Watch Out for a Housing Head-Fake Later This Year
The recent moratoriums on foreclosures may produce some unexpected volatility and unreliability in home price numbers.
House prices are now clearing headed downward in much of the country, as this mornings Case Shillers numbers showed. Those numbers are backward looking three month averages, so the decline in prices in three cities shows that we started double dipping over the summer.
One question many will be asking is how long the second-leg downward will last? Are we looking at a temporary drift downward or a full-on meltdown that could last years?
I think theres a significant possibility that the price data could produce some better numbers later this year. But far from being an indication that the market for homes is improving, this will be a statistical illusion caused by the foreclosure fiasco. And if this improvement does happen, it will likely foreshadow an even sharper drop rather than a continued rise.
As a result of the foreclosure freezes, many distressed sales were taken out of the market in October. Those sales are typically at lower prices, which means their absence could create a illusory price increase. The housing market could Freeze Upward. A sure sign that this is happening: home prices rise while the number of sales of existing homes declines.
Of course, the head-fake rise may never happen if buyers have been so frightened by the uncertainty caused by the mess that they have stayed out of the market. Alternatively, if mortgage lending slowed significantly during the freeze, this could also dampen the Freeze Upward effect on prices.
The Freeze Upward effect wont last long. Slowing down foreclosure sales will result in a build up of housing inventory, which will scare housing market investors and when that inventory comes onto the market create excess supply that will push down prices.
Nothing like good news to start the day!
MBA sees total mortgage originations slipping below $1 trillion in 2011
Declining demand for refinancings will push overall mortgage originations to less than $1 trillion next year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
MBA officials expect mortgage originations of $1.4 trillion this year, but slow economic growth and no significant job growth will hinder mortgages into 2011. Still, the MBA does expect to see an increase in purchase originations next year led by “modest increases in home sales and stabilizing home prices.
“Economic growth in 2010 has been subdued and this trend will likely continue for most of 2011,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA chief economist and senior vice president for research and economics. “Households remain cautious given the weak job market. On top of that, uncertainty regarding tax rates for next year, and the potential for tax withholding to increase at the beginning of the year, lead us to forecast that consumer spending will remain weak, particularly in the first half of 2011.”
The MBA projects purchase originations of $480 billion for 2010, which is about 28% below the $665 billion year. MBA expects a 30% increase in 2011 with another gain in 2012 to $877 billion.
Obama foreclosure-relief plan fails to show gains
The Obama administration’s struggling foreclosure-prevention effort failed to show improvement as of last month. More than half the homeowners who have enrolled in the program so far have fallen out.
The Treasury Department says about 729,000 homeowners who applied to have their mortgage payments lowered have been disqualified through September. That’s about 53 percent of the nearly 1.4 million who enrolled in the program over the past year. And it’s up from about 680,000 a month earlier.
The program has failed to slow the tide of foreclosures, which have battered the housing market. About 467,000 borrowers, or 34 percent of those enrolled in the program, have received permanent loan modifications and are making their payments on time.
From Seeking Alpha:
Enough With the Loan Mods: Subsidizing Delinquent Borrowers Doesn’t Work
“We know how to prevent foreclosures,” Paul Willen, a senior economist from the Boston Fed, said at a housing conference in Washington Monday. “We just need to be prepared to spend the money.”
Just “be prepared to spend the money”! Economists sometimes make things sound so simple, don’t they? Alas, I have a sense that the “we” Willen was referring to when he was pointing out who should be prepared to do the paying included more than just himself and the other Fed economists in the room. He was being more expansive. Willen meant all of us. Taxpayers. We’re the ones, according to the Beltway conventional wisdom Willen yesterday found himself spouting, who ought to be shelling out money to pay for large-scale loan modifications so that delinquent borrowers to can stay in their homes and “prevent foreclosures.”
Thanks for the insight, Paul! Now, I have a question: Why me? I have my own mortgage, thanks very much. Why do I have to be on the hook for someone else’s, too? If a delinquent borrower, through bad luck or bad judgment, finds himself unable to meet a loan agreement that he freely entered into, let him go through the same thing that generations of defaulted borrowers before him have: foreclosure. No one’s being thrown in jail or being forced to listen to Justin Beiber. You borrowed money from a bank, with your house as collateral. You can’t repay your loan. The bank gets your house. It’s time to move on. Literally.
Good Morning New Jersey
From the Star Ledger:
N.J. Gov. Christie to cancel Hudson River tunnel, blaming feds’ refusal to increase funding
The Hudson River train tunnel, a dream of many New Jersey commuters, politicians and planners for decades, will die a second death today.
And this time, there will be no reprieve.
Gov. Chris Christie today is expected to again terminate the multi-billion dollar project, arguing that New Jersey cannot afford it and that the federal government is unwilling to increase its share of the costs, four officials close to the project said.
The governor canceled the project Oct. 7, but gave it a two-week grace period after U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Trenton the next day to ask for more time to offer alternatives. That deadline expired Friday, but Christie has pondered the decision an additional five days.
As he walked into an event in Indianapolis last night, Christie said, “I’ll make this decision when I believe is the right time to make it. The decision I make will be in the best interest of the taxpayers of the state.”
Mr Hyde – Copied from prior thread. I can’t let this languish unread at the end of the last night’s discussion:
Yes, a new social contract and protectionism (which you’ve mentioned before) sound good and necessary to me.
God knows what we’ll get out of the new Congress. I’m afraid we’ll go from bad to worse. Do any of the Republicans have more to say than “cut taxes” and “reduce the deficit”? Since Americans have demonstrated time and time again that tax cuts are for me but spending cuts are meant for thee, I don’t have much faith in their program.
