Two months ago I published a piece titled, Luxury London Home Sales Plunge 26% – Has this Mega Real Estate Bubble Finally Burst?. I wrote:
It appears the music may have finally stopped for one of the world’s largest luxury real estate bubbles: London.
It’s well known that foreign oligarchs love London real estate as a means to launder funds, typically “earned” by soaking their host countries dry via corruption and fraud. This has caused absurd and irrational spikes in high-end residential real estate in the English capital, as well as a flood of new construction.
With emerging markets now completely collapsing, the seemingly endless flood of foreign money is drying up, and with it, London real estate.
So has the London real estate bubble popped? Probably.
Washington’s capacity to foster crony capitalist larceny and corruption never ceases to amaze. But according to Bloomberg, Wall Street’s shameless thievery from US taxpayers is about to get a whole new definition.
To wit, Freddie Mac is handing three private equity billionaires deeply subsidized debt financing in order to undertake $18 billion in rental apartment deals. According to no less an authority than Morgan Stanley, the subsidy embedded in this cheap financing amounts to 150 basis points or roughly $150 million per year on the loan amounts in play. Continue reading »
According to the broker, it’s the cheapest home on the market in San Francisco, and it’s an unlivable shack.
As Fortune reports, it is a worn-down, decomposing wooden shack that was built in 1906, and the interior is unlivable in its current condition. The San Francisco house is also selling for $350,000.
According to Zillow, $350,000 would comfortably fetch a 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom home in many smaller cities in the U.S., including Cincinnati, Ohio.
Realtor Alexander Han, would definitely advise against moving in too soon.
“The house still needs a lot of work. I would not recommend anyone moving right in. The bathroom is not functioning. The kitchen needs a bit more work. The flooring has a couple of places that are little bit weaker, and needs to be reinforced.”
– How Western Governments Will Steal Your Land, Part I (Sprott Money, Aug 19, 2015):
This was a difficult piece to write, and an equally difficult piece to title, because the people who most need to see this message are simultaneously the least-likely to read it. How do you steal anything? Boiled down, there are only two procedures: doing so via brute-force (i.e. robbery), or doing so by deception (i.e. fraud).
This is primarily a warning about the latter form of stealing, although ultimately there will be brute-force employed, for any who attempt to resist the mass-foreclosures and mass-evictions which are now imminent. To explain how your land will be stolen from (most of) you – by fraud – first requires a brief lesson in economics, conducted via a simple, hypothetical scenario. Continue reading »
– Existing Home Sales Extrapolation Surges To Highest Since Feb 2007 (ZeroHedge, Aug 20, 2015):
By the miracle of NAR extrapolation and seasonal adjustment, the SAAR Existing Home Sales data just printed 5.59mm units – the highest since Feb 2007. Sales were dominated by increases in The West and The South with The Northeast falling. We have two questions for NAR – where are the buyers coming from… and how long is this sustainable?
What’s wrong with this picture?
Some other data from the NAR: median prices. Continue reading »
– In These 13 US Cities, Rents Are Skyrocketing (ZeroHedge, July 26, 2015):
Seven years ago, the American homeownership “dream” was shattered when a housing bubble built on a decisively shaky foundation burst in spectacular fashion, bringing Wall Street and Main Street to their knees.
In the blink of an eye, the seemingly inexorable rise in the American homeownership rate abruptly reversed course, and by 2014, two decades of gains had disappeared and the ashes of Bill Clinton’s National Homeownership Strategy lay smoldering in the aftermath of the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression.
In short, decades of speculative excess driven by imprudence, greed, and financial engineering and financed by the world’s demand for GSE debt had come crashing down and in relatively short order, a nation of homeowners was transformed into a nation of renters.
It wasn’t difficult to predict what would happen next. Continue reading »
– China Stock Rout “Rocks” Property Market: “Massive” Cancellations Expected (ZeroHedge, July 18, 2015):
To be sure, we’ve had our fair share of laughs at the expense of China’s newly-minted day traders.
Back in March, Bloomberg highlighted a study which suggested that some 31% of new investors in China’s equity markets had an elementary school education or less. Shortly thereafter, we began to look at data from the China Securities Depository and Clearing Co which showed that millions of new stock trading accounts were being created in China every single month. Once reports began to come in from the front lines of China’s inexorable equity rally, it became clear that (to say the least) not everyone pouring money into the SHCOMP and The Shenzhen was what you might call a “seasoned” investor. Continue reading »
– Controversial former Nazi mega-resort turned into luxury apartment complex (PHOTOS) (RT, June 27/29, 2015):
The Nazis’ favorite seaside resort is being opened up to visitors and even prospective real estate buyers. Finished in 1939, Prora, on the German island of Rugen, never received a single visitor.
