housing bubble

Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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The People Who Predicted The Global Financial Crisis

“Vice President Dick Cheney says that his boss, President George W. Bush, has no need to apologize to the American people for not doing more to head off the financial calamity, saying no one saw the crisis coming.

During an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in his West Wing office, Cheney defended the administration’s performance on an economy that is growing weaker daily and which recently collapsed in spectacular fashion. Cheney said that ‘nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure it out.’

-Associated Press, January 8, 2009

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s Monday, and since I’m not adding anything new from the “crash prophets”- Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff- I thought I’d take Survival And Prosperity readers for a stroll down memory lane.

I recently stumbled across a page on the Investor Home website entitled “Who Predicted The Global Financial Crisis?” Gary Karz wrote:

In the years since the Global Financial Crisis exploded on the scene, there have been a number of articles and initiatives documenting the individuals that publicly predicted the crisis and arguably deserve credit for having sounded the alarm. This page summarizes those efforts and links to those sources (and I expect to update it over time as more information and research becomes available). While plenty of foreign leaders and professional doomsayers have long predicted the collapse of the US economy, to the extent possible it should be useful to differentiate them from those that legitimately warned about a financial crisis or critical elements of it based on some logical analysis that appears to have merit after the fact. I believe a large percentage of investors and home buyers were exposed to at least some credible warnings about a housing bubble, but clearly many people chose to ignore those warnings or dismiss the predictions of a coming housing crash and/or crisis as unlikely to come true. Separately, I was interested in hearing what these individuals prescribe…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Personally, I’m interested “in hearing what these individuals prescribe” in 2016, as these people managed to correctly-call last decade’s housing bust, the global economic crisis that reared its ugly head in the fall of 2008, and the “Great Recession.”

Not so much their peers who completely missed the signs of the financial storm yet whose forecasts are still touted and relied upon, with some among this group even trusted with getting America out of this ongoing mess.

A solid effort by Karz, which you can view on his website here.

Now I’m just waiting for him to publish the list entitled “Who Incorrectly Called The Global Financial Crisis,” so I know exactly who not to listen to concerning such matters.

“I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record…”

Actually, this “nattering nabob of negativity” already has a pretty good idea of who those people are. And anything they say I take with a grain of salt…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, April 11th, 2016 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Housing, Investing, Recession Comments Off on The People Who Predicted The Global Financial Crisis

The ‘Fearmongers’ Will Get The Last Laugh

I haven’t had much to blog about recently when it comes to the “crash prophets”– Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff.

I have noticed one thing though. These individuals appear to be coming under a growing barrage of attacks in the mainstream media and elsewhere lately. Following them as I have for a number of years (anyone remember when I used to be the editor of Investorazzi.com, “Tracking The World’s Greatest Investors,” from 2008 to 2010?), the harsh atmosphere feels a lot like it did in the middle of the last decade, when these four were calling for the bottom to fall out of the housing and stock markets, the economy, and larger financial system- and were subsequently ridiculed for it.

We all know what happened next. And the initial pain could have been a hell of a lot worse if Washington and the Fed hadn’t papered up that debacle and kicked it down the road a few years into the future.

As for their antagonists back then? Well, a particular line from “Grace” the school secretary in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes to mind when I think of their fate:

Well, makes you look like an ass is what he does, Ed.

These days, it’s an all-out assault again on Faber, Grantham, Rogers, and Schiff by the financial Pollyannas, emboldened by some positive economic/investment data in an overall lame recovery, historically-speaking. Case in point, a February 26 Yahoo! Finance article in which Jeff Macke wrote:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average made a fresh high, joining its cousin the S&P 500 and now we await the Nasdaq to push above 5,048. Instead of celebrating prosperity here’s what the media is likely to do which is the wrong attitude.