I figure Obama and Co. know fundamental changes are required, but do they have the guts to even hint at this?
I cannot tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate your thoughtful comments. No matter what, you ignore the noise and persist in thinking things through. You are one of my favorite posters — and not just here, but anywhere, really. Just thought I’d let you know.”
Head fake??? We are in the express lane of a free-fall down the rabbit hole to oblivion.
Take the tunnell money and pave the streets throughout NJ
Hey the world is catching on:
U.S. slips to historic low in global corruption index
BERLIN (Reuters) – The United States has dropped out of the “top 20” in a global league table of least corrupt nations, tarnished by financial scandals and the influence of money in politics, Transparency International said on Tuesday.
Hang Seng down over 500, what happened while I was sleeping? Otteau & CNBC sound more like Lamar than Frank. (A little late to the party I might add.) Obama’s loan mod programs failing (no sh*t) & Willen wants to throw more money at it. (Yours & mine) Man I’m going back to bed. At least Christie is playing hard ball Jersey style.
I’m getting a real itch for Hot Dog Johnny’s, 18″ high grass in front yards and sampling libations in some of Sussex Co’s more genteel establishments.
I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.
Otteau only speaks of active inventory in relation to the number of listings and the absorption rate. There is never any thought regarding pricing of active listings relative to recent comparable sales and impact on the absorption rate going forward.
Due to the nature of my daily work I have my nose in the MLS examining comparable properties on an almost continuous basis. I currently see a total detachment between pricing of inventory and market value. This trend has also resulted for the moment in appraisers over valuing properties because they are unable to justify large enough depreciation adjustments to keep up with current market trends.
Prices in North Jersey are currently in free fall. There is no reason to believe this trend will change significantly before Spring. The Spring market (if there is one) is the only visible hope to slow the decline.
Rising property taxes, tougher mortgage underwriting standards and continuing high unemployment create an environment likely to perpetuate the status quo. This trend continues without even accounting for problems surrounding foreclosures or MBS buybacks. The fun never ends…
From yesterday, my definition of social contract:
The people give up sovereignty and submit to a government in order to receive and have maintained social order through the rule of law.
The rule of law is long dead and monied interests have fully captured the US political process. The only law enforced at this point is the law which preserves the status of the monied interests who have purchased a seat at the table of US government. In these terms both major political parties have long violated the social contract upon which the legitimacy of the government rests.
The examples of the violations are numerous and go back decades, although they seem to have become a regular occurrence at this point. Virtually every step of the financial bailout is one of the biggest violations of the social contract in US history.
Seems you have a stalker ;-0
Yo :D Is it alright if I go a bit off topic? I’m trying to view your blog on my Mac but it doesn’t display properly, do you have any suggestions? Cheers! Una x :)
By Steve Goldstein
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Sales of new homes climbed 6.6% in September, figures released by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday show, representing the second straight month of gains but a figure that’s still well below the pace when a tax credit existed. Sales of new single-family homes rose 6.6% to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 307,000, which is stronger than the 300,000 that economists expected in a MarketWatch-compiled poll. There’s also still plenty of supply, with the government estimating supply of 8 months of unsold homes. The stock of unsold houses fell 1% from August and dropped 19% from Sept. 2009. The median sales price rose 1.5% from August and 3.3% from Sept. 2009 to $223,800.
Odd, I’m usually the one doing the stalking.
This nation was founded on the principle of the government existing to support the people, not the people existing to support the government. We have turned 180 degrees from the original intention.
I also happen to agree with the Andrew Jackson’s idea that bestowing power and responsibility upon a single central bank (i.e Federal Reserve) was/ is a primary cause of inflation and other perceived evils. Though its interesting that Jackson was against the idea that specie / Commodity money, were the only true forms of money.
One shot, one kill?
His father must be so proud of him:
New York Post – 17 minutes ago
Charlie Sheen calls his alleged coke binge that ended with him trashing a suite at The Plaza hotel while a hooker hid in a bathroom “totally overblown,” according to a new report.
Really? Is he referring to the amount of blow, the young lady in the bathroom or the media response?
Bill Gross, positioning himself to say “I told you so” in a few months.
My take? We are totally fcuked, and the Titanic is about to assume the nose-down position.
“The Fed’s second round of QE, therefore, more closely resembles an attempted hyp0dermic straight to the economy’s heart than its mood elevator counterpart of 2009. If QEII cannot reflate capital markets, if it can’t produce 2% inflation and an assumed reduction of unemployment rates back towards historical levels, then it will be a long, painful slog back to prosperity. Perhaps, as a vocal contingent suggests, our paper-based foundation of wealth deserves to be buried, making a fresh start from admittedly lower levels. The Fed, on Wednesday, however, will decide that it is better to keep the patient on life support with an adrenaline injection and a following m0rphine drip than to risk its demise and ultimate rebirth in another form.
We at PIMCO join with Ben Bernanke in this diagnosis, but we will tell you, as perhaps he cannot, that the outcome is by no means certain. We are, as even some Fed Governors now publically admit, in a “liquidity trap,” where interest rates or trillions in QEII asset purchases may not stimulate borrowing or lending because consumer demand is just not there. Escaping from a liquidity trap may be impossible, much like light trapped in a black hole. Just ask Japan. Ben Bernanke, however, will try – it is, to be honest, all he can do. He can’t raise or lower taxes, he can’t direct a fiscal thrust of infrastructure spending, he can’t change our educational system, he can’t force the Chinese to revalue their currency – it is all he can do, and as he proceeds, the dual questions of “will it work” and “will it create a bond market bubble” will be answered. We at PIMCO are not sure.
