# Predatory… borrowers?

From the Boston Globe:

Predatory borrowers

THERE IS little doubt that the unraveling of the housing market will cause significant hardship to many homeowners who believed that the American dream would never turn on them or their biggest financial investment. Similarly, the pain inflicted upon unsuspecting and often minority borrowers by predatory lenders will also be devastating as housing prices deflate to more realistic levels.

Putting true victims of the housing crisis aside, there is a category of debtor that could be called “predatory borrowers.” These are individuals who have treated their homes like bottomless ATM machines and have played the housing game like “Wheel of Fortune.” These borrowers purchased homes with little money down, with perhaps no income verification, and at debt levels they knew they could not sustain if their homes did not continue to appreciate.

Like inebriated bar patrons who blame the bartender for serving them too much, a segment of today’s borrowers willfully chose to borrow beyond their means and are now blaming the lender. A number of these borrowers, now charitably known as “victims,” also chose to borrow on one house to buy another and collateralized their future in search of speculative riches.

There is little question that truly predatory lenders, whose sole strategy was to dupe unsuspecting and often unsophisticated individuals into borrowing, should be punished. But for those borrowers who mortgaged a lifestyle they knew they could not sustain, the system should not come to their rescue.

It is remarkable how quickly the sentiment surrounding the housing market has turned from embracing accommodating lenders who facilitated people’s ability to benefit from the unending price spiral of real estate to now vilifying the same lenders for making borrowing too easy. In an upcoming election year, politicians simply lack the courage to make individuals accountable for their actions. Rather, it is more expedient to blame faceless corporations for any negative outcome to the consumer simply because more votes come from homeowners than from corporate boardrooms.

As children, we were taught that consuming too much cake and ice cream would have the consequences of a stomachache. But for many adults, who have gorged themselves on too much debt, their financial indulgence is now somehow someone else’s fault and they should not have to pay the price.

If the government does come up with some plan to bail out irresponsible homeowners, does this mean that Uncle Sam will get a piece of the upside if the market snaps back? While we are at it, should the government also provide a safety net to those in Las Vegas whose luck has gone sour at the poker table or unfortunate stock market investors whose risky stock purchases did not pan out?

It is time to separate the true victims of the housing meltdown from those who created their own house of cards. If homeowners own multiple properties, they should be excluded from government help, and the same should apply to those who have refinanced their mortgages to pull the maximum dollars out of their homes.

This entry was posted in Housing Bubble, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

### 279 Responses to Predatory… borrowers?

1. Pat says:

And one additional suggestion to add to the 2nd paragraph from the bottom above:

“…pan out. Finally, our tax dollars should be put to good use by giving compensation back to the other players in the game over the last five years: people who rented and saved, thereby avoiding loans that could do damage to the economy. These conservative Americans helped limit the problem, and deserve a cut of any government sponsored give-away.”

2. claus says:

take responsibility? no way. we have the
feds and state to bail us out.

3. James Bednar says:

From Bloomberg:

Paulson, Bernanke Prepare to Defend Response to Housing Slump

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will defend their efforts to avoid a recession and help people keep their homes as they testify to lawmakers who urge stronger measures.

Paulson will say today that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be allowed to temporarily package mortgages that exceed $417,000 into securities if Congress creates a tougher regulator for the firms. Officials, reversing policy, also agreed yesterday to let the government-chartered companies increase their loan portfolios by 2 percent each year. Bernanke, for his part, cut interest rates two days ago, and has promised new loan rules. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the committee where Bernanke and Paulson will appear, has faulted the Bush administration for keeping limits on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest sources of money for American home loans. He’s also attacked the Fed for lax oversight during the three-year mortgage boom that’s since turned to bust. “I want to hear from Paulson and others what we’re going to do to help the 2.2 million families that will lose their homes,” said Representative Brad Miller, a Democrat from North Carolina and a member of Frank’s committee. “There is a lot more that can be done, and I hope to hear what they think we should do.” Alphonso Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, also will testify at the House Financial Services Committee hearing that starts at 10 a.m. in Washington. Jackson oversees the agency that administers the portfolio limits on Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac. 4. Clotpoll says: Pat (1)- I hope that was tongue-in-cheek. The gubmint shouldn’t be in the business of directly rewarding or punishing ANY type of economic behaviors. That’s why we have markets…and not command-and-control economic planning. 5. cynicalgirl says: They should stop calling it an “ATM”. You have to pay it back, ya know. 6. James Bednar says: Nobody saw this coming… From Bankrate: Mortgage rates rise slightly The Federal Reserve cut interest rates this week. So naturally, mortgage rates went along for the ride, right? Wrong. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 4 basis points, to 6.32 percent, according to the Bankrate.com national survey of large lenders. A basis point is one-hundredth of one percentage point. The mortgages in this week’s survey had an average total of 0.34 discount and origination points. One year ago, the mortgage index was 6.44 percent; four weeks ago, it was 6.58 percent. The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 4 basis points, to 6 percent. The benchmark 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose 11 basis points, to 6.41 percent. On larger loans, the benchmark 30-year jumbo rose 3 basis points, to 7.23 percent. 7. skep-tic says: two comments: first, I’m surprised that the Boston Globe editorial page would oppose any kind of bailout, given that they are as left wing as it gets. If these guys are against a widespread bailout, then it may have a lot less political traction than some think. second, it is a pretty pathetic and hasty reversal of policy that the Bush administration is making with respect to the GSEs. I guess you can chalk it up to complete desperation politically as the GOP heads into 2008, but it seems to me that if they follow the bailout route they will even further distance themselves from one of their core constituencies (economic conservatives). Perhaps they should listen to the Boston Globe for a change. 8. mr potter says: This is becoming a bad movie. Fed drops rates, 30 year increases. Buckle Up ! 9. REBear says: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/central-bank-chief-blames-regulation/story.aspx?guid=%7B625AA210%2DED8F%2D4D70%2D9287%2DACFAE18D1D3C%7D&dist=hplatest ‘The only thing that will stop banks taking risky activity is the knowledge that, if things go wrong, they and they alone will pay the consequences.’ — Mervyn King, Bank of England >> Who is he bailing out today? LOL 10. gary says: Pat #1, Yup, I agree. I expect to get my fair share for living like a pauper and saving every penny I can. If the government doesn’t reimburse me for doing my share to keep the country solvent, I’m bringing a claim for discrimination, bias, prejudice and unfairness. 11. claus says: bulletin: GS blows cover off the ball. 12. bi says: 6#, it is normal that the market factored in the rate cut ahead. it happens to all market… buy on rumor and sell on news. 13. Al says: TO post#6 – James Bednar Says: September 20th, 2007 at 7:42 am Nobody saw this coming… find some of my old posts – I was questioning if lowering rate will lower mortgage rates or actually raise them through the roof due to inflation expectation. What we see now is nothing compare to rates i teens which we will get when people will wake up to realization that real inflation is in 6-10% range. 14. BC Bob says: “Who is he bailing out today? LOL” The Saudis? Did anybody really think that Kuwait was an isolated situation. “Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright” “This is nothing like the situation in 1998 when the crisis was in Asia, but the US was booming. This time the US itself is the problem,” he said. “Mr Redeker said the biggest danger for the dollar is that falling US rates will at some point trigger a reversal yen “carry trade”, causing massive flows from the US back to Japan.”  JB, didn’t you mention the new dollar carry yesterday? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/09/19/bcnsaudi119.xml 15. BC Bob says: “it happens to all market… buy on rumor and sell on news.” bi, Translate that theory to the dollar/currencies and gold market. They have been sellling the dollars and buying gold for years on the rumor. Please stop with you market analysis. Stick to 100% appreciation in RE within 5 years. 16. Al says: bi Says: September 20th, 2007 at 8:12 am 6#, it is normal that the market factored in the rate cut ahead. it happens to all market… buy on rumor and sell on news. Bi – could you please make you osts more logical and understandible?? what is normal – rate cut causing raise in mortgage rates?? Is rate cut was already priced in, than why there is effect at all and why increase?? Please clarify and try to make posts which contain at least one logical sentence and not some randon cheerleading statements which do not make sense. You sounds just like NAR – home prices go up – great for home buyers – by it will go up. Home prices go down – great you pay less money, again buy!!! 17. chicagofinance says: “I want to hear from Paulson and others what we’re going to do to help the 2.2 million families that will lose their homes,” said Representative Brad Miller, a Democrat from North Carolina and a member of Frank’s committee. “There is a lot more that can be done, and I hope to hear what they think we should do.” The honorable Representative Miller….please STFU 18. grim says: Bush to address at 9:30, topic unknown. Anyone care to speculate? jb 19. chicagofinance says: claus Says: September 20th, 2007 at 8:08 am bulletin: GS blows cover off the ball. santa: review earnings quality 20. bi says: 15#, 16#, you guys need a little more contrarian. right now, gold, oil and euro are hotter then re 2 years ago while real estate and healthcare are depressed. 21. chicagofinance says: grim Says: September 20th, 2007 at 8:34 am Bush to address at 9:30, topic unknown. Anyone care to speculate? jb grim: He is going to verbally attack the Saudi’s for moving away from the dollar peg. “It’s un-meri-kan” 22. grim says: I put my money (although very little of it) on a 175% increase to the OFHEO conforming loan limits. Perfect timing, right before the 10:00am testimony on housing. 23. claus says: #smartest guys on the planet when it comes to the bs in the market,never underestimate GS. 24. chicagofinance says: bi Says: September 20th, 2007 at 8:36 am healthcare are depressed bihourly: healthcare depressed? ridiculous manure 25. claus says: GS: Short mortgage market.Ha.HA. 26. HEHEHE says: “I want to hear from Paulson and others what we’re going to do to help the 2.2 million families that will lose their homes,” said Representative Brad Miller, a Democrat from North Carolina and a member of Frank’s committee. “There is a lot more that can be done, and I hope to hear what they think we should do.” I think the government should give me$100 billion dollars to attempt to build the time machine I have blue prints for so that I can take each dumb@ss, I mean duped borrower, back in time to their closing and have them walk away from the deal.

