September 28, 2014

Bits Bucket for September 28, 2014

Post off-topic ideas, links, and Craigslist finds here.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:30:16

This is an editorial bombshell. Too bad it wasn’t penned by an American author.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:32:32

Transparency, not direction, best way for China’s housing market
09:41 (GMT+8)

Latest figures reveal that housing prices in 70 major large- and medium-sized cities in China, with the exception of Xiamen, saw a downward trend in August compared to July.

The Chinese housing market is facing an imbalance between supply and demand, which has forced real estate developers to lower the prices of their properties. This situation has overshadowed the country’s economic development as well as that of the entire Asian region.

To tackle the problem, Chinese authorities have begun relaxing the housing policy by loosening real estate purchase restrictions and lowering interest rates on mortgages. However, these measures have not been very efficient in fixing the structural problem of the supply-demand imbalance in the short term.

The housing market in China, which usually attracts speculation, has been an important field of investment for individuals and corporations. People rush to invest in real estate whenever the economy does well. But when the economy shows slow growth and forces banks to tighten their lending, investors hesitate and leave the market prone to imbalance.

However, frequent administrative interventions have paralyzed investors’ sensitivity to changes in the market and weakened the ability to tackle risks in enterprises. As a result, the sector has become too vulnerable to risk short-term investments.

We believe that to resolve problems in the housing sector, the government must encourage those interested in buying houses for their own use, rather than as an investment.

The government should also avoid frequent interventions and allow the market to adjust on its own because in a transparent environment investors can anticipate good conditions to invest and avoid misjudging market signals.

Reducing the number of interventions can also prevent marked fluctuations in currency, saving the country from the threat of a financial debt crisis.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 05:54:03

“But when the economy shows slow growth and forces banks to tighten their lending, investors hesitate and leave the market prone to imbalance.”

… balanced on the end of a pin with a herd of debt-donkeys perched on it. The stampede has already begun.

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 06:53:31

We’ve known about ghost cities for years. China is a dictatorship with no transparency and a history of fraud. They can drag this on for years.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 07:42:04

Agreed that price declines already underway can go on for years. Japan’s bubble popped in 1989 after which prices kept falling for over two decades.

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Comment by taxpayers
2014-09-28 07:51:20

jp recently fixed that w 40% sales tax increase

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 07:54:30

Which results in even less demand, further dropping prices.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:36:07

China is Slowing. What If Its Housing Bubble Bursts?
Taylor Tepper @TaylorTepper
Sept. 18, 2014
Even if the real estate market in the world’s second-biggest economy were to collapse, the repercussions may not be bad as you think.

While global investors covet China’s growth — as evidenced by the buzz surrounding Alibaba’s IPO — the Chinese economy is actually slowing down.

In 2013, the world’s second largest economy grew at an annual rate of 7.7%. By 2015, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, that will drop to 7.3%. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy’s growth rate is projected to increase by almost one percentage point.

What’s going on? Well, China’s industrial production gains in August slowed to their lowest level since 2008 and retail sales growth declined by a few percentage points year-over-year.

Perhaps most important, the nation’s newly built home prices only grew by 2.5% in July, after surging by 10% at the beginning of the year.

The notion of a housing crisis in an economy more than three times the size of France brings back flashbacks of 2008 and probably a few chills down every investor’s spine.

“A property price crash in the world’s second largest economy would have global implications,” says Wells Fargo Securities economist Jay Bryson.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 15:17:34

China’s house prices fall further, economic gloom deepens
By Xiaoyi Shao and Lu Jianxin
Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:49am EDT
A woman rides past the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China, the Chinese central bank, in Beijing, April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic/Files
China house prices fall for fourth straight month as downtrend deepens

(Reuters) - Worries that China’s economy may be slowing further intensified on Thursday as data showed home prices fell for the fourth straight month, adding to expectations that Beijing will need to do more to stimulate activity.

For now, policy easing is likely to come in the form of help to the most vulnerable sectors, rather than more aggressive steps such as cutting interest rates, but authorities are ready to step in with bolder measures if unemployment rises, policy insiders told Reuters.

China’s central bank reportedly stepped in this week to avert any further shocks to the world’s second-largest economy.

The People’s Bank of China offered to lend $81 billion to big banks to reduce the risk of a credit crunch and a jump in interest rates heading into the long “Golden Week” holidays in early October, when demand for cash typically soars.

Despite the move, short-term lending rates dipped only briefly on Thursday, and traders said borrowing costs will start to rise again soon unless the PBOC continues to pump money into the system, highlighting growing nervousness in the market.

“Chinese authorities will likely introduce more supportive policies, including favorable tax and mortgage policies, before the end of this year to ease the downward pressures on the property market,” ANZ economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao said.

“We thus expect more monetary policy easing in the remainder of this year, if the upcoming data continue to remain lukewarm. We cannot discount the possibility of an outright 50 basis point RRR cut (in bank reserve levels) for the whole banking system, or even a policy rate cut.”

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 15:24:45

Homer Simpson’s beer mantra is a lot like China’s approach to real estate
An attendee arrives dressed as Homer Simpson, from the television show “The Simpsons” during the third day of the pop culture convention Comic Con in San Diego, California July 24, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blak
Is property investment still both the cause and solution to China’s economic problems? Reuters/Mike Blake
Written by Gwynn Guilford
China’s Transition
September 19, 2014

To understand the Chinese economy’s fraught relationship with property investment, let’s turn for a moment to the wisdom of Homer Simpson.

Sure, Homer was holding forth on booze, not mortgage loans. But just like alcohol, China’s property construction sector—which it relies on to drive up to a fifth of its GDP—is at once “the cause of, and solution to” if not all, then many, of its economic problems. That’s because even though this over-reliance makes the country’s economy unusually vulnerable to home-sale slumps—and financial risks—the government has in the past rescued its swooning economy by—you guessed it—encouraging more real estate investment.

These days, however, that investment is more the cause of problems than the solution.

In August, home prices in the 70 big Chinese cities tracked by the government dived 1.2% versus the previous month—a sharper drop than we saw in July, when prices fell 0.9%. Both investment and housing starts fell last month as well. If this continues in September and October—the traditional peak sales months—the Chinese economy will be in real trouble.

Can property investment also offer a solution to these woes, though?

It has in the past: The Chinese government dodged two previous housing crashes—one from mid-2008 to mid-2009, the next from late 2010 to mid-2012—by relaxing mortgage restrictions and loosening credit.

