We Are Drowning in False Debt While Realtors Push “Recovery”

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Editor’s Comment:

The figures keep coming in while the words keep coming out the mouths of bankers and realtors. The figures don’t match the words. The net result is that the facts show that we are literally drowning in debt, and we see what happens as a result of such conditions with a mere glance at Europe. They are sinking like a stone, and while we look prettier to investors it is only when we are compared to other places — definitely not because we have a strong economy.

Iceland and other “players” crashed but stayed out of the EU and stayed away from the far flung central banking sleeping arrangements with Banks. Iceland knows that banks got us into this and that if there is any way out, it must be the banks that either lead their way out or get nationalized so their assets can take the hit of these losses. In Phoenix alone, we have $39 BILLION in negative equity. 

This negative equity was and remains illusory. Iceland cut the household debt in each home by 25% or more and is conitinuing to do so. The result? They are the only country with the only currency that is truly recovering and coming back to real values. What do we have? We have inflated property appraisals that STILL dominate the marketplace. 

The absence of any sense of reality is all around us in Arizona. I know of one case where Coldwell Banker, easily one of the most prestigious realtors, actually put lots up for sale asking $40,000 when the tax assessed value is barely one quarter of that amount and the area has now dried up — no natural water supply without drilling thousands of feet or hauling water in by truck. Residents in the area and realtors who are local say the property could fetch at most $10,000 and is unsalable until the water problem is solved. And here in Arizona we know the water problem is not only not going to get solved, it is going to get worse because of the “theory” of global climate change.

This “underwater” mess is political not financial. It wouldn’t exist but for the willingness of the government to stay in bed with banks. The appraisals they used to grant the loan were intentionally  falsified to “get rid of” as much money as possible in the shortest time possible, to complete deals and justify taking trillions of dollars from investors. The appraisals at closing were impossibly high by any normal industry accepted standard and appraisers admit it and even predicted it it in 2005. Banks coerced appraisers into inflating appraisers by giving them a choice — either come in with appraisals $20,000 over the contract price or they will never get work again.

The borrower relied upon this appaisal, believing that the property value was so hot that he or she couldn’t lose and that in fact, with values going so high, it would be foolish not to get in on the market before it went all the way out of reach. And of course there were the banks who like the cavalry came in and provided the apparently cheap money for people to buy or refinance their homes. The cavalry was in a movie somewhere, certainly not in the marketplace. It was more like the hordes of invaders in ancient Europe chopping off the heads of men, women and children and as they lie dying they were unaware of what had happened to them and that they were as good as dead.

So many people have chosen death. They see the writing on the wall that once was their own, and they cannot cope with the loss of home, lifestyle and dignity. They take their own lives and the lives of those around them. Citi contributes a few million to a suicide hotline as a PR stunt while they are causing the distress through foreclosure and collection procedures that are illegal, fraudlent, and based upon forged, robosigned documents with robo-notarized attestations  that the recording offices still won’t reject and the judges still accept.

There is no real real economic recovery without reality in housing. Values never went up — but prices did. Now the prices are returning back to the values left in the dust during the big bank push to “get rid of” money advanced by investors. It’s a game to the banks where the homeowner is the lowly deadbeat, the bottom of the ladder, a person who doesn’t deserve dignity or relief like the bank bailouts. When a person gets financial relief from the government it is a “handout.” When big banks and big business get relief and subsidies in industries that were already profitable, it is called economic policy. REALITY CHECK: They are both getting a “handout” and economic policy is driven by politics instead of common sense. French arisocrats found that out too late as their heads rolled off the guillotine platforms.  

But Iceland and other places in the world have taught us that in reality those regarded as deadbeats are atually people who were herded into middle class debt traps created by the banks and that if they follow the simple precept of restoring victims to their previous state, by giving restitution to these victims, the entire economy recovers, housing recovers and everything resumes normal activity that is dominated by normal market forces instead of the force of huge banks coercing society and government by myths like too big too fail. The Banks are doing just fine in Iceland, the financial system is intact and the government policy is based upon the good of the society as a whole rather the banks who might destroy us. Appeasement is not a policy it is a surrender to the banks.

