If we continue down this path of ignorance, we will be left with a "tiny elite and a huge sprawling proletariat" who have no chance of "clawing their way out of a hand-to-mouth existence," is the loud and clear message from UK government advisor David Boyle. As The Telegraph reports, Boyle cautions, "we won't own our own homes, we won't be able to afford it," adding that "we cheerled the rise of property prices not realising that it would destroy, if not our own lives, but the lives of our children." His conclusion, "the middle classes have to wake up to prevent it happening and to create a political movement that will do it."
The housing "recovery" since 2010 can be summarized in four phrases: diminishing returns, unprecedented central state/bank intervention, unintended consequences, end-game. The unintended consequences of the Fed's unprecedented interventions will rip the heart and lungs out of the housing market
Following the fourth consecutive decline in home prices as reported by Case Shiller (remember, it was the weather), it was inevitable that in the last month of Q1, when the weather warmed up and when Americans went on a spending spree that took their savings rate to the lowest since 2009, home prices, those tracked by the Case Shiller index, would post a rebound. Which they did: According to the just released Top 20 City Composite Index, home prices bounced by 0.88%, higher than expected, with the composite printing at 166.80, more than the 166.23 forecast, following fourth consecutive sequential declines. This represented a better than expected 12.37% annual price increase, even if the pace of annual price increases appears to be slowing: this was the lowest annual price increase since August.
The inevitable shuttering of at least 3 billion square feet of retail space is a certainty. The aging demographics of the U.S. population, dire economic situation of both young and old, and sheer lunacy of the retail expansion since 2000, guarantee a future of ghost malls, decaying weed infested empty parking lots, retailer bankruptcies, real estate developer bankruptcies, massive loan losses for the banking industry, and the loss of millions of retail jobs. Since we always look for a silver lining in a black cloud, we predict a bright future for the SPACE AVAILABLE and GOING OUT OF BUSINESS sign making companies.
After the crisis, many expected that the blameworthy would be punished or at the least be required to return their ill-gotten gains—but they weren’t, and they didn’t. Many thought that those who were injured would be made whole, but most weren’t. And many hoped that there would be a restoration of the financial safety rules to ensure that industry leaders could no longer gamble the equity of their firms to the point of ruin. This didn’t happen, but it’s not too late. It is useful, then, to identify the persistent myths about the causes of the financial crisis and the resulting Dodd-Frank reform legislation and related implementation...."Plenty of people saw it coming, and said so. The problem wasn’t seeing, it was listening."
The Fed claims inflation is too low. But in the US, inflation has become a political problem.
A simple way of grasping the precarious situation China has found itself in is with this useful diagram which summarizes the negative loop that China's economy (which essentially means housing market which as SocGen recently explained is indirectly responsible for 80% of local GDP) could fall into should the government not promptly move to address the emerging dangerous situation, i.e., resume aggressive easing.
If there was one chart that shows best what is happening with the bifurcated US housing market, it is this NAR breakdown of sales by pricing bucket. It shows beyond a doubt that courtesy of the Fed's policies there is not one but two housing markets in the US: that for the 1%, or those who purchase mostly homes in the top price buckets ($500 and certainly above), and that for everyone else. Guess where the bulk of the activity (i.e. flipping) is, and worse for the so-called recovery, where it isn't.
After 6 months of missed expectations, last month's fragile beat of dismal expectations (even though it was the worst existing home sales SAAR in 21 months) provided just enough of a glimmer of hope to stoke more short squeezes in homebuilder stocks and strengthen the pillar of the US economic recovery. Now we are in April... the start of the key seasonal selling season... and existing home sales rose modestly MoM (but fell for the 6th month in a row YoY) and missed expectations. There is - simply put - no post-weather bounce.. and still NAR is blaming slow April sales being delayed due to Winter weather! This is the worst start to a year since 2007.
