housing crash

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

Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, And Peter Schiff All Sound The Alarm

I find it both funny and disturbing that the financial types who missed the U.S. housing bubble/bust and global economic crisis that was readily-visible by the second half of 2008 are now claiming the U.S. economic “recovery” is on solid footing and there are no asset bubbles in sight.

Meanwhile, the few individuals who correctly-predicted that carnage- including Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff- are sounding the alarm again.

Here’s what each of these “crash prophets” have been saying lately (the following statements have all been blogged about previously on Survival And Prosperity).

Swiss-born investor and money manager Marc Faber warned CNBC Squawk Box viewers on September 19, 2014:

Today, the good news is we have a bubble in everything, everywhere– with very few exceptions. And, eventually, there will be a problem when these asset markets begin to perform poorly. The question is- what will be the catalyst? It could be a rise in interest rates not engineered by the Fed, because I think they’ll keep interests rates at zero on the Fed funds rate for a very long time… We could have essentially a break in bond markets at some point. We also could have a strong dollar. A strong dollar has already happened in the last two months signifies that international liquidity is tightening. And when that happens, usually it’s not very good for asset markets.

“A bubble in everything, everywhere.” Reminds me of what British-born investment strategist Jeremy Grantham said right before the asset bubbles popped during the “Panic of ’08.” Speaking of Grantham, he penned in his November 2014 quarterly investment letter entitled “Bubble Watch Update”:

I am still a believer that the Fed will engineer a fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline…

My personal fond hope and expectation is still for a market that runs deep into bubble territory (which starts, as mentioned earlier, at 2250 on the S&P 500 on our data) before crashing as it always does. Hopefully by then, but depending on what the rest of the world’s equities do, our holdings of global equities will be down to 20% or less. Usually the bubble excitement – which seems inevitably to be led by U.S. markets – starts about now, entering the sweet spot of the Presidential Cycle’s year three, but occasionally, as you have probably discovered the hard way already, history can be a snare and not a help.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline…”

The S&P 500 stands at 2,058 this Sunday- only 192 points away from Grantham’s bubble “target.”

There’s also investor, financial commentator, and author Jim Rogers, who was talking U.S. equities on RT’s Boom Bust on December 26, 2014, when he remarked:

I know the bear market will come… The next bear market, Erin, is going to be much worse than the last one because the debt has gone through the roof. Debt worldwide, including the U.S., has skyrocketed, and we’re all going to have to pay a terrible price for all this money printing and all this debt.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, there’s Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff, who argued on The Schiff Report YouTube video blog on Halloween 2014:

When this illusion collapses, this fantasy of a U.S. economic recovery- because everybody believes there’s no recession anywhere in sight, that we’re years away from a U.S. recession- when in fact, another recession is right around the corner. And in fact, it will be worse than the recession that we had in 2008, 2009, if the Fed does not come in with QE 4…

I expect Janet Yellen to react to this coming recession the way Ben Bernanke reacted to the last one. The way Alan Greenspan reacted to the last one. Because that’s the only playbook we’ve got. And remember, when this recession starts, they can’t start with rate cuts. Rates are at zero. You can’t cut from zero. All they can do is revamp QE. And believe me, it’s going to have to be a lot bigger than QE 3. QE 4 is going to have to be bigger than QE 3 for the same reason QE 3 had to be bigger than QE 2- the economy builds up a tolerance. The more addicted to QE, the more QE you need to get any kind of result. And this last result was minimal in the real economy. I mean, yes- the Fed was able to get the stock market to go up, but the real economy never experienced any real economic growth. The average American is worse off today than when QE began. By far. Incomes are down. Real employment is down. Net worth is down. Poverty is up. Government dependency is up. The cost of living is up. Nothing has improved, except maybe the level of optimism on Wall Street…

This crisis is not really going to be about a credit crisis. Not private credit. It’s going to be about debt. Sovereign credit. It’s going to be about the dollar. A currency crisis. A sovereign crisis. Which is going to be very different than the crisis we had in 2008. It’s a crisis of an excess of QE. Of an overdose of QE. That’s the one that’s coming. That’s the one that we have to prepare for. That’s the one that I have been warning about since the beginning…

Schiff, who’s also a financial commentator and author, has been the most vocal of the four in warning of economic pain dead-ahead of us.

Jim Rogers talking the day after Christmas about the coming bear market alerted me to the fact that all these “crash prophets” whom I regularly-follow on this blog are now sounding the alarm at the same time. To summarize their recent warnings:

Marc Faber- “A bubble in everything, everywhere.” Actually, I believe he still likes Asia and Asian emerging economies.
Jeremy Grantham- “I am still a believer that the Fed will engineer a fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline.”
Jim Rogers- “The next bear market… is going to be much worse than the last one because the debt has gone through the roof.”
Peter Schiff- “An overdose of QE. That’s the one that’s coming. That’s the one that we have to prepare for. That’s the one that I have been warning about since the beginning.”

