Tuesday, April 08, 2008

S&P: House Prices to Fall 20%, Downgrades Four Insurers

by Bill McBride on 4/08/2008 08:01:00 PM

Via Reuters: S&P release on four U.S. mortgage insurers (hat tip Steve)

On house prices:

[W]e believe median home prices will decline 20% from the peak in 2006. By contrast, the forecasts we used in November 2007 assumed a decline of 11%.
On unemployment:
When we resolved the CreditWatch status of several mortgage insurer ratings on Nov. 21, 2007, we stated that if unemployment rose above 6%, incurred losses for all mortgage insurers would be significantly higher than our expectations. Our most recent macroeconomic forecast shows unemployment reaching 5.8% in 2009, and there is considerable uncertainty in the job markets.
And the four insurers:
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it lowered its counterparty credit rating on MGIC Investment Corp. to 'BBB' from 'A-' and its counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on the mortgage insurance subsidiaries (MGIC) to 'A' from 'AA-'. The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, where they were placed on Jan. 24, 2008, with negative implications. The outlook is negative.

Standard & Poor's also said that it lowered its counterparty credit rating on Old Republic International Corp. (ORI.N: Quote, Profile, Research) (ORI) to 'A' rom 'A+' and its counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on ORI's core subsidiaries to 'AA-' from 'AA'. The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, where they were placed on Feb. 25, 2008, with negative implications. The outlook is negative.

At the same time, Standard & Poor's lowered its counterparty credit rating on PMI Group Inc. (PMI.N: Quote, Profile, Research) (PMI Group) to 'BBB+' from 'A' and its counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on PMI Group's mortgage insurance subsidiaries in the U.S. (PMI) and Europe (PMI Europe) to 'A+' from 'AA'. The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, where they were placed on Feb. 13, 2008, with negative implications. The outlook is negative.

In addition, Standard & Poor's lowered its counterparty credit rating on Radian Group Inc. (RDN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) (Radian Group) to 'BBB' from 'A-' and its counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on Radian Group's mortgage insurance subsidiaries (Radian MI) to 'A' from 'AA-'. These ratings remain on CreditWatch, where they were placed on Feb. 13, 2008, with negative implications.

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