April 06, 2007

Happy Easter

Funny, in the secular UK, Easter means a four-day holiday for the folks. Yes, they work you to the bone in the no-days-off-for-Easter US, eh?

So, I'm outta here. Off to look at overpriced real estate (and museums) in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Back Sunday night. I might pop into an internet cafe to see if TCDL is spouting off, and to moderate comments, but otherwise, read the great article below, take a cruise through the HP archives (ah, the memories...), post links and highlights of any housing crash article I missed, and have a good one.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the egg hunt Keith!

Anonymous said...

Consumer Confidence Falls for 2nd Month

High Gas Prices, Housing Slump and Stock Market Turbulence Undermine Consumer Confidence

"The consumer is very nervous about the situation," said Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. "One factor that is figuring into the drop in confidence is the rise of gasoline prices. Some places are close to $3 a gallon. A lot of consumers think that will poison the economy and the outlook," he said.

It marked the second straight month that consumer confidence has declined. That drop comes as the national economy is stuck in a sluggish spell, mostly reflecting the troubled housing market. At the same time, prices for gasoline and other goods are rising, pinching peoples' wallets.

Anonymous said...

Your so lucky, I'm stuck here in the US........ How do I get out?

Anonymous said...

We get a day off for Easter. We just don't get paid for it.

Bake McBride said...

Job growth showed surprising strength in March, the Labor Department said Friday. Nonfarm payrolls expanded by 180,000 in March higher than the 168,000 expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.4% in March from 4.5% in the previous month. This matches the lowest rate in six years set in October. The last time the unemployment rate was lower was in May 2001. Economists forecast the unemployment rate to hold steady at 4.5%. The details of the report were Average hourly earnings increased 6 cents, or 0.3% to $17.22. Economists had been expecting a 0.3% gain. Earnings are up 4.0% in the past year. The average workweek was 33.9 hours. Economists were expecting the workweek inch higher to 33.8 hours from the initial estimate of 33.7 in February. The factory workweek and factory overtime rose in March. Jobs in the factory secctor fell 16,000. Construction added 56,000 jobs in the month.

****February was revised upwards as well, from 97,000 to 113,000.

*****Builders added 56,000 jobs after shedding 61,000 the prior month. The snap back is probably due to the return of more seasonable temperatures after cold weather played a role in the February drop, the Labor Department said.

Service industries, which include banking, insurance, restaurants and retailers, gained 137,000 workers last month after a 180,000 gain in February, the report showed. The increase was led by a 36,000 gain in retail employment that was the biggest since July 2005.


Manufacturers’ payrolls fell 16,000 last month after dropping 11,000 a month earlier. Economists expected manufacturers to eliminate 12,000 positions. The manufacturing workweek rose to 41.1 hours and overtime increased to 4.3 hours from 4.2 hours.

Anonymous said...

Christ died for hp er's as well!

Anonymous said...

if gas goes to 4 dollars a gallon how much will that cost me over a year ? Not much. No gloom and doom and price are still going up in the areas i'm familiar with austin,utah,seattle(bainbridge island),maui,boise. Lots of jobs etc. only larger cities seem to be stagnate but there are lots of jobs.

Anonymous said...

*When* gas goes beyond 4 dollars we'll see what foreign economic forces can do to this country.

The wave has just started, but we shouldn't have to experience the effects down the line when we know for a fact it's coming.

George Sorros made an important point by stating that "... we generally don't like to deal with the truth ... "

This is so true, and why we keeping hearing the media say "... all is fine ... "

"if gas goes to 4 dollars a gallon how much will that cost me over a year ? Not much. No gloom and doom and price are still going up in the areas i'm familiar with austin,utah,seattle(bainbridge island),maui,boise. Lots of jobs etc. only larger cities seem to be stagnate but there are lots of jobs."

Anonymous said...

seattle is special,isnt it

beebs said...

The job report was cooked like most econ. statistics.

Judas said...

"Christ died for hp er's as well!"

Yea, but did he suffer through predatory lending. I think not.

Anonymous said...

I got Good Friday off.

