Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Housing Continues Its Death Spiral

Oct 20 (Reuters) - The Russian central bank will continue raising the share of gold in its gold and foreign exchange reserves, the central bank First Deputy Chairman Alexei Ulyukayev said on Thursday.  "We are not planning to step away from this path. We are acquiring huge volumes (of gold)," Ulyukayev told the parliament.
The Case-Shiller 20 city housing index for August was released this morning, showing a greater than expected 3.8% year over year decline.  Here's an article LINK  That kind of speaks for itself and I don't have a lot to say about it other than housing is still a long way away from finding some sort of "bottom" level.  Obviously the housing market ballooned up on the hot air of massive debt financing.  As the debt defaults continue to pile up, the value of the housing stock continues to implode.  The Case-Shiller chart below shows graphically the degree to which housing values will likely fall:

(click on chart to enlarge)

This chart is a few months old.  The latest index value was a little above 140.  The average long term index value is 100.  This index value is based on over 100 years of inflation-adjusted housing data.  Unfortunately, just like bubble markets significantly overshoot their "intrinsic" value to the upside, when markets go through a "regression to the mean" correction they often overshoot once again to the downside.  If you are a homeowner, you should hope that the mean index value of 100 is the bottom.  Of course, as we know, "hope" is not a valid investment strategy. 

I just heard another tragic short sale story.  A friend of mine lives in an area of Denver that traditionally was very upper middle class, with the average home trading for north $1.5 million during the bubble.  One of his neighbors had a huge house listed for $1.2 million.  It went into a short-sale contract with $1.7 million of mortgage debt.  Based on comps, we believe the contract price is around $800k.  The bank will now have to mark to market the mortgage and eat around $900k.  The house next to this one is in foreclosure.  Apparently several homes in this neighborhood are in various stages of default/foreclosure/short sale.  This isn't a newer "faux mansion" development - this is an older money area that had been considered  financially stable.

This situation is not unique to just this neighborhood, just Denver, just Colorado.  Most of the volume in foreclosures has occurred in the middle/lower end of the housing market.  Now the banks are going to have to start working on the higher end.  I know of at least 2 different people living in what were originally $1 million-plus homes who have not payed their mortgage for over a year and have not even been contacted by the bank about being in default.  When you hear about this, it means the bank is still carrying the mortgage at full value.  I have argued many times that the true, mark-to-market financial condition of U.S. banks is substantially worse than is being reported using GAAP financials and the numbers being pimped by Wall Street.

The moral of this is that our system - with or without the impending damage about to be inflicted on the global system by Europe - is headed toward a financial nuclear explosion that will make the Bear/Lehman/AIG explosion look like a hand grenade going off.  The next time you drive by a big home with expensive cars piled up in the driveway and you wonder how they are doing "it," the truth is they likely are not and are living on borrowed time.  And speaking of "overshooting" intrinsic value.  Anyone care to hazard a guess at the price at which gold will be considered to have "overshot" its intrinsic value?  I'm on record saying I can easily see $10,000 in intrinsic value for gold (that's for public consumption, I believe the price will be a lot higher).   Based on that chart above, gold's "overshoot" price would be $20,000/oz...


  1. you might be a "tad" conservative with the 10/20--I guess we find out when we get "there".

  2. Reckless Endangerment -- Totally Corrupt America

    These kind of mafia strong-armed tactics in order to protect at all costs the short-term mega-bonuses that drove the totally fraudulent system have never been held accountable or punished. Totally innocent people are held indefinitely and tortured by the US government for no other reason than to convince the gullible public that they are endangered by terrorists, but those who wiped out the home ownership and retirement pensions of millions of Americans now hold high and honorable positions on corporate boards and US regulatory agencies.

    Federal regulatory agencies totally failed. Former chairperson of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Brooksley Born tried to use her statutory authority to regulate over-the-counter derivatives, but she was blocked by the Federal Reserve chairman, the US Treasure secretary, and the SEC chairman and forced to resign. As University of Chicago Nobel economist George Stigler predicted, regulatory agencies are captured by those who are intended to be regulated. This was the case.

    Regulators turned a blind eye to obvious criminal fraud, and were rewarded with lucrative positions in the financial community. The same for the US senators and representatives who repealed Glass-Steagal and other financial regulations.

    For example, former US senator Phil Gramm who spearheaded the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial from investment banking, the repeal of which set up the financial crisis, was rewarded by being made vice chairman of the mega-bank UBS, a Swiss global financial services company.

    What Taibbi, Morgenson and Rosner make clear is that while monster criminals continue to collect their multi-million dollar annual incomes, depressed single mothers, deserted by the men who fathered their children, are sent to prison for having small quantities of illegal drugs to boost their depressed spirits, and their children are put up for adoption.

    This is "justice" in America where there is "freedom and democracy."


    Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

  3. OWS's Beef: Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating

    Cain said he believed that the protesters are driven by envy of the rich.

    "I find the one thing [the protesters] have in common revolves around the human emotions of envy and entitlement," he said. "What you have is more than what I have, and I'm not happy with my situation."

    Cain seems like a nice enough guy, but I nearly blew my stack when I heard this. When you take into consideration all the theft and fraud and market manipulation and other evil shit Wall Street bankers have been guilty of in the last ten-fifteen years, you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money.

    Think about it: there have always been rich and poor people in America, so if this is about jealousy, why the protests now? The idea that masses of people suddenly discovered a deep-seated animus/envy toward the rich – after keeping it strategically hidden for decades – is crazy.


