This psychology of mass delusion now dominates housing, stocks and bonds: not only is this not a bubble, the expansion will continue forever. History, however, suggests otherwise: all bubbles burst, period.
The rising risk to the housing recovery story lies in the Fed's ability to continue to keep interest rates suppressed. It is important to remember that individuals "buy payments" rather than houses. With each tick higher in mortgage rates so goes the monthly mortgage payment. With wages remaining suppressed, 1 out of 3 Americans no longer counted as part of the work force or drawing on a Federal subsidy, the pool of potential buyers remains tightly constrained. While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a "driver" of economic growth in 2015 and beyond - the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.
Since its inception, California has always portrayed itself as the land of opportunity. Kind of like a dream within the American dream. Of course, if you ask anyone who actually lives here, they’ll tell you the truth. The only people getting rich from the dream are the ones who made it up. They prey on the gullible masses who think they can move here and become movies stars, and tech CEO’s. But more importantly, this dream is the lifeblood of our vampiric state, and always has been. Like the myths surrounding the Great Wall of China, our foundations are layered with those who fell while chasing the dream. We owe our very existence to this ever evolving scam.
Boom-and-Bust City at its glorious best.
"Coins and bills are obsolete and only reduce the influence of central banks," German economist and sole Keynesian member of the German Council Of Economic Experts Peter Bofinger tells Spiegel, becoming the latest central planning proponent to suggest that a cashless society would solve the world's economic problems by allowing the government to control who spends what and when in a futile effort to control the business cycle.
The costs and consequences of Greece exiting the Eurozone may well dwarf the financial losses triggered by Greece's default.
"You said you weren’t monetizing the debt when you talked to Congress. You said the Fed was going to sell the bonds, but none of them have been sold. They’ve all been rolled over. So how are you claiming victory when you haven’t exited? You haven’t raised rates, you haven’t shrunk the balance sheet. You were wrong in the past. You didn’t see the financial crisis coming. You told us there was no housing bubble. You said subprime was contained. So you were certainly wrong then. So how do you know you’re not wrong now? Is there anything that might change your opinion and get you to rethink and maybe admit that your outlook is wrong?"
You know it's a bubble when... A listing has appeared online advertising a single bed in a house in London where the mattress is located in the kitchen.
Real Estate is a highly “illiquid” asset class ‘most of the time’. It always has been and always will be. However, some times, such as now - and from 2003 to 2007 as a prime example - when liquidity is flowing like water, Real Estate’s illiquidity is masked. Speculators can do no wrong. Simply having access to short-term or mortgage capital to purchase Real Estate guaranties a double-digit return. This continues until one day, suddenly, it doesn’t; and, the snap-back to the true, historical illiquid nature of the Real Estate sector happens suddenly and is amplified at first. This creates a snowball effect from which both house supply and illiquidity surge at the same time. Price then becomes the liquidity fulcrum and will drop, relentlessly ripping speculators faces off, until capital begins to view the asset class as a relative value once again.
At the core, a healthy housing market is one where owner-occupied buyers dominate the bulk of home sales. That is simply not the case. This is how you have well paid tech workers in San Francisco cramming into a 2-bedroom apartment like a clown car simply to get by. One thing that is certain from the overall trend is that larger investors are pulling back from the market dramatically.
There's never been a better time to be a home flipper. Not only are average returns at all-time highs (you can double your money in Baltimore), you can even obtain cheap financing from Wall Street as opposed to dealing with pesky local banks. Better still, there's a very good chance you won't have to deal with annoying aspiring homeowners because according to RealtyTrac, the percentage of flipped homes sold to other "investors" is at a four-year high.
To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, anyone who wants the government and Federal Reserve to create a housing recovery, deserves to get it good and hard, like a four by four to the side of their head. Subprime mortgages, subprime auto loans, and subprime student loans driven by preposterously low interest rates are the liquefying foundation of this fake economic recovery. Most rational people would agree that loaning money to people who will eventually default is not a good idea. But it is the underpinning of everything the Fed and government apparatchiks have done to keep this farce going a little while longer. It will not end well – Again.
Nowhere is the new normal more evident than the frenzied hording of so-called "trophy homes" by the world's 1800 billionaires. As Bloomberg reports, the ultra-luxury housing market is scaling new heights as a record number of properties around the world command prices topping $100 million. Demand is growing among affluent Americans and Europeans; billionaires from unstable economies, such as Russia and Middle Eastern countries; and buyers from mainland China, who were barred from investing overseas before 2012. Why - simple (to them?)... "They’re a scarce commodity. And they’re better than gold because you can boast about it."
In every inflating bubble, there’s usually two camps. The first group points out various metrics suggesting something is inherently unsustainable, while the second reiterates that this time, it is different. After all, if everyone always agreed on these things, then no one would do the buying to perpetuate the bubble’s expansion. The Canadian housing bubble has been no exception to this, and the war of words is starting to heat up.
We heard from several central banks in the last few days, and what they had to say was just one more reminder that we are in a Hill Street Blues financial world. So, hey, let’s be careful out there - and then some!