At the start of 2015, it will be interesting to see how the next couple of years play out, for I believe Americans will get the chance to experience quite a bit of the above in that time period- whether they want to or not.

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

(Editor’s notes: 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, January 4th, 2015 Bonds, Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Credit, Currencies, Debt Crisis, Employment, Essential Reading, Federal Reserve, Fiscal Policy, Government, Income, Interest Rates, Investing, Monetary Policy, Money Supply, Net Worth, Poverty, Recession, Recovery, Stimulus, Stocks Comments Off on Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, And Peter Schiff All Sound The Alarm

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

Crain’s On Chicago-Area Housing Market

Last night I read a good opinion piece about the Chicago-area housing market on the Crain’s Chicago Business website. Three “experts” shared their outlooks on residential real estate for the year ahead:

• Geoff Smith, Executive Director, Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University in Chicago.
• Jennifer Alter Warden, President, Baird & Warner Residential Sales in Chicago
• Joseph L. Pagliari, Clinical Professor of Real Estate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business

I wonder if any of these “experts” spotted the recent U.S. housing crash? As an early observer of that event, it’s been my experience that most people didn’t.

So, what made this Crain’s piece so “good?”

Unlike other Chicagoland real estate articles I’ve read recently, this one actually discussed the “large foreclosure pipeline” (Smith) and the “declining financial health of the city, county, and state” (Pagliari) as it relates to the local housing market and home prices.

No mention of the impact of incompetent political leadership, but one could make the case that it’s related to that bit about “declining financial health.”

A worthy read, which is located on the Crain’s website here.

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

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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 Debt Crisis, Government, Housing Comments Off on Crain’s On Chicago-Area Housing Market

Peter Schiff Warns The State Of The Union Is ‘A Complete Disaster’

On Tuesday evening, February 12, U.S. President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address. Two days later on Valentine’s Day, Peter Schiff, the CEO/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital who correctly-predicted the Panic of ’08 and housing crash, critiqued President Obama’s speech. From The Schiff Report YouTube video blog:

Today is Valentine’s Day, although it felt like Valentine’s Day two days ago when President Obama was delivering his State of the Union address. Because really what it amounted to was a Valentine’s gift to the nation where the President tries to buy our affections, or are votes, by promising more free stuff. Something for nothing. By promising that more government can solve our economic problems. Now the President describes the state of the Union as strong. Of course all presidents, when they make that annual pilgrimage up to the Capitol, they always tell us the Union is “sound.” That the Union is “strong.” That’s what George Bush said in 2007, just before the financial crisis, the economic meltdown. They always tell us how great it is, even though we’re on the edge of a precipice.

The fact of the matter is, the Union is anything but strong. It’s a complete disaster. We are staring at an economic crisis much graver than the financial crisis of 2008. Yet, what does President Obama have to say? Basically, nothing. Everything is fine, all we need is a little more government…

It will be interesting to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2014. Whether or not the economic collapse that I’m forecasting has happened before then still remains to be seen. But I know one thing for sure- we’ll be a year closer to it if it hasn’t happened. And if it hasn’t happened by 2014, it will probably be just around the corner.


“The Real State of the Union- 2013”
YouTube Video

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

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Monday, February 18th, 2013 Crash Prophets, Fiscal Policy, Government, Housing, Spending Comments Off on Peter Schiff Warns The State Of The Union Is ‘A Complete Disaster’

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”
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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

Republican. Democrat. The Economy’s Still Toast.

Boom2Bust.com is an independent financial blog that seeks to warn and educate its readers about the coming U.S. financial crash.

-From “About” page on Survival And Prosperity’s predecessor blog, Boom2Bust.com, which debuted on Memorial Day Weekend 2007

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has weighed-in on the selection of Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as the running-mate of Mitt Romney in this November’s presidential election. Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times City Hall reporter, wrote on the newspaper’s website this morning:

Emanuel, the former White House chief-of-staff now co-chairing the president’s re-election campaign, took his first shot at Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s chosen running-mate.

The mayor said he served with Ryan on the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Budget Committee and believes Ryan’s budget-cutting ideas do not chart the right course for the nation or the middle class.

“A lot of independent economists say his budget would lead to a recession,” Emanuel said. “I don’t think a recession is a pro-growth strategy.”

A lot of economists- independent and otherwise- didn’t see the recent housing crash, global economic crisis, and “Great Recession” coming either.

And these days, most economists are predicting a subdued-yet-steady recovery for the U.S. economy with no hint of recession on the horizon.

Based on their prior missed calls, why would anyone believe them?

Now, I’m not writing this post in support of Congressman Ryan and the Republicans’ budget.

Nor do I agree with these “independent economists” Mayor Emanuel speaks of.

However, it’s my view and that of this blog that at this point in the game- where a financial crash has been temporarily averted by drastic monetary/fiscal measures taken by Washington and the Fed circa 2008- when it comes to the U.S. economy and larger financial system it really doesn’t matter which political party controls the reigns now and after November.

