Existing Home Sales bounced back from the worst miss in 2014 in August to print 5.17mm SAAR - the highest since September 2013. Of course the surge is driven by Condos/Co-Ops (up 5.2%) rather than single-family homes (up 2.0%) and median home prices are the highest ever for a September at $209,700. It was not all ponies and unicorns though as Midwest saw sales plunge 5.6%. NAR's Larry Yun has some crucial insight for why home sales are rising..."Economic instability overseas is leading to volatility in the stock market and is causing investors to seek safer bets [in housing]," so we assume he is disappointe dby the 1000s of Dow points we have surged off last week's lows?
With no mention of the current turmoil in markets - or suggestion of QE99 - Janet Yellen's speech this morning on "Inequality and Opportunity" in America explains how the poor can get rich. After admitting that widening inequality resumed in the recovery (and "greatly concerns" her), as the stock market rebounded (driven by Fed's free money) and cost-conscious share buying-back companies defer wage growth as the healing of the labor market has been slow; she turns her attention to how the poor can beat the vicious cycle. Rather stunningly, she notes the 4 sources of income opportunity in America: The first two are widely recognized as important sources of opportunity: resources available for children and affordable higher education (so more student debt and servitude). The second two may come as more of a surprise: business ownership and inheritances. As she concludes, "this is how individuals and their families can improve their economic circumstances."
The take-away from last month’s housing data was that “the market was returning to normal”, which despite the persevering weakness, was viewed as a “great thing”. This overly-simplistic and flawed assumption was made, as the all-cash cohort demand dramatically cooled and distressed supply and sales plunged YoY. What people are suffering from is a lack of a medium-term memory, as what’s happening today happened in 2007/08; “Peak Housing” It was the stimulus-driven, unorthodox “things” that drove the “V” bottom in demand and prices yet again, not coincidentally from exactly the time in 2011 that Twist was first announced and yields plunged. Although 2003-07 and 2011-13 were basically the same in nature, a big difference is that this stimulus-cycle was much greater in stimulus input over a shorter period of time than from 2003 to 2007. If stimulus “hangovers” are proportional to the amount of stimulus that preceded them, then this one could be a doozy.
What if it had gone differently? What if, six years ago, in the throes of the financial crisis, the political leaders in D.C. had decided that enough was enough, and they were going to seize the opportunity to make real and meaningful positive changes?
"The relationship between those who are constantly watched and tracked, and those who watch and track them, is the relationship between masters and slaves." - Chris Hedges
The attached Barron’s article appeared in December 2007 as an outlook for the year ahead, and Wall Street strategists were waxing bullish. Notwithstanding the advanced state of disarray in the housing and mortgage markets, soaring global oil prices and a domestic economic expansion cycle that was faltering and getting long in the tooth, Wall Street strategists were still hitting the “buy” key. In fact, the Great Recession had already started but they didn’t have a clue: "Against this troubling backdrop, it’s no wonder investors are worried that the bull market might end in 2008. But Wall Street’s top equity strategists are quick to dismiss such fears."
Let's take a look at the amount of settlements/fines from various banks and financial institutions around the world since the crisis.
“What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.” —Author Tom Clancy Call it what you will—taxes, penalties, fees, fines, regulations, tariffs, tickets, permits, surcharges, tolls, asset forfeitures, foreclosures, etc.—but the only word that truly describes the constant bilking of the American taxpayer by the government and its corporate partners is theft. What Americans don’t seem to comprehend is that if the government can arbitrarily take away your property, without your having much say about it, you have no true rights. You’re nothing more than a serf or a slave.
Yellen’s acting routine is worthy of an Academy Award. In her role, she plays a caring, sweet, grandmotherly type figure all concerned about the poor and middle-class, when reality points to a career as a staunch, frontline protector of the bankster oligarchy.
The Phoenix housing market has a special place in the heart of housing bubble watchers: together with Las Vegas and various California MSAs, this is the place where the last housing bubble was born and subsequently died a gruesome death which nearly brought down the entire financial system. Which is why the monthly WP Carey report on the Greater Phoenix Housing Market is of peculiar interest for those who want to catch a leading glimpse into the overall state of the bubble US housing market. As hoped, this month's letter does not disappoint. What we find is that while equilibrium prices have been largely flat month over month, and are up 6% on an average square foot basis from a year ago, something very bad is happening with a key component of the pricing calculation: demand has fallen off a cliff.
Answer: Everything. Just as he did January 2008...
Banks and other lenders issued 3.7 million credit cards to so-called subprime borrowers during the first quarter, a 39% jump. "Even though [those borrowers] could be considered subprime, they're still creditworthy," is the deja-vu all over again message from the Financial Services Roundtable, who proudly crow, they are "starting to see an environment where issuers are feeling more comfortable to extend credit." How great is that? What could go wrong? One credit union exec notes, "lenders in general have really saturated the higher-credit-quality market, so it is only natural that as they look for growth opportunities, they expand downward," and sure enough, as one new borrower exclaimed, "my credit score is probably terrible," adding "I was surprised they'd give so much." Exceptional America is back...
Timothy Geithner is likely to go down in American history as one of the most dangerous, destructive cronies to have ever wielded government power. The man is so completely and totally full of shit it’s almost impossible not to notice. The last thing we’d ever want to do in our free time is read a lengthy book filled with Geithner lies and propaganda, so we owe a large debt of gratitude to former Congressional staffer Matt Stoller for doing it for us. Stoller simply tears Geither apart limb from limb, detailing obvious lies about the financial crisis, and even more interestingly, Geithner’s bizarre bio, replete with mysterious and inexplicable promotions into positions of power..."Geithner is at heart a grifter, a petty con artist with the right manners and breeding to lie at the top echelons of American finance..."
After the crisis, many expected that the blameworthy would be punished or at the least be required to return their ill-gotten gains—but they weren’t, and they didn’t. Many thought that those who were injured would be made whole, but most weren’t. And many hoped that there would be a restoration of the financial safety rules to ensure that industry leaders could no longer gamble the equity of their firms to the point of ruin. This didn’t happen, but it’s not too late. It is useful, then, to identify the persistent myths about the causes of the financial crisis and the resulting Dodd-Frank reform legislation and related implementation...."Plenty of people saw it coming, and said so. The problem wasn’t seeing, it was listening."
"I want this to be something that somebody else can use. Or that we could parlay into some kind of political—something, you know–’Hey wake up! The banks do lie, cheat, and steal. That’s the whole goal, you know.”