I think it has a better chance of working than anything DC braintrust has in store.

27. BC Bob says:

skeptic [7],

Exactly my thought regarding the Beantown Globe. You don’t get much more liberal than that paper. Opposing a bailout in Teddy’s backyard? Slamming Joe Sixpack regarding responsibility. Before you know it, they may be endorsing a capital gains tax cut.

One other note, it’s a more interesting read in Beantown this morning, as compared to those Sox’s.

28. chicagofinance says:

James Bednar Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 7:42 am
Nobody saw this coming…
From Bankrate: Mortgage rates rise slightly

grim: why would you say that? or are you being sarcastic?

29. BC Bob says:

“#smartest guys on the planet when it comes to the bs in the market,never underestimate
GS.”

….and the most connected, after all who runs the fed. By the way, read up on what Goldman has said about the housing market. YIKES.

30. chicagofinance says:

grim Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 8:34 am
Bush to address at 9:30, topic unknown. jb

crap…now all my Bloomberg commentary gets pre-empted :(

31. chicagofinance says:

BC Bob Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 8:43 am
By the way, read up on what Goldman has said about the housing market. YIKES.

Hatzius? where is it?

32. BC Bob says:

“grim: why would you say that? or are you being sarcastic?”

Chi,

Sarcastic.

33. claus says:

GS:Someone knew. Stocks up 25points in two
weeks.

34. grim says:

More of a swipe at someone who called me the other day to inform me that mortgage rates would be reduced by 50bps, falling lock-step with the Fed cut.

35. grim says:

From MarketWatch:

Foreclosures, delinquencies to rise further, Bernanke says

Markets ‘tend to self-correct,’ Bernanke says

Market for subprime-mortgages has adjusted sharply: Bernanke

Fed working with groups to reduce foreclosure risk: Bernanke

36. grim says:
37. mr potter says:

What specifically did GS say about housing. These guys are uncanny.

38. Aaron says:

Marketwatch headline:
Opening losses likely after a week of Fed-inspired gains
How does a pop on tuesday afernoon and a half-assed wed equal a ‘week of gains’?

39. PeaceNow says:

#4
“I hope that was tongue-in-cheek. The gubmint shouldn’t be in the business of directly rewarding or punishing ANY type of economic behaviors. That’s why we have markets…and not command-and-control economic planning.”

I hope this was tongue-in-cheek, since the gubmint already directly rewards MANY types of economic behaviors…including home ownership.

40. BC Bob says:

chi [31],

Their analysts. Hatzius whispers that is is f%%%%%.

http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/archives/2005/09/goldman_sachs_e_1.html

41. grim says:

The Bernanke testimony is a good read.

42. grim says:

From Bloomberg:

Bear Stearns Profit Drops Most in Ten Years on Credit Turmoil

Bear Stearns Cos., the securities firm hit the hardest by the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, reported its biggest profit decline since at least 1998 as rising U.S. home-loan defaults reduced bond-trading revenue.

Third-quarter net income dropped 61 percent to $171 million, or$1.16 a share, in the three months ended Aug. 31 from $438 million, or$3.02, a year earlier, the New York-based firm said today in a statement. Profit fell short of the average estimate of $1.79 a share from 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Bear Stearns, led by Chief Executive Officer James “Jimmy” Cayne, said revenue from fixed-income sales and trading slumped 88 percent amid “extremely challenging” market conditions. The decline was steeper than at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Morgan Stanley because Bear Stearns depends more on the U.S. for profits. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the biggest securities firm, said today that profit surged 79 percent, after the sale of a power company boosted revenue. “Bear Stearns is in the worst shape on Wall Street because it has the most exposure to fixed income and least to international markets,” said Matt Albrecht, a New York-based equity analyst at Standard & Poor’s who recommends selling Bear Stearns shares. “Their reliance on the mortgage market isn’t going to help as that market continues to roil.” 43. BC Bob says: More from Goldman, compliments of Calculated Risk. http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2007/08/goldman-sachs-housing-forecast.html 44. REBear says: if it’s 9:30, I’m assuming another phase in the bail out process just started. 45. claus says: GS: They even took down 1.5 billion in bad loans… 46. REBear says: 1.5 on how many 100s of billions in loans? 47. REBear says: Bush schedules press conference for 10:45 a.m. ET 48. grim says: claus, The past is the past. The real question is, will they go down the same road in the future? Or is subprime forever tarnished? I think it is, and I don’t think they’ll be looking to repeat this play in the near future. Subprime liquidity won’t be so quick to recover. Those losses were a big mistake. They won’t repeat it. 49. BC Bob says: Since we are on Goldman. Did Ben read their commodity forecast for 2008? http://www.metalprices.com/metalNews.asp?id=58878&svc=RN&type=1 50. t c m says: #26 -“I want to hear from Paulson and others what we’re going to do to help the 2.2 million families that will lose their homes,” do these politicians think that only these 2.2 million people vote? the only problem is who to vote for – the pandering democrats gunning for a bailout or the wimpy republicans caving in. 51. claus says: all i know is the stock is up 30points or more from its bottom in august. screw all the background noise, on blogs. read the charts. 52. bi says: 49#, if goldman forecast was so good, how come its two flagship funds lost over 30% year to date? a dealer is a dealer 53. Arr Elle says: Dear All Guess What??!!! A flyer was put on my car last night while I was at the gym. The flyer was from a Realter bascially stating that the mortgage rate is down and now is a perfect time to buy a house, especially for 1st homebuyers and then it goes on stating that there are programs for no money down, etc. Well I took to flyer and threw it in the trash. My 2 cents. 54. AntiTrump says: #52 Stupidbi Goldman is not one person. There are a number of different dept and people who run different areas of the firm. They don’t necessarily compare notes every night before making a decision. If you are not familiar with Wall Street firms. Different divisions tend to do well in different markets. 55. BC Bob says: “read the charts.” Claus, Thanks for that tip. 56. Tim says: Question for the Panel: Since I am hearing gloom and doom heading our way. Where is the safest place to put your money. I am 38 years old with 325k in a Vangaurd account. Most of it is invested in short term reserves. I am going to be purchasing a house in the next year , out of state of course, and was wondering if I should keep the money where it is, it has been earning a steady 5.1 or should I put it in a FDIC insured Bank? Any suggestions would be appreciated, just looking for the safest place until the purchase. Thanks. 57. grim says: I got both a letter and a post-card from Toll Brothers last night. We visited the community up by the “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” baseball stadium in Sussex. jb 58. Kettle1 says: This is for everyone, but Bi you should definatly look at this info. first, for those who are not familiar M0,M1,M2,M3 are defined below, The GOV stopped report M3 in 06 and it is somewhat of a scandal as M3 is considered a general indication of inflation. M3 is still estimated by various non-GOV sources: * M0: The total of all physical currency, plus accounts at the central bank that can be exchanged for physical currency. * M1: M0 – those portions of M0 held as reserves or vault cash + the amount in demand accounts (“checking” or “current” accounts). * M2: M1 + most savings accounts, money market accounts, and small denomination time deposits (certificates of deposit of under$100,000).
* M3: M2 + all other CDs, deposits of eurodollars and repurchase agreements.

Take a look at the Charts on the linked page. Data labeled SGS is just the data calculated by the SGS website relative to the official GOV #’s. This data is not definitive, but does suggest that there are fundamental economic disconnects in the current market. Basically, we are seeing unstable conditions that can not continue long term.

OK Sorry to restarts yesterdays discussion on Macro economic issues, back to local housing

http://www.shadowstats.com/cgi-bin/sgs/data

59. REBear says:

I want Bush for a change to say something about renewable energy. I hope we are not going to tap our oil reserves yet again.

60. kettle1 says:

Grim,

Why do i not get the full list of posts when i click on the story from the main page. I click on today story ( this one) and it said there are 59 posts. But when i scroll down there are only 44. I cleared my cookies and reloaded the page but no dice? This seems to happen relatively frequently. And i am using Firefox….

61. grim says:

I use page-caching software to try to reduce the server load associated with traffic. Occasionally, the cached pages don’t get updated properly and cause the problems you are seeing. It’ll happen to everyone. It will almost always update after someone posts a new message, which refreshes the cache.

If I turn the caching off, traffic will cripple the site.

62. HEHEHE says:

FR Board: New $5 bill unveiled http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/other/20070920a.htm I was surprised when it wasn’t a current$5 bill cut in half.

63. bi says:

58#, thanks for the definitions. my understanding is it confirmed that saving in dollars is losing even you earn 5% APR since real inflation (or dollar depreciation) is over 14% in last two years. in restrospective, the returns from best to worse in last 2 years are: commodity, equity, bonds, cash and real estate. the trick part is what will be in next 2 years?

64. Comrade 3b says:

#63 the trick part is what will be in next 2 years?

Well we do know that real estate is down and will be down over at least the next 2years, so we have that part of the question answered.

65. kettle1 says:

Grim thanks for the info, the caching makes sense, i just thought the problem was on my side ;)

66. AntiTrump says:

Stock Markets waiting for next hand out from Uncle Ben. Down down, 10 continues to creep up. So will we flat line until the next fed meeting?

Funny when Fed wanted to increase long term rates few years back they failed. Now they want to lower rates and long term is creeping up.

67. grim says:

Totally off base with my speculation about the rose garden address. Nothing to do with housing.

jb

68. RentinginNJ says:

Just say a newsflash on Bloomberg TV
“Greenspan says housing prices will fall by at least 10%”

69. kettle1 says:

So,

How long till B-52 Ben gets us here?

http://tinyurl.com/3aljre

(pic is actually from Germany around 1923. By late 1923 it took 200 billion marks to buy a loaf of bread due to hyper inflation in germany)

70. grim says:

Funny when Fed wanted to increase long term rates few years back they failed. Now they want to lower rates and long term is creeping up.

I’m afraid of what the long-end will do next month. CPI and PPI will no longer have the luxury of falling energy to keep the headline numbers tame.

