Current policy coming from the Fed seems to be geared to create a never-ending series of booms and busts, with the hope that the busts can be shortened with more debt and easy money. Yet one major driver behind the financial crisis in 2008 was too much debt - much of which led to taxpayer-funded bailouts. In spite of this, the best the Fed can come up with now is to lower interest rates to boost demand to induce households and governments to borrow even more. Interfering with interest rates, however, is by far the most damaging policy. The economy is not a car, and interest rates are not the gas pedal. Interest rates play a critical role in aligning output with society’s demand across time. Fiddling with them only creates an ever-growing misalignment between demand and supply across time requiring an ever larger and more painful adjustment.
Bad News For America's Biggest Housing Bubble: San Francisco Home Prices Suffer Biggest Drop In Three YearsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2015 13:50 -0400
It was not only the annual growth rate of only 7.9%, matching the lowest since the European debt bubble burst in 2010, but also the sequential rate of price drops, at -0.9% - the biggest monthly drop in three years, or since January 2012 - that will once again be a subject for concern of housing watchers. Because should the price decline resume its acceleration without any emerging tailwinds to prop up the local housing market, then there will surely be some severe fallout such as this peak housing bubble example, in which as Curbed reported last week, a run down shack which listed for $799,000 sold for 50% more, or $1.2 million a few weeks later!
When it comes to our current pre-war, pre-revolutionary world (in Paul Tudor Jones' words) there are two social classes which are jockeying for the post positioning when it all comes crashing down: the Ultra High Net Worth, i.e., the 0.01%, those 211,275 individuals (and their families) who have a net worth over $30 million and who collectively control $30 trillion in wealth, and everyone else, with the countdown to extinction for the global middle class now getting louder by the day, leaving a world of a handful of uber-wealthy oligarchs and billions of, well, others. And nowhere is this distinction more vivid than when looking at their residential real estate holdings. But while the real estate of the 99.99% is boring (and increasingly in the form of rentals), when it comes to the dwellings of the 0.01% things get exciting, and are the topic of the latest joint report between Wealth-X and Sotheby's whose findings we summarize below.
If there is one chart that most clearly captures the unsustainable US home price appreciation bubble, it is the following which was released overnight from RealtyTrac: home price appreciation nationwide has outpaced wage growth by a 13:1 ratio!
Does it really take purportedly intelligent people six years to see that the macros are not responding? Better still, isn’t it time for the Fed to explain the exact channel by which its interest rate pegging and forward guidance is supposed to be transmitted to the main street economy? After all, if these channels are blocked or ineffective - then its flood of liquidity never leaves the canyons of Wall Street. In that event, the central bank actually functions as a financial doomsday machine, inflating the next financial bubble until it bursts. Then, apparently, its job is to rinse and repeat.
Energy accounts for 10% of Canadian GDP and around 25% of exports and the swift fall in oil prices is having a profound effect in the nation’s oil producing regions where home sales are collapsing by as much as 65%.
Less than three weeks ago, when the PBOC proceeded with its latest "surprise" rate cut, we showed a chart that should scare everyone who is hoping that China will avoid a hard-landing would prefer would never have been revealed: the annual collapse in Chinese home prices is now so sharp and so widespread, that it has surpassed the housing collapse in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse." Overnight things went from bad to worse, when China's National Bureau of Statistics reported that contrary to hopes for a modest rebound, China's average new home prices fell at the fastest pace on record in February from a year earlier.
The 2008 worldwide financial crisis was produced due to excessively easy monetary policy, which caused the largest debt driven mal-investment in housing, automobiles, and Chinese produced crap in world history. The consequences of this debt bacchanalia should have been the orderly liquidation of the Wall Street entities that created the crisis, the writing off of trillions in bad debt, corporate and personal bankruptcies of businesses and people who borrowed recklessly, a sharp steep economic decline to cleanse the excesses, and politicians who immediately began the process of reducing budgets and addressing long term unfunded unpayable liability promises. Instead, the psychotic oligarchs did not want to lose any of their power, wealth or control over the proletariat. They have done the exact opposite of what needed to be done.
TINA and the complacent belief in free lunches strip the resiliency from a system and leave it vulnerable to collapse...
Overview of the major events in the week ahead.
As home sales drop and home prices surge, the shifting sands of the housing market are accelerating in a seemingly inequality-expanding manner. As first-time homebuyers struggle to qualify for mortgages in a market that’s shrinking after the housing collapse, Bloomberg reports that lenders are providing more multi-million dollar loans to Americans who (in their opinion) pose less risk. Home loans from $1-5 million were the fastest growing part of the jumbo market in January with the number of loans surging to the highest since 2007.
While the world's attention is glued to events in Greece, the real action continues to evolve quietly thousands of kilometers east, in China, where the near record surge in new loans remains unable to offset the dramatic slowdown in shadow banking issuance. And while China's bubble-chasing, animal spirits have recently reoriented themselves from real estate to the stock market, it is the real estate that holds the bulk of China's wealth. The problem here is that as China reported overnight, new-home prices in the world's most populous country just recorded their biggest annual decline ever!
Today the financial system is even more leveraged than in 2007… backstopped by even less high quality collateral. And this time around, most industrialized sovereign nations themselves are bankrupt, meaning that when the bond bubble pops, the selling panic and liquidations will be even more extreme.
Needless to say, Greece is only the poster child. The McKinsey numbers above suggest that “peak debt” is becoming a universal condition, and that today’s Keynesian central bankers and policy apparatchiks are only pushing on a giant and dangerous global string. So now we get to ground zero of the global Ponzi. That is the monumental pile of construction and debt that is otherwise known on Wall Street as the miracle of “red capitalism”. In truth, however, China is not an economic miracle at all; its just a case of the above abandoned Athens stadium writ large.
In a stunningly honest reflection on itself (and its peer group of professional prognosticating panderers), The Federal Reserve's San Francisco research group finds that - just as we have pointed out again and again - that since 2007, FOMC participants have been persistently too optimistic about future U.S. economic growth. Real GDP growth forecasts have typically started high, but then are revised down over time as the incoming data continue to disappoint. Possible explanations for this pattern include missed warning signals about the buildup of imbalances before the crisis, overestimation of the efficacy of monetary policy following a balance-sheet recession, and the natural tendency of forecasters to extrapolate from recent data. The persistent bias in the track records of professional forecasters apply not only to forecasts of growth, but also of inflation and unemployment.