News Mash Ups

October 11, 2007

High Foreclosure Rates Hit Iraq

Filed under: humor, news — thoughtsarethings @ 6:14 pm

iraq.jpg

Hakpud and Andar stand on their foreclosed home.

Baghdad~  In recent months, attention has focused on the mortgage crisis here in the United States.  Yet the credit crunch seems to have flown overseas in what is being called, ” a crushing blow to Iraqi real estate.”  Recently, three major mortgage carriers have described Iraq as a situation that will get worse before it gets any better.  Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Countrywide all state that Iraqi homeowners are defaulting at a record rate.  “Our statistics suggest that Iraq is a ticking time-bomb waiting to explode,” says Frank DiNardo, Chief Statistician for Countrywide.  “We have entire neighborhoods that are feeling the squeeze and you can see that right here on my computer screen.”

Since the Oil Bubble burst with the hostile U.S. takeover, sales of existing homes have been on a consistent slide.  In August of 2006, there were 30,000 homes sales in Baghdad compared to approximately 47,000 in 2005.  Due to  the lack of home sales, home prices this year have depreciated at an average of 36%.  Lower home prices mean that homeowners are less likely to get approved for refinancing loans that help pay off bills or fix and remodel homes.  Kaput Sidk of Kirkut needed money from an equity line of credit to help repair the east side of his home damage by a passing tank envoy.  “We had some lovely plans for the foyer,” says Kaput, “but we cannot add that or a breakfast nook without some sort of credit.”  Unfortunately for him, his bank will not lend money in his part of town because of the housing slump and increased military presence. 

One agency, the Baghdad Association of Realtors, gave a brighter picture to the housing crunch.  “Our realtors still give Baghdad a ‘buy’ status”, says Akmar Odiju, Chairman on the Board of Realtors.  “We’ve seen a decrease in housing availability, which in turn helps create a more positive outlook on the future home prices.  We say why wait on the sidelines, when the home of your dreams could be gone tomorrow.”  While it is true that houses are being destroyed faster than they are being built, not everyone is optimistic about the future of Baghdad real estate.  “We can’t honestly say who is next”, states Maj. Tom Schilling of the U.S. Army.  “The ‘green zone’ could be the next Seattle in terms of appreciation, but then Seattle doesn’t have a chance of getting the shit bombed out of it.”

Politicians, banking regulators, and consumer advocates have urged lenders to avert foreclosures through loan modifications, but so far these recommendations have fallen on deaf ears.  “What are you asking?” screamed Patuk Inkdar, president of the Countrywide Branch in Karbala, whose ear drums were damaged from a nearby car bomb.

Hakput and Andar Partuki are two kids who understand the reality of the housing crunch.  Their house was foreclosed upon in September and they are now having to live in their aunts small apartment on the outskirts of town.   They began to default on their loan after their parents were killed by a stray missile a few miles from town.  “We tried what we could” says Hakput.  “Andar got a job at Starbucks, and I got a paper route, but the Starbucks was blown up and my bike kept getting flat tires from the shrapnel.”  Hakput and Andar tried contacting their bank to work on an arrangement to defer some of their payments, but the phone lines had been severed.  No sooner than 90 days had passed, when Ditech Funding, Inc. sent out a Patriot missile to foreclose on the property.  “We heard a whizzing sound and knew we should grab what we could.”

Later it was learned that Ditech Funding, Inc., sent a letter to the boys stating that in fact the missile was meant for their neighbors, who had also been delinquent.  Ditech stated that sometimes these things happen due to a filing error or simply a bad crosswind.  They did back up their apology with a “correct foreclosure missile” that hit the neighbors the following day. 

 Unfortunately, for many residents there seems to be a lack of resources to help homeowners through these tough times.  Previous assistance included the Iraq Housing and Urban Development and the Baghdad Homeownership Preservation Foundation.  However, HUD was hit by a SCUD, and the BHPF has now been turned into “George W Bush Torture Prison for the Clinically Aware.”    The only available resource left seems to be the Homeowners for Ethical Lending Practices and Mortgage Entities.  HELPME can be contacted at +62 786 678 05. 

Note: Since this posting, HELPME is no longer a viable resource. 

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