July 21, 2010
A View from the North on the Housing Market
I'm in Banff for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation's Annual Institute (a great program if you're interested in natural resources law and business), and in addition to enjoying stunning views, I have been looking to the local paper and websites to access my news.
The Globe and Mail's Business website had two story briefs that caught my eye, both of which were U.S.-based stories.
First, there is a story about U.S. housing construction concerns, which notes that some economists are predicting a "double dip" (that's bad) if the U.S. job market doesn't rebound quickly. There are some economists who disagree that the situation is that dire, but there's no doubt the market is down following the recent expiration of the federal tax credits for home purchases.
Second, the site reports on the New York Times' coverage of mortgage lenders who are now taking a "conservative view" of potential borrowers who are pregnant. Lenders are now concerned that the pregnancy indicates that a parent won't go back to work, making the loan too high.
I'm all for lenders showing some sense and making sure that loan approvals are for realistic amounts, but if some mortgage brokers are using pregnancy as an automatic trigger for disapproval this is a bad idea. It's one thing to be conservative; it's quite another not to do your job of assessing risk. Beyond the moral and ethical implications, it's bad business.
Sitting here, looking at the mountains, I can't help but wonder what other ill-founded and illogical fear-driven policies are further slowing the recovery.
July 21, 2010 | Permalink