Over the past several years, the real estate industry in the United States has undergone a near collapse. House prices have been reduced so far by 25% nationwide due to the bursting of real estate bubble. The only vibrant part of the real estate market in the present economic recovery is the millions of foreclosed homes being sold to bargain hunters.
Some smaller States, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Alaska, have managed to avoid a big downturn in prices and hope to continue to do so. The big States most affected by the real estate disaster though, California, Michigan, Nevada, Florida, have lost more than one-half on home values in many major cities.
There is one aspect of the home mortgage disaster that no State will be able to avoid though. This involves the mismanagement and fraud relating to mortgage loans that largely occurred after the loan closed and was recorded in the local courthouse as a lien on the property along with the new deed of ownership. This unlawful activity affects in some substantial way the validity of the great majority of mortgages issued over the past 20-years throughout the country, whether the loan payments are current or delinquent.
The Wall Street investment banks, beginning in the late 1980s, initiated and bought millions of home mortgage loans to be repackaged as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) and sold to investors across the country and the world. In order to have their investment offerings certified as safe by the investment ratings agencies, the Wall Street banks used almost exclusively Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac qualified mortgages on the assumption such loans have already undergone a serious scrutiny under federal regulations. In reality though the two quasi-government agencies did little to oversee the quality of the of the mortgage loans they were certifying, buying and selling.
The MBS marketing effort worked. The ratings agencies, paid huge fees solely by the investment banks, certified the Wall Street MBS offerings as mostly prime-grade investments. Congress, Fannie Mae and the Security and Exchange Commission greatly encouraged the MBS trade. Now, millions upon millions of these same mortgage loans are delinquent, some for longer than two years. Millions upon millions more American households still paying their mortgage have a property that is worth far less now than the mortgage loan balance.
It has been discovered that most of the loans in the Wall Street MBS packages and those held by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, in fact, did not meet federal regulatory standards, not even close. Just about every player in the real estate industry had a large hand in this fraud: mortgage lenders, banks, sellers, buyers, brokers, appraisers, lawyers, middlemen, federal and state agencies, Congress and last five Presidents. The result is a home foreclosure rate that is unheard of already and looking likely to accelerate.
But the same Wall Street banks that bought off the ratings agencies and the government in order to cheat their customers and got away with it could not stop themselves from also committing massive tax evasion and the blatant violation of state laws across the nation with almost all of their MBS offerings. This is the fraud that might place the majority of US home ownership titles into serious question.
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The article goes on to discuss The Problems, Robo-Foreclosures: Only the Veil, REMICS, Securitization and Tax Evasion, State Recordation Fees/MERS and More Tax Evasion, The Present Posture, What Options are Available to the Homeowner?, Is Some Measure of Justice Possible?