February 15, 2015

Another Frothy Market On The Verge Of Reversing

The Press & Journal reports from the UK. “A former Scottish rally champion has taken one of the most expensive houses for sale in Scotland back off the market. Brian Lyall put his luxury seven bedroom mansion in Aberdeen on sale for offers over £3.2 million last month. It was believed to be one of the highest asking prices in the country for a house this year and was earmarked by property experts as a possible landmark deal of 2015. And an undisclosed offer was made earlier this month for the opulant abode which sits on one of the city’s wealthiest streets. But today property firm Simpson and Marwick confirmed that One Rubislaw Den North had been withdrawn from the market – as Mr Lyall no longer wants to sell at this time.”

“Concern has been mounting in recent months that the slumped oil price may affect Aberdeen’s buoyant housing market. Mr Lyall bought the pink Granite house in 2012 for just under one million pounds.”

The Montreal Gazette in Canada. “The soft landing has landed for the Montreal condo market. After years of condo boom times with rising prices and more and more construction, developers appear to be scaling back — and prices have dropped. The Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation is forecasting this year or next, the number of completed, unabsorbed units will surpass the peak of 3,473 empty units reached in 2006. The number of unsold condos is increasing, with a 40-per-cent rise from 2013 to 2014, said rancis Cortellino, senior Quebec market analyst at the CMHC. Still, last year, there were nearly 11,000 condos under construction.”

“The CMHC indicates in 2014, only 69 per cent of new condos were absorbed at the time of completion. In 2013, there was a slowdown in new condo starts to 8,805, compared with about 12,000 in the two preceding years — and economists believed this would continue, he said, but it was not the case: in 2014, that number increased to 10,516. This was due to major projects in Montreal’s downtown, larger than expected, said National Bank senior economist Marc Pinsonneault. It seems promoters didn’t see they were building at a rate that exceeds demand, he said.”

The Midland Reporter Telegram in Texas. “In my time in Midland I have heard a lot about how the city has changed, how there are too many people and how everything is expensive. While I don’t know enough about the first two things, I can say this: Midlanders, your city has undergone a profound change in its real estate market.”

“In figures I compiled from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, I found that the market has completely switched between 2006 and 2014. In 2006, 65.4 percent of Midland’s homes sold for $159,000 or less, and only 21.6 percent were sold for more than $200,000. In 2014, the number of houses sold below $159,000 made up only 16.6 percent of the market, while houses that sold for more than $200,000 jumped to 67.8 percent. Midland has fundamentally changed.”

“Even now, home builders tell me that if they could get all their homes for 2015 online right this moment, they would not have enough stock for demand and they would continue to build. Big builders such as DR Horton and Betenbough have shown so far this year that they are not slowing down, applying for permits with the city at a similar rate to last year. Their confidence seems reflected in the fact that Midland has not felt a deep cut yet from layoffs in the oil industry.”

“But as the price of oil hovers in the $50 range, can Midland’s real estate market continue to hold out against a drop that feels right around the corner? Would a slowdown or even a drop in real estate prices be good for Midlanders? Do you feel like you paid too much for your home?”

CNBC on Texas. “Another frothy housing market may be on the verge of reversing, but this time it is for a historically classic reason. Houston has been one of the top-performing real estate markets in the nation for several years. Driven by a strong, energy-focused economy, the city, plain and simple, saw job growth push demand. But as oil prices hover at about half their year-ago values, Houston housing is suddenly teetering from its success. ‘Now that oil prices are down, things haven’t completely changed, but let’s just say that they have come to more of a stall,’ said Michele Marano, a real estate agent in the Houston area.”

“It will take significant time for lower oil prices to impact the city’s housing. While Houston companies like Halliburton, ConocoPhillips, Weatherford and Baker Hughes have announced corporate layoffs, it is too soon to see any real change in the real estate market. In previous oil downturns, it has taken 18 months to two years for job losses to affect home prices, according to Trulia’s chief economist, Jed Kolko. ‘For instance, in the 1980s, the largest year-over-year oil price declines were in early and mid-1986. In Houston, job losses were steepest in late 1986. But home prices didn’t slide most until the third quarter of 1987,’ noted Kolko.”

“All eyes are watching the city’s housing, which still appears to be moving. Houston sales and prices hit record highs in 2014, and in January sales were still 6 percent higher than a year ago, and prices jumped 7 percent, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. For now at least, it appears that extremely tight supply is hurting the market far more than oil prices. ‘We still expect to see sales cool as a result of lower oil prices and the limited supply of homes,’ said association Chair Nancy Furst with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties in a monthly release. ‘We’ve already started to see declining townhome and condominium sales.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-14 09:15:04

‘It seems promoters didn’t see they were building at a rate that exceeds demand, he said’

You don’t say.

‘The dramatic fall in oil prices has ended the party for another energy industry — ethanol. Some producers of corn-based ethanol made record profits in 2014, but that’s over. Industry executives now are talking about breaking even or staying slightly profitable.’

