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

How Did HUD Pull Home Prices?

Inquiring minds want to know. In an upcoming story, we'll be looking at how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development pulled its housing price values. Want to know why? Because we can't quite figure out why some areas in Idaho saw their lending limits raised, while a place like Las Vegas was passed over. There's also the itty-bitty problem of the new lending limits in the Golden State often not even being in the same ZIP code as the median prices published by the California Association of Realtors.
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Wall Street, eating its own

Dealbreaker -- one of our all-time favorite sites over here at HW -- had a brief little ditty up earlier today about Lehman Brothers. Similar to our story, but without the whole bit about the stock taking a bath in afternoon trading. Anyway, 52 comments later and it's clear that someone at Lehman didn't take their morning dose of __________.
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Quote of the Day

Attributed to Christopher Whalen at Institutional Risk Analytics: "...what fair value accounting is doing is forcing everyone to write anything they can't value today to zero. That's a wonderful, classical approach to accounting, but if we do that we're going to deleverage our financial system in a way that will make the 1930s looks like a trial run." This, from an interview on Bloomberg TV Monday morning. Want to see the whole thing?
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Quantifying the Home ATM

Over at Calculated Risk, the blog's eponymous author takes a hard look at just how much the housing price slump is likely to drag on personal spending during 2008. His figure? $180 billion. So-called "personal consumption expenditures" -- that's econo-speak for discretionary spending by consumers, which is often the lifeblood of much of the retail industry -- rose by $508 billion between 2006 and 2007 alone.
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Viewpoint: To Broker, or Not to Broker

As I recently listened to Neil Young proclaim in his classic song that "Rock-n-roll will never die," I couldn’t help but wonder about wholesale lending. Although there’s a good chance Neil doesn’t know the difference between a yield spread premium and a prepayment penalty, in the same way his career was at a critical point when the song was originally released, wholesale lending now finds itself at a similar crossroads.
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