Since quantitative easing (QE) became the policy of the world's major central banks, capital is being herded into fewer and fewer asset classes. With such huge volumes of money at play, very crowded trades in assets like stocks and housing have resulted - bringing us back to familiar bubble territory in record time. The key for the individual, as Pretti emphasizes in this excellent interview, is risk management. The safety many investors believe they are buying in today's markets is not real... "this comes down to individual families making an assessment of how much risk they can afford to take. Below that line, they do not allow it to happen. It may sound trite but: You have every day of your life to get back into the market, but sometimes you do not have a second chance to get out."
Fed's action or inaction remains an under-appreciated risk to the global economy.
Worried about being priced out of the housing market once again? Concerned that longer-term fixed rates will rise? It seems the general public, guided by the always full of fiduciary duty - mortgage broker - has reverted to old habits and is charging back into Adjustable-Rate Mortgages. As The LA Times reports, ARMs, which all but vanished during the housing bust, are back - accounting for 11.2% of homes purchased in November (double that of the year before)! While not the Option Arms of yesteryear, it would appear people, pushing for lower monthly payments, remain completely oblivious to the word "adjustable" when they shift their risk to the shorter-end. Though, as the 'experts' continue to tell us, rising rates won't affect housing negatively - not at all...
As 2013 comes to a close, efforts to revive growth in the world’s most influential economies – with the exception of the eurozone – are having a beneficial effect worldwide. However, All of the looming problems for the global economy are political in character; and there are some eerie resemblances with the financial conditions that prevailed in the US in the years preceding the crash of 2008.
Similar to UMich's confidence measure soaring by the most in 4 years, the Conference Board's confidence measure beat expectations and jumped the most in 6 months (though remains below the year's highs). This is the best beat in 4 months. The improvement is all based on "expectations" which soared the most in 6 months. Confidence is critical (as we noted below) especially since the massive majority of actual investors are already bullish...(and definitely not bearish)...
Moments ago the October Case Shiller home price index was released which came largely as expected: the seasonally adjusted number rose by 1.05% in the month, which despite the collapse in mortgage applications, shows that cash still rules everything, as average home prices across the Composite 20 cities increased at a 13.63% annual clip, the highest since February 2006. Both were a fraction higher than the expected 0.95% and 13.50% M/M and Y/Y increases. On the more relevant NSA basis (according to the authors) however, the October increase was 0.18%, the lowest since January and an indication that the latest institutional "all cash" buying wave is finally fading. And to show specifically just what the Case Shiller index tracks, here - once again - is an update on the housing market of bankrupt Detroit. In October prices rose 0.9% for the 8th consecutive monthly increase, and rose 17.3% from a year earlier. All is obviously well.
For the New Year, it seems that SOH, that last true refuge for pensive brooding bears, has been overrun with pompous bulls peddling & pumping a new 21st century high tech plateau of permanent prosperity, that would make even Irving Fisher's rose twittering cheeks blush. I wonder if old Irving would have Linked himself In or posted his rip roaring 20s rosy market views on a pretty pink Facebook page?
While the full impact of CMHC on the Canadian housing and banking sector remains debatable, one thing can be said: next to the Bank of Canada, it is perhaps the most critical entity in preserving the nation's financial stability. And with a key player responsible for the perpetuation of the status quo having departed Canada recently, namely Goldman's Mark Carney leaving the BOC and heading to the Bank of England, some were wondering just who would supervise thing up north if and when things turned sour. Those questions were answered on Friday, when Canada named the next chief executive officer of the government-owned housing agency. His name is Evan Siddall, and, what we assume will came as a surprise to nobody, he was formerly a banker at, drumroll, Goldman Sachs.
With both current conditions and future expectations indices jumping higher, the UMich consumer confidence headline final print rose at its equal fastest pace since Sept 2009. The surge in current conditions - the largest since Dec 2008 - has lifted it back to the highest level since July 2007. If there was anything to note that took the shine off such an exuberant surge it's the fact that the headline number did actually miss expectations (3rd miss of last 4) and the final outlook data dropped from the preliminary print. As we have noted before, it is confidence that 'inspires' the multiple-expanding hope as fundamental reality fades - bulls better hope it's different this time as we hit the year's highs in confidence.
In order to achieve the greatest risk/reward asymmetry from the 2014 single-family housing stimulus “hangover”, or “reset”, happening right now you must change the way you think about this asset class. When doing so, clarity emerges (at least to us)... This housing market is “resetting” right now; for the third time in six years. It might look and feel a little different, but as we detail below, it’s not really different this time around.
Although the probability of any one of the predictions coming true is low, they are deduced strategically by Saxo Bank analysts based on a feasible - if unlikely - series of market and political events. As Saxo's chief economist notes, "This isn't meant to be a pessimistic outlook. This is about critical events that could lead to change - hopefully for the better. After all, looking back through history, all changes, good or bad, are made after moments of crisis after a comprehensive failure of the old way of doing things. As things are now, global wealth and income distribution remain hugely lopsided which also has to mean that significant change is more likely than ever due to unsustainable imbalances. 2014 could and should be the year in which a mandate for change not only becomes necessary, but is also implemented."
The financial crisis is surely a touchy subject at the Fed, where the biggest PR challenge is “bubble blowing” criticism from those of us who aren’t on the payroll (directly or indirectly). But Foote, Gerardi and Willen are, of course, on the payroll. They tell us there’s little else that can be said about the origins of the crisis, because any “honest economist” will admit to not understanding bubbles... " Unfortunately, the study of bubbles is too young to provide much guidance on this point. For now, we have no choice but to plead ignorance, and we believe that all honest economists should do the same." This smells to us like a strategy of gently acknowledging criticism (of the Fed’s interest rate policies), while at the same time attempting to neutralize it.
First hint of what happens when the heavily subsidized industry is being encouraged to try to stand on its own wobbly feet.
If anyone is still wondering why back in June Zero Hedge first presented what the adverse impact on housing affordability as a result of soaring rates, today's NAR release on existing home sales should set all questions to the side. Because after rising in a seemingly relentless fashion, existing home sales have (and this is before the traditional downward revision by Larry Yun's conflicted organization which will expose all of its numbers as flawed regardless) finally hit a brick wall, and not only did November existing home sales tumble from 5.12MM to 4.90MM, missing estimates of 5.02MM, they also posted the first year over year decline in 29 consecutive months of increases.
There is a rising belief that when the Federal Reserve begins to taper that interest rates are set to rise. It is believed that as rates rise due to stronger economic strength that the stock market will act as a hedge against falling bond prices. However, historically speaking rotating from bonds to stocks after the initial spike in rates has occurred was akin to jumping from the "frying pan into the fire."