Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Audio – Watching the Detectives!

dann1.jpgIn this case, Elvis Costello might have the written the lyrics, but Ohio Attorney General  Marc Dann is living them out.

Dann, speaking at the Reuters Housing Summit on Wednesday in New York warned that a new round of subpoenas will be coming soon into the real estate and mortgage industry mess.

Dann, one of the featured speakers at the summit, said that many players throughout the mortgage industry — all the way up to the Wall Street banks who packaged mortgages into bonds that were sold to investors — can expect a visit soon from one of Dann’s minions.

The Summit continues through Friday in New York, London and Washington, D.C.

Audio-Road to White House may be paved with foreclosures

dann2.jpgFor Democrats vying for the U.S. Presidency, the housing crisis offers a chance to put forward a compelling message about the failures of the Bush Administration to regulate the banking and mortgage industry, says a Democratic delegate to the convention, who’s also the Attorney General of Ohio.

Marc Dann told the Reuters Housing Summit he is going after mortgage lenders and banks who structured and resold loans for what he calls “fraud” perpetrated against both investors and home buyers.

Audio-Facing foreclosure? First, talk to your lender

faith-schwartz-photo.jpgOne problem in trying to stem the tide of home foreclosures is simply that too few borrowers and lenders are talking to each other to work out new terms.

The Hope Now Alliance, a coalition of nationwide lenders, investors, counselors and other mortgage market participants, counts improving communication as one of its stated goals.

Audio – Sad tidings

roubini.jpgNothing like kicking off the week with a dose of really grim news.

Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at New York University, did just that on Tuesday morning at the Reuters Housing Summit with his thoughts on just how dire the real estate market looks right now and how tough it’s going to be for homebuilders for the rest of the year.

There’s not a lot of giggles here, folks. Roubini has been bearish on this sector for a long while now and many of the chickens he warned about are indeed coming home to roost.

Audio – Hey buddy, got $10 million to spare?

liebman1.jpgThere’s an old joke about the horse who walks into the bar and the bartender asks, “Hey, why the long face?”

Well, the real estate industry has a collective long face these days — almost everywhere.

Foreclosures’ impact “pervasive”-Trenton mayor

douglas-palmer-photo.jpg  The current housing crisis presents challenges for U.S. mayors that few elected officials have ever faced before. Rising foreclosures destabilize neighborhoods and families and can lead to higher crime, Douglas Palmer, Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, told the Reuters Housing Summit on Tuesday.

Mayor Palmer, who has served Trenton since 1990, blamed “predatory lending” during the housing boom for an upturn in foreclosures. He talked about the challenges a city mayor faces when local foreclosures rise.

Audio – Chatting Up Real Estate

miller.jpgNo longer is the chit-chat associated with attending a cocktail party just along the lines of “who’s had work done”, “who’s sending little Bobby off to boarding school”, or “How about those (insert local sports team here)?”

The new hot topic — real estate.

Jonathan Miller, executive vice president and director of research for Radar Logic, a data and analytics business that produces a daily “spot” price for residential real estate in major U.S. metropolitan areas, said the woes in the real estate market are all the rage.

Audio-Why Sacramento has the worst local housing market

jonathan-miller.jpgThe worst housing market in the United States right now is in Sacramento, California, according to Radar Logic’s director of research Jonathan Miller, whose analytics business produces a daily “spot” price for residential real estate in major U.S. metropolitan areas, or MSAs.

Among the housing markets that are holding up the best are Milwaukee and Seattle, Miller told the Reuters Housing Summit — but prices increases in Seattle may not last much longer.

Ratings agencies can’t hide behind 1st Amendment-lawyer

Ratings agencies sued over their role in the the subprime mortgage crisis won’t be able to hide behind free speech protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, because they played an active role in structuring loan assets, attorney Salvatore Graziano told the Reuters Housing Sumit on Tuesday.

Subprime litigation to take years – plaintiffs’ lawyer

graziano.jpgLawsuits over losses tied to subprime mortgage loans are expected to drag on for years, according to a lawyer representing institutional investors.

Salvatore Graziano, an attorney with Bernstein, Litowitz, Berger and Grossmann, told the Reuters Housing Summit his firm’s volume of cases suggests ligitation will last for a long time.