Feds ignored warning signs of housing bust
Transcripts unsealed from a May 2006 meeting of the Federal Reserve indicate some concern about the housing bubble and the use of “exotic” mortgages by home buyers, according to a Jan. 13 article in the Wall Street Journal. But Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke described the slowdown of the housing market “a healthy thing” and an “orderly decline” that posed little threat to the U.S. economy.
“Again, I think we are unlikely to see growth being derailed by the housing market,” Bernanke said in the closed-door meeting.
Home prices, which peaked in May 2006, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, have since fallen 33%.
In another meeting later that year, in December 2006, Timothy Geithner, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, agreed that housing problems would not weaken the nation’s growth "[based] on our recent financial market data.” Geithner now serves as Treasury Secretary.
The article does quote two prescient officials: Janet Yellen, who headed the San Francisco Fed in 2006, warned that the slowdown could become “an unwelcome housing slump.” And Susan Bies, a Federal Reserve Governor from 2001 to 2007, sounded the alarm about exotic mortgages. “A lot of the private mortgages that have been securitized during the last few years really do have much more risk than the investors have been focusing on,” she said in a 2006 meeting.
Decking distributor partners with railing manufacturer
Absolute Distribution Inc. (ADI) has announced an agreement with Fairway Building Products to serve as a key distributor of Solutions Aluminum Railing and Balusters.
Solutions serves both residential and commercial markets with a unique sculpted top rail and softened radial corners. The company offers a line of bracketry and hardware to support virtually any installation application. Its baluster offering features both traditional and contemporary railing components.
ADI, located in Minneapolis, is a marketer and two-step distributor of decking-related specialty products to independent lumber dealers, building centers and home improvement centers. It offers a wide selection of railing components, rail systems, balusters, post caps, deck lighting, fasteners, aluminum decking, tools and accessories from leading manufacturers.
New partnership enters foreclosure market
Waypoint Real Estate Group, one of the nation’s leading acquirers of distressed, single-family properties, and GI Partners, a mid-market private equity firm, have announced a partnership where they will acquire and then rent out more than $250 million in single-family homes. Ultimately, GI hopes to invest more than $1 billion in distressed and foreclosed homes over the next two years, with Waypoint managing the acquisitions and rental conversions.
Based in Oakland, Waypoint has successfully acquired nearly 1,000 homes in the San Francisco Bay area and Inland Empire in Southern California, and developed a proprietary system to underwrite and manage the portfolio of homes. With the GI investment, Waypoint plans to launch a national expansion, with the goal of entering into multiple new geographic markets in 2012.
"Our approach to buying and renovating distressed homes and leasing to residents who are committed to a path to future home ownership is a viable solution to our nation’s housing crisis," said Colin Wiel, managing director and co-founder of Waypoint. "Our unique approach to acquiring homes and converting them into rental properties speaks directly to the Federal Reserve’s recommendations included within its recent white paper. This partnership with GI Partners ensures we can take the next step in our company’s evolution."
GI Partners, headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., will invest in Waypoint through GI Partners Fund III, which has approximately $1.9 billion of capital commitments from institutional private equity and real estate investors.
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