Sep 8, 2008

BUYERS - Jump !!

Hello Neighbors,

WOW. I just had a great conversation with a lender friend.

The fallout from the Freddie Mac / Fannie Mae bail-out?

In his rate sheets, his quotes were coming in at the largest single day drop in mortgage rates that he has seen in 14 years !!


If you are on the fence, this might be another reason to jump in.

If you aren't familiar with the term "rate sheets" and how loan officers get their rates, give me a call. I'm not in loans, but I will be happy to try and explain.

Thanks again,

- Jim

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac to be Bailed-Out

Hello Neighbors,

Regardless of your political views, laissez-faire beliefs, "smaller government" political parties paying the largest in bail-out dollars ever, and such... Well.... this had to come.

Below is an article from Reuters on the bail out of Freddie and Fannie.

These organizations have always been a puzzle. They are partially government owned / controlled already (at least that's the perception), so how does a "bail out" really change things?

Again - perception. It's what this industry is all about, and economics in general.

When we first heard this news yesterday, my wife and I booted up our laptops to check on how Asia's stock markets were trading. Would the news be taken as a sign of armageddon, or would trading carry on as normal? Neither as it turns out. Instead, the Asian markets rallied - as ours then did this morning.

We'll see how this all ends up. None of it really matters though until we get through the election. Election years in the US are notoriously and traditionally volatile (in the financial markets).

Here's the Reuters article:

U.S. seizes Fannie, Freddie, aims to calm markets
Sun Sep 07 23:25:54 UTC 2008

By Glenn Somerville

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Sunday seized control of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, launching what could be its biggest federal bailout ever, in a bid to support the U.S. housing market and ward off more global financial market turbulence.

Officials were concerned mounting losses at the two companies, which own or guarantee almost half of the country's $12 trillion in outstanding home mortgage debt, was sapping their vitality and threatening to undermine them at a time other sources of housing finance have largely run dry.

"Our economy and our markets will not recover until the bulk of this housing correction is behind us," U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said at a news conference. "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are critical to turning the corner on housing."

The two companies, publicly traded but also serving a government mission to support housing, were put in a conservatorship that allows their stock to keep trading but puts common shareholders last in any claims.

Their top executives were ousted. Freddie Mac chief executive Richard Syron and Fannie Mae's CEO, Daniel Mudd, were replaced by David Moffett, a former top official at US Bancorp and Herb Allison, formerly with Merrill Lynch and pension fund TIAA-CREF.

In addition, the U.S. Treasury will immediately take a $1 billion equity stake in each company in the form of senior preferred stock and if needed could inject up to $100 billion into each firm.

The government's senior preferreds stock would rank above both existing preferred and common shares and will carry warrants that could give the government an ownership stake of 79.9 percent.

Treasury also set up a program under which it would buy mortgage-backed securities currently held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pump fresh funds into the mortgage market. It said it would begin buying MBS later this month, and it would have authority to make such purchases through December 31, 2009.

Paulson said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were so large that "a failure of either of them would cause great turmoil in our financial markets here at home and around the globe."

Several analysts said the move should help instill some confidence in shaky credit markets and lower mortgage costs.

"The government had to do something to eliminate uncertainty," said Peter Goldman, a principal with Front Barnett Associates in Chicago. "Anything that eliminates uncertainty in the credit markets is a good thing."

The Treasury Department said the plan to shore up the finances of the two government-sponsored enterprises, which have $1.6 trillion in debt outstanding, should not cost U.S. taxpayers money in the long run and could even return cash to the government coffers eventually.

The companies have suffered combined losses of nearly $14 billion in the last four quarters and large holders of their debt, including overseas central banks, have begun to show signs of increasing nervousness over their financial health.

Worries over their shrinking capital position led their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to place them in conservatorship.

"As house prices, earnings and capital have continued to deteriorate, their ability to fulfill their mission has deteriorated," FHFA Director James Lockhart told the news conference. "They have been unable to provide needed stability to the market."

He said the companies lacked sufficient capital to continue taking losses while supporting the housing market at the same time.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a statement that he "strongly" endorsed the action. "These necessary steps will help to strengthen the U.S. housing market and promote stability in our financial markets," he said.

As part of the plan, FHFA will operate the companies until they are stabilized and the Treasury will extend financing to the companies, as well as to the Federal Home Loan Banks, through a new lending facility until December 31, 2009, if needed.

In addition to the senior preferred stake Treasury is taking in the companies, it will immediately receive warrants for the purchase of some common stock.

The stock of the two companies has fallen more than 90 percent in the past year and in recent months foreign investors have pared their holdings of the companies' securities.

Paulson had briefed both Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama and Republican contender Sen. John McCain earlier in the weekend. Both candidates indicated they would support the plan, but wanted to ensure taxpayers were safeguarded and shareholders and management took a hit.

Thanks Reuters,

- Jim

Sep 3, 2008

Northern California Professionals Group

Hello Neighbors,

Exciting times indeed. Many of you have used our partners for your needs that are tangent to the real estate (home owners insurance, a CPA, Financial Advisor, etc.) business.

We co-host a group called the "Northern California Professionals Group" which is the combined team with people from these complimentary businesses.

Finally (after a little over 2 years) we are getting our act together! We are producing a formal website that will let you see who the extended team is. All of the contact information for our peers will be available from this website.

The URL is: ...but beware, it's just getting off the ground. It will be thin on content until the beginning of October.

Stay tuned though, as this group is very important to Neighborly Realty. The group is made up of professionals who are in business for the right reasons - to serve. They are trustworthy and reliable partners. They are folks who do business like we do business, for the right reasons...

Many thanks, and keep your eyes on the new web site!

- Jim