February 26, 2015

Accelerating The Burst Of The Bubble

Bloomberg reports on Denmark. “Here’s an example of some of the twists and turns that economies with negative rates might need to gird for. Seven years after Denmark’s property bubble burst, house prices in the country’s biggest cities are already higher than at any point in recorded history. Meanwhile, banks are trying to figure out how to navigate their way through the first auctions that will probably result in investors paying homeowners to borrow. In the leafy Copenhagen district of Frederiksberg, an average 140 square-meter (1,500 square-foot) house costs 1.8 million kroner ($275,000) more today than it did in 2009, according to Nybolig, a unit of Nykredit. That’s about 676,000 kroner more than at the height of Denmark’s real estate boom, which topped in 2007 and burst a year later.”

“House prices plunged about 20 percent from their peak through to their 2013 trough, triggering a community bank crisis and sending the economy into a recession. Realkredit Danmark’s 1 percent mortgage bond due April 2016 traded at about minus 0.6 percent on Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its yield has been below zero since the end of January. Nykredit and Nordea say it makes no sense to offer new loans backed by bonds with negative rates, while Realkredit Danmark, the mortgage unit of Danske Bank, says it will continue issuance.”

“Swedes eager to buy a home in Stockholm must play by a new rule: Bid on the apartment before it’s shown to the public. The pace of housing sales in the capital city has quickened so much that buyers often have to make a deal almost immediately after the property is listed. The central bank’s move on Feb. 12 — lowering its benchmark rate to minus 0.1 percent for the first time in its 347-year history — threatens to further stoke demand in the housing market.”

“Hours after taking interest rates below zero, Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves told Bloomberg TV that other policy makers need to tame household debt while the central bank focuses on deflation. ‘There are a number of things that others can do in order to ensure that things don’t get out of hand on the mortgage side,’ Ingves said. ‘Our households are borrowing too much, and the market is moving up, in my view, too rapidly.’”

The Globe and Mail in Canada. “Winnipeg, Montreal and Moncton are grappling with a surplus of unsold condo units driven by a surge in new construction and a dwindling supply of first-time buyers in the wake of Ottawa’s decision in June, 2012, to limit mortgage insurance to amortization periods of 25 years or less from 30 years. In Regina and Saskatoon, the number of unsold housing units hit a 30-year high, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation said, the majority of them condos. Winnipeg has also seen a surge of new condo construction since 2012.”

“Montreal in particular has been grappling with a glut of unsold condos for the past two years as builders haven’t scaled back their plans in the wake of softening demand. There are now nearly 20 condo sellers for every one buyer in Quebec City and downtown Montreal, said Hélène Bégin, chief economist at Desjardins Group.”

“In downtown Montreal, a joint venture backed by Chinese investors recently broke ground on one of the city’s most ambitious condo projects, a two-phase, 800-unit project known as YUL Condominiums. ‘This is a world-class city which is still not seen as a condo market,’ said Steve Di Fruscia, CEO of Tianco Group, the Vancouver-based company developing the project with Montreal’s Brivia Group. ‘It’s just a question of time to get the local community out of the rental market and into [condos].’”

The Malaysia Chronicle. “Malaysia’s biggest reclamation project is raising concerns over a potential oversupply of homes in Johor, marine environmental damage in the Strait of Johor and the effect it may have on the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen. Some residents are making known what they think of Chinese developer Country Garden’s ambitious plan to raise four islands that total nearly three times the size of Sentosa at their doorstep.”

“Mr Samuel Tan, executive director of KGV International Property Consultants, said about 90,000 units are expected to be built by 2017. ‘Many developers in the area are already pulling their brakes. Some may cancel their plans,’ he said. Johor MP Liew Chin Tong from the opposition Democratic Action Party said: ‘There is already massive oversupply of high-end housing in Iskandar. This massive reclamation is going to accelerate the burst of the bubble… it doesn’t make economic sense.’”

Reuters on China. “The area of land used in new property developments in China fell by a quarter last year compared with 2013, state news agency Xinhua said, highlighting the extent of the country’s housing downturn. Land allocated to new real estate developments dropped 25.5 per cent last year to 151,000 hectares from 2013, Xinhua said, citing data from the Ministry of Land and Resources.”

“Squeezed by weakening demand and a glut of unsold homes, China’s property market started softening last year. Data earlier this month showed average new home prices in China’s major cities fell for the ninth consecutive month in January.”