Once planned as the biggest holiday camp in the world, the island (three miles wide) is Germany’s largest. The resort itself has over 10,000 rooms and was originally intended as a government-sponsored, family-type vacation destination for those on a budget. But Adolf Hitler’s focus on financing his WWII campaign saw the funds being diverted. Continue reading »
– House prices plummeting in London’s most expensive boroughs, but going up in the suburbs (Independent, June 12, 2015)
– 60 Year Old Vancouver House Sells For 40% Above Asking As Chinese Buyers Go Full Tilt (ZeroHedge, June 9, 2015):
While the US housing bubble may have made its triumphal return particularly among the ultra-luxury segment in select cities on the east and west coast (making both owning and renting unaffordable for most Americans), it pales in comparison to what is going on in Canada. Case in point, this 60-year-old, 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom rancher in West Vancouver. The house, according to the Vancouver Sun, was originally listed with an asking price of $2.98 million. A few days later, the house is in contract at a price of $4.1 million, 40% above asking.
– Peak Inequality: $500 Million Asking Price For LA Mansion (Dark-Bid, May 27, 2015):
Just when you thought you had seen it all, Nile Niami pulls another mansion out of his hat. The film producer and speculative real estate developer announced the asking price for the mansion he is building on a hill in Bel Air, the location where the memorable Fresh Prince of Bel Air TV show takes place. Unfortunately, Will Smith is not fresh enough for this place. You have to be a literal prince to afford it.
The mansion is not even finished yet, but it will be over 100,000 square feet. The main residence is 74,000 square feet, but several other homes will be included. At 5,000 square feet, the master bedroom is larger than most people’s houses. The property also features a 30-car garage and a Monaco-style casino. Continue reading »
– Wall Street’s Hot New Financial Product: Your Rent Check (Mother Jones, May 14, 2015):
Investment firms are playing landlord and bundling their rental homes into new securities. What could go wrong?
Toward the end of 2012, Mark Alston, a real estate broker in Los Angeles, began noticing something strange. Home prices were starting to rise, and fast—about 20 percent annually. Normally, higher home prices would signal increased demand from homebuyers and indicate that the economy was rebounding. But the home ownership rate was still dropping. Somehow, the real estate market was out of whack.
Then there were the buyers themselves. “I went two years without selling to a black family, and that wasn’t for lack of trying,” recalls Alston, whose business is concentrated in inner-city neighborhoods where the majority of residents are African American and Latino. Now all his buyers were businessmen in suits. And weirder yet, they were all paying in cash.
Over the lasttwo years, private equity firms and hedge funds have amassed an unprecedented real estate empire, snapping up Spanish revivals in Phoenix, adobes in Los Angeles, Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, and brick-faced bungalows in Chicago. In total, Wall Street investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in some of the cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown. But they’re not simply flipping these houses. Instead, they’ve started bundling some of them into a new kind of financial product that could blow up the housing market all over again. Continue reading »
“Ghost towns in UK are a real problem.
People shoring up their pension funds with nice properties in quaint or popular locations have been depriving communities of continuity and business for decades, but the failure of Local and National Government to address the issue and its Social consequences has resulted in an exponential growth.
Where we live, in a picturesque part of the country, small villages have really become ‘holiday villages’ due to a large portion of the properties being let to people on vacation.
But, out of season, there’s just no one there….reminiscent of THE SHINING.”
– The one figure that shows the scale of London’s housing crisis (Independent, May 15, 2015):
The realities of London’s housing crisis have been made even more clear, after it has been found that seven out of 10 properties on one Kensington street are second homes.
On the 300 metre length of Ashburn Place in Kensington, West London, which has 131 residential addresses, 70 per cent of the homes are not classed as a main home, according to Kensington & Chelsea Council.
– London Housing Bubble Watch: $630/Month For A Bed “In” A Shared Kitchen! (ZeroHedge, May 13, 2015):
You know it’s a bubble when… A listing has appeared online advertising a single bed in a house in London where the mattress is located in the kitchen.…
The only proof you need that many Californians are still living in a water fairy tale is the fact that California real estate prices haven’t yet collapsed. Even as the California Governor has declared a state of emergency — and emergency water rationing is under way — there are still people purchasing commercial and residential real estate in precisely the areas that will be hardest hit by that rationing.
