Posts Tagged Local Banks

In Mass it is now the rich who are hurting


WBUR is seeing a new story in Mass – the crisis is now affecting everyone.The crisis is growing in intensity and has momentum. The key is employment.

Also when you look at the end of the story, it also raises a new issue – the mega banks are protected but the local crisis is putting intolerable pressure on the local banks. It is the smaller banks that are failing.

The reason for these auctions is not the crazy interest-rate mortgages. It’s the recession. Nowadays, people are losing their homes the way they used to before the sub-prime crisis.

“Historically, people lost their home when they lost their job, they lost their health or they lost their spouse,” says Nick Retsinas, a housing market economist at Harvard University.

Unemployment is to blame again today. The number of foreclosure proceedings in Massachusetts has jumped an alarming 150 percent. (My emphasis)

In fact, people under foreclosure I talked to in Sudbury didn’t want to be interviewed for this story. They said they’re ashamed — to have lost their jobs; to have run out of savings; to not be able to make their payments.

Whitney Tilson, a Harvard Business School grad and money manager, said, “the number of distressed homes coming through the pipeline has actually never been greater than right now.”

Tilson says Sudbury is a good example of what this coming wave could do to the market. Only seven homes above $1,000,000 have sold in the town this year. Last year it was 43, and that was a bad year.

“The listed prices appear to show that prices are holding up, but that’s phony,” Tilson says. “So what breaks the logjam? The wave of foreclosures working their way through the pipeline.”

Foreclosed properties priced to sell will push housing prices down and push more homeowners under water and into foreclosure. And that could really hurt regional banks.

Unlike the sub prime mortgage crisis — which hammered national mortgage companies — in this instance, local banks carry more of these loans. When Massachusetts banks stand to lose as much as a few hundred thousand dollars a pop, they get more conservative about lending. Tilson says that will suppress economic recovery.

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