There are roughly 19 million vacant dwellings in the U.S., of which around 4 million are second homes and a million or two are on the market. Let's stipulate that several million more are in areas with very low demand (i.e. few want to live there year-round). Let's also stipulate that several million more are in the "shadow inventory" of homes that are neither on the market nor even officially in the foreclosure pipeline, i.e. zombie homes. Even if you account for 9 million of these homes, that still leaves 10 million vacant dwellings in the U.S. which could be occupied. That means 1 in 12 of all dwellings are vacant. Even if you discount this by half, that still leaves 5 million vacant dwellings that could be occupied. Given that the total rental market is 40 million households, that constitutes a very large inventory of supply that remains untapped. Lastly, it is important to note that the ratio of residents to dwellings is rather low in the U.S., with millions of single-person households and large homes occupied by one or two people. The potential pool of existing homeowners who could enter the "informal" rental market by offering bedrooms, basements and even enclosed garages for rent is extremely large, and that is a difficult-to-count "shadow" inventory of potential rentals.
PIMCO vs GARY SHILLING - ROUND 1
H.R. 5326 decimates the statistical agencies that support the entire fabric of business investment, policy-making, and decision-making in the United States.
When they see you as a chicken breast, you know your vote matters little and your life even less.
March Durable Good Implode, Worse Than Lowest Wall Street Forecast And Biggest Drop Since January 2009Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/25/2012 07:53 -0500
So much for a moderate decline in the economy. As we warned back in February when we noted that the non-seasonally unadjusted collapse in durable goods was historic, now that the aftereffect of a record warm winter is fully gone, the March durable goods data comes in and it was a complete disaster: instead of dropping modestly by 1.7% as the consensus expected, the March actual print was a massive 4.2% decline, worse than the worst Wall Street forecast, or the most since January 2009! And it was not only airplanes as many were expecting (despite Boeing's just announced epic sales): the ex-transportation number was down 1.1%, on expectations of a 0.5% gain; even worse, capital goods new orders slid 0.8% on expectations of a 1% gain. And as usual inventories hit another record high. Overall, a horrendous print which confirms that the entire myth of a recovery in Q1 was warm weather driven, and that about 1% of the 2.5% or so consensus GDP was due to the weather. Expect the downward GDP revisions to come any second.But don't expect the market to react to this news at all: after all if anything, this simply makes NEW QE/LTRO more likely and is to be cheered by all habitual gamblers.
A multi-decade trend reversed.
Low trade volume is sucking the fuel from the global economy
It will come as no surprise that the Spanish 'experiment' with the euro is not going well. Spain now relies more heavily on the ECB than at any time and today's bill auction sums up all that is wrong about our financial markets when an event that absolutely should be expected to be a non-event (a sovereign nation selling a small amount of short-dated debt) becomes a catalyst for algorithmic excess. In perhaps the greatest analogy for today's auction, Micheal Cembalest pronounces "throughout my career, central banks having to buy or finance sovereign debt to avoid a debt crisis was like going to the prom with your sister: there’s something very unnerving about it, even though it looks normal from a distance." It did not take long for the honeymoon following LTRO2 to end and despite today's exuberance, Italian and Spanish equity markets (as well as financial credits) have collapsed as Spain's sovereign risk has skyrocketed. While Spanish bank holdings of Spanish govvies, ECB lending to Spanish banks, and Spanish credit risk are surging so is one other much more worrisome fundamental trend - that of corporate non-performing loans. Dismissing the dichotomous relationship between consumer and residential delinquency calmness relative to unemployment's explosion (much as the market has in its pricing of bank stocks), the JPM CIO remains underweight Europe arguing that while contrarian calls are often the most profitable, this time being underweight European equities is the gift that keeps on giving.
A strong case can be made that the fundamental supports of the housing market-- demographics, employment, creditworthiness and income--will not recover for a generation. It can even be argued that housing has lost its status as the foundation of middle class wealth, not for a generation, but for the long term. Let's begin by noting that despite the many tax breaks lavished on housing--the mortgage interest deduction, etc.--there is nothing magical about housing as an asset. That is, its price responds in an open, transparent market to supply and demand and the cost of money and risk. There are a number of quantifiable inputs that feed into supply and demand--new housing starts, mortgage rates and income, to name three--but there are other less quantifiable inputs as well, notably the belief (or faith) that housing will return to being a "good investment," i.e. rising in price roughly 1% above the rate of inflation. If this faith erodes, then the other factors of demand face an insurmountable headwind, for the most fundamental support of housing is the belief that buying a house is the first step to securing middle class wealth.
Bernanke has laid the groundwork for the next massive dislocation.
Minutes ago, the US Census Bureau released the February Housing Starts data, which printing at 698K was a mild disappointment, as it was below expectations of 700K, and down from a revised 706K. However, as usual, the headline gives only half the story. Here is the reality: in February, only 48.1k homes were started (Not Seasonally Adjusted). This compares to 46.5K in January. However, of this number Single Unit houses, those which are relevant for actual housing demand, and not the 5+ units more relevant for rental purposes, declined from 33.0K to 31.5K. In fact, the 31.5K number was the weakest since December's 31.0K, and then all the way back to February 26.6K. What offset this? The surge in multi-family housing units, as usual, which rose from 12.3K to 16.1K. Recall that lately there has been a shift from owning to renting, and as such builders are focusing on this. All of this is summarized in the SAAR based (Seasonally Adjusted) chart below. It gets worse: looking at actual completions, far more important in this New Normal economy, where everyone is willing to take credit for a hole in the ground as "new housing" what really matters is the rate of completions. And in January, it was a meager 28.6K, a tiny rise from January, and lowest than any number in 2011, except for last February. Sorry - there is no housing bottom. If anything, true housing continues to creep along the bottom as can be seen in the chart below.
An economic fiasco, a political football ... and (quietly) a growing export product in a declining market.
And so the transition to the QE3 "economic disappointment" regime begins. Because after the ECB is done with the LTRO it's over for global QEasing, and the Fed is next. Remember- Bernanke's semiannual testimony to Congress is tomorrow. Whatever will he say....
- Headline Durable Goods plunges from +3.2 to -4% on expectations of -1%
- More painfully, Durable goods non-defense ex aircraft down a whopping -4.5% on Exp of -1.3%, down from +3.4%.
Visually, this is the lowest Durable Goods number since January 2009
The task of the financial/political/media Status Quo is to convince Americans to overlook the abundant evidence of economic deterioration and focus on heavily juiced "evidence" of robust "growth." The game plan is this: if the Status Quo can convince you that the economy has righted itself and from here on in everything will get better and better, every day and in every way, then we will abandon financial rationality and start buying homes we can't afford on credit, cars we can't afford on credit and boatloads of stuff from China that we don't need on credit (of course looking cool is a "need," i.e. having an iPad to carry around). In other words, believing it is so will make it so. That is the essence of the campaign to stimulate "animal spirits" confidence: though the economy is actually tanking, if they can only convince us the Dow is moving to 15,000 and then on to 20,000, jobs are being created left and right and things are looking up everywhere, then the resulting piranha-like shopping-feeding-frenzy will create the expansion that is currently chimerical.