The question on many minds today is how many banks will go belly-up as the mortgages they funded during housing's recent boom years continue to turn sour--and further speculation has been sparked thanks to the addition of staff by the FDIC to deal with those expected failures, Inman News reports. Under its early-warning "Texas Ratio" system, RBC Capital Markets divides a bank's non-performing loans by tangible equity capital and funds set aside for loan losses to determine those that are likely to fail (i.e. Banks with a Texas Ratio above 100%). Predicting that no less than 150 banks will fail in the next two to three years, RBC identifies several institutions with Texas Ratios on the rise, including IndyMac at 140%. For that story and more, check out Big Builder's bi-weekly roundup of the latest in opinion and commentary across the Web.
There's been a lot of talk recently regarding whether or not certain lending institutions are too large to fail. Reggie Middleton's Boom Bust, however, likens the situation to buyers of McMansions who took out a subprime mortgage with a 103% to 107% loan-to-value ratio. The question isn't a matter of how big the brand name might be, but rather how much equity the bank has in order to insulate itself against market volatility.
The housing market reads like a course of Economics 101: When excess inventory sits on the market, prices must decline in order to generate sales. Case in point? The most recent Case-Shiller Index numbers showed a 2.2% decline in home prices from February to March--the sixteenth consecutive drop--while a Census Bureau report indicated a 3.3% increase in sales from March to April, according to Dr. Housing Bubble.
Seeking Alpha gives its readers a breakdown of the mathematics that come into play when deciding whether renting or owning a residence makes the most financial sense in a given market. It's interesting to note that based on stock market performance and median house prices in the Seattle area from 2000 to 2007, there was only one year (2003) when the math worked out in favor of renting as the wiser use of funds from an investment perspective.
Following a much-needed infusion of equity at the hands of MatlinPatterson, Standard Pacific Corp. continues to evade the bankruptcy rumors that have plauged the builder for months; but CEO Jeffrey Peterson anticipates a challenging market to persist throughout 2008 and into 2009, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In South Florida, Coldwell Banker takes a cue from the automotive industry as it announces a limited time "Buy Today at Tomorrow's Prices" promotion, during which hundreds of homes--primarily in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties--will see their prices slashed by 10% or more, the Housing Bubble reports.
BusinessWeek's Hot Property gives out the inside scoop on the presidential hopefuls and their respective stances (or lack thereof) on the housing crisis.