Still, while next Wednesday’s announcement will carry our qualified endorsement, I must admit it may be similar to a Turkey looking forward to a Thanksgiving Day celebration. Bondholders, while immediate beneficiaries, will likely eventually be delivered on a platter to more fortunate celebrants, be they financial asset classes more adaptable to inflation such as stocks or commodities, or perhaps the average American on Main Street who might benefit from a hoped-for rise in job growth or simply a boost in nominal wages, however deceptive the illusion. Check writing in the trillions is not a bondholder’s friend; it is in fact inflationary, and, if truth be told, somewhat of a Ponzi scheme. Public debt, actually, has always had a Ponzi-like characteristic. Granted, the U.S. has, at times, paid down its national debt, but there was always the assumption that as long as creditors could be found to roll over existing loans – and buy new ones – the game could keep going forever. Sovereign countries have always implicitly acknowledged that the existing debt would never be paid off because they would “grow” their way out of the apparent predicament, allowing future’s prosperity to continually pay for today’s finance.”
I managed to hit a brick wall once.
Heard Case, or was it Schiller, on Bloomberg radio yesterday in my travels. Interesting bit of info I never knew regarding his index. While index compares prices of the same house sold, they do try to account for houses that are not in comparable condition as previous sale (by not including that sale). Not sure how effective they are at doing that on either the upside or the downside. He does have concern that if the foreclosure process is lenghted that the deterioration of the physical property will be greater as well. Common sense. But his index does try to account for that deterioration while other indexes do not.
I wish a few people in power knew something about how Andrew Jackson broke the Second Bank of the US.
You’ll enjoy this
We really have to organize a shooting GTG. There is a lot of interest.
We have been saying this for the past 2 years. You can print until you are blue in the face. However, you can’t create demand, force banks to lend to the buried masses or force consumers to borrow. The fed is pissing in the wind. They are only creating bull markets in the wrong sectors.
The biggest ponzi scheme going is the bond market. Once that blows it’s good night Irene.
Sell? Sell to whom? Got demand?
I read that Gross screed. What the hell is he talking about it being Bernanke’s only choice? Bernanke did everything he could to create this mess by taking all the junk off the banks balance sheets. Now he’s choosing to follow a path that has never worked in the history of mankind. Until the system is purged the entire ship risks sinking. In this case the banks are going to take the FED, the Federal Government, and the dollar down the toilet.
For this Halloween, I want to dress up like a trillion dollars in dead money.
Never forget that Gross is in on the bank robbery. He’s buying up garbage MBS on margin, and you can bet he’ll be the first to shove that crap down BAC’s throat- at par- when it’s time to deliver the kill shot to those dolts in Charlotte.
How’s this for Halloween?
I’m having a dream, Dimon and Bear.
That’s not a dream; it’s a recurring nightmare.
Throw a cinder block to a drowning man…that’s how we roll.
Forget Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner lying about the relatively small losses at American International Group (AIG), the fraud and obfuscation now underway in Washinton to protect the TBTF banks and GSEs totals into the trillions of dollars and rises to the level of tre@son. And the sad part is that all of the temporizing and excuses by the Fed and the White House will be for naught. The zombie banks and GSEs alike will muddle along until the operational cost of servicing bad loans engulfs them. Then they will be bailed out — again — or restructured.
Check this article by Chris Whalen out
So far today we have Chris Whalen & Bill Gross both tossing out words like TREASON & TYRANNY & PONZI.
BUY BUY BUY BUY
“That’s not a dream; it’s a recurring nightmare.”
You obviously haven’t spent 2000 hours reviewing the balance sheets.
Since when does it take 2,000 hours of balance sheet review to determine that deadfcuking Bear to the tune of several billion helped Jamie & Co. keep the shark moving forward?
Several as in 80B.
I recommend sporting clays. I’ve shot at Peconic River and Pawling, buy don’t specifically know of any place in NJ. I have family in Monroe that shoots, he likely knows someplace.
Montclair’s Realtors Expect More Gloom in Housing Market
When New Jersey real estate guru Jeffrey Otteau speaks, people listen. And this week the East Brunswick real estate appraiser predicted that New Jersey home prices would drop another 6 percent in 2011.
In Montclair, real estate agents also painted an unfavorable picture this week of the real estate market, saying that the New York City buyer—for one—has disappeared.
“Where are the New York buyers? Every seller is asking this question when they list and when they see the number of showings,” said Roberta Baldwin of Keller Williams Towne Square Realty, whose tips for buyers and sellers can be found here.
“Committed New York City and Brooklyn-based first-time house buyers, formerly our greatest resource, are just gone,” she said. “Their absence is a decisive blow to our market.”
Baldwin said that anyone wanting to sell in this market needs to price their home so that it moves quickly and doesn’t sit.
“If you aren’t motivated you are wasting your time, the time of everyone who looks at it, and your agent’s time … and at the end of the day you’re going to be unhappy,” she said.
A shooting GTG? Yup, I can picture it now. Clot, Frank and John side by side………
“When New Jersey real estate guru Jeffrey Otteau speaks, people listen”
They should have listened to JB, the NJRER guru. They would not be asking where are the buyers. They would have hit the bid 1-2 years ago.
Can we call it the OK Corral GTG?
“Where are the New York buyers?
Mumbai, Dubai, Shanghai or simply Bye-Bye?
Mr. W – This is big. These are some of the most prominent realtors in the area saying the market is sh*t. There was to be a piece on Nightline last night on this featuring Roberta. Unfortunately it was pre-empted in order to do a story on Charlie Sheen.
Methinks those exits are beginning to be barred shut.
Somebody’s gonna yell “fire” soon.
Charlie Sheen going on a coke bender is more exciting news than Montclair RE.
At least Sheen lived. We all know Montclair is listening to the wind whisper Mary with Jimi and his pals.
