New York City Real Estate to Fall Another 35%

Friday, May 15, 2009

At minimum, according the Deutsche Bank (courtesy of Clusterstock). Goldman Sachs has them falling another 58%.

And this with prices already down 20-25% (though DB has them down only 8% as of Q4 ’08).

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Home Prices Continue to Fall

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From CNBC:

Nationwide, the median sales price was $169,900, down 13.8 percent from a year ago.

The peak for the nationwide median price was $230,100, in July 2006, according the the National Association of Realtors.


Hooray! Unemployment Hits Only 8.9%

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hooray! The official number is only 539,000 jobs lost! …But it is, like seemingly everything coming out of the Obama administration these days, seriously fudged.

BLS adds in a season adjustment of tens of thousands for net birth/death rate, and there were another 60K government census (temporary) jobs added to the rolls. Altogether, the private sector lost over 650K jobs. And it will go up once it is revised next month.

But don’t worry, nothing to see here. The stress tests boosted the banks, borrowing and printing money is not insanely dangerous, and massive unemployment won’t depress a consumer based economy. There are no state and local governments in desperate financial trouble, no pension funds that are seriously underfunded, home prices and foreclosures are leveling off, and America didn’t just have to raise the coupon (mid-auction) on a 30-year bond offering in order to get people to buy them.

Nope, nothing to see here. Green shoots everywhere.

“We cannot go back to an economy that is built on a pile of sand — on inflated home prices and maxed-out credit cards, on overleveraged banks and outdated regulations that allowed the recklessness of a few to threaten the prosperity of us all.”

This was Barack Obama on April 29 in a press conference marking his first 100 days in office.

What is so scary about this is that we really can’t trust anyone, especially the government. The Obama administration understands propaganda and media manipulation (at least as well, if not better, than the Bushies). Do they understand in a deeply interconnected world, with an increasingly irrelevant mainstream media, that lies are uncovered quickly and undermine trust and confidence?

Do they ultimately understand that the crisis is an issue of confidence?

Right now, they’re just buying time and praying. We’d all be well advised to do the same.


Manhattan Real Estate in the Tank

Thursday, May 7, 2009

From Bloomberg:

There are 11,150 sales listings in Manhattan as of this week, according to Streeteasy, which counts only listings that are exclusive to a brokerage and that have verified addresses. The number is higher than any that Miller Samuel has counted since it began tracking inventory in 1999.

Price reductions, empty buildings…and still they’re not anywhere near a bottom. You want to know what a property in NYC is worth? Look at the value of the apartment in 1995 and then tack on 3-5% inflation per year.


Big Surprise: Citi and BoA Fail Stress Test

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

From the Wall Street Journal.

Ken Lewis on life support. Pandit, too (though it really wasn’t his fault).

The real problem here is one, to repeat an oft used explanation, of confidence. No one believes the banks or the government. Any reasonably informed person sees what Geithner and Bernanke are doing and breaks out in a cold sweat. Borrowing and printing money to reinflate a bubble (our economy) is either genius or suicide. To me, it is most assuredly the latter.

We are in for years of topsy-turvy hard times with the outcome far from assured. Forget ripping the band-aid off quickly, they’re wrapping it up in bandages made of dollars. It’s going to hurt a lot more when it finally comes off.


America’s Banking Oligarchy

Friday, April 24, 2009

This is a must read. IMF Chief Economist (2007-2008) Simon Johnson in The Atlantic:

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.


Prime Mortgage Delinquencies Rising

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This is what happens when people start losing their jobs. [Fannie and Freddie via Calculated Risk]

The tables show that the number of prime 60 days+ delinquent rose to 743,686 in January, from 497,131 in December. This is an increase from 1.93% in December to 2.89% in January.