Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Real Estate

HAMP Failure, Unemployment Numbers, and Suffering Banks

housing bubble..if i pop, you're screwed!! ......

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Keeping in mind that the “beige book” report from the Federal Reserve yesterday is only a compilation of anecdotal reports from businesses across the country, any conclusions in that report that the economy “continued to expand moderately,” and that it “continued to improve, on balance,” should be viewed with extreme caution. For buried in the report were the comments that “the housing sector remains a significant drag on the economy” and that “activity in residential real estate and new home construction remained slow across all Districts.”

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Housing Prices to Fall Further

FOR SALE BY OWNER (if you can find it)

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When Bloomberg polled so-called real estate “experts” about the housing market, they expected a slight pull-back in housing prices of perhaps 0.2 percent when compared to a year ago. Instead, the Case-Shiller Index showed prices dropped four times greater than expected: “The biggest year-over-year decline since December 2009,” according to the group.

This caused many of those observers to confirm the worse than expected result.

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Restoring the American Dream

1957... After the Prom - by Norman Rockwell

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The incessant and never-ending drumbeat of bad news about the economy was deftly summarized here, which concluded that 16 new records had been set over the past 12 months, “and they are all bad.”

These records included:

  • more than 100,000 homes were repossessed in September;
  • 41 million Americans are on food stamps;
  • 43 million are living in poverty;
  • Sales of new homes in July declined to the lowest level ever recorded;
  • Banks are holding an inventory of more than 1 million foreclosed homes; and

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Third Trillion-Dollar Bailout: The States

Meredith Whitney, CIBC Sr. Financial Instituti...

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It was appropriate for Meredith Whitney to title her latest 600-page report for her investment clients The Tragedy of the Commons. That title was borrowed from an article written in 1968 by Garrett Hardin and published in Science magazine, illustrating the ultimate failure of people hoping to live off the incomes of others eternally.

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Bank Failures: 127 Down, 800 to Go

FDIC placard from when the deposit insurance l...

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When Zacks Equity Research announced on Monday the failure of two more banks in the current recession, the silence was deafening. The report blamed the usual suspects: “tumbling home prices, soaring loan defaults, and a high unemployment rate continue to take their toll on such institutions.”

But buried in the report was the much more ominous forecast of the “increasing … possibility of more bank failures.” Zacks said that any bank which makes the FDIC’s problem bank list is essentially doomed. “As of now, only 13 percent of banks on [that list] have actually failed.” The number on that list? 829, up from 775 in the last quarter.

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Why Reich is Wrong

Robert Reich

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When former Labor Secretary Robert Reich offered his solutions for ending the Great Recession in the New York Times, he repeated the same errors expressed in a CNBC debate the week before.

Reich appears to have all the credentials for knowing what he is talking about: degrees from Dartmouth College, Yale Law School, and a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. Having served as a law clerk to the chief judge of the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals and then assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, followed by an appointment by President Jimmy Carter as Director of Policy Planning at the FTC, most would accept his opinions and suggestions for ending the recession as useful and relevant.

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Conjuring Magic To Cover States’ Debts

SACRAMENTO, CA - JULY 21:   A sign stands in f...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The first warning about the possible bankruptcy of the town of Vallejo, California, was reported by the Associated Press on February 28, 2008, when Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said, “Our financial situation is getting worse every single day. No city or private person wants to declare bankruptcy, but if you’re facing insolvency, you have no choice but to seek protection.”

Marci Fritz, vice president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, blamed the action on promises made earlier by the council to the city’s employees concerning salaries and retirement benefits that the city no longer can afford. According to Fritz, these were promises made during economically flush times, and were due to the city council’s unrealistic expectations that those times would continue indefinitely.

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Economic Forecast: Summer of Discontent

Frowny

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After six straight months of gains in consumer spending the April numbers showed no change from March, according to the Commerce Department. This was a surprise to some who have been tracking such things as the University of Michigan’s index of consumer confidence (higher), consumers’ expectations on the economy over the next 12 months (higher), moderate real job creation (higher), savings rate (higher) and manufacturing activity (higher).

Others remained sanguine, holding that “We do not expect household spending to flatline in the coming months,” according to Michelle Girard, senior economist at RBS in Stamford, Connecticut.

Consumers themselves, however, are not a happy lot. According to Rasmussen Reports, only 35 percent of Americans are planning to take a summer vacation this year, and those who are, aren’t planning on spending as much as they have in the past.

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Strategic Defaults: Morality vs. Reality

Stuffed

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According to RealtyTrac, nearly 3 million foreclosures were filed in 2009. And with almost 10 percent of all mortgages now delinquent nationally, those homeowners are faced with a painful decision: continue to make payments even if they are underwater, or do a “strategic default.”