‘Cheaper gas affects ethanol producers because they sell into the same fuel market. Most gasoline is 10 percent ethanol. “It’s good for the consumer, but it is getting hard on the industry,” said Brian Kletscher, CEO of farmer-owned Highwater Ethanol, one of five Minnesota-affiliated producers to report record 2014 profits.’

‘Rick Kment, a DTN analyst based in Omaha, Neb., said ethanol plants increased output in 2014, oversupplying the market. Ethanol in U.S. storage climbed to nearly 21 million gallons in late January, a 2 1/2-year high, Kment said. That kept a downward pressure on the price.’

“I think we are going to see production pullbacks — plants not running at capacity — rather than what we saw five to six years ago with plants shutting down and going through bankruptcy,” Kment said in an interview.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-14 09:24:22

‘ended the party’

Funny how many parties and booms and frothy markets are in the same reports of a ‘reversal’. Natural gas, coal, steel, copper iron ore, oil. I’m sure at some point it’ll all be blamed on a commodity bust. Like people still refer to Lehman Brothers like it some sort of financial iceberg. But IMO this big global party would have ended one way or another. These record high this and record profits that are the result of many trillion$ cooked up by central banks and sent round the world looking for yield. This is what the poof looks like.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-14 13:06:14

this big global party would have ended one way or another. These record high this and record profits that are the result of many trillion$ cooked up by central banks and sent round the world looking for yield.

I’m wondering what correlation and/or relationship Central Bankers cooking up trillions chasing yield has with labor losing massive clout in the labor/business relationship.

I’ve read in the 50’s through the mid 80’s, 6-7% profit was the norm in publicly traded companies while wages kept pace with productivity. Now 10-12% profit is the norm at the expense of wages remaining flat or falling.

Would this big global party have been cooked up by the Central Banks if labor had benefited proportionally as it had in the past? I doubt it.

Central Banks are not on the side of anyone but the very rich imo. But if the party was going to end one way or another, I think it would have been a much better party if the average joe made some good money before it ended. And maybe if the average joe had greatly benefited too, the party would not have to end, because a lot more people would have money creating demand.

On a slightly related note, W. Bush was spot-on when he sent those tax rebate checks out directly to the people imo. Putting money in people’s pockets is more along my line of thinking than bailing out banks and Wall Street.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-14 15:38:42


You are about free stuff after all.

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Comment by Shillow
2015-02-15 10:06:55

If you had to do what he has to do to earn a buck, you might be also.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 10:51:18

You are about free stuff after all.

To equate workers’ higher wages and tax rebates with “free stuff” is imbecilic. What is “free” about higher wages and tax rebates?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 12:10:34

And it doesn’t matter how you get the free stuff. Your stock in trade is proof of that.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 12:43:34

What is “free” about higher wages and tax rebates?

Again Housing AngryAnalyst.

What is “free” about higher wages and tax rebates?

You do understand you have to work to get either. So what is “free” about wages and tax rebates?

Do you have the IQ to understand the concept?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 13:02:51

And worse yet, you want a guarantee and backstop…. paid for by someone else.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 14:58:54

you want a guarantee and backstop….

Wages and tax rebates are not guarantees or backstops HA. Wages are earned by work and tax rebates are refunds on taxes paid. They are not “free stuff”.

And worse yet,

What’s worse yet (or worrisome) is that you used to display enough smarts to understand the fairly simple concept.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 15:14:53

No no. You Lola.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 15:41:09

No no. You Lola.

Really? That? You’re not the same.
You’ve become one dimensional and I think you’ve lost a big chunk of cognitive ability. I’m sorry if something is happening bad.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 16:46:51

What are your $500 offers in 2015?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 17:18:59

What are your $500 offers in 2015?

Hey. I’m not a cheater and no women has offered me cash, but if you knew the “offers” I’ve had with Brazilian women you’d hate me even more.

And you’ll like this: A guy 20 years younger winked at me during Carnaval last night while my girl was powdering her nose. I thought it was funny and was not threatened by it in the least. Because I’m not a bigot or repressed like you.

I think you’re jealous of me. ;)

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 17:59:23

Why is it always sexual with you Lola?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 18:22:02

Why is it always sexual with you Lola?

Right. Has your mental capacity declined so much as to not realize that you’re the one constantly making sexual insinuations? And you’re a bigot.

I think you’re jealous of me in combination with increasingly foggy thinking.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 18:26:26

Again Housing AngryAnalyst.

What is “free stuff” about higher wages and tax rebates?

Are you still capable of making a logical argument as you were a few years ago? Or has that time passed along with your middle-age dreams?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 18:27:22

You’re angry again Lola.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 18:38:26

You’re angry again Lola.

And you are sad.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 18:47:04

Pick yourself up and cheer up Lola.

Comment by ocsandrenter
2015-02-14 16:11:16

And maybe if the average joe had greatly benefited too, the party would not have to end, because a lot more people would have money creating demand.

Excellent point. The greedy 1% got so greedy this time they killed the goose that lays the golden eggs, cuz they didn’t want to share any of their newly hatched eggs at all with the bottom 90%.

