Year 2005: Subprime mortgages peakThe subprime mortgage boom peaks. Lenders hand out $625 billion in subprime loans, compared to $540 billion the year before. On top of that, lenders give $380 billion in Alt-A mortgages. Most of the Alt-A loans are low-documentation mortgages, otherwise know as "liar loans" because borrowers exaggerate their incomes with a wink and nod from their lenders.An adage gains currency: Mortgage lenders are willing to give a loan to anyone who can fog a mirror. Urban legends tell of gardeners buying $500,000 McMansions. More than three-quarters of the 2005 subprime and Alt-A loans are sold on the secondary market. The market would explode in 2007 and 2008, igniting the worst recession since the Great Depression.Congress reforms bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for consumers to file bankruptcy. The law prioritizes credit card debt higher than unpaid child support.The Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates eight times. The federal funds rate begins the year at 2.25 percent and ends it at 4.25 percent.Nationally, home values rise more than 11 percent, according to the federal government's House Price Index. The National Association of Realtors distributes a "Housing Bubble Prospects Q&A" that assures consumers, "There is virtually no risk of a national housing price bubble based on the fundamental demand for housing and predictable economic factors."-- Holden Lewis
-- Holden Lewis
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