Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Future of Home Ownership If Fannie Mae and Freddie Vanish

This article asks a good question but then doesn't bother to try to answer it.  If the GSEs no longer guarantee that they will buy up bank loans then banks will be less willing to pull the trigger and lend to marginal borrowers. Interest rates will rise for those with a risky profile.  The article claims that interest rates will rise for urban and rural people but doesn't bother to explain why.  The only explanation I can think of is if their income profile is more volatile and they are more likely to face default risk than suburbanites.

If domestic borrowers have more trouble securing funds to finance buying a home, then what happens to our existing housing stock's value?  I predict that more foreigners will buy it up.  If the dollar stays weak relative to other currencies, then foreigners can hedge political uncertainty in their nations and have a nice diversified option to hold onto our real estate.  I have tried to do research on international holdings of our real estate but haven't been able to figure out how to do this.

U.S real estate scholars have studied home price dynamics in Superstar Cities but they haven't been able to integrate into their analysis the role that serious international money plays in bidding up real estate prices in elite areas such as Beverly Hills.  In West Los Angeles, there is a large former Iranian national population in my westwood area. "The Persian population of Beverly Hills may be as high as 40% of the total population." or so says Wikipedia.  

I view this international diversity to be a good thing.  The United States seeks to identify new export markets and perhaps our land is a viable export!