I have been a staunch critic of the National Associaton of Realtors (NAR), their various renditions of Chief Economists, and the laughable jokes that they attempt to pass as objective analysis. What is alarming is the fact that the joke that is the NAR gets constant MSM airplay and front page print exposure - credibility be damned. For a glimpse of my real opinions on the matter, see below then reference the nuggest of truth that actually fell out of the MSM yesterday. 

Peruse each link below, for they contain more than enough info to identify the NAR for the joke that it is...

Now reference excerpts from this story ran by CNN/Money yesterday - Existing home sales to be revised lower:

 If you thought the U.S. housing market couldn't get much worse, think again.

Far fewer homes have been sold over the past five years than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

NAR said it plans to downwardly revise sales of previously-owned homes going back to 2007 during the release of its next existing home sales report on Dec. 21.

NAR's existing home sales numbers, released monthly, are a closely followed gauge of the health of the housing market.

While NAR hasn't revealed exactly how big the revision to home sales will be, the agency's chief economist Lawrence Yun said the decrease will be "meaningful."

"For the real estate business, this means the housing market's downturn was deeper than what was initially thought," Yun said.

Yun said the database NAR uses to track existing home sales, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), has led the real estate agency to over-count existing home sales for several reasons.

The MLS database only includes home sales listed by realtors, and excludes homes listed by owners, providing a very narrow view of the market. And because more people are using realtors to list their homes instead of selling them independently, realtor-listed sales numbers have become artificially inflated, said Yun.

In addition, some of the assumptions NAR used in calculating its data have become outdated, since they were based on 2000 Census data.

...The MLS has also been expanding its geographic coverage, so it may have appeared that there were more home sales simply because data from new areas were starting to show up. Also because of this geographic expansion, the system has been double-counting sales of some homes that can be considered part of multiple regions.

"Colorado Springs has their own database, but because the Denver market is nearby they may also list that home in the Denver database, so when the home gets sold, both Denver and Colorado Springs will say sales rose -- so that's genuine double-counting," said Yun.

Yun said NAR realized this upward "shift" in data during its most recent re-benchmarking process this year. With the help of the government, economists and other real estate groups, NAR has now taken these factors into account and will issue revised numbers on Dec. 21 at 10 a.m.

 

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Some rather hard hitting reporting and analysis on the Vampire Squid...

Start at 2:20 into the video.

I have much more on this...

Yes, The BoomBustBlog Forecast Pan-European Bank Run Has Breached American Soil!!!

The Ironic, Prophetic Nature of the MF Global Bankruptcy Filing and It's Potential Ramifications

The Anatomy Of A European Bank Run: Look At The Banking Situation BEFORE The Run Occurs!

MF Global ran into a liquidity squeeze while betting on the European debt that I have warned my subscribers for two years to avoid like the plague. Goldman is doing the same thing, no?

As excerpted from the model that powers BoomBustBlog subscriber document Goldmans Sachs Derivative Exposure: The Squid in the Coal Mine?

goldman_balance_sheet_risk

As you can see, Goldman traded its derivative book risk for sovereign risk - just in the nick of time to catch the tail end of a derivative crisis  & the start of a sovereign debt crisis. Excellent job fellas! Goldman has literally doubled its sovereign assets, starting the exact year that I started warning in the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis series. BoomBustBlog subscribers covered this scenario over a year ago.

Go to the 26:40 marker in the video...

Published in BoomBustBlog

Bloomberg reports unsaleable Spanish real estate nearly three years after I warned of this situation, in explicit detail. See ‘Unsellable’ Real Estate Threatens Spanish Banks:

Spanish banks, under pressure to cut property-backed debt, hold about 30 billion euros ($41 billion) of real estate that’s “unsellable,” according to a risk adviser to Banco Santander SA (SAN) and five other lenders.

“I’m really worried about the small- and medium-sized banks whose business is 100 percent in Spain and based on real- estate growth,” Pablo Cantos, managing partner of Madrid-based MaC Group, said in an interview. “I foresee Spain will be left with just four large banks.”

Spanish lenders hold 308 billion euros of real estate loans, about half of which are “troubled,” according to the Bank of Spain. The central bank tightened rules last year to force lenders to aside more reserves against property taken onto their books in exchange for unpaid debts, pressing them to sell assets rather than wait for the market to recover from a four- year decline.

