June 30, 2007

Brits getting slaughtered in Florida housing "spectacular collapse"

Property-mad Brits (they love their housing ladder), who also love going to Florida on holiday (why for the life of me I can't figure out) are getting destroyed now that Florida's housing market is crashing.

And it's not just the price cuts - if they borrowed from their bank in GBP the exchange rate and transfer fees to US$ are killing them too.


Funniest thing is you have conmen and sweet talkers still aggressively courting ignorant property-mad Brits to invest in Florida property. Take this one for example. Or this one. Crashing market? Terrible fundamentals? Exchange rate nightmare? Nah! Now's a great time to buy!

Florida is a HOT market for Foreign National's to purchase both Second Homes and Investment Properties.

This is a great time and a great market for their purchases. With the weak dollar and the strong Euro and British Sterling, European investment in Florida is at an all time high!

However, here's the truth, thanks to the Daily Mail:

Britons count the cost of the Florida property slump

Hundreds of British investors who pumped their money into Florida's soaring housing market have been caught out in its spectacular collapse.

Many bought apartments off-plan, hoping to sell them on at a huge profit as soon as they were built.

However, they have been left with property they can't sell - even for less than the original price - because of rising interest rates and a glut of condominiums for sale.

Florida house prices have been plunging for 18 months, but research shows investors in high-rise condos have been hurt the most.

Regressing Toward the Mean: Here it is folks - the dirty list of how far real estate prices could/should crash city by city

From John Burns Real Estate Consulting. If you're in one of the top cities, get ready for an economic collapse the likes you've never seen before:

Resale Home Prices Are Likely to Fall in Many Markets

We calculated how much prices would have to fall for housing costs (including mortgage payments, property taxes and down payments) to return to each market’s typical ratio of housing costs / income.

City / Current Price / Price Drop % / Price Drop $

Miami, FL $350,000 -41.4% -$145,000
Riverside-San Bernardino, CA $390,000 -41.0% -$160,000
Los Angeles, CA $570,000 -39.5% -$225,000
Baltimore, MD $284,858 -37.2% -$105,858
Orange County, CA $720,000 -34.0% -$245,000
Washington D.C., DC-VA-MD-WV $404,517 -33.3% -$134,517
Las Vegas, NV $305,975 -33.0% -$100,975
Seattle, WA $415,000 -31.9% -$132,500
Portland, OR-WA $280,000 -31.4% -$88,000
Oakland, CA $635,500 -30.0% -$190,500
Sacramento, CA $375,000 -29.3% -$110,000
San Diego, CA $565,000 -29.2% -$165,000
Orlando, FL $245,000 -28.6% -$70,000
Phoenix, AZ $263,000 -24.0% -$63,000
Baton Rouge, LA $179,306 -22.5% -$40,306
Fort Myers, FL $255,000 -22.4% -$57,000
Myrtle Beach, SC $207,816 -20.6% -$42,816
Tucson, AZ $230,000 -20.4% -$47,000
Boise City, ID $213,498 -20.4% -$43,498
Virginia Beach, VA-NC $235,034 -20.0% -$47,034
Tampa, FL $190,000 -18.4% -$35,000
Minneapolis, MN-WI $234,000 -15.0% -$35,000
New York, NY-NJ $500,282 -13.0% -$65,282
Jacksonville, FL $187,000 -11.2% -$21,000
Salt Lake City, UT $233,013 -9.9% -$23,013
St. Louis, MO-IL $166,250 -9.8% -$16,250
San Antonio, TX $145,700 -9.4% -$13,700

More cities here

HousingPANIC gate-crashes The Times "Top 25 Property Blogs" list

Here's the list, and what they had to say about little ol' HP.

Funny they think HP is an "American blog" even though I'm sitting a few blocks away from their office in London. But then again, the Arizona Republic thought HP was an Arizona blog, even though I'm thousands of miles away in England.

Gotta love the MSM...

Top 25 property blogs
We've scanned cyberspace to for the best property blogs on the web... Enjoy

American blog with a decidedly pessimistic slant, it nonetheless brings you loads of property market news and a gazillion links to other useful places on the web.

Now that the stupidity didn't pass, here's Ron Paul on what we really need to do regarding illegal immigration

Why are some things so obvious to Ron Paul and most HP'ers, yet so confusing or shocking to others?

If Congress now proceeds to do NOTHING on immigration, then 2008 must be a year where every single incumbent is swept out of office.

Here's Ron Paul:

Border Security and Immigration Reform

The talk must stop. We must secure our borders now. A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked. This is my six point plan:

Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.

Enforce visa rules. Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law. This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.

No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.

No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.

End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.

Pass true immigration reform. The current system is incoherent and unfair. But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation. This is insanity.

Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.

Let's list some of our favorite realtor swindles, tricks, frauds and cons

1) Pulling a listing off of the MLS and putting it right back on, to make it look like it's a fresh listing with zero days on market

2) Pulling a listing that sells below asking price and relisting it on day of close at selling price, to make it look like the market isn't crashing

3) Steering a sheeple to a certain mortgage broker because the realtor is getting an illegal under-the-table cash kickback (or hookers or cocaine) (hello IRS?)

4) Contracting work with an appraiser who "makes the numbers work" in return for the appraiser "making the numbers work"

5) Recommending the sheeple take out a toxic loan with a low payment so that the sheeple buys a higher priced home so the realtor makes a bigger commission

6) Working on against-the-law cash-back-at-close deals

7) Lying on mortgage applications and not reporting taxes due on their own investment properties

8) Being realtors in the first place

9) Accepting bribes (in the form of undisclosed commission bonuses) from builders or home sellers without declaring the bribe to the sheeple

10) Use photoshop to make a listing look nicer than it really is (who needs those pesky power lines?)

11) Using a straw buyer, inflate the price of a sale, get a bogus commission, then extract the cash difference between real price and sale price and take your dirty share

12) Intentionally make the property tough to show to other real estate clerks, so that the listing agent can find his own buyer (at an uncompetitive price) thus taking the full 6% and screwing the sheeple

What did I miss? And what kind of profession is it when it's so easy to list so many swindles?

You take away the housing bubble and refi ATM, you take away discretionary retail sales

PaperMoney nails it.

Picture is worth 1000 words.

June 29, 2007

Psst.. Hey buddy - want some Countrywide shares?

Here's desperate insider sales transactions at heap-o-trouble Countrywide, look at just May and June alone


When it happens, if people say "we didn't see it coming" then they were simply blind.

It's coming.

I picked up 5 CFC Oct puts today for fun... Execs pleading guilty to insider trading, a desperate CEO dumping everything he has, and a business model that has gone kaput.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the wise words of Lawrence Yun, newly appointed "Senior Economist" of the National Association of Realtors

Tar and feathers anyone?

I was going to go (kinda) nice on the little guy. No more. Lawrence Yun is a discredited hack, spewing baldfaced lies for an evil organization, and perhaps even more pathetic (is that possible) than the discredited hack that came before him, our friend The Corrupt David Lereah.