  4. I've been telling people that even the "old money" neighborhoods with the big stately old houses are not going to be immune from the 75% off sale when the housing market reaches its true bottom.

  5. More Fed notes doing g-d's work.

    Since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003, the New York Federal Reserve has been shipping tens of billions of dollars to the government and central bank of Iraq, ostensibly for reconstruction and resumption of governmental services after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Between 2003 and 2008, over $40 billion in cash was secretly shipped in trucks from the New York Federal Reserve compound in East Rutherford, New Jersey to Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, where they were then flown by military aircraft to Baghdad International Airport. In just the first two years, the shipments of dollar bills weighed a total of 363 tons.

    But much of that money was stolen, misappropriated, and simply lost. Despite Congressional hearings and reports, official inquiries from Washington to Baghdad, an investigating special inspector general’s office and Department of Defense, nobody knows exactly what happened to the bulk of the money. Likely destinations of the stolen fiat, secretly printed out of thin air to fund the US government’s illegal war and occupation in Iraq, went towards intricate contracting schemes, corrupt Iraqi and American officials, and brash, blanket appropriations in war torn Iraq.

    The shipments followed a detailed route, documenting by the minute who was in custody of the money, until it reached the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) official in Baghdad who arranged for them to get to the Central Bank of Iraq in downtown Baghdad. That responsibility was fulfilled by one man, a naturalized American citizen of Lebanese descent who was born in Saudi Arabia working as a civilian contractor for the US military. Only his first name has been released: Basel. He was the last to see the bales of cash before they entered the Central Bank of Iraq.

  6. This clip is from the Occupy Oakland protests.

    This is pre-austerity. Pre-budget cuts. Things will get a lot worse when food stamps (which 1/6 Americans receive today) get cut. And social security, and medicare, and pensions. Haircuts all around. And, most likely, quite a few riots.


    Well, We Know Who The Felons Are - They Wear Badges

    After four years of reporting on the various immoral, unethical and in many cases criminal acts perpetrated by people in our financial system and Congress, we now have our evidence at the bar.


  7. @More Fed notes doing g-d's work.

    ...and that's just what we think we know...the corruption is so deep the only cure is to purge that "fictitious money" by extreme devaluation. Wipe it all out...start over...some will benefit by conversion but this whores house we call government gets raided and hopefully replaced.

  8. Read the commentary ...its thought provoking...

    Helicopter Geithner’s NY Fed $40 Billion Iraq Money Drop

    The incident in question is the air shipping of a claimed $40 billion in cold hard cash airlifted from the New York Fed to Iraq from 2003 to 2008. This operation took place largely if not entirely on Tim Geithner’s watch, since he was president of the New York Fed from October 2003 to November 2008. So while the US has never had a Helicopter Ben, Iraq had a Helicopter Geithner.

    As you will read in due course, CNBC has found a supposedly knowledgable individual who says the amount transported, but we don’t have and are pretty much guaranteed never to get an official tally. The New York Fed has made excuses for its failure to cooperate with the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.


  9. It's not a recession, it's a robbery...

    October 24, 2011

    VIDEO: Watch Journalists Amy Goodman & Chris Hedges on Charlie Rose Show about Occupy Wall Street


  10. Tell your friends to think twice before committing to this....

    Obama's Re-Fi Plan: The Perfection of Debt-Serfdom (October 26, 2011)

    How better to corral restive underwater debt-serfs than to herd them into accepting a new, "better" set of lifelong servitude shackles?

    President Obama is taking credit for a new government plan to "save homeowners." That is of course pure propaganda to mask the plan's true goal: the perfection of debt-serfdom. The basic thrust of the plan is straightforward: encourage "underwater" homeowners whose mortgages exceed the value of their homes to re-finance at lower rates.

    The stated incentive (i.e. the PR pitch) is to lower homeowners' monthly payments via lower interest rates.

    This is the Federal Reserve's entire game plan in a nutshell: don't write off any debt, as that would reveal the banking sector's insolvency, but play extend-and-pretend with crushing debtloads by lowering the cost of servicing the debt.

    The key purpose of this "plan" is to leave the principle owed to banks on their books at full value while ensnaring the hapless debt-serf (the "homeowner") into permanent servitude to the banks.

    All the plan does is perfect this debt-serfdom.


  11. Hi Dave, I have bad news from Italy for you:




  12. (Dave)

    Aaaah Marco. Che è orribile. Abbiamo amato Monterosso e Vernazza. Spero che possano riparare il danno. Grazie per avermi informato.

    Ciao Ciao e spero tu stia bene

  13. Consumer Confidence Hits an All-Time Non-Recession Low
    By Doug Short
    October 25, 2011

    It is interesting that the consumer confidence pattern of the past 29 months following the NBER declared end to the recession is similar to the 36-month pattern following the 1990-1991 recession, although the current pattern has so far been at a lower confidence level. At an even higher level, there was also a two year period following the 2001 recession where confidence lagged. A common factor in all three cases is a "jobless recovery". To great extent Consumer Confidence is a proxy for unemployment problems.

    On a percentile basis, the latest reading is at the 1st percentile of all the monthly readings since the start of this data series in June 1977 and at the all-time low of non-recessionary months. Only five months in the entire history of this indicator, all during the Financial Crisis recession, have been lower than the latest consumer confidence number.


  14. I expect gold to settle at 55K/oz after the smoke clears. And that is with 90% of debt being written off. A dime on the dollar.

    With the host dead, the parasites will eat each other.