The Australian. “Some of Australia’s most prestigious — and inflated — housing markets could come under pressure, with the government unveiling new fees and penalties for foreign buyers purchasing property. Melbourne real estate agent Jun Lu described the changes as ’short-sighted’ and the ‘wrong strategy.’ but said they would neither deter foreign investors nor fulfil the government’s purported aim of keeping houses affordable for Australian buyers. ‘This will not deter foreign investors from buying in Australia, but it will send a bad signal to the world, particularly China,’ Ms Lu said. ‘It’s saying Australia is not welcoming to investors. For most of these foreign investors, $5000 is nothing, so it won’t deter them, but it will have a long-term impact in making them think, ‘what’s the next step?’”

“As has been revealed by The Australian, the laws that prevent foreign investors buying established homes in Australia (in all but a handful of circumstances) are not being enforced. The Foreign Investment Review Board has failed to prosecute a single investor since 2006 and has not forced the sale of an ­illegally bought home since 2008. The FIRB has issued only 17 divest­ment orders in 11 years, during which time foreigners bought almost 30,000 established homes worth more than $23 billion.”

ABC in Australia. “A research company has found it is a renters’ market in Darwin, with prices diving in the past year and the number of vacant properties more than doubling. Managing director of SQM Research Louis Christopher said even with the big drop, prices in Darwin were still high. He said he thought rents could drop even further as Darwin’s commodity-driven economy weakened due to a softer mining and commodities sector.”

“Northern Territory Real Estate Institute’s CEO Quentin Kilian said the December 2014 report showed a jump in vacancies and a slump in rental prices, thanks to a saturated property market. ‘One of the reasons in the unit market is we’ve seen a large number of units come into marketplace over the last 12 months,’ he said. ‘That could have been driven by developers’ expectations several years ago of an influx of Inpex workers in the project’s early stages.’”

“However he said the number of Inpex workers looking to buy or rent was less than many expected, as workers tended to stay in temporary purpose-built workers’ villages. ‘The Inpex workforce they were hoping would come and populate those apartment isn’t doing that,’ Mr Kilian said. ‘There has not been the population growth that was expected. Therefore there is an increase in supply, but not an increased demand to go with it.’”

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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 03:46:20

“Seven years after Denmark’s property bubble burst, house prices in the country’s biggest cities are already higher than at any point in recorded history.”

Rather than a U.S.-only phenomenon, apparently the Echo Bubble is global.

Scary times!

Comment by Jingle Male
2015-02-26 23:09:48

“Hours after taking interest rates below zero…..”

PB…does this look like an inverse yield curve?

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-27 00:46:18

No. But then it seems likely that the only reason it doesn’t invert is because of QE and/or short rates indefinitely pinned to the zero bound. That’s why I don’t believe the Fed will have the nerve to follow through with tightening plans later this year.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 03:51:15

“Squeezed by weakening demand and a glut of unsold homes, China’s property market started softening last year. Data earlier this month showed average new home prices in China’s major cities fell for the ninth consecutive month in January.”

China housing seems to always go down, month in, month out.

Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 07:13:25

It’s like a massive slow motion train wreck in China, and we’re still only at the squealing brakes stage.

Comment by ocsandrenter
2015-02-26 07:32:54

“‘we’re still only at the squealing brakes stage”

I got a feelin’ that we’re all going to remember the impact stage until the day we all die. In fact, it may accelerate that day, unfortunately, for a lot of us.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 11:23:52

Apparently, Apple is not anticipating an imminent collapse in China:


Comment by oxide
2015-02-26 12:14:18

A colleague is still in touch with friends in southeastern Europe. Few of them can afford big expenses like houses or cars, so they enjoy low-level splurges on new iTech toys. I suspect the Chinese will do the same.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 15:39:57

Chinese car sales were up about 9% in 2014 to about 24 million so there appears to be plenty of money for them too.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 07:45:33

The total year on year drop is less than 5%, some crash.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-26 07:58:12

’some crash’

I’ve found many reports from Chinese media documenting 30-40-50% declines in some projects. What are the losses in the 50 odd empty cities? Total?

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-26 08:45:39

I was thinking about their losses on commodities stockpiles. It has to be at least $50 billion just for copper bars. Add to that steel, coal, cotton and all the rest that have crashed 50%. The total is conceivably a number with “trillion” behind it. It’s Epoch. And it’s all leveraged.