Lawrence Yun and the National Association of Realtors are today the laughingstock of America. But sadly, nobody is laughing.

Here's the latest from Yun. And keep up to date with his BS over at http://lawrenceyunwatch.blogspot.com

Consumers are hearing a lot in the media about the correction in housing, and they’re understandably concerned about whether now is a good time to get into the housing market.

To a great extent, we can thank steady media coverage of the real estate market “correction” for unfounded consumer concerns.

If there’s a correction in markets today, it’s in home sales volume and housing starts, not in home prices.

Even a relatively large price decline, such as the 12 percent drop we saw in Sarasota, Fla., cannot reasonably be called a correction when that market had a 150 percent price increase during the boom.

FLASH: Lennar tells us what new homes are REALLY selling for, and it's ugly. Really ugly.

We all know the NAR and US Government housing numbers are bullsh*t, as the price data doesn't include the rampant and desperate incentives and cash-back kickbacks used to move dead inventory.

Well, Lennar in their horrific numbers this week exposed the average incentive used to move a new home last month.


Their reported new home price plummeted from $322,000 to $298,000, down $24,000, or down 7.4% vs. last year.

And their average incentive value last month?



So that new home that sold for $322,000 last year? It's only really worth $254,000 today, a drop of $68,000 or 22%, and we're going even lower.

The new home price data is bullsh*t. And builders are in total firesale mode today (and so are their stocks)

Lennar Swings To Loss On Lower Home Prices As Supply Builds

For the second quarter, home deliveries fell to 8,940 from 12,506 a year earlier. The average home price dropped to $298,000 from $322,000 in the year- ago period. To attract uncertain buyers, Lennar said sales incentives averaged $ 43,700 a home versus $24,700 in the same quarter last year.

Orders for new homes plunged 31% to 8,056 from the prior year with the cancellation rate running at 29%.

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

In what ways was the housing bubble evil?

How stupid are Treasury Secretary Walter Paulson's comments on housing looking now?

This quote will be one for the ages. Kinda like "we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators" and "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

Here's Paulson in all of his laughable, bizarre, corrupt, misguided, lying glory:

WASHINGTON - The major slump in the housing market is nearing an end and should not have a significant impact on the overall economy, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday.

"We have had a major housing correction in this country," Paulson said in an interview with a small group of reporters at the Treasury Department. "I do believe we are at or near the bottom."

"It doesn't pose a risk to the economy overall," he said.

I think even the REIC and homedebtor trolls now know they're f*cked. Everyone to the lifeboats!

I've sensed a change.

Probably like the Titanic when finally, the people realized the ship was going down, there was no more arguing the basic fact that the ship was going down, and then the mad frenzy to secure a place on a lifeboat commenced.

The time for arguing is over.

Now it's time for the mad dash to the lifeboats.

Cash will be king. It hath been foretold:

· The upswing usually starts with an opportunity - new markets, new technologies or some dramatic political change - and investors looking for good returns.

· It proceeds through the euphoria of rising prices, particularly of assets, while an expansion of credit inflates the bubble.

· In the manic phase, investors scramble to get out of money and into illiquid things such as stocks, commodities, real estate or tulip bulbs: 'a larger and larger group of people seeks to become rich without a real understanding of the processes involved'.

· Ultimately, the markets stop rising and people who have borrowed heavily find themselves overstretched. This is 'distress', which generates unexpected failures, followed by 'revulsion' or 'discredit'.

· The final phase is a self-feeding panic, where the bubble bursts. People of wealth and credit scramble to unload whatever they have bought at greater and greater losses, and cash becomes king.

June 28, 2007

FLASH: Treasonous REIC-Wet-Kiss Illegal Immigration Bill Goes Down in Flames!!!

Now that that stupidity is over, maybe our bought-and-paid-for Congress and President will consider doing what's right:

1) Close the damn border, now
2) Make it criminal to knowingly hire an illegal alien
3) Enforce the laws of the United States

Want to solve the problem? Stop the unchecked supply and stop the REIC-fueled demand.

Here are the 43 traitor Senators that should never win another election, or be considered as Presidential candidates:

Akaka (D-HI)Bennett (R-UT)Biden (D-DE)Boxer (D-CA)Cantwell (D-WA)Cardin (D-MD)Carper (D-DE)Casey (D-PA)Clinton (D-NY)Conrad (D-ND)Craig (R-ID)Dodd (D-CT)Durbin (D-IL)Feingold (D-WI)Feinstein (D-CA)Graham (R-SC) Gregg (R-NH)Hagel (R-NE)Inouye (D-HI)Kennedy (D-MA)Kerry (D-MA)Klobuchar (D-MN)Kohl (D-WI)Kyl (R-AZ)Lautenberg (D-NJ)Leahy (D-VT)Levin (D-MI)Lieberman (ID-CT)Lincoln (D-AR)Lott (R-MS)Lugar (R-IN)Martinez (R-FL) McCain (R-AZ)Menendez (D-NJ)Mikulski (D-MD)Murray (D-WA)Nelson (D-FL)Obama (D-IL)Reed (D-RI)Reid (D-NV)Salazar (D-CO)Schumer (D-NY)Snowe (R-ME)Specter (R-PA)Whitehouse (D-RI)Wyden (D-OR)

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

What housing bubble players do you seriously think will do jail time? Name names.

The Great Housing Bubble and Crash - this will make a great story one day

And then Congress passed a law per their REIC masters making gains on home sales non-taxable

And then the Fed inexplicably lowered interest rates to 1%

And then thousands and thousands of people became mortgage brokers and realtors

And then CDOs and toxic loans were invented

And then China manipulated long term interest rates

And then homebuilders started building an insane amount of inventory

And then sheeple lined up outside of new home developments to be lucky enough to buy a home, and told everyone they knew that they were stupid to rent, and to buy as many homes as they could

And then TV shows came out about how easy it was to get rich flipping houses, and Time magazine went goo-goo for housing

And then 20-year-olds could get $2.4 million in loans with no income and no job

And then appraisers got paid kickbacks to "make the numbers work"

And then Bush told everyone to buy a home, regardless of cost

And then Greenspan told people to take out adjustable rate mortgages, even though he'd be raising interest rates again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again

And then it all caved in... Oh, did it all cave in...

And then the realtors starting blaming the media and psychology for the housing crash...

Lawrence Yun, the staff economist for the National Association of Realtors who has replaced our favorite whipping boy, David Lereah, as the Man Who Must Be Quoted in all stories about the real estate market, complained that the housing market was "underperforming" given what he considered the general overall health of the economy.

"Psychological factors," he said, explained buyer reluctance to jump into the market at the present time.

How Yun and his ilk are able to cite "psychological factors" as the reason for anything is an exercise in tautological meaninglessness that continues to baffle How the World Works. If you're going to blame consumer psychology when the market is headed down, then in all fairness you should blame it when the market is going up.