Land “in the middle of nowhere” and unfinished residential units will take as long as 40 years to sell, Cantos said. Only bigger banks such as Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA), La Caixa and Bankia SA are strong enough to survive their real-estate losses, he said. MaC Group is an adviser on company strategy focused on financial services.

The banks will face increased pressure if Mariano Rajoy becomes prime minister as expected after national elections on Nov. 20. The People’s Party leader has said the “clean-up and restructuring” of the banking system is his top priority as he seeks to fuel economic recovery by boosting the credit supply.

... Land in some parts of Spain is literally worthless, said Fernando Rodriguez de Acuna Martinez, a consultant at Madrid- based adviser R.R. de Acuna & Asociados. More than a third of Spain’s land stock is in urban developments far from city centers. About 43 percent of unsold new homes are in these areas, known as ex-urbs, while 36 percent are in coastal locations built up during the real-estate boom.

“If you take into account population growth for these areas, there’s no demand for them, not now or in ten years,” he said. “Around 35 percent of Spain’s land stock is in the ex- urbs, which means it’s actually worth nothing.”

... Spanish home prices have fallen 28 percent on average from their peak in April 2007, according to a Nov. 2 report by Fotocasa.es, a real-estate website, and the IESE business school. Land prices dropped by more than 60 percent in the provinces of Lugo, A Coruna and Murcia, and 74 percent in Burgos since the peak in 2006, data from the Ministry of Development and Public Works showed. Land values fell 33 percent nationwide.

If there were to be a proper mark to market of real estate assets, every Spanish domestic bank would need additional capital,” said Daragh Quinn, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Madrid, in a telephone interview.

Santander has 9.2 billion euros of foreclosed assets, followed by Banco Popular SA with 6.05 billion euros, BBVA with 5.87 billion euros, Bankia with 5.85 billion euros, Banco Sabadell SA with 3.6 billion euros and Banco Espanol de Credito SA (BTO) with 3.36 billion euros, according to an analysis by Exane BNP Paribas.

... Dozens of Spanish banks have failed or been absorbed since the economic crisis ended a debt-fueled property boom in 2008. Spain’s bank-bailout fund took over three lenders on Sept. 30, valuing them at zero to 12 percent of book value. Bank of Spain Governor Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez said the overhaul of the industry was complete after 45 savings banks merged into 15 and lenders increased capital levels.

... The cost to the public of cleaning up the industry’s books has so far been 17.7 billion euros in the form of share purchases from the government bailout funds known as the FROB.

Banks have made provisions for a potential 105 billion euros of writedowns since the market crashed. Lenders may need to make another 60 billion euros in provisions to clean up their balance sheets, including real-estate debt, according to Rafael Domenech, chief economist for developed nations at BBVA.

...“Since the crisis began, banks have only put their lowest- quality assets on sale while they waited for a recovery, so as not to sell the better properties at a loss,” said Fernando Encinar, co-founder of Idealista.com, Spain’s largest property website. Idealista currently advertises 45,912 bank-owned homes in Spain, up from 29,334 in November 2010. In 2008 it didn’t list any.

Spain is struggling to digest the glut of excess homes in a stalling economy where joblessness is among the highest in Europe. Unemployment has almost tripled to 22.6 percent from a low of 7.9 percent in May 2009, according to Eurostat.

Property transactions fell 28 percent in September from a year earlier, the seventh consecutive month of decline, according to the National Statistics Institute.

Financial institutions have foreclosed on 200,000 homes and that will balloon to as many as 600,000 in coming years as unemployment continues to rise, according to a report by Taurus Iberica Asset Management, a Spanish mortgage servicer which manages 35,000 foreclosed properties for 25 lenders.

... “Spain has 1 million new homes that won’t be completely absorbed by the market until the middle of 2017,” Fernando Acuna Ruiz, managing partner of Taurus Iberica, said in an interview in Madrid. “Prices will fall a further 15 to 20 percent in the next two to three years.”

About 13 percent of Spain’s 25.8 million homes are vacant, according to LDC Group, an Alicante-based specialist in real- estate management. The hardest-hit areas are Madrid, with 337,212 empty properties, and Barcelona with 338,645, LDC said in a report published yesterday.

