Feb 24

- 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.

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Feb 03

- 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 decadeFor 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 »

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Jan 19

traders brokers hands on face stock market collapse

- 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…

China vs US Real Estate

… 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:

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Jan 15

- 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...

 …

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Jan 15

- “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.

As The New York Observer reports,

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 »

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Jan 06

Prepare for Property Prices to Fall Globally

- Prepare for Property Prices to Fall Globally (GoldCore, Jan 5, 2015):

At the start of the New Year, there are increasing signs that the recovery seen in property prices in many cities in western countries — namely New York and other U.S. cities, and Dublin, London and other UK cities — is beginning to peter out.

Many cities have seen speculative frenzies return in recent months which led to price surges which would appear to be unsustainable – especially given the uncertain and poor geopolitical and economic backdrop.

This has been the case in the UK and Ireland, the U.S. and indeed in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few other markets.

The question at the start of 2015, is whether we are likely to see continued price gains or falls. There are all the hallmarks of an echo bubble akin to the one that burst so painfully in the noughties. Continue reading »

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Dec 08

- Did Blackstone Just Call The Top In Commercial Real Estate? (ZeroHedge, Dec 8, 2014):

Blackstone’s well-timed IPO in 2007 was almost the perfect top-tick indicator as ‘the smart money’ private-equity guys cashed out into the public markets at peak euphoria. Earlier this year we noted that, among others, Blackstone was drastically ratcheting down purchases (and in fact selling what it could) US residential real estate – and with it withdrew the only pillar holding up the housing market. And now, in the biggest deal in 7 years, Blackstone is dumping a $3.5 billion commercial real estate portfolio. Given the recent declines in CMBX pricing, perhaps, once again, Blackstone is calling the top in another bubble…

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Nov 14

“World’s Richest Restaurateur” Sees An Imminent Crash In America’s “Crazy” Real-Estate Market (ZeroHedge, Nov 13, 2014):

When it comes to the fair value of assets, especially cash-flow generating real estate, few are as qualified to opine as the man dubbed “World’s Richest Restaurateur”, billionaire Tilman Fertitta, chairman of Landry’s Restaurants which counts among its properties such brand names as Morton’s, Rainforest Cafe, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., McCormick & Schmick’s, Saltgrass Steak House, Claim Jumper, Chart House, The Oceanaire, Mastro’s Restaurants, Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse and many more.

Which is why his dire warning about the state of the “crazy” US real estate market, which he believes set for an imminent crash, are likely worth keeping in mind as all the panglossian permabulls see nothing but a 4th dead housing cat rebound ahead. That, and his take on inflation: “There is huge inflation going on right now.” 

From his interview on Bloomberg TV yesterday: Continue reading »

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Nov 08

- The 10 Most Expensive Homes In The World (ZeroHedge, Nov 6, 2014):

There’s an odd-looking building in South Mumbai in India that looks like it’s under construction, only that it’s finished and furnished. And by how much. Called the Antilia, after mythical island in the Atlantic, the building is famous not for its odd structures of extra high ceilings and protruding floors; it’s the second most expensive house today at $1 billion. Barring the Buckingham Palace, which is valued at $1.55 billion, it would have been our most expensive house in our list, as Forbes.com has named it in 2014. In fact, Forbes cited that it’s the first house (other than palaces) to breach the $1 billion range.

Our infographic of the world’s most expensive houses compares the home values against the British Royal’s residence. Interestingly, the palace is not the most ornate or opulent among palaces; Saudi royals and sheiks are known to live more lavishly, beating their European counterparts. But property value is not just about what the house is, but who lives in it. The Queen of England lends to the palace a value higher than the structure’s worth. Continue reading »

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Nov 04

- Why Housing Is Dead: First-Time Buyers Collapse To 27-Year Lows (ZeroHedge, Nov 3, 2014):

The Millennials (one of the biggest generations in US history) are just not getting with the status quo program. As we detailed previously, with lower credit scores, less disposable income, and a soaring number of people living with their parents; so it should be no surprise that The National Association of Realtors (NAR) today admitted that first-time homebuyers plunged to the lowest level in 27 years. The blame – of course – rather than low/no-growth fiscal policies, student debt servitude, and inequality-driving cheap-funding monetary policy, is price comnpettion from ‘investors’ and too “stringent credit standards,” perfectly mirroring FHFA’s Mel Watt’s Einsteinian insanity desire to dramatically ease lending standards and slash minimum down-payments (as we noted previously). Perhaps NAR accidentally stumbles on the biggest reason no one is buying in their profiling: the typical first-time buyer was 31-years-old, while the typical repeat buyer was 53 – smack in the middle of the Millennial collapse.