But back in the go-go days, we never heard anyone from the National Association of Realtors say anything along the lines of: "The real estate market overperformed this month, as home buyers, irrationally convinced that home prices would continue to appreciate beyond all rhyme or reason, stepped up their splurging on new and existing homes, rashly confident that they would be able to sell their purchases at a 25 percent markup in just one year."

Psychological factors are always in play, whether a market is going up or down. We've been giving Yun a chance to establish some street cred, but with each whine about buyer psychology, our willingness to give him the benefit of the doubt takes another hit.

And then the dominos started to fall, one by one...

PIMCO's Gross: Subprime crisis not 'isolated'

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund, said Tuesday the subprime mortgage crisis gripping U.S. financial markets was not an isolated event and will eventually take a toll on the economy.

Gross said there are hundreds of billions of dollars of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), derivatives on subprime RMBS and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that buy subprime RMBS and/or the derivatives on the RMBS - all of which he considers "toxic waste."

Gross, who manages the $104 billion PIMCO Total Return Fund, said the subprime crisis "may be just what the Fed has been looking for - easy credit becoming less easy; excessive liquidity returning to more rational levels," he added.

According to Gross, the subprime crisis will unfold in these resets. The ultimate impact they will have will be on the impaired prices of homes - "the collateral that's so critical in this asset-backed, and therefore interest-rate-sensitive, finance-based economy of 2007 and beyond."

And then the homebuilders started going to jail...

Beazer Accountant Fired in Document Destruction Try

June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Beazer Homes USA Inc., a homebuilder that's under investigation by the FBI for potential fraud, fired its chief accounting officer for violating the company's ethics policy by attempting to destroy documents.

Beazer fired Michael Rand after an internal probe of the company's mortgage origination business, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Messages left at Rand's home and with Leslie Kratcoski, a Beazer spokeswoman, were not immediately returned.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation of Beazer after the Charlotte Observer reported on March 25 the company sold homes to low-income buyers who couldn't afford them, using mortgages based on expectations the buyer's income would rise. That practice is prohibited by the Federal Housing Administration, which provides loan guarantees for home buyers.

June 27, 2007

Forbes magazine puts a dagger in the heart of the housing industry: "Don't Buy That House"

The MSM is going HP


The dream of owning your own home is as American as apple pie--and (supposedly) better for you. Over and over, we are told that homeownership will make you happier, healthier and wealthier. Heck, it's even supposed to make you a better citizen.

Of course, there are times when, depending on your age, your savings and your income, buying a home can be a smart decision and an excellent way to build wealth. But is buying a home really such a universally good idea?

It's hard to separate fact from propaganda.

Certainly, the virtues of ownership have been preached loudly and from on high. As early as the 1920s, Herbert Hoover extolled home ownership as a pillar of family life. Nearly 80 years later, President Bush reiterated the message, stating "there's no greater American value than owning something, owning your own home and having the opportunity to do so."

But to realize that America's mania for home-buying is out of all proportion to sober reality, one needs to look no further than the current subprime lending mess. In the last decade, riskier lending practices combined with historically low interest rates and federal subsidies have encouraged a wave of low- and moderate-income households to buy homes.

As interest rates--and mortgage payments--have started to climb, many of these new owners are having difficulty making ends meet. At the moment, a record 250,000 mortgages are in foreclosure--that works out to more than 0.5% of the entire U.S. mortgage market.

So if something in your gut--or on your bank statement--tells you that now is not the right time to buy, resist the pressure. There may be no place like home, but there's no reason you can't rent it.

I got a feeling America has a bit of an immigration problem

The good news for homebuilders, versus software firms, is that they don't have to go through an interview process and H1-B visas.

No, our homebuilder friends just illegally use illegals who illegally walked over the border. Or "used" I should say, as the millions of illegals who used to build homes are no longer needed.

But for the Microsofts, etc of the world, who want to import smart yet cheap people (on planes) to replace American workers, check out this video. Nice to see the system being gamed so easily.

Get the feeling that corruption in our modern American society is everywhere folks?

June 26, 2007

Do you know the housing canary in a coal mine?

You know, someone who bought at the peak, in 2005 through this year, as a "can't miss" investment, or someone who owns a collection of negative-cash-flow properties, or someone who is urging you now to either not sell, or maybe even partner with him on some deals?

Someone whose home is filled with "Make Money Flipping Houses" books, and who watches "Flip This House" religiously? Or someone who got their real estate license in the past few years?

Or the worst one, someone in their twenties whose last real job was working at Best Buy who didn't go to college and who runs around town blabbing that he or she is a "real estate investor"?

In other words, and more importantly, do you know the guy who at the very bottom of the housing crash cycle (in 2010 or 2015 or whenever that is) will throw in the towel in disgust and capitulation (at which point HP'ers will know it's safe to buy again).

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

Does it surprise you how clueless and unaware your fellow Americans are?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Although existing homes are selling at their slowest pace in four years, most Americans are confident their homes are worth more now than they were a year ago, according to a survey released on Thursday.

I'm outta here! (breathe deep - only for 48 hours)

Off to Paris for a couple of days, probably won't be able to check in much

Of course, when I'm gone I expect all hell to break loose. Bear Stearns anyone?

Keep commenting, and I'll get to them when I can. Also, for kicks, go look at old HP posts from a year or more ago in the archives. Back in the day when we were saying "massive housing bubble gonna burst" while the sheeple were still lining up at new home developments.

Ah, the memories...

Au revoir

Ready? Chat about the new home sales report released today here

Key stat is gonna be selling price this year versus LAST YEAR, while the MSM will try to confuse the sheeple with May versus April comparisons. Also don't forget the margin of error on this report is like 13% either way - so why we even look at it I'm not sure but it's usually fun.

New-Home Sales in U.S. Probably Fell in May After April Surge

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Purchases of new homes in the U.S. probably dropped last month, ending speculation that a jump in April sales signaled a recovery in demand, economists said before a government report today.

Sales fell 6 percent to an annual pace of 922,000 in May from a 981,000 rate the previous month, according to the median of 71 economists' forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Purchases unexpectedly surged 16 percent in April, the most in 14 years.

A jump in mortgage rates this month and a glut of unsold properties on the market will continue to discourage home buying and construction, economists said. The housing slump, already the worst since 1991, will restrain the economy for the rest of the year and potentially into next.

``Builders are continuing to be quite cautious and are taking actions to bring the supply of homes more in line with the demand,'' said Drew Matus, a senior economist at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in New York.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to issue the new-home sales report in Washington at 10 a.m. Estimates ranged from 850,000 to 990,000.

June 25, 2007

Gold - Whadda ya think?

Gold meltdown as investors sell all asset classes in a classic rush to cash and liquidity?

Gold surge as dollar melts down, markets tumble and investors rush to a safe haven?

