Mortgage Lenders Squeeling Like Pigs: WAMU First To Cry Uncle

Despite Ben Bernanke’s optimism that the sub-prime issues wouldn’t spread to the rest the of the economy, not only is it spreading to the rest the of the economy, its become our favorite export to global economies too!

The resulting liquidity crunch has already begun. Many banks just announced that they’ll no longer accept loans through brokers. This is to reduce the additional cost of having a middle-man.

Washington Mutual also announced that its Jumbo loans would be priced at 8%. OUCH! Basically, WAMU is having a tough time reselling these loans on the secondary market (to unsuspecting pension and hedge funds) so they’ve jacked up the rates on these.

As of 2007, a jumbo loan (in most parts of the country) is a loan thats over $417,000 for a single-family residence.

Unfortunately, with the median home price in San Diego is over $500,000. (Not sure of the exact figures but its dropping from the peak). This means the average family has a jumbo loan on their median-priced home.

It was ok when rates where 4.5%, but now when rates are at 8%, the corresponding home payment will jump 43%!!!! I don’t know about you, but I’d be looking to move if my home payment rose 40%+.

I think as the rates rise and loans become more difficult to get, home prices will start falling faster than they have in the past 2 years. Many people are still in denial about dropping home prices in SoCal – but this looks like the beginning of the end. I wouldn’t be surprized if rates fall another 25% of where they are today.

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