first quarter (Toll's fiscal year doesn't run in tandem with the calendar year)
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