January 26, 2015

Nowhere Near The Frenzy

The Detroit Free Press reports from Michigan. “Recently disclosed e-mails and documents give the clearest evidence yet that high-level banking officials pushed subprime mortgage loans knowing some Detroiters couldn’t pay them. The new documents were revealed in a potential class action by African-American Detroit homeowners against Morgan Stanley, one of the nation’s largest Wall Street investment firms. In e-mails in the 2004-07 period, Morgan Stanley staffers referred to the mortgages as ‘a bunch of scaaaarrryyyy loans!!!!!!,’ ‘crap,’ and ‘like a trash novel.’ In an internal memo dated April 14, 2006, Steven Shapiro, head of the firm’s trading desk, predicted a growing problem with mortgage foreclosures: ‘We should expect … a good percentage of the borrowers going into extended delinquency/liquidation.’”

“The following January, Shapiro e-mailed officials at New Century, asking, ‘What is going on with these loans??????????’ A New Century executive e-mailed back, ‘You mean besides borrowers who apparently don’t have the money to make their mortgage payments? (Sorry to be flip …)’”

The Washington Post. “African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine. But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.”

“Denise Watson bought a two-bedroom townhome in the Villages of Marlborough in 2005. She saw the home, which cost $315,000, as a good first step to building some equity as the years wound down on her 24-year Air Force career. But now the investment she thought would help her build wealth has left her nearly $100,000 in the hole. The dizzying downturn and weak recovery have caused many of her neighbors to simply walk away even as Watson and her husband have made every mortgage payment. ‘I feel stuck, which hurts after you have worked so hard and done everything that society says you are supposed to do to grab your piece of the American Dream,’ she said. ‘I would never have thought that in all my years this would happen.’”

The Advertiser in Louisiana. “Oil service giants Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes — they all have a significant presence in Louisiana — recently announced layoffs. Although oil prices have plunged aplenty over the past six months, today’s oil business problems are light years away from what they were in Lafayette in the 1980s. Tom Hebert, who chairs the Young Professionals of LAGCOE, recalled those rough days as a young child. ‘As a kid in the early ’80s, everyone had a Cadillac in the driveway and a brand new house. It was similar to the time of the last few years,’ he said.”

The Dallas Morning News in Texas. “The big run-up in apartment building may run out of steam this year. Apartment construction across the country has more than tripled since 2009. Last year developers started more than 350,000 multifamily housing units nationwide. Analysts say that apartment construction increases should dwindle in the next two years. And a slowdown in Texas’ economy could play a part. In North Texas at the end of the year, more than 30,000 apartments were being built in the Dallas-Fort Worth area compared with about 26,000 single-family home starts in the area in 2014.”

“In Houston the dramatic fall in oil prices and layoffs by energy firms are reducing development. Houston-based apartment architect Sanford Steinberg said he’s already seeing the impact of the energy sector pullback. ‘Projects are being put on hold,’ Steinberg said. ‘They are not killing the project but putting them on hold. In the last few years we have been going crazy building multifamily housing, not just in Houston but all over the country,’ he said. ‘I worry about the multifamily sector overbuilding. It’s the one residential sector that has the greatest access to credit. There is a history of builders building more because they can get credit than because they can fill up the units.’”

The Bend Bulletin in Oregon. “Foreclosure filings dropped 58 percent in Deschutes County last year, according to figures from the county. Oregon’s foreclosure process has delayed a full recovery in the housing market, John Helmick, Gorilla Capital CEO, said in a news release earlier this month. He expects about 600 new foreclosures to be filed monthly in the first half of this year in the counties tracked by Gorilla, which buys foreclosed homes, redevelops and sells them. Changes made to state foreclosure laws over two legislative sessions led to the delayed recovery, he said.”

“Each change, however, brought the foreclosure process to a crawl. As the housing industry adapted to the new rules, the process ramped up again, Helmick said in the interview. ‘It’s like resetting the ceiling fan,’ he said. ‘Turn it off. Wait for it to stop. Then start it on again.’”