Cities with the Most Homes Underwater

Michael B. Sauter

Mortgage debt continues to be a major issue in the United States, nearly six years after home prices peaked, according to a report released Thursday by online real estate site Zillow. Americans continue to owe more on their homes than they are worth. Nearly one in three mortgages are underwater, amounting to more than 15 million homes and a total negative equity of $1.19 trillion.

In some of America’s largest metropolitan regions, however, the housing crash dealt a far worse blow. In these areas — most of which are in California, Florida and the southwest — home values were cut in half, unemployment skyrocketed, and 50% to 70% of borrowers now find themselves with a home worth less than the value of their mortgage. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 100 largest housing markets and identified the 10 with the highest percentage of homes with underwater mortgages. Svenja Gudell, senior economist at Zillow, explained in an interview with 24/7 Wall St. that the markets with the highest rates of underwater borrowers are in trouble now because of the rampant growth seen in these cities prior to the recession. Once home prices peaked, which was primarily in late 2005 through 2006, all but one of these 10 housing markets lost at least 50% of their median home value.

Making matters worse for families with high negative equity in these markets is the increased unemployment. “If you have a whole lot of unemployment in an area, you’re more likely to see home values continue to decline in the area as well,” says Gudell. While in 2007 many of these markets had average or below average unemployment rates, the recession took a heavy toll on their economies. By 2011, eight of the 10 markets had unemployment rates above 10%, and three — all in California — had unemployment rates of above 16%, nearly double the national average.

24/7 Wall St. used Zillow’s first-quarter 2012 negative equity report to identify the 10 housing markets — out of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country — with the highest percentage of underwater mortgages. Zillow also provided us with the decline in home values in these markets from prerecession peak values, the total negative equity value in these markets and the percentage of homes underwater that have been delinquent on payments for 90 days or more.

These are the cities with the most homes underwater.

10. Orlando, Fla.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 53.9%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 205,369
> Median home value: 113,800
> Decline from prerecession peak: -55.9%
> Unemployment rate: 10.4% (25th highest)

In 2012, Orlando moved into the top 10 underwater housing markets, bumping Fresno, Calif., to number 11. From its prerecession peak in June 2006, home prices fell 55.9% to $113,800, a loss of roughly $90,000. In 2007, the unemployment rate in the region was just 3.7%, the 17th-lowest rate among the 100 largest metros. By 2011, that rate had increased to 10.4%, the 25th highest. As of the first quarter of this year, there were more than 205,000 underwater mortgages in the region, with total negative equity of $16.7 billion.

9. Atlanta, Ga.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 55.5%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 581,831
> Median home value: $107,500
> Decline from prerecession peak: 38.8%
> Unemployment rate: 9.6% (37th highest)

Atlanta is the largest city on this list and the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. But of all the cities with the most underwater mortgages, it has the lowest median home value. In the area, 55.5% of homes have a negative equity value. With more than 500,000 homes with underwater mortgages, the city’s total negative home equity is in excess of $38 billion. Over 48,000 of these underwater homeowners, or nearly 10%, are delinquent by at least 90 days in their payments, which is also especially troubling. With home prices down 38.8% since June, 2007, the Atlanta area certainly qualifies as one of the cities hit hardest by the 2008 housing crisis.

8. Phoenix, Ariz.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 55.5%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 430,527
> Median home value: $128,000
> Decline from prerecession peak: 54.2%
> Unemployment rate: 8.6% (44th lowest)

At 55.5%, Phoenix has the same percentage of borrowers with underwater mortgages as Atlanta. Though Phoenix’s median home value is $21,500 greater than Atlanta’s, it experienced a far-greater decline in home prices from their prerecession peak in June 2007 of 54.2%. This has led to a total negative equity value of almost $39 billion. The unemployment rate also has skyrocketed in the Phoenix area from 3.2% in 2007 to 8.6% in 2011.

