Contributing Editors' Blog Entries

drhousingbubble's picture

California home prices experienced a big surge in 2012. This might fly in the face of stagnant household incomes but the incredible push for lower interest rates and reliance on low down payment FHA insured loans has brought many people off the fence. In Southern California home sales are up by 14 percent over the last year and the median price is now up by 16 percent. The median price is largely being pushed by the mix of home sales. Distressed properties are making up a smaller pool of sales. With low inventory, you have regular home buyers competing also with house flippers, big Wall Street buyers, and foreign money with limited supply on the market. The result has been to push home prices much higher making it more difficult for middle class families to afford a home. As we approach the end of 2012, let us look at the data for Southern California.

Marc To Market's picture

 

The holiday week saw the dollar consolidate against most of the major currencies.  The yen was the main exception as its losses were extended under the aggressive signals coming from the new Japanese government.   

 

At the end of the week, the other key consideration, the US fiscal cliff made its presence felt.  The recent pattern remained intact.  News that gives the participants a sense that the cliff may be averted encourages risk taking, which means in the foreign exchange market, the sale of dollars and yen.  

 

News that makes participants more fearful that the political dysfunction failed to avert the cliff and send the world's largest economy into recession, generally see the dollar and yen recover.  This is what happened in very thin markets just ahead of the weekend as Obama's ling last ditch negotiating stance seemed to reflect a retreat from his earlier compromises.

 

Marc To Market's picture

Euro Winds Down

The relatively calm foreign exchange market and equity market in Asia ended abruptly in Europe. It is difficult to find the culprit, other than position squaring in thin markets, but the euro has come off a cent, dragging the franc. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained more than 0.5%, while European bourses are broadly lower, with the Dow Jones Stoxcx 600 off 0.3% near midday in London, led by utilities and financials. Fixed income markets are subdued. Italy's bond auction was adequately received, especially holiday conditions. There have been a few developments to note. First Japan's data was disappointing and this can only bolster the new government's attempt to stimulate the economy both monetarily and fiscally. Worker cash earnings fell a whopping 1.1% in November, nearly three times larger than the consensus. This may have been a factor behind the poor retail sales, which were flat. The consensus had expected a 0.4% increase. Weak incomes and domestic demand may have, in turn, weighed on output. In November, industrial production fell 1.7%, more than three times the decline expected.