Every now and then we come across an artifact from the great real estate boom of the 20-first century that simply takes our breath away. This advertisement from “Home & Land,” a Monmouth County, New Jersey real estate promotional magazine from the summer of 2005 shows just how loose lending practices became towards the end of the boom. Apparently, Chase’s ‘Simply Signature’ mortgage program involved very little beyond just signing up for a mortgages.
This is highly entertaining, in a dark way. But it’s also more than just entertaining. It’s good to keep this kind of thing in mind whenever someone tells you that mortgage backed securities from the zaniest years of the boom cannot really be worth as little as the market is willing to pay. When banks were giving away mortgage loans with nothing more than a signature, of course prices are going to break below historical support levels.