A Home Run?
Local real estate columnists seem to think that the federal salvage of Fannie Mae is going to save our industry. I disagree. Look, people will always need housing and Greenwich will, at least until the School Board finishes destroying our educational system, continue to be an attractive place to live, so we’re not going to see Fargo, North Dakota prices here in town – I hope. But the Fed’s action is a huge admission that the mortgage business is in deep, deep trouble. One reader of this blog has commented (and if you’re not reading the comments, you’re missing much more wisdom than you’ll find in these primary postings) that we have $11 trillion in mortgage liability outstanding and something like $600 BILLION (corrected by reader) backing it up. That’s not encouraging. We’ll all survive, and I continue to believe that buying a house now at the right price will prove a great investment a few years from now, but federal intervention in the lending market is a sign of desperate times, not a ray of sunshine; in my opinion.

By the way – it’s been a while since I ticked off Franklin Bloomer, head of our Land Use Commission and chief of silliness for the Floor Area Ratio regulations. He wasn’t pleased when I reported that he’d torn down his house in Riverside and replaced it with a Westy’s self-storage center as reparation for denying Greenwich residents the use of their attics, and I just realized that he’s still wrong, and still in office. So here’s my vote for his well-deserved retirement. Perhaps he can start a hedge fund.

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  1. Anonymous

    Chris – that was $600 Billion (with a “b”) of equity backing up the $11 trillion. So investment funds were levering up at 18-1. (5% down!).

    Banks now want to see less leverage, no idea where this number will fall out. They are making margin calls, the funds have to sell investments to make them, etc. etc.

    Current Equity Analyst

  2. Anonymous

    Leverage is wonderful on the way up, but a real bitch on the way down.

    All I can say is buckle up because the ride’s just getting started.

    And the bad news is that all US taxpayers (whether they want to take a ride or not) have been issued an E-ticket, courtesy of the Treasury/FED abject failure to oversee/regulate.

    Retired IB’er