And it’s going for a hat trick. Now 39 out of 46 major Chinese cities have loosened restrictions on whom can buy houses, and how many, says Ting Lu, an economist at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, in a note today, adding that the government’s earlier edict to banks to discount mortgage loans seems finally to be kicking in.

Those new policies, says Lu, are partly to thank for what he sees as the market’s bottoming out in August. New home sales in terms of value and area sold both plummeted nearly 14% in August, compared with August of 2013. Ugly, sure—but not as wretched as the almost 18% plunge that both metrics took in July of this year.

But not everyone agrees that the government’s solution is having an impact. Despite credit easing for home buyers, prices “are now falling at the quickest pace ever,” says Wei Yao of Société Générale; and even plunging prices have “not been able to stop the slide in housing sales.”

Why is Homer’s trusty maxim failing? The boost to property lending won’t be anywhere near enough to put a dent in China’s huge oversupply of houses, says Yao.

That glut is much bigger than in the past two downturns, says, David Cui, a strategist at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. It would now take 4.1 months to sell all of China’s unsold vacant apartments, assuming sales continued at the average pace of the last 12 months. That’s up from 2.5 months in March of 2012 and 3.1 months at the end of 2013.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:38:59

Running our own race in a topsy turvy world economy
The Australian
September 08, 2014 12:00AM
David Uren
Economics Editor
Real GDP growth rates
Source: TheAustralian

THE world economy is all over the shop. The US has not looked as good since before the global ­financial crisis while Europe is fretting about deflation and ­stagnation.

It is too soon to tell if Japan’s GST increase has derailed its ­revival, but it does not look good. In the emerging world, India’s economy is looking much stronger than expected, while there are concerns about China and Brazil is in recession.

During the heart of the GFC, all nations appeared to move in lock-step. Then, through 2010 to 2012, economists spoke about the “delinking” of advanced country and emerging country growth as the financial crisis continued to take its toll in the US and Europe while the so-called BRIC countries powered ahead. Right now there are no consistent trends within or between the ­global groupings.

The best hope for the year ahead is that US growth supports the export sectors of China and Asia more generally. However, for the moment, the weakness of China’s domestic demand is the dominant influence in the Asian region.

China is a larger share of Australia’s exports than it is of any other country except Taiwan, and softening demand is bringing a sharp fall in our terms of trade. However, the evidence of the past two decades is that Australia’s economy is less shaped by global influences than almost any other country in the world.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 15:13:21

Grey money from China helps blow our property bubble
September 29, 2014
Paul Sheehan
Sydney Morning Herald columnist

Is there a housing bubble in Sydney and Melbourne? Of course there is. The two markets have been distorted for years by an influx of murky money coming from China, which should be of interest to the Foreign Investment Review Board. Except that the board is a bureaucratic joke inside the real estate industry.

It is a joke that has been lost on would-be first home buyers in particular, who have been watching properties slide out of reach or requiring a level of debt that their parents and grandparents never had to carry.

It is no coincidence that during the past seven years the price of housing has increased by 40 per cent, shrugging off the Global Financial Crisis, while not a single foreign home-buyer has been prosecuted by the FIRB, even though thousands of established homes, valued at tens of billions of dollars, have been purchased illegally.

There is nothing wrong with a boom market or a globalised property market or closer ties to China, our biggest trading partner, where most of the buying comes from. But a bubble market is different.

Over the past 20 years home prices in Australia have almost trebled while average household income has not kept up. The difference has been made up with debt. The ratio of household debt to household income is now 150 per cent - a historic high.

The combination of the Chinese economic revolution, which fed an Australian commodities boom, a gangbuster immigration program, which added a net one million people over three years at its peak, and a tax regime which encourages individual superannuation investors to buy investment properties has produced a long-running property bull market driven by demand.

All straightforward. Not a speculative bubble. But what is happening now is not straightforward. The 40 per cent increase in Australian home prices since January 2007 contrasts with a 12 per cent decline in the United States and almost zero growth in the United Kingdom over the same period.

Obviously, Australia has a more stable banking system, with more sturdy governance and little exposure to toxic real estate debt, plus the protection of the commodities boom driven by China.

But Australia is a smaller market, more susceptible to impact from the weight of Chinese investment. And commodities companies are now in a bear market, commodities prices have been declining for months, and the historic golden phase of the resources investment boom is over. Yet the property boom rolls on.

Even the governor of the Reserve Bank, Glenn Stevens, has expressed concerns. The bank’s latest Financial Stability Review, issued last week, is full of discussion of “speculative demand”, “unbalanced” markets and first-home buyers being “priced out of the market by investors”.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:41:36

I’m not so sure about whether this shadow banking concept really works.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:43:38

ft dot com
September 23, 2014 11:25 am
China fundraising scheme collapse sparks street protest
By Lucy Hornby in Beijing

Chinese crowds took to the streets in four northern cities this week after the collapse of an underground fundraising scheme in which they had invested, highlighting potential for social unrest as the country’s economic growth slows.

One of Beijing’s biggest fears is the failure of fundraising schemes could trigger street protests by upset middle-class investors that could destabilise the ruling Communist party’s grip on power.

Protesters carrying red banners marched in the Hebei cities of Zhangjiakou, Cangzhou, Langfang and Hengshui on Monday.

Hundreds thronged the streets in front of government offices in each city, demanding their money from the Huangjinjia group which operated branches in cities throughout Hebei province.

Restrictions on normal bank credit to certain industries have allowed loan sharks and unregulated investment pools to flourish in provincial China.

But the slowing growth and a poor outlook for mining and real estate – the two sectors into which much of the money has flowed – have cause some funding schemes to freeze up.

Hebei province, which rings Beijing, has been ground-zero for central government efforts to shut the polluting heavy industries that are the primary local employers and taxpayers.

The provincial government attempted to graduate that campaign into greater fiscal support as the local economy reels. Its first-half economic growth ranked last among all the Chinese provinces, at 5.8 per cent.

International investors’ attention has been more focused on the high-interest wealth management products marketed to wealthy depositors by Chinese banks and trust companies, because of the systemic risks they pose to the banking system.

But especially in the provinces, pawn shops, auto loan companies and jewellery shops can all front for cash-raising operations to channel money into high-interest, black market loans, with even less regulation.

Huangjinjia produced a variety of products ranging from gold and silver bars, to Q-tips to cooking oil. The main attraction at its gold shops seemed to be wealth management products offering annual interest rates of 7.5 per cent to 11.6 per cent on one-month deposits.

Local media estimated that roughly $500m in deposits was missing.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:45:23

What (if anything) is different about the China property market in 2014 versus Japan circa 1989?