What is the value of a home or business that has no functioning connection to a water system? Essentially ZERO.
How many California homes and businesses are headed for a zero-water future? Many millions. Continue reading »
– The 90,000 Square Foot, 100 Million Dollar Home That Is A Metaphor For America (Economic Collapse, May 7, 2015):
Just like “America’s time-share king”, America just keeps on making the same mistakes over and over again. Prior to the financial collapse of 2008, time-share mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie began construction on their “dream home” near Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This dream home would be approximately 90,000 square feet in size, would be worth $100 million when completed, and would be named “Versailles” after the French palace that inspired it. In fact, you may remember David and Jackie from an excellent 2012 documentary entitled “The Queen of Versailles”. That film documented how the Siegels almost lost everything after the financial collapse of 2008 devastated the U.S. economy because they were overleveraged and drowning in debt. But since that time, David’s time-share company has bounced back, and the Siegels now plan to finally finish construction on their dream home and make it bigger and better than ever before. But before you pass judgment on the Siegels, it is important to keep in mind that we are behaving exactly the same way as a nation. Instead of addressing our fundamental problems after the last financial crisis, we have just continued to make the exact same mistakes that we made before. And ultimately, things are going to end very, very badly for us. Continue reading »
– Death Of The Middle Class: Homeownership Rate Drops To 29 Year Low As Average Rent Hits Record High (ZeroHedge, April 28, 2015):
Earlier today the US Census released its latest quarterly data, which confirmed that for what is left of America’s middle class, owning a home has become virtually impossible, with the homeownership rate tumbling from 64.0% to 63.7%, which is tied for the lowest historic print since the first quarter of 1986, with the only difference that then the trendline was higher. Now, as can be seen on the chart below, it isn’t. At this rate, by the end of the 2015 and certainly by the end of Obama’s second term, the US homeownership rate will drop to the lowest in modern US history.
– Why The Record Drop In Chinese House Prices Suggests Beijing Is Already In A Recession (ZeroHedge, April 18, 2015):
If one compares the history of the Chinese and US housing bubbles, one observes that it was when US housing had dropped by about 6% following their all time highs in November 2005, that the US entered a recession. This is precisely where China is now: a 6.1% drop following the all time high peak in January of 2014. If the last US recession is any indication, the Chinese economy is now contracting! So much for hopes of 7% GDP growth this year.
From the article:
As the FT reports, “sales of homes worth more than £2m have dropped by 80 per cent in the past year.”… “It is like the 1970s again, when waves of wealthy people left Britain and it was a disaster.”
– UK Housing Bubble Bursts: Sales Of Luxury Homes Crash By 80%; “Waves Of Wealthy People Are Leaving” (ZeroHedge, April 12, 2015):
About a year ago, when the Chinese housing bubble had just begun to burst (as a reminder Chinese house prices are now crashing at a faster pace than in the US after Lehman) and forcing the real estate bubble blowers to consider a different venue, namely the stock market, another housing bubble several thousand miles away was in full blown escape velocity mode – that of the UK. In fact, as we showed in the following table from last June, the appreciation in UK home prices had surpassed that of China as recently as 10 months ago. Continue reading »
– Broke? You May Now Be Entitled To a Free Home (ZeroHedge, March 30, 2015):
It’s been seven years since the epic collapse of the US housing market, and there’s never been a better time to buy your first home. In Denmark for instance, the bank will tax depositors in order to pay you to take out a home loan. But before you move to a European country operating in NIRP-dom, consider Florida and New Jersey first because as Susan Rudolfi recently discovered, you can actually get a house for free by simply not making your mortgage payments.
Here’s more via NY Times:
She is like a ghost of the housing market’s painful past, one of thousands of Americans who have skipped years of mortgage payments and are still living in their homes.
Now a legal quirk could bring a surreal ending to her foreclosure case and many others around the country: They may get to keep their homes without ever having to pay another dime. Continue reading »
– Crash Landing: China Home Prices Plunge At Fastest Pace On Record, Surpass Post-Lehman Collapse (ZeroHedge, March 18, 2015):
Less than three weeks ago, when the PBOC proceeded with its latest “surprise” rate cut, we showed a chart that should scare everyone who is hoping that China will avoid a hard-landing would prefer would never have been revealed: the annual collapse in Chinese home prices is now so sharp and so widespread, that it has surpassed the housing collapse in the aftermath of the Lehman collapse.” Overnight things went from bad to worse, when China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that contrary to hopes for a modest rebound, China’s average new home prices fell at the fastest pace on record in February from a year earlier.…
– Existing Home Sales Plunge (and Don’t Blame The Weather) (ZeroHedge, Feb 23, 2015):
With homebuilder sentiment slipping,blamed on the weather (despite improvement in the Northeast), Architecture billings down, and lumber prices down, it should not be totally surprising that existing home sales collapsed in January (-4.9% against expectations of -1.8% to a worse than expected 4.82 million SAAR). This is the lowest existing home sales since April. Oh – and before the talking heads blame the weather – the biggest drop in home sales was in The West (with its warm, dry, sunny home-buying climate). Considering that existing home sales most recent peak in 2014 failed to take out the previous government-sponsored peak in 2013 and remains 30% or more below the 2005 peak, and claims that the housing recovery is in tact are greatly exaggerated.