In January, 2006, a young professional couple with two children bought a three-bedroom home in Salinas, California, for $585,000.  With excellent credit, they signed the papers for a no-money-down, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, with payments of $4,300 a month. Today, the balance they owe is $560,000, but the present market value of their home is estimated to be about $187,000. Here is their dilemma: They made a promise, and signed on the dotted line, fully expecting to make timely payments over the term of the loan. But there is a home for rent just down the street with payments of just $1,000 a month.

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Fed Ends MBS Intervention

The Federal Reserve: The Biggest Scam In History

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The Federal Reserve ended its largest intervention in the housing market on April 1, ceasing its purchase of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) that began in September of 2008 in order to keep the housing market from imploding.

According to the New York Times, the program succeeded in keeping “mortgage interest rates at near-record lows and slowing the nationwide decline in home prices.” Professor Susan Wachter at the Wharton School explained: “We were in a deflationary spiral, causing mortgages to go underwater, more foreclosures and a further decline in housing prices. The potential maelstrom of destruction was out there, bringing down not only the housing market but the overall economy. That’s what [this program] stopped.” She added that this Fed program was “the single most important move to stabilize the economy and to prevent a debacle.”

Wachter’s statements reveal many errors in her thinking, but especially her belief in interventionism as a cure for the inevitable effects of previous inflationary policies.

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Greenspan’s Implausible Denial

Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Board o...

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In his 48-page paper presented on March 19 to the Brookings Institution, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan now blames the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resurgence of the Chinese economy as causes of the Great Recession that was ushered in on his watch. And his arguments have just enough plausibility to be considered, if only briefly. But looking more closely is another matter.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, millions of workers were then free to “enter the global marketplace,” creating huge demand for consumer goods. And with the Chinese government allowing a modicum of free enterprise to placate their workers, many of them have created such significant savings that many billions of dollars were looking for a home. And consequently, many of those dollars returned to the United States in the form of mortgage capital that helped fund the housing boom. Greenspan said, “In short, geopolitical events ultimately led to a fall in long-term mortgage interest rates that in turn led, with a lag, to the unsustainable boom in house prices globally.”

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Geithner: No Double Dip

Timothy Geithner at the United States Departme...

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When he appeared on ABC News‘s This Week on February 7, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was quizzed about the risk of the United States losing its triple-A credit rating, the chances that foreign investors might start shunning US debt, and whether the economy would suffer a double dip recession.

Last week the credit rating agency Moody’s warned that weak economic growth and increasing debt burdens could “put pressure on the country’s triple-A status.”  When asked to respond, Geithner said, “Absolutely not. That will never happen to this country.”  One remembers the speaker’s rule to be very careful about using absolutes, such as “absolutely”, and “never happen.”  History books are filled with examples of events that could “absolutely never happen.”

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Inside Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs Building

When the New York Times announced in their lead article on the front page of their Christmas Eve edition that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating Goldman Sachs for allegedly self-dealing, it was a moment of surprise for many and, for others, a moment of clarity and confirmation.

It was a simple announcement, really: The Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating some potential self-dealing by a large financial services company. But, like Toto pulling away the curtain to expose the imposter behind the Wizard of Oz, the world could see, however briefly, the inner workings of how business is really done at Goldman.

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Economic Reality vs. Cheerleaders

Timothy Franz Geithner, President of the Feder...

When MSNBC headlined the report that existing home sales surged by 7.4 percent in November (according to the National Association of Realtors), it suggested that such an improvement boosted “recovery hopes.” Others jumped on the recovery bandwagon, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Blinder.

According to Geithner, it’s now reasonable to expect “positive job growth” by spring and correct to assert that people should have confidence in an improving economy.  “I think most people would say the economy actually is strengthening now,” he added.

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Double Dip Recession Coming?

Double Dip Package

If Will Rogers didn’t say “Those who don’t read the papers are uninformed; those who do are misinformed,” he probably should have.

Witness this headline from The Wall Street Journal: “Jobs, Spending Bode Well for Growth.”

Compared to this from Bloomberg: “Orders for Durable Goods in U. S. Unexpectedly Fall.”

Or this from APNews: “Jobless claims off, spending up in sign of rebound.”

Finally, to confound the confusion, see this from the Denver Post: “Good news raises hopes that recovery won’t fizzle.”

How does one make any sense of it all? Dr. Kenneth McFarland (named America’s Number One Public Speaker by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce in 1965) once quipped that he had read so much about the harmful effects of tobacco and alcohol that he just decided to give up reading!

There is another option: dig deeper.

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann