• Vitaliy Katsenelson
    10/07/2015 - 12:23
    Having government control over the levers of the economy can have advantages. For example, by taking prompt action, the Chinese government was able to pull the economy out of the recession remarkably...


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80% Of All New Home Buyers In Irvine Are Chinese

"We are seeing more globalization as Southern California has become a destination for international buyers," said Mark Hughes, chief operating officer with First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. "Eighty percent of new construction in Irvine last year was sold to Chinese buyers. International buyers are driving home prices up and sometimes out of reach for many local residents."

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The Vacant Dead: The 50 US Cities With The Most "Zombie" Foreclosures

For those concerned if their city is among the top most frequented by this particular, and very unpleasant, breed of "zombies", here are the top 50 cities in the US in which zombie foreclosures represent the highest percentage of all properties in foreclosure. For those readers certainly located among the Top 10, now may be a great time to hit a bid, any bid and get out while the getting is good.

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Another Bubble Alert: Home Down Payments Hit Three-Year Low

New rules at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conjunction with lower FHA premiums helped to drive down payments on single family homes to their lowest level since Q1 2012 in the first quarter.

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Home Flipping Profits Hit Record As Wall Street Drives Speculation (Again)

There's never been a better time to be a home flipper. Not only are average returns at all-time highs (you can double your money in Baltimore), you can even obtain cheap financing from Wall Street as opposed to dealing with pesky local banks. Better still, there's a very good chance you won't have to deal with annoying aspiring homeowners because according to RealtyTrac, the percentage of flipped homes sold to other "investors" is at a four-year high.

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The US Housing Bubble In One Chart: Home Prices Outpace Wage Growth 13:1

If there is one chart that most clearly captures the unsustainable US home price appreciation bubble, it is the following which was released overnight from RealtyTrac: home price appreciation nationwide has outpaced wage growth by a 13:1 ratio!

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Housing Industry Frets About the Next Brick to Drop

Cashing out of the “Bet on America” might get messy.

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Do You Pay Rent To Blackstone: This Is Where Wall Street Is America's Landlord

The short answer is in parts of Seattle, Charlotte, Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, Cincinnati, Raleigh, N.C., Houston, Denver, Columbus, Ohio, Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Chicago, and Winston-Salem, N.C. Among the 2,490 zip codes nationwide with at least one single family purchase by the top four institutional investors between January 2012 and October 2014, the top 50 zip codes with the highest percentage of purchases by the four largest institutional investors were in those metro areas. “The institutional investors kick-started the housing recovery by buying homes in bulk at the lowest point and holding them as rentals,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales at First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market. Los Angeles County was among the top 10 for most purchases by institutional investors over the past three years, with 6,152. “As the market continues to climb, we expect these investors to start to sell off their inventory to capture the gains made in the past couple of years.”

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The World Series Of Real Estate

With The Royals and The Giants flip-flopping scores like an HFT-trader on FOMC day, we thought a glance at the two teams' local real estate markets might give some context for who comes out the weekend the winner... As RealtyTrac notes, the San Francisco Giants may have one of the most Equity Rich real estate regions, but the Kansas City Royals hit a home run with home prices.

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The Home ATM Is Back: HELOCs Surge To 2008 Levels

While the memory of a financial market participant can be measured in nanoseconds, it appears that the average American has also become goldfish-like as RealtyTrac reports a total of 797,865 home equity lines of credit were originated nationwide, up 20.6% from a year ago and the highest level since 2008. As Jim Quinn so eloquently notes, after a two year Wall-Street-engineered fraudulent boost in home prices in the exact markets that led the bubble in 2003 through 2007, the delusional dolts are now acting like the increase in home equity is real: As RealtyTrac's Blomquist exudes, "this recent rise in HELOC originations indicates that an increasing number of homeowners are gaining confidence in the strength of the housing recovery."

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7 In 10 Americans Believe The Crisis Is Not Over Or Worst Is Yet To Come: 52% Can't Afford Their Homes

According to a recent survey by the MacArthur foundation, during the past three years, over half of all U.S. adults (52%) have had to make at least one sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage. Such sacrifices included getting an additional job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on health care and healthy foods, running up credit card debt, or moving to a less safe neighborhood or one with worse schools. More disturbingly, the survey also found that while there are some indicators that the American public’s views about the housing crisis are shifting toward the positive, large proportions of the public are not feeling the relief: seven in 10 (70%) believe we are still in the middle of the crisis or that the worst is yet to come. 

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"All Is Not Well In The Housing Market" As All Cash Buyers Double In Past Year, Hit Record High

Confirming and continuing a trend we first described a year ago, overnight RealtyTrac reported, as part of its Q1 institutional investor and cash sales report, that the percentage of all-cash buyers has soared in the past year with "42.7% of all U.S. residential property sales in the first quarter were all-cash purchases, up from 37.8% in the previous quarter and up from 19.1% in the first quarter of 2013 to the highest level since RealtyTrac began tracking all-cash purchases in the first quarter of 2011."

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Where Flipping A Home Generates An 80% Profit

Overnight, RealtyTrac released its latest home-flipping report. What it found is that while the latest housing bubble may have indeed popped, manifesting itself not only in a decline in flipping prices but also a tumble in flipping activity across the US as a percentage of all sales from 6.5% a year ago to just 3.7% in Q1, and down from 4.1% last quarter, flipping, where a home is purchased and subsequently sold again within six months, can still be massively profitable, leading to returns that would make the pimpliest 25-year-old, math PhD HFT-firm owner green with envy.  Among the core findings was that the average sales price of single family homes flipped in the first quarter was $55,574 higher than the average original purchase price. That gross profit provided flippers with an unadjusted ROI (return on investment) of 30 percent of the average original purchase price averaged out across the US. The average gross profit per flip a year ago was $51,805 for an unadjusted ROI of 28 percent. However, it is the range that is notable: the flip ROI ranged from -8%, or a loss of $10k on the property, to a gain of 80%, a whopping $144K!

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The Housing Bubble Is Still Raging In These 20 "Buy-To-Rent" Cities, And Burst In These 20 Others

As the following table also by RealtyTrace confirms, the US still has an abundance of "own-to-rent" cities, where one can generate a return as high as 30% in one year, if one is willing to drive through the downtown area at 65 mph. Places like bankrupt Detroit, where the median sales price is $45K, and somehow the average market rent is $1.1K, meaning one can recoup their investment in just over 3 years! (how Detroit's residents can afford $1K on rent is another of those great mysteries of life). In other words, the housing bubble will still be raging in these 20 cities, at least until such time as the yield drops sufficiently due to soaring prices that the Blackstones of the world are forced to dump other people's money in such undervalued places as Ulan Bator and Almaty.

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Blackstone's Home Buying Binge Drops 70% From Its Peak Last Year

The whole story about how private equity firms and hedge funds have steamrolled into the residential home market to become this decade’s slumlords is a story we covered long before mainstream media even knew it was happening. We first identified the trend in January of last year in one of my most popular posts of 2013: America Meet Your New Slumlord: Wall Street. Since then, we've done my best to cover the various twists and turns in this fascinating and disturbing saga. With all that in mind, let’s now take a look at the latest article from Bloomberg, which points out that Blackstone’s home purchases have plunged 70% from their peak last year. Perhaps they overestimated the rental cash flow potential of indebted youth living in their parents’ basements?

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How To Live Mortgage Free For Up To Three Years

Simple: just don't pay the mortgage. Because here is what happens next: shortly thereafter foreclosure proceedings will begin and at some point, far in the distant future, the bank will finally complete the foreclosure process, claiming the property and putting it on the block with intent to resell (or simply raze it). How far in the future? According to RealtyTrac, the average duration of the foreclosure process for zombie foreclosures is an average of a record 1,031 days. Or just shy of 3 years.

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