7. Visalia, Calif.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 57.7%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 33,220
> Median home value: $110,500
> Decline from prerecession peak: 51.7%
> Unemployment rate: 16.6% (3rd highest)

Visalia is far smaller than Atlanta or Phoenix and has less than a 10th the number of homes with underwater mortgages. Nonetheless, the city has been especially damaged by a poor housing market. Home values have fallen dramatically since before the recession, and the unemployment rate, at 16.6% in the first quarter of 2012, is third-highest among the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, behind only Stockton and Modesto. Presently, almost 58% of homes are underwater, with these homes carrying a total negative equity of $2.6 billion dollars.

6. Vallejo, Calif.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 60.3%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 44,526
> Median home value: $186,200
> Decline from prerecession peak: 60.6%
> Unemployment rate: 11.4% (16th highest)

In the Vallejo metropolitan area, more than 60% of the region’s 73,800 homeowners are underwater. This is largely due to a 60.6% decline in home values in the region from prerecession highs. Through the first quarter of this year, homes in the region fell from a median value of more than $300,000 to just $186,200. Of those homes with underwater mortgages, more than 10% have been delinquent on mortgage payments for 90 days or more.

5. Stockton, Calif.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 60.3%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 60,349
> Median home value: $146,500
> Decline from prerecession peak: 64.3%
> Unemployment rate: 16.8% (tied for highest)

With an unemployment rate of 16.8%, Stockton is tied for the highest rate among the 100 largest metropolitan areas. Few cities have been hit harder by the sinking of the housing market than Stockton, where 60.3% of home mortgages are underwater. Though there are only 100,014 houses with mortgages in Stockton, 60,348 of these are underwater and have a total negative home equity of slightly more than $6.9 billion. Meaning, on average, homeowners in Stockton owe at least $100,000 more than their homes are worth.

4. Modesto, Calif.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 60.3%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 46,598
> Median home value: $130,600
> Decline from prerecession peak: 64.5%
> Unemployment rate: 16.8% (tied for highest)

Since peaking in December 2005, home prices in Modesto have plunged 64.5%. This is the largest collapse in prices of any large metro area examined. As a result, 46,598 of 77,222 home mortgages in Modesto are underwater. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose to 16.8% in 2011. This number was 7.9 percentage points above the national average of 8.9% and almost double Modesto’s 2007 unemployment rate of 8.7%.

3. Bakersfield, Calif.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 60.5%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 70,947
> Median home value: $116,700
> Decline from prerecession peak: 57.0%
> Unemployment rate: 14.9% (5th highest)

From its peak in May 2006, the median home value in Bakersfield has plummeted from more than $200,000 to just $116,700, or a 57% loss of value. From 2007 through 2011, the unemployment rate increased from 8.2% to 14.9% — the fifth-highest rate in the country. To date, more than 70,000 homes in the region have underwater mortgages, with total negative equity of just over $6 billion.

2. Reno, Nev.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 61.7%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 46,115
> Median home value: $150,600
> Decline from prerecession peak: 58.3%
> Unemployment rate: 13.1%

There are fewer than 75,000 households in Reno, Nevada. Yet 46,115 home mortgages in the city are underwater, accounting for 61.7% of mortgaged homes. From January 2006 through the first quarter of 2012, home prices were more than halved, and negative home equity reached $4.39 billion. Additionally, the unemployment rate almost tripled in rising from 4.5% in 2007 to 13.1% by 2011. In 2007, Reno had the 54th-worst unemployment rate among the 100 largest metros. By 2007, Reno had the eighth-worst unemployment rate.