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Oct 29

- California Leads Housing Slowdown As Case-Shiller Home Prices Decline For 4 Months In A Row (ZeroHedge, Oct 27, 2014):

Following misses in yesterday’s Markit Service PMI, Existing Home Sales and the Dallas Fed report, and today’s Durable Goods numbers, we just made it a pentafecta for misses in US econ data, when the just released August Case-Shiller data for August confirmed once again that US housing is rapidly slowing down, when the Top 20 Composite Index (Seasonally Adjusted) posted another decline in August, its fourth in a row, declining by -0.15% and missing expectations of a modest 0.2% rebound (following last month’s -0.5%) decline. The best summary of the situation came from S&P’s David Blitzer: “The deceleration in home prices continues… The Sun Belt region reported its worst annual returns since 2012, led by weakness in all three California cities — Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.” But who cares what the birth (and death) place of every housing bubble is doing, right?

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Oct 25

keep-calm-and-keep-looting

- Goldman and Blackstone Enter Spanish Real Estate – Pain and Suffering for Poor People Immediately Ensues (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Oct 24, 2014):

Last year Madrid’s city and regional governments sold almost 5,000 rent-controlled flats to private equity investors including Goldman Sachs and Blackstone. At the time, the tenants were told their rental conditions would remain the same.

But as old contracts expire, dozens of people have received demands for higher rent, been told their rents will increase dramatically, been threatened with eviction or moved out to escape the insecurity. Thousands of Spain’s poor now depend for their homes on the generosity of private equity.

– From today’s Reuters article: Why Madrid’s Poor Fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone

Less than a month ago, I warned the people of Spain that U.S. financial oligarchs had their sights set on the nation. The post was titled, Your Wall Street Slumlord Arrives in Europe – Goldman and Other Financial Firms Launch “Buy to Rent” in Spain, and in it I wrote:

Now that the financial oligarchs have had their way with the U.S. property market, to the point that average citizens can’t even afford to own a home (Zillow recently showed that 1 in 3 homes are unaffordable), it appears they have turned their sights overseas. What better market for bailed-out bankers to feast on than Spain, with its 50%+ youth unemployment rate and a continued depressed real estate market.

It didn’t take long for the results to be felt. Reuters published an article on the topic today. Here are some excerpts: Continue reading »

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Oct 25

- Burst Chinese Housing Bubble Leads To First Annual Price Decline Since 2012; Prices Drop In Record 69 Cities (ZeroHedge, Oct 24, 2014):

 It has been over six months since the Chinese housing bubble has popped. What’s worse, as overnight housing numbers out of China confirmed, the government has so far failed to contain the fallout, and according to the National Bureau of Statistics, which is anything but, after a fifth straight monthly decline, Chinese home prices have now wiped out all price gains in the past year. This was immediately spun as bullish by media outlets and sellside experts as “raising expectations the government will have to implement more economic support measures to cushion the blow.” I.e., buy stocks because central banks will push risk prices artificially higher yet again. In other words, bad is still good and failure continues to be success.

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Oct 25

- The Housing Recovery Has Been Canceled Due To Data Revisions (ZeroHedge, Oct 24, 2014):

It is now beyond stupid: the euphoric, consensus-beating data for every single month since May has been revised lower, by on average 6% and as much as 9%. Perhaps finally people will realize that there is only one number that matters in the Census bureau’s monthly new home sales report: the ±15.7 90% confidence interval. Well, people maybe, but not algos, who only care about one thing: whether the data beat or missed.

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Oct 19

- Welcome To Arcadia – The California Suburb Where Rich Chinese Stash Cash In McMansions (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Oct 16, 2014):

The city, population 57,600, projects that about 150 older homes—53 percent more than normal—will be torn down this year and replaced with mansions. The deals happen fast and are rarely listed publicly. Often, the first indication that a megahouse is coming next door is when the lawn turns brown. That means the neighbor has stopped watering and green construction netting is about to go up.

Arcadia is a concentrated version of what’s happening across the U.S. The Hurun Report, a magazine in Shanghai about China’s wealthy elite, estimates that almost two-thirds of the country’s millionaires have already emigrated or plan to do so.

– From the Bloomberg article: Why Are Chinese Millionaires Buying Mansions in an L.A. Suburb?