Gator, I like your juxtaposition of “prominent” and “Realtor”.
Blue Moon ,
The delusional are always invited in/to the table. It’s easy entering the front door, welcome mats are readily available. It’s a bitch when the host leaves, locks every exit and all elephants attempt to leave.
Roberta stating that the market is sheet? Oh my, we have a problem.
Here’s an example of how bad the perception of housing is right now. My parents knowing that I’m looking to buy and also aware that my lease is expiring have offered to supplement rent differentials to hold me back from buying a house. How about that. Parents not offering to help with down payments but with keeping you in a rental.
Dan Mom And Dad Love You
Come on Lamar, we all know that Montclair is the center of the universe :)
I think it was a national story. She was going to be appearing with a “beleagured seller”.
I suppose I shouldn’t discount their PHD educations, Mike.
I’d show up for that. You guys would probably scare me, especially if Clot brings his rusty grenade launcher. But I’d show.
Don’t worry, Gator. I’m sure there’s a secret army of New York liberals just waiting for next Tuesday’s election results to start swarming Montclair open houses in the need for towns with schools promoting diversity unless of course Montclair-Kimberly raises their tuition rates too much :)
Dan – Better start cleaning up my house so we can offload it onto one of them!
It wouldnt be scary. Most of those who would show are really quite level headed people in real life. The issue is finding a range that allows rifle, handgun, and shotgun. There are only a handful in NJ, and most of those require private membership.
In theory we might all be able to get together at Fort Dix.
if we meet at a rifle range, i will bring my AR for you to fire.
Hurry!!! Before it’s too late!!! After all, there’s never been a better time to buy/sell a house, especially with rates going up/down/staying the same!!!!!!!
Lamar 12 Sussex Co. & genteel establishments should not be used in the same sentence.
Not that that is going to stop us. Dives are more fun anyway.
Gator 42 I’m aghast, Realtor speaks truth ( our residents excluded) the end is nigh.
Ahhh – it’s refreshing to revisit this site to set me straight about buying.
Time to re-up my lease!!
A GTG with guns the possibilities are endless & most don’t end well.
Dan 63 – Actually my own realtor told me that she wouldn’t sell anything in this market if she didn’t absolutely have to. That was her advice to us, knowing she would have gotten the listing on our house if we had decided to sell it.
With one more profitable quarter under its belt, 2010 is increasingly looking like Ford’s big comeback year.
The Dearborn automaker, which launched its turnaround plan in 2006, posted a $1.7-billion third-quarter profit Tuesday and said it is hiring workers and aggressively paying down its debt.
“We are moving from fixing the fundamentals of our business and weathering the downturn to growing the business,” Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally said Tuesday.
Dont forget your popcorn!!!!
Robert Braucher Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
a group of people who all know the other is armed, tend to be more polite then otherwise.
Here is a professional opinion of the issue of “Mortgage Technicalities”
Robert Braucher Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
Just kidding Ket.
More tasty bits from Ms Porters testimony
Here’s the little love note that Mayor Fried sent to Montclair taxpayers along with their 4th quarter property tax bill.
2009 Montclair Property Tax Rate – 2.387
2010 Montclair Property Tax Rate – 2.519
I hope your not out of popcorn yet!
Mr. Silvers: “we either save the homeowners or save the banks”,”we can’t do both”
( at 2:42)
Stop grousing, Gatoe. Anybody who is anybody can expect a 6% wage increase. So, if you did, you can afford the increase. If not, you don’t belong in Montclair.
Shore – actually in 2009, the average home in Montclair was assessed at 99.30% of value, which would translate to an effective tax rate of 2.37. This year the average home in Montclair is assessed at 103.47% of value, so the true tax rate is 2.606 – that’s a 9.92% increase :)
And you forget that I am supporting a “shiftless, layabout husband” as I have heard Stu recently described here :) Cast is finally off. Can’t wait to be able to put him back to work again.
Which is why CCW are a good idea.
Stu if you would like one of our board hockey thugs to come over an extend your lay about status let us know. I haven’t used my stick as a weapon in a while!
; ) Gator
At least at a GTG like this, nobody can claim at the end that they were defenseless.
“A GTG with guns the possibilities are endless & most don’t end well.”
“I’m getting a real itch for Hot Dog Johnny’s, 18″ high grass in front yards and sampling libations in some of Sussex Co’s more genteel establishments”
LOL, Clot. I just drove by Hot Dog Johnny’s a few hours ago (first time ever).
Funny, I was thinking as I was going up 31(?) that things looked downright morbid. HDJ was the only place open with cars, many restaurants along the way were chained or roped off with no trespassing signs. Seemed to be some life in Washington, but looks like people are hurting.
Never discount the appeal of a fully-loaded Chicago-style dog.
because I hate myself, just for the hell of it I did a quick peak at the Montclair listing, still 5 bedroom (one is a closet on the 1st floor, mind you) and 1.5 baths still being listed at the 700k mark. RE agents need to just straight up DROP sellers. I’m seeing agents playing babysitter for free for some estate and vacant houses. Turning on the lights, arranging for lawn care, checking the furnaces….all of a listing…..a listing that has not gone anywhere for nearly a year and just won’t at the fantasy price. WTF? Why are RE doing this?
Washington Boro and Twp are getting whacked with FK’s. Lots of Alt-A crap loans on those vintage 2004-07 crapboxes outside town.
On a bright note, the HS has a new stadium with SprintTurf.
If you’re ever on 31 and can’t go too far north, Hot Dog Johnny’s place in Glen Gardner is very good.
Here is where I know you can do rifle, pistol, and shot. Just outside Lahaska center, which is just past New Hope.