Gold as electronic currency as baseless world funny-money loses credibility?

Gold as a hedge against inflation as too much money chases too few goods?

What's your take today on gold?

(Note - I don't own the yellow stuff, waiting to buy at my target price, but I do own gold miners)

Any Questions?

When we as a country no longer build homes, millions go unemployed.

When we as a country have rampant unemployment, local economies collapse.

When we as a country have local economies collapsing, housing values plummet.

When we as a country have plummeting housing prices, millions face bankruptcy, foreclosure and unemployment.

hat-tip papermoney for the chart

FLASH: Used home sales fall yet again - supposedly down 10% vs last year, dead wood inventory at 9 months, prices fall yet again

Sales down, inventory up, prices down.

Any questions?

Oh, you'll see the lazy MSM report the NAR's "down 0.3%" as their headline number. Why? Because sales in May at an annual rate vs. April's annual rate fell by that amount. When we all know the only real number to look at is May 2007 vs. May 2006. But that would be to tough for the MSM to do. It's much easier to take the NAR's spin and report it as the news.

And remember, this NAR number (to be trusted like Enron) doesn't include rampant incentives and cash-back, and is a 40% sampling of MLS sales.

Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. fell in May to the lowest in almost four years, reinforcing concerns about a protracted housing slump.

The supply of homes for sale increased 5 percent to 4.43 million. At the current sales pace, that represented 8.9 months' worth, the highest since June 1992 and up from 8.4 months' worth at the end of the prior month.

The median price of an existing home fell 2.1 percent last month from a year ago to $223,700, the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year declines, the Realtors group said.

Housing accounts for about 23 percent of the U.S. economy, when taking into account purchases of furniture, appliances and items for new homes.

HP'ers - When will we hit housing "PANIC", and what will that look like?

I hate to say it, but I think the majority is STILL in denial. We've got a long way to go.

Capitulation will be an interesting time in America. An interesting time indeed.

But it's PANIC I'm interested in today. Will we recognize it when it hits? Will there one single catalyst? Will you start seeing "housing panic" in media headlines? And when will it hit?

Women of HousingPANIC - tell us your views on the bubble, buy vs rent, Suzanne, HGTV, nesting, buying without a man, and did women cause the bubble?

No guys allowed this thread.

Ladies, what's up?

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner! The dumbest "we've hit bottom" quote so far - Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

How do boobs like this get jobs running large American publicly traded companies? Boy, will we laugh and laugh a few years from now at these kinds of stellar predictions. Just like we laugh at classic "we've hit bottom" great depression quotes today

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- The worst U.S. housing slump in 16 years will begin to ease in the next month or two, and job growth will lift home prices and spur construction early next year, Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis said.

``The drag stops in the next few months,'' Lewis said in an interview yesterday in New York. ``It's just about to be over. We're seeing the worst of it.''

June 24, 2007

The second quarter is coming to a close. Watch Ron Paul shock the GOP with the amount of $$$ he raised...

Of course, if you'd like to get that total up even more, you can send RP a few bucks here

Beauty of the internet. A million $10 donations is a lot more effective than parties with fat cats and NAR lobbyists any day

My guess - RP is gonna be #4 in GOP fundraising (assume Fred's #s won't be in Q2), potentially coming close to DOA McCain at #3. And watch for McCain and a few others to be dropping out by September

RP gets to #3 in fundraising and the media will have a cow!

The Great Bank Panic of '07


Here's an overview of the Bank Panic of 1907. Good reading for those interested in the current Bear Stearns / Hedge Fund / Merrill Lynch / CDO / Subprime debacle now firmly underway. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it...

The Panic of 1907, also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic, was a financial crisis in the United States. The stock market fell nearly 50% from its peak in 1906, the economy was in recession, and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies.

Its primary cause was a retraction of loans by some banks that began in New York and soon spread across the nation, leading to the closings of banks and businesses. The severity of the downturn was such that it eventually pressured the United States Congress to accept the proposal by a group of bankers to pass the Glass-Owen Bill, essentially a blueprint of the Nelson W. Aldrich plan, a plan that had been defeated in congress earlier, this bill allowed a group of bankers to create, buy the shares, and own the Federal Reserve System in 1913. The 1907 panic was the fourth panic in 34 years.

In March 1907, over-expansion and poor speculation led to a stock market crash. Money became extremely tight. A second crash occurred in October 1907. This time, the crash was directly precipitated by Heinze's brothers, who had used money borrowed from Knickerbocker Trust in a failed attempt to corner United Copper.

Don't realtors know they're SHOUTING and RUDE when they spell out their name as REALTOR? Are they truly this STUPID?

Just another pet peeve of mine about our REALTOR friends, who are probably the worst marketers I've ever seen. I truly think the NAR is run by MONKEYS.

Note to REALTORS: If you're INCOMPETENT, if you're UNEDUCATED, if you LIE and DISTORT and CON in order to earn BIG FAT COMMISSIONS, you might want to take it down a notch and appear humble and nice, not CONFRONTATIONAL, ARROGANT and OBNOXIOUS. Enough with the SHOUTING. You aren't even a real PROFESSION.

So lose the ALL-CAPS. It just makes people laugh at you EVEN MORE.


Oops, I mean IDIOTS.

HP'ers - Have you, or someone you know, ever been "Suzanned"?

Being "Suzanned" would be (from HP'er Area 51):

*Man sees bubble and balks at joining the frenzy.
*Wife lets nesting instincts and desire to look fabulous get the better of her.
*Wife browbeats weak husband into making the worst financial decision of their lives.
*Suzanne gets paid.
*Couple's finances and life are ruined.

Dammit, I so got totally "Suzanned" on this damn house! Or "I can't believe I let myself get "Suzanned". Now I'm ruined!

Here she is, in all her glory, followed by a review in Slate.

As for "The Debate": It's terrifying. The problem lies in the performances. That beleaguered husband, dough-faced and weary, seems highly sympathetic as he expresses a few doubts about this major life decision.

Meanwhile, the wife (who looks like a more hostile Mary Louise Parker—though she lacks MLP's patented bone-dry delivery) just knits her eyebrows at the guy like he's unfathomably dense. Later, she jabs him with an accusatory "What?!"—her eyes wide and wild, her neck muscles flexed, her head twitching in disbelief at what a ninny her husband's turned out to be.

The capper comes when their real estate agent, who we discover has been listening in on what should be a private and delicate moment, takes sides with the wife and thereby crumbles the husband's defenses. Don't listen to her, John. Of course your agent wants you to buy a house you can't afford—she gets a bigger commission!

Just when you thought the subprime CDO mess couldn't get any worse, it's gonna get a LOT worse real quick, thank you Bear Stearns hedge fund blowup

Can you say systemic meltdown? Can you say spreading cancer? Can you say Enron-like unraveling?