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Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-14 17:35:12

The Bush checks were money that was already in the system. Far different than QE.

‘they didn’t want to share any of their newly hatched eggs’

A basic concept; you can’t print wealth. In general, it doesn’t matter who gets this new money. An ill effect will result if the sums are large enough. One would be a larger amount of money vying for the same stuff. IMO, this can make those things more expensive, for a time. As we’ve discussed before, a lot of the problems we are seeing is a direct result of some things like oil or coal being higher than they otherwise would have been. Resulting in over-capacity and over-production.

I’m sure there are well written papers that explain all this, but I think it can be summed up like this; if wealth can’t be created by simple making more money exist, then when sizable sums are, those dollars will be squeezed into oblivion, somehow, somewhere. And this is where it gets dangerous. It may be someone way down the road, like a truck driver in an oil field who loses his house. And I’ve wondered here before that if there is a multiplier effect with money, does it work in reverse? If Bernanke conjures up a trillion, does 1.25 trillion go away? This is all why we should consider that when we see economic collapse, like we are seeing now, we should lay the responsibility where it belongs; at these central bankers feet. Otherwise, no connection will be made.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-14 17:53:25

It’s a wealth transfer running at a very low efficiency. Injecting conjured money makes a choice few rich and impoverishes everyone else. Breaking many with debt, like so much chaff blown away.

So, lay the blame at the banker’s feet. Problem is there aren’t any consequences for them, not the way things are.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-14 18:27:52

‘no consequences’

Have you noticed that this particular notion, however truthful it might be, is used by their media minions to compel people to just give up?

Comment by AmazingRuss
2015-02-14 18:35:57

It’s true and people need to know it’s true. It won’t happen immediately, but eventually people will get tired of being f**ked over and seeing their children sold into debt slavery.

It will have to get really bad, but a time will come when the oppressed rise up and smash the system.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 09:34:54

History has not dealt kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums.

– Sir Alan Greenspan

Jim knowed all kinds of signs. He said he knowed most everything. I said it looked to me like all the signs was about bad luck, and so I asked him if there warn’t any good-luck signs. He says:

“Mighty few—an’ dey ain’t no use to a body. What you want to know when good luck’s a-comin’ for? Want to keep it off?” And he said: “Ef you’s got hairy arms en a hairy breas’, it’s a sign dat you’s agwyne to be rich. Well, dey’s some use in a sign like dat, ‘kase it’s so fur ahead. You see, maybe you’s got to be po’ a long time fust, en so you might git discourage’ en kill yo’sef ‘f you didn’ know by de sign dat you gwyne to be rich bymeby.”

“Have you got hairy arms and a hairy breast, Jim?”

“What’s de use to ax dat question? Don’t you see I has?”

“Well, are you rich?”

“No, but I ben rich wunst, and gwyne to be rich agin. Wunst I had foteen dollars, but I tuck to specalat’n', en got busted out.”

“What did you speculate in, Jim?”

“Well, fust I tackled stock.”

“What kind of stock?”

“Why, live stock—cattle, you know. I put ten dollars in a cow. But I ain’ gwyne to resk no mo’ money in stock. De cow up ‘n’ died on my han’s.”

“So you lost the ten dollars.”

“No, I didn’t lose it all. I on’y los’ ’bout nine of it. I sole de hide en taller for a dollar en ten cents.”

“You had five dollars and ten cents left. Did you speculate any more?”

“Yes. You know that one-laigged nigger dat b’longs to old Misto Bradish? Well, he sot up a bank, en say anybody dat put in a dollar would git fo’ dollars mo’ at de en’ er de year. Well, all de niggers went in, but dey didn’t have much. I wuz de on’y one dat had much. So I stuck out for mo’ dan fo’ dollars, en I said ‘f I didn’ git it I’d start a bank mysef. Well, o’ course dat nigger want’ to keep me out er de business, bekase he says dey warn’t business ‘nough for two banks, so he say I could put in my five dollars en he pay me thirty-five at de en’ er de year.

“So I done it. Den I reck’n'd I’d inves’ de thirty-five dollars right off en keep things a-movin’. Dey wuz a nigger name’ Bob, dat had ketched a wood-flat, en his marster didn’ know it; en I bought it off’n him en told him to take de thirty-five dollars when de en’ er de year come; but somebody stole de wood-flat dat night, en nex day de one-laigged nigger say de bank’s busted. So dey didn’ none uv us git no money.”

“What did you do with the ten cents, Jim?”

“Well, I ‘uz gwyne to spen’ it, but I had a dream, en de dream tole me to give it to a nigger name’ Balum—Balum’s Ass dey call him for short; he’s one er dem chuckleheads, you know. But he’s lucky, dey say, en I see I warn’t lucky. De dream say let Balum inves’ de ten cents en he’d make a raise for me. Well, Balum he tuck de money, en when he wuz in church he hear de preacher say dat whoever give to de po’ len’ to de Lord, en boun’ to git his money back a hund’d times. So Balum he tuck en give de ten cents to de po’, en laid low to see what wuz gwyne to come of it.”