71. njpatient says:

Ben B
“The risk of moral hazard must be considered in designing government-backed programs; such programs should not bail out failed investors, as doing so would only encourage excessive risk-taking. One must also consider adverse selection; programs that provide credit to only the weakest eligible borrowers are likely to be more costly than those that serve a broader risk spectrum. Risk-based insurance premiums or tighter screening and monitoring by lenders can mitigate adverse selection. But ultimately such mechanisms have their limits, and no government program will be able to provide meaningful help to the highest-risk borrowers without a public subsidy. Whether such subsidies should be employed is a decision for the Congress.”

72. njpatient says:

More Ben B
“The perception, however inaccurate, that the GSEs are fully government-backed implies that investors have few incentives in their role as counterparties or creditors to act to constrain GSE risk-taking. Raising the conforming-loan limit would expand this implied guarantee to another portion of the mortgage market, reducing market discipline further. If, despite these considerations, the Congress were inclined to move in this direction, it should assess whether such action could be taken in a way that is both explicitly temporary and able to be implemented sufficiently promptly to serve its intended purpose.”

73. kettle1 says:

Bi # 63

The next 2 years should be interesting. However any disconnects will most likely not be corrected using anything resembling the current policies. a strategy similar to Fed Chairman Volckers in 81-83 would probably be effective but highly unpopular and painful

Volcker’s Fed is widely credited with ending the United States’ stagflation crisis of the 1970s by limiting the growth of the money supply, abandoning the previous policy of targeting interest rates. Inflation, which peaked at 13.5% in 1981, was successfully lowered to 3.2% by 1983 and has remained low ever since[1]. The change in policy contributed to the significant recession the U.S. economy experienced in the early 1980s, which included the highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression.
However, Volcker’s Fed also elicited the strongest political attacks and most wide-spread protests in the history of the Federal Reserve (unlike any protests experienced since 1922) due to the effects of the high interest rates on the construction and farming sectors, culminating in indebted farmers driving their tractors onto C Street and blockading the Eccles Building.[1]

74. grim says:

From MarketWatch:

Paulson ties Fannie, Freddie loan limit increase to reform

Allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to securitize more expensive mortgages would help part of the mortgage market but should be tied to regulation to reform the companies, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Thursday. In prepared testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, Paulson was critical of the companies’ request to expand their mortgage portfolios, saying it isn’t clear such a move would have a positive impact on the market. The chiefs of both companies told lawmakers they should be able to buy more loans in a bid to pump liquidity into the mortgage market. In separate remarks, Fed chief Ben Bernanke was critical of letting Fannie and Freddie guarantee costlier loans, saying any such move should be temporary.

75. grim says:

From Bloomberg:

U.S. Leading Economic Indicators Decreased 0.6% in August

The index of leading U.S. economic indicators fell in August by the most in six months reflecting lower consumer confidence and a rise in claims for unemployment insurance.

The Conference Board’s gauge declined 0.6 percent, more than forecast, after a 0.7 percent July increase that was bigger than previously reported, the New York-based group said today. The measure points to the direction of the economy over the next three to six months.

The index highlights concerns that the economy may be in danger of stalling as a real estate slump, tougher lending standards and a flagging job market threaten consumer spending. Harder-to-get credit “has the potential to intensify the housing correction, and to restrain economic growth more generally,” the Federal Reserve said as it lowered interest rates this week.

“The signs are pointing toward sluggish growth,” Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts, said before the report. “The Fed rate cut won’t prevent a slowdown, but it will help cushion the downturn and prevent the economy from spiraling into recession.”

76. BC Bob says:

Ben, please cut again. Dec gold up $13.50. Dec dollar down .54. 77. Hindustan/Newport refugee says: Looks like Bernanke’s put has killed the dollar, currently dropping like a rock – Currently 78.8 on the index. Imagine what’ll happen when WallMart can’t afford to stock their shelves for X-Mas… 78. AntiTrump says: We can always go begging to the Chinese for more loans. 79. Hindustan/Newport refugee says: Breaking News from Reuters – Financial losses tied to subprime woe far exceed estimated loan losses: Bernanke 8:51am EDT It’s gonna be fun watching them slowly revise their lies as the truth goes public, of course none of the real geniuses in the media will call them on their BS. 80. Hindustan/Newport refugee says: “We can always go begging to the Chinese for more loans.” There too busy trying to spend the dollars they already have on resources and commodities that we can no longer afford… 81. MJ says: is GS making money Shorting mortgage market? Doesnt this cause the credit crunch, forcing FED to react..Shouldnt there be some kind of law to prevent GS from doing this, since it hurts the economy.. 82. HEHEHE says: 83. Al says: there will be another rate cut this year and by spring next year the rate wil be cut to 3%. That is my prediction – screw china, screw Japan -inflate dollar – get out of national debt this way. 84. grim says: Anyone else enjoy the irony of Wall Street profiting on bad loans, while Washington clamors for a bailout? jb 85. njrebear says: BC Bob, What are your thoughts on the possibility of one or more CBs start selling huge quantities of gold? 86. MJ says: talk about inflation, went to a$ store yesterday. Most of the items that I bought had a tag of $1.29 instead of$1.

87. BC Bob says:

bear [85],

Excuse the french but f#%* the cb’s. They have been selling/leasing forever. Ask Mr Brown about selling reserves. He cost England billions. The bottom line is the market has been absorbing their sales. What happens when they lease out and are called on for delivery. OOPS.

88. njrebear says:

Grim,
I always find it odd that Wall Street wants globalization and at the same time looks at US tax payers to bail them out.

89. grim says:

Can we tame a bit of the currency and metals investment discussions?

I don’t mind discussing these in the context of inflation, but we’re crossing a line when we shift the focus to investing.

I’m concerned that Joe 6pack is going to read this site, and invest his nest egg in Iraqi Dinars and a bucket of Ducats.

I don’t want to sell the readership short, but I’m not sure the all of the readers of this site understand the risks associated with currency and commodities speculation. I’m not saying there isn’t a place in your portfolio, I’m just saying that if we’re going to talk about it, lets not downplay the risks.

Just realize that if Joe 6 loses his nest-egg, it’s going to be *me* he comes after.

90. HEHEHE says:

Re GS etc

Those guys all have so much leeway to fudge their numbers on the pricing of the debt on their books that they basically had a choice whether or not to meet earnings this quarter. Going forward those banks aren’t going to find any hedge funds to take those Clo’s etc off their books because hedge funds aren’t going to be able to borrow against them 6-8 time over their imaginary price because no banks want to touch them. Eventually that stuff has to show up in their valuations. One would think, but of course this is right back into the neighborhood of fantasy land internet stock valuations.

91. Hindustan/Newport refugee says:

“is GS making money Shorting mortgage market? Doesnt this cause the credit crunch, forcing FED to react..Shouldnt there be some kind of law to prevent GS from doing this, since it hurts the economy..”

IMHO all shorting is fraudulent gaming of the system and should be outlawed.

Did anyone notice that in July the SEC did away with the 90 year old law on down-tick shorting?

Capitalism isn’t an economic system, it’s a religion for a$$holes… 92. BC Bob says: JB[89], You are right. I cross the line too often. 93. kettle1 says: #83 AL We cant inflate our way out of a teacup at the moment. The dollar is on such shaky ground that if we inflate it much more then foreign investors ( the people who give us all of the credit we like to spend)are going to react in several possible ways. They can stop buying our debt ( i.e no more credit for us), they can call the existing debts in (can you say bankrupt USA), or they can jack up the rate they require in order to buy our debt. Some of these actions have already taken place to a mild extent. But if a major player like china decides to stop buying our debt or call our debts due, we are done for. Also consider that the one of the main components of the “strength” of the dollar is that oil is sold in US Dollars. Once oil is no longer traded in dollars, our currency is going down the drain unless we have some other commodity to back it up. The process of moving to the euro as the defacto oil currency is already starting and its only a matter of time before a commplete switch to the “petroEuro” occurs and replaces the “petroDollar”. Consider that if china dumps their dollars or/and oil is no longer traded in dollars, then all of the central banks and large Corps that hold Billons/Trillions of dollars will dump them onto the currency market. Look around on the wb for further discussion its a deep subjet and interesting/disturbing at the same time 94. AntiTrump says: GE Will Take Another Hit From Subprime Woes. From yesterdays WSJ. The Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate said it would take a hit of 300 million to 400 million related to its planned exit from the subprime market. It will mark the third time in as many quarters that GE’s results will be affected by subprime woes. The subprime effect stems from WMC Mortgage Corp., GE’s U.S. subprime-mortgage unit, which it has announced plans to shed. GE recorded 682 million in losses related to WMC in the first half. GE reduced WMC’s loan portfolio from 4.5 billion to 1.1 billion in the second quarter. Yesterday, Mr. Sherin said GE would dispose of the rest by year end. “We made a decision to get out, and we’re taking the hit,” he told analysts. 95. Hindustan/Newport refugee says: “The process of moving to the euro as the defacto oil currency is already starting and its only a matter of time before a commplete switch to the “petroEuro” occurs and replaces the “petroDollar”.” One of things that artificially boosts the value of the dollar is something call “income velocity of money”. IMO if the PetroEuro took effect today in less than a year the dollar would be worthless… 96. kettle1 says: Grim, Sorry if i have come across as suggesting financial strategy to anyone. PLEASE NOTE I AM AN IDIOT WHO IS LUCKY TO HAVE 50 CENTS IN MY POCKET DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYTHING I SAY AS I AM AN EXPERT IN NOTHING. AND ACTUALLY NOT EVEN INVOLVED IN THE FINANCIAL WORLD 97. Comrade 3b says: #42 There will definitely be layoffs coming at Bear, if in fact that have not started already. 98. kettle1 says: But i did stay at a holiday in express…. once, about 2 years ago….. 99. HEHEHE says: I AM NOT AN INVESTMENT ADVISOR, DO NOT TAKE MY ADVICE ON ANY INVESTMENTS 100. BC Bob says: “IMO if the PetroEuro took effect today in less than a year the dollar would be worthless…” hindustan [95], I would love to respond to this and your attitude about shorting. However, didn’t you read the moderator’s post. 101. MJ says: “IMO if the PetroEuro took effect today in less than a year the dollar would be worthless…” sure Euro is breaking  monopoly, but other then that, how is Euro fundamentally different from . China sends more stuff to Europe now then it does to US. 102. chicagofinance says: MJ Says: September 20th, 2007 at 10:31 am is GS making money Shorting mortgage market? Doesnt this cause the credit crunch, forcing FED to react..Shouldnt there be some kind of law to prevent GS from doing this, since it hurts the economy….. 23 Air: when Bernanke opened the discount window last month, he was trying to f— these guys over….they would have made more money if Ben didn’t surprise these guys… 103. kettle1 says: courtesy of wikipedia for those not familiar with money velocity The velocity of money is the average frequency with which a unit of money is spent. When the period is understood, the velocity may be present as a pure number; otherwise it should be given as a pure number over time. If, for example, in a very small economy, a farmer and a mechanic, with just 50 in money between them, buy goods and services from each other in just three transactions over the course of a year. * Mechanic buys 40 of corn and 10 on barn cats from a farmer. * Farmer spends 50 on tractor repair. Together they spend 100 even though there is only 50 of money in this little economy. That 100 level is possible because each dollar was spent an average of twice a year, which is to say that the velocity was 2 / yr. Velocity of money is defined by the following equation: V_T =\frac{PT}{M} where V_T\, is the velocity of money for all transactions. PT\, is the nominal value of aggregate transactions, and each transaction is made up of a price (P) part times a number-of-units-purchased (T) part. M\, is the total amount of money in circulation on average in the economy. Note: Wikipedia is not definitive and should only be considered a very rough overview taken with a pound of salt. 104. Jase Rion says: what’s with all these disclaimers? honestly, will anyone actually take financial advise from this blog? needless to say from a poster named “HEHEHE”? :P however, i do admit that this blog has been more than resourceful for my own use!! thanks grim! 105. chicagofinance says: Hindustan/Newport refugee Says: September 20th, 2007 at 10:43 am Capitalism isn’t an economic system, it’s a religion for a$$holes…