Lack of financing and concern about economic growth has choked investment in Spanish commercial real estate, currently at its lowest level in a decade, according to data compiled by U.K. property broker Savills Plc. (SVS)

A total of 1.25 billion euros of offices, shopping malls, hotels and warehouses changed hands in the first nine months, 52 percent less than a year earlier, Savills estimated.

... There is an “enormous” gap between prices offered by banks and what investors are willing to pay, preventing sales of large property portfolios, MaC Group’s Cantos said.

He proposes that banks create businesses, in which they can hold a maximum stake of 19 percent, that attract other investors to help dispose of their real estate assets over five to eight years. The investors would manage the businesses.

Cantos says that prime assets can be sold at a 30 percent discount, while portfolios comprised of land, residential and commercial real estate may only sell after 70 percent discounts.

“Therein lies the problem,” he said. “Banks have already provisioned for a 30 percent loss, but if you are selling at 70 percent discount, you have to take another 40 percent loss. Which small and medium size banks can take such a hit?”

I discussed European real estate yesterday in the post Are The Ultra Conservative Dutch Immune To Pan-European Pandemic Contagion? Are You Safe During An Earthquake Because You Keep Your Shoes Tied Snugly? If you have an economic interest or even curiosity in European Real estate, it is suggested you read the afore-linked post as well as...

Those who wish to download the full article in PDF format can do so here: Reggie Middleton on Stagflation, Sovereign Debt and the Potential for bank Failure at the ING ACADEMY-v2.

Excerpted from yesterdays CRE post focusing on the Dutch, but suitable for most of the EU:

As clearly stated in the very first posts of the Pan-European sovereign debt crisis in 2010, this is a pandemic contagion. The media's focus on specific countries must be mollified and modified. Reference the first five posts of the aforemetioned series, published a year and a half ago...

    1. The Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis – introduces the crisis and identified it as a pan-European problem, not a localized one.

    2. What Country is Next in the Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis? – illustrates the potential for the domino effect

    3. The Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis: If I Were to Short Any Country, What Country Would That Be.. – attempts to illustrate the highly interdependent weaknesses in Europe’s sovereign nations can effect even the perceived “stronger” nations.

    4. The Coming Pan-European Soverign Debt Crisis, Pt 4: The Spread to Western European Countries

    5. The Depression is Already Here for Some Members of Europe, and It Just Might Be Contagious!

Now, reference yesterday's Bloomberg headlines - Spanish, French Debt Auctions Disappoint; Yields Rise: Yield spreads of Spanish and French 10-year government bonds over German equivalents hit euro-era highs on Thursday.

What do you think happens when contagion spreads to Spain? Please don't tell me you think that Italy, France, Greece, Portugal and Ireland are having rate shit fits, but somehow Spain will remain unscathed - with all of those NPAs and highly overvalued, uber leveraged, supposed assets floating around in their bank's balance sheets?

I warned of this happening nearly three years ago. I issued several reports to subscribers. Of course, about a quarter after I warned, Goldman comes around (changing their stance of course, because they were bullish on European banks, cough.. cough... nasty phlegm being held down...). Hey, has anyone ever told you that Goldman's investment advice SUX! Don't believe me? Well, follow the two links below, or you could just continue reading this article...

  1. Is It Now Common Knowledge That Goldman's Investment Advice Sucks???
  2. I've Told You Before, And I'll Tell You Again - Goldman Sachs Investment Advice Sucks!!!

Over a full year and a quarter after I warned of Spanish banks, and a full quarter after I gave the full out warning of European banks in general, guess who comes to the party late bearing stale party favors....

This impetus of this video stemmed from the post Ovebanked, Underfunded, and Overly Optimistic: The New Face of Sovereign Europe, as excerpted:

I will attempt to illustrate the "Overbanked" argument and its ramifications for the mid-tier sovereign nations in detail below and over a series of additional posts.