“Well, what did come of it, Jim?”

“Nuffn never come of it. I couldn’ manage to k’leck dat money no way; en Balum he couldn’. I ain’ gwyne to len’ no mo’ money ‘dout I see de security. Boun’ to git yo’ money back a hund’d times, de preacher says! Ef I could git de ten cents back, I’d call it squah, en be glad er de chanst.”

“Well, it’s all right anyway, Jim, long as you’re going to be rich again some time or other.”

“Yes; en I’s rich now, come to look at it. I owns mysef, en I’s wuth eight hund’d dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn’ want no mo’.”

– Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn (dialogue on the consequences of speculative greed)

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-14 12:04:17

‘It seems promoters didn’t see they were building at a rate that exceeds demand, he said’

The US has been overbuilding for two decades. Only fools and degenerate gamblers are blind to it.

Comment by rosie from the north
2015-02-14 13:16:14

CMHC is a crown corporation at arms length from the Federal Govt. (so they say). They have a vested interest in playing down the severity of the correction now going on in Canada. They insured 600 billion worth of mortgages and we, the taxpayers are on the hook for any defaults. Mind you Canada is a recourse jurisdiction but if thousands bail, what can they do? Sounds familiar, eh.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 18:08:02

The US has been overbuilding for two decades.

OK. Show us, don’t just spout angry stuff.

The USA population has increased about 70 million in two decades - more than the entire population of France. USA apartment vacancy is less than 6%. House vacancy rate is about 11% with much of the vacancies in dying cities and towns. Much of that 11% is getting very old. Many growing metro areas show vacancy rates of less than 4%.

You could be right but show us the math.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 18:25:59

Data Lola. Stick with the data.

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Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 18:39:26

Data Lola. Stick with the data.

You never have any. lol

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 18:48:59


You forgot the ‘a’ lola.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 18:53:38

You forgot the ‘a’ lola.

So here: Lola Lola Lola

They are my brothers as much as you are. They are God’s children. God bless Lolas.


Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 18:57:46

Keep going. You’ve got alot to get right with Lola.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 19:09:26

You’ve got alot to get right with Lola.

Is what I have to “get right with” like your general housing opinions being wrong for 7 years?

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 19:32:28

‘your general housing opinions being wrong for 7 years’

So at the beginning of 2008, his opinions were wrong? Shoot, that was just when things were getting interesting.

‘Foreclosure filings surpassed 3 million in 2008, setting a record that has Washington, D.C., policymakers calling for more aggressive efforts this year to aid troubled homeowners.’

‘Foreclosures last year were up 81% from 2007 and 225% from 2006, according to a report out today from RealtyTrac. Banks repossessed more than 850,000 properties in 2008 compared with about 404,000 in 2007.’

‘Houses in some stage of foreclosure totaled 303,410 in December, up 17% from the previous month and up nearly 41% from December 2007.’

“That was a surprise,” says Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “These filings came despite (foreclosure) moratoriums. There was no way we were expecting a near-record month, and I believe January will be a record-setting month. We’re in for a very difficult year.”

‘Foreclosures and default notices hit new highs for California and the Bay Area in 2008, according to a real estate report released Tuesday. A total of 236,231 homes statewide, or 2.8 percent of all the state’s housing stock, were repossessed by banks last year, according to the report from real estate information service MDA DataQuick of San Diego. In the nine-county Bay Area, lenders took back 35,709 homes, or 2 percent of all homes and condos.’

“This was a misery-packed year for a whole lot of people who bought homes at the height of the real estate market,” said Andrew LePage, an analyst with DataQuick.’

‘More misery lies in wait for thousands, judging by the increases in default notices - the first step in the foreclosure process. Statewide in 2008, 404,952 homeowners were notified that they were in default, generally at least three months behind on payments. In the Bay Area, 61,347 households received the notices. Both numbers were about 60 percent higher than a year ago.’

‘Ana and Juan Carlos Rodriguez are among Bay Area residents hoping their default notices won’t result in the loss of their home. The San Mateo couple had high hopes when they bought a two-bedroom condo three years ago. Previously, they had lived in a poorly heated garage. Their mortgage broker told them their payments would be fixed for five years at $2,411 a month.’

“My surprise was when two years passed, I see in my bill, it says it’s going to increase $500 the next month,” Ana Rodriguez said. “I said, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ Then I see it’s going to increase $500 every six months.”

‘The couple, who work as a housecleaner and painter, managed to scrape up the extra money for about a year. But when the economy started going south, so did their incomes. They went from earning about $5,200 a month to about $3,100. Now they owe $384,000 on a condo worth about $337,000.’

Prices took off in 2012, largely due to the government and central banks, and their hedge fund buddies who went on a buying spree, outbidding everyone in sight with cheap wall street money. Ran prices up to unsustainable levels and now foreclosures are skyrocketing again, largely because HAMP/HARP interest rates reset. Check out my blog post tomorrow for yet another FB and speculators trying to dump their shacks onto the general public with government backed loans.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 19:56:30

No opinions Lola. Data. Stick with the data.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 20:13:06

Prices took off in 2012, largely due to the government and central banks, and their hedge fund buddies who went on a buying spree, outbidding everyone in sight with cheap wall street money.