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Comment by scdave
2015-02-26 09:02:42

And it’s all leveraged ??

Yeah…Remember when they were buying as much iron ore and copper as they could…We would read that they are buying so much that they must be stockpiling it…Whats that stockpile worth now ?? You don’t need it for consumption and its worth 50-cents on the dollar on what you paid…oouch…

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 09:06:35

…. just like housing.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 08:03:48

Correction 5.1% under the latest numbers, so fairly looking at this story we see less land sold due to less construction but land prices continue to go up, since inflation in China is as low as the U.S. they have a lot more room to cut interest rates since their interest rates are 6.5%+ and while the article does not state it, that is probably for the typical mortgage in China which is for ten years. China has all kind of levers to avoid price declines, we have interest rates below what they should be, stagnant wages and we do not have hundreds of millions of peasant farmers waiting to move to the cities, article from China Daily:

Local governments sold much less land for real estate development last year as the property sector hit a rough patch, casting a shadow over their financial condition.

New home construction used 151,000 hectares of land in 2014, plummeting 25.5 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a report.

Earlier data released by the ministry showed land sales revenue still grew by 3.2 percent, but it was a sharp decline from the 44.6 percent rise in revenues generated the previous year during a boom in the property market.

The growth in revenue for a shrinking land area suggests land prices nationwide increased last year. Official data did not show prices in specific areas, but private researcher China Index Academy found that land prices in first-tier cities soared 41 percent, while second-tier cities registered a slump of 4 percent and in third-tier cities it fell 2 percent.

The contraction in land sales is particularly painful for governments in smaller cities and hinterland regions where governments found it increasingly difficult to sell land to developers who fear oversupply in those markets.

“Local governments in small cities have sold massive volumes of land. They prefer building a new city instead of redeveloping old urban areas, which is much more costly,” said Huang Yu, vice-president of the academy.

Compared with the same period last year, new home prices in January declined in 64 cities among the 70 cities surveyed by the National Bureau of Statistics, which translates into a 5.1 percent year-on-year decline, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The stall in housing prices is strengthening the case for monetary easing, according to analysts. They said policymakers will soon roll out a slew of stimulus policies-not necessarily targeting the property market exclusively but in effect providing a boost to the market, which include an interest rate cut and lower bank reserve ratio requirements.

Tom Orlik, a Bloomberg analyst, said falling land sales, new construction and prices reflect the limited impact of policy changes on the cost of credit. Average rates for mortgage loans were 6.25 percent at the end of 2014, only fractionally down from 6.54 percent at the beginning of the year.

“That reinforces our view that a second rate cut is on the way,” he said.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 08:33:37

“The stall in housing prices is strengthening the case for monetary easing, according to analysts. They said policymakers will soon roll out a slew of stimulus policies-not necessarily targeting the property market exclusively but in effect providing a boost to the market, which include an interest rate cut and lower bank reserve ratio requirements.”

I think this is the key passage, the Chinese government is not targeting house prices like we did with first time home buyer’s credit but trying to keep the economy growing at 7% and indirectly supporting housing with a strong economy. It is what we should have done in 2009 and did not do causing the weakest post WWII recovery.

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Comment by pazuzu
2015-02-26 17:14:56

Albuquerque: “I think this is the key passage…”


Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 10:08:22

Even a 5pct drop in prices can be significant when massive leverage is in play. And as Ben mentioned, many of the losses far exceed the somewat irrelevant 5pct YOY loss figure you mentioned.

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Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 10:45:11

The Chinese are putting down 30% on first homes and 60% on second homes, what massive leverage?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 12:02:13

The massive leverage as a result of paying massively inflated prices.

Comment by Rental Watch
2015-02-27 02:09:23

And I’ve read stories of local governments lending money to developers so the developers can buy their land at the same prices…as usual, the numbers coming out of China are impossible to believe.

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Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 08:05:14

This is only the first year. An avalanche begins with the movement of a few snowflakes, grasshopper.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 08:26:42

Too bad that all the figures show a smaller and smaller decline every month, a few months ago all 70 cities were showing a decline, now we are down to 64.

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Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 08:50:48

Too bad indeed.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 10:04:13

Always the optimist!

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 07:54:36

More Reaganomics to the rescue from China Daily:

BEIJING — The State Council, China’s cabinet, on Wednesday pledged to step up fiscal policy support and strengthen targeted controls to combat downward pressure on the economy.