“In Deschutes County, nonjudicial foreclosure filings — called notices of default — doubled year over year, from 67 in 2013 to 134 last year. Lynne McConnell, associate director of HomeSource at NeighborImpact, said her agency continues to see homeowners seeking foreclosure counseling. ‘I believe there were eight new cases the week of New Year’s alone,’ she said. She attributed the decline in Deschutes County filings overall to rising home values in Bend, where homeowners behind on their mortgages may now sell their homes at a price that allows them to satisfy that debt. That advantage, she said, has yet to reach beyond the city. ‘That’s very localized to Bend,’ she said. ‘It hasn’t reached the outlying areas, which are still under water. The banks are still catching up on their filings, I think.’”

From Westside Today in California. “As we began 2015, the number of homes available for sale in Brentwood was not as low as it was a year ago. However, there are only 50 homes on the market, which is the same supply as at the beginning of 2013. Due to the high demand for Brentwood houses especially under $2 million, the median $3.7 million list price is almost unbelievably 70 percent higher than it was two years ago, and 23 percent higher than one year ago.”

“A number of factors have contributed to this continuing lower supply. One is that some owners who have been leasing their home rather than selling in the down market have not yet made them available for purchase. Another factor is that the level of purchasing by investors has continued to increase through 2014, putting pressure on the market in many Brentwood and other Westside neighborhoods. Additionally, banks own only a few Brentwood homes, which have not yet been listed for sale. Also, 20 local homes are either in pre-foreclosure stages or already have had bank auction dates scheduled.”

The Sun Sentinel in Florida. “Home prices in Broward and Palm Beach counties leveled out in 2014 but still finished the year on an upswing. Prices surged following the downturn but have cooled since then. Marisa DiLenge, a Broward agent with Better Homes & Gardens, said the market remains steady, but it’s nowhere near the frenzy of 2013 and early 2014. ‘The values are still there, the phone is still ringing, buyers are still coming out, but I’m not getting the offers I normally get,’ she said.”

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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-01-26 05:14:15

Did Wall Street pump subprime loans out to African Americans with full awareness that the loans would never be repaid and that they were planting the seeds of a foreclosure crisis?

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 06:15:08

“Did Wall Street pump subprime loans out to African Americans with full awareness that the loans would never be repaid and that they were planting the seeds of a foreclosure crisis?”

Yep. Next question?

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-01-26 06:21:51

Did they know they would get a bailout if the loans never got repaid?

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 06:34:47

Of course.

Banks must be saved else everywhere children will suffer.

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Comment by Shillow
2015-01-26 06:26:09

African Americans, Mexican Americans, Irish, Italian, German, Swiss, English, Canadian, any hyphenated Americans you can think of. Not race, greed.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-01-26 06:35:14

Great point! Perhaps the greed was one hundred percent racially unbiased with equal opportunity for all Americans.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 06:42:28

“… equal opportunity for all Americans.”

The only color that really matters to me is green.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 06:55:31

“An Equal Housing Lender” :vomit:

Comment by AmazingRuss
2015-01-26 08:28:01

Affirmative F**ction

Comment by aNYCdj
2015-01-26 12:24:34

nope Bear it wasn’t directed at black people.it was directed at dumb people. I’ll bet most didn’t have a computer or know anymore then how to get their emails.

I really hate this racist stuff….look for the people who said WOW i can borrow that much money. Racism has very little to do with anything today, Its all about functional Illiteracy.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-01-26 21:06:25

I tend to agree with you. The racist charge is a confounding factor that stands in the way of addressing the real problem.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 05:49:21

Detroit article: ‘predicted a growing problem with mortgage foreclosures: ‘We should expect … a good percentage of the borrowers going into extended delinquency/liquidation.’”’

So tens of thousands couldn’t afford to pay on a $175k mortgage, which arguably doubled from 1998-2008 but we we can expect everyone with a $200k to stay current?