ahem…..you know where you can go….

106. Hindustan/Newport refugee says:

“would love to respond to this and your attitude about shorting. However, didn’t you read the moderator’s post.”

Sorry, didn’t know he is the moderator as I’m brand-new to the blog…

Would have been nice to hear your take though, sounds like you’re knowledgable on the subject.

107. MJ says:

“23 Air: when Bernanke opened the discount window last month, he was trying to f— these guys over….they would have made more money if Ben didn’t surprise these guys…”

I thought the only surprise Ben delivered so far was to hold out as long as he did, not falling into the pattern of his predecessor

108. chicagofinance says:

Hindustan/Newport refugee Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 11:09 am
Sorry, didn’t know he is the moderator as I’m brand-new to the blog…

Room With A View: see more of this country and understand its history before you make blanket assertions about its economy…..I take serious umbrage with your statement as it is naive and bordering on blind ignorance…..

109. MJ says:

may be it wasnt a surprise to the GS guys

110. gary says:

“what’s with all these disclaimers? honestly, will anyone actually take financial advise from this blog? needless to say from a poster named “HEHEHE”?”

Evidently, people have been taking financial advice from chain-smoking used home dealers and back alley loan shark mortgage pushers for at least the last 6 years.

111. kettle1 says:

#101 MJ

You are right:

ure Euro is breaking $monopoly, but other then that, how is Euro fundamentally different from$

In that the uro is not fundametally different then they euro, The problem is that there are billons/trillions of dollars held buy foreign central banks so that they can buy the oil they nedd in US$due to the fact that until Iran’s recent move, you could only buy oil using US$. If the US$is replaced by the euro as the common oil currency then all of the central banks that are hold the billions/trillions of dollars in their vaults for their oil purchases will need to replace those dollars with Euros. This is where the real problem kicks in. The dollars would be dumped on the currency markets, so the first person to dump their dollars gets the highest price and the last person to dump their dollars gets the lowest price. This is a very simplified description of the issue and missed many fine points. But ultimatly if the transition occurs slowly then the effects on the value and stability of the dollar may not be severe is the FED takes a strong anit-inflationary stance as all of these dollars on the market jacks up supply/inflation and decreases the value of all dollars on the market. if the dump of the dollar occurs quickly and everyone tries to switch to the euro at once then you could see a real collapse of the dollar and it could become near worthless (this is worst case scenario) Disclaimer: This is not advice and i do not know what i am talking about. I am really a 10 yr old skipping school :) 112. grim says: Publicity stunt? From Bloomberg: Greenspan Says Recession Still Possible After Fed Cut Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the odds of a recession remain “somewhat more” than one in three even after this week’s cut in interest rates, with home prices likely to drop further and hurt consumer spending. “Remember, we still have a problem out there, which is a large overhang of unsold newly constructed homes,” Greenspan said in an interview today following the publication of his book, “The Age of Turbulence.” Home prices “are down only about 3 percent but they are clearly moving lower.” The Fed on Sept. 18 lowered its benchmark rate by half a percentage point, saying tougher credit standards had the potential to hurt economic growth. Economists said this week’s action was similar to Greenspan’s approach in taking preemptive measures to reduce the risks of recession. “We would expect to find some erosion in consumer expenditures, but we haven’t seen it yet,” Greenspan said. 113. syncmaster says: Hindustan/Newport: If capitalism is a religion for a$$holes, may I ask what you do for a living? ps. I am assuming you are an Indian immigrant who now lives in the Newport section of JC… as another person who shares your heritage, I’ve already jumped to a conclusion as to what you do, but I’m eager for you to tell me I’m wrong. 114. scribe says: From the FT. Has this been posted yet? US expert warns of fresh shocks By Eoin Callan in Washington Published: September 19 2007 14:59 | Last updated: September 19 2007 18:53 Fresh economic shocks on the scale of the current credit squeeze will occur if US house prices continue to fall, one of the country’s leading housing experts warned on Wednesday. Robert Shiller, a Yale university economist, told a US congressional panel that he feared “the collapse of home prices might turn out to be the most severe since the Great Depression”. “The decline in house prices stands to create future dislocations, like the credit crisis we have just seen,” he told the Senate’s joint economic committee. The warning underlines an increasingly widespread view that the turmoil in financial markets and tightening lending conditions are early consequences of a slump in the US housing market that is gathering momentum. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/31d8aba4-66b6-11dc-a218-0000779fd2ac.html 115. make money says: The process of moving to the euro as the defacto oil currency is already starting and its only a matter of time before a commplete switch to the “petroEuro” occurs and replaces the “petroDollar”. If this happens I’m going to ask my tennants to pay the rent in Euro’s. Remember I’m on fixed income here. 116. Hindustan/Newport refugee says: Robert Shiller, a Yale university economist, told a US congressional panel that he feared “the collapse of home prices might turn out to be the most severe since the Great Depression”. Well looking at the historical chart on RE price inflation v. wage inflation, that would probably lead him to think that :) 117. Hindustan/Newport refugee says: Sorry about the typos, I’m multitasking here writing three things at once… 118. BklynHawk says: Hey to all the Forex x-perts- Lets make a run on the Lek, Zloty, and the Punt. I just have this gut feeling about these. I’ll start the bidding. We’ll make a killing!!! (sarcasm off) JM 119. chicagofinance says: 120. grim says: From MarketWatch: Factories growing in Philly region in September Manufacturing activity accelerated in the Philadelphia region in September, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said Thursday. The Philly Fed index rose to 10.9 from 0 in August. Readings over zero indicate that more firms were expanding than contracting. The new orders index improved to 15.1 in September from 7.1 in August. The expectations index was essentially unchanged at 35.7. 121. Orion says: OT – Real estate school As a young pup in the 90’s, I had a RE license, which has long since expired. Any suggestions on a reputable RE school in central NJ? 122. Richard says: >>Translate that theory to the dollar/currencies and gold market. They have been sellling the dollars and buying gold for years on the rumor. i’m fairly bullish on gold. it hit it’s high in the mid 800’s when the money supply was about 2 trillion. today i think the supply is 12 trillion and gold is in the 700’s. it’s got a lot of room to go up. 123. Richard says: >>“Greenspan says housing prices will fall by at least 10%” anyone going to read his new book? going to pick it up over the weekend. 124. grim says: Gives a whole new meaning to the slang term Benny. 125. dreamtheaterr says: #108, Chifi well said. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing :) 126. Come on Fall '08! says: Strange question for you. Lately I’ve been dreaming about quitting my job and buying a bed and breakfast! Fun! First off…does anyone have any experience in owning/running a bnb? I would love to chat. My other question is do you all think that a bnb’s value will coincide with the residential real estate market? 127. dreamtheaterr says: “Capitalism isn’t an economic system, it’s a religion for a$$holes…” Did Hurricane Curry deposit you by mistake in the US? There is still a one-way ticket available… 128. Richard says: there’s a growing popular theory amongst end of days born again christians that in order for the prophecies in the book of revelation to come to pass the united states must decline as a superpower and take a backseat to events going on overseas. 129. BC Bob says: “i’m fairly bullish on gold.” Richard [122] Barf. What, am I the only one who complies with the moderator’s wishes? For the record, you were the one calling me arrogant for owning gold in 12/06. Now more than$100 higher than that time. A typical flip flop?

All disclaimers.

130. kettle1 says:

Well, talking about gold, You actually can make gold from lead! All you need is a particle accelerator. If you knock 3 protons out of a lead atom you have gold. Unfortunately you would spend way more money paying the power bill for the accelerator then you would make by turning gold into lead….

131. SG says:

Listening to the Congress hearing, I have only one conclusion.

Vote bank politics wins. Everyone seem just concerned about how to bail everyone out, but not concerned about why it happened and what should be done to make homes affordable.