“To ensure the economy operates within a reasonable range, proactive fiscal policy needs to be stronger and more effective,” said a statement released after the executive meeting, which was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

The meeting decided to extend tax break policies to more micro and small businesses. From 2015 to the end of 2017, companies with annual taxable income under 200,000 yuan ($32,573) will have their corporate tax halved. Previously, the threshold was 100,000 yuan.

In an effort to activate private investments, the cabinet said taxes on investment earnings from non-monetary assets would be levied in stages rather than a one-off collection.

In addition, China will reduce the unemployment insurance rate to 2 percent from 3 percent previously, which is estimated to save over 40 billion yuan for businesses and employees annually.

The State Council also pledged to speed up construction of major water projects in the less developed central and western regions. Approvals on the new projects will be finished by the end of July and over 90 percent of funds from the central budget will be allocated by the end of June, according to the statement.

The set of policy adjustments comes in the wake of the economy growing by 7.4 percent in 2014, its weakest annual expansion in 24 years. A string of economic indicators, including manufacturing and trade data, all suggest continued weakness.

Data on Wednesday showed the HSBC flash manufacturing purchasing mangers index (PMI) improved slightly in February, rising to a four month high of 50.1, but the bank cautioned that domestic economic activity was likely to remain sluggish and external demand looked uncertain.

Despite subdued economic strength, policymakers have moved more cautiously than the market expected. To support growth, the central bank earlier this month decided to lower reserve requirement ratio, the minimum level of reserves banks must hold, by 50 basis points from Feb 5, the first universal RRR cut since May 2012.

This followed an unexpected move to slash interest rates last November, also the first cut in more than two years.

Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 08:09:58

But why would an economy as indestructable as China’s need any kind of adjustment? I thought slow growth wasn’t allowed? Surely a few small tweeks is all that’s needed. Just move along, nothing to see here but a gigantic train wreck.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 08:29:47

They want around 7% growth and they have the “tools” to achieve it: (1) room to cut interest rates (2) low national debt (3) move privatization (4) ability to move up the supply chain, it is as simple as that.

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Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-26 08:53:33

They also have 1) the biggest credit expansion on the planet 2) extreme poverty 3) obsolete and surplus capacity everywhere 4) enough financial criminals to populate a large country 5) biggest housing bubble on the planet 6) collapsing demand and prices all around.

And they have you.

Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 08:58:55

Yes, they do have the tools.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 10:11:43

You have an amazing degree of faith in the ability of communist central planners to indefinitely sustain economic miracles.

Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 11:02:49

No I have confidence in a people with a high IQ that are moving from a communist system to a more capitalistic system and are despite their government’s wishes finding values in a number of religions but in particular Christianity.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 11:53:22

Given their decisions resulted in trillions in misallocated capital on depreciating junk and massive excess capacity, you sure are easily bamboozled.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 20:24:27

“…finding values in a number of religions but in particular Christianity.”

That, admittedly, is an interesting angle.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-26 20:52:04

You can be manic in any religion you choose. It doesn’t make manic less manic.

Comment by Beer and Cigar Guy
2015-02-26 08:17:19

“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese.”

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-26 08:48:18
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Comment by oxide
2015-02-26 12:23:29

The set of policy adjustments comes in the wake of the economy growing by 7.4 percent in 2014

Here we go again. Dan, isn’t this what got you into trouble the first time, and the second time? Like Lindsay Lohan. In and out of rehab and still can’t seem to shake the junk.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 03:54:48

Is there any prospect for a tax backlash in U.S. states against foreign investors who have driven property prices out of reach for taxpaying citizens?

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-26 06:56:19

They are not drivers of the mania, only accelerants. When the party is over they will sell and leave. The “citizens” will be left with their smoldering piles of debt.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-02-26 06:59:44

“The ‘citizens’ will be left with their smoldering piles of debt.”

“citizens” = “taxpayers”

The taxpayers will be left with their smoldering piles of debt.

God’s Plan.

Comment by scdave
2015-02-26 08:18:59

they will sell and leave ??

Leave Orange county to go back to China ?? I think not…They may sell, but they won’t leave….

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-26 08:55:22

I think there is a difference between wealthy refugees who actually moved here and “overseas investors”.

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Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 07:08:41

The smart people in Australia are selling now. Let some Chinese party schmuck pay peak price, and then take the hit when prices collapse.