It may be a hike for some like Scribe, but a pleasant enough drive, and a decent place to make a day of it. Cheap too.
We would have to make that a full day event, shooting + lunch for example. Scribe would also need some basic familiarization with what ever she wanted to shoot in order to get her RANGE SAFETY BADGE which everyone would need to get.
Difficult to coordinate but it would be fun.
JJ: Where are you biatch?
From Spectrum Asset Management
Our early read that US bank trust preferred securities should perform well within the context of them becoming expensive funding rather than cheap equity gained market affirmation as this sector rallied steadily throughout July. Discounted US bank trust preferred issues rallied toward par and premium issues began to trade to a defacto term of 2013 (when the phase-out of Tier-1 capital begins).
JJ is studying JPM’s financials again.
UPDATE 1-JPMorgan, HSBC accused of silver manipulation
Hundreds of millions in illegal profit alleged
* Triple damages sought
* CFTC proposed new tools to thwart price manipulation
NEW YORK, Oct 27 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) were sued on Wednesday by an investor who accused them of conspiring to drive down silver prices, and reaping hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profits.
The banks were accused of manipulating the market for COMEX silver futures and options contracts since June 1, 2008 by amassing huge short positions in silver futures contracts.
Barbara No. 86 Let them earn there keep, house guides, babysitters whatever you want to call them
This place reads like a daytime TV version of Lord of the Flies.
Wall Street Proprietary Trading Under Cover: Michael Lewis
By Michael Lewis – Oct 26, 2010 Bloomberg Opinion
A few weeks ago we asked a simple question: Why are the same Wall Street banks that lobbied so hard to dilute the passages in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill banning proprietary trading now jettisoning their proprietary trading groups, without so much as a whimper?
The law directs regulators to study the prop trading ban for another 15 months before deciding how to enforce it: why is Wall Street caving now?
The many answers offered by Wall Street insiders in response boil down to a simple sentence: The banks have no intention of ceasing their prop trading. They are merely disguising the activity, by giving it some other name.
A former employee of JPMorgan, for instance, wrote to say that the unit he recently worked for, called the Chief Investment Office, advertised itself largely as a hedging operation but was in fact making massive bets with JPMorgan’s capital. And it would of course continue to do so. JPMorgan didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The fullest explanation came from a former Lehman Brothers corporate bond salesman named Robert Wosnitzer, who is now at New York University, writing a dissertation on the history of proprietary trading. He’s been interviewing Wall Street bond traders, he said, and they have been surprisingly open about their intentions to exploit one obvious loophole in the new law.
The innocent eye might have trouble spotting this loophole. The Dodd-Frank bill bans proprietary trading (Page 245: “Unless otherwise provided in this section, a banking entity shall not engage in proprietary trading”) and then appears to make it clear what that means (Page 565: “The term ‘proprietary trading’ means the act of a (big Wall Street bank) investing as a principal in securities, commodities, derivatives, hedge funds, private equity firms, or such other financial products or entities as the comptroller general may determine”).
Invitation for Abuse
The big invitation for abuse, Wosnitzer says, lies in the phrase “as a principal.” It falls to the comptroller general – – or, more specifically, the General Accountability Office, which is overseen by the comptroller general — to determine precisely what the phrase means.
And, at the moment, the GAO pretty clearly hasn’t the first clue. (“We’re really too early in the process to speak to how we might define it,” said spokeswoman Orice Williams Brown.)
Never mind: Wall Street is busily defining the term for itself.
Make an Argument
“One trader I interviewed,” Wosnitzer says, “said that from here on out, if he wants to take a proprietary position in a credit, he will argue that he bought the position because a customer wanted to sell the position, and he was providing liquidity; and in order to keep the trade on, he would merely offer the bonds 10 basis points higher than the offered side, so that he will in effect never get lifted out of the position, while being able to say that he is offering the bonds for sale to clients, but no one wants ‘em. When the trade finally gets to where he wants it — i.e., either realizing full profit, or slaughtered by losses — he will then sell it on the bid side, and move on.
Of course, there is all sorts of flawed logic here, but the point is that…there are a hundred different ways to claim to be acting as an agent or for a customer.’’
This ambiguity is no doubt one reason the financial reform bill passed in the first place. Even its clearest prohibitions are couched in language inviting Wall Street to evade them.
But the new game of cat and mouse raises a simple, even naive question: Why do these giant Wall Street firms want so badly to make huge bets with their shareholders’ capital?
After all, the point of the ban on proprietary trading is as much to save the banks from themselves as to save us from them. We have just come through a period where putatively shrewd individual bond traders lost not millions but billions of dollars for their firms, by making really stupid bets.
Even before the crisis there was never any reason to think that traders at big Wall Street firms had any special ability to gamble in the financial markets. Anyone with a talent for investing is unlikely to waste it on Morgan Stanley or Bank of America; he’ll use it for himself, or for some hedge fund, which allows him to keep more of his returns.
And if this were true before the financial crisis it is even more true after it, when trading inside a big Wall Street bank will be less pleasant and more fraught with politics.
Yet Wall Street’s biggest firms apparently still badly want their traders to be allowed to roll the bones. Why?
What They Do
One answer — which Wosnitzer points to — is that this is what Wall Street firms now mainly do. Beginning in the mid- 1980s, the Wall Street investment bank, seeing less and less profit in the mere servicing of customers, ceased to organize itself around its customers’ needs, and began to build itself around its own big and often abstruse gambles.
The outsized gains (and losses), the huge individual paychecks, the growing ability of traders to bounce from firm to firm from one year to the next, the tolerance for complexity that doubles as opacity: all of the signature traits of modern Wall Street follows from the willingness of the big firms to allow small groups of traders to make giant bets with shareholders’ capital, which the shareholders themselves don’t and can’t understand.
