Real estate

"Anything Goes And Nothing Matters"

The so-called Volcker Rule for policing banking practices, approved by a huddle of federal regulating agency chiefs last week, is the latest joke that America has played on itself in what is becoming the greatest national self-punking exercise in world history. The Glass Steagall Act of 1933 was about 35 pages long, written in language that was precise, clear, and succinct. It worked for 66 years. The Volcker rule comes in the form of nearly 1,000 pages of incomprehensible legalese written with the “help” of lobbyist-lawyers furnished by the banks themselves. Does this strain your credulity? Well, this is the kind of nation we have become: anything goes and nothing matters. There really is no rule of law, just pretense.

Faber, Rogers, Dent, Maloney, & Stockman – What Do They Say Is Coming In 2014?

Some of the most respected prognosticators in the financial world are warning that what is coming in 2014 and beyond is going to shake America to the core.  Many of the quotes that you are about to read are from individuals that actually predicted the subprime mortgage meltdown and the financial crisis of 2008 ahead of time.  So they have a track record of being right.  Does that guarantee that they will be right about what is coming in 2014?  Of course not.  In fact, as you will see below, not all of them agree about exactly what is coming next.  But without a doubt, all of their forecasts are quite ominous.  The following are quotes from Harry Dent, Marc Faber,  Mike Maloney, Jim Rogers and ten other respected economic experts about what they believe is coming in 2014 and beyond...

5 Things To Ponder This Weekend - The Risk Edition

"Twas the Friday before the Friday before Christmas..." and as the year end rapidly approaches the mainstream consensus is that 2014 will be another bouyant year for the stock market despite the impact of a potential Federal Reserve tapering.  The optimistic view is an easy one.  While it isn't popular, or fun, to look at the non-bullish view it is nonetheless important to consider the risks that could potentially lead to a larger than expected loss of investment capital.  There is one simple truth about financial markets and investing:  what goes up must come down.   It is the downside risk that is most damaging to long term investment returns.  Therefore, this week's "Things To Ponder" is a sampling of views and thoughts on what to watch out for as we enter the new year.

China's Colonization Of London Hits Ludicrous Speed, And Now: It's Detroit's Turn

Chinese investment in London between 2010 and Q3 of this year has risen by a "ludicrous speed" comparable 1,500%, or from a frugal GBP54 million to over GBP 1 billion! And boy do the Chinese love London - according to the same report, over 50% of European property investment by Chinese buyers is now in London.  As a result, China is now the third-largest overseas purchaser in U.K. behind Germany and U.S., which invested GBP 1.2 billion and GBP 1.1 billion respectively. "We expect the pool of investors from China targeting London to grow significantly in the coming years. They will consider everything from urban regeneration sites through to trophy assets." Which brings us to point number two: the latest target of the Chinese hot money colonization is none other than bankrupt Detroit.

Las Vegas Housing Demand Has Crashed While Supply Surging

The last time the housing bubble popped, the "frontier" marginal market of Las Vegas was the first harbinger of what was about to come. It is that again, and as real estate expert Mark Hanson explains, "Las Vegas housing demand has crashed." This is hardly an auspicious sign for the rest of the epically reflated housing market which as we have been tirelelessly pointing out for the past two years, has not recovered, but has merely had its 4th dead cat bounce on the back of i) the implicit bank subsidy of foreclosure stuffing, ii) money laundering by "all cash" foreign buyers using the NAR's anti-money laundering exemption loophole, and iii) private equity zero cost of credit REO-to-Rent programs which are now in their last days.


