Tuesday, 10 May 2011
CASE 284 - The failing global housing market
The US subprime mortgage crisis was one of the first indicators of the late-2000s financial crisis, characterized by a rise in subprime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures, and the resulting decline of securities backing said AAA sub prime mortgages.
Approximately 80% of U.S. mortgages issued to subprime borrowers were adjustable-rate mortgages. After U.S. house sales prices peaked in mid-2006 and began their steep decline forthwith, refinancing became more difficult. As adjustable-rate mortgages began to reset at higher interest rates, mortgage delinquencies soared. Securities backed with mortgages, including subprime mortgages, widely held by financial firms, lost most of their value. Global investors also drastically reduced purchases of mortgage-backed debt and other securities as part of a decline in the capacity and willingness of the private financial system to support lending. Concerns about the soundness of U.S. credit and financial markets led to tightening credit around the world and slowing economic growth in the U.S. and Europe.
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CASE 250 - Global Securitization and the Financial Crash
The downturn in facts and figures
The immediate cause or trigger of the crisis was the bursting of the United States housing bubble which peaked in approximately 2005–2006. High default rates on "subprime" and adjustable rate mortgages (ARM), began to increase quickly thereafter. An increase in loan incentives such as easy initial terms and a long-term trend of rising housing prices had encouraged borrowers to assume difficult mortgages in the belief they would be able to quickly refinance at more favorable terms. Additionally, the economic incentives provided to the originators of subprime mortgages, along with outright fraud, increased the number of subprime mortgages provided to consumers who would have otherwise qualified for conforming loans. However, once interest rates began to rise and housing prices started to drop moderately in 2006–2007 in many parts of the U.S., refinancing became more difficult. Defaults and foreclosure activity increased dramatically as easy initial terms expired, home prices failed to go up as anticipated, and ARM interest rates reset higher. Falling prices also resulted in 23% of U.S. homes worth less than the mortgage loan by September 2010, providing a financial incentive for borrowers to enter foreclosure. The ongoing foreclosure epidemic, of which subprime loans are one part, that began in late 2006 in the U.S. continues to be a key factor in the global economic crisis, because it drains wealth from consumers and erodes the financial strength of banking institutions.
The property crash is also affecting the broader economy, with the building industry expected to cut its output by half, with the loss of between one and two million jobs.
Many smaller builders will go out of business, and the larger firms are all suffering huge losses.
The building industry makes up 15% of the US economy, but a slowdown in the property market also hits many other industries, for instance makers of durable goods, such as washing machines, and DIY stores, such as Home Depot.
Economists expect the US economy to slow in the last three months of 2007 to an annual rate of 1% to 1.5%, compared with growth of 3.9% now.
But no one is sure how long the slowdown will last. Many US consumers have spent beyond their current income by borrowing on credit, and the fall in the value of their homes may make them reluctant to continue this pattern in the future.