2011 December 16 | timiacono.com

About Those 4 Million Delinquent Mortgages

After all the better-than-expected news about the U.S. economy reported in recent months, word that the massive backlog of delinquent home loans is about to begin pushing its way through the system again in the months ahead should temper some of the enthusiasm about the U.S. economy in the year ahead. Diana Olick has all the details about the latest foreclosure report from RealtyTrac in this story at CNBC today.

Despite a seasonal slowdown in overall foreclosure activity, and a process still bogged down and backed up by the “robo-signing” processing scandal, the U.S real estate market is about to be hit by another surge of bank repossessions, according to a new report from the online foreclosure sale site RealtyTrac. As banks resubmit millions of documents and courts begin hearing cases again, the backlog of over four million delinquent loans will start surging through the pipeline again.

“November’s numbers suggest a new set of incoming foreclosure waves, many of which may roll into the market as REOs [bank repossessions] or short sales sometime early next year,” said James Saccacio, co-founder of RealtyTrac. “Overall foreclosure activity is down 14 percent from a year ago, the smallest annual decrease over the past 12 months, and some bellwether states such as California, Arizona and Massachusetts actually posted year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity in November.”

Other states, like New York and New Jersey, are still seeing huge delays in the foreclosure process–986 and 984 days respectively, says RealtyTrac, but they too are starting to ramp up, as various moratoria have been lifted and judges have made rulings that will kick-start the process.

I remember when we’d shake our heads in disbelief when the average time to foreclose on a property reached a year. Amazingly, it’s nearly three years now in some places…

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Based on the some of the stories appearing in the mainstream financial media in recent days, a good example being Gold Sheds ‘Can’t Lose’ Status: Now, No One Wants It at CNBC, you’d think that the end is nigh for the yellow metal.

Former CNBC personality Jeff Macke offers up Gold Prices Plunge! The Trend Is Not Your Friend (be careful, this has one of those annoying auto-play videos) in which he talks about having traded the metal for a whopping three years now and that recent price action constitutes “Humpty Dumpty levels of shattering”.

Well, before you think about doing anything rash, perhaps it worth looking back more than three years and, if you do, you’ll find that, so far, this is a run-of-the-mill correction as shown below, not an end-of-a-bull-market type of event that many financial writers would desperately like to believe.

[To see the graphic that goes along with this story, continue reading at Seeking Alpha.]

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Consumer Prices Flat in November

The Labor  Department reported that consumer prices in the U.S. were unchanged last month as falling energy prices offset gains elsewhere and, on a year-over-year basis, inflation now registers 3.4 percent, its lowest level in five months.

Energy prices fell for the second month in a row, down 1.6 percent in November after a decline of 2.0 percent  the month before, as gasoline prices followed up a 3.1 percent drop in October with a decline of 2.4 percent last month. From a year ago, gasoline prices are still quite high, up a whopping 19.7 percent.


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Friday Morning Links

IMF chief warns over 1930s-style threats – CNN
Fitch downgrades seven global banks – Globe & Mail
Monti wins vote on Italian austerity package – Reuters
Europe’s Crisis May Hold Seeds of Dealmaking – Bloomberg
The European Union in disarray: A comedy of euros – Economist
Berlin Remains Stoic in the Face of Growing Crisis – Spiegel
Europe Rescue Fund to Remove Clause on Euro Breakup – Reuters
Congress reaches spending deal to avoid shutdown – Washington Post
Hypocrisy Proves Bipartisan in Payroll Tax Debate – Bloomberg
U.S. Exposure to Europe – Unknowns Unknowns – aucontrarian
Outrageous Predictions: A Third-Party President? – CNBC
G.O.P. Monetary Madness – Krugman, NY Times

Oil above $94 on signs of improving US economy – AP
Gold up, headed for biggest weekly fall in 3 months – Reuters
OPEC Deal Leaves Saudis in Role of Swing Oil Producer – WSJ
When to put your cash back into the market – CNN/Money
Commodities Could Be Heading for a Repeat of 2008 – WSJ
Market will be 10% higher in six months – MarketWatch
Gold loses safe-haven status as investors opt for cash – Reuters
Bulls and bears in gold and silver price confrontation – Mineweb
Busting the myths behind gold lease rates – Sober Look
Why Gold Prices Are Falling Again – CNBC

CEO pay jumps 36.5% – CNN/Money
Retail group raises holiday sales forecast – LA Times
Ireland’s economy suffers contraction of 1.9pc – Telegraph
Mario Draghi, the man with all of Europe’s cards – Washington Post
China’s Slowing Treasury Purchases – EconomPicData
German government party stays on course on euro – AP
Lower conforming limit causes 84% decline in loans – OC Housing News
So When Should You Default on Your Mortgage? – The Atlantic
A New Foreclosure Wave is On its Way – CNBC
Bank Reform Needs Unlimited Liability for Owners – Bloomberg
Fire Bernanke? Not So Fast, Mr. Gingrich – WSJ
Bernanke’s Legacy – Daily Capitalist

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