Frontrunning: December 11

  • Wall Street Exhales as Volcker Rule Seen Sparing Market-Making (Bloomberg)
  • GM to End Manufacturing Down Under, Citing Costs (WSJ)
  • U.S. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Police Back Off After Failing to Stop Protest (WSJ)
  • First Walmart, now Costco misses (AP)
  • Dan Fuss Joins Bill Gross Shunning Long-Term Debt Before Taper (BBG)
  • China New Yuan Loans Higher Than Expected (WSJ)
  • China bitcoin arbitrage ends as traders work around capital controls (Reuters)
  • Blackstone’s Hilton Joins Ranks of Biggest Deal Paydays (BBG)

Wall Streeter's Lament Volcker Rule: "Liquidity Is About To Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Ignorance & Fear"

"... The entire socio-economic model is now built on this and, whether right or wrong, it demands a very different sort of banking that the "pay 3% on deposits and lend them at 5%" kind of industry of the 70s and 80s. Volcker risks over-egging the pudding and, to mix my metaphors, killing the goose that lays the golden "growth" egg. Liquidity, the holy grail of markets, is possibly about to be sacrificed on the altar of ignorance and fear."

Guest Post: Timing Is (Not) Everything

They will try the head-fake taper. They must. It will be backstopped by and saturated in statistical lying, and everyone will have trouble parsing the probable effect because the chronic dishonesty loose in this land will have deformed and impaired all metrics of true value. At the heart of whatever remains of this economy is fire, and the officers of the Federal Reserve are playing with it. Pretty soon, we’ll get the un-taper, the final surrender to the crack-up boom that awaits before the western world has to go medieval.

The Pain In Spain Is Mainly... Everywhere

Despite the ratings agencies (Moody's Dec 5th and S&P Nov 22nd) seemingly premature raising of the outlook for the nation's sovereign credit rating (from negative to stable), economic hardship in Spain looks likely to continue as loan defaults surge and the unemployment rate remains the second highest in the EU.

The 10 Worst Economic Predictions Ever

From Bernanke's infamous 2008 "not forecasting a recession" call to Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines 2004 "subprime assets are riskless" commentary, the following 10 "predictions" - as opposed to Wien "surprises" - will go down in infamy for their degree of errant-ness...

Of Keynesian Cul-De-Sacs And The Fed Creating More Financial Market Uncertainty

Although the U.S. stock market continues to hit new nominal highs on a nearly daily basis, the U.S. economy bumps along at a lackluster pace. This disconnect has been achieved by a massive Fed experiment in monetary stimulation. Through the combination of seemingly endless maintenance of zero interest rates and the injection of some $1trillion a year of synthetic money into fixed-income markets, the Fed is hoping that the boom it is creating on Wall Street will lead to a boom on Main Street. In reality, this a very dangerous economic gamble of enormously high stakes.  As we have seen in the recent past, financial bubbles can leave catastrophe in their wake.

Lloyd Blankfein And The "Mega-Wealthy" Are Rushing To Buy Into This $1 Billion Miami Condo

What do you do if you have more money than you can ever spend, and own residences in most major metropolises around the world. You invest in the most exclusive "third" (or fourth, or fifth) vacation "house" that can be purchased by people for whom money is no object, such as the $1 billion Faena Miami Beach, which has lined up as buyers none other than the creme of the (bailed out courtesy of a multi-trillion ongoing taxpayer bailout) Wall Street crop including Apollo's Leon Black, and of course Goldman's very own resident of a duplex in 15 CPW, Lloyd Blankfein. The Faena oceanfront development for the megarich is financed by another billionaire, chairman of Access Industries, Len Blavatnik, whose $16.1 billion net worth puts him 49th in the Bloomberg Billionaires index. This is what Lloyd and company will buy with the Fed's "wealth effect."

In The Third Quarter, The Rich Got Richer By $1.9 Trillion

The quarterly Flow of Funds report by the Fed has been released and the latest household net worth numbers are out. While not nearly quite as dramatic as last quarter's wholesale dataset revision, which saw all of America suddenly worth $3 trillion more primarily due to a change of how "pension entitlements" (formerly "pension reserves") are calculated (more more in the full breakdown from September), with the resulting total net worth rising to a total of $74.8 trillion, according to the just released data, in the third quarter, US housholds, or rather a very tiny subset of them, saw their net worth rise once again, this time to $77.3 trillion from a revised $75.3 trillion.