132. kettle1 says:

To all

I think that this board has turned towards Dollar fiannce and macro economic is beacuse at this point we all knoe real estate is going down, Even Bi. The question//debate at this point is how far and how fast. Both of these two questions are highly dependent on Macro Econ factors due to the fact that peoples overall financial health is very much tied to the large scale economic trends. If people are not going to be in a secure financial position in the near future housing may fall faster and further where as if large econ effects provide a stable financial position for the average Joe then they are more likely to jump into the market and you may see a slower shallower decline in housing. although i think i know what the opinion of most people on this board is in general terms.

133. kettle1 says:

Oh and anyone who would consider advice from a fellow who has named himself after a vodka deserves what ever you get!

134. BC Bob says:

“Oh and anyone who would consider advice from a fellow who has named himself after a vodka deserves what ever you get!”

kettle,

The masses did much worse. They were sold a dream by everyone; family, friends,hustlers, clowns, pundits and even enemies.

135. SG says:

Paulson – Supported increase of conforming loan limit.

Ben – Housing price increases was due to low global long term rates, which caused RE prices to go high globally not just US. It was not due to low fed funds rate.

136. Richard says:

>>For the record, you were the one calling me arrogant for owning gold in 12/06. Now more than $100 higher than that time. A typical flip flop? i think you need another hobby! 137. gary says: Kettle1, Real Estate is going down? As someone who’s been attempting to trade up for a couple of years now, I can tell you first hand that the 500K to 700K market is still fierce in the more “haughty” towns and have barely flinched since the 2005 peak. Maybe the low and high ends are adjusting, but almost every time I see something that looks like it’s priced “right” and appears to be something of interest is countered with “it’s in Attorney review” or “it’s under contract”. Buyers in that trade up zone like myself have equity plus some savings and are prime candidates. To para-phrase the soup n*zi, “NO BUBBLE BURST FOR YOU!” 138. SG says: Dollar on parity with Canadian dollar. Gold at 744. 139. grim says: Long end of the yield curve on a tear upwards. 10 year at 4.63% Not good for mortgage rates or housing 140. Comrade 3b says: #138 gary: I guess you are never going to believe 141. Comrade 3b says: 3140 grim Don’t tell bi. 142. kettle1 says: Orion # 124, Good article, A quick web search gives me the following estimates for foreign dollar holdings in US$

China 800 Billion
Mideast Region: 3,500 Billion

these 2 alone could in theory dump over 4 trillion dollars on the market. that would increase the money supply from the current estimate of 12 trillion to 16 trillion, a 33% increase. WHile that may not be all or rapidly pushed into the currency market, it would have a nasty effect on the value of the dollar

143. Richie says:

Bear Stearns Profit Drops Most in Ten Years on Credit Turmoil

Bear Stearns Cos., the securities firm hit the hardest by the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, reported its biggest profit decline since at least 1998 as rising U.S. home-loan defaults reduced bond-trading revenue.

Glad I turned down that job offer!

144. kettle1 says:

In other news, I personally new came to the conclusion that the housing market had gone berserk when i saw this house with a for sale sign for about 475,000 when me and the wife were walking by about 2 years ago. This building really is a POS and freaking tiny

38 School St Califon NJ 07830

http://www.zillow.com/HomeDetails.htm?zprop=38834203

145. JBJB says:

Gary [138]

I agree and am noticing the same thing w/ regard to the 500-700k range. My anecdotal evidence suggest that when something decent comes on line is this range, it is quickly turned over. I am not sure if it is due to trade-ups or not, as such folks would obviously need to sell their 300-500 k house first, but this range sure does seem to be much stickier compared to the high and low end. Perhaps it’s the combination of trade-ups and well-to-do first time buyers that are contributing to a stronger market in this range?

146. d2b says:

BNB person-
I also would like to leave the business world to open up a small business. I was looking for something small with healthy growth prospects. I find that right now businesses, especially with RE, are priced on the high side. I’m going to wait about a year and then I hope to see more reasonable valuations.

Sometimes I shake my head when I see cash flow numbers that don’t even support mortgage payments. Plus rates are higher for commercial RE.

147. idesofoctober says:

@146

I don’t understand what you guys are saying, you are talking about a price range? Of course the “price range” isn’t going to change, however the types of houses in that price range are probably changing, no?

148. kettle1 says:

gary,

I am not a RE agent or even in the field, my opinions are based off of the underlying finances. There will always be a few individuals who are financially sound and are actively buying regardless of the market. But if you zoom out and look at the big picture, both state and national the underlying financials do not pan out ( i.e ave home price in is approx 325K and ave income is about 65K).

149. RentinginNJ says:

Real Estate is going down? As someone who’s been attempting to trade up for a couple of years now, I can tell you first hand that the 500K to 700K market is still fierce in the more “haughty” towns

The military would refer to this as “pockets of resistance”.

On a macro level, I think it would be hard to argue at this point that RE isn’t going down. The debate is now not “if” but “how much”, “what will the impact to the economy be?” and “what should (or shouldn’t) be done about it?”

150. d2b says:

JBJB-

I wonder if 1st time buyers see much of a difference between a $400k house and a$600k house. They will if you are required to come up with 20% down. But if you can finance the whole thing it’s an extra $1,200 to$1,500 per month.

I know quite a few people that are going straight to that middle level. The days of buying a starter home in your 20s may be over.

151. BC Bob says:

Richard [137],

Good one. However, I didn’t even have to go into the archives. I remember it well. I had just got in from a X-Mas party with gold traders and read your post. Great market timing. I was arrogant, now you are bullish. Maybe it’s time to sell. You have worked well as a contrarian indicator.

152. grim says:

I don’t understand what you guys are saying, you are talking about a price range? Of course the “price range” isn’t going to change, however the types of houses in that price range are probably changing, no?

This is one of the reasons that descriptive statistics are a poor measure of appreciation/depreciation. I know everyone loves to use these, mainly because they are easy to do, the problem is they are not a good measure of appreciation.

For example.

I can afford to buy a $500,000 house (Who am I kidding, no I can’t). In Haughyville, that might have gotten me a 3/1.5 in 200x. It doesn’t matter, because Joe 6pack buys it. A few years pass… Home prices fall dramatically! A$700,000 home falls into the $500,000 price range. Since I can afford to buy a$500,000 house, I buy it.

Now, for the sake of argument, assume only one house sells in both of these years.

Median/Average price
200x – $500,000 (3/1.5) 200y –$500,000 (5/2.5)

Did home prices change, or didn’t they? Yes yes, I know this is an extreme example.

Median and average prices have as much to say about the buyers as they do the properties being sold.

153. idesofoctober says:

So is there a measurement of $/sq foot On a regional/national scale that might help to make a better assesment of price changes? grim Says: September 20th, 2007 at 1:22 pm I don’t understand what you guys are saying, you are talking about a price range? Of course the “price range” isn’t going to change, however the types of houses in that price range are probably changing, no? This is one of the reasons that the descriptive statistics are a poor measure of appreciation/depreciation. I know everyone loves it, the problem is it isn’t a good measure of appreciation. For example. I can afford to buy a$500,000 house (Who am I kidding, no I can’t).

In Haughyville, that might have gotten me a 3/1.5 in 200x. It doesn’t matter, because Joe 6pack buys it.

A few years pass… Home prices fall dramatically! A $700,000 home falls into the$500,000 price range.

Since I can afford to buy a $500,000 house, I buy it. Now, for the sake of argument, assume only one house sells. Median/Average price 200x –$500,000 (3/1.5)
200y – $500,000 (5/2.5) Did home prices change, or didn’t they? Yes yes, I know this is an extreme example. Median and average prices have as much to say about the buyers as they do the properties being sold. 154. BklynHawk says: #153 Grim- Avg. per sq. foot helps some with this and seems to be showing up more often. I guess if one good thing came out of this bubble is the amount of information available to all home buyers has increased and improved. Your blog included for sure. JM 155. grim says: So is there a measurement of$/sq foot On a regional/national scale that might help to make a better assesment of price changes?

Yes there are, they are known as repeat-sales measures. They attempt, through incredible data acrobatics, to measure appreciation over time by examining the repeat sales of properties in an area.

The two best known repeat-sales measures available to us are the OFHEO Home Price Index (HPI) and the S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index.

OFHEO is more widely cited, unfortunately there are some methodological limitations that many feel cause the data to be inaccurate. OFHEO HPI includes refinancing of a property in it’s calculation. Also, OFHEO doesn’t include sales made through non-conforming mortgages. Because of these two issues/limitations, many feel that OFHEO isn’t an accurate picture of the market. However, being a repeat sales measure, it’s still more accurate than simple descriptive statistics.

The Standard & Poors/Case Shiller Home Index is my own favorite. The fact that it is released by an independant third party is of most value to me. The limitation of the S&P Case Shiller is that it doesn’t cover many areas across the country, instead focusing on major metros. Also, the focus is by MSA and metropolitan area. So, the index for New York City, the closest, includes all areas that are within commutable distance to NY. So, we can’t look at a single New Jersey county in the dataset, but the entire region.

You can find the OFHEO HPI and Case Shiller datasets by searching through Google. They are both free and readily available.

jb

156. grim says:

Here is the S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index methodology:

http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/index/SP_Case_Shiller_Home_Price_Indices_Methodology_Web.pdf

An excel spreadsheet of historical data can be found here:

http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/index/CSHomePrice_History_082857.xls

Here are the components of the New York area:

Fairfield CT, New Haven CT, Bergen NJ,
Essex NJ, Hudson NJ, Hunterdon NJ,
Mercer NJ, Middlesex NJ, Monmouth NJ,
Morris NJ, Ocean NJ, Passaic NJ, Somerset
NJ, Sussex NJ, Union NJ, Warren NJ,
Bronx NY, Dutchess NY, Kings NY,
Nassau NY, New York NY, Orange NY,
Putnam NY, Queens NY, Richmond NY,
Rockland NY, Suffolk NY, Westchester
NY, Pike PA

157. gary says:

Grim,

I understand your point. I’m talking about present experiences, “today” prices. That Center Hall Colonial previously listed at 729K drops to 649K and ‘BOOM’, it gets action. I’ve been living this from peak to present and I see no change regardless of market conditions.

Another poster above (JBJB) seems to be experiencing the same thing.