Homebuilders are holding inventory on their books that is still wildly inflated - that per Sarbanes Oxley must be marked down to true market value. The financials and hedge funds are holding Subprime and Alt-A liar's loan CDO cancer at wildly inflated values, that also must be marked down to true market value.

That's why Merrill didn't sell their Bear Stearns junk the other day - if they did, then the new market price would have been achieved, and you'd have hedge funds (and Merrill themselves) failing left and right.

Get ready HP'ers. The fuse has been lit.

Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital] argued that if the bonds in the Bear Stearns Companies Inc. (BSC) funds were auctioned on the open market, much weaker values would be plainly revealed.

"This would force other hedge funds to similarly mark down the value of their holdings. Is it any wonder that Wall street is pulling out the stops to avoid such a catastrophe?," Schiff said.

"Their true weakness will finally reveal the abyss into which the housing market is about to plummet," he said.

A HousingPANIC Statement for the People of Great Britain regarding your cherished "housing ladder"

If I hear "get on the housing ladder" one more time I'm gonna lose it

It's a Ponzi Scheme. Isn't that wildly apparent?

When your kids no longer want to go to university, and instead want to become real estate investors and homedebtors since that's where the real money is, you know not only are you post-peak, but you're f*cked.

Young Britons shun university for first rung on property ladder

An increasing number of young Britons are choosing to skip university in a bid to get onto the housing ladder more quickly, according to a new survey.

The Lloyds TSB study found that one in ten 18 to 24-year-olds has chosen not to go into higher education in order to start saving money towards buying property.

One in three respondents called for university tuition fees to be cut in order to help bring down the average first-time buyer age.

It seems that homebuying is now more important to many young Britons than getting a degree, with three quarters of respondents saying that homeownership is the goal they would most like to achieve before turning 30 – coming ahead of getting married and having children.

June 23, 2007

Do you rent or own?

Tell your story here...
This should be good

realtors ask God to bring back the housing bubble & big commission checks. Wouldn't Satan be a more sympathetic ear?

You can't make this stuff up. And yes, I do feel sorry for the few honest, ethical real estate clerks who are losing their careers because of the greed, corruption and lies of their peers.

But come on, a realtor prayer breakfast, to appeal to the supreme architect of the universe for higher home prices and soaring realtor commissions? Do they actually believe God would be in favor of the housing bubble?

"God, please bring back the housing bubble. Please sucker homedebtors into toxic loans. Please put more home flipping shows on TV. Please make all the bad media and blogs go away. Please make people work two or three jobs to afford a home. Please confuse the masses into thinking real estate only goes up. Please allow Lawrence Yun's lies to pass for the truth. Please have congress write more laws to aid their corrupt REIC masters. Please let China suppress our interest rates. Please let an illegal low-wage labor force stream across our border. Please keep federal and state regulators clueless as to our corruption. And please make people think it's a good idea to pay us 6% of the selling price for doing squat"

How about this - instead of appealing for the big commissions to return, how about a prayer for the millions of families losing their homes because of realtor lies and distortion? How about a prayer for the millions of people in the homebuilding industry who'll go unemployed because greedy money-hungry realtors gamed the system for short term gain?

What the realtors don't realize is that if they want the housing bubble and their money flow to return, they're wasting their time appealing to God. The Church of Satan would be a better bet.

And remember, jesus was a carpenter (definitely not a realtor)

Realtors attend worship service to pray for better market

DESTIN — More than 300 people with a keen interest in the Emerald Coast’s real estate market gathered Wednesday at Destiny Worship Center to ask for God’s blessing.

The Real Estate Prayer Luncheon was organized in hopes of breathing life and positive thinking into the area’s slumping housing market.

It was the first of what the organizers — co-owner of Crye Leike Coastal Realty Wanda Duke, former Destin City Councilman Mel Ponder and Destiny Worship Center Pastor Steve Vaggalis — hope will become a regular, uplifting event.

“The heartbeat of today’s economic community is on the backs of the real estate community,” Ponder told the crowd.

“We need to think positively and get everyone on the same page,” Duke said. “Positive things that come out of your mouth will end with positive results. If we lose hope, we lose everything.”

The luncheon ended with Vaggalis inviting all Realtors present to come to the front of the church auditorium for a special prayer directed toward them.

“We are helpless people turning to a helpful God,” Vaggalis said. “That’s what this luncheon is all about.”

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

Is the housing bubble and crash a perfect textbook example to this point?

Will there be any surprises along the way?

The Worst President Ever now has a 26% approval rating. Think that's bad? Just wait.


Two Six percent.


If I had to write a game plan for how to be the worst president ever, or to achieve a 74% disapproval rating, I'd have a tough time getting that low. I'd love to meet one of the 26%. They must be fascinating people. Kinda like OJ jurors.

And to think, that's 26% before the full impact of the housing crash hits. A year from now we may be looking at single digits. And I never thought it possible, but he's almost below where Nixon was when he was resigning. I see a new GOP slogan for 2008 - "We Hate Bush Too"

I'd say impeach the guy, but then you know who would fill the chair and you know how ugly that would be. Hell, I'd move to Europe if that happened (oh, heck, I'm already here)

Can January 2009 come fast enough? Will we, can we ever dig out of the Bush hole, or is it over for America as we know it?

Bush Hits Record Low Approval Rating of 26%

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush's approval rating dropped to a record low, making him the least popular president since Richard Nixon

June 22, 2007

Bank of America: Bear Stearn's CDO hedge fund blow-up is "tip of the iceberg", IndyMac and Countrywide next

No surprises for HP'ers.

Get that popcorn popping!

(I'm short IndyMac via October puts)

Mortgage woes 'tip of the iceberg,' Bank of America warns

Losses in the U.S. mortgage market may be the “tip of the iceberg,” Bank of America Corp. analysts said today in a note for clients.

Higher interest rates have yet to affect many home owners who took out adjustable-rate mortgages, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said. Interest payments on about $900 billion of the riskiest subprime home-loans are due to increase this year and next, the analysts wrote.

Bear Stearns Cos., the second-biggest underwriter of mortgage bonds, plans to assume $3.2 billion of loans to stop creditors from taking over assets of one of its hedge funds, people with knowledge of the proposal said. Concern about the collapse of the funds, which made bad bets on mortgage-backed securities, sent bonds and stocks of finance companies lower.

The demise of two Bear Stearns managed leveraged mortgage funds could be the tipping point of a broader fallout from subprime mortgage credit deterioration,” wrote Bank of America analysts led by Robert Lacoursiere in New York.

Countrywide Financial Corp. and IndyMac Bancorp Inc., two of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders, may suffer more than other finance companies because they hold mortgages themselves as well as selling them on to investors, the analysts wrote. They may not have set aside enough money to cover losses, said Bank of America, which has a “sell” recommendation on both lenders

Merrill Lynch supposedly to hold onto $850 million subprime cancer CDOs taken from Bear Stearns' blown up mortgage hedge fund

Man, I love a good hedge fund blow-up. But I especially love one that "experts" didn't see coming, while HP'ers know damn well many more like it are on the way.