We have a spending problem. And both the Republicans and Democrats have clearly demonstrated they are not serious about curtailing it.

But what about the Republican budget-cutting Mayor Emanuel just alluded to above?

Well, what about it?

As the FOX News website pointed out today:

Here are a few little-known facts about Paul Ryan’s supposedly slash-and-burn budget plan.

Government spending increases almost every year over the next decade.
• Tax and other revenue rises year after year.
• The 10-year deficit is still $3 trillion.

The fact that Ryan’s spending plans grow the federal budget over the long term is one that could easily be lost in the political melee underway in the wake of his selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Not only is our financial “day of reckoning” still on its way, but it will most likely be a lot more painful due to actions (mountains of new debt accrued in the name of stimulus) taken to delay what to me looks inevitable.

And it’s not just this blogger who envisions a truly disturbing outcome. A number of those very few economists and other financial types that correctly-called the housing collapse, the 2008 economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” are once again sounding the alarm.

And once again, most Americans- with assistance gladly provided by the mainstream media and numerous Pollyannas throughout society- marginalize the warnings of these “crash prophets.”

Ignore at your own peril, I say. Or rather, many of their track records say.

Republican. Democrat. The economy’s still toast, from where I stand.

Ignore all the political rhetoric, the propaganda, the intellectual masturbation. A quick look below the surface of our financial system and it becomes readily-apparent the patient is gravely-ill.

Just like that depiction of Uncle Sam on this blog’s “About” page.

Hopefully, I’m wrong about all this.

Chris looks forward to retiring the blog one day, as such an activity will signal his belief that the worst of the crash is over with a sustainable economic recovery now at hand.

Boom2Bust.com, Memorial Day Weekend 2007

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Emanuel: Paul Ryan budget plan could trigger recession.” Chicago Sun-Times. 14 Aug. 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/14480460-761/emanuel-paul-ryan-budget-plan-could-trigger-recession.html). 14 Aug. 2012.

“Fact Check: Ryan budget plan doesn’t actually slash the budget.” FOX News. 14 Aug. 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/14/fact-check-ryan-budget-plan-doesnt-actually-slash-budget/). 14 Aug. 2012.

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Chicago-Area, U.S. Home Prices Keep Falling

While sales of existing homes in the Chicagoland area are up, home prices around the city and nationwide continue to fall. It was only a week ago that Mary Ellen Podmolik wrote the following on the Chicago Tribune website:

April home sales soar, prices stabilize

April sales of existing homes and condominiums in the Chicago area rose dramatically from their year-ago pace, and home prices showed some stability last month as well.

Home sales around the Windy City might be strong, but a widely-watched housing index casts doubt on claims of price stabilization. From Podmolik again on the Tribune website this morning:

Average home prices in the Chicago area hit a new low in March, falling to levels not seen locally since April 2000, according to the widely watched S&P/ Case-Shiller home price index, released Tuesday.

Locally, March home prices were down 2.5 percent from February and down 7.1 percent since March 2011. Along with Chicago, only Atlanta and Detroit saw their annual rates of change worsen in March…

Chicago-area condo prices in March, while down 5.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, were flat with February, meaning they continue to hover at their levels in the fall of 1999.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Nationally, average home prices continue to drop as well. From an S&P Indices press release this morning:

Data through March 2012, released today by S&P Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that all three headline composites ended the first quarter of 2012 at new post-crisis lows. The national composite fell by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2012 and was down 1.9% versus the first quarter of 2011. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted respective annual returns of -2.8% and -2.6% in March 2012. Month-over-month, their changes were minimal; average home prices in the 10-City Composite fell by 0.1% compared to February and the 20-City remained basically unchanged in March over February. However, with these latest data, all three composites still posted their lowest levels since the housing crisis began in mid-2006.

“While there has been improvement in some regions, housing prices have not turned,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Housing prices have not turned”

To be fair, the news from S&P Indices wasn’t all bad. Blitzer added:

This month’s report saw all three composites and five cities hit new lows. However, with last month’s report nine cities hit new lows. Further, about half as many cities, seven, experienced falling prices this month compared to 16 last time.

You can read the entire press release on the S&P Indices site here.

Sources:

Podmolik, Mary Ellen. “April home sales soar, prices stabilize.” Chicago Tribune. 22 May 2012. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-22/business/chi-april-home-sales-soar-prices-stabilize-20120522_1_average-commitment-rate-twitter-mepodmolik-home-prices). 29 May 2012.

Podmolik, Mary Ellen. “Chicago area home prices hit new low in March.” Chicago Tribune. 29 May 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-chicago-area-home-prices-hit-new-low-in-march-20120529,0,6662182.story). 29 May 2012.

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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 Housing Comments Off on Chicago-Area, U.S. Home Prices Keep Falling
Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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