158. gary says:

Comrade 3b,

How can I believe when it doesn’t appear to be materializing? Yes, the low end and high end seems to be dropping; the middle range of ‘wanted’ homes in desirable areas are generating action. There’s a sweet spot where an attractive home moves at some attractive (whatever it may be) price.

A lot of people posting here are parsing everything into oblivion. Sometimes good old common sense is all that’s required.

159. JBJB says:

Grim

I totally get and agree with what you are saying. My post re 500-700 k range was vague. Most of the places I am watching are the 4ba/2br 1800-2200 sq ft colonial on .5 acre variety within a 10 miles radius of my current place. While I don’t have any numbers to back it up, it just seems to me the houses of this style and in this price range have remained fairly stable and are still getting bought pretty quickly (especially if it’s anywhere close a NJT station). I see a lot more of the >750 k just sitting with subtle price decreases, and a lot of the 3br/1-2 ba crap has fallen out of the 450-600k range, but I haven’t seen the > 700k’s dipping into the 500-700 k range as much, again this is purely anecdotal. It may well be true that one can now purchase a house that would have fetched 900 k two years ago for 750 k, but I am not really watching this segement as these homes are of little interest to me for obvious financial reasons.

160. kettle1 says:

Grim, and any other RE people out there, WHat is your take on gary’s comment. Also, i didnt see a direct answer to the $/sqft question. The$/sqft # is easy to calculate for a given sale price so would this data not be a good measure? why/whynot?

# gary Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 1:45 pm

Grim,

I understand your point. I’m talking about present experiences, “today” prices. That Center Hall Colonial previously listed at 729K drops to 649K and ‘BOOM’, it gets action. I’ve been living this from peak to present and I see no change regardless of market conditions.

Another poster above (JBJB) seems to be experiencing the same thing.

161. grim says:

Would you have paid $649k for the property if you didn’t miss out on the deal? I’m not sure if you are more concerned with price or timing (or the fact sales are happening at all). The best priced properties will sell in days. No question, end of story, und so weiter, und so weiter, USW. All a seller needs to do is underprice their competitors. It really is that simple. Sales will *not* fall to zero. There will always be enough churn in any given market that a well priced property will move quickly. 162. gary says: JBJB #160, You just described me to the “T”. How many more of us are out there? 163. JBJB says: Sorry, I meant 4br/2ba, although my wife would prefer the former. 164. bi says: 142#. it is normal. 10 year may back to 4.75% range and waiting for another bomb drop. the market is ahead of us… 165. gary says: grim 162, Good question, I don’t know if I have an exact answer. I think I’m p*ssed a little because buyers seem to be more than willing to catch the falling knife and I can’t see it. Maybe it’s my patience wearing or maybe it’s my assertive nature. LOL! 166. skep-tic says: can you even get a house (not townhouse) within reasonably commuting distance to NYC for under$500,000?

Where I live, starter homes are in the $700k range. 1st time buyers are stepping up to this level because there’s not much below it 167. BC Bob says: “the market is ahead of us…” bi [165], Speak for yourself. Also, regarding the moderator’s request, are you grandfathered in? 168. BC Bob says: “can you even get a house (not townhouse) within reasonably commuting distance to NYC for under$500,000?”

skeptic,

Have you looked in South Bergen?

169. Clotpoll says:

Mortgage sheets for my office have been submitted today from all companies.

Rates up, across the board.

170. Slivovizzle says:

Teaneck is reasonable commuting distance for under 500K

171. skep-tic says:

I will happily set aside the FX and metals discussions, though I must admit I took a look at the Everbank foreign currency CDs yesterday before I admitted to myself that I don’t know enough nor do I have the stomach to take a $10k gamble on the dollar. To me, the best investment advice is admit to your limitations 172. JBJB says: skep-tic [168] I live in Middletown,NJ – commuting to NYC is 1 hr 5 min by NJT, or 40-50 min by ferry. You can decide if it’s resonable. Middletown is pretty big and incomes are very diverse thus there are many housing types. You can find homes for under 500 k but they are usally small and somewhat dumpy and far from the commuting points (NJT, Ferry, or GSP). 173. Rich In NNJ says: Gary, Do you have your home on the market? If not, I wouldn’t bother trying to buy until you know you can sell your home. If you find a price your willing to pay you may end up going against someone with nothing to sell (no contingencies) and losing even though you may offer the same or more. Rich 174. skep-tic says: #170 BC– I’ve never even been to Bergen county, except on the highway driving through. Funny, given how much time I spend on a NJ blog. No objection to the area, however, it’s just that the location of my office makes Westchester/CT far more convenient than NJ/LI 175. gary says: Rich In NNJ #175, I hear ya and understand totally. 176. BC Bob says: skeptic, I get it. Yeah, Westchester is a much bigger ticket as compared to South Bergen. 177. claus says: the pols are falling over each other today. lets regulate , no responsibility,. 178. Clotpoll says: grim (89)- “I’m concerned that Joe 6pack is going to read this site, and invest his nest egg in Iraqi Dinars and a bucket of Ducats.” I already did the above. If it doesn’t work out, I’m lawyering up and coming after you. :) 179. BC Bob says: Clot [171], I answered your question on the previous thread. To comply with the requests, I will not go into it here. However, you must be dizzy from too much digging if you think I’m bullish on paper. 180. Clotpoll says: Hindustan (91)- “IMHO all shorting is fraudulent gaming of the system and should be outlawed.” So, you’re suggesting that all trades should only have one side? How does one properly hedge and insure positions? Or, are you suggesting that every single investment in the US should be of either the “all in” variety…or don’t buy at all? Also, where’s the fraud in the shorting process? Who’s being deceived as to the intent or the mechanics of the trade? How would such a short-less system work in your best of all possible worlds? 181. Clotpoll says: BC (181)- Not dizzy at all. Just don’t even see a shred of plausible argument for paper that would be enough to convince me a dead cat rally would even be in the cards. All disclaimers. 182. BC Bob says: “properly hedge” Clot, Texas hedgers! 183. BC Bob says: Clot [183], Read my response again. 184. grim says: Bernanke’s Conundrum: 10Y at 4.67% 185. Comrade 3b says: #174 JBJB You can find homes for under 500 k but they are usally small and somewhat dumpy. I suspect that will not be the case for long. id asking rpices are dropping in Bergen co, i ams ure they will be dropping in Middleetown too. And contrary to what some people are saying the quality of inventory is improving (at least what I am seeing.) No real reason to buy now, (unless it is a really good deal) as prices will continue to fall in an environment of rising inevntory, and at best flat FRM’s. 186. Comrade 3b says: #170 BC: Have you looked in South Bergen? And one its way to North Bergen too. 187. Comrade 3b says: #165 bi: You have a beautiful mind, just make it up as you go along. 188. Rich In NNJ says: Clot, I already did the above. If it doesn’t work out, I’m lawyering up and coming after you. I planned to do the same. If we use the same lawyer maybe we can save on the initial outlay for expenses (which I would expect to recoup as well). Rich 189. biluva says: “the market is ahead of us” bi- are you sure about this? I thought you were ahead of us because you are a awesome forecaster, right? thanks! 190. grim says: I’ve got my eye on three properties that I feel are well priced. That is my own anecdote. Three properties that I feel are considerably better priced than I’ve seen over the last 2 to 3 years. In fact, I thought they were so well priced that I was considering making an offer that was a bit under asking. I didn’t even feel the property was overpriced enough to lowball. The fact that they aren’t under contract, a week later, is icing on the cake to me. Of course, I’m not looking for a specific house on a specific street in a specific town. I’ve got the luxury of being able to cast a wide net, so to speak. My wife, having seen properties “fall into” our price range, is content on waiting to see where the market goes. She is in no rush, so she didn’t share my enthusiasm. 191. BC Bob says: biluva [191], I have a couple extra shovels. Any experience digging? I need a lot of help. 192. Comrade 3b says: #159 gary: lot of people posting here are parsing everything into oblivion. Sometimes good old common sense is all that’s required. And I belive that good old common sense tells us that if prices are declining in the top end, and the bottom end, thean it is only a matter fo tiem until they hit the mid-priced houses. In the end, they all fall in price;happened that way before, and I see no reason why it will not happen that way again. 193. Bloodbath in Winter 2007 says: Been reading as much here as possible, but busy at work. Forgive me if this hasn’t been discussed, but i was wondering if Grim/BC Bob had a solution to all the ails. Gold up, Oil soaring, recession coming… Any thoughts at a solution? 194. BC Bob says: Gary, Don’t worry, be patient. Spend your time worrying about the Jints defense. 195. biluva says: BC Bob – what you mean digging? for truth? sorry I don’t get you. maybe I need milkbone. 196. BC Bob says: “Any thoughts at a solution?” Blood [195], I’ve been muffled. 197. versity says: I think we can all now breath a collective sigh of relief. Bush Optimistic About Economy Sep 20 11:17 AM US/Eastern By TERRENCE HUNT AP White House Correspondent WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush on Thursday cited “some unsettling times” in the U.S. housing and credit markets as he sought to assure jittery Americans that the economy basically is in good shape despite worries about a recession. “I say that the fundamentals of our nation’s economy are strong,” Bush told a White House news conference. Bush said that inflation is down, markets are steady, unemployment is relatively low, exports are up and corporate profits “seem to be strong.” “There is no question there are some unsettling times in the housing markets and credits associated with the housing market,” the president told reporters at a White House news conference. But he said he didn’t see that spreading to the broader economy. Some economists suggest the housing slump could lead to a recession even in spite of action earlier this week by the Federal Reserve to cut short-term interest rates by a half-percentage point. Bush said he was optimistic about the economy. “I would be pessimistic if I thought Congress was going to get their way and raise taxes,” he added. Pressed on whether he was concerned that the nation was nearing a recession, Bush said, “You need to talk to an economist.” 198. BC Bob says: “sorry I don’t get you” [197], Neither did anybody else when I sold in 9/05. 199. x-underwriter says: “I say that the fundamentals of our nation’s economy are strong,” Bush told a White House news conference. Pressed on whether he was concerned that the nation was nearing a recession, Bush said, “You need to talk to an economist.” Which one do I believe? He’s saying things are fine but you better check with an expert before believing me. 200. Doyle says: Skeptic #173, Um, same here… 201. chicagofinance says: x-underwriter Says: September 20th, 2007 at 3:07 pm Pressed on whether he was concerned that the nation was nearing a recession, Bush said, “You need to talk to an economist.” x: I’m impressed he knew enough to say “talk to an economist”. Given his daughter is engaged, I would figure he’d think it was describing the wedding party walking out of the church after the ceremony. 202. kettle1 says: So would it make more sense to start a class action suit against grim??? any lawyers here? I put all my money in HOV based on Bi’s AWESOME forecasting skills # Rich In NNJ Says: September 20th, 2007 at 2:39 pm Clot, I already did the above. If it doesn’t work out, I’m lawyering up and coming after you. I planned to do the same. If we use the same lawyer maybe we can save on the initial outlay for expenses (which I would expect to recoup as well). Rich 203. kettle1 says: “Bush said that inflation is down” What is he smoking and where do i get it???? 204. kettle1 says: well,technically it is down, for the last month or so, but we are at 14% so far this year! 205. Hehehe says: #207 He’s talking about core inflation not that pesky non-core inflation. Who needs food and gas after all? 206. Clotpoll says: vodka (205)- If a judge could be found that would certify the mob that posts here as a class for a class action suit, our country has far larger problems than housing and a collapsing dollar. :) 207. x-underwriter says: x: I’m impressed he knew enough to say “talk to an economist”. Given his daughter is engaged, I would figure he’d think it was describing the wedding party walking out of the church after the ceremony. Bush: “As long as Ben brings peanuts and I can throw my shells on the ground, I’m looking forward to every meeting with him” 208. grim says: From the WSJ: Late Mortgage Payments Continue to Climb By RUTH SIMON September 20, 2007; Page D3 Mortgage delinquencies jumped again in August, according to new data from Equifax and Moody’s Economy.com. The new data provide the first big-picture look at how the credit crunch is hitting homeowners. Nationwide, 3.56% of mortgages were at least 30 days past due last month, up 0.31 percentage points from July. The delinquency rate has increased about 1.5 points since bottoming out at the end of 2005, with fully half of that increase coming in the last three months. Delinquencies have climbed since August 2006 in all 50 states, and 10 states have posted an increase of more than one percentage point. The rise in bad loans is “broad based,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “That signals that foreclosure problems are going to be widespread.” The share of problem loans has increased most sharply over the past year in Florida, Arizona and Nevada. Those three states — and California and New York — saw the highest increase in the rate of foreclosures. 209. dreamtheaterr says: #204 Chifi, what if the economist we talk to is a certain Mr. Roubinator? I theenk we weel bee in deeep reecesson by sekand quatar oph 2008. 210. Clotpoll says: Red Sox shut down Okajima with “tired arm”. F#$%@ng Yankees.

