I don’t think commercial real estate is the big Achilles heel for these institutions right now because of the manipulations the federal government has undertaken. I think the real Achilles heel for all these banks, and for bond markets, is going to be the residential markets. Not to be overly dramatic, but this is a huge ticking time bomb. Things are getting worse, not better. - Andy Miller
With all the hoopla around fraudclosure, it appears that pundits seem to be forgetting one important thing: namely, the fact that in addition to the $6.8 trillion in loans and leases in bank credit (per latest H.8) which is kept on the ponzi books (those afforded the mark-to-unicorn treatment by the FASB), there is also this little thing known as off-balance sheet securitization. And while the Fed was good enough to force the reclassification of around $400 billion in securitized consumer loans to bank books in March, the question of why a far greater number of securitized real estate loans continue to be carried off the bank books is (or should be) suddenly rather timely. Especially since the number is rather large: some $1,387,796,500,000 as of October 6 (seasonally adjusted) which also represent the bulk of off balance sheet holdings. Perhaps some of those very vocal advocates of how this whole mortgage crisis is nothing but a storm in a teacup can provide for a definite accounting method of how these nearly $1.4 trillion in securitizations will not be impaired. As otherwise the investing public may get some very nasty ideas that not all is well in off-balance sheet world and that this whole overture is nothing but a way to streamline the implementation of TARP 2...
There are still huge headwinds facing the residential real estate market. Shadow Inventory is not getting better, and now we have the robo-signing scandal which will only further delay recovery. Since all real estate is "local", some markets are clearly starting to find a floor. But a "recovery" whereby prices stabilize is a couple years away.
The recovery of the economy depends on several important factors, but the recovery of the real estate market is near the top of the list, especially commercial real estate (CRE) because most of America's banks are loaded down with CRE debt. Here is a current assessment of the state of the CRE market.
There is a Part 2 to the story of Consumer Deleveraging that will play out over the next decade. Consumers will deleverage because they must. They have no choice. Boomers have come to the shocking realization that you can’t get wealthy or retire by borrowing and spending. As consumers buy $500 billion less stuff per year, retailers across the land will suffer. To give some perspective on our consumer society, here are a few facts...
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The Truth Goes Viral, Part 2: Italian Towns Damaged by Derivatives, Downtown Brooklyn Real Estate, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Europe’s Overbanked Status, Reggie Middleton, Matt Taibbi, and Simon Johnson – All in One VideoSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 10/05/2010 13:51 -0400
A very well made 45 minute documentary on Goldman Sachs, derivatives, US real estate and the root causes of the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis
The hands on, from the trenches view from Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffet’s personal agent. The number of existing homes on the market is climbing from the current 4 million units to 5 million, versus a ten year annual trailing average sales of 2.5 million units. Record foreclosures are forcing reasonable sellers to compete against distressed sellers, driving prices down. The hurricane force headwinds of the retirement of 80 million baby boomers, the parsimonious attitude of banks, and the harsh reality of continued falling standards of living in the US aren’t helping. Do bank stock investors know this?
Reality is the great antidote of hope. Whenever my colleagues and friends ask me for my global economic outlook, by the time I’m done, they always provide a cheeky response about the depressing nature of my outlook. However, the outlook doesn't have to be depressing at all for those willing to face reality and take a proactive stance.
As part of the Fed's latest QE iteration, it has already been made clear that despite initial disclosures that the Fed would stay in the 2-10 Year bound of Treasurys, Ben Bernanke is now also gobbling up the very long end of the curve. For all those who are, therefore, still confused why bonds continue to surge to record levels, don't be: when there is a guaranteed bidder just below you in the face of the Fed, and who you can turn around and sell to at will, there is no pricing risk. The problem, from a bigger stand point, is what happens when the Fed is actively buying up 30 Year bonds with impunity and the much desired (by the Fed) inflation still does not appear? Well, the Fed then, in Michael Pento's opinion, will begin to purchase stocks and real estate. And as all those who enjoy comparing the US to Japan can attest, outright purchases of securities by the Japanese government is a long-honored tradition in the ongoing fight with deflation in Japan. However, and as the recent BOJ (lack of) intervention demonstrated, Japan never could do anything with the required resolve, and bidding up one stock and there piecemeal would never achieve anything. Which is why in this interview with Eric King, Michael Pento makes the case that as opposed to the occasional market intervention via the President's Working Group, Bernanke will soon make stock purchases an outright policy of the Federal Reserve as its last ditch attempt to engender inflation before the hundreds of billions of Commercial Real Estate and other debt starts maturing in 2011/2012. Bernanke is running out of time and he knows it. And once the Fed become the bidder of last resort in stocks, all bets are off, as the Central Bank will become the defacto only market in virtually every risky category. And the only safe vehicle, once the market then begins to price in asset-price hyperinflation, will be gold.