The new way of life began at Salomon Brothers in the early 1980s, right after it turned itself from a partnership into a publicly traded corporation; but it soon spread to the others.
‘‘That was the particular moment when a new culture of finance crystallizes,” Wosnitzer says. “And it restructures all of finance. All of a sudden it’s ‘I made X, pay me X minus Y or, screw you, I’m leaving.’”
Keep It Simple
There’s a simple, straightforward way for the GAO to construe the Dodd-Frank language, and it would reform Wall Street in a single stroke: to ban any sort of position-taking at the giant publicly owned banks. To say, simply: You are no longer allowed to make bets in the same stocks and bonds that you are selling to investors.
If that means that Goldman Sachs is no longer allowed to make markets in corporate bonds, so be it. You can be Charles Schwab, and advise investors; or you can be Citadel, and run trading positions. But if you are Citadel you will be privately owned. And if you blow up your firm, you will blow up yourself in the bargain.
(Michael Lewis, most recently author of the best-selling “The Big Short,” is a columnist for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
To contact the writer of this column: Michael Lewis at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dude…Cornellian? Class of ’90….we just did this thing…it was awesome…
October 27, 2010 at 12:35 am
So I arrive and get my ‘work-study’ job in the dining hall. Work-study didn’t really work that well for me since there was so much work to put myself through school there was little time for study but I needed it. No joke, I was saved by a course in the College for Human Ecology (not making that one up) in Womens Studies. Class times conflicted directly with my job but I took it pass/fail, never attended a class, and passed the exams (just).
Anyway, as I go to cash my paycheck in the student union (didn’t have enough money to maintain a bank account without fees) there is a protest. Recall all the rage back then was South Africa…crosses planted in the lawn on top of the bookstore, etc. The hall leading to the campus bursar where I could cash my check was blocked by people lined all the way down, both sides, backs to each wall and legs extended to the middle. Rather good looking crowd who as I made way down the hall trying to avoid the legs they kept shifting so I may land on them kept saying all while ‘step on us as you step on the peoples of South Africa’.
JJ’s in hiding…from me, I think.
Stop suing them, throw them the rope to continue shorting. If they are half as successful, over the next 2 years, bulls will be snorting.
Didn’t read the thread, but I’d be interested in a shooting GTC that includes deer and camo.
I’ll sit in the truck listening to CD’s while eating jerky and cinnamon candy. You all go out in the cold and hunt.
Then I’ll pay ten bucks a pound for the roasts.
“Scribe would also need some basic familiarization with what ever she wanted to shoot in order to get her RANGE SAFETY BADGE which everyone would need to get.”
Not that hard. Very rudimentary knowledge required. Just be able to put lead downrange. Focus of these guys is more on safety. Basic rule there is muzzle downrange at all times, and if you are going to step off the line, clear it and put it down.
Sorry. Can’t help you.
scribe can borrow one of my badges. She sounds like she looks a lot like me.
Hyde [73 – and BTW you’ve apparently got some modded posts in your mix throwing off numbering];
Against my better judgement I read that clap trap. Summed up nicely is the place where the speaker immodestly quotes herself “Just because the homeowner hasn’t paid his mortgage doesn’t mean anybody in the world can kick him out,” said Katherine Porter, a visiting law professor at Harvard. “The bank has to have the standing to do that.”
A) PRODUCE THE NOTE M-FER! all Doom-style is pure crap. The note is sufficient to establish standing, but not necessary. Alternative evidence can establish standing. As it happens, lost note affidavits are one such form of that evidence, a form which the banks unfortunately tortured almost beyond recognition. Some of thatalternate evidence can come from the deadbeat themself (see B).
B) We’re not talking about just “anybody in the world” suing. We’re talking about the entity (MERS) named on the note that the deadbeat signed; and/or the servicer to whom the deadbeat home-debtor himself sent checks to for a some good portion of time. To me, that’s pretty persuasive evidence that the deadbeat thinks they owe this entity some money.
The genesis of “Produce the Note” is to prevent the debtor from multiple claims on the same debt. If we legislatively protect the deadbeat from getting sued after having once been foreclosed upon, it replaces the ‘produce the note’ protections. Then the houses can be moved back to the market into the hands of the sidelined fence-sitters. Let the market find its bottom and get on with life. PIMpCO v. the banks can sue each other for the next decade (full employment for lawyers!) over the spoils. The law well recognizes that speedy equitable relief is necessary where simple money damages are not adequate. Where money damages are adequate, the court can take the time to be confident and let all parties have their say. So take care of what has to be taken care of now (get the homes in the hands of end users at market-clearing prices), and take care of the money damages after the dust has cleared.
#103 “B) We’re not talking about just “anybody in the world” suing. We’re talking about the entity (MERS) named on the note that the deadbeat signed; and/or the servicer to whom the deadbeat home-debtor himself sent checks to for a some good portion of time. To me, that’s pretty persuasive evidence that the deadbeat thinks they owe this entity some money.”
It is not just the note. If the note is not held by the originator there must be a chain of title to ownership of the note. Paying a servicer does not prove anything. This is not about owing money. It is about proving who the money is owed to.
Under current law there is no provision for Moose thinks you are a deadbeat so we’ll take your house, sell it and figure out who the proceeds belong to later.
Does anyone have respect for the rule of law?
So you’re presuming to lecture me about respect for the rule of law in defense of deadbeats squatting years on end (with no end in sight!) for free in homes they never had any hope of affording — while I write a rent check for considerably inferior housing. Nice high ground you’ve got there.