I agree. And it sucks and probably will end badly for many. And unlike you and others, HA adds nothing but rude invectives to the debate. And he paints with too wide a brush. As if California has “overbuilt” for 2 decades. It has not. I lived there for 22 years and it was totally under built in the desirable spots in 08 when I left. HA has lost much of the intellectual firepower he ever had. HA cheapens your blog imo. Calling bigoted names is no substitute for rational debate.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 20:16:55

No opinions Lola. Data. Stick with the data.

OK. I do but you don’t .


Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 20:32:27

That chart is shit. From what I just posted, does it appear prices were rocketing up in 2007? Keep your head down rio, I don’t like you as it is.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 21:21:58

‘As if California has “overbuilt” for 2 decades. It has not.’

It seems like the overbuilding didn’t really go into overdrive until the early 2000s. Agreed it was less than two decades ago, but definitely over a decade by now.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-15 18:46:52

The US has been overbuilding for two decades.

You’re the one that always says housing deteriorates eventually. (Which it mostly does.) So show us that the USA has overbuilt in the face of 70 million being added to the USA population in two decades.

I don’t think you have the capacity anymore to support your arguments. Sorry. Someone needs to tell you the truth.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 18:56:06

Data Lola data.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-15 21:14:21

“the truth”

Truth is that the fantasy is falling apart. Brazil Rising was a mirage. Your take on it was totally wrong, as is now evident. Corruption, credit, World Games and an open sewer. Mardi Gras blowout, next comes Lent.

“I can sell anytime”. LOL.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-20 19:41:04

Truth is that the fantasy is falling apart. Brazil Rising was a mirage.

Tell that to my net-worth. LOL

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 09:27:58

‘The dramatic fall in oil prices has ended the party for another energy industry — ethanol. Some producers of corn-based ethanol made record profits in 2014, but that’s over. Industry executives now are talking about breaking even or staying slightly profitable.’

There you go again, ignoring the oil price collapse (rechanneling Dude)…

Comment by dude
2015-02-14 12:05:31

Anybody else noticed how deafening the silence is from the oil bears on the blog these days?

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 10:01:09

There goes another side bubble, farmland.

Comment by dude
2015-02-15 12:23:44

I call it like I see it, and it certainly wasn’t a dig on BJ. I profoundly appreciate his work here.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 17:45:26

Well you mentioned AlbqDan. Since he decided to stop serving up a steady diet of one-sided perspectives on the oil market, there are a lot fewer strawmen on the HBB to shoot down.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 17:50:41

I see a trend of moving toward zero tolerance for pimping anything here.

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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 18:47:55

And that gets to the real problem of AlbqDan’s posts. It wasn’t like he had nothing useful to say. But the repetitive one-sided perspective on the same list of subjects (e.g. 7.5 pct China GDP growth, or was it 7.0 pct?) led some of us to think he was a paid prostitute.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-15 19:18:48

Obsession is it’s own reward.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 20:00:09

7%…. That fell from 13.5%. Much like $100/bbl oil that fell to 50%.

These two data points seem to cause angst when they’re discussed.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 21:24:02

“These two data points seem to cause angst when they’re discussed.”

Not really. All that is required is for the guys who were previously talking about 13.5% growth and $100/bbl oil to repeatedly claim they were predicting 7% and $50/bbl oil all along.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 21:55:35

More POOF!

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 21:56:35

Craig Stephen’s This Week in China
Opinion: Watch out: Yuan plunge is possible, warn analysts
Published: Feb 15, 2015 9:52 p.m. ET
China has no plan to devalue, but this may be out of its control
By Craig Stephen
The Chinese character for “yuan.” The unit is also known as the “renminbi,” which means “the people’s currency.”

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — When it comes to China’s currency, consensus opinion is typically formed around what the government tells us. When it says the yuan will not be devalued, it means it. Betting against the stated policy of Beijing or its central bank has rarely been a profitable move.

But some analysts are now warning investors to position for the unexpected: a sudden and sharp devaluation of the yuan.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research warns in a new report that it sees a “non-negligible” risk that China’s government will surprise the market by slashing the value of its currency.

To reach this conclusion requires not just a hard-nosed appraisal of China’s economic numbers, but also to consider the unthinkable, namely that Beijing might actually lose control of the situation.

The story so far this year for China’s economy has been one of steadily worsening data and seemingly ineffective stimulus. As well as suffering shrinking exports, the economy edged closer to outright deflation in January after the consumer price index fell to a five-year low inflation rate of 0.8%.

Beijing’s traditional levers to stoke the economy no longer appear to be working.

Despite cuts in interest rates and bank-reserve requirements, as well as bank lending surging to five-and-a-half year highs in January, authorities are struggling to stop liquidity contracting. On Friday, it was revealed that broad M2 money supply had grown just 10.8% in January from a year earlier, the slowest rate of growth since records began in 1998.