Remember…..With foreclosure moratoriums now in effect in all 50 states, expect all hell to break loose when they expire.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 05:52:55

Corvallis, OR Sale Prices Dive 4% YoY; Plunge 20% QoQ As Price Correction Resumes Nationally


Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 05:56:25

Flower Mound, TX Sale Prices Turn Negative On Year; Fall 6% In A Month As Oil Prices Crater


Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 06:12:55

“‘I feel stuck, which hurts after you have worked so hard and done everything that society says you are supposed to do…’”

“… society says you are supposed to do …”

Not common sense that says what you are supposed to do, not your bank account either, but society - meaning other people about you who have lost their minds.

“‘… to grab your piece of the American Dream …’”

Bahahahaha … “the American Dream” Bahahahahaha … this “American Dream” is a term dreamed up by the PTB in order to persuade schmucks to willingly fork over large chunks of their hard-earned money to deserving people such as myself. And, by golly, that’s just what these schmucks do! Bahahahaha … month after month after month they relentlessly do this.

IOW, they work and I reap.

God’s Plan.


Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 06:20:38

Like a wise man once said, “Mortgages are for poor people pretending to be middleclass.”

I add that if you’re middleclass, a mortgage will surely put you in the poor house.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 06:13:09

‘As a kid in the early ’80s, everyone had a Cadillac in the driveway and a brand new house. It was similar to the time of the last few years’

‘With the cooling of the real estate market since the middle of last year and the rapid fall in oil prices over the last few weeks, it could be interesting times ahead for Dubai’s investors, said JLL chief executive officer Alan Robertson. He was joined by Phidar Advisory managing director Jesse Downs who will brief the conference about analysis Phidar has completed about real estate prospects in Dubai.’

“If the oil price stays low, we see an impact in two three years from now because Dubai is not dependent upon oil,” remarked Downs.’

‘David Dudley, regional director and head of Abu Dhabi Office at JLL, Middle East & North Africa, said that “the stabilisation of sales prices signifies that some of the excessive heat has now been removed from the market”. He added: “We do not however anticipate a significant decline in prime residential prices due to the relative shortage of availability of quality product.”

‘Dudley said: “While we expect there to be a reduction in government spending this year due to the recent decline in oil prices, we expect employment creation and residential demand growth to be sustained from projects commenced while the oil price was high. “Given a continual shortage of high quality housing, we expect rental growth to continue, but at single-digit growth rates, rather than the double-digit rates we saw in 2013 and 2014.”

Boy, this is good:

‘growth to be sustained from projects commenced while the oil price was high’

I was thinking about these 80’s comparisons. The thing is, we’ve had decades to digest what happened. What seems obvious after thinking about it for years was sure missed at the time. It’ll blow over. The good times will be back. Don’t sell the Cadillac. Because you don’t know. Good times could be back for these people, in the near future. Or it could be like before; everybody’s life is about to change drastically, for many years.

Another thing about all this; look how surprised people are. You mean something “bad” happened? A boo-boo? How can that occur in this modern age of money printing and “Grandma Ma Yellen will fix everything”? Something was bound to break. If it wasn’t commodities or currencies, it would have been something else.

Comment by snake charmer
2015-01-26 08:57:02

“Dubai is not dependent upon oil.” Not directly, but derivatively. Dubai is dependent upon wealth generated from asset bubbles, including commodities. Would anybody really choose to live there otherwise? I doubt the Asian slave labor force used in construction would make such a choice. Almost all of that spectacular development is going to end up sand-blasted and deserted within our lifetimes.

Comment by rj chicago
2015-01-26 09:24:35

Example - Denver in the mid 80’s. Lights in the downtown towers were going out day by day and people kept sayin - its gonna come back. - Ya right.
Just spoke with Mr. builder out there a couple weeks back - said that oil is not a concern in his proformas - I just had to laugh.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 06:31:27

“‘Projects are being put on hold,’ Steinberg said. ‘They are not killing the project but putting them on hold.”

Bahahahahaha … and on hold and on hold and on hold and they will be left on hold for … for forever!