Interesting thing about this whole Bear Stearn / Merrill Lynch mess is that Merrill was gonna dump the cancer as fast as they could, but then all of a sudden they put the word out that they weren't gonna do that. Now why do you think that is?

1) No buyers?

2) Unattractive firesale prices?

3) Middle of the night calls from Bernanke and Paulson (and Cheney and Bush)?

4) Would blow up the entire industry, including Merrill, even faster?

Oh, what a tangled web trillions of dollars of mortgages that aren't gonna be paid back weave. Can you say "systemic meltdown"?

Merrill won't flood market with securities

NEW YORK -- Merrill Lynch & Co. has backed away from a threat to dump about $850-million (U.S.) of securities it seized from Bear Stearns Cos. hedge funds, according to people with knowledge of its plans.

Merrill sold a small portion of the collateralized debt obligations through an auction, said the people, who declined to be identified because the details haven't been announced. It plans to hold on to the remaining securities for now, one person said, without being more specific.

The decision, and the scrapping of a sale Wednesday by JPMorgan Chase & Co., diminished the risk that a large amount of securities would be liquidated immediately. Merrill set the sale in motion to reclaim its loans to the two hedge funds, which had posted losses of as much as 20 per cent by betting on CDOs. The plan may have confirmed that other funds were overvaluing their holdings of similar securities, potentially causing a chain reaction of writedowns causing billions in losses.

"It's an industry issue," said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. Mr. Hintz was chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the largest mortgage underwriter, for three years before becoming an analyst in 2001. "How many other hedge funds are holding similar, illiquid, esoteric securities? What are their true prices? What will happen if more blow up?"

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

Who was the most ignorant and irrational market player during the Late Great Housing Ponzi Scheme? In other words, who's gonna be in for the biggest shock of their lives as this all caves in?

1) Homedebtors, who didn't understand P/E ratios, historical norms, interest rates, toxic loan terms, how home prices are achieved or how rampant REIC corruption was

2) Realtors, who didn't understand that it's never different this time, that the good times couldn't last, and that once the crash started, it wouldn't stop until its natural and fitting end

3) Corrupted appraisers, who didn't realize that their fraud will be some of the easiest to trace once the authorities wake up and start doing their jobs

4) The mainstream media, who took NAR press releases and printed them as gospel

5) The federal reserve, who thought blowing a new bubble to replace the NASDAQ bubble was a fine idea

6) China, who thought we would pay back those silly bonds and loans

7) Homebuilders, who wildly overpaid for land, who based their business model on illegal labor, who will be arrested by SEC authorities for cheerleading their stock while dumping it, and who destroyed yet another American industry for short term gain

8) Freespending mortgage brokers, who flamed out as fast as drkoop.com

9) Wall Street Analysts, who must have gotten their degrees at Arizona State, who evidently never read Manias, Panics and Crashes, and who were surprised by the downturn month after month after month after month

10) George W. Bush, who encouraged people to buy homes regardless of the price or fundamentals

Others: CDO holders, hedge funds, David Lereah, Sheeple, Flippers, Congress, illegal immigrants, Harvard JCHS, Brits, home retailers, local and state governments,

PBS report with regional economists on housing crash (note the NAR and fake economists like Lawrence Yun are no longer invited)

Nice to see the U of Michigan economist being honest (go blue). The guy from Texas was a bit too rosy, and ignorant of national issues and bubble causes. But then again, we know another ignorant fool from Texas, don't we.

History will not be kind to cheerleaders, or "experts" who called bottom. Again. And again. And again.

And I wonder if the NAR and Lawrence Yun are pissed they weren't invited as usual. Perhaps the days of the MSM going to the NAR and realtors for "expert opinion" are over?

Ron Paul "Students for Ron Paul" Commercial

This will be the year of unauthorized campaign commercials - thank you youtube.

Here's the first I've seen for RP. Not bad.

Big shocker - Sacramento 54-story condo tower killed

Saved the CALPERS-paid arsonist from having to burn it down though...

June 21, 2007

FLASH: Treasury Secretary Paulson says housing crash over, everything fine. RELATED NEWS: Iraq war going great, US debt paid off, global warming over

I think it's entertaining to watch the worst Presidential administration in the history of the United States do their thing. They keep on shocking and surprising with their incompetence and mismanagement.

But at the same time, it's so sad. So very sad.

Folks, your leadership is clueless, incompetent, corrupt and negligent. This cozy little club lies with such ease, it's borderline psychopathic.

Here's Hank, trying to sell Americans a bill of goods. Note to Hank - they're not buying. And if you haven't read it, HP recommends Manias, Panics and Crashes. Idiot.

Paulson: Housing slump likely near end

WASHINGTON - The major slump in the housing market is nearing an end and should not have a significant impact on the overall economy, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday.

Paulson refused to comment specifically on the market impact of troubles confronting two large Bear Stearns hedge funds that invested heavily in subprime mortgages — loans made to borrowers with spotty credit histories.

"We have had a major housing correction in this country," Paulson said in an interview with a small group of reporters at the Treasury Department. "I do believe we are at or near the bottom."

Paulson said he realized there would be losses along the way but said he believed those losses have been "largely contained."

"It doesn't pose a risk to the economy overall," he said.

If (choke, cough) you were a REALTOR (gag) and wrote about market conditions for Realty Times, what would you say (to drive commissions)?

Serious question. Here's my serious answer for the dimwits out there still trying to slog dead houses:

Real Estate Conditions - Phoenix, Arizona - Reported by your REALTOR, HousingPANIC:

An epic housing collapse is upon us, and Phoenix is the epicenter of this meltdown. If you own a home, I highly recommend getting it on the market, NOW, and price it to sell on day one - in other words, "drama pricing" and undercut your neighbors. Your goal should be to get out of that house ASAP, as it's only going to get worse from here on out, with skyrocketing inventory, desperate new homebuilders, and a total collapse in demand. This downturn will last years.

If you are in the market to buy a home, I'll help you with lowball offers until we get the house you want at a fair price. What's a fair price in this market? Your monthly payments should be less than what the house could generate in rent. And you should be thinking 30% - 50% off of peak pricing today. Sellers have never been this desperate, ever. There are foreclosures all over the city, and homeowners just want out.

From the enemy playbook: Here's how ramen-eating real estate clerks are spinning the housing crash now

1) How dumb do these guys think we are?

2) How dumb are these guys?

Here's a random laugh-out-loud sampling from den of thieves Realty Times. Post more gems here...