It looks like efforts to add liquidity are wasted in the face of persistent capital outflows and existing high debt levels. Fiscal policy, meanwhile, has limits due to restraints on local-government debt levels.

Bank of America concludes that yuan depreciation is one of the few tools left for China to ensure it gets a good share of global demand and meets its growth and jobs targets.

Still, for Beijing to go down this route means a major and unexpected policy reversal.

Indeed, Bank of America questions whether explicitly raising the prospect of devaluation is, on its own, alarmist. The analysts’ devaluation scenario arises from the possibility Chinese policy makers may effectively lose control of the situation.

This might sound unlikely, given the degree to which Beijing’s form of state-capitalism extends firm control over the economy and financial markets. But Bank of America contends the state’s iron rule may contain the seeds of such an unexpected policy reversal.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-14 09:36:56


‘Anglo American Plc, which produces metal and minerals from Africa to Brazil, wrote down assets by $3.9 billion after commodity prices fell, eroding full-year profit by more than 17 percent. Anglo lowered by $3.5 billion the value of its Minas Rio iron-ore unit, which began output in October after delays and cost overruns. It also recorded a charge of almost $500 million at its coal units. Prices of iron ore slid 47 percent last year as a wave of new supplies from Australia compounded a glut of the steel-making raw material.’

‘The company last year also wrote down $1.9 billion from the value of its assets.’

‘The company’s return on capital dropped to 8 percent in 2014 from 11 percent a year earlier, mainly because of declining commodity prices, Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani said in a phone interview Friday. That figure would be 14 percent to 15 percent last year under 2013 prices and with the reduced capital value after the impairment charges, he said.’

‘Cutifani set a target in 2013 to increase the return on capital to 15 percent by the end of 2016 and sell assets that are dragging down the average. Anglo is seeking to sell some of its coal interests in South Africa and Australia, along with four platinum mines in South Africa and three copper mines and a smelter in Chile.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-14 10:25:25

OT, but I had to get a new smartphone due to equipment damage. A plus is I can now moderate this blog more easily. I caused me to think that a mobile version of this blog might be helpful. Please respond here if you use a smartphone/tablet to view this blog and if so, would a more mobile friendly format be useful?

Comment by HB Reader
2015-02-14 10:49:55

Honestly, the existing format works pretty well with both my iOS and Android devices. Reading both the blog and comments is very easy, and I’m not sure any changes need to be made.

Comment by prime+1
2015-02-14 10:57:39

Same. I read this on a galaxy tab 8.4 with no issues.

Comment by Jingle Male
2015-02-15 04:32:27

I read and post from my droid all the time. It works great as it is for me, too.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-14 11:16:43


Comment by Claudius Maximus
2015-02-14 16:46:42

I read this blog on my iPhone most of the time…would love a mobile friendly version.

Comment by k1v1n
2015-02-15 06:53:12

I read you on a tablet and also a smartphone. The web version works just fine.

Comment by ibbots
2015-02-15 07:54:37

Samsung s5 andriod user here. Current format works well.

Comment by scdave
2015-02-15 09:17:39

I read as much on my phone as I do on my laptop…Just can’t post from my phone…

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-15 09:36:39

I do some of my reading and comments on my phone (e.g. when I am trying to wake my sons up at 5am weekdays). So it could be useful for me. Thanks!

Comment by Shillow
2015-02-15 10:13:22

I think it works great as is. Ipad mostly.

Comment by dude
2015-02-15 12:21:03

I do, and it would thanks.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-14 10:53:54

Corruption and a commodities bubble…it’s all fun and games until somebody gets their head cut off.

“The five defendants were sentenced to death, another five were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, four to life imprisonment and 22 to imprisonment of different terms.”

“Liu Han was board chairman of the Hanlong Group, the biggest private enterprise in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. He owned subsidiary companies in the electricity, energy, finance, mining, real estate and securities industries.”


“Mr. Liu, a little-known Chinese business mogul, is the primary financier for a $1.3 billion plan to blast the top off a hill called Mount Hope just north of Eureka to remove its lode of metal called molybdenum.”


“Investigators have linked Liu to the son of a much more powerful establishment figure: Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security chief. That’s fueling rumors that Zhou may become the highest-profile target yet in China’s widening investigations of corrupt party officials.

“China’s President Xi Jinping famously vowed to take down both “tigers” and “flies” at the launch of a nationwide anti-graft campaign. Liu’s highly sensationalized downfall may only be the prelude to a much bigger trial to come.”


Comment by In Colorado
2015-02-15 09:26:45

Looks like he didn’t expat himself in time. I guess there was another billion to be make in China, or so he thought.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-14 11:31:32

More on the worlds’s biggest den of corruption, which will take “generations” to clean up.

“…for the Chinese Communist Party to retain its Mandate of Heaven (its Tian Ming) it must clean up its act.