Sovereign Risk Alpha: The Banks Are Bigger Than Many of the Sovereigns

image015.png

This is just a sampling of individual banks whose assets dwarf the GDP of the nations in which they're domiciled. To make matters even worse, leverage is rampant in Europe, even after the debacle which we are trying to get through has shown the risks of such an approach. A sudden deleveraging can wreak havoc upon these economies. Keep in mind that on an aggregate basis, these banks are even more of a force to be reckoned with. I have identified Greek banks with adjusted leverage of nearly 90x whose assets are nearly 30% of the Greek GDP, and that is without factoring the inevitable run on the bank that they are probably experiencing. Throw in the hidden NPAs that I cannot discern from my desk in NY, and you have a bank that has problems, levered into a country that has even more problems.

image009.png
Notice how Ireland is the nation with the second highest NPA to GDP ratio. This was definitely not hard to see coming. In addition, Ireland has significant foreign claims - both against it and against other countries, many of whom are embattled in their own sovereign crisis. This portends the massive exporting and importing of financial contagion. Reference my earlier post, Financial Contagion vs. Economic Contagion: Does the Market Underestimate the Effects of the Latter? wherein I demonstrate that Ireland's banking woes can easily reverberate throughout the rest of Europe, affecting nations that many pundits never bothered to consider. Irish banks will be selling off assets, issuing assets and bonds in an attempt to raise capital just as the Irish government (contrary to their proclamations) will probably be issuing debt to recapitalize certain banks. This comes at a time when the Eurozone capital markets will be quite crowded.

Expected higher fiscal deficit and bond maturities due in 2010 have increased the need for bond auction financing for all major European economies. Amongst all major European economies, France and Italy have the highest roll over debt due for 2010 of €281,585 million and €243,586 million, respectively.

BoomBustBlog Susbscribers, if you're paying attention, this was the one year warning of this series of posts:

eurodebt1.png

While Germany and France are expected to have the highest fiscal deficit of €125.1 billion and €96.0 billion, respectively in absolute amount for 2010 (this is without taking into consideration any possible bailout of Greece and/or the PIIGS, which will be a very difficult political feat given the current fiscal circumstances), Ireland and Spain are expected to have the highest fiscal deficit as percentage of GDP of 12% and 11%, respectively. See our newly released Spanish fiscal analysis for a more in-depth perspective, see our premium subscriber report on Spain's fiscal condition and prospects: Spain public finances projections_033010 Spain public finances projections_033010 2010-03-31 04:41:22 705.14 Kb...

As you can see, when properly researched, one can literally write the Bloomberg/CNBC/MSM headlines a full year and a half into the future. Notice the date on the post excerpt you just read, then reference this post from yesterday concering the bickering between Germany and France: When The Duopolistic Owners Of The EU Printing Presses Disagree On The Color Of The Ink!

CNBC reports: France and Germany Clash Over ECB Crisis Role

France and Germany, Europe's two central powers, have stepped up their war of words over whether the European Central Bank should intervene more forcefully to halt the euro zone's debt crisis after modest bond purchases failed to calm markets. 

Facing rising borrowing costs as its 'AAA' credit rating comes under threat, France urged stronger ECB action, adding to mounting global pressure spelled out by U.S. President Barack Obama.

BoomBustBlog readers and subscribers saw this coming a mile away. The Duopoly that ruled the economics of the EU have divergent needs now, hence divergent interests. Expect this to get worse in the near term. The reasons have been spelled out in Italy’s Woes Spell ‘Nightmare’ for BNP - Just As I Predicted But Everybody Is Missing The Point!!! You see, France, As Most Susceptible To Contagion, Will See Its Banks Suffer because stress in the Italian bond markets will be a direct cause of a French bank run - with the largest of the French banks running the hardest BNP, the Fastest Running Bank In Europe? Banque BNP Exécuter. For those who don't follow me regularly, I warned subscribers on BNP due to the Greco-Italiano risk factor causing a liquidity run born from imminent writedowns. No one from the sell side apparently had a clue.

Is it eastern European mysticism or west African Voodoo magic? No, it's a spreadsheet and an objective mindset, something that the EU leaders apparently don't have nor are willing to hire me for!

Oh yeah! Back to that little side thesis about Goldman's investment advice sucking till the lips bleed...

LTTP (Late to the Party), Euro Style: Goldman Recommends Betting On Contagion Risk In Portuguese, Spanish And Italian Banks 3 Months After BoomBustBlog Warns Of Failure! Saturday, 24 April 2010

Will someone explain to me why the world is so enamored with Goldman. It appears that their research department is now recommending clients to bet on European bank contagion risk. LTTP (Late to the Party), we first warned on European bank risk in Spain with BBVA in January of last year (The Spanish Inquisition is About to Begin...). Starting in January of this year, I went in depth into the European contagion thing when practically all of the banks, pundits, analysts and rating agencies said this was contained to Greece.