CRE porn (about as sexy as the industry gets): Mrs. High End Condotel cum Condo Market is reintroduced to Mr. Gravity and their swinging partners, Mr. Supply and Mrs. Demand!
Note for you imaginative guys: A Latin or English linking word, which can be either the preposition with or a conjunction meaning when, because, or although.
Commercial Real Estate Lobby Ask For Taxpayer Aid To Help Recapitalize Banks Saddled With Billions In Underwater CRE LoansSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/09/2010 09:37 -0400
The problem that nobody is talking about, yet everyone continues keeping a close eye on, namely the trillions in commercial real estate under water, is quietly starting to reemerge. In the attached letter from the Commercial Real Estate lobby, it reminds politicians that the hundreds of billions in loans that mature in the next several years won't roll on their own, and we see the first inkling of the lobby asking congress for much more taxpayer aid, in this case in the form of Shelley Berkley's proposed legislation to "enable banks to convert troubled loans into performing assets through modest tax incentives to attract new equity capital to existing commercial real estate projects." The letter tacitly reminds that there are thousands of regional banks whose balance sheets are chock full with underwater commercial real estate (and for the direct impact of this simply observe the 100+ banks on the FDIC's 2010 failed bank list). So in case taxpayers are wondering where the next fiscal stimulus will end up going, wonder no more: "The new investments would be specifically used to pay down debt,
resulting in lower loan-to-value ratios of existing loans as well as
improved debt coverage ratios." As the CRE lobby concludes: "By giving lenders the ability to responsibly refinance debt and
rebalance capital reserve levels, the CRE Act will provide the
opportunity for additional lending capacity that will help stimulate
lending to small businesses, job formation and economic growth in
communities across the country." In other words, it is time for taxpayers to help purge banks of existing toxic debt, so that these same banks can resume lending like drunken sailors, in unviable commercial real estate projects just to guarantee that the next major market blow up also destroys the regional banking system, in addition to the TBTFs.
In pursuing an answer to the most elusive question around these days, namely just what is going on in China's real estate market, Standard Chartered has conducted the first phase of an exhaustive survey analyzing precisely what the real estate trends in Beijing, Shangai, and other Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. The survey attempts to answer such key questions as: "What is really going on in China’s real-estate sector? Are prices falling – and if not, will they? Are developers’ finances
getting tight, and if so, will they be forced to cut prices? Confronted with the State Council’s stringent cooling policies, are developers postponing project starts and stopping construction? And if they do stop building, will this derail the economy and thus force the State Council to loosen policy?" For all curious to learn more about the truth behind the hype regarding China's real estate, which has more polarizing opinions than pretty much any other issue, this is the presentation for you.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stress tested 53 large banking holding companies, and concluded that despite restoration of some stability, there remain certain important risks to the U.S. financial system and economy mainly coming from the real estate sectors.
Chinese Banking Stress Test Assumptions Imply Chinese Real Estate May Be Overvalued By As Much As 60%Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/04/2010 14:23 -0400
Now this is what a real stress test should look like. Bloomberg quotes a banking insider that "China’s banking regulator told lenders last month to conduct a new round of stress tests to gauge the impact of residential property prices falling as much as 60 percent in the hardest-hit markets." And just in case it is unclear what the reality of the situation is, because as Europe demonstrated all too well, nobody would test for something which is not already priced in, China is effectively telegraphing to the world that it is bracing itself for a more than 50% plunge in select real estate values. "Banks were instructed to include worst-case scenarios of prices dropping 50 percent to 60 percent in cities where they have risen excessively, the person said, declining to be identified because the regulator’s requirement hasn’t been publicly announced. Previous stress tests carried out in the past year assumed home-price declines of as much as 30 percent." The doubling in stress is somewhat to be expected considering the tens of trillions in renminbi pumped into the banking system via whole loans and other CDO products, most of which have gone into building up empty cities, vacant apartment complexes, and unused infrastructure projects. As we noted previously when discussing the recent Fitch report on shadow funding of the real estate bubble, the nearly 50 million in vacant units, the ugly truth about the Chinese bubble is slowly starting to leak out.