Anonymous said...

Countrywide Financial to face probe

A Delaware judge Thursday refused to squelch a shareholder lawsuit seeking records of probes into possible stock options backdating by Countrywide Financial Corp.

Vice Chancellor John Noble of the Court of Chancery refused to dismiss a so-called "books and records" action filed by the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System, which says it wants to look into an alleged suspicious pattern of options grant timing by the Calabasas, Calif.-based home lender.

Many companies have been caught up in lawsuits and regulatory action for changing the dates on stock options grants to allow executives to benefit from market price swings.

Countrywide has not admitted to any irregularities in connection with the timing of its options grant. In court Thursday, Countrywide attorney Brian E. Pastuszenski pointed to evidence he said undercut the Louisiana pension fund's case for getting the documents.

In order to get a court order requiring Countrywide to hand over documents, the shareholder must prove it has a proper purpose, including credible grounds for suspecting wrongdoing has occurred.

"Something looks amiss," shareholder attorney Michael Barry argued, pointing to a series of options grants by Countrywide coinciding with low market prices for the stock.

Noble cleared the way to an April 18 trial for the books and records action, in spite of what he called "substantial" factual arguments that support Countrywide's insistence it's innocent of stock options wrongdoing.

FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

HP is giving me jet lag.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Your so lucky, I'm stuck here in the US........ How do I get out?

How about enlisting in the US army then you can go to Iraq or Afghanistan....or maybe Iran?

CashFLo said...

"If gas goes to 4 dollars a gallon how much will that cost me over a year ? Not much."

You mean at the pump, or for all goods and services across the board? If you personally are fine, that means the whole economy is fine, right?

Maybe $4 gas isn't it, but there has to be a tipping point where the price of oil at least tapers the crazy affluence that brings us shiny spinning hubcaps, kiddie birthday parties fit for royalty, designer water, McMansions, and fifty kinds of product X - "massclusivity".

Anonymous said...

Jobs! Everyone employed processing chickens in Arkansas. Hang 'em upside down live on the processing line and into the throat cutter, then the boiler then the de-featherer.

It's a great country where everyone's employed in high paying jobs doing what they love.

Employment keeps people from rising up and putting the rich people into the guillotine.

As such, is it really such a good thing?

Anonymous said...

Christ loaned every drop of blood for sinners...like me! I Tim 1:15

Anonymous said...

Hey, check this out from the Voice of San Diego...appears that the Forclosure rate in SD is up more than 3x in 2 years....and we're barely started.

So if the housing crash were a baseball game, what inning would you say were in? Personally...I'd say bottom of the 3rd.


stardust said...

Casy Serin was on last night's episode of Suze Orman...he glossed over his crimes, she told him to stop wasting time and effort and just give up and start over.

Trump to market condos on 'Apprentence'...


Anonymous said...

HP blog is THE BOMB!

Anonymous said...

Here ya go Keith. Notice gov of Florida denying problems. Just cut the prop tax and its all going to be o.k.--Not.
Published: April 8, 2007
MIAMI, April 7 — State tax revenues around the country are growing far more slowly this year and in some cases falling below projections, a result of the housing market slowdown that has curbed voracious spending on real estate, building materials, furniture and other items.

Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, speaking in January, anticipated cuts in spending and proposed property tax relief for state residents.
Nowhere is the downturn more apparent than in Florida, where tax revenue is projected to drop this year for the first time since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

But other states, especially those where housing prices soared in recent years, are also seeing their collections slow, especially in the sales and real estate transfer tax categories. While the economy remains generally strong and it is too early to predict whether the housing slump will have long-term effects, some states will have to adjust their wish lists.

For example, New Jersey could face a $2.5 billion shortfall by mid-2008, Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said, and may lease its turnpike or its lottery to a private company to raise money. In California, where income tax receipts in January were $1 billion less than forecast, a nonpartisan legislative analyst has urged budget cuts and warned that the state could have about $2 billion less in revenue this year and next than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has projected.

“It’s the year of the housing hangover,” said Sean M. Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida.