If you are looking to buy, there may not be a better time than NOW! Prices are softening due to the current excessive inventory. Buyers are able to negotiate on homes, including price, home warranties, and closing costs in today's market. There are many anxious sellers waiting for an offer.
GREETINGS FROM PHOENIX! Indicators show that Phoenix currently is a neutral market. Real estate is ALWAYS a great investment and time ALWAYS proves me right!
Finally a normal market. Don't believe all of the gloom and doom you here in the media about the housing market. If the home looks good, smells good & is priced good it will sell.
With prices evening out we are now at the bottom of this buyers market. Many homes are priced at or below appraised value. So, if you have been waiting on the sidelines now is the time to make a move.
Naples, Florida is a paradise and will remain as one of the most desirable cities to live in the U.S. Naples has experienced very rapid growth and appreciation. This growth is projected to continue fueling our local Real Estate Market. Real Estate cycles have their ups and downs and if you are thinking about buying- Now is the time.
Well...FINALLY, it looks like the market has bottomed...and the deals for buyers have NEVER been better!
Home sales appear to be bottoming out with lower home prices attracting buyers in many areas of the country
The Las Vegas area is exeriencing significant price drops due to the high inventory levels and the new booming foreclosure market. Market conditions are ripe for the home buyer to get a deal on a home at prices that are cheaper than what you can build a home for today.
With summer, optomisum, growth and renewal are in the air. Don't worry sellers, the market is definitely on the rise
Real Estate market is good in Sacramento area.
Yes, the market is "softening" but not "crashing" - there is no "Bubble" here! Why wait for the market to go even lower?

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

What five US cities / areas will have the biggest housing crashes over the next 2 years?

Which five US cities / areas will fare the best?

Here's the latest "markets that are gonna crash" report from PMI:

Riverside, CA, Phoenix, AZ, Las Vegas, NV, and West Palm Beach, FL rank highest on the index, with a 60 percent or greater chance that home prices will be lower in two years.

Five of the 11 MSAs facing a greater than 50 percent chance of a price decline are in California (Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego) and four are in Florida (Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa); the other two are Boston, MA and Washington, D.C.

Texas, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania MSAs constitute the lowest ranked group-those facing a less than 10 percent chance of lower prices.

"What the markets with the greatest risk of decline have in common is a history of price volatility: rapidly rising rates of price appreciation above the long-term average followed by a recent sharp slowdown in the rate of appreciation," Milner explained. "Markets with a history of volatility are more likely to see price declines in the future. MSAs with a history of low to moderate rates of volatility in house price appreciation have a lower risk of price declines."

A great post by HP'er Spectre of Deflation - Like Lambs to the Slaughter

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

It's almost like they planned the whole thing.

1. Greenspam tells people they need to go with the new and exciting exotic stuff instead of the old boring conventional mortgage, and the sheeple go for it. CHECK!

2. The sheeple are led to believe that debt is wealth by borrowing against their homes. Nobody bothers to tell them, and they are too stupid to know, that should the price of the home go down the debt still remains and the so called housing wealth is voporized. CHECK!

3. Meanwhile in the shadows, we have the banking lobby writing the new bankruptcy law making it much harder, if not impossible, for consumers to get a second chance thereby making them life long debt slaves. CHECK!

4. Folks, we have been hosed. The greatest transfer of wealth the world has ever seen. CHECK!

FLASH: Fannie Mae sees more mortgage fraud. THIS JUST IN: Water is wet, salt is white, sky is blue

ob·vi·ous (ŏb'vē-əs) adj.
Easily perceived or understood; quite apparent.

The millions of Americans facing foreclosure on their homes aren't the only victims of the housing market bubble. There are also many consumers who have been duped into participating in schemes to buy properties and sell them at inflated values.

Mortgage finance company Fannie Mae (FNM - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating) has seen a big increase in mortgage fraud over the last two years, particularly in the Midwest.

"An alarming number of Fannie Mae's recent investigations have found that otherwise honest consumers and real estate professionals are fooled into conspiring to commit mortgage fraud." William Brewster, the housing agency's director of anti-fraud initiatives, said in prepared remarks delivered at a Federal Reserve hearing on subprime lending last week.

"Real estate agents, mortgage brokers, lenders, appraisers and title agents must become better educated about common mortgage fraud schemes, and not inadvertently conspire with the perpetrators of those schemes," Brewster said.

Warning: This article will totally bum you out - "Blood bath", "recession", "prices going lower", "there isn't a recovery"

A year and a half of doing HP, 3,000+ posts later, I think this is the ugliest article I've ever posted.

And the most spot-on. Hat-tip Richard for the link.

Get ready HP'ers. The days of spin, hype, cheerleading and "we've hit bottom" are over.

We've only just begun...

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- The worst is yet to come for the U.S. housing market.

The jump in 30-year mortgage rates by more than a half a percentage point to 6.74 percent in the past five weeks is putting a crimp on borrowers with the best credit just as a crackdown in subprime lending standards limits the pool of qualified buyers. The national median home price is poised for its first annual decline since the Great Depression, and the supply of unsold homes is at a record 4.2 million, the National Association of Realtors reported.

``It's a blood bath,'' said Mark Kiesel, executive vice president of Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Co., the manager of $668 billion in bond funds. ``We're talking about a two- to three-year downturn that will take a whole host of characters with it, from job creation to consumer confidence. Eventually it will take the stock market and corporate profit.''

``It's not just a housing recession anymore, it looks more and more like an economic recession,'' said Nouriel Roubini, a Clinton administration Treasury Department director and economic adviser who now runs Roubini Global Economics in New York.

``There isn't a recovery about to happen,'' said Ara Hovnanian, chief executive officer of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., the Red Bank, New Jersey-based homebuilder. The company's stock tumbled 42 percent this year through yesterday.

``When all these people see their mortgage payment and it's up 40 or 50 percent, they're going to say, `We can't stay in this house,''' Pimco's Kiesel said. ``And there are millions of people in this situation.''

Roubini predicts the decline in U.S. home sales will last at least another 12 months, reducing the median house price by 5 percent this year and next. That would take home prices back to 2004, when the national median was $195,200.

Some owners are selling their homes at ``fire sale'' prices to avoid foreclosure after seeing their adjustable mortgage rates spike, said Lawrence White, an economics professor at the Stern School of Business.

``Prices will continue to soften for as long as we have distressed sellers,'' White said. Some regions of the U.S. could see price declines of 10 percent in the next six to 12 months, he said

June 20, 2007

I've now completely given up on the MSM's ability to report the news

Hat-tip Housingdoom for the permits graph...
It was fascinating to see 99% of headlines yesterday shout out "Housing Starts Down 2%", when indeed, housing starts were down 24%. Twenty-Four Percent. Two-Four.

Yes, 24% versus last year. The only number that really matters. And to spin permits as "up" is like spinning Bush is "soaring"

I hate the mainstream media. They're incompetent, and when they're not being incompetent, they're corrupt.

And because there is no longer a fourth estate, we get into the messes we're in today.

Here's a columnist from Motley Fool who did his job yesterday. Voice in the wilderness.

May Housing Starts Tumble

Housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.47 million, down 2.1% from the downwardly revised April estimate, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. On a year-over-year basis, the May housing starts dropped 24.2%.