“Onlookers from outside still don’t fully understand this is the largest wealth transfer the world has yet seen and what it means for China. This is why China still has not and will not properly rebound despite many years of consolidation which many banks thought would be over by now.

“Often the transfers of excess capital from excess production ended up in Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, the US, as property renters and owners in places such as Vancouver (or middle class workers in Hong Kong!) know only too well. In the case of certain key officials who remain in China, like General Xu Caihou, a retired PLA officer, it appeared their stash was closer to home, given the mountains of cash, gold and jade confiscated.

“How twisted the irony is that history’s largest wealth transfer came from CCP members turning Marx and Lenin on their heads several times over. To understand the full extent of this endemic corruption one cannot simply look at individual stories of this general or that CEO. One needs to look at the patterns.

“And not only the patterns but the drivers. It has not been only the general, but often also the assistant generals who were named as replacements. And it wasn’t only the CEO, but the assistant CEOs and even the secretarial staff supporting the CEO. It wasn’t necessarily or only the senior official, but the entire family and relatives of the family. It wasn’t only a few families, but entire swaths of families and relatives.”


Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-14 11:43:59

How to end a Miracle in 70,000 easy steps.

“A total of 71,748 Chinese officials were punished in 2014 for violating the eight-point anti-graft rules…

“China also brought back from overseas over 500 fugitive corrupt officials and recovered more than 3 billion Yuan (483 million dollars) in a campaign targeting those that had fled the country,’’


Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 06:51:49

‘Some banks and mortgage companies like to advertise that their loans have low or no closing costs and will disguise how the borrower will pay for the costs that a new loan requires. The fact of the matter is that it costs money to originate a loan and that cost must ultimately be borne by the borrower.’

‘Originating a loan involves dozens of professional and clerical workers spending countless hours, having an untold number of conversations, creating and checking hundreds of typed pages of instructions and documents.’

‘It is the borrower who must ultimately pay the costs of these services. When it comes to paying the closing costs, the borrower has choices. Put simply, it is pay now or possibly pay more later.’

‘For example, a lender might make an offer to pay all of the borrower’s non recurring closing costs but charge 4 percent, which would result in a mortgage payment of $1,910. However, if the borrower is willing to pay the closing costs, his/her rate could drop to 3.75 percent, which would result in a mortgage payment of $1,852 for a savings of $58 per month. The increase in payments (if the loan is kept for 30 years) would be more than $20,000. Compare that to the $4,500 that could have been paid at the time the loan was originated.’

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 07:33:58

Smoke, mirrors, fraud and misrepresentation by every one of these characters. From realtors to mortgage pimps and everyone in between.

Is it really worth the lifetime of irrecoverable losses?

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 07:40:49

‘SAN JOSE — It was at a similar moment more than three decades ago — with a new mayor just settling into City Hall — that a grand plan was devised for reanimating the decaying corpse of the city’s once bustling downtown. A river of redevelopment money that would swell to nearly $2 billion flooded into projects that would be pillars of a glittering new downtown.’

‘The missing teeth of empty downtown storefronts, the rotting flesh of porn and prostitution, the curdled smile of drug dealers: All of those would be swept away by the San Jose Arena, a massive convention center and the upscale Fairmont Hotel — plus an encircling “transit mall” to bring residents flocking back from the ‘burbs to inhabit the city center’s billion-dollar bones.’

‘So the planners planned, and the builders built. But the people have mostly stayed away, leaving a corpse with elegant bone structure.’

‘Now, with Sam Liccardo taking office, and huge cranes raising the roof on a high-rise housing boom, downtown San Jose once again appears poised for renewal. Liccardo points to the 2,500 housing units that will come on the market in the next two years, with developers of high-rise towers such as One South Market and Centerra “making significant bets on the viability of downtown as a residential neighborhood,” he says. “These are folks who don’t make bets foolishly.”

‘The last time developers attempted to anticipate a downtown renaissance, they “walked into a buzz saw” caused by the Great Recession, says commercial real estate broker Mark Ritchie. Buildings such as Axis and The 88 took years to fill up, and the developer of 360 Residences was forced to sell the property at a loss.’

‘Further fueling the grim narrative of a city with a failing heart was the absence of jobs: Downtown San Jose has a base of about 36,000 jobs, compared with downtown Oakland’s 80,000, and San Francisco’s more than 300,000 — even though it is the Bay Area’s most populous city. San Jose remains the only large U.S. city that is a net exporter of workers, according to the urban think tank SPUR.’

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 08:04:17

“These are folks who don’t make bets foolishly.”

Degenerate gamblers wager. Then lose their a$$.

San Jose, CA Sale Prices Crater 10% YoY; Housing Demand Falls 4 Years Straight Statewide


Comment by Royal Jelly
2015-02-15 08:44:20

“… a grand plan was devised for reanimating the decaying corpse of the city’s once bustling downtown. A river of redevelopment money that would swell to nearly $2 billion flooded into projects that would be pillars of a glittering new downtown.”

I like to think of this river of money as P.T Barnum money.

“So the planners planned, and the builders built.”