Trot out the usual cast of fearmongers to tell everyone why a biblical crisis is in our immediate future. This week it was Nobel Prize winning Yale Professor Robert Shiller…

I’m not picking on him. Quite the opposite. As fear mongers go Shiller is the best of them. The worst is probably Marc Faber who emerges from a cave in Switzerland periodically to call for “an 1987 level crash”. Faber started making that explicit prediction in spring of 2012 when he said the chances of a global recession that year or 2013 were 100%. He was wrong of course but that was a better call than his 2009 prediction that the U.S. would suffer hyperinflation levels only seen in Zimbabwe. For the record Zimbabwe experienced 231 million percent inflation that year. If Faber isn’t wrong on that call he is very, very, very early…

A couple of things came to mind reading Macke’s piece:

When did high stock prices become interchangeable for “prosperity”? I’d like to see the evidence demonstrating real economic prosperity and a booming stock market go hand-in-hand each and every time. Last I heard, the White House and the Fed were still on their knees praying this happens.
• Robert Shiller a “fearmonger”? If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Dr. Shiller spot both the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble? Fearmonger? Try a damned good economist. And a public servant for warning anyone who would listen about these financial debacles.
• “The worst is probably Marc Faber…” The same Dr. Faber that became well-known for advising clients to get out of the U.S. stock market one week before the October 1987 crash, for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis, for calling the March 2009 U.S. stock market bottom and subsequent rally, in addition to correctly-forecasting the rise of commodities, emerging markets, and China in the 2000s? Yeah, he’s the worst.

“But that was a better call than his 2009 prediction that the U.S. would suffer hyperinflation levels only seen in Zimbabwe. For the record Zimbabwe experienced 231 million percent inflation that year.” Did Dr. Faber predict Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation would strike the U.S. between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009 (which seems to be insinuated by the inclusion of that second sentence), or did Faber make this forecast during 2009 that it would eventually occur here? I see the haters have latched on to the former. In which case, produce the evidence he said hyperinflation would strike the U.S. in that particular year.

You see, here are the problems with such attacks on Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, and others.

• First, the “crash prophets” have a pretty solid track record over time when it comes to making correct market/investment calls. Over the years I’ve read material by journalists confirming this. Plus, I’ve catalogued it on the “Crash Prophets” page. That being said, no one’s perfect, and bad calls happen once in a while.
• Second, unless specifically stated, since I started observing Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff a decade ago, I get the impression they take a long-term approach to many of their forecasts. Yet, the attacks often consist of trying to call the outcome of the ball game while it’s still in the early innings, so to speak. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard/read attempts to discredit these guys because something they predicted still hadn’t materialized. Perhaps it’s because the forecasted event is still unfolding?
• Third, investigating where and from whom the attacks are coming from often reveals the real motives behind the trash-talk. And many times, “where you stand depends on where you sit.” In other words, lots of obvious self-interest out there.

I expect attacks on Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, and other “crash prophets” to intensify as the nation’s “financial reckoning day” grows closer. It’s an evitable consequence of not donning rose-colored goggles and playing ball with the Pollyannas.

But like in the period of time after the housing crash, the “Panic of ’08,” and subsequent “Great Recession,” I’m pretty sure these esteemed investors/money managers will be having the last laugh.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Sunday, March 8th, 2015 Africa, Asia, Bubbles, Commodities, Crash Prophets, Emerging Markets, Essential Reading, Federal Reserve, Government, Housing, Inflation, Mainstream Media, Monetary Policy, Recession, Recovery, Stocks Comments Off on The ‘Fearmongers’ Will Get The Last Laugh

Doubts About Sustainable Housing ‘Recovery’ Linger

My doubts about the U.S. economy being in any sort of sustainable recovery able to stand on its own without government and central bank intervention spill over to the housing sector.

As it concerns real estate, a lot of that pessimism stems from the following that I’ve heard being discussed (albeit, somewhat quietly) for some days now but which popped up in my Sunday paper this weekend. From one of my favorite real estate reporters, Mary Umberger, over at the Chicago Tribune:

Halfsies. If you’re among those who think we’re in the midst of some kind of “normalization” of the real estate market, I offer you the conclusions of Goldman Sachs investment banking firm, which estimates that more than half of all recent real estate transactions nationwide have been all-cash deals, without mortgages.

Its report found that all-cash deals hit 57 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 19 percent in the first quarter of 2005.

Such sales appear to be concentrated at the lower end of the price scale, Goldman Sachs said, and reflect the efforts of investors who are buying more modest homes to rent out.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

57 percent all-cash deals? During the housing bubble’s heyday, I seem to recall hearing of individuals who couldn’t even afford to buy a new TV somehow getting mortgages for new McMansions.

