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Stricter lending standards could prevent up to 1.1 million US homebuyers from getting mortgages in 2007

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NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - Tougher lending standards stemming from the shakeout in the beleaguered subprime mortgage industry could prevent up to 1.1 million U.S. homebuyers from getting mortgages this year, a Bear Stearns analyst told investors on Friday.

Banks and mortgage companies would sharply scale back lending to two groups: subprime and "Alt-A" borrowers, said Dale Westhoff, Bear Stearns' head of mortgage-backed research.

Consumers with low income and/or spotty credit histories are considered subprime borrowers, while Alt-A borrowers are typically those who fall short of being prime because they lack adequate income documentation.


"This implies a purchase contraction of 1.1 million borrowers," said Westhoff who was speaking at Bear Stearns mortgage conference here. "That's a non-trivial number."


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