Comment by prime+1
2015-02-26 07:17:32

Never. Sadly, but that falls under the umbrella of foreign direct investment which supposedly is always a good thing.

Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 07:49:14

Once you have benefited through the direct effect of foreign direct investment, why not benefit some more through the indirect effect of taxing it at a higher rate? It’s not as though the voters are going to object to measures that make housing more affordable for state residents.

Comment by prime+1
2015-02-26 08:05:21

I totally agree with you but the prevailing thought process is if we tax foreign billionaires they will park their money elsewhere. Governments will compensate by increasing your taxes.


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Comment by Professor Bear
2015-02-26 10:16:28

The money is already parked. Why not make good use of the parked money, making housing affordability improvements in the process?

Comment by redmondjp
2015-02-26 11:50:35

Here in the greater Seattle area, which is still a mecca for expatriated Chinese dollars (a bargain here when compared to Vancouver BC and San Fran), they are paying high property taxes (plus utilities including utility taxes, landscapers, housekeepers, etc) to keep their money parked. So by some metric, they are already being taxed.

Comment by scdave
2015-02-26 08:16:56

tax backlash in U.S. states against foreign investors ??

Nope…Municipalities love it…Higher prices mean higher taxes…

Comment by Michael
2015-02-26 06:52:45

There are too many “owners” squatting for free in their homes so taxes are irrelevant

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-02-26 07:04:07

There are too many “owners” squatting for free in their homes so taxes are irrelevant

“squatting for free” = “keeping houses in a holding pattern until the lenders decide to drop the hammer, foreclose, and throw their freeloading asses out into the street”"

Comment by scdave
2015-02-26 08:23:58

There are too many “owners” squatting for free in their homes so taxes are irrelevant ??

Nope…Taxes take priority over encumbrances…In Santa Clara County, if you are delinquent for 5 years, the county assessor can force a “Tax Sale” on the property…I am sure Ben has seen some of these on “land sales”….

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-26 07:14:34

‘Australia’s foreign investment review board says China was the No. 1 source of foreign capital investment in real estate in 2013, approving nearly A$6 billion of investment, up 41 per cent from a year ago.’

‘Chinese investors are forecast to spend $20 billion on offshore property this year, up 21 per cent on 2014 as more domestic real estate developers and insurers internationalise their holdings. More wealthy Chinese are moving their money out of China to invest in Australia’s property market as a corruption crackdown in the world’s second-biggest economy gathers momentum, property consultants and lawyers said.’

‘Treasurer Joe Hockey added that foreign ownership of real estate “raises significant issues ranging from national security to potential criminal activity, money laundering and a range of other things”.

Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 07:27:47

How is selling your massively overvalued house at great profit to some crooked Chinese communists anything but a good thing? Every time that happens it’s Democracy 1, Communism 0, then -1, -2, and so on, until prices reach the point where the average Australian can again afford to buy a house, at great loss to crooked Chinese communists. Ka-ching!

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-26 07:55:13

If it happened in a vacuum. Besides the ills of money laundering (why is it illegal in the first place?) there are a bunch of people who take out loans based on these comps. More debt generally, more artificial loans on the lenders books. Plus it’s a waste of resources. How much pollution, etc, is generated to build these ghost cities and empty condos in Melbourne?

The pattern is becoming clear. Whether it’s the boom in China creating mining towns in Canada or Australia, only to see it wither, or speculators running all over Vancouver and San Francisco, paying borrowers to take out a mortgage in Sweden. This is the trillions created by central banks (in response to the previous “crisis”) washing around the world creating imbalances. And when it gets a bit wobbly, they cut rates again.

Too many condos in Montreal? No problem, a Chinese firm will throw up 800 more. Jahore doesn’t need one more luxury condo, yet a Chinese firm is building 4 artificial islands to build thousands more. Not content to choke their own country with smog and corruption, they repeat the folly all over the globe.

Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 08:17:27

One advantage of China crashing, they won’t be able to afford to buy animal parts of near extinct species anymore.

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Comment by scdave
2015-02-26 08:26:24

Nice summary Ben….

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Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-26 07:19:39

‘There was no shortage of bad news for property brokerages last year and just when the industry thought it had seen the worst of it, more kept coming this year.’