1. Las Vegas, Nev.
> Pct. homes w/underwater mortgages: 71%
> Number of mortgages underwater: 236,817
> Median home value: $111,600
> Decline from prerecession peak: 63.2%
> Unemployment rate: 13.9%

At 71%, no city has a greater percentage of homes with underwater mortgages than Las Vegas. The area with the second-worst percentage of underwater mortgages, Reno, has less than 62% mortgages with negative. The corrosive effects the housing crisis had on Las Vegas are evident in the more than 200,000 home mortgages that are underwater, 14.3% of which are at least 90 days delinquent on payments. Additionally, home values have dropped 63.2% from their prerecession peak, the third-greatest decline among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Largely because of the collapse of the area’s housing market, unemployment in the Las Vegas area has soared. In 2007, the unemployment rate was 4.7%, only marginally different from the nation’s 4.6% rate. Yet by 2011, the unemployment rate had increased to 13.9%, considerably higher than the nationwide 8.9% unemployment rat.e.

18 Responses

  1. As for the information you referred to in NY state. There are counties that were untouched by the flood of money from Wall Street simply because the money never got there. As for your complaint about my source materials my answer is that I’m writing a blog not a treatise. If you think anything I’ve said is wrong, do your own research and I will publish it here. The fact remains that my expert declaration has been submitted in scores of cases in at least a dozen states and has never been contradicted by a single securities or real estate expert in any of those cases.

  2. “get rid of” money advanced by investors for what? A promise of x interest on the funds advanced plus return of principal made by the promise seller. Problem is the seller has to go out and target a mark (the note maker) and exchange its promise to pay investors with the note maker’s promise to pay. In effect, the note maker agreed to take on a promise already made by the promise seller. The deal was never represented in this way at the closing table. The note maker’s promise was sold forward or said another way the promise seller offset its promise of x to investors with the note maker’s promise to pay. The note maker was targeted for investment by the promise seller, not loaned money from a bank or from investors.

  3. @Guest,

    It’s coming. As soon as money has been taken out of politicxs (and when the US dollar loses its status, it won’t take long…) all those guys will jump off the ship like rats in a fire. Then, it simply will be up to us to seriously examine who we send there to represent us on our dime.

  4. Is there a way to fire them all? http://fireall535.blogspot.com/2011/11/fire-us-congress.html

  5. @guest,

    Why frustration?

    Because it’s not coming fast enough? We’ve allowed this situation to deteriorate for 40 years by sending out all our jobs. We’ve given banks the entire control of the world’s economies. We’ve allowed our elected reps to obscenely enrich themselves on our back and we’ve watched people lose their pensions, jobs and houses without a peep. They were “deadbeats”! Greed and selfishness as an art form are done with.

    It’s coming back to bite those who wanted to preserve the status quo and it will help many others who want nothing more than work, have a little vacation, enjoy life, be able to buy a car if they need it (or take public transportation. I don’t have a problem with that. I grew up with it), be able to go to school, have medical treatment when needed and live in peace without the fear of another war starting up and our sons being sent to fight it even though it wasn’t ours to fight in the first place.

    As far as i am concerned, I gave this country 30 years of my life. Paid my taxes on the dot, played by the rules, lost my 401K, in pass to lose my house and no retirement to think off other than SS Republicans have been after forever. I’m looking forward to change I finally can believe in!

  6. @enraged: sorry,….but I think these wishful dreams cause more frustrations!!!

  7. @guest,

    We’re seeing the end of an era of fraud by banks in absolute impunity. There is a world peaceful revolution going on. If I were Jamie boy, I might start wetting my pants… And if I were Romney, I might start longing for my billions of dollars and trying to visualize life without… Shoot, the man may even have to get a real job, one of these days!!!

  8. @DCB,

    Following are today’s (and tomorrow’s headlines, since the East is ahead of us by 24 hours). I have been saying for a while that the dollar was gone. BRICS and FMI have signed an accord. BRICS is now demanding to have more weight at the World Bank and don’t forget who was chosen to become head of the World Bank.

    Do you believe me now? Next will hear of a worldwide moatorium on debts, dismantlement of our banks, establishment of a world currency (or of a world standard), etc

    BRICS flay West over IMF reform, monetary policy Reuters, 29 Mar 2012 | 03:42 PM

    BRICS nations to promote trade in local currencies
    Ashok Tuteja
    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, March 29
    Determined to end the hegemony of rich Western nations in navigating global economic policies, the BRICS nations today signed two key accords to promote trade among them in their local currencies and explore the possibility of setting up a development bank for mobilising resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects.