Which is the same as being killed but if you say that they are being killed then you are the bad guy so it is better to say that they are on hold.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 06:57:57

‘First time home buyers, we need you. It was a presidential priority as 2015 kicked off, and today lower mortgage insurance premiums from the Federal Housing Administration go into effect. The lowered rates for premiums is part of the plan President Obama introduced in early January to jump-start first-time home buying. ‘

‘First-time home buyers, particularly Millennials, have been shut out of the market because of rising prices and wages that just won’t budge. “I think the big jump for first time home buying is still a little bit into the future,” says Jed Kolko, Chief Economist at Trulia. “Right now a lot of young adults are still living with their parents. When they move out, they will rent first before they buy.”

‘The FHA move isn’t the only effort to boost home buying. Last month Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they would be adopting new guidelines on down payments, offering 3 percent down payment loans for certain qualified borrowers.’

‘But will these programs be enough? Until first-time home buying picks up, don’t expect housing to kick into high gear. “The housing market isn’t quite yet back to normal,” says Kolko. “Sales, prices are getting closer to normal, but there are some parts of the housing recovery that still have a ways to go.” Kolko says construction stands out as one of those areas, especially construction of single-family homes. “There has been a boom in apartment construction because there has been so much demand particularly from young adults who are moving out of their parents’ homes and becoming renters,” says Kolko.’

‘But there is still a long way to go on the single-family side. Kolko says “that is important for the overall economy and is one of the ways housing isn’t giving back to overall economic growth.”

See how these people look at us? We’re just cogs in a machine, to be pushed and manipulated into making some vast river of money go where they think it should. It’s just a place to sleep and eat and put your stuff.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 07:01:32

‘But there is still a long way to go’

Another way of saying a long way to fall?

Because falling prices to dramatically lower and more affordable levels is what it’s going to take. And not a second sooner.

Do you ever wonder why housing demand is at 20 year lows?

Comment by Ben Jones
Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 07:35:57

“Homeowners tap into equity as refinancing surges”"

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” - Janis Joplin

An excellent way to set yourself free is with a equity cash-out.

Visit your local banker today and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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Comment by rj chicago
2015-01-26 09:27:01

Oh Lord won’t you buy me, a color TV. Janis Joplin

Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-01-26 07:38:09

No one learned anything.

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Comment by David Lereah
2015-01-26 07:46:42

If you paid your mortgage off, it means you probably did not manage your funds efficiently over the years. It’s as if you had 500,000 dollar bills stuffed in your mattress.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 08:01:53

Bahahahaha … ask yourself this question:

“What have I got to lose?”


Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-01-26 08:04:06

(psst… the answer is “Everything I’ve got”. And then some.)

Comment by scdave
2015-01-26 08:34:16

as refinancing surges ??

Millions & Millions of mortgages across the country with sub-4% interest rates…..I think this will have a significant impact on the typical turnover rate in homes…I just don’t think most people will walk away from these 3% loans in the face of getting a new loan for lets say 5% or even more…

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 08:35:57

Considering turnover(demand) is at 20 year lows, it’s a distinction without a difference.

Comment by Shillow
2015-01-26 07:32:11

Thank god wages rose by double digits each of the last 3 years and more than 30 percent overall so the houses are now more affordable.

Freakin crisps, what part of double digit appreciation being a bubble do some not understand.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 08:55:11

A lot of cash-out refi’s going on.

Comment by Puggs
2015-01-26 13:34:48

It feel like 2005 again.

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Comment by manraygun
2015-01-26 10:58:21

Zillow plans event to “hack” housing
Offers $10,000 prize for creative solutions to jumpstart market


Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 12:21:48

Zsa Zsa

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Comment by oxide
2015-01-26 11:39:03

Here are some numbers for ya’ll:

FHA mortgage insurance premiums as % of loan balance:
Pre-2010: 0.5%
2010-2015: 1.3%
“Presidential priority” 2015: 0.8%

So they raised the rate a bunch. Then they lowered the rate some but it’s still an increase from before, and claimed victory! victory! Obama should get into the chocolate rationing business. :roll:

(data taken from the Yahoo article above and from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-07/americans-shut-out-of-housing-as-fha-fees-jump-mortgages.html )

Comment by 2banana
2015-01-26 07:07:07

“Denise Watson bought a two-bedroom townhome in the Villages of Marlborough in 2005. She saw the home, which cost $315,000, as a good first step to building some equity as the years wound down on her 24-year Air Force career. But now the investment she thought would help her build wealth has left her nearly $100,000 in the hole.