‘Last month, Century 21 China Real Estate, a real estate brokerage and the exclusive franchisee for the US-based Century 21 brand in China, was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after persistent failure to meet the bourse’s minimum capitalization requirements. The capitalization of the company ended at a miserable $10.11 million, a far cry from its peak of $4 billion.’

‘The plunge in share prices reflected US investors’ fast-changing views on the brokerage business. In October 2014, HomeLink decided to stop its cooperation with Sou-Fun and scrapped all its listings on the website, citing rising fees charged by the latter. The decision, along with other brokerages’ boycott, dealt a heavy blow to the website, which relied heavily on the listing fees paid by brokerages. The NYSE-listed company’s share prices tumbled to $7.26 as of Tuesday, from a peak of $19.4.’

‘Deng Wei, founder of the company, said iwjw took the offensive by punching the “aching points” of the traditional industry, including unnecessary stores, poor service, fake home information on their websites and high charges. She said most brokers stayed idle all day long, which is a huge waste. And brokers take an indifferent attitude toward those wanting to rent houses, because selling a property is much more lucrative than a leasing deal.’

‘Analysts agree with the criticism, but said despite its flaws, the role of traditional middlemen remain irreplaceable. Unlike trivial spending online, house purchases involve huge amounts and are the most expensive lifetime spending for most Chinese people.’

‘Agents play a critical role from house tours, price negotiations and contract signing-no matter how much buyers and sellers resent them.’

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-26 07:32:31

Why is public anger growing internationally against China?
As the New Year dawns, the Chinese govt faces the Ugly Chinese abroad, and the nation itself, full of sound and fury, like a slithering dragon emitting flames

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/rYcVX5adfcWGYduJsY8EaI/Why-is-public-anger-growing-internationally-against-China.html?utm_source=copy

….Hong Kong is not the only place where overseas Chinese form the majority and where mainlanders find themselves unpopular, if not unwelcome. The mood in Singapore is also turning sour. Blogs and websites in the Southeast Asian republic have sometimes carried jokes and attacks on mainlanders who have migrated to Singapore. Problems the city now faces—from high property prices to crowded mass transit—are blamed on mainlanders. The wealthy Chinese from the mainland who make Singapore their home are also resented. In 2012, a Ferrari 599 GTO raced through a red light and struck a taxi which then hit a motorbike, killing three, including the driver of the Ferrari, a 31-year-old Chinese businessman. The incident was enough to spark furious denunciations of the Chinese.

Comment by Dudgeon Bludgeon
2015-02-26 08:04:37

Here about the Chinese pet tiger?

It’s all rainbows and unicorns here…

Tiger plunges to death from China high-rise

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A seven-month-old tiger fell to its death from a Chinese high-rise building - apparently frightened by Lunar New Year fireworks.

A couple driving home from a New Year’s dinner found the animal - which they initially thought was a large dog - next to the building in Pingdu in the eastern province of Shandong and called police.

Pictures showed the tiger lying on its side, with a puddle of blood oozing from its head.

Police speculated that the noise of the fireworks probably frightened the animal, causing it to break out of its cage in an apartment before plunging to its death.

They gave no details of the tiger’s owners.


Comment by tresho
2015-02-26 09:53:34

Maybe there’s an old Chinese proverb about “when tigers fly”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-26 07:21:59

‘Toronto hit a decades-old record for unsold condo units this January, as supply continues skyrocket. But what will this mean for prices and the health of the housing market as a whole?’

“Most of the completed units are presold, but the increase still lifted the number of unsold units to a 21-year high (1602),” Sal Guatieri, senior economist for BMO wrote in his latest economic report.’

‘10,368 condos were completed in the GTA in January, a record for the region and eight times more than the average over the past decade.’

“Construction delays had builders playing catch up with the record number of multiple-unit dwellings started in 2012 (37,406 versus the past-decade norm of around 25,000 and last year’s 20,099),” Guatieri wrote. “That, in turn, was a response to the record number of new condos sold in 2011 (28,190).”

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-26 07:24:56

‘Foreclosure actions by major banks and lenders to repossess homes, units, businesses and land resulted in 7830 people losing an asset in the past five financial years. Experts warn the figures indicate people are taking on unsustainable debt and could face losing their house when rates begin to rise.’

‘More than 935 properties have been recovered by lenders since June 2014, according to Supreme Court data — worth an estimated $475 million. Alarmingly, despite the ­official Reserve Bank interest rate being slashed to 2.25 per cent, the average number of properties being repossessed a month has risen this ­financial year.’

