Home Equity

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"Will We Never Learn?" - Meet Subprime Auto 'Title Loans': 2014's Home ATM





The car is at the center of the biggest boom in subprime lending since the mortgage crisis, and The NY Times reports, similar to how a red-hot mortgage market once coaxed millions of borrowers into recklessly tapping the equity in their homes, the new boom is also leading people to take out risky lines of credit known as title loans. Will we never learn?!!

 
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2014 Year In Review (Part 1): The Final Throes Of A Geopolitical Game Of Tetris





Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."

 
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The Fracturing Energy Bubble Is the New Housing Crash





Let’s see. Between July 2007 and January 2009, the median US residential housing price plunged from $230k to $165k or by 30%. That must have been some kind of super “tax cut”.

The global oil price collapse now unfolding is not putting a single dime into the pockets of American households - the CNBC talking heads to the contrary notwithstanding.  What is happening is the vast flood of mispriced debt and capital, which flowed into the energy sector owning to the Fed’s lunatic ZIRP and QE policies, is now rapidly deflating. That will reduce bubble spending and investment, not add to economic growth. It’s the housing bust all over again.

 
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The Oil-Drenched Black Swan, Part 2: The Financialization of Oil





All the analysts chortling over the "equivalent of a tax break" for consumers are about to be buried by an avalanche of defaults and crushing losses as the chickens of financializing oil come home to roost.

 
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Define Irony: Janet Yellen Talks Inequality, Has Some Advice - Start A Business, Get Rich Parents





With no mention of the current turmoil in markets - or suggestion of QE99 - Janet Yellen's speech this morning on "Inequality and Opportunity" in America explains how the poor can get rich. After admitting that widening inequality resumed in the recovery (and "greatly concerns" her), as the stock market rebounded (driven by Fed's free money) and cost-conscious share buying-back companies defer wage growth as the healing of the labor market has been slow; she turns her attention to how the poor can beat the vicious cycle. Rather stunningly, she notes the 4 sources of income opportunity in America: The first two are widely recognized as important sources of opportunity: resources available for children and affordable higher education (so more student debt and servitude). The second two may come as more of a surprise: business ownership and inheritances. As she concludes, "this is how individuals and their families can improve their economic circumstances."

 
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Why The State Has Failed to Reform Our Broken Financial System





Expecting the state to truly reform the nation's engines of financialization is like asking the cocaine addict married to the wealthy dealer to divorce the dealer.

 
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The Home ATM Is Back: HELOCs Surge To 2008 Levels





While the memory of a financial market participant can be measured in nanoseconds, it appears that the average American has also become goldfish-like as RealtyTrac reports a total of 797,865 home equity lines of credit were originated nationwide, up 20.6% from a year ago and the highest level since 2008. As Jim Quinn so eloquently notes, after a two year Wall-Street-engineered fraudulent boost in home prices in the exact markets that led the bubble in 2003 through 2007, the delusional dolts are now acting like the increase in home equity is real: As RealtyTrac's Blomquist exudes, "this recent rise in HELOC originations indicates that an increasing number of homeowners are gaining confidence in the strength of the housing recovery."

 
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The Trolling Continues: Fed Chairwoman Expresses Her Condolences To America's Poor





As we discussed earlier in the week, Janet Yellen has released a speech this morning explaining why the poor need to get rich. In the speech below, she stresses, "how important it is to promote asset-building, including saving for a rainy day, as protection from the ups and downs of the economy," despite falling incomes, rising costs, and extending credit, we assume she means. The Fed Chairman has some words of encouragement for the tens of millions of Americans who live at or below the poverty level, including that threatened with extinction class, affectionately known as "the middle." Her message? It is important to build assets, or said otherwise...  get rich and she promises to "continue to promote asset-building."

 
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Can A National Quasi-Religion (Pro Sports) Go Broke?





Attending costly games is on the margins of the household budget. When the credit card gets maxed out, attending is no longer an option. We're not suggesting professional sports isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread: we're simply asking if attending pro sports games has become unaffordable to the average American.

 
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BofA Warns "Wealth Effect" Spending Muted, Consumers Cautious





Consumer spending was soft in July. BofA data shows retail sales ex autos, measured from spending on credit and debit cards, increased only 0.3% mom seasonally adjusted. This , BofA warns, sends a somewhat weak signal in advance of next week’s retail sales report. Crucially, while supply of credit is abundant, BofA's Michelle Meyer concludes demand is weak and this cautious consumer behavior suggests the positive effect on spending from wealth creation may be muted in this cycle.

 
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Hoisington: 30Y Treasury Bonds Are Undervalued





With U.S. rates higher than those of major foreign markets, investors are provided with an additional reason to look favorably on increased investments in the long end of the U.S. treasury market. Additionally, with nominal growth slowing in response to low saving and higher debt we expect that over the next several years U.S. thirty-year bond yields could decline into the range of 1.7% to 2.3%, which is where the thirty-year yields in the Japanese and German economies, respectively, currently stand.

 
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Why Housing Will Crash Again - But For Different Reasons Than Last Time





Institutionalizing the speculative excesses that inflated the previous housing bubble has fed magical thinking and fostered illusions of phantom wealth and security.

 
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The Happy Story of Boomers Retiring on Their Generational Wealth Is Wrong





The conventional view of the Baby Boomers' retirement is a happy story: since we're living longer and remaining productive longer, Boomers will not be as much of a burden on Gen-X and Gen-Y as doom-and-gloomers assume. Not only are Boomers staying productive longer, they will draw upon their vast generational wealth as they age, limiting the financial burden on younger generations. This happy story is wrong on multiple counts.

 
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The United States Of Debt: Total Debt In America Hits A New Record High Of Nearly 60 Trillion Dollars





What would you say if we told you that Americans are nearly 60 trillion dollars in debt?  Well, it is true.  When you total up all forms of debt including government debt, business debt, mortgage debt and consumer debt, we are 59.4 trillion dollars in debt. 2008 should have been a major wake up call that resulted in massive changes. But instead, our leaders just patched up the old system and reinflated the old bubbles so that they are now even larger than they were before. They assure us that they know exactly what they are doing and that everything will be just fine. Unfortunately, they are dead wrong.

 
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