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-09-28 07:50:41

Order of magnitude.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2014-09-28 08:16:29

And a rioty population.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 08:32:24

True! I can’t recall reading any stories about Mrs. Watanabe rioting in the street after the Japanese bubble popped.

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Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 08:18:25

You are saying that Japan’s bubble was an order of magnitude larger?

Comment by Blue Skye
2014-09-28 09:04:27

I think the Chinese bubble is an order of magnitude larger.

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Comment by Rental Watch
2014-09-28 10:10:54

I’m not sure, at the time of the Japanese bubble, the land area of the Imperial Palace of Japan was valued at more than the entire State of CA.

Residential land in Tokyo was valued at over $6,000 per square METER (over $50,000 per square foot).

I’ve seen high prices in China, but nothing like that.

I think the Japanese bubble was greater in terms of how far prices got out of whack, but I think the Chinese bubble is greater in terms of amount of overbuilding, and number of people effected.

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 10:20:20

Residential land in Tokyo was valued at over $6,000 per square METER (over $50,000 per square foot).

Is that right? 10.7 sq ft in sq meter. Realtor math?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 10:31:07

1 meter = 3.28084 feet
1 square meter = 3.28084^2 square feet = 10.7639 square feet

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 10:46:45

So at 50,000$ a square foot, a square meter should sell for?

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2014-09-28 10:53:05

Residential land in Tokyo was valued at over $6,000 per square METER (over $50,000 per square foot).

In other words, $6K/m^2 is over $64K/ft^2.

But it is also over $50K/ft^2. :-)

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 16:17:01

communism vs. socialism

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 02:50:04

China May Be Heading for a Japanese-Style Economic Crisis
Michael Schuman @MichaelSchuman
Sept. 12, 2014
CHINA-ECONOMY-PROPERTY A man walks past a construction site in Beijing on May 30, 2014. After years of boom that have seen prices rocket, the prospect of a bust is looming over China’s vast property sector. WANG ZHAO—AFP/Getty Images
Beijing is pursuing policies similar to those Tokyo did before Japan tumbled into financial meltdown

The economic system East Asian policymakers have put in place over the past 60 years has had both spectacular successes and equally spectacular failures. On the positive side, the “Asian development model,” as it is often called, generated what is probably the greatest surge of wealth in human history, wiped out poverty on an unprecedented scale and built industries at a spellbinding pace. On the downside, however, the model — by effectively subsidizing investment — also produces dizzying levels of debt, burdensome excess capacity and enfeebled financial sectors. That has resulted in severe financial crises, like the one suffered by 1990s Japan (the inventor of the Asian development model), from which it has still not fully recovered.

China, too, has followed this same model. In fact, Beijing has put it on steroids, by adding in a degree of state control that the Japanese would never have dreamed up. So that begs the obvious question: Will China face the same fate as Japan?

Strategists Naoki Kamiyama and David Cui at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch say the answer could be yes. “China’s development unfortunately has largely followed the script written by Japan some 30 years ago,” they wrote in a new report. As a result, “China today is facing many similar problems Japan did in the late 1980s and early 1990s — imbalanced growth, government stimulus, overcapacity, an overwrought housing market, and a severely under-capitalized financial system.”

Beijing today, the report contends, is creating these similar conditions by making similar policy mistakes Tokyo did more than 20 years ago. The Asian development model made both economies highly dependent on investment and exports for growth. In the 1980s, when Japanese exports struggled due to a stronger yen and slower global growth, Tokyo tried to keep the system going by flooding the economy with cheap credit. That led, ultimately, to an asset-price bubble.

Beijing has walked the same path. In response to the downturn following the 2008 financial crisis, China pumped up credit at home to offset the collapse of external demand. That held up growth rates, but also led to a scary spike in debt levels, excess capacity, and a surge in the property market. Kamiyama and Cui also contend that Chinese policymakers are repeating the errors their Japanese counterparts made to solve these problems. In Japan, the central bank hiked interest rates to control asset prices, producing a bust in the property market and blowing a hole in the balance sheets of Japanese banks. Then the government was too slow in acknowledging the extent of the problem. China is doing the same. The central bank has been tightening monetary policy to rein in property prices. The Merrill strategists fear that that decision is bursting China’s property bubble. “It appears that the property market seems to be tipping over,” they wrote.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 03:37:38

Will heightened volatility accompany the end of QE3?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 03:39:34

ft dot com
US markets face volatile fourth quarter
By Michael Mackenzie in New York

An autumnal chill awaits US financial markets in the coming weeks, judging by recent turbulence across equities and government bonds.

On the surface, an S&P 500 just shy of record territory and a 10-year Treasury yielding roughly 2.5 per cent suggests a good deal of complacency among both equity and bond investors.

The divergence between high equity valuations and low-risk premium of the bond market faces a series of tests during October, however, starting with the latest monthly read of employment, the formal completion of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve and quarterly corporate earnings.

Evidence of unease ahead of the third quarter ending next Tuesday has registered across markets, with the S&P dropping 1.6 per cent alone on Thursday, and the CBOE’s Vix, a measure of implied volatility, rising sharply to approach the peak seen in early August.

“Seasonal patterns strongly favour more volatility over the next five weeks,” says Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx, noting how most industry sectors in the S&P 500 have experienced higher implied volatility over the past month.

As investors adjust their portfolios with three months left in the financial year, they must choose whether chasing market returns or turning defensive will be the appropriate strategy. That choice rests on the performance of the US economy.

“The issue remains whether the US economy can grow and meet the valuations suggested by risk assets,” says Tad Rivelle, chief investment officer at TCW. “It’s impossible for investors to have it both ways, the views of rates and risky markets are not reconciled. The suppression of interest rates, risk premiums and volatility will not end well.”

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 07:12:30

When will the new QE, which the market knows is baked in now and forever, begin?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 08:27:59

Sunday Journal
Wall Street Gets a Case of the Jitters
It May Not Be a ‘Correction,’ but It’s a Reminder That One Is Due
By Anna Prior
Sept. 27, 2014 8:04 p.m. ET
The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits every day this past week. Reuters

The stock market stumbled last week.

Not enough to send traders rushing madly for the exits, but plenty enough to remind everyone that the bull market that began in March of 2009 is getting overdue for a major pullback.

Volatility and anxiety about the global economic recovery, geopolitical tensions and how the market will handle rising interest rates dominated traders’ thinking last week, sending investors on a wild ride.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved triple digits every day of the week, including a knuckle-whitening 264-point plunge on Thursday, its steepest one-day decline since July 31.

