A few months back I had the privilege of meeting Ash Sud, CEO of San Francisco’s newest eco-friendly moving supply company; ZippGo. After tweeting back a forth a few times I did a phone interview and had the privilege of hearing the vision behind this amazing new company.
The reason it took so long to post a finished article is because the real estate market has picked back up, so that means there are now more of you moving again. Next tine you’re ready to run to your local UPS store, U-Haul store, or self-storage retail store; think green and call ZippGo.
The securities — comprised of residential mortgages bundled to diversify risk — have long fueled the housing market. But after the sub-prime meltdown, investors viewed mortgage securities as too risky.
Starting today, private investors have to step back up to the plate to buy up the $1.5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities likely to be produced this year. Will they? Or will the government withdrawal leave a vacuum in the housing market that could push interest rates higher, as some fear?
So far, investors seem to be warming up to the idea of putting their money into mortgages again. Strict screening of borrowers and cautious lending under Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie means that mortgage pools are once again safe bets, and private investors are currently buying more than two-thirds of the securities. Prices of short-term securities are competitive with other investments, and have stabilized since the Fed started its buying program, a sign that investors now trust them.
And the federal wind-down has been orderly. It has signaled its intent to end the program, and has been steadily reducing its purchases since the beginning of the year.
As a result, the market has not been jolted, says Fogarty. Private bond investors seem to be picking up the slack for the Fed. Average interest rates for 30-year home loans have stayed under 5 percent, near its historic low point recorded at the end of last year, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey for March 25.
“There has been a relatively liquid and stable market for Freddie Mac securities throughout the capital crisis,” says Freddie Mac spokesman Michael Cosgrove. “What’s important is that there is liquidity in the market and there have been investors that have been stepping up to buy.”
There’s still unfinished business to deal with, however. The Fed still has that $1.25 trillion in securities on its balance sheet – far more than it spent bailing out AIG and other credit insurers. One-fourth of all Fannie and Freddie securities are now the Fed’s property. (Fannie and Freddie themselves hold another 25 percent.) Some conservative economists have expressed concern that when the Fed tries to unload all that debt, it risks increasing inflation. (For a paper by Stanford University economist and monetary policy expert John B. Taylor on the topic, check out this pdf).
But overall it’s pretty hard to find the bad news here. Interest rates are likely to go up a quarter of a percent at most, much lower than many had predicted. The Fed has been generating tens of billions in income off these investments. And while inflation poses all kinds of problems for an economy, it also has a silver lining, because mortgage payments may end up taking less of a bite out of a household’s income
While watching some prime time TV last night, former San Francisco Willie Brown came on to announce that tickets are now available for San Francisco’s 2nd Annual Dream House Raffle! Raffle ticket proceeds benefit YBCA (The Yerba Buena Center for The Arts). Here is some general information; tickets $150 each – 1 out of a 100 chance of winning something. 1 in 40,000 (only 40,000 tickets sold) in winning the Noe Valley online casino Dream house. Other prizes include cash, cars, and vacations. The sooner you get your tickets the more chances you have to win due to three early bird raffles the first of which is this Friday, April 2nd 2010.
Now for the good stuff…
Just finished watching the Superbowl and wanted to congratulate the Saints and the City of New Orleans. Both have been through so much and it’s nice to see the underdog win.