The Journal on page one reports that it’s getting even harder to get a house. This time it’s because mortgage insurers are “dramatically tightening their standards” due to big losses they’re taking from defaulting homeowners. Some are closing their doors or ending their lending.
The paper quotes a Chicago bank official as saying that 70 percent of its previous borrowers wouldn’t be able to buy now because of the tighter standards.
Nowadays, insurers are frequently requiring at least a 10% down payment, compared with previous standards that might have included a 3% to 5% down payment. Prices also are rising. Next month, for example, MGIC plans to charge an annualized premium of up to 0.75% of the loan balance for fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages with a 10% down payment, up from 0.67% this month. The company doesn’t plan to change course anytime soon. “Housing cycles don’t correct quickly,” says MGIC’s Mr. Zimmerman.
Tell that to Barron’s.
Another two bite the dust at Tribune
The Times on C2 and the Journal on B1 report that the Los Angeles Times publisher David Hiller was forced out yesterday, and Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski quit, further roiling Tribune Company.
It’s just desserts for Hiller, who forced out two editors because they resisted his plans to slash newsroom jobs. Lipinski sounded like Marcus Brauchli in her reason for leaving:
In her note, she wrote that “professionally, this position is not the fit it once was.” She added that the new management “should have their own editor, compatible with their style and goals.”