The Dow slumped 1.5% on the day, joining the S&P 500, the Nasdaq Composite and the small-cap Russell 2000 in a broad, market-wide selloff that signaled a marked change in sentiment among traders.

“We haven’t seen a day like this in a while,” Rex Macey, chief allocation officer at the $20 billion Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors told The Wall Street Journal.

Positive economic data released on Friday sent stocks soaring back up and helped them regain a lot of their Thursday losses. But the major indexes still ended the week in the red. The Dow closed Friday down just 1.0% for the week.

‘Correction’ Overdue?

This comes against the backdrop of something that has many market-watchers antsy: It has been close to three years since the Dow closed 10% below its previous high, the typical benchmark for a correction, and some are feeling like the market is due.

Still, even with last week’s declines, the Dow and S&P 500 are off only 1.0% and 1.4%, respectively, from their record closes this month.

“I don’t think this is a kickoff move to a 10% correction,” says Mike Wilson, chief investment officer for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, adding that any correction in coming weeks will likely be contained.

Comment by Ben Jones
2014-09-28 04:21:03

The world’s three economic superpowers - the U.S., China and Europe - are heading for a major collapse in asset values because their economic models favor consumption instead of productivity, one economist has warned.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 06:20:23

“…their economic models favor consumption instead of productivity, one economist has warned.”

The notion that one can have unlimited consumption growth without commensurate production growth is curious.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-09-28 06:24:54

“The notion that one can have unlimited consumption growth without commensurate production growth is curious.”

Fill the gap with debt = Problem solved (or at least one problem is solved).

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 06:45:11

I think we have had incredible increases in production to the point where the worry is that we are so productive soon only 1 in 10 people will need to be employed. One robot can do the work of ten Chinese factory workers at half the cost.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-09-28 07:02:03

“… we are so productive soon only 1 in 10 people will need to be employed.”

And this increased productivity will act to beat down wages.

And the owners of the highly-productive production facilities (aka the .01 percenters) will continue to benefit at the expense of most everyone else.

But not to worry … credit will be there to fill the gap.

A nation of wage slaves and debt slaves: God’s plan.

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Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 10:22:15

Robots don’t need wages, they get paid on commission, that’s better than being paid wages.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 10:32:36

Robots get paid at design and construction cost.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 16:13:53

No biggie. The robot will make stuff cheaper. You don’t need to worry about robots; you only need to worry about places like China, where the individual is treated as a minion of the state.

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Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-28 06:57:31

At some point the underconsumption will catch up. My own tablet had built in engineered obsolescence so last night I put in an order to sell enough shares of my stock to cover a new tablet with 128GB RAM. If I kept fighting obsolescence I would not keep up with the apps. Should be getting a new tablet at my office in Irvine on Wednesday.

At some point I will need a new car. Five years? I was thinking about a Camry but I like the utility of the Venza. Even Hondas and Toyotas have built in obsolescence.

I am all in favor of better built cars that last forever. The problem is not that they put the car companies out of business. The problem is that the prices of the things we buy are not keeping in line with wages. Wages are lagging. And at some point the credit will stop and the prices of everything will have to cave in to meet the wages…unless miraculously Indian and Chinese labor costs increase and our jobs stop being outsourced.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-09-28 08:45:35

Our government and our society has not been focused on producing wealth for a number of years now. The focus remains on preserving it (I’ve got mine, so screw you), and redistributing it (I want to Lord over others).

Working hard and playing by the rules largely is meaningless. That strategy made sense when producing wealth was a key objective. Now, the required strategy is how to rob others of their time, money, energy, heart and dignity.

None of this will change anytime soon, what with most people mindlessly absorbed with social media and apps and such.

A people who avail themselves to free and mindless chit will see its standard of living decline.

And so it goes.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 10:33:38

“Now, the required strategy is how to rob others of their time, money, energy, heart and dignity.”


Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 10:38:14

I think there is still plenty of opportunity for those who can work hard and get it done. And the pool of competition in this country is getting smaller and smaller. Distracted, medicated, over indulged, entitled, lazy, and without positive family role models describes a larger and larger segment of youth.

You don’t need to go to a fancy four year university that is going to rip you off. You don’t need to spend all your time doing unproductive things like Facebook or Twitter. You can participate in sports or computer club or some other character building skill developing activity. You can work out, which is good for the mind and the body and the will. You can work part time at a cruddy job and learn from the drudgery the value in studying and planning and making the most of whatever opportunity comes along.

If you are a self starter and motivated, the world can be your oyster today. You can learn practically anything for FREE on the internet, play an instrument, learn a new language, computer programming, fitness, nutrition. The problem in first world countries today is one of excess not scarcity. Figuring out how to deal with excess calories, excess information, excess entertainment options, excess idle hands, etc.

Comment by Tarara Boomdea
2014-09-28 12:15:32

Shillow wisely said: If you are a self starter and motivated, the world can be your oyster today.

I am going to print your comment out to show my daughter. I was pleased to find out that she’s been on Khan Academy doing basic and intermediate math with the ultimate goal of defeating her white whale, calculus. The class shook her (already low) confidence badly.

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Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 20:53:58

Good for her and good for you! If you want it bad enough you will figure out a way.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 04:45:30

Puyallup, WA Sale Prices Sink 12% YoY; Sellers Slash Prices As Inventory Balloons

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 06:22:09

Are you suggesting they face an inventory Puyallup?

Comment by iftheshoefits
2014-09-28 09:02:06

Or maybe even a Cascade?

Comment by iftheshoefits
2014-09-28 09:04:30

Of Olympic proportions?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 23:18:11

OlympiaGal is chuckling in the Heavens over this stream of WA puns…

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 04:58:33

Los Angeles, CA Sale Prices Dive 7% YoY; Crater 20% QoQ

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 05:09:28

Scottsdale, AZ Sale Prices Plunge 6% YoY; Down 10% QoQ

Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-28 09:03:27

I can only hope. But prices there are too high that the Scottsdale nabes are mostly dimwitted debt donkeys.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 14:53:27

Even if prices in Snottsdale fall by 70%, I still won’t be able to afford it. I don’t see the appeal, personally. You don’t get a shorter commute or beach-front property or, well, anything at all. $4MM for a house in the desert. Doesn’t add up.

Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-28 19:34:13

I’ve wondered about that myself: Why put up a $4 million house in Scottsdale when you can get a $2 million house in Big Sur complete with privacy and ocean views?

So let’s say you have $4 million. You put $2 million in California municipal bonds and $2 million in a secluded Big Sur house. Property taxes on that behemoth would set you back $20,000 per year. However your bonds yield maybe 3%, which is $60,000. Your taxes are offset by $40,000.

