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

Toxic Kool-Aid and the Amazing Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffett on the market woes befalling many in the financial sector, and particularly in the mortgage-led secondary market, per Reuters: "It's sort of a little poetic justice, in that the people that brewed this toxic Kool-Aid found themselves drinking a lot of it in the end."
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Can Courts Force Retroactive Price Protection?

We have to ask -- in light of today's news that both KB Home and Ryland are planning to roll out nationwide price protection guarantees -- can anyone else without a guarantee sue to get one? We at HW could see plenty of pissed-off borrowers who bought and weren't offered price protection.
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Commentary: More on Bankruptcy Cram-Downs

The MBA has claimed that allowing cram-downs in Ch. 13 bankruptcy proceedings could add as much as two points to mortgage rates. Adam Levitin, an associate professor of law at Georgetown, and Joshua Goodman, an economics doctoral candidate at Columbia, have authored a study that they claim proves that allowing modifications in Ch.13 bankruptcy proceedings would not result in an interest rate spike.
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Q: How do you spell recession? A: ISM

U.S. service industries contracted at a recessionary pace in January, taking what most analysts described as a "stunning fall." ISM's non-manufacturing index dropped to 41.9, from 54.4 in December. (Cue a massive drop in stocks).
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Rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated

The WSJ's Steven Rattner says that the U.S. economy is just fine, thank you -- and that the financial innovations now causing heartache for many also managed to spread risk out, which is a good thing. We especially like how he calls out blogging critics as calling plays "from the bleachers." A ploy to win friends, no doubt.
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DocuTech: live from a conference, somewhere

Document and compliance service provider DocuTech put out a press statement today, and the message was clear: we're at a trade show! It's an age old tradition to blow some money on a press statement when exhibiting, and DocuTech didn't disappoint. (The company also said it's added 14 new clients in the past quarter, so not all tech firms are doing poorly.)
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Compliance: 'That's so hot right now'

No apologies to Paris Hilton, but the truth is that compliance and risk management are hot right now. Witness IMS, a property preservation vendor, that said Monday it's hired Kathy Sutton as its risk and compliance officer. Sutton joins IMS from LandAm, where she worked inQA operations.
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NCRC Snags Fed Chief

The NCRC started touting its annual convention today, noting that none other than Ben Bernanke will deliver a keynote at the event in mid-March. We think the Fed chief's speech should be titled "Can't You Guys Just Fix This? I Can Only Drop the Target Rate So Much," but that's probably just us.
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