Earlier this month, Fitch Ratings downgraded Berkshire Hathaway’s credit rating on unsecured debt from AAA to AA+. Earlier this week, Standard and Poor’s lowered its outlook on Berkshire Hathaway from stable to negative. The result appears to be at least partially responsible for a slight increase in Berkshire’s funding costs. While today’s notes were priced to yield 282 basis points over Treasuries, the yield spread was only 220 points in January when Berkshire sold $250 million of 5.4 percent notes due in 2018. Read this post for more details.
At a time when the newspapers are full of stories about predatory lenders, irresponsible homeowners, and the terrible impact of foreclosures on the national economy, it is refreshing to read about a home builder that largely avoided the housing meltdown. The qualities of Clayton Homes and its customers can serve as a case study demonstrating the positive outcomes that occur when all parties to a transaction attempt to operate with a sense of accountability and ethical standards.