Later, Jayla followed her sister to private school. But the bills became a strain, even with the family’s income, which was well into six figures. With their home’s value rising, they took a home equity loan. Then after receiving a phone solicitation, they refinanced into an adjustable-rate mortgage that offered a teaser rate that gave them the option of making smaller monthly payments.

So let’s summarize:

1. A black couple with a great full time jobs with good income, great benefits and a pension
2. Bought a house they couldn’t afford but the appreciation was going to make them rich
3. Refinanced several times
4. Sent their kids to private schools with all the extra money (and who knows what else with the liberated equity)
5. When the housing market went down and now they owe money - it is because they are black, racism and slavery of 150 years ago
6. Where is MY bailout?

And this is what passes for the objective press in America in 2015

Comment by AmazingRuss
2015-01-26 08:32:06

They didn’t get a bailout. Stop frothing you shrieking tree monkey.

Comment by redmondjp
2015-01-26 10:15:04

But yet they they are in the media claiming to be victims and implicitly begging for one.

If I did the same as them, I’d be so ashamed of my bad financial decisions that I would not agree to any interviews whatever.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 10:21:54

This is a sob story the WP started from the get-go. The reporters probably had a box of Puffs with them as they milked every teary detail in the interviews.

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Comment by Overbanked
2015-01-26 09:24:24

Denise and Jayla are from two different families with two different experiences.

Still, 10 years later and they’re still down 30% (not counting HOA, prop taxes, interest.) Wow.

The article is dated 1/24/2015 but the data seems to all be 2013 “averages.”

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 07:15:36

‘The Dallas Housing Market Is Still Nuts’

‘Dallas Morning News’ real estate reporter Steve Brown recently analyzed home prices and now has the exact percentages showing just how insane it’s gotten. Average prices rose 12 percent from 2013 in 46 different areas, the News found, also citing the lack of supply as a major factor. The neighborhoods with the biggest price jumps are as Wilmer-Huchins, Southeast Dallas, Lancaster and Oak Cliff.’

‘What this means for you, poor Dallas resident, is you will not live in a home anytime soon, unless you already own a home, in which case you’ll have no problem selling it, but then end up homeless when you can’t buy a new home. As is the case with most things in life, this problem will go away if you get more money. So keep your head up and go find some money, somewhere.’

Comment by 2banana
2015-01-26 07:21:55

Get on the property ladder and STAY on the property ladder.

Or die in the gutter!

Comment by taxpayers
2015-01-26 07:23:48

Dallas hasn’t started down yet? the oil implosion is rather obvious, no?

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 08:06:13

‘In North Texas at the end of the year, more than 30,000 apartments were being built in the Dallas-Fort Worth area compared with about 26,000 single-family home starts in the area in 2014.’

I was there this past summer. I have never seen construction like what’s going on north of Dallas. Cow pastures being turned into complete cites. I checked the intertubes and there were price reductions all around, north of Plano.

A bubble can manifest itself in may ways. It may be over-building, building the wrong type (mcmansions, condos), it could be loans. It could be a bubble based on a precarious economy. It could be a combination of these things.

Comment by scdave
2015-01-26 08:47:29

I was there this past summer. I have never seen construction like what’s going on north of Dallas…A bubble can manifest itself in may ways. It may be over-building ??

Thats what I think…Same for me here…I have seen several different boom times here in the valley….None like this one…This is the easily the biggest….

If I were to try and describe the difference in this one in one sentence it would be “The Sheer Size Of The Players Involved”…And, the size of the developments…It was millions…Its now Billions of dollars..

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Comment by Puggs
2015-01-26 11:02:34

“Make the logo AND buildings bigger!”