‘RMIT University Research Centre of the Australian Housing Professor Mike Berry said Victorians should expect more foreclosures in the future. “In Australia, these days we have an issue with overcomitting so people go in mortgaged to the hilt because they want the best possible house in the best possible place,’’ he said.’

‘Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia chairman Tim Brown said growing unemployment was a key factor. He also warned low rates were prompting people to sign up for dangerous car and ­credit card debts on top of their mortgages. “Interest rates are low but it puts (people) at a false sense of security,’’ he said.’

You don’t say.

Comment by Mr. Banker
2015-02-26 07:39:54

“Foreclosure actions by major banks and lenders to repossess homes, units, businesses and land resulted in 7830 people losing an asset in the past five financial years.”

“…resulted in 7830 people losing an asset …”

Bahahahahahahaha … if they didn’t want to “lose an asset” then they should PAY UP! If they decide not not pay up then the asset they lose isn’t really theirs to begin with.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 08:17:43

More positive economic news out of the north

“Calgary and Edmonton housing markets ‘hammered’ in January”


Comment by Housing Analyst
Comment by Albuquerquedan
2015-02-26 08:41:19

HA I thought you said that deflation was a good thing?

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 08:45:49

Falling prices is always a net positive for the economy.

Comment by Blue Skye
2015-02-26 09:01:22

Yes, despite the awful withdrawal convulsions.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 09:03:26

That’s all borrowed money is. A happy-talk inducing drug.

Comment by Dman
2015-02-26 09:11:39

Pretty soon they’ll have to start giving their stuff away just to keep market share.

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 08:44:14

More positive economic news. Falling prices.

“Crude Oil Trading Outlook: Futures Decline On Record US Stockpiles”


Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 08:48:45

Sounds like housing. Falling Prices.

“Lack Of Buyers Pulls Iron Ore Towards Six-Year Lows”


Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 09:02:22


Why would an individual pay more than production costs($55/sq ft) for a used item, in this case a house?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-26 09:32:19

Why would an individual pay more than production costs($55/sq ft) for a used item, in this case a house?

I know right? Good question! IDK but I’ll just throw something out there totally crazy - just brainstorming……………

Because they live in a market-based economy??

Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 09:40:03

Bzzzzt. Try again Lola.

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-26 09:46:35

So living in a market-based economy is not why individuals pay more than the production costs of a house?

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 10:02:54

What is a market based economy Lola.

Comment by Ben Jones
2015-02-26 09:46:11

Are negative interest rates part of a market based economy? Or a central bank buying $4 trillion in assets?

Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
2015-02-26 09:49:40

Are negative interest rates part of a market based economy? Or a central bank buying $4 trillion in assets?

Good point. But even in a “pure” market-based economy, most all individuals would be paying much more than the production costs for houses.

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Comment by Housing Analyst
2015-02-26 20:04:29

I just realized I almost missed the fundamental topic.

Vienna, VA(DC Metro) Sale Prices Crater 6% YoY As Housing Correction Ramps Up


Comment by tresho
2015-02-26 20:27:35

Federal fraud conviction in collapsed Cleveland credit union case.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A federal jury found an Avon Lake businessman guilty Thursday afternoon of defrauding the now-defunct St. Paul Croatian Federal Credit Union out of millions of dollars and ultimately contributing to its demise.

Gezim Selgjekaj, who goes by Jimmy, was convicted…The convictions stem from $10.5 million in fraudulent loans Selgjekaj received from former credit union head Anthony Raguz between 2003 and 2010. In order to obtain the loans, he gave Raguz more than $100,000 in bribes over the same period, Raguz testified at trial.Following the trial, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said Selgjekaj was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the massive amounts of fraud that went on at the credit union, which was was forced into conservatorship and liquidated in 2010.

Dettelbach said Selgjekaj was living a lavish lifestyle and described him as “driving around in a Mercedes-Benz with money that he stole.”

“The jury in this case … clearly understood, when all the smoke and mirrors go away, these individuals did nothing with this credit union but treat it like their own piggy bank,” Dettelbach said. The St. Paul credit union, which catered to the Cleveland-area’s Croatian population, had offices in the city and in Eastlake. It is the largest credit union collapse in U.S. history and resulted in a $170 million loss to the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

Federal prosecutors have charged 30 people following its collapse.

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