211. kettle1 says:

Clotpoll,

Do you really think it would be that hard given some of the recent Civil cases to come around?

212. make money says:

Red Sox shut down Okajima with “tired arm”.

F#$%@ng Yankees. hahaha did you have a cup of Haterade this morning instead of your coffee? Let’s go Yankees!!! Isiah on the other hand is playing his game in court istead of on court. I love this time of the year cause everyone calls me and wants to be my friend so that I can take them to the game!!! Clot, Will you be calling? Do you want to see playooff baseball? or are you gonna wait until next year to see if the Mets can get there. I have one word for the Mets and their fans. CHOKE!!!!! 213. grim says: Turns out it isn’t just bloggers who are worried… Treasuries Fall the Most Since June on Concern Over Inflation Treasury 10-year notes fell the most since June on speculation the drop in the dollar and the Federal Reserve’s half-percentage-point cut in borrowing costs this week will fuel inflation. The difference in yields between 10-year notes, more sensitive to increases in consumer prices, and two-year notes was the widest since May 2005. The dollar declined to a record low against the euro and fell below Canada’s currency for the first time in more than 30 years, making U.S. assets less attractive to international investors. “There’s fear the Fed has done too much too quickly, and that’s going to cause some kind of inflationary reaction,” said Tom di Galoma, head of U.S. Treasury trading in New York at Jefferies & Co., a brokerage for institutional investors. “Dollar weakness is certainly not comforting at all. Foreigners own so much of our Treasury paper. There’s fear that if the dollar goes lower they’re going to be sellers.” 214. Doyle says: If the Mets blow the division maybe the fans can sue for false hope… 215. grim says: Yields on longer-term Treasuries suggest Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and other policy makers were “too aggressive,” according to Michael Franzese, head of government bond trading in New York at Standard Chartered. “Inflation in the pipeline is coming,” he said. Investors favoring a 50-basis-point cut “got exactly what they wanted out of him, and they’re going to rue the day they forced him to do it.” (emphasis added) 216. gary says: BC Bob, The Giants have a defense? 217. grim says: From NJ.com: 12 Jerseyans nabbed in stock loan fraud Federal prosecutors and securities regulators said today they have charged 38 people, including a dozen New Jersey residents, with participating in several long-running frauds in the stock loan industry that netted them more than$12 million.

Nearly half the players are current or former traders at major Wall Street brokerage firms such as Morgan Stanley and A.G. Edwards, the Securities and Exchange Commission said today. Ten have pleaded guilty to criminal charges, including four from New Jersey, the SEC said.

The schemes started as early as 1998 and involved paying illegal kickback and phony finders fees in the securities lending industry, authorities said. Securities firms often lend and borrow stocks between themselves. Stock loan finders can help by locating available shares and by connecting lenders with borrowers.

218. BC Bob says:

“Red Sox shut down Okajima with “tired arm”.”

Clot,

That makes him a candidate to be the Muts[spelled correctly] # 1 out of the pen.

219. Doyle says:

No Gary, but they have a freakishly athletic 8 foot tall (exaggerating) Defensive End named Mathias Kiwanuka that they are trying to make play linebacker in an ugly, ugly experiment.

Square peg, round hole.

220. gary says:

Doyle,

That had to the GM Reese’s doings. I can’t believe Coughlin would go for that move. Either way, it was doomed from the beginning.

221. njpatient says:

#150 renting

“The military would refer to this as “pockets of resistance”. ”

The bubble is in its last throws…

222. Doyle says:

I feel bad for the kid, he should be lining up with a hand on the ground… every down.

223. SG says:

Bernanke Assures Hill on Mortgage Hit

By Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer
Fed Chairman Bernanke Offers Congress Assurances on Mortgage Crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday the credit crisis has created “significant market stress” and offered fresh assurances that regulators would take steps to curb fallout related to the mortgage mess.

224. BC Bob says:

Doyle,

He will be one of the best defensive ends in the league. The idiots have him out of place. He is also one of the classiest individuals you will ever meet.

225. BC Bob says:

Make,

I’ll go to a game[Yankees] with you. You owe me.

226. Doyle says:

#227 I agree.

#228 Oscar and Felix?

227. njpatient says:

“BC Bob Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 3:56 pm
Make,

I’ll go to a game[Yankees] with you.”

Me too.

228. bi says:

here is my take on today’s bond action: ben 0.5% cut is not enough. if you want to solve current housing problem, get another half pct cut in row. so i will not be surprised if the fed cut 0.5% in oct. an 0.5% in dec. to bring down target rate to 3.75% by year end. by that time, 30 year mortgage rate will be 5.25% and jumbo rate will be under 6%

229. Comrade 3b says:

#231 bi: And than housing will be up,up,up,up, and away!!!!!!

230. grim says:

bi,

Why not just go ZIRP?

231. John says:

Took the Germans to Gotham Bar and Grill Last night, Hell of a meal. Couldn’t get into some of the super trendy hot restaurants with only one weeks notice, but I snagged one of the last two tables at Gotham. Top ten meal ever.

232. kettle1 says:

# 224 and 150

So really the current US housing market is just like iraq. Patreaus says we are doing great and making progress. Bernanke say we are doing fine and making progress and each has said that there are “pockets of resistance” aka Anbar/Florida. Its good to know that we are WINNING a civil war in a foreign country and that housing is a high grade investment and never goes down.

233. njpatient says:

Great, John – was wondering about that.
Grim was speaking German earlier.

234. versity says:

Fed will not cut again. Ben realizes he didn’t do all of his math.

Also, none of the big FCBs holding treasuries will go on a dumping spree because they know they will just end up hurting themselves. It’s like a very high-stakes game of chicken/prisoner’s dilemma.

235. John says:

A perfect four bedroom three bath house on a dead end near the train near me went on sale via an exclusive and got a good bid same day and owner did not accept, will hit MLS this week and unless he does better considering extra commission this week he will take it. 95% of houses are crap and the 5% that have it all will still sell quick. One week. Bottom fishing on dream homes ain’t working He listed 1.2 million and got an offer of 1.05 million same day.

236. dreamtheaterr says:

#231,

Bi, do you get these brilliant ideas while taking a dump? During 1% FFR, mortgage rates were 5.25% during a period of easy lending. Amidst tighter lending standards, you expect a 3.75% FFR translating into a 5.25% mortgages?

And where will the 10Yr be?

237. bi says:

Here is a listing which you may be interested. it claims have been reduced $150K from OLP: Fair Lawn Price:$725K

MLS# 2729420

238. BC Bob says:

“Bi, do you get these brilliant ideas while taking a dump?”

dream,

Do you mean his market predictions are closely aligned to it?

239. versity says:

No he means they are all coming from the same place.

240. versity says:

bi – sorry. i couldn’t resist that softball. i’m not a “bihater”.

241. grim says:

Here is a listing which you may be interested. it claims have been reduced $150K from OLP It has, originally listed as 2716207, OLP was$875,000.