    (L-R): Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese President Hu Jintao and South African President Jacob Zuma hold copies of the BRICS report after its release during a plenary session of the summit in New Delhi on Thursday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

    In a clear attempt to seek democratisation of multilateral financial institutions, they reaffirmed that the heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank be selected through an open and merit-based process.

    “Furthermore, the new World Bank leadership must commit to transform the bank into a multilateral institution that truly reflects the vision of all its members, including the governance structure that reflects the current economic and political reality,’’ the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) leaders said in the ‘Delhi Declaration’ adopted at the end of their day-long summit.

    “The agreements signed today by development banks of BRICS countries will boost trade by offering credit in our local currency,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a media statement at the end of the meet, attended by the Presidents of Presidents of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

    The Master Agreement on Extending Credit Facility in Local Currency and the Multilateral Letter of Credit Confirmation Facility Agreement are being seen as a major step towards replacing the dollar as the main currency for trading amongst the five nations.

    On the political side, there were hardly any surprises in the declaration as, contrary to apprehensions, the leaders of the five emerging economies arrived at common formulations on Syria, Iran and Afghanistan after a brief debate during their closed-door meeting. The BRICS’ stand on Syria and Iran will obviously not go down well with the Western nations which have been on a collision course with these two countries.

    “We express our deep concern at the current situation in Syria and call for an immediate end to all violence and violations of human rights in that country. Our objective is to facilitate a Syrian-led inclusive political process, and we welcome the joint efforts of the UN and the Arab League to this end,’’ the declaration said.

    China and Russia had vetoed the US and the Arab League supported resolution against Syria at the UN Security Council last month on the grounds that it amounted to a regime change. India had, however, backed the resolution.

    Russian President Dmitry Medevedev warned against interference in the internal affairs of any nation, saying it has the potential to destroy the dialogue process.

    On Iran, the declaration said the BRICS countries felt that the situation in the Islamic republic could not be allowed to escalate into a conflict, the disastrous consequences of which would be in no one’s interest. At the same time, they felt that Iran has a crucial role to play for the peaceful development and prosperity of a region of high political and economic relevance.

    On Afghanistan, the BRICS countries supported the global community’s commitment to the war-ravaged nation, enunciated at the Bonn International Conference in December last year, to remain engaged over the transformation decade from 2015-2024.

    The emphasis at the BRICS meet, however, was on economic and commercial cooperation among the five member-nations.

    There was a pressing need for enhancing the flow of development finance to emerging and developing countries. The World Bank should give greater priority to mobilising resources and meeting the needs of development finance while reducing lending costs and adopting innovative lending tools, the declaration said.

    The BRICS countries also welcomed the candidatures from the developing world for the position of the President of the World Bank.

    Development bank

    Reaffirm that the IMF and World Bank heads be selected through an open and merit based process
    Explore the possibility of setting up a development bank for mobilising resources for infrastructure
    Arrive at common formulations on Syria, Iran and Afghanistan
    Support the global community’s commitment to the war-ravaged nation, enunciated at the Bonn International Conference

  9. Fitzsimmons hands down £1bn of assets on resignation from Threadneedle

    From Products May 24 2012 BY: Gary Corcoran , Group Editor , Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser
    After nearly a decade with the company, Quentin Fitzsimmons has resigned from his position as head of government bonds at Threadneedle Investments.
    According to the company he has decided to take a career break and will leave in the middle of July.

  10. Some hope on the horizon… Resignations resume worldwide

    TORONTO (Reuters) – The top lawyer at Research In Motion Ltd has resigned and will soon leave the struggling BlackBerry maker, RIM said on Monday, joining a parade of long-time company executives to depart since Thorsten Heins took over as CEO earlier this year.

