Do Not Under (Almost) Any Circumstances Buy a Home

Bank of America is paying just $20 million for having foreclosed improperly on 160 active-duty military service personnel. (This, of course, was frequent predatory lender suit-settler Countrywide in action; Bank of America purchased Countrywide in January, 2008, for $4.1 billion in stock, and has paid for it more and more ever since, including the former CEO’s SEC settlements.) But $20 million! That’s nothing, in the grand scheme of the forthcoming housing disaster. For one thing, there are about half as many foreclosed houses being sold now as there were two years go: at this new pace, “it would take exactly three years to clear the current inventory of 1.9 million properties already on the banks’ books, or in foreclosure.” And then there will be no houses in foreclosure! Just kidding. There’ll be tons more! Both new ones, and let’s not forget that litigation has stalled a huge number of foreclosures. All that will get dumped on the market, even as housing prices are down 33.1 percent from summer of 2006 and 28% of all single-family mortgages are underwater.