Comment by Rental Watch
2015-01-26 17:02:21

I know this is about Dallas, but the Houston MSA was building single-family homes at a pace faster than all of California. I think more pain will be felt there than in Dallas.

Neither will be immune.

Lots of building quickly ramped up to meet demand in large part driven by false economics (high oil prices). There will be a housing glut, just the same as the oil glut…but it will take longer to burn off.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 17:33:19

With prices paid that are 3x construction costs(6x in California) the pain will be great regardless of location.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 17:41:17

‘more pain will be felt there than in Dallas’

It always is. The boom is real enough. Real oil, real money. It’s just that booms don’t last. The bay area should know this too.

Comment by Rental Watch
2015-01-26 18:15:25

The one major difference in the boom-bust cycles of the SF Bay Area and TX is the ability to respond to the boom in demand with the addition of supply.

In TX, builders can respond quickly, thus cushioning the amount that prices rise, but can lead to a substantial overbuilding (which takes a while to burn off).

In the SF Bay Area, government regulation makes it difficult for builders to respond quickly, thus the demand boom leads to price spikes, and once building does catch-up, any weakness in demand can lead to a price crash. However, since the addition of supply is often relatively little, the burn off occurs relatively quickly.

I’m not arguing against the boom-bust in either location, just that the ability to add supply quickly changes the market dynamics of the cycle.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 19:22:55

I don’t think supply is something you have to worry about in either location. You can’t hide 25 million excess empty houses.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 07:21:37

‘Approximately half a million homeowners who received a mortgage loan modification in 2010 through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, commonly known as HAMP, are due to reset in 2015 – and those homeowners will be facing slowly increasing monthly mortgage payments.’

‘There are some who are not sold on the effectiveness of HAMP. One of those is Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride, who said in 2009 that homeowners receiving a modification through HAMP were simply “kicking the can down the road” and now that we are in 2015, “we’re at the end of the road” because of all the HAMP mods due to reset this year. Furthermore, he said he thinks many homeowners will be “shocked” to find out that “permanent didn’t really mean permanent” and instead meant five years.’

Comment by 2banana
2015-01-26 07:27:17

Not one FB dollar will be allowed to escape.

Comment by taxpayers
2015-01-26 09:54:33

see they did get a bailout

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 07:27:28

‘While the long-term impact of WPX Energy’s decision this week to halt new natural gas well completions in Garfield County and the greater Piceance Basin is uncertain for now, the immediate economic ripple effects will undoubtedly be felt.’

“A lot of people’s livelihoods are at play, and my concern is for the folks who might be losing employment opportunity,” Kirby Wynn, oil and gas liaison for Garfield County, said in reaction to news that WPX plans to suspend the completion of newly drilled wells in northwest Colorado indefinitely due to low natural gas prices.’

“It does mean that there is less work to go around,” he said.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 07:32:40

‘The number of metro Denver luxury home sales increased 33 percent in December compared with December 2013, although median sale prices slipped to $1.3 million, down 2.8 percent from a year ago, according to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.’

‘The median price in December was $1,322,500 down slightly from December 2013’s median price of $1,336,894.’

‘In December, sellers received an average of 95 percent of their asking price, down from 95.5 percent in December 2013 and 97 percent in November.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 07:30:38

‘The U.S. dollar is heading higher, crude oil and grain markets are staying low, and the worst investment out there is . . . farmland?’

‘Dennis Gartman, longtime capital market analyst and publisher of The Gartman Letter, told 600-plus farmland investors this news Friday at the Peoples Company Land Investment Expo in West Des Moines, Iowa. That last bit just about sucked the air out of the packed banquet room, though many say this assertion ignores basic supply-and-demand principles in a continued tight environment for land in much of the Corn Belt.’

