Real estate

Should The Fed Stop The Dominoes From Falling?

The forest (the economy) can only remain vibrant and healthy if the dead wood is burned off in bankruptcy and insolvency. Retail commercial real estate is over-built and over-leveraged. If it is allowed to burn off as Nature intended, we can finally move forward.

"We're Living Within A Money Bubble Of Epic Proportions"

James Turk believes the time we live in now will be studied by future historians for generations to come. Just as we today marvel at the collective madness that resulted in the South Sea and Dutch tulip manias, our age will be known as the era when society lost sight of what money really is. And as result, the wrong kinds of wealth -- today, that's mostly financial assets -- are valued and pursued. And just like those bubbles from centuries ago, when the current asset boom goes bust, the value of paper wealth will vaporize.  In contrast, those holding tangible productive assets or real money will fare much better on a relative basis..."Because when this bust is over, promises are going to be broken left and right."

No Inflation Friday

One of the greatest lies of the modern financial system (and that’s really saying something) is about inflation. The puppet masters who control the system have managed to convince people that deflation = bad, and inflation = necessary evil. Perhaps the even bigger lie is that of the actual inflation statistics. They tell us that there’s no inflation… or minimal inflation. But these figures are massively understated. And you don’t have to look hard for proof.

The Fed's Solution To Income Stagnation: Make Everyone A Speculator

The elimination of low-risk interest income in favor of risky speculative credit/asset bubbles has led to a monumental misallocation of capital and the institutionalization of perverse and highly corrosive incentives. Needless to say, the current bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate will implode, and the phantom wealth that the bubbles temporarily generated will vanish.

Two Powder Kegs Ready to Blow: China & India

The conventional view of China and India sports not one but two pair of rose-colored glasses: Chindia (even the portmanteau word is chirpy) is the world's engine of growth, and this rapid economic growth is chipping away at structural political and social problems. Nice, especially from a distance. But on the ground, China and India (not Chindia--there is no such entity) are both powder kegs awaiting a spark for the same reason: systemic corruption in every nook and cranny of both nations. The conventional rose-colored view is that corruption will inevitably decline with modernization and economic growth. This is simply wrong on multiple levels...

Here It Comes - More Leading Economists Call For Capital Controls

As the saying goes, ‘desperate times call for desperate measures.’ The phrase is bandied about so frequently, it’s generally accepted truth. But I have to tell you that I fundamentally disagree with the premise. Desperate times, in fact, call for a complete reset in the way people think. Desperate times call for the most intelligent, effective, least destructive measures. But these sayings aren’t as catchy. This old adage has become a crutch – a way for policymakers to rationalize the idiotic measures they’ve put in place...

A Stunning 63% Of Florida December Home Purchases Were "All Cash"

Back in August, when we wrote that "A Stunning 60% Of All Home Purchases Are "Cash Only" - A 200% Jump In Five Years" based on Goldman data, many laughed, unable to fathom that the majority of the US housing market has become a flippers' game played by institutions and the uber wealthy, who don't need a stinking mortgage to buy that South Beach mansion. As it turns out we were just a little ahead of the curve as usual, and as real estate company RealtyTrac reported overnight, with data that naturally is delayed due to the delayed impact of houses coming out of the much delayed foreclosure pipeline, "All-cash purchases accounted for 42.1 percent of all U.S. residential sales in December, up from a revised 38.1 percent in November, and up from 18.0 percent in December 2012." That's a 10% increase in one month for a 6-9 month delayed series, which means that in reality, roughly about 60% of all homes are now purchased with cold, hard cash.

China's First Default Is Coming: Here's What To Expect

As we first reported one week ago, the first shadow default in Chinese history, the "Credit Equals Gold #1 Collective Trust Product" issued by China Credit Trust Co. Ltd. (CCT) due to mature Jan 31st with $492 million outstanding, appears ready to go down in the record books. In turn, virtually every sellside desk has issued notes and papers advising what this event would mean ("don't panic, here's a towel", and "all shall be well"), and is holding conference calls with clients to put their mind at ease in the increasingly likely scenario that there is indeed a historic "first" default for a country in which such events have previously been prohibited. So with under 10 days to go, for anyone who is still confused about the role of trusts in China's financial system, a default's significance, the underlying causes, the implications for the broad economy, and what the possible outcomes of the CCT product default are, here is Goldman's Q&A on a potential Chinese trust default.

Peter Schiff Destroys The "Deflation Is An Ogre" Myth

Dedicated readers of The Wall Street Journal have recently been offered many dire warnings about a clear and present danger that is stalking the global economy. They are not referring to a possible looming stock or real estate bubble. Nor are they talking about other usual suspects such as global warming, peak oil, the Arab Spring, sovereign defaults, the breakup of the euro, Miley Cyrus, a nuclear Iran, or Obamacare. Instead they are warning about the horror that could result from falling prices, otherwise known as deflation. Get the kids into the basement Mom... they just marked down Cheerios!

Dead Mall Syndrome: The Self-Reinforcing Death Spiral of Retail

The decay of the "build it and they will come" model of commercial real estate is gathering speed for a simple systemic reason: the decline is self-reinforcing in several critical ways. Before we start the analysis, let's ask a basic question: How much of the stuff and services purchased at retail outlets, malls, strip malls, etc. is absolutely necessary and how much is excess consumption? Conventional "Growth by any means" Cargo Cultists such as Paul Krugman never ask this basic question, because the answer (very little is essential, most is excess consumption) undermines the entire narrative that all growth is good, even the most marginal, unsustainable, wasteful and fiscally imprudent. I've captured the essence of retail in America with this photo:

Frontrunning: January 22

  • Winter Storm Expected to Make Northeast Commutes Harder  (BBG)
  •  Invasion of Spanish Builders Angers France Struggling to Compete  (BBG)
  • Toronto mayor, caught ranting on video, admits drinking a 'little bit" (Reuters)
  • IBM's Hardware Woes Accelerate in Fourth Quarter (WSJ)
  • Sharp Divisions Come to Fore as Peace Talks on Syria Begin (NYT)
  • Afghanistan cracks down on advertising in favor of U.S. troops (Reuters)
  • Microsoft CEO Search Rattles Boards From Ford to Ericsson (BBG)
  • Banks Sit Out Riskier Deals (WSJ)
  • Netflix Seen Reporting U.S. Web Users Reach 33.1 Million (BBG)

China's Epic Offshore Wealth Revealed: How Chinese Oligarchs Quietly Parked Up To $4 Trillion In The Caribbean

"Close relatives of China’s top leaders have held secretive offshore companies in tax havens that helped shroud the Communist elite’s wealth, a leaked cache of documents reveals" the ICIJ's latest offshore weawlth expose begins. In addition to the usual list of who, what, where, why and when, we learn that once again the two largest Swiss banks are about to be embroiled in yet another money laundering scandal, this time involving the parking of wealth belonging to China's aristocracy - including its princelings - in various Caribbean, mostly British Virgin Island, tax havens. What is notable, if not unexpected, is just how pervasive the parking of offshore capital has been, and confirms that it is not inflow of money that the PBOC has to be afraid of when its internationalizes the Yuan, it is the outflow that will be far more worrysome. But the biggest stunner is the sheer size of the wealth transfer: according to ICIJ estimate, up to $4 trillion in "untraced assets" may have left China since 2000. These are truly epic numbers.