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Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 21:01:14

Not only that, but the recent trend in Snotsdale is to build “mansions” that look exactly like commercial buildings. They have the large concrete parking lots, low height, and over-abundance of windows that one would expect of a cubicle farm, not a house. I truly do not understand it at all.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 21:03:06

PS: You are leaving me the doll house in your will, right? I would rather have that than a commercial mansion in Snotsdale.

Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-29 20:46:55

yes certainly the doll house is for you.

And the idea of living in a place looking like a commercial building makes me want to puke. How can people do that? I’ll sleep at the office in Irvine if I wanted to live in a commercial building - all the free coffee I want, pretzels, candies (although I don’t eat that $hit) and all the web surfing I want. Thanks Irvine Company!

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 05:13:00

Bedford, MA Sale Prices Crater 11% YoY On Plunging Housing Demand

Comment by watching
2014-09-28 05:38:21

This is in my neck of the woods, and what you’re reporting here is consistent with the general tenor of what I’m seeing, I’m happy to say. But clicking on the link, I can’t figure out where you get the numbers from … could you spell it out for me?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 06:41:31

Scroll down to market overview chart, click the drop down and select median sale price in the field. At the right corner of chart, click ‘view data table’. From there you can select from zip codes, cities, counties etc.

Comment by watching
2014-09-28 07:54:35

Got it, thanks (from 629k median sale price in Aug 2013 to 559k in Aug 2014 gives you the 11% drop). I split it down by type of property and it looks like there’s a single low 4-bedroom sale skewing things a bit, but even if you just compare 3-bedrooms, you get a 5% drop from 558k to 530k. Small dataset, a lot of apples-to-oranges comps, but still I’m pretty certain that’s about right.

I had a buddy leaving Bedford who had his place on the market all summer, smelled the change in the wind and got aggressive about selling (interest in his situation is what got me watching real estate again). He closed at the beginning of September. Hope to see more numbers heading the same way.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 07:57:24

It doesn’t much matter as the trend is down. And afterall, why wouldn’t the trend be down considering a $530k median sale price is 250% higher than long term trend and 3x construction costs (material, labor, lot and profit)?

Comment by watching
2014-09-28 08:25:41

To say nothing of the fact that

a) the all-cash buyer bidding wars frenzy seems to have abated. I know it hasn’t completely disappeared, and I don’t have hard data to quantify the change. But anecdotally it seems we are coming back to the world of inspections and contingencies, and that is a very good sign for downward price action.

b) there are plenty of jobs here for people with skills, but wages are neither in line with these price levels, nor moving up to meet them.

If the ball’s really going downhill (hedging because I heard Jack McCabe say he thinks there’s a year or two of this left, and because I expected greater declines back in 2008 too), I don’t see how it can do anything but pick up steam.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 08:36:44

The “bidding wars” are/were a fallacy. It makes for great propaganda but not much truth.

And yes… the ball is going down hill. Housing demand is at 20 year lows and falling. And prices are following(falling).

Comment by watching
2014-09-28 09:02:12

There certainly were bidding wars in the Boston area, my goodness. If by “fallacy” you mean that there was something inorganic about them, that they were largely a product of Chinese money laundering pumped up by realtor conspiracy, then I expect you’re right. But I have several friends who were trying to buy for years only to be regularly outbid at prices well above asking. The fact that one of them, on the 17th or 18th try in 3 years, finally got a house in the town he wanted at a price he can “afford” is one of my anecdotal signs that the tide is turning. For a couple of years here that was simply impossible.

(Put another way: the fact that good people who don’t come from money, but got advanced hard sciences degrees and make good wages in stable professional jobs, and with new families want houses in decent school districts, are now finally being permitted to sign up for decades of debt servitude, must mean that the waterline of the “get screwed in real estate” price is dropping. There’s room for nuance in the picture while still agreeing with your conclusion. :-)

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 10:37:03

“…good people who don’t come from money…”

There has never been a better time to come from money (except perhaps the 1930s).

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 10:38:08

I have nothing to do with the acceleration of falling housing prices nor is there any conclusion on my part. The data is the data irrespective of my opinion. With housing demand at 20 year lows and a whopping 25 million excess empty and defaulted houses in inventory, the realtor misrepresentation of “bidding wars” is a complete fabrication.

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 11:03:32

hedging because I heard Jack McCabe say he thinks there’s a year or two of this left…

Some places are further along than others so in those tail end places things may take longer, sure. I think one game they play is to cherry pick data from places knowing it is BS.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 12:02:19

I know, I was floored when I heard Jack say that FL might take two more years to crater. There are more stucco gators in that state than amphibians! I sure hope it doesn’t take that long in AZ.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 12:05:28

Wait, I think alligators are reptiles. They lay their eggs on land. Something to do with the lungs. Either way, same point.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 06:44:12

Also… google “zillow data” and you get to piles of raw data in .csv format.

Comment by watching
2014-09-28 07:56:34

Thanks for the tip, I will check this out.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 05:22:21

Hollywood-Miramar, FL Sale Prices Plummet 15% YoY

Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-28 06:14:39

Stay at home mothers are the biggest threat to the world’s economy.

Comment by palmetto
2014-09-28 06:21:51

That’s why they’ve been replaced with singlemoms.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-28 06:36:02

No, there is a stay at home mother bubble.

“Daycare is very expensive and it doesn’t always make financial sense to have both parents working”

“There are 124.5 million Americans in their prime working years (ages 25–54). Nearly one-quarter of this group—28.9 million people, or 23.2 percent of the total—is not currently employed. They either became so discouraged that they left the labor force entirely, or they are in the labor force but unemployed. This group of non-employed individuals is more than 3.5 million larger than before the recession began in 2007,”

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-09-28 07:04:11

A stay-at-home mom is a terrible thing to waste.

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Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-28 07:20:26
Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 07:11:14

Subsidized single moms and others on the dole are emblematic of all of the excess capacity we have. The problem is not that there is not enough money to take care of many of the ills of society, it is that we are spending the money in the wrong places.

We should not allow multiple kids born on the dole after the first one. Tubes tied while we are invading that privacy when kids one is being born on the taxpayer’s nickel.

We should not be conducting world policing wars in foreign lands when our own border is not secure.

We should not be spending money on sensitivity training or anti-bullying campaign when mentally ill roam free and un helped on our streets.