“This year, we’re probably going to plant 88 million acres corn and 88 million acres of soybeans. Because of the corn-bean ratio, more farmers are going to put soybeans in the ground given these prices right now. Ethanol is going to go south. Ethanol is probably gone, and if that happens, you could see corn prices a lot lower. A whole lot lower. Way lower. I trust I’m clear. They could take a buck and a half to $2 out of corn without any problem,” Gartman says, adding the value of land is grossly inflated right now. “In the past several years, if you take a look at corn prices to soybean prices to land prices, land is extraordinarily expensive. If you want to make the implied bet, cash your lot against the rising dollar, inflationary forces, and if you want to buy $8,000/acre land in Iowa, I think you’ll fail. I think it’ll get very ugly.”

‘Gartman’s precedent for what he expects in the farmland market is the housing crash of the early 21st century, which he calls “the best thing to ever happen in the U.S.” The demolition of the housing market between 2005 and 2009, he argues, convinced the marketplace that housing “is not an investment,” and farmland, though likely not facing a market deconstruction like housing a decade ago, will start losing value as related markets continue to slump as the U.S. dollar index surges.’

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-01-26 08:37:39

Land…. the dead asset. If you paid much more than $500-800 an acre, you paid too much.

Comment by brother_jimmy
2015-01-26 14:09:27

I was a youngster during the last farm crash in the early 80s. I remember grandpa (who was a farmer) talking about the people giving away land more or less for the yearly tax. $200-300/acre for prime rice growing land. And that was even if you could give it away.

Which amazes me that Midwestern farmers are acting surprised by it. Anyone who has been in the business for a while knows about the booms and busts of farm life.

Comment by scdave
2015-01-26 08:50:05

Nice post Ben….

Comment by Puggs
2015-01-26 13:28:42

The best position to be in?? The no debt position.

Comment by Larry Littlefield
2015-01-26 07:36:26

What we need is a class action suit by everyone who wasn’t in on some kind of fraud, and everyone now under age 55 (particularly those under age 30), against everyone else. Alleging mass fraud at the personal and societal level, in business AND in government and even in the non-profit sector.

Comment by 2banana
2015-01-26 07:39:42

The Free Sh*t Army is 49% of the population.

and they vote.

Why do you hate democracy????

Comment by oxide
2015-01-26 11:48:18

They didn’t vote in November.

Comment by snake charmer
2015-01-26 09:09:03

We tuned in to Miss Universe last night (mandatory viewing for any Latin or part-Latin family) and were dismayed to see a segment of the pageant turned into an infomercial for the “City of Doral.” I said, out loud, “is that even a city?” The city, a suburb west of Miami airport remarkable only for its population of expat Venezuelans, much like Weston, was advertised as a mecca for both retirees and young people, although those portions of the presentation that were not CGI consisted of photos of condos under construction, in true city-of-the-future style. My second question was “does Trump have some business interests there?” He does!

Comment by 2banana
2015-01-26 09:27:45

2banana’s #1 investment rule.

Never, ever, invest in anything with the TRUMP name on it.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-01-26 09:29:39

‘Banks in Massachusetts recently won a three-year battle against a city that had enacted its own foreclosure ordinances in the wake of the financial crisis.’

‘In 2011 the city of Springfield enacted ordinances mandating both a foreclosure mediation program and foreclosed property upkeep and maintenance standards that went “far beyond anything that’s currently in state law,” Jon Skarin, senior vice-president for the Massachusetts Bankers Association, told SNL.’

‘Banks in the process of foreclosure, prior to taking possession of a property in the city, had to post a $10,000 cash bond on each property. Under the ordinance, the city could then use that $10,000 for whatever it wanted.’

“They were just looking at this as a way to raise revenues,” Skarin said. Additionally, the city was forcing the lienholders to do a lot of maintenance before taking possession of properties that were not necessarily empty.’

‘In Massachusetts, new homeowner protections have been enacted at the state level. The state legislature has enacted three foreclosure-prevention laws since 2007, Skarin said. “So it’s not like there’s been nothing going on at the state level,” he said.’

Comment by Puggs
2015-01-26 10:05:15

The next financial implosion will be spectacular.

It’s so sad too, because it’s absolutely avoidable. It takes courage and persistence to get out of debt.

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