In February, I posted "The Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis – introduces the crisis and identified it as a pan-European problem, not a localized one."

In January of 2009, that's right - 35 months ago, I made it clear that Spanish banks will suffer years from Spanish real estate bubble's that had more effort behind being reblown than cured, coupled with I coined the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis a year later...

The Spanish Inquisition is About to Begin…

Now, it is time to see if fundamentals return to the market.

From Bloomberg: BBVA Fourth-Quarter Profit Plunges 94% to $44 Million on Asset Writedowns

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA said fourth-quarter profit slumped to 31 million euros from 519 million euros a year earlier as the lender wrote down the value of some assets.

BBVA fell the most in eight months in Madrid trading after saying net income fell to 31 million euros ($43.6 million) from 519 million euros a year earlier, the Bilbao, Spain-based bank said in a filing today. That missed the 1.05 billion-euro median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of nine analysts as the bank took a 704 million-euro writedown for its U.S. franchise.

BBVA said it took the writedowns after analyzing its “most problematic portfolios” as it prepares for a tough year with recessions in its biggest markets of Spain and Mexico. This was foreseen nearly one year ago, to date. This bank got caught up in the bear rally and apparently (like many banks) was not deserving of the outrageous boost in the share price. Reference the past analysis.

Reggie Middleton on the New Global Macro - the Forensic Analysis of a Spanish Bank Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Declining housing and stock prices, and rising unemployment levels are squeezing consumer wealth globally and are expected to weigh heavily on the banking system in the form of rising loan defaults. Until very recently, the global banks have experienced most of the impact in the form of distressed securities, capital shortages and funding problems, however the problems have now started to engulf their consumer and commercial loan portfolios as well.

In Spain, BBVA, the second largest domestic bank, could see a massive deterioration in its real estate and consumer loan portfolio. The Spanish real estate sector is making a high horsepower a U-turn after years of a massive housing bubble that has burst - culminating in an unemployment rate that has risen to an outrageous 13.4% level. The power skid is showing no signs of reaching an inflection point, and we believe is only in the beginning throes of a sharp downturn. In addition, the banks' other key growth areas including Mexico, the U.S and South America are witnessing a slowdown in economic activity, restricting BBVA's growth prospectus amid the current turbulent environment. With increasingly challenging economic conditions in each of these economies, BBVA's asset quality has deteriorated sharply with non-performing loans rising to 36% of its tangible equity without corresponding (equal) increase in provisions. As the bank deals with these tough times ahead, we expect BBVA's bottom line growth to remain subdued due to a slower credit off-take and higher provisions in the coming quarters....

...

Key Highlights

Sharp slowdown seen in Europe - According to the European Commission forecasts, the European economy is expected to contract 1.9% in 2009 with a modest recovery in 2010. Spain, in particular, is expected to be one of the worst hit due to the humbling of its housing sector which had, for several years, been a significant contributor to the country's economic growth. This will impact BBVA by slowing down its credit and loan growth in addition to significantly deteriorating the credit quality of its loan portfolio.

BBVA's asset quality is set to deteriorate rapidly as Spain enters recession - Problems in Spain are more pronounced than in most of its European counterparts. The Spain's budgetary deficit has already crossed the 3% threshold limit set by the European Commission and is expected to cross 6% by 2009, only behind Ireland. The unemployment has reached a 12-year high of 13.4% in November 2008, the highest in the Euro zone, while the real estate sector bubble (particularly residential vacation homes purchased by foreigners), the pillar of economic growth engine, has burst. BBVA, with nearly 40% of its total loan exposure tied to real estate & construction loans and individual loans in Spain could see massive deterioration in its asset quality.

Besides Spain the bank has to deal with other challenging economies including Mexico and the U.S - In 3Q2008, U.S and Mexico contributed nearly 29% and 16% of total revenues, respectively. The downturn in the U.S economy is showing no signs of stabilization, with an unabated fall in housing prices and frozen credit markets continuing to shatter consumer confidence. Recession in the U.S has also led to a sharp slowdown in Mexico which is highly dependent on US for exports and remittances. The slowdown in both of BBVA's key markets will not only impact the pace of BBVA's growth but also augment the risk profile for the bank as it now has to deal with vagaries of these economies to navigate itself in these turbulent times.

