Housing Prices

Frontrunning: November 8

  • Japan Bought 300 Million Euro Worth of EFSF Bonds, Official Says (Bloomberg) - don't spend it all at once boys
  • Italian Vote Will Test Berlusconi’s Majority (Bloomberg)
  • BOJ Should Seek 10-Fold Easing, Yen at 100, Ex-Board Member Says (Bloomberg)
  • France unveils five-year €65bn savings plan (FT)
  • China’s exporters see slowing growth (MarketWatch)
  • Financing Markets Tighten Spigots (WSJ)
  • MPs demand ‘radical overhaul’ of BOE (FT)
  • Obama to attend Asian economic summits (WaPo)
  • China wealth fund prepares to restructure (MarketWatch)
  • Schapiro Floats Money-Fund Fix (WSJ)

Michael Krieger Explains Why It Takes Only 5 Minutes

"Nothing has changed and absolutely nothing has been accomplished.  There is no “solution” to the crisis that will not result in massive pain, confusion and wealth decimation.  The reason is patently obvious.  At least half the continent is completely and helplessly bankrupt.  There are only two outcomes to the entire situation.  Either the sovereign debts are written off aggressively and the banking system declared insolvent and restructured or the ECB decides to turn on those printing presses to the tune of trillions and destroys the purchasing power of the union in Zimbabwe-like fashion.  People will read this and think I am exaggerating .  The phrase “it takes 5 minutes” keeps running through my head because all it takes is a small amount of time to see the situation for what it is.  I am not that smart.  This is obvious.  The scary thing is that it is abundantly clear that the vast majority of U.S. investors have not bothered to take the 5 minutes necessary to understand how extreme and binary the outcomes to all this is.  Their clients will suffer massively in the months and years ahead as a result of their laziness and lack of macro curiosity. " - Mike Krieger

Guest Post: Want a Truly Healthy Housing Market? Here Are the Five Essential Steps

Everyone exposed to losses in the corrupt, speculative apex of malinvestment known as the U.S. housing market doesn't want a truly healthy housing market, they just want a return to the bubble era. Sorry, folks, ain't gonna happen. (And yes, I own property, too, but it is what it is.) Bubbles do not reinflate, even with the Fed chanting its Keynesian Cargo Cult mantras ("zero interest rates forever!") and waving dead chickens over the embers. The conditions which inflated the bubble cannot be called up by incantations; faith in the system has been destroyed, and only the complete socialization of the mortgage market by the forces of Central Planning--the Fed and the Federal government's Socialized Mortgage Makers, Fannie and Freddie-- have staved off the complete collapse of prices which would have wiped out the banks and cleared the market via actual capitalism in practice, i.e. a transparent marketplace which is allowed to discover price. Despite the fact that a truly healthy housing market is anathema to the Status Quo and current property owners sitting on huge mortgages, let's lay out the necessary characteristics of such a housing market. A lot of this will strike many of you as counter-intuitive, but that only highlights the pervasiveness of the speculative propaganda that slowly hollowed out our culture's previous understanding of housing and replaced it with a devilishly magnetic financialization model.

Renting: The New Buying; A Primer On Housing 2.0

Wondering why the future for housing as an asset is so bleak, why median housing prices continue to tumble and recently saw their biggest three month drop ever, and why there is no bottom in sight? Simple: the American public appears to have woken up to the reality that homes are no longer a flippable asset, and in fact continue to drop in price, an observation that is obvious to virtually all now. So what happens next? Why renting of course. Here is Morgan Stanley explaining (granted in a pitchbook for REITs but the underlying data is quite useful) why the Housing 2.0 paradigm is all about renting.

S&P Downgrades BNP From AA To AA-, Lower Hybrid Capital Instrument Rating On All Top Five French Banks

The rating agency cavalry is relentless in its attempt to catch up to credit implied spreads, which are all about 6-10 notches below where the raters have the banks and countires. Yesterday it was UBS. Today, it is BNP's turn. S&P leaves it off with the following warning: "We could move to a more negative view about the French banking industry if French and European economic and market conditions turn out to be tougher than our base case, moving for instance toward a double-dip recession, which is likely to hurt asset quality and earnings. Or, in case of a prolonged disruption of capital markets that would reduce access to euro-denominated resources."

David Rosenberg: The Action Is Always At The Margin... And The Margin Is Not Pretty

David Rosenberg has issued yet another piece of blistering common sense (which most mainstream and sellside economists seem to lack in wholesale amounts these days), in which he explains why the action at the margin is all that matters for asset prices and all that follows. As he says "this is about change, not levels" - a jab directly at the Federal Reserve, whose core underlying premise is that "stock" is all that matters, whereas "flow" (or change) is irrelevant. This is arguably one of the biggest errors that Fed chairman after Fed chairman perpetuates, and further explains why the Fed will always have to be engaged in some (ever greater) form of monetary intervention in order to simply keep asset prices constant as the "stock" theory is disproven time and time again. Alas, since we are dealing with brilliant PhD Economists they will never admit their foolish theory is flawed until it is too late. In the meantime, for everyone else who does not live in Bernanke's ivory towers, here is Rosenberg's explanation why what happens at the margin is all that matters.