I just can’t see your typical homebuyer plunking down all cash for a home. So if investors are fueling this housing “recovery,” well, let’s just say my doubts concerning a sustainable residential real estate comeback continue to linger. Especially if mortgage rates continue to climb higher.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Umberger, Mary. “From remodeling lows to Florida highs.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Aug. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/sc-cons-0829-umberger-20130830,0,6086796.column). 9 Sep. 2013.

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Monday, September 9th, 2013 Business, Housing, Recovery Comments Off on Doubts About Sustainable Housing ‘Recovery’ Linger

Over 35 Percent Of Chicago-Area Homeowners With Mortgages Still ‘Underwater’ Last Quarter

Back when the U.S. housing bubble was rapidly-inflating in the early- to mid- 2000s, a number of my “contemporaries” here in the Chicagoland area decided to take the plunge and buy homes.

They just didn’t expect that plunge to also include local housing prices.

Many of these individuals took out mortgages, and as the values of their single-family residences plummeted in the subsequent years, they soon went “underwater,” meaning they owed more on their loans than their properties were worth.

Well, the “Underwater People” (not to be confused with the album by The Samples or local band by the same name who I used to go watch in the 90s) are still here, contributing to a depressed Chicago-area housing market in which single-family home prices were down in June about 28 percent from their peak in September 2006 (S&P/Case-Shiller data), according to ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com on August 27.

This past Sunday, I spotted the following about underwater mortgages in my Chicago Tribune. Mary Ellen Podmolik wrote:

A lack of inventory is frustrating potential Chicago-area homebuyers, and a report last week from Zillow explains why some homeowners might like to sell their properties but can’t. Despite improving home values, 35.4 percent of Chicago-area homeowners with a mortgage were underwater at the end of June, meaning they owed more on their loan than the home was worth, Zillow said. That means those homeowners would have to sell their properties through a bank-approved short sale.

I took a look at the Zillow data this morning, and the picture it painted of the Chicago-area housing market isn’t very pretty as it concerns negative equity. From their August 29 press release for the just-published Second Quarter Zillow Negative Equity Report:

• Percent of homeowners with mortgages in negative equity in Q2 2013= 35.4% (Podmolik already noted)
• “Effective” negative equity rate, including homeowners with 20 percent or less equity in Q2 2013= 50.7%
• Forecasted negative equity rate in Q2 2014= 33.2%

A little improvement being predicted for next year.

One more glimmer of hope for Chicago’s “Underwater People” that I spotted in that press release:

Minimum number of homeowners expected to be freed from negative equity by Q2 2014= 38,268

Of course, these projections assume Fed funny money keeps flowing and blowing up the prices of real estate and paper assets.

You can read that entire press release from Seatlle-based Zillow- which discussed the negative equity rate nationwide- on their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Home prices up for 8th straight month.” ChicagoRealEstateDaily.com. 27 Aug. 2013. (http://www.chicagorealestatedaily.com/article/20130827/CRED0701/130829853/home-prices-up-for-8th-straight-month). 4 Sep. 2013.

Podmolik, Mary Ellen. “Problems still rampant in mortgage servicing industry.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Aug. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-mre-0901-podmolik-homefront-20130830,0,7902179.column). 4 Sep. 2013.

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Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 Bubbles, Federal Reserve, Housing, Monetary Policy, Money Supply Comments Off on Over 35 Percent Of Chicago-Area Homeowners With Mortgages Still ‘Underwater’ Last Quarter

Federal Reserve Re-Inflating Housing Bubble To Revive Economy?

I just got done reading the following by Reuters’ Jason Lange about household wealth in America:

The net wealth of U.S. households rose in the third quarter to its highest since late 2007, providing a hopeful sign for future consumer spending.

Net financial wealth grew $1.72 trillion to $64.77 trillion, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.

That left household wealth $1.2 trillion short of where it stood in the fourth quarter of 2007, just as the economy was sinking into a severe recession. Wealth peaked at $67.3 trillion in the third quarter of that year.

Rising home prices helped drive the increase in the latest quarter. The value of real estate owned by households rose about $300 billion, the Fed said. Stock holdings climbed by about $520 billion.

