Real estate

Guest Post: What If There's A Recession In 2014?

If policymakers were gunfighters, they’d be out of bullets: They have run out of effective policy tools to improve the economy.

So the question is simple: If there is a recession in 2014, and policymakers are out of bullets, how will it play out across the American economy?

Manhattan Apartment Rental Rates Drop For Third Month In A Row

Real estate is currently a tale of two distinct trends. In formerly hurting markets such as Arizona, Nevada and Florida, private equity investors have flooded into what is a now gigantically crowded to “buy-to-rent” trade. Meanwhile, in the prime markets such as New York City and San Francisco, we have seen the “money laundering trade,” where rich oligarchs move their often ill-gotten gains into trophy real estate assets abroad. We have seen many signs all year that the first key pillar to the manufactured rise in housing was becoming strained, as rents continued to rise while incomes continued to fall. As far as the second pillar, well at some point the oligarchs will have purchased enough homes in London and Manhattan and then what? Interestingly, the seemingly unstoppable rental market in Manhattan is showing signs of cracking...

2014, A Bull Year? Of Course...But Maybe...

Could we have another bullish year in 2014?  It is certainly possible as long as the Federal Reserve remains engaged in their ongoing balance sheet expansions. But maybe the ongoing inflation of assets, without the underlying improvement in organic, sustainable, economic growth, will eventually lead to the next market bubble and bust. Of course, for anyone that has payed attention, such an outcome would be of little surprise. The important point is that, as an investor, you need to pay attention to the ever decreasing reward/risk ratio of chasing the financial markets. The "low hanging fruit" has long been harvested and the risk currently far outweighs the potential reward of being aggressively invested. Of course, it is not popular, or fun, to rain on the bullish parade.  However, while they will likely appear to be correct in the short term; the long term outcome will most likely be far less pleasant.

"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.