    TNK-BP head resigns as discontent grows
    MOSCOW — Mikhail Fridman, one of the four Soviet-born tycoons who share control of Russia’s No. 3 oil producer with BP, resigned as head of the company, in a sign of a further breakdown in the stormy relationship between TNK-BP’s shareholders.

    Taiwan’s finance minister says has resigned
    Published: Tuesday, 29 May 2012 | 12:17 AM ET

    Nasser al Shaikh, who last month was removed as Dubai’s finance director, yesterday stepped down from three more government-controlled companies’ boards following his departure from Deyaar on Sunday. The Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the country’s largest Islamic lender, said Mr al Shaikh had submitted his resignation from its board of directors.

    Monday, May 28, 2012
    Great Western Minerals Group Announces Russell Grant Resignation
    May 28, 2012 (Source: Marketwire) — Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. (“GWMG” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE:GWG) (OTCQX:GWMGF) today announced the resignation of Russell Grant as Senior Vice-President, Business Development and as a Director of the Company.

    Kuwait Agrees Finance Minister Resignation, KUNA Says
    By Glen Carey on May 28, 2012 Tweet
    Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shimali, the Kuwait News Agency reported, citing a Cabinet statement.

    Vatican Bank President Fired After String of Scandals
    (Activist Post) Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the president of Vatican’s bank Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), reportedly resigned Thursday after…

    Highlights (definitely fringe but it gives me hope…)

    ■The 140 nation BRICS alliance is preparing to offer to buy up all cash US dollars and replace them with a new currency backed by a basket of commodities…
    ■After that move, any money printed by the US Federal Reserve Board crime syndicate would not be accepted as currency by the 140 nation group. This would force an end game for the criminal cabal that illegally seized power in the United States.
    ■Before that move, though, there will be a 5-day bank holiday in Europe followed by the end of the Euro and the re-introduction of old national currencies…

  11. no worries mate: “PUSHING” is all Realtors do & you never had +equity anyway: http://blog.redfin.com/atlanta/2010/04/30/case-shiller-atlanta-home-prices-return-to-2000-levels/ more @ http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/release?rid=199

  12. Honestly, it would be very helpful for you to link your sources. You give lots of claims and statistics but not one source. ALL real estate is LOCAL. The last place I lived, values of real property varied hugely one BLOCK away. I’ve taken some of the appraisal classes; have looked at some from about 10 Upstate NY Counties and the ones I’ve seen appeared to have done the assigned job without inflating prices. In general I find your blog informative, I just think it would be less inflamatory if you provided evidence when you have articles such as this so packed with numbers. Thank you. NYS Lic. Real Estate Broker. NOT A Realtor ™

  13. thanks neil

    we are suffering terribly here in las vegas

  14. May 24th: Supreme Court Says: RESPA allows kickback, theft & fraud: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1042.pdf

  15. @Anonymous Atlanta,

    Speaking of audit, does anyone know what happened to the grassroot effort of a NC community to audit each and every one of the county recorder’s files? We heard about it a few weeks ago but since then, nothing…

  16. I am thankful for the this great Country
    THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The Service Members and Veterans for the sacrifice that each and every one of them and their family’s gave and continue to do so. For the courage to fight against an enemy that is in your ‘face’ or far away from here which makes it harder, more difficult to identify, and in places many of us would not stand a chance to survive in.
    These Veterans that are coming home should be stationed at every County Court Clerk’s Office in America and guard our right to have an honest and accurate “RIGHT TO AUDIT THE PUBLIC RECORD” and stop accepting Forged Assignments, which turn into Foreclosures-Illegal and against the Law and then the worst of all crimes, kicking people from there homes and destroying peoples credit and stripping the mass’s of their American Dream turned nightmare, by greed and dishonesty at every level, not to mention the Rape of our Wealth and Jobs as a direct result of this lawlessness? Damn them!


  17. Thanks, Neil.

    “…they are causing the distress through foreclosure and collection procedures that are illegal, fraudulent, and based upon forged, robosigned documents with robo-notarized attestations that the recording offices still won’t reject and the judges still accept…”

    and this is the country our men and women are fighting and dying for…

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