BBVA's NPAs have skyrocketed on back of economic slump - Since January 2008, BBVA's non-performing loans have increased 92% to €6.5 bn. As at the end of 3Q2008, BBVA's loan losses as a percentage of tangible equity stood at an astonishing 36%. Eyles test, a measure of banks' delinquent loans (net of reserves) as percentage of its tangible equity, has increased to 12% in 3Q2008 from 4% in 2Q2008. This sharp rise in the bank's NPA levels, particularly in context of its lower equity cushion, could substantially erode shareholders' equity.

Inadequate provisioning to impact BBVA's bottom line - Owing to deteriorating loan portfolio, BBVA's NPAs have almost doubled to 2.0% of the total loans in 3Q2008 from 1.1% in 3Q2007. Despite an increase in NPAs, the bank's provision has declined to 2.3% of the total loans from 2.4% a year ago. As loan losses are expected to increase in the wake of economic slowdown, BBVA will have to increase its provisions considerably, denting its near-to-medium term net income.

BBVA's valuation at... Subscribers can download the full archived report Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) Professional Forensic Analysis Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) Professional Forensic Analysis 2009-01-28 16:04:04 439.80 Kb

For those who haven't been to the Spanish coastal areas to see for themselves or are not familiar with the Spanish situation, I have included random research on Spain from pundits around the Globe!

Now, speaking of Spain, Pan-European pandemic and War... Yesterday, I gave an interview with Benzinga radio wherein I referenced the distinct possibiity of European war as the natural result of the collapse of the European banking and sovereign debt system. You can hear the interview here. It appears that certain rather outspoken British MEPs have a very similar outlook.

That's not all. Here are two other occasions, one as recently as yesterday...

This is early 2010...

I've been asked in the past why I don't run for political offce. Well, the answer is I'm just too damn honest and straightforward. I'd make this guy look shy, and probably end up with a car bomb in trunk before long... Has anyone ever seen the movie Bulworth, starring Warren Beatty? If you haven't seen it, take six more minutes of your time to view this clip before you move on...

And the British version of Bulworth returns as of yesterday. You can call him whatever you want, but you have to call him right, as well...

And in closing, here are the two Dutch real estate videos I posted yesterday that were never released before...

Part 1

Part 2


As usual, I can be reached via the following (or directly via email), and urge all who rely on the perenially wrong sell side to subscribe to BoomBustBlog:

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Published in BoomBustBlog

More BoomBustBlog predictions rising to the forefront. As clearly stated in the Pan-European sovereign debt crisis, this is a pandemic contagion. The media's focus on specific countries must be mollified and modified. Reference the first five posts of the aforemetioned series, published a year and a half ago...

  1. The Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis – introduces the crisis and identified it as a pan-European problem, not a localized one.

  2. What Country is Next in the Coming Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis? – illustrates the potential for the domino effect

  3. The Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis: If I Were to Short Any Country, What Country Would That Be.. – attempts to illustrate the highly interdependent weaknesses in Europe’s sovereign nations can effect even the perceived “stronger” nations.

  4. The Coming Pan-European Soverign Debt Crisis, Pt 4: The Spread to Western European Countries

  5. The Depression is Already Here for Some Members of Europe, and It Just Might Be Contagious!

Now, reference today's Bloomberg headlines - Spanish, French Debt Auctions Disappoint; Yields Rise: Yield spreads of Spanish and French 10-year government bonds over German equivalents hit euro-era highs on Thursday.

And from a very impressive and knowledgeable brother across the blogoshpere known as Ed Harrison, Chart of the day: Contagion spreads to the Netherlands | Credit Writedowns.com

Yesterday, I showed you that contagion had spread and default probabilities were blowing out right across Europe. Every single name on the list for sovereign credit default wideners was European and names like Austria, Estonia, and Slovakia showed marked deterioration, with default probabilities over 10%.

Today is no different. The Netherlands is the notable credit to deteriorate today. Their default probability has just crossed the 10% threshold. Take a look.

At the risk of repeating myself, I have to note that this is a rolling crisis through the euro zone. It will eventually infect every country until we get a systemic solution: full monetisation and union or break up. The longer the ECB waits, the worse things will get. No euro zone sovereign bond is safe.

Ed is absolutely, unequivocally correct - and not just because he agrees with me either (although that may be the primary reasonCool).