Increases in wealth could make consumers feel more comfortable spending their money. Many economists think consumers spend a few cents of every dollar they gain in wealth.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Seeing this reminded me of something “crash prophet” Peter Schiff said back in September about the Fed trying to re-inflate the housing bubble through QE3 in an attempt to revive the floundering U.S. economy. I wrote on September 18:

In his September 14 entry on the The Schiff Report YouTube video blog, Schiff, who correctly-predicted the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and 2008 global economic crisis, explained to viewers what QE3 was really about:

This is the plan that Ben Bernanke has. Ben Bernanke’s plan to revive the U.S. economy, and create jobs, is to inflate another housing bubble. That’s it. That’s what the Fed’s got. That’s what it came up with. As if the last housing bubble worked out so well for the economy, that the Fed wants an encore…

How is another housing bubble going to solve anything. Now one thing that Ben Bernanke hasn’t figured out yet- it ain’t gonna work. No matter how much he tries, no matter how much air he blows in to that housing market, he’s not going to reflate that bubble. There are simply too many holes in it, and there is no precedent for relating a busted bubble. More likely, all that cheap money is going to go someplace else…

The housing Pollyannas are definitely back, as you’ll read about in a Friday post.

But is housing back?

Stay tuned…

Source:

Lange, Jason. “U.S. household wealth rises to near 2007 high.” Reuters. 6 Dec. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/household-wealth-increases-64-77-trillion-172821521–sector.html). 6 Dec. 2012.

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Thursday, December 6th, 2012 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Employment, Federal Reserve, Housing, Monetary Policy, Spending, Stimulus, Stocks, Wealth Comments Off on Federal Reserve Re-Inflating Housing Bubble To Revive Economy?

Robert Shiller: ‘I’m Not Ready Yet’ To Call U.S. Housing Bottom

The housing bulls are out in full-force these days after repeated smack-downs since the air was let out of the U.S. housing bubble (“housing’s coming back in 2007, no 2008, maybe 2009, make that 2010, 2011 anyone?”)

But one housing expert, who was out there in the mid-2000s warning anyone who would listen about the housing bubble and subsequent crash, isn’t sure residential real estate in the United States has bottomed-out just yet.

Yale University economist Robert Shiller talked to CNBC’s Scott Wapner on the TV show Fast Money earlier today. From their exchange on the “Halftime Report”:

WAPNER: You don’t think that housing is on the road to recovery?

SHILLER: I think it might be. There are a lot of positive indicators. But I think people tend to overreact to these. And if you look at the trend- which has been down since 2006- it’s a pretty strong trend that we have to see reversed. You know, maybe, you know, I might call it later this year that we’ve reached the bottom. But I’m not ready yet.

Dr. Shiller noted that there have been four attempts at a housing recovery since the subprime crisis.


“Shiller: ‘Not Ready Yet’ to Call Housing Bottom”
CNBC Video

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Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Housing, Recovery Comments Off on Robert Shiller: ‘I’m Not Ready Yet’ To Call U.S. Housing Bottom

Peter Schiff Claims QE3 Attempt To Inflate Another Housing Bubble, Shares Investment Advice

Anyone who’s visited Survival And Prosperity over the last two weeks probably noticed all the housekeeping items and other topics besides finance I’ve been blogging about. Whew! Time to move on. And who better to get back on track with as it concerns economics, finance, and investing than one of the original “crash prophets,” Peter Schiff. In his September 14 entry on the The Schiff Report YouTube video blog, Schiff, who correctly-predicted the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and 2008 global economic crisis, explained to viewers what QE3 was really about:

This is the plan that Ben Bernanke has. Ben Bernanke’s plan to revive the U.S. economy, and create jobs, is to inflate another housing bubble. That’s it. That’s what the Fed’s got. That’s what it came up with. As if the last housing bubble worked out so well for the economy, that the Fed wants an encore…

How is another housing bubble going to solve anything. Now one thing that Ben Bernanke hasn’t figured out yet- it ain’t gonna work. No matter how much he tries, no matter how much air he blows in to that housing market, he’s not going to reflate that bubble. There are simply too many holes in it, and there is no precedent for relating a busted bubble. More likely, all that cheap money is going to go someplace else…

So where is all this money going to go? Commodities. It’s going to go to gold. It’s going to go to silver. It’s going to go into oil. It’s going to go into agriculture. It is not going to make the economy better. It’s going to make the economy worse. It’s not going to create jobs. But what it is going to create is a higher cost of living for everybody, whether you have a job or whether you’re unemployed. And believe me, if people are spending more money on food, and more money on energy, they’re not going to have any extra money left over for discretionary spending. None of this is going to work.

