U.S. Home Ownership Decline to Continue: Report
NEW YORK (TheStreet)--Home ownership is likely to continue falling in the U.S., as the government continues to withdraw its support for mortgage lending, argues a report Monday from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
The report points to four recent examples of policy shifts by the government showing declining support for home ownership. These include an increasingly aggressive stance by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC) in asking banks to repurchase bad loans they sold to the GSEs and a phasing out of savings and loans. The analysts also point to tougher capital requirements that effectively make it more expensive for banks to underwrite mortgages, as well as a stated desire by both the Obama Administration and Republicans to eventually wind down the GSEs.
"While government lending programs are supporting the current mortgage market, those programs are under increasing pressure to scale back and are acting to limit mortgage credit availability," the report states. It notes that U.S. mortgage originations are roughly where they were in 1998, though with the government nowplaying a much bigger role in propping up the market.
The view of KBW's analysts stands in contrast to that of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B)Chairman Warren Buffett, who in his annual letter to shareholders admitted he was "dead wrong" a year ago when he predicted a housing rebound, but said housing will eventually recover."People may postpone hitching up during uncertain times, but eventually hormones take over. And while 'doubling-up' may be the initial reaction of some during a recession, living with in-laws can quickly lose its allure," Buffett wrote. Indeed, Berkshire has lately made efforts to increase its exposure to the U.S. housing market by bidding on ResCap, the nation's fifth largest mortgage servicer. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York. Follow this writer on Twitter.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV