The Fed Helped Create Housing Bubble I And Then Helped Create Housing Bubble II: The Sequel (Case Study Of Phoenix AZ Home Price Bubble)

Phil Hall of Benzinga wrote a series of excellent articles in four parts for MortgageOrb (although “The Orb” has removed his name). Here are the links to his stories.

After re-reading these excellent articles on the housing bubble and crash, I thought I would take the opportunity to present a few charts to highlight the housing bubble, pre-crash and post-crash.

Here is a graph of Phoenix AZ home prices. Note the bubble that peaked in mid 2006. The Phoenix bubble correlates with the large volume of sub-620 FICO lending and Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) lending. Bear in mind, many of the ARMs prior to 2010 were NINJA (no income, no job) ARM loans.

What happened? Serious delinquenices at the national levels spiked as The Great Recession set in and unemployment spiked.

Since the housing bubble burst and surge in serious mortgage delinquencies, The Federal Reserve entered the economy with a vengeance. And have never left, and increased their drowning of markets with liquidity.

The Fed whip-sawing of interest rates in response to the 2001 recession was certainly a problem. They dropped The Fed Funds Target rate like a rock, then homebuilding went wild nationally and home prices soared thanks to Alt-A (NINJA) and ARM lending. But now The Fed is dominating markets like a gigantic T-Rex.

Oddly, then Fed Chair Ben Bernanke never saw the bubble coming. Or the burst.

Speaking of pizza, Donato’s from Columbus Ohio is my favorite. Founder’s Favorite is my favorite, but they do offer the dreaded Hawaiian pizza (ham, pineapple, almonds and … cinnamon?)


United Wholesale Mortgage Plans To Begin Cryptocurrency Transactions In Q3 (Lender Accepts Cryptocurrency For Home Loans)

From Phil Hall at Benzinga:

United Wholesale Mortgage UWMC has announced plans to become the first national mortgage lender to accept cryptocurrency for home loans.

What Happened: CEO Mat Ishbia previewed the Pontiac, Michigan-based company’s expansion into the cryptocurrency realm during the second-quarter earnings call on Monday.

“We’ve evaluated the feasibility, and we’re looking forward to being the first mortgage company in America to accept cryptocurrency to satisfy mortgage payments,” Ishbia said. “That’s something that we’ve been working on, and we’re excited that hopefully, in Q3, we can actually execute on that before anyone in the country because we are a leader in technology and innovation.”

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Ishbia offered more details on which cryptocurrencies would be considered in transactions.

“I think we’re starting with Bitcoin, but we’re looking at Ethereum and others,” Ishbia said. “We’re going to walk before we run, but at the same time, we are definitely a leader in technology and innovation and we are always trying to be the best and the leader in everything we do.

“That’s the plan,” he added. “Obviously there’s no guarantees – we’re still working through some details. But absolutely.”

Why It Matters: One of the first homebuying deals in the U.S. involving cryptocurrency took place in 2014 with the $1.6 million sale of land in Lake Tahoe for a home site. The transaction was completed with payment via Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC).

However, the heavily regulated and risk-averse mortgage industry hasn’t embraced cryptocurrency. The government-sponsored enterprises that dominate the industry’s secondary market, Fannie Mae FNMA+ Free Alerts and Freddie MacFMCC+ Free Alerts, will not accept any transaction in a digital asset.

If UMC plans to package its cryptocurrency-based loans for secondary market sale, the borrower’s cryptocurrency payment would have to be converted into dollars and the borrower would need to provide documentation to verify ownership of the digital assets as part of the loan underwriting process.