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Whitney Tilson: Housing Crisis Has Reached 7th Inning

There’s a rather sobering milestone to tell you about. Foreclosures in the U.S. topped 1 million last year for the first time ever.

Looking at the data a little more closely, banks foreclosed on 69,847 properties in December, bringing the year's total to 1.05 million, topping the prior record of 918,000 homes seized in 2009, according to real estate data firm RealtyTrac.

If you watch CNBC's Fast Money regularly that might not be quite so shocking.

In May 2009 Whitney Tilson of T2 told us he expected real estate woes would be enduring. In fact at that time he said we were in about the 5th inning of the crisis and expected losses in residential and commercial real estate to total more than $1 trillion, when all is said and done.

Considering the record number of foreclosures mentioned above it seems like a good time to check in with Tilson.

He tells us now we’re probably in the 7th inning of the game but adds, ”the housing market is a complex mess.”

“I don’t see real fundamental improvements. But the government is committed to supporting it.”

As you may know, Tilson has been very vocal about shorting this sector and intends to stick with his short positions. “I’m still short Lennar and a basket of homebuilders,” Tilson says.

That line of thinking flies in the face of results released by Lennar earlier in the week. Chief Executive Officer Stuart Miller told analysts Lennar will make a profit next year whether or not the economy strengthens.

However, Tilson sees the environment a little differently.

”I’m convinced there’s no need for new homes in this country for a number of years. Millions of extra home were built. It’s a huge inventory overhang,” he says.


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