There is plenty of money for the homeless, the poor, drug rehab, educations, etc., but not with all the waste, fraud and nonsense we have now. 50 percent or more of government is a jobs program.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 11:54:13

For every single mom on the dole, there is a single dad on the dole. I’m pretty sure that this decision is being made mutually in many cases. Mom gets money from dad unofficially, and then gets more money from Uncle Sugar on the dole. I have seen situations where they even live together, but the guy finds ways of keeping an artificial address (PO box, etc).

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Comment by MightyMike
2014-09-28 12:17:45

In some cases the fathers just disappear and play no role, financial or otherwise, in the lives of their children. So they’re out of the picture, invisible, and the fury gets directed at the mothers who are left with the kids.

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 20:58:54

the fury gets directed at the mothers

Fair point, the disappearing dads are worse, they don’t put in even minimal effort. I’d give them the same treatment with a DNA test.

Comment by rms
2014-09-28 15:15:33

“The problem is not that there is not enough money to take care of many of the ills of society, it is that we are spending the money in the wrong places.”

Being poor isn’t about a lack of money.

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Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 21:05:26

Being poor isn’t about a lack of money.

I’m not talking about just throwing money at it, but the mentally ill, addicted, homeless, uneducated, can be treated, educated or and cared for better than we currently do. As for the poor, I agree there are many causes beyond lack of money and in our current welfare state the standard of living is considerably higher than at any time in history. But we are a prosperous enough nation to provide for the poor within a framework of encouragement to work and improve and prosper.

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 06:33:06

Haha. Bloomberg pulled his funding of many of the leftists here and most of the rest are pretty much weekday only nanny state posters from their jobs. There’s only one or two to wave the flag for the warrior in chief but Mikey will get it done.

Being a stay at home mom is an incredible luxury in today’s economy. I know many women who say they would love to be able to but can’t afford it. Of course they are all slaves to their crapshack albatrosses. Your kids or your house which do you choose?

Comment by palmetto
2014-09-28 07:45:13

Many choose the house because of the kids. It’s part of the real estate shakedown. Want your kids to be in halfway decent schools and living in neighborhoods where they won’t get gang-banged? It’s gonna cost ya, so pay up! Those “every man a king” foreclosures are held off the market for a reason, so families can pay the Eloi tax for the illusion of keeping the kids somewhat safe and somewhat educated.

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 11:08:22

You can always rent in those areas

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Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-28 09:08:06

I know of one household where the mom goes to the office to work and the dad is a stay at home dad. Nice gal. She was my boss in Maryland. Wonder what percentage of couples have stay at home dads?

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 10:38:19

It might be a good strategy, given the pro-female bias in the workplace these days.

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Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 11:58:06

You got that backward, Whac. The boy’s club is adamant about keeping the girlz down. You just don’t realize it because you’ve never been on “the outside”.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 12:03:20

It’s true that I only see the job announcements officially stating the “no discrimination” policy, plus lots of language that seems to express a pro-female bias in hiring. Unofficial discrimination against women could still be in play.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 14:50:55

Suuuuuure, no discrimination policy. I’ll bet.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2014-09-28 07:23:12

Street demonstrations by pro-democracy youth in Hong Kong. Bullish for housing and China, right?

Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-28 07:26:48

The Cloward-Piven Strategy.

Comment by palmetto
2014-09-28 07:46:19

…is actually falling apart, but it was a valiant effort.

Comment by Shillow
2014-09-28 07:49:30

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”.

Or it will be replaced with being cannon fodder.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-28 08:19:11

Go time: Illegals rushing border fearing U.S. crackdown

By Paul Bedard | September 16, 2014 | 12:52 pm

The summer lull in illegal border crossings from Mexico is about to give way to a rush of even more immigrants in a frenzy of fear that Washington is about to shut the door, according to several Hispanic leaders.

In Honduras, for example, U.S. threats coupled with those from local leaders warning about the dangers of crossing the border have instead reenergized children and adults to run fast to America and pay inflated fees to “coyotes” to get them there.

“As I am speaking, hundreds of children are trying to leave Honduras,” said Jose Guadalupe Ruelas, a Honduran leader who advocates for children. “When people in Honduras hear that the U.S. is going to get stricter with immigration rules and laws then people think to themselves, ‘Now is the time for me to go,’” he said through an interpreter.

Ruelas and several other Hispanic leaders met in Washington on Tuesday after spending a week in Latin nations responsible for sending over 50,000 children across the U.S. border this year. Officials expect another 145,000 next year.…/article/2553459 - 85k -

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 11:49:03

Oh lord, this is starting to remind me of my “boss”. She already told me that she is purposely setting up little future emergencies, for the sole purpose of imposing her retarded solutions on the company one day. It’s weird because ideas like this literally never enter my own mind. To some people, it just comes naturally.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-28 07:38:53

When the foreclosure hurricane first hit, subprime borrowers … with teaser rates suddenly faced balloon payments they couldn’t afford. - 412k -

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 08:03:21

When there is a deflationary spiral raging such that there is right now, hold onto every dollar you can get your hands on. You’re going to need every penny.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 08:31:12

Sunday Journal
The Simple Secret to Building Wealth
Saving Steadily Is Far More Important Than High Earnings or Investment Wizardry
By Jonathan Clements
Sept. 27, 2014 8:09 p.m. ET

Others look at old photographs and chuckle at the person they used to be. I feel that way when I look back at the columns I wrote before leaving The Wall Street Journal in 2008.

It isn’t that my financial beliefs changed much during the six years I worked at Citigroup, before returning to journalism this April. But today, some ideas loom far larger.

Wealth is born of great savings habits. While at Citi, I often spoke at client dinners. Those attending were wealthy—but they sure didn’t seem that way. That reinforced the impression I already had from corresponding with Journal readers. Those who amass seven-figure portfolios don’t necessarily have huge incomes and often aren’t talented investors.

Instead, they invariably fit the mold of “The Millionaire Next Door”—the archetype made famous by the best-selling book: They’re the couple who live in a modest home and take pride in driving their car until the odometer breaks. By clamping down on living costs, they can save great gobs of money, and that’s easily the biggest contributor to their financial success.

What about all the other stuff that personal-finance columnists write about, like cutting investment costs, buying index funds and managing taxes? Sure, those things help, but they pale in importance compared with good savings habits.

Looking to save more? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a hefty 51% of household spending is devoted to just two items: housing and transportation.

But if your home and car are devouring a big chunk of your income, you’ll find it tough to save. Want to lower your living costs? You might buy a less expensive home, pay off the mortgage and keep your cars for longer.

As an added bonus, low living costs can mean less stress and greater financial freedom. If you lose your job, want to change to a less-lucrative career or get hit with unexpected expenses, you know you can get by on relatively little.

Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-28 09:12:50

What he wrote.

The only problem is others look at how mediocre most millionaires are dressed or where they live (in modest nabes) and treat them like scum. It is a big test of humility to be a secret millionaire and ge your face shoved in the sand. It happens a lot.

Comment by dwkunkel
2014-09-28 10:37:34

It’s only a problem if you actually give a damn about how other people look at you - I certainly don’t.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 10:39:22

Smart man!

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Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2014-09-28 10:56:13


In fact, a truly smart man might _prefer_ that others think him poor—that way, no one is trying to separate him from his money.

Comment by In Colorado
2014-09-28 11:35:15

n fact, a truly smart man might _prefer_ that others think him poor—that way, no one is trying to separate him from his money.

That happens quite often in 3rd world countries.

Comment by Oddfellow
2014-09-28 17:21:14

In some areas of work (tech, academia, small biz ownership) appearances don’t really matter. Sometimes looking scruffy is even a plus in those fields. But in other lines of work (sales, law, finance, medicine) your looks are your advertisement, your proof of expertise and success. A flash car, club memberships, $2000 suits, mean you’ve made it, you know what you’re doing, you’re a potential partner in the firm. A cheap suit and a ten year old Toyota send the opposite message.

I’m not saying it’s right, but that’s the way it is. I’m not in that trap, but I have some sympathy for those who are.

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Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-28 19:29:54

Good point. Yes you are right. They have to be dressed up in starched white buttoned shirts and drive near new upscale cars. It’s sad for the ones who don’t want to stand out. There are people who do not want to stand out.

I put down marketing types too much. I hear them on phone calls with prospective customers and partners and their language is not black and white like engineers are comfortable with. Their language is shades of gray. I cringe Yet they are the ones who muster up projects for us.

Comment by MacBeth
2014-09-28 11:19:50

It’s not a test of humility.

If your concern is how others perceive your clothing, or where you choose to live, then you’re the one who has issues, not them.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 11:46:31

Bill, you need to get a large golden dollar sign, and wear it around your neck on a giant gold chain.

Comment by Neuromance
2014-09-28 09:09:42

On the weekly realtor interview on DC news radio, where they interview a local realtor, he had some interesting data points:

• ARMS are back. He was urging millenials (and others) to use ARMS if this isn’t their “Forever Home™ ” they’re about to purchase and the price is unaffordable. The ARM is (again) being recommended as an affordability tool (”No need to pay the premium for a 30 year fixed if you’re not going to be there for 30 years, ha ha”).

• Instead of talking about bidding war strategies as has been the case for quite some time - years - he said there is no buyer competition.

• He advocated looking at the exurbs for those who are sticker-shocked by DC prices.

What I’ve noticed is that there has been a sudden jump in inventory in about the past month in a Maryland zip code I’ve monitored for some years. It’s only a 25% increase, but the number of houses for sale was stable for years. I last saw this pattern in fall 2005.

Granted, today, the central bank owns trillions of dollars worth of houses as a result of its MBS buying spree which is different than 2005. And the government sold a lot of houses to big cash investors who may or may not want to be in the landlord business, which is again different than 2005.

But, my $0.02.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2014-09-28 10:37:00

“• ARMS are back. He was urging millenials (and others) to use ARMS if this isn’t their “Forever Home™ ” they’re about to purchase and the price is unaffordable. The ARM is (again) being recommended as an affordability tool (”No need to pay the premium for a 30 year fixed if you’re not going to be there for 30 years, ha ha”).”

Not your forever home = You will need to be able to find a buyer when you decide you need to sell.

If you are not able to find a buyer then the home just may end up being your forever home.

Oh, and then there is the issue of this “ARM” thingy.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 11:43:54

If there is no competition among buyers, then why advise anyone to grab an ARM and move to the exurbs? Inventory is rising; sticker shock will soon become a relic.

Comment by rms
2014-09-28 15:09:04

“ARMS are back. He was urging millenials (and others) to use ARMS if this isn’t their “Forever Home™ ” they’re about to purchase and the price is unaffordable. The ARM is (again) being recommended as an affordability tool (”No need to pay the premium for a 30 year fixed if you’re not going to be there for 30 years, ha ha”).”

Arms are for hugging.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2014-09-29 08:42:20

In the case of mortgages, ARMs are for strangling.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 11:41:16

We got a pretty good storm yesterday. Lots of rain and horizontal wind. A tree down the street came unglued, and some of it landed in my front yard. I threw it in the trash can, so now the lid won’t shut. The house that owns the tree has been vacant and for sale since before I moved here.

This is what I mean when I say the carrying costs will eat a seller alive if they won’t cut the price enough to sell it. People simply cannot keep vacant houses sitting around forever. I wonder if the tree did any damage to the roof or windows, etc. I’ll look closer the next time I drive by it.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2014-09-28 14:11:11

More on the “FedGate” tapes showing the NY Fed’s servillity to their Goldman masters. The story seems to be getting traction - I would love to see a jury award massive punitive damages to this examiner who appears to have been wrongfully terminated for raising legitimate concerns about the NY Fed’s kow-towing to Goldman.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 21:18:18

That’s what I was thinking. Her career is crispy bread; she deserves a big settlement.

Comment by Prime_Is_Contained
2014-09-29 08:45:30

I would love to see a jury award massive punitive damages to this examiner

You do realize that punitive damages in this case only punish the taxpayers, right?!?

How about we instead fire the supposed regulators who are captured and refuse to regulate, and replace them with some who actually want to regulate?

William K. Black would be high on my list to run the supervisory arm…

Come to think of it, though, you might have to fire them all the way to the top; I’m having flashbacks to Geithner’s quote that he was never a regulator (even though he was supposed to be).

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2014-09-28 14:15:41

Water rationing set to become more costly and restrictive in CA. How much for your crapshack again?

Comment by rms
2014-09-28 16:21:10

Just look at that blue fugg’n sky in that photo; aah!

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2014-09-28 14:58:41

So now drugs and prostitution are being used to bolster official GDP figures. How much longer before the oligarchs “officially” jump into vice rackets with both feet?

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2014-09-28 15:56:44

The oligarchs are losing control in Europe.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 16:32:52

Where have I seen that look on Cameron’s face before?

Comment by CHE
2014-09-28 15:59:12

Had a delightful time trolling a realtor at a 700 sq ft condo in West Hollywood, CA. 409k he said. Then I pulled up the property records and found out it went for $400,000 in 2006.