While everyone tries very hard to read between the lines of the Fed minutes with the consensus conclusion being that suddenly (as opposed to previously?) the Fed is confused about what the best exit strategy is, with words such as reverse repos thrown around for dramatic impact even though this topic has been around for nearly a year, the reality is that there was absolutely nothing market moving or material in today's report (which furthermore reduced the use of the word "weather" from 15 instances in March to just 8 in April although no mentions of El Nino just yet). Here is Goldman's FOMC minutes post-mortem confirming just this. "BOTTOM LINE: The April FOMC minutes contained no major surprises. There was no news on the likely date of the first funds rate hike or the pace of subsequent hikes, and participants' views on the economic outlook were unchanged. Participants discussed the exit strategy and were in favor of further testing of policy tools, but no new policy decisions were made."
More than half a decade after the collapse, and with talking heads proclaiming the recovery as strong as ever and the Fed remarking on the housing market's foundational pillar to that recovery, BlackRock's CEO Larry Fink has a few words of warning for the exuberant - the US housing market is "structurally more unsound" today that before the last financial crisis. As the data comes in weaker and weaker, despite hopes for a post-weather bounce, the fact that the US housing market is "more dependent on Fannie and Freddie than we were before the crisis," is a problem for the US taxpayer and - unlike Mel Watt's 'free credit for everyone' approach to expanding the GSE's role, Fink says with strong underwriting standards, ownership of affordable homes can again become a foundation for American families. So Watt's easy 'Subprime 2.0' or Fink's hard 'American Dream'.
With everyone focusing on the "Holy Grail" deal between Russia and China, and debating who got the upper hand in the 30 year price delivery arrangement, a just as notable story is that quietly overnight Goldman's China team just took China to the cleaners. In a flurry of reports covering everything from Chinese banks to property developers to the Chinese, Goldman effectively mirrored what Hugh Hendry said several years ago when he correctly concluded that China is drowning in overcapacity, and concluded that a "two year property downcycle is imminent."
- Eric Holder proves he is no US banker puppet by smashing another foreign bank: BNP Falls as U.S. Probe Said to Cost More Than $5 Billion (BBG)
- Fuld Was Top CEO When Fed Last Raised as New Neutral Era Beckons (BBG)
- Tymoshenko loses her magic in Ukraine presidential race (Reuters)
- GOP Sees Primaries Taming the Tea Party (WSJ)
- Heard that one before: Russian troops preparing to leave Ukraine border area (Reuters)
- Vietnam riots land another blow on the global supply chain (FT)
- Heard that one before too: Bank of England minutes show some members closer to voting for rate rise (Reuters)
- BOJ Refrains From Easing With Signs Japan Weathering Tax Rise (BBG)
- Miner Freeport Pressured by Water Costs as Copper Prices Slide (WSJ)
- Talks to end Thai crisis inconclusive, new round called (Reuters)
- Japan Court Blocks Reactor Restarts (WSJ)
The Greenspan Housing Bubble Lives On: 20 Million Homeowners Can’t Trade-Up Because They Are Still UnderwaterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/20/2014 21:16 -0400
One of the most deplorable aspects of Greenspan’s monetary central planning was the lame proposition that financial bubbles can’t be detected, and that the job of central banks is to wait until they crash and then flood the market with liquidity to contain the damage. In short, China didn’t “save ” America into a housing crisis; the Greenspan Fed printed America into a cheap debt binge that ended up impairing the residential housing market for years to come. In any event, for those Millennials who do manage to accumulate a down payment by the time they are in their early 30s there is precious little starter home inventory available. The Greenspan mortgage debt serfs from the previous generation are blocking the way. Monetary central banking is an economy wrecker. Here is just one more smoking gun of proof.
Equity markets are not happy about the Fed's Charles Plosser's economic exuberance ("3% growth no matter the weather" which is 20% above consensus of 2.5%) and his 'good-news-bad-news' monetary policy hawkishness ("may need to raise rates sooner rather than later"). But perhaps the most crucial part of his speech this morning was what the headlines notably left out. Plosser admonished his global central bank brethren: "if central banks do not limit their interventionist strategies and focus on returning to more normal policymaking aimed at promoting price stability and long-term growth, then they will simply encourage the financial markets to ignore fundamentals and to focus instead on the next actions of the central bank." Simply put, he warned, "central bankers have become too sensitive and desirous of managing prices in the financial world.."