“Due Process” is not some magic incantation. It’s a regard for the fact that humans are not infallible. Hamilton, Federalist 51 “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” The purpose of ‘due process’ is to ensure the vaidity of the result reached — in this case in court.
Foreclosure and eviction are the clearly understood consequences of failure to pay the loan. There is no legitimate dispute about the payment status of these loans. Then it only benefits the deadbeats to elevate ‘due process’ over the substance of the transaction and drag out the process – forever on the installment plan. A delay here, a negotiation there, a trial loan modification here, a hasty affidavit there, break back into the house and start the process again, new players, new parties, ‘judge we need some time to sort all this out’. Its not like the deadbeats are even repentant.. they’re obstinately sticking their thumb in their advesaries’ eye.
Three years and counting average time to recover a property/rent free living? Sign me up! If someone would have told me in 2005 that would have been available, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. Pay for two, get three free, and here we are in 2010! I’d have a bigger war chest and not be saddled with a depreciating asset.
And your concern about the integrity of the chain of title is precisely the legislative change I’m proposing. Let the suits go forward to prevent the gross economic damage caused by leaving so much of the housing stock in limbo. AND protect the deadbeats from a subsequent suit on the same note by transfering the liability to the entity that collected in the first place. In most cases, the servicer is the originator, so they’ll be battling it out with the trustees over reps and warranties anyway – just one more log on the bonfire!
I currently see a total detachment between pricing of inventory and market value. This trend has also resulted for the moment in appraisers over valuing properties because they are unable to justify large enough depreciation adjustments to keep up with current market trends.
Prices in North Jersey are currently in free fall. There is no reason to believe this trend will change significantly before Spring. The Spring market (if there is one) is the only visible hope to slow the decline.
Tick…. tick…. tick…. tick….
You mean, like forged affadavits and assignments?
“The note is sufficient to establish standing, but not necessary. Alternative evidence can establish standing.”
Yeah, all those double and triple-pledged mortgages are a real brain-buster.
“The genesis of “Produce the Note” is to prevent the debtor from multiple claims on the same debt.”
30 year (104)-
What’s disturbing here is that I strongly suspect Moose is a lawyer (moreover, a lawyer with bankster or corporate paymasters). You can judge from what he’s posting here about how much respect he has for rule of law. He keeps trotting out straw men and theoretical arguments that rely strongly on some vague notion of “fairness” (mostly fairness to various thug mortgage servicers and investors), but he keeps dancing around that law thingy.
“Under current law there is no provision for Moose thinks you are a deadbeat so we’ll take your house, sell it and figure out who the proceeds belong to later.
Does anyone have respect for the rule of law?”
Bill Black, still going off:
“History demonstrates that if the control frauds get away with their frauds they will strike again.
By allowing the banks to use their political power to gimmick the accounting rules to permit them to hide their massive losses on liar’s loans we have made it far harder to take effective administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions against the elite frauds that caused the Great Recession. Hiding the losses also adopts the dishonest Japanese approach that cripples economic recovery and public integrity.
Prosecuting the elites’ control frauds can be done successfully. Create a new “Top 100” priority list and appoint regulators that will make supporting the Justice Department a top agency priority. That’s how we obtained over 1000 priority felony convictions of elite S&L criminals. No controlling officer of a large, non-prime specialty lender has been convicted of running a control fraud. Only one has even been indicted.
The FBI has written that any discussion of the crisis that ignores the role of mortgage fraud is “irresponsible.”
Food for thought about the power of large corporations.
You have mail.
The NY Times is preparing liberals for an electoral bloodbath next week:
Parts of Obama Coalition Drift Toward G.O.P., Poll Finds
By JIM RUTENBERG and MEGAN THEE-BRENAN
Published: October 28, 2010
Critical parts of the coalition that delivered President Obama to the White House in 2008 and gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 are switching their allegiance to the Republicans in the final phase of the midterm Congressional elections, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents; all of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls.
The poll found that a greater proportion of women would choose Republicans over Democrats in House races than at any time since exit polls began tracking the breakdown in 1982.
Here’s what you need to prepare a liberal for a bloodbath:
Is there a train from Philly or an nj transit train I can get to easily from bucks co that will get me to union station in nyc?
I had thought they all go to Penn station which I hate.
The cast is off. And now for the initial results.
Wednesday, Nov. 3rd, DNC Headquarters:
Is that your leg, or a veal shank?
There should be a second mushroom cloud…from the Fed.
#106 Moose said “And your concern about the integrity of the chain of title is precisely the legislative change I’m proposing. Let the suits go forward to prevent the gross economic damage caused by leaving so much of the housing stock in limbo. AND protect the deadbeats from a subsequent suit on the same note by transfering the liability to the entity that collected in the first place. In most cases, the servicer is the originator, so they’ll be battling it out with the trustees over reps and warranties anyway – just one more log on the bonfire!”
Chain of title is everything. Chain of title is sacred! Without chain of title there is a crisis of confidence. This is part of the problem that we are experiencing in the market currently. If people don’t trust the system there is no value.
It appears clear that you don’t understand the full nature of the problem or the potential unintended consequences of your suggestion.
It looks more like a salami.
Stu, put a sheet over yourself and shake your foot at the kids when they trick or treat.
Latest from Paul Tudor Jones. Still can’t believe my sick little mind was taught in HS by the same teachers he had. Where did I go wrong?
30 year (124)-
To my non-lawyer mind, chain of title and ability to prove standing in order to foreclose is the foundation of a lot of property rights law. A mortgage note is a piece of property, as is the real property hypothecated by same. When the quality of the mortgage note becomes fungible or subject to alteration ex post facto, the door to a lot of weird potential outcomes gets thrown wide open.