The surge in foreigners buying up U.S. real estate has been well documented in recent years. Of all this buying, no nation has demonstrated a bigger increase in purchases than China. In fact, it is estimated that 24% of all foreign purchases of domestic real estate this year have come from China, up 72% from last year. In my post from July, Chinese Purchases of U.S. Real Estate hit $22 Billion as The Bank of China Facilitates Money Laundering, I noted that:

In some California communities, 90% of real estate buyers are from China. Yes, 90%. Naturally, many of them are buying multi-million dollar homes in “all cash” transactions. Continue reading »

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Oct 15

Wells Q3 Mortgage Pipeline

- Mortgage Application Pipeline At America’s Largest Mortgage Lender Drops To Lowest Since Lehman (ZeroHedge, Oct 14, 2014):

So much for the much hyped, if quite negligible, second quarter rebound in mortgage activity. After rates tumbled, and continued to tumble, there was some hope that at least the offset to the bond market screaming contraction and deflation (something even stocks have realized in recent days), would be more American’s buying homes, which naturally means applying for mortgages. Well, that dead cat bounce has come and gone. As America’s biggest mortgage lender, Wells Fargo, reported moments ago when it once again magically managed to report EPS and revenues which came right in line with expectations (of $2.11 and $21.2 billion), the US housing picture is once again the worst it has ever been (excluding those days around the Lehman bankruptcy when all of finance died for a few weeks).

Case in point: according to Wells Q3 Earnings Supplement, while Mortgage Applications declined from a transitory one year high of $72 billion in Q2 to $64 billion, this number is going far lower. The reason: Wells’ Morgage Application Pipeline just tumbled back to $25 billion, matching the lowest number since Lehman, and putting an end to any debate about the state of the US housing market.

In short: the only people buying houses in the US now are foreigners laundering their illegal, tax-exempt profits (ever fewer) and those as close to the Fed’s ZIRP as possible, and, of course, paying all cash. Everyone else: not so much.

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Oct 09

Man Tries to Trade Decrepit Detroit House for New iPhone
Man Tries to Trade Decrepit Detroit House for New iPhone (ABC News)

- Man Tries to Trade Decrepit Detroit House for New iPhone (ABC News, ‘Good Morning America’, Oct 8, 2014):

One homeowner is resorting to bartering for the latest iPhone as a tactic to sell a beleaguered property in Detroit.

The owner has dropped the asking price on a three-bedroom home in east Detroit from $5,000 to a new iPhone 6 as the owner is desperate to sell ahead of the area’s tax auction season where “thousands” of homes near foreclosure will flood the market, real estate broker Larry Else told ABC News.

“This house is really not worth much at all,” Else said. Continue reading »

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Sep 30

- China Housing Bubble Bursts: Q3 Land Sales Crater 50% (ZeroHedge, Sep 29, 2014):

China may be doing everything in its power to divert attention from the simple fact that its housing bubble, the largest in the world in terms of both assets comprising it as well as divergence from fair value, has burst. But while there is no clear threshold of what constitutes a bursting bubble when it comes to housing, the latest data out of Soufun, China’s largest real-estate website, which said that land sales have dropped a massive 22% to 1.7 trillion Yuan in 2014 so far, is likely as clear an indication as any that Beijing is about to panic.

And if that was not enough Bloomberg adds that land sales in 300 cites followed by Soufun fell almost 50% Y/Y to 415.9 billion yuan in 3Q, while residential land sales declined more than 50% to 265.3b yuan in 3Q. Continue reading »

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Sep 28

- Last Time this Happened, the Housing Market Crashed (Wolf Street, Sep 25, 2014):

This chart shows how truly screwed up this housing market really is.

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Sep 18

muppets-kermit-dead

- Goldman’s Former Head Of Housing Research Predicts Housing Crash, Recession Within Three Years (ZeroHedge, Sep 17, 2014):

When a former Goldman executive and the prior head of its housing research team comes out with a shocking analysis so contrary to what the same individual would do in his “former life” when he would be extolling the “inevitable” rise of home prices from here to eternity and beyond, and also throw in an open letter to none other than president Obama, predicting at least a 15% crash in home prices in the next three years, a move which would without debt catalyze the next US recession, it is time to pay attention. Meet Joshua Pollard, who in February 2009 took over coverage of US Housing at Goldman Sachs.  His point, in short: “House prices are 12% overvalued today. They have already started to decline. Today’s misvaluation matches the excess of 2006-07, just before the Great Recession… 5 of the last 7 US recessions were led by a weakening housing market… I am lamentably confident that home prices will fall by 15% within three years.” Or, as some may call it, crash.

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