242. biluva says:

I’m not a bihata eitha

243. SG says:

Dear Mr. Bernanke: Fix the Housing Mess

The Fed chairman heads to Congress to address mortgage-related issues—but will his efforts be enough?
by Mara Der Hovanesian

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to Capitol Hill on Sept. 20 to talk to members of the Financial Services Committee, he shouldn’t be feeling too confident. True, the markets have rallied for two days following his surprising interest rate cut of a half-percentage point, which temporarily calmed fears of economic calamity. The purpose of these hearings, however, will be to address the steps that President George W. Bush proposed in late August to help homeowners avoid defaulting on mortgages.

244. BC Bob says:

I concur, I am not a bihata eitha nor neitha.

245. chicagofinance says:

Is that German?

246. chicagofinance says:

John Says: September 20th, 2007 at 4:06 pm
Took the Germans to Gotham Bar and Grill Last night, Hell of a meal. Couldn’t get into some of the super trendy hot restaurants with only one weeks notice, but I snagged one of the last two tables at Gotham. Top ten meal ever.

john: yeah…isn’t it…the place is a little dated, but damn if it isn’t just great in a dependable kind of way….service is almost always superior…..we had the “stealth waiter” once….everything was attended to imeediately, but we never saw him come or go, he just appeared and disappeared…amazing

247. chicagofinance says:

make money Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 3:39 pm
Clot,Will you be calling? Do you want to see playooff baseball? or are you gonna wait until next year to see if the Mets can get there.
I have one word for the Mets and their fans. CHOKE!!!!!

tirana terror: It’s already beguns with the guys I know. After Tuesday night’s loss my Inbox at work was full of e-mail. Most notable was a riddle..”…what do the Mets and a bridge in Minneapolis have in common?”

248. make money says:

Make,

I’ll go to a game[Yankees] with you. You owe me.

I do owe you!!!!!!!!!!!

249. Comrade 3b says:

#238 John Bottom fishing on dream homes ain’t working.

Perhaps for now, but it will, and lets see if the house closes after the seller gets his bid. All in due time.

250. Everything's 'boken says:

re 238
Remember the three abilities of Siddhartha. You only need two.

251. BC Bob says:

Hilary’s former front runner for the next Fed Chairman??

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20889081/

252. chicagofinance says:

make money Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 5:28 pm
Make, I’ll go to a game[Yankees] with you. You owe me. I do owe you!!!!!!!!!!!

????
What is this? Jedi mind tricks?

253. make money says:

Someone e-mailed me this. I very very interesting.

2 reasons why Ben lowered rates!!!!

1)The problems in the mortgage markets are worse than we know and the entire banking system is bankrupt. In other words the mortgage securities that banks hold are worth nothing. The Fed in turn is going to print money and lower interest until housing prices go back up, so mortgage securities will rally, and if inflation explodes and the dollar becomes worthless it is worth the cost, because the banks must be saved. And the banks own the Fed.

Of course this seems crazy. Yeah there is turmoil in the banking system, but can it really be that bad? But it would have to be to justify such action on the Fed and even then some would argue that its not worth jeopardizing the dollar to save the banks.

Just because the Fed panics doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything to fear. If you recall at the end of 1999 Alan Greenspan pumped the money supply in fears of a phantom Y2K menace. That action helped create the final blow-off for the Nasdaq bubble and made the ensuing bear market worse than it would have been. It was a huge mistake.

If the banking system isn’t about to go bankrupt then to cut interest rates at this pace is a mistake that makes the Y2K menace look like a little bruise on a knee.

2)Ben Bernanke has a PH.D in economics and is obsessed with the idea that the Fed caused the Great Depression, because it didn’t lower interest rates fast enough. He’s an academic who is putting the theories he learned as a young man to use.

I can understand this. I was an academic once. I was in a university PH.D history program and left with a Master’s Degree. I know what academic life is about. When you go through graduate school you have to write a doctoral thesis, which will start your real career. Usually those thesis – if they are successful – lead to books and then more writings that branch off of the original thesis. Creative minds, and there is a difference between being imaginative and smart, then investigate new avenues of thought throughout their careers and come up with innovative theories and groundbreaking research.

The unimaginative though spend the rest of their career circling around the theories behind their doctoral thesis. They remain anchored to it and don’t actually come up with any new ideas the rest of their lives that amount to anything. They may be successful professionally, but deep down they aren’t anything but a one hit woner.

That is essentially what Bernanke is. He wrote a thesis claiming that the Great Depression happened because the Fed didn’t lower interest rates fast enough after the stock market topped out in 1929. I don’t believe this at all, but to explain why is a subject left for another time. What is important though is that if you look at a chart of the stock market between 1929 and 1932 and look at what the Fed did you’ll see that the Fed lowered interest shortly after the market topped out and continued to lower rates in the following years and the market fell anyway. Rates and the stock market fell together.

What this means though is ff you believe the Fed didn’t lower rates interest fast enough as Bernanke does then you think the Fed should have lowered rates all at once instead of doing so as the market dropped.

It appears that Bernanke is putting that theory to test right now. At the very least he is trying to prevent the market from reaching phase two of this crisis, in which the extent of the subprime losses are revealed, by restoring the balance sheets of troubled hedge funds with a big stock market rally of his creation.

Based on Bernanke’s Depression thesis it seems that he is going to lower rates dramatically and quickly over just a few months, because he believes that if he doesn’t the banking system will collapse, the stock market will crash, we’ll have a Depression or who knows what. In the end this probably won’t make any bit of difference and will cause a hyperinflation of consumer prices and a collapse in the value of the dollar – and may not be even needed at all. He’s fearing that the credit markets and banking problems justify such a course of action, but that isn’t a 100% certainty. Maybe the problems aren’t as bad as he fears. But we won’t know that.

Instead a year from now if he continues this course we’ll have a different set of problems – a dollar that has collapsed in value and eventually a huge spike in interest rates as foreign investors flee the dollar and the US government bond market.

I almost wish I had no money in my brokerage account or my banking accounts right now and just had a closet full of gold bullion. One could sell everyone one has and put it in gold and not have to worry about a thing right now. But of course gold stocks will go up huge over the next 6-8 months so there is more money to be made in them. I’ll just have to buy the next pullback or 1-2 week period of consolidation in them and get on board that ride. But at some point it will be prudent to take profits and move the money into pure gold or a foreign currency as I fear that the dollar could actually become worthless when Bernanke’s is done.

254. WickedOrange says:

Neighborhood Watch
How vulnerable are you? A risk analysis.

http://nymag.com/realestate/features/37656/

255. BC Bob says:

To that Hoboken site that locked me out; Who’s loonie? Need a Molson, Eh?

“Canadian Dollar Trades Equal to U.S. for First Time Since 1976”

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aDBegmV7h0cU&refer=home

256. dreamtheaterr says:

“Given his daughter is engaged, I would figure he’d think it was describing the wedding party walking out of the church after the ceremony.”

Chifi, is this what you envisioned about da CEO?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdeCl1ZDYwo

257. Steve says:

BC Bob Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 7:32 pm
“Canadian Dollar Trades Equal to U.S. for First Time Since 1976″
______

Had half an ear on CNBC tonight… had to laugh when they were commenting on the above, with a comment “What’s next, parity with the Peso??”

Ben should get that printed on our greenback.

258. Pat says:
259. Al says:

Hey I’ve got the idea: how about negative interest rate by Fed??? he gives you money and pay’s you interest – i think people who actually get loans from the goverments (banks and financial companies) will lobby for it ….

260. BC Bob says:

Al,

How about take my house, just pay my cc bills.

261. njpatient says:

Check out MLS 2443309
According to the realtor.com, it is a “Specious Colonial”!

262. Pat says:

Bob, you saw something this week you thought you’d never see in your lifetime.

The bank thing didn’t surprise me as much as this one. I didn’t expect this YET.

http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/sub/427255936.html

263. HEHEHE says:

I always felt like I was getting away with something when I slipped in a Canadian quarter when I paid for something. I better check my change from now on and make sure I am not giving any of those bad boys away.

264. Pat says:

Went to Canada in August. Now I feel like I got the bargain basement vacation. Three weeks ago, I felt ripped off on the discount.

265. jmacdaddio says:

I went out with a realtor tonight … she told me that her phone started ringing again this week after the interest rate announcement became more of a done deal. Apparently people think that the Fed lowering rates immediately translates to savings on mortgage payments. We had a chuckle… then she showed me one decent prospect, and one crapshack that looked as if the renovation project ran out of money.

266. Clotpoll says:

make-

I look forward to A-Rod’s yearly 0-for-the-playoffs.

267. Clotpoll says:

jmac (268)-

Mortgage rates up today, across the board.

10-yr in full retreat. Bond market just puking it up now. Dollar below the Canuck.

The phones in your Realtor’s office will be quiet again by this time next week.

268. dreamtheaterr says:

Had a conversation with a friend today. He put his 3 bed townhome (that he bought in 2006) on the market 2 months ago. He decided to take it off the market yesterday. Said wife is fed up of cleaning the house and putting baby’s toys away every time someone shows up to look around in the evenings. Did not get a single offer. Their trade-up was going to be in Bridgewater and will have to wait another year or two. Just another example of the trade-up gone awry because of no buyers at obscene asking prices.

269. RoadTripBoy says:

Alan Greenspan being interviewed by Charlie Rose right now.

270. Bubble Burst says:

Great post #266. You had me laughing out loud!

271. Clotpoll says:

Mets stuck the shiv in my back…and are now slowly turning it.

272. chicagofinance says:

Clotpoll Says:
September 20th, 2007 at 11:45 pm
Mets stuck the shiv in my back…and are now slowly turning it.

clot: It’s Randolph [as always]. You don’t use Feliciano as a situational lefty. The guy was always a problem. Now he is a liability.

273. stuw6 says:

As a fellow Met fan, the problem is a lack of reliable mid-relief pitching. Between Heilman, Sosa, Mota and Feliciano, there is not a pitcher I would trust. Randolph has to let his starters go longer. Although 3 of their starters are pretty old, might as well make a shot at the playoffs and risk a starter injury. I’d rather see their #6 or #7 starter in a game or two rather than watch their lousy crop of mid relievers blow every starter win opportunity.

Comments are closed.