Ten million views.
A world economy in shambles.
And housing prices almost back to where we started.
It's been a journey HP'ers, and an honor. When I started this blog, I knew how it would end up, I just didn't know how we'd get there. And now we know.
I saw HP as a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end. It was a tragic story, a classic rags to riches to rags tale. And every good story, every good book or film, has a good time to end. For HousingPANIC, that time is today.
The election of Barack Obama last night, as predicted here for years, is that good time to end. After eight long years under the worst president in US history, hope returns. Hope that the guilty will be punished. Hope that the laws will be reformed. Hope that we can dig ourselves out of this national nightmare. Hope that we can confront the challenges of our time.
And so I end the blog on hope. After the anxiety, after denial, after fear, after desperation, panic, capitulation, despondency and depression, comes hope.
But what a journey it has been. We were a ragtag, unorganized and unfunded motley crew of average folks back in 2005 who knew something was wrong in America, and around the world, and didn't know where to turn.
Everywhere we looked, home prices were skyrocketing to unjustified levels. Mortgage fraud was encouraged. Debt was seen as wealth. Price to rent and price to income didn't matter. Loans were being given to anyone who could fog a mirror. Housing porn shows ruled the airwaves. Realtors were telling us if we didn't buy now we'd be priced out forever, and that year-round-golf justified high home prices. Our fellow citizens were queuing up for home lotteries. And the world had lost its mind in an orgy of fraud and gambling on housing.
Meanwhile, our politicians sat back gladly as the Housing Ponzi Scheme inflated, taking straight-out bribes from the REIC to remain quiet. Our REIC-advertising supported media again deserted us. And the madness continued.
And it looked like the madness would never end.
And then, spectacularly, it ended.
And now we're left to pick up the pieces.
Trillions have been lost. Lives have been ruined. Future generations will be forced to pick up our tab. And empty and unwanted homes litter the land.
Yet the thieves have not been arrested. Laws are not enforced. Realtors practice their lies, restraint of trade, and deceit. And around the world, home prices are still falling and will keep falling until they make economic sense again.
But now, on the 5th of November, 2008, it's time for HousingPANIC to end. It's time to rebuild. It's time to reform. It's time to arrest the guilty. It's time to root out the corruption. It's time to address our ills. It's time to hope. It's time to renew. It's time to reinvent. It's time to move on.
Thank you to all my fellow bubble bloggers. For most of us this was simply a calling, a passion, a desire to serve our fellow man. A fight against the evil and corrupt. And we have won.
And thank you to the HousingPANIC community. The HP'ers. The brown shirts and the chicken littles and the tin foil hatters. History proved us right, and our detractors wrong. You have won.
I'm going to keep blogging, but on all the issues I find interesting that are confronting America and the world, not just housing. More on the new blog in the next post.
I'll turn off comments here tonight. This body of work will then be complete. I hope future generations, when they're studying this bubble, the biggest financial bubble in human history, enjoy this real-time view of what happened, and how it happened. The HousingPANIC blog will hopefully remain here on this lonely little corner of the internet forever. It should serve as a warning to the folly of man. And it should serve as a beacon of hope. That the little guy stood up and said no more. No more.
It's been an honor.
November 05, 2008
And then, on the 5th of November 2008, three years and one historic worldwide housing crash later, HousingPANIC came to an end.
It's now time to rebuild.
It's now time to reinvent.
It's time to reflect on how we got into this mess, and how we can get out of it.
It's time for America to face its challenges head-on.
And it's time to hope again.
The housing crash, while devastating, should serve as a wake-up call, for America and for the world.
We simple could not keep on keeping on. We need to alter course. And in many cases, if we're to rise out of the ashes, we need to radically change.
I've started a new blog as of today, a work in progress, and I call it "Soot and Ashes". It's at http://sootandashes.blogspot.com or www.sootandashes.com. Call it a think tank for the regular guy. We'll discuss all the good stuff. Or as I say today:
"A centrist blog hitting on all the good stuff: Politics. Economics. Fiscal Policy. Foreign Policy. Moral Issues. Culture. Investments. Religion. Humor. Life."
If you're a free thinking, optimistic, open-minded, solutions-oriented person, you may like it. If you're an ignorant, negative, closed-minded, hard-core Democrat or Republican, you'll hate it.
If you're so inclined, please join me over at Soot and Ashes.
It's time to rebuild. It's time to reinvent. It's time to hope.
HousingPANIC congratulates President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama on his historic win. America thankfully chose hope over fear.
The good news for Obama? The bar is set low. Really, really low.
The bad news? George W. Bush, the GOP (and many of Obama's fellow Democrats in Congress) wrecked America, spent all the money and demoralized the nation.
Thanks to Bush's incompetence and corruption, Obama's got his work cut out for him.
But no matter your politics, I think you can be proud to be an American tonight. This was a race for the ages. And the better man, and better campaign, won.
November 04, 2008
LIVEBLOGGING NOW.. Alright, I'm all settled in, caffeinated up, ready to see if America pulls its head out of its ass tonight
[LIVEBLOGGING NOW - GO TO COMMENTS AND REFRESH FOR LATEST]
I wish you all could see how into the US election people over here are. EVERYONE wants to talk about it (and Bush and Obama) when they hear my yank accent.