But here's a selection of headlines from papers that should be shut down:

Housing starts fell 2% in May; building permits rose 3%
US housing starts fall 2% in May
US Housing starts decline 2.1% in May
May Housing Starts Fall 2.1%, but Permit Activity Picks Up
Housing Starts: Is the Worst Behind Us?

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

Do you think ignorant ramen eating realtors are finally coming to the conclusion that no, it's not going to get better soon and yes, a housing crash that will cause them to eventually seek new employment is now firmly underway?

One of the strangest things about real estate clerk and NAR behavior these past few months is their shouting that everything is fine, and that prices will go up.

If they had been smart, and wanted to keep up commissions, transactions and credibility, they would have been doing exactly the opposite - shouting that we had a stupid unsustainable bubble, and that prices were coming down - so that they'd drop fast, to the point that buyers would come back into the market quickly.

But alas, realtors are dumb and undereducated, and they just don't understand supply and demand and pricing. Too bad.

Chicken flavor ramen anyone?

Get ready shoppers for the Great Homedebtor Firesale of 2007 - 20??

It'll all be on sale. All of it.

Got cash?

Guess who some of our failed flipper friends are?

You got it - REALTORS!

Explains why they hate HP (and life) so much right about now.

They've lost their careers to the crash, and they've also lost everything.


Like a cocaine dealer who uses cocaine. Not pretty.

Many of the investors were well-off real estate professionals, riding the wave of the housing boom, as well as middle and upper-income families with good credit and cash to invest.

Their dreams of getting rich quick have been replaced by fears of losing a great deal of money as prices started plunging.

Rather than take the risk of suffering sizable losses in a protracted housing downturn, some investors have stopped paying their loans and turned their properties over to the bank to be auctioned off.

June 19, 2007

Simple Question

What would make you happy?

A) More Possessions

B) More Experiences

FLASH: Nicholas Retsinas, HP hater and discredited head of the corrupted Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, comes clean. Kinda.

HP'ers are familiar with the laughable and discredited Retsinas, and his list of REIC puppetmasters.

You may also remember being called "pollyannas" and "chicken littles" as Retsinas belittled HP'ers and anyone who challenged his REIC masters and their housing cheerleading during the bubble. From September 2006, this direct attack on HP'ers (remember we had called for his firing) from Retsinas:

The headline hints of catastrophe: a dot-com repeat, a bubble bursting, an economic apocalypse. Cassandra, though, can stop wailing: the expected price corrections mark a slowing in the rate of increase - not a precipitous decline.

This will not spark a chain reaction that will devastate homeowners, builders and communities. Contradicting another gloomy seer, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling.

Well, even a discredited REIC hack has to come clean at one point, after the data shout "you're a fool". So here's Retsinas now:

"The air went out of the inflated housing market as higher home prices and interest rates finally tempered demand," center Director Nicolas Retsinas said. "Many buyers are now waiting on the sidelines hoping prices will fall."

"We're going to be in for a prolonged slump," said Nicolas Retsinas, director of the center.

Hmmm... I guess Chicken Little was right. Or maybe Retsinas' over-extended REIC masters didn't pay their annual dues this year... Whatever the case, Retsinas and his bogus JCHS are a stain on the good reputation of Harvard. The REIC has bought our Congress, it's a real shame when they can buy our higher learning institutions.

HP renews it's call for Harvard to fire Retsinas immediately, and to no longer accept REIC bribes.

Retsinas - you can leave your apology to HP'ers here. It's too late to apologize to America though. They're screwed.

CNBC's Diana Olick rips the homebuilder CEOs. HP takes it up a notch from there.

HP has a simple message for the stock-pumping, lying, deceiving, illegal-immigrant-hiring, system-gaming, short-term-thinking, insider-stock-trading homebuilder CEO swindlers whose bloody hands are all over the dead housing industry's corpse.

F@*$ you.

You ruined yet another American industry, you enriched yourselves at the public's expense, you've ruined lives, you've destroyed families, and some of you will now be heading to jail.

Sleep well at night?

Here's excerpts from Diana's latest post. I hope the knives really come out soon (and the cuffs)

Home Builder Sentiment Down: And They’re Mad At Me??

If you happened to read my blog last week, you’ll remember what a warm reception I got from the CEOs of the major public home builders at the JP Morgan Basics and Industrials conference. As they summarily rejected my polite requests for interviews at our live camera, they also made it abundantly clear that it was media hype fueling the negative sentiment among healthy home buyers across the nation.

And then again today I had the joy of reporting yet another negative number for the housing sector. This is a fave of mine, because it’s not about the buyers and the government stats, or the real estate agents and their sales figures--it’s about the builders and their feelings, nothing more than feelings (sorry).

And the number is down again--down to 28, a low not seen since February of 1991.

So despite the fact that all these CEOs were telling me that I’m the only one shouting from the rooftops that the housing market is in trouble, they were busy quietly telling the bean counters at NAHB, that they really kinda felt the same way.

Yes, I know, the CEOs need to pump the stocks and pump up the stockholders’ enthusiasm, but come on

So I’d just like to throw out a big ol’ thank you to all those home builders out there who told their industry representatives that they think there might be some problems still to work out in housing. Forgive me for reporting your number. Didn’t mean to seem too bearish. And do let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

June 18, 2007

International Herald Tribune asks: When does a housing slump become a bust?

Here's my take. It's all based on leverage, and as we know now, with stocks you can get 50% margin or leverage. With homes, it's infinite - $0 can get you $1,000,000 or more. Lose 10% on $1 million of leverage/debt, you're bankrupt. Heck, even little kids can get $2.4 million with nothing to back it up.

5%: Correction / Bust / Adjustment
10%: Housing Panic
15%: Epic Historic Housing Crash
20%: Housing Devastation
25%: The end of all that is sane and holy real estate meltdown
30%: Are those locusts? Grandpa get your gun! Housing Armageddon

Interesting thing is that in some markets, we're already seeing 30% off. This one will be for the history books. Wonder what they'll call it?

NEW YORK: Many Americans fear the consequences of a housing bust, but few know what one would really look like.

Think about it. How far do housing prices have to fall before a slump becomes a bust?

In the stock market, we have a pretty good idea what a crash is. Among stock market experts, there is a consensus that a 10 percent decline in a major index is a correction while a 20 percent decline is more significant: a crash or a bear market, depending on the time involved. For the macro economy, there is also agreed-upon terminology. For example, a recession means two consecutive quarters of declining gross domestic product.

But when it comes to declines in housing prices, there is no such framework. As experts debate whether we are headed for a housing bust, you would think that we should at least be able to define it.

The problem is that economists have not agreed on a definition. In part, that is because severe declines in housing prices tend to be rare events, not a common subject for discussion. The last really big decline in national housing prices occurred more than 70 years ago, during the Great Depression. Another reason is that the data measuring the housing market is far more opaque than that for the stock market.