And we Anointed Ones got our cut

“These are folks who don’t make bets foolishly.”

Have any of you ignorant pukes ever noticed how every story, just as with every joke, has a punch line?

Comment by scdave
2015-02-15 09:32:48

‘The last time developers attempted to anticipate a downtown renaissance, they “walked into a buzz saw” caused by the Great Recession ??

Yep…unfortunate bad timing…They are making another run at it…This time with even bigger bets…Companies are starting to locate downtown…Very big apartment complexes are going up all around the core…They have Cal Train…Light Rail and in another 7 years BART…Then, the big enchilada…The Oakland A’s…

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-15 19:20:18

When I run into a buzz saw, I tend to go some other way the next time.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 08:40:48

‘Want to rebalance New York City’s real estate market? Start by fixing this tax’

‘Capture more of multi-million dollar sales — and slash the levy for middle-income buyers’

BY Anthony Weiner

‘The New York Times has been publishing a series of articles that put some flesh on a phenomenon that even casual observers of Big Apple’s real estate already had a grasp on: Some of the priciest condos in the world are being snapped up by astronomically rich foreigners looking for safe places to park their money.’

‘But even the “oh wow” parts of the stories — detailing how many purchases are made through shell companies and that some of the big-shot buyers are not the most savory people — have been met with a yawn by jaded industry players and most New Yorkers.’

‘I’m not especially alarmed myself. While it may seem nauseating to see an oil-rich potentate snapping up a park view penthouse that he will never live in, that’s the way our city and economy function at the ultra-high end.’

‘Given the explosion in prices at the very top of the market, it is crazy that the fees are not more progressive. So here is my proposal: First, eliminate the fee entirely for residential sales up to $500,000. These are true middle-class homes nowadays, and buyers could use the break.’

Comment by Trapper
2015-02-15 09:35:47

When I lived in New York State (outside of NYC) there was a state tax based on the size of the mortgage you took out that was added into the closing costs. This state tax would be due again every time you refinanced the property. This is one of the reasons closing on home loan or refinance was almost twice as expensive in New York State as other states that I have lived and purchased in.
…Of course, if you are wealthy and buying without a mortgage, you avoid this pesky tax that only the little people pay.

Comment by scdave
2015-02-15 14:14:01

was a state tax based on the size of the mortgage you took out ??

Tax the masses…Thats how they raise the most friggen revenue…Most people have a mortgage…The very wealthy do not…Better tax would be a progressive (not a flat) transfer tax….Tax the crap out of those foreign investors stashing their cash in U.S. Real Estate…

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 08:48:09

‘Delhi-based builder Kabul Chawla, who is alleged to have invested in an expensive condo in New York in 2012 even as his real estate projects in India suffered delays, has sold a 575 square yard bungalow in Delhi’s posh Golf Links area.’

‘The builder’s name figured in a New York Times investigative article published earlier this week which talked about global money fueling the property boom in New York.’

According to the article, the investigation found that two-thirds of the 192 condos in just one complex, the Time Warner Center, are owned through shell companies, one of which has links with Chawla. The article highlighted that the company has not been able to deliver many of its real estate projects on time to home buyers. BPTP is also in the process of selling an office building in Gurgaon, where it has its headquarters.’

‘People aware of the deal said the bungalow has been sold for Rs 65 crore (registered price). Real estate agents, however, say properties of this size in the Golf Links area have been sold for anywhere between Rs 85 and Rs 90 crore in recent times.’

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-15 08:57:21

‘City council chambers were jammed Tuesday with Southwest San Angelo residents concerned about a proposed apartment community for low- to moderate-income families. Outlook at Valleyview, an 80-unit gated community planned for the 2900 block of Valleyview Boulevard, would provide rental housing between $400 and $800 a month to qualifying tenants.’

‘Kevin Albright was one of dozens contributing to a heated discussion. “People bought homes during the oil boom and they will be underwater,” Albright said. “This will lower the value of $250,000 to $300,000 homes.”

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-15 09:17:57

“People bought homes during the oil boom and they will be underwater,”

They’ll be underwater regardless if they aren’t already. Like Suze Orman told some dimwit last night, “sell your house NOW”.

Comment by AmazingRuss
2015-02-15 22:00:09

“I got myself screwed, and I demand that the government makes sure everyone else gets screwed just as hard”

Comment by Shillow
2015-02-15 10:19:47

Have the property tax collectors been ramping up the assessed values in light of the runup? I recently noticed some assessed tax values on Zillow that were exceptionally low in light of the last 3 years’ runup. If I were the tax man, I’d be getting busy.

Comment by scdave
2015-02-15 14:21:01

If I were the tax man, I’d be getting busy ??

Oh they won’t miss the opportunity…Prior to Prop#13 in California, what they did was divide the county up in sections…Lets say, 8 different sections maybe less depending on the number of parcels of land…Then, each year, they would reassess a section…Bad news was it was your turn…Good news was they would not come back around for another 8 years…It sucked, because the bad news was worse than the good news…Prop#13 put a stop to it…TABOR in Colorado did also…

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