But Moose has waited a long time for his cheap house, and the process must be expedited to punish the individual and reward the corporation, so they may foreclose hastily and provide Moose with an attractive selection of suburban family-prisons.
More rant about banks and title…If homeowner fcuks up he loses home. I bank fcuks up they get a do over? Laws concerning title and foreclosure date back hundreds of years (judicial foreclosure). Banks and their counsel know the laws, it is property 101. They have a piece of paper to prove their standing. Simple concept, why change it?
Hedge fund buys MBS for 30% ? If they get 30 cents back they are whole. Why not just give them back what they paid even if there is insurance against fraud committed during the packaging and sale of the MBS? This could be their contribution to correcting the problems with the financial system. They’re not losing anything, so we can change the rules?
What about a stand up guy who is paying the mortgage religiously? Guy figures he should ask his mortgage servicer to prove chain of title and possession of the note. Turns out the servicer can’t produce the note. Should the stand up guy pay?
The problem is not the system. The problem is rampant abuse of the system from within! The law is fine and does not require change. The people associated with the mortgage end of the financial community who participated in creating these messes must be held accountable. From the lowly clerk to the CEOs, they must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
I think that is the RNC headquarters once the Tea Partiers get there and find out the answer to their question “Now What?”
#150 Nom (privious thread)
Union Thuggery/Busting dow not come into this.
This giy is going to the big house for a mistake that even a Mall Rent-A-Cop wouldn’t make. IF Rand Paul has an issue with Security, Canll the cops or hire professionals. This was always waiting in the wings to happen. Will Move-On mmilk this for all its worth, off course. If she had hit Paul, the boot (pun) would be on the other foot.
This moron is just digging the hold bigger.
One of the biggest issues the Tea Party have is that they need Political handlers. Just like Sister Sarah should have listened to Steve Schmitt,. They may not have won, but it woild have been closer. If Rand Paul had an issue with Security, call the cops or hire professionals. This will end up costing him votes.
What I found from Stills GTG is that, the “liberals” (ie me) will quite happily send Bambi to the Beef Jerky Factory in the sky, while others would not.
Reposted, I need a new Keyboard.
#150 Nom (previous thread)
Union Thuggery/Busting does not come into this.
This guy is going to the big house for a mistake that even a Mall Rent-A-Cop wouldn’t make. If Rand Paul has an issue with Security, call the cops or hire professionals. This was always waiting in the wings to happen. Will Move-On milk this for all its worth, of course, if she had hit Paul, the boot (pun) would be on the other foot.
This moron is just digging the hole bigger.
One of the biggest issues the Tea Party have is that they need Political handlers. Just like Sister Sarah should have listened to Steve Schmitt,. They may not have won, but it would have been closer. At the worst times they are making Rookie political mistakes.
On a side note, I don recall you offering to head down to Tenton to “Bust a few heads” for CC.
Cumon Moose – Shylock or not “legislative change I’m proposing” is a funny way to put
stepping all over States rights and legislate a new solution at the Federal level? Any threat of of preemption has made state legislatures very nervous. How far do we want to go down the rabbit hole here?
#98 New in NJ (previous thread)
Santa Clara Co vs Southern Pacific is the biggest fcuk up in American law and is one of the core reasons America is caught where it is.
I have tried to engage debate on this topic in the past, but just like the issue of Google paying 2.4% tax due to tax loophoes, some people her will just ignore the topic.
The problem is that scribe has the personality of RE101….
October 27, 2010 at 5:23 pm
scribe can borrow one of my badges. She sounds like she looks a lot like me.
The physical people did not break the contract, the corporate person did, They claimed the rights of the individual, without being held accountable for any consequeces.
Until that is addressed, going aginst the Social(ist) Person is just tilting at windmills.
On a side note, just had a painter call me back looking for work. He had tried a bait and switch on a quote a while back and had been politely declined. Now he has halved the quote and will supply the paint as he needs cash for the crew.
People are hurting.
re: #138 – Fabius Anecdotal- a retired legal immigrant painter I know who does not read much more than the NY Post said we are all f*((ked. This is a guy who after a stint in the Army in the 1950s then spent near 50 years on a ladder and raised a family of 5 in Queens NY closed shop in Long Island recently and said f***IT.
Pretty funny excerpt from WSJ editorial….
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
OCTOBER 26, 2010.Nancy Pelosi Who?
Democrats deny being Democrats
Nancy Pelosi said Monday that “we haven’t really gotten the credit for what we have done,” and the Speaker is right. However, it appears that her party will get that credit on November 2, which is why so many Democrats are now jumping the liberal ship, at least symbolically, to save their seats.
As second in line to the presidency, the Speaker gets a few perks, including an Air Force C-32 (a tricked-out 757) to take her wherever she needs/wants to go. When the Dems lose control of the House, largely because of public perception of her, and she loses her plane, her large Speaker’s Office, and all that goes with it, and, one would suspect any leadership post in the House, a comittee chair excepting, is she likely going to be happy with her new status? Inasmuch as her husband is worth hundreds of millions and she would be in high demand by the networks, I suspect that she will resign her seat sometime after winning it and before the end of January.
The sad thing is that Pelosi didn’t even like the legislation she had to shepherd through and that she is blamed for. E.g., I am sure she hated the guts of the healthcare law as it was adopted – she’d much prefer a single payer system (though for the reasons different from say me) which [to me] is the only chance to long-term restrain the cost increase without leaving growing part of the country with nothing but the charity care.
Pelosi should exit office by being put in front of a firing squad.
Heyy :) Is it OK if I go a bit off topic? I am trying to read the website on my new iPod Touch but it won’t display correctly, do you have any recommendations? Shall I try to find an update for my browser or something? Thanks! Tana x :)