History is being made tonight HP'ers. I said years ago that the housing crash would be the #1 issue on people's minds and would change everything. And so it will be.
Tell your election day stories here, get on record with any predictions, give us any scoop or insight, and I'll be liveblogging now hopefully through the acceptance and concession speeches (if I can stay up).
MSNBC is streaming live right now as well.
(FLASH: I've just been notified that Greg Swann, America's Most Discredited REALTOR(R), is predicting a John McCain blowout. Fill in your own punchline)
I saw HP as a story that needed to be told.
It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. A struggle against the powerful. A voice for the common man. A fight of good vs. evil. And it wasn't just HP. It was HousingDoom. And BubbleTracker. And Calculated Risk. And Patrick.net. And Bubble Meter. And Dr. Housing Bubble. And Mish. And Denninger. And Schiff. And Roubini. And oh so many more.
We won, there's no doubt about that. The REIC, including realtors, builders, bankers, mortgage brokers and appraisers, has been discredited. George Bush is seen as the worst US president of all time. Swann, Retsinas, Norman, Todd, Atkins, De Groot and all the rest are embarrassed. Our Congress is wildly unpopular. Home prices have crashed. The stock of any company associated with real estate is in the tank (along with most others). And people who treated homes as lottery tickets got destroyed.
But at the same time, in some ways, we lost. Taxpayer dollars have gone straight into the pockets of housing gamblers, fraudsters and immoral bankers. The world economy is collapsing. The criminals are not in jail. Greedy realtors still make their commissions. And the MSM keeps reporting lies.
I'm tempted to pull the plug on HP on November 5, 2008, our three-year anniversary, as planned. I honestly haven't made a final decision. I think I'm going to wait to see how the election turns out, and then go from there.
HousingPANIC and AmericaPANIC were voices of opposition. And when you're in the minority, when you're in opposition, you have passion, and a raison d' être. When you become mainstream, your predictions come true, and the majority comes your way, then your passion recedes. And that's OK.
First they ignore you,
then they ridicule you,
then they fight you,
then you win.
It's been an honor HP'ers.
PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES: IT IS TIME TO OVERTHROW YOUR GOVERNMENT. VOTE AGAINST EVERY INCUMBENT ON YOUR BALLOT. TOSS 'EM OUT. EVERY ONE OF 'EM.
Have your own Boston Tea Party.
Have your own French Revolution.
Write your own Declaration of Independence.
And throw these bums out.
Throw out the Democrats.
Throw out the Republicans.
Throw out the Representatives, and the Senators. Do it at the State level too.
Throw every single incumbent out.
And keep doing it and doing it until they get the message. They can re-apply for their jobs later, but first they must get the boot. The REIC bought our government, both parties, and it's time they paid the price.
No more lobbyists. No more lifetime office holders. No more Friends of Angelo VIP. No more PACs. No more.
Send a message.
Vote 'em out.
November 03, 2008
"There is no more money left to loan or borrow the big lies or to sell them. No more money left to pay off the debt, the wreckage in the wake. The orgy of excess has drained every bottle, smashed the furniture and left the cupboards bare. All that's left is derivative debts -- bets between liars and lies. Trillions of dollars. Turned capitalism into a Ponzi scheme for trading worthless paper. No real value anywhere. No matter how much money Ben Bernanke prints."
- John Cusack, October 2008
An anon posted this today: "I'm a Realtor. How did I cause any of this to happen?" I thought I'd let HP'ers answer that one
The US government is soon going to need to raise trillions of dollars through bond sales to cover the various housing gambler bailouts and general government overspending.
Who's gonna buy 'em?
What happens if they don't?
November 02, 2008
Stock market investors lost $9.5 trillion last month. Remember when we said trillions and trillions and trillions would be lost?
$9,500,000,000,000 Ouch. Thank you realtors. Thank you mortgage brokers. Thank you bankers. You f*cked the world.
This month's sell-off erased more than $9.5 trillion from the value of stocks worldwide, almost one-third of the total value erased this year, as credit-related losses and writedowns by financial firms approached $700 billion. The S&P 500 has slumped 34 percent in 2008.All but one of the 68 markets tracked by MSCI Inc. declined in October, with 37 losing at least 20 percent. Bulgaria, Peru and Argentina did the worst, plunging more than 36 percent.
Here's an update on the criminal investigation (still) underway of Angelo Mozilo and his gang of thieves at Countrywide Toxic Mortgage
I think we'll have to wait for a new Attorney General and new SEC chief until we see the laws of the land being enforced again. Since under the Bush Administration, laws were meant to be broken, not enforced.
But there's always hope that this day may come sooner rather than later. Picture the day HP'ers that Angelo Mozilo is frog-marched and put into an orange jumpsuit, along with his criminal "VIP" pals.
"The Federal Reserve Board may have stimulated home-buying with its interest-rate cuts. But that doesn't mean any of us would ever want to live in a split-level ranch in some soulless gated community near Phoenix, where we'll obsess over golf and property values. Promise you'll shoot me if it ever comes to that."
- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as quoted in The Onion, April 2002
Has the psychology in America of home "ownership" being the "American Dream" changed, now that homes have destroyed lives, and are crushing angst-ridden free-falling debt-traps?
Will people want to 'own' homes again anytime soon, now that anyone associated with selling homes and mortgages is viewed as a criminal, and homes have led to massive job losses and a worldwide economic collapse?
Or is the REIC and NAR housing porn propaganda just too powerful to overcome the irrational and economically dubious desire to take out a 40-year loan and 'own' a home, in order to prove to your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors that you've 'made it' and 'arrived', and so you can paint the walls?
November 01, 2008
Special HP open thread to talk about the Obama landslide victory, and what it means for America and the world
Remember all the trolls for the past couple of years that doubted this day would come? Once again, should have listened. We told you what would happen, and then it happened.
But oh, what a mess he'll have on his hands. Thank you Republicans. Thank you Democrats. You took the REIC's money, and f*cked America.
So do you understand that the $700 billion 'bailout' was sold to us under false pretences? And that the Bush Administration conned America (again)?
Man, how stupid can we be.
"We" being the mainstream media, the US congress, and the people of America.
We got had. Again.
Damn, these grifters are good.
Folks, that $700 billion was given to Bush to supposedly stop the stock market from crashing, to get loans flowing again, and to buy up bad debt.
0 for 3.
The stock market crashed anyway. The loans aren't flowing. And the bad debt didn't get bought up.
Instead, the money is being given away in the night to big banks, a point that WAS NOT EVEN DISCUSSED DURING THE DEBATE OR IN THE MEDIA. It's being given away on laughable terms, not even close to what the free market would pay, and the banks are using it to buy up smaller banks, and also giving their executives obscene bonuses, and paying their shareholders (who should have been wiped out and weren't) their juicy dividends.
Let me put this as succinctly as possible.
We got robbed. Or are getting robbed (present tense).
Like never before.
To the tune of $700,000,000,000 cash.
These grifters are good.
With banks lowering interest rates and modifying terms, plus all the government loot to come, why would ANY person in America pay their mortgage bill?
This is the Mother of All Moral Hazard.
It makes zero financial sense to pay your mortgage in America today.
Seriously, it makes ZERO financial sense to pay your mortgage.
But be careful homedebtors. You're likely even better off not paying, but then when they finally get around to foreclosing, just turn in the keys. Because their new terms may look better, but they're probably not. You'll still owe way more on your home than it's worth.
Read the fine print this time. And the bank is not your friend. They just want you to keep paying on your debt bomb, some how, some way.
JPMorgan will modify troubled WaMu home loans
People falling behind on Washington Mutual mortgage payments won a three-month reprieve on Thursday, when WaMu owner JPMorgan Chase said it will modify terms on an estimated $70 billion in loans to 400,000 families over the next two years.
People falling behind on Washington Mutual mortgage payments won a three-month reprieve Thursday, when WaMu owner JPMorgan Chase said it will modify terms on an estimated $70 billion in loans to 400,000 families over the next two years.
The New York-based bank, which bought WaMu after the Seattle thrift failed last month, will delay foreclosures for 90 days while it rolls out a wide-ranging effort to lower interest rates or postpone principal payments for eligible borrowers.
Here's the book, and a note from Schiff. Invest wisely HP'ers, think two years ahead, and try to stay afloat, even when the dollar crashes.
As many of you know, many of the dire predictions that I made earlier in the decade, which at the time were considered wildly pessimistic by the mainstream, have come to pass in spectacular fashion.
In my first book, Crash Proof, written in 2006, I forecasted:
* The collapse of the mortgage market
* The crash of the stock market
* The demise of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
* The severe drop in real estate prices
* The rise of inflation
* The surge in gold and natural resource prices
My second book, The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets, has just been released and is already a best seller. Read on - I want to tell you a bit about my new book, and update you on my take on current market conditions.
The global financial tsunami has spared few markets. The dollar, in a totally unexpected rally, has soared by 25% against many currencies. Some foreign markets, with little of the domestic turmoil evident in the US, have nevertheless had steep drops. I feel that many of these moves are not justified by fundamental economic forces.
Like many of you, I have experienced the recent declines personally and painfully in my own portfolio. Fortunately, by avoiding leverage and investing in dividend paying stocks, those who have followed my advice are in position to weather the storm. The ship is taking on water, but remains afloat and on course.
The portfolios we have constructed for our clients offer the possibility of long term growth, while delivering solid dividends until the turnaround comes. I am still strongly convinced that foreign markets will decouple from the drag of the American economy, and that the future is bright for long term performance of non-dollar assets.
As the depths of the crisis become more obvious, I believe we will see a restructuring of the global financial order. I firmly believe that the US approach to this crisis, consisting of financial bailouts and unending money creation will destroy what is left of our economic vitality. The dollar will soon crash even harder as a result.
For those of you who have not yet become familiar with my philosophy, I urge you to read my new book, The Little Book of Bull Moves in a Bear Market.
- Peter Schiff