The President/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital and CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals shared the following investment advice:

You’ve got to look through all this smoke. You got to buy gold, buy silver. Get out of dollars. Get out while you can. Get into real things. Own stocks outside the United States, in currencies with dividends and income that are not U.S. dollars.

This is the most important thing that you can probably do. You’ve got to save yourself first if we’re going to save our country… We’re going to go over a real fiscal cliff. We have a real crisis coming because of the Fed, but we’ve got to protect ourselves.


“Operation Screw: The Fed goes all-in on QE”
YouTube Video

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 Agriculture, Bubbles, Commodities, Crash Prophets, Currencies, Employment, Energy, Federal Reserve, Housing, Income, Inflation, Investing, Monetary Policy, Natural Resources, Precious Metals, Spending, Stimulus, Stocks Comments Off on Peter Schiff Claims QE3 Attempt To Inflate Another Housing Bubble, Shares Investment Advice

Robert Shiller: Possible No Major Turnaround For Home Prices ‘In Our Lifetimes’

Last housing piece for today- I promise. One of those “long-time, reputable housing observers” I talked about earlier today chimed in on the latest release of data from the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas.

It so happens that it’s none other than Dr. Robert Shiller himself.

And what he said is sure to anger the housing bulls- just like back in the housing bubble days. From Steven C. Johnson of Reuters on the Chicago Tribune website today:

The Housing market is likely to remain weak and may take a generation or more to rebound, Yale economics professor Robert Shiller told Reuters Insider on Tuesday.

Shiller, the co-creator of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, said a weak labor market, high gas prices and a general sense of unease among consumers was outweighing low mortgage rates and would likely keep a lid on prices for the foreseeable future.

“I worry that we might not see a really major turnaround in our lifetimes,” Shiller said…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Johnson added that Dr. Shiller thought suburban areas might see further price declines due to high prices at the pump and the appeal of “walkable cities.”

Now, in case you haven’t heard of Robert Shiller, he was out there warning anyone who would listen about a U.S. housing bubble and impending crash before most. Just lucky? I think not. The Yale professor also predicted the dot-com bubble bursting as well. The last time I discussed Dr. Shiller was back on September 30 of last year, when talking about U.S. home prices with Liz Claman of the FOX Business Channel he warned viewers:

Yes, I worry about that. You know, home prices have kind of come back to a reasonable level based on long history. But, after bubbles, speculative prices sometimes overshoot. And right now we’re in a period of low confidence, and debt crises, with reduced latitude for real stimulus. So it seems to me that they might well continue to fall.

You know, the latest Case-Shiller numbers were up though, at least on a non-seasonally-adjusted basis. So it’s no so clear where they’re going.

Probably not straight back up anytime soon, according to Shiller.

Source:

Johnson, Steven C. “Maybe no housing rebound for a generation: Shiller.” Chicago Tribune. 24 Apr. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-housing-reboundbre83n0sk-20120424,0,3106694.story). 24 Apr. 2012.

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Debt Crisis, Employment, Energy, Housing, Stimulus, Stocks Comments Off on Robert Shiller: Possible No Major Turnaround For Home Prices ‘In Our Lifetimes’

2013 Housing Recovery Could Be Dashed By Next Foreclosure Wave

Unbridled optimism about the nation’s economic health seems to be in the air these days- at least for the mainstream media and financial types. There’s no shortage of talk about a strengthening economic recovery, higher stock/401k values, peaking gas prices, and a housing market bottom and recovery.

Hey, all of that sounds good to me.

Problem is, as it concerns housing, many of those claiming home prices are close to bottoming out and recovering are the same ones who didn’t see the recent housing bubble and subsequent crash in the first place.