New home sales nationally fell in February to the lowest rate in seven years, and homeowners who tapped into plentiful home equity and spent extravagantly during the real estate boom have started to cut back.

Those events not only threaten revenue streams for things like building materials and labor, but also affect spending on big-ticket items like cars and furniture, which many homeowners financed with home equity lines of credit.

Chris McCarty, survey research director at the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida, said it would be foolish to “underestimate the effect that the inability to extract equity from homes is going to have.”

In one hint of how much Floridians were relying on property wealth during the real estate boom, 16 percent of new car purchases here were being made with home equity loans in 2006, compared with 7 percent nationally, according to CNW Marketing Research, an automotive research firm in Bandon, Ore. In California, the percentage was even higher — about 30 percent, said Art Spinella, the firm’s president.

During the last few years, families in much of the country have relied on the cash from mortgage refinancing, made possible by rising house values, low interest rates and a bevy of creative new loans, to make up for stagnant wages. From 2001 to 2005, even as the economy was growing at a healthy clip over all, the pay of most workers failed to keep pace with inflation. Now the housing slowdown is making it more difficult to take equity out of a house, and an improved job market is finally causing wages to rise.

Still, Mr. McCarty said consumer confidence in Florida dropped markedly last month, especially willingness to buy expensive items.

Some budget watchers say that Florida, whose housing boom was prolonged and intensified by the rebuilding frenzy after a series of hurricanes, could be a warning beacon for other states anticipating housing-related economic woes. Last spring, 9 of the 20 metropolitan areas that saw the sharpest home price appreciation were in Florida, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Many areas of the state now have plummeting home values.

Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, the chief beneficiaries of the housing rush, are also expected to suffer disproportionately from the slump. From late 2005 to late 2006, existing home sales fell by 21 percent in California, 27 percent in Arizona, 31 percent in Florida and 36 percent in Nevada, the steepest drop in the nation.

Maryland’s real estate transfer tax revenue has tumbled by 22 percent this fiscal year, suggesting that fewer homes are being sold, prices have fallen or both. Connecticut’s real estate transfer tax revenue, which state budget analysts predicted would fall by 3.6 percent, is down by 13.3 percent so far.

Some states have defied the trend, chiefly among them New York, where the housing market has been bolstered by sales in Manhattan. The prices and number of apartments selling in Manhattan rose in the first three months of this year, according to data released last week by several of New York City’s largest real estate brokerages.

Healthy reserves built up over the last few years and stable economic conditions outside the housing sector could cushion the blow for many states, at least for now.

“The tendency is for people to say, ‘Wow, things look pretty good, except for housing,’ ” said Richard Nathan, co-director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany. “But that is a very big exception, because it has a large impact on people’s perceptions of what they feel their asset capability is.”

Some economists fear the situation will worsen as credit standards tighten and more recipients of subprime loans — typically people with bad credit, who obtained such loans easily during the housing boom — default on their payments.

But others expect the revenue lag to last two years at most, because with the exception of industrial Midwestern states like Michigan and Ohio, the economy remains relatively healthy.

Anonymous said...

Yup Suze told ol'Casey Serin to just walk and let the bank eat their mistake. What a hoot!

And she's right! Those a$$wipe lenders knew they'd never see that money again anyway when they "lent" it to him.

Here's Suze's reasoning: Because you're behind in all your payments, your credit's wrecked anyway. So why prolongue the suffering? $crew the lender and walk!

Now Senator Dodd and the other Dems, on the other hand, would have advised Casey to "work out a new payment schedule with the lenders". Because they REALLY CARE about American citizens, NOT!

The only American citizens they care about are the lenders. If they really cared about the FBs, they would tell them to do exactly what Suze told Casey:

"Throw that stinking piece of overpriced property back at the bank and go rent for a fraction of the price!"

Anonymous said...

What is your favorite European country ?


FlyingMonkeyWarrior said...

Yea, Gov. spending in Fl under Governor Jeb Bush increased by 80%, and the expected tax income stream is below what they budgeted for.
It is gonna get ugly, imo.