– This Housing Chart Destroys The Arguments Of The Economic Optimists (ZeroHedge, Feb 2, 2015):
Did you know that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low? Did you know that it has been falling consistently for an entire decade? For the past couple of years, the economic optimists have been telling us that the economy has been getting better. Well, if the economy really has been getting better, why does the homeownership rate keep going down?
Yes, the ultra-wealthy have received a temporary financial windfall thanks to the reckless money printing the Federal Reserve has been doing, but for most Americans economic conditions have not been improving. This is clearly demonstrated by the housing chart that I am about to share with you.
If the economy really was healthy, more people would be getting good jobs and thus would be able to buy homes. But instead, the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout the entire “Obama recovery”. I think that this chart speaks for itself…
Of course this homeownership collapse began well before Barack Obama entered the White House. Our economic problems are the result of decades of incredibly bad decisions. But anyone that believes that things have “turned around” for the middle class under Barack Obama is just being delusional. Continue reading »
– Market Wrap: Chinese Stocks Crash As Financials Suffer Record Drop; Commodities Resume Decline; US Closed (ZeroHedge, Jan 19, 2015):
For all those who alleged the Chinese stock move in recent months, was nothing but another investing mania, i.e., bubble, benefiting a select few, because as we showed in July, unlike the US where 70% of household wealth is in financial assets, in China it is the other way around, with three quarters of “net worth” parked in real estate which is merely the latest bubble to pop…
… congratulations, you were right.
This was once again confirmed last night when the Chinese stock market waterfalled into the biggest market crash in over 6 years, with the SHCOMP closing down nearly 8% and in the process triggering various circuit breakers, most notably the CSI 300 index which fell by the 10% daily limit and the Chinese financial index (-9.9%) posting its biggest 1-day drop on record after China cracked down on continuing margin-finance and securities lending violations. In other words, the entire run up was thanks to speculation-enabling margin trading, and massive investor leverage; leverage which may or may not disappear. If the SHCOMP crash accelerates in coming days, wtch as Citic, Haitong et al once again flout regulations with the secret blessing of the PBOC, because an uncontrollable market crash is no longer acceptable to anyone.
Details on the Chinese crash from Bloomberg:
– Canada Crude Contagion: Calgary Home Prices Drop Most In 2 Years (ZeroHedge, Jan 14, 2015):
For the 2nd month in a row, home prices in Calgary – corporate hub of Canada’s oil industry – have fallen. This is the biggest 2-month-drop in almost 2 years (and comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that Suncor is slashing jobs and capex). As Bloomberg reports, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Tim Lane said yesterday development of the more expensive deposits are threatened by lower crude oil prices. “The dive in energy prices will put pressure on house prices in the Western provinces in the coming months,” warns one economist and as the following chart shows, more pain is likely...…
– “Russian Buyer Is A Thing Of The Past” – Oligarchs Rush To Sell US Real Estate (ZeroHedge, Jan 14, 2015):
For uber-wealthy Russians, “an apartment in Miami, even the most glorious beachfront apartment, is not a priority right now,” warns one real estate attorney, as The New York Observer reports Russian buyers no longer felt they had the liquid assets to carry on with the transaction and were looking to break closed real estate contracts. “Your average Russian buyer tends to be someone who works in the $5, $10, $15 million range. Obviously very wealthy people, but also people who are much more likely to feel a pinch given the economic situation and the exchange rate,” and with maintenance costs sky-high, the trophy apartments have shifted from ‘safe-deposit-boxes’ out of reach of sanctions to burdensome drains.
Just before the holidays, a handful of unusual business proposals made their way to the desk of Marlen Kruzhkov, an attorney at New York’s Gusrae Kaplan: Russian buyers were looking to flip closed real estate contracts. Continue reading »