No thanks. I’d rather keep throwing away 39% less in rent every month. I have so much money left over after throwing away money on rent I don’t know where to throw it.

I threw a little bit of it away at a bar down the hill though while the realtor tried to sell that overpriced condo.

By the way, don’t call it turnkey when there are plaster patches all over the wall. You could have at least painted it for $409,000. Seriously.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 16:34:15

Realtors are such thieving liars.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 21:28:11

Good move. I agree whole-heartedly. Of course I’m overaged for bars these days, but whatever. You have to do something with all that money that you save by renting.

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 16:53:29

Forecast: In 2015, Imported Oil Will Make Up Just 21% of US Consumption
September 26, 2014 - 12:55 PM
By Barbara Hollingsworth

Oil rig in North Dakota. (AP File Photo/North Dakota Petroleum Council)
( – Due to the highest level of domestic crude oil production in 45 years, oil imports will make up less than a quarter of U.S. consumption next year, according to a forecast by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In August, “total U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.6 million barrels per day,” which was “the highest monthly production since July 1986,” according to EIA’s “Short Term Outlook,” which was released September 9th.

EIA expects domestic oil production to increase to an average 9.5 million barrels per day in 2015, which would be the highest level since before the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) oil embargo in 1973. At that time, the federal government placed a ban on exporting U.S.-produced oil abroad.

“If achieved, the 2015 forecast would be the highest annual average crude oil production since 1970,” the EIA forecast stated.

As a result, U.S. oil imports are expected to fall to just 21 percent of total domestic consumption in 2015, representing a 39 percent decrease over the past decade.

The share of total U.S. petroleum and other liquids consumption met by net imports fell from 60% in 2005 to an average of 32% in 2013. EIA expects the net import share to decline to 21% in 2015, which would be the lowest level since 1968,” EIA reported.

Net imports

Earlier this year, EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook predicted for the first time that the U.S. will be energy self-sufficient by 2037.

The surge in domestic oil production was made possible by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that make it economically feasible to extract large volumes of oil and natural gas from low-permeable shale, sandstone and limestone formations in more than 30 states, including the well-known Bakken, Marcellus and Eagle Ford formations in South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas, according to EIA.

Last year, Time magazine senior editor Bryan Walsh noted in an article entitled “Peak Oil is Dead” that environmentalists’ previous assertions that the worldwide production of oil had already “peaked” and entered an irreversible decline was wrong.

“Oil isn’t likely to peak any time soon,” he wrote. “And that’s bad news for climate policy.”

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 17:44:08

Whatever became of the “Peak Oil” trolls who used to regularly post here?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2014-09-28 18:03:46

Strange coincidence it is that one of the showed up today.

“Peak oil” lolz.

Comment by CHE
2014-09-28 16:54:47


Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2014-09-28 18:32:10

The bankster-owned Tory Party (as well as their Labor counterparts) are panicking as voters increasingly are rejecting them in favor of anti-establishment, anti-EU upstart parties.

Comment by Raymond K Hessel
2014-09-28 18:43:30

The FSA (London Corps) continues its occupation of vacant housing, since housing, you know, is a right. It’s apparent that lack of meaningful employment hasn’t caused this group to miss any meals.

Comment by "Auntie Fed, why won't you love ME?"
2014-09-28 21:36:26

Dang, I can’t believe she’s SINGLE!

Comment by Selfish Hoarder
2014-09-28 20:01:06

5 year intervals seem to be significant. I don’t know why. You ladder 5 years of expenses worth of savings in 5 year notes and expect a decent return above 2 year notes. The Soviets always had “5 year plans.”

But 5 on the precious metals chart is no less exciting. The 5 year low on gold spot is $990. In a week that will be gone. The 5 year low will be $1040. In a few months it will be $1080 and it has charged up from there.

In 1984 gold spot was near its 20 year low. It was around $300 at one point. And saw $270 17 years later. A young Selfish Hoarder would have been happy just stacking gold back then.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-28 20:46:18

Region IV

Comment by Whac-A-Bubble™
2014-09-28 23:24:12

Property sector past its golden period: developer
2014-09-29 08:28 Global Times Web Editor: Qin Dexing
Rising construction costs hit profits as sales slow

The “golden era” for China’s housing market is over, though the real estate industry is still more profitable than manufacturing, an executive of the country’s biggest residential property developer said over the weekend.

“Developers have turned to ‘earning sliver’ from ‘earning gold’ previously (meaning a drop in profitability), but they are still performing better than those in the manufacturing sector, reported Sunday, citing Yu Liang, president of China Vanke Co.

Yu’s comments come amid a cooling property market, which has witnessed falling house prices, sales and investment.

The average net profit margin of 202 listed Chinese property developers was 14.17 percent in the first half of 2014, according to data compiled by real estate consultancy

In comparison, the average profit margin of China’s top 500 manufacturers in terms of revenue was merely 2.7 percent in the same period, said a report released by the China Enterprise Confederation on September 2.

The property industry’s average net profit margin is likely to touch the “red line” of 10 percent by 2015 and the industry is set to enter a period of “moderate profitability” after that, the consultancy estimated in a research note released earlier this month.

“Property developers used to earn big profits by selling apartments or hoarding land for speculative purposes,” Yan Yuejin, a researcher with the E-House Real Estate Institute, told the Global Times Sunday.

As China’s property market has started to cool down, rising building costs and high land prices are eating into the developers’ profits, Yan said.

Nearly 53 percent of the 202 listed property developers saw a year-on-year decrease in their net profit growth rates in the first half of this year, up from 31.5 percent a year earlier, according to data from

A growing number of small property developers have reportedly faced bankruptcies, runaway or halted projects.

A total of 32 property developers in Handan, North China’s Hebei Province were found to have illegally raised funds worth 9.3 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), after some of them defaulted on the loans, the Xinhua News Agency reported on September 22.

“More small property developers will face default risk in the fourth quarter, as financial institutions become increasingly cautious in lending to them,” said Zhang Hongwei, research director at Shanghai-based property consultancy ToSpur.

“We will also see large developers grabbing more market share through acquisition of smaller developers,” he told the Global Times Sunday.

Despite recent moves by local governments to ease or cancel home purchase restrictions, analysts are still bearish about house sales in September and October - traditionally the peak season for the housing market.

“The easing of home purchase curbs will not boost house sales significantly, with only Hohhot posting an obvious market rebound and a few cities including Wenzhou, Hangzhou and Chengdu seeing short-term surges in house transactions,” property brokerage Centaline Group said in a research note on Thursday.

Comment by phony scandals
2014-09-29 15:25:57

phony scandals

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