And, is it just me, or is that spiel about a comeback in residential real estate being played over and over like a broken record? Housing will recover in 2008. Wait, 2009. No, make that 2010. 2011. 2012. And now, Lucia Mukitani writes on the MSNBC website this morning:

The relentless decline in home prices is nearing an end and prices should rise for the first time in seven years in 2013, but a possible new wave of foreclosures could threaten the recovery, according a Reuters poll of economists.

The median forecast of 24 economists polled by Reuters was for the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index to end the year unchanged. That was the same finding back in January for this house price gauge, which covers 20 cities.

“We are expecting a gradual improvement, but if we get a big wave of new foreclosures coming to the market, price declines could be even greater,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York.

The survey forecast the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index rising 2.0 percent next year, up from 1.5 percent in the January survey.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Did you notice the concern about foreclosures? It’s later muted in the piece. Mukitani added:

The survey predicted about 1.5 million foreclosed properties will come on to the market this year. While there is no comparison for this figure, most analysts believe the foreclosure wave has either peaked or is close to topping out.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

That may be so, but it sounds like there’s enough foreclosures in the pipeline- with still more coming- to possibly lower home prices even more. From the CNBC website this morning:

More U.S. homes are entering the foreclosure process, setting the stage for a surge in properties repossessed by lenders this year.

The number of homes that received first-time foreclosure notices rose 7 percent in March from the previous month, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac said Thursday.

That marks the third consecutive monthly increase this year and reflects stepped-up efforts by banks to take action against homeowners who fail to keep up with mortgage payments.

“We’re not out of the woods yet with foreclosures,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac. “There are more batches of foreclosures coming through the pipeline.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Now, foreclosure activity slowed in the first quarter. But not for reasons one might suspect. From MSNBC.com senior producer John Schoen earlier today:

Foreclosure activity fell in the first quarter to the lowest level in more than four years, but mainly because the process of removing people from their homes has slowed. The number of homes just beginning the foreclosure process rose in March for a third straight month, a sign that the nation’s housing problems are far from over, according to RealtyTrac, which tracks the figures.

“The low foreclosure numbers in the first quarter are not an indication that the massive reservoir of distressed properties built up over the past few years has somehow miraculously evaporated,” said Brandon Moore, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac.

He said a large backlog of bank-owned properties that has accumulated over the past few years will put added pressure on the housing market when banks eventually list them for sale.

“The dam may not burst in the next 30 to 45 days, but it will eventually burst, and everyone downstream should be prepared for that to happen,” he said in a news release.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Added pressure,” “Dam… will eventually burst.” Sounds like home prices could keep falling. Nick Carey wrote on the Reuters website back on April 4:

Real estate company Zillow Inc says more than one in four American homeowners were “under water” or owed more than their homes were worth in the fourth quarter of 2011. The crisis has wiped out some $7 trillion in U.S. household wealth…

Zillow expects the resurgence in foreclosures this year, combined with excess inventory of unsold, bank-owned homes will contribute to a 3.7 percent national decline in prices before the market hits bottom in 2013 and stays there until 2016.

“The hangover from this crisis will far outlast the party of the boom years,” said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

So 2013 might not be the year of housing’s recovery?

2014, anyone?

Sources:

Mukitani, Lucia. “Close to bottoming, home prices may rise in 2013.” MSNBC. 12 Apr. 2012. (http://economywatch.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/12/11161950-close-to-bottoming-home-prices-may-rise-in-2013?lite). 12 Apr. 2012.

“First-Time Foreclosure Notices Hit 6-Month High.” CNBC. 12 Apr. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/47028071). 12 Apr. 2012.

Schoen, John W. “Foreclosures slow as pipeline keeps backing up.” CNBC. 12 Apr. 2012. (http://economywatch.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/12/11145443-foreclosures-slow-as-pipeline-keeps-backing-up?lite). 12 Apr. 2012.

Carey, Nick. “Americans brace for next foreclosure wave.” Reuters. 4 Apr. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/04/us-foreclosure-idUSBRE83319E20120404). 12 Apr. 2012.

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Thursday, April 12th, 2012 Bubbles, Housing, Mainstream Media, Recovery 3 Comments
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