Update 1455 EST: There’s nothing wrong with the Netherlands. It’s indiscriminate selling. Warren Mosler reported this morning that he received this message from a AAA bond trading desk:

Our Trading Desk reports “mayhem” in the AAA Eurozone markets

- France 11bps wider

- Netherlands 6bps wider

France now 178bps over Germany

Increasing talk/fear of Eurozone break up and capitulation trades in AAA markets are widespread.

We are seeing no real demand for anything – even Germany.

Tomorrow’s Shatz auction looks a big ask with a yield of 30bps and no risk appetite out there.

These are not high yield punters here. They are AAA bond managers who thought they were buying safe assets. Because of the sovereign debt crisis, no eurozone sovereign bond is safe. So now there is panic.

I actually addressed this issue directly to Dutch investors and bankers in April. There may be more of a reason to panic than is being indicated above. If you haven't seen it, view the entire keynote speech delivered to the real estate investors in Amsterdam at ING's Valuation Conference in April of this year.

 ... Yes, real estate will take its fair share of banks down, again. Reference in detail, my post

Now that I have (quite honestly) issued my most sincerest thanks, let's attempt to remedy the shortcoming of the limited amounted of time that I had. You see, after the 3 minute hit ended there was a brief discussion of commercial real estate in which I didn't get to participate, thus I will take the liberty of doing so through this medium....

... Hmmmm! I walked through this in explicit detail in “When the Patina Fades… The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs??? and I did it without being privvy to Goldman’s financial innards. Long story short, practically all of the major banks are lying about the value of some of the largest assets on their books.

How many institutional and/or retail investors will be able to ferret out such? Or more importantly, why should they have to? It is the reporting company’s responsibility to report, not to obfuscate. The big problem with this “hide the market marks” thing is that markets tend to revert to mean. Unless said market values fundamentally catch up with said market prices, you will get a snapback. That is what is happening in residential real estate now. That is what happened in Japan over the last 21 years!!! That’s right, it wasn’t a lost decade in Japan, it was a lost 2.1 decades!

This has been the first balance sheet recession that the US has ever had, but there is precedence to follow. Japan had a balance sheet recession following their gigantic real asset bust. They made a slew of fiscal and policy errors, which essentially prolonged their real asset recession (now officially a depression) for T-W-E-N-T-Y  O-N-E long years! For those that may have  a problem reading that, it is 21 long years. What did the Japanese do wrong?
  • They refused to mark assets to market
  • They attempted to prop up zombie banks
  • They failed to promptly clean up NPAs in the banking system
  • They looked the other way in regards to real estate value shenanigans

... The retail investment banker Davidowitz had similar choice comments on this space: Davidowitz On Overt Optimism In The Retail Space And Mall REITs, Stuff Which We Have Detailed Often In The Past. The Dutch have a VERY similar problem on thier hands, but not all are paying attention.

Here is footage never released on the Web, but I felt that this is an opportune time to drill down into the Dutch market and explore the ramifications of this malaise as it relates to real estate and insurance.


Listen up people, HERE ARE THE NASTY FACTS!!!

Real estate is a highly rate sensitive asset class. Capitalization rates (the popular method of pricing real estate) is explained in Wikipedia as:

Capitalization rate (or "cap rate") is the ratio between the net operating income produced by an asset and its capital cost (the original price paid to buy the asset) or alternatively its current market value.[1] The rate is calculated in a simple fashion as follows:

 \mbox{Capitalization Rate} = \frac{\mbox{annual net operating income}}{\mbox{cost (or value)}}

Without going into a CRE class, when interest rates go up, cap rates generally go up as well and the value (or cost to purchase) of the property goes down in sympathy unless the rise in interest rates is offset by a commensurate or greater rise in net operating income. Now, either everybody believes that unemployment is going to drop towards zero  in an era of US austerity (reference Are the Effects of Unemployment About To Shoot Through the Roof? then see Budget AusterityGoldman Sees Danger in US Budget Cuts - CNBC) at the same time that historically low interest rates that actually went negative are going to get lower (see the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis) ---- or cap rates are about to skyrocket. I'll let you decide!

As you can see above, CRE drops in value whenever yields spike more than the + delta in NOI. Looking below, you can see that US CRE actually runs to the inverse of the 30 year Treasury.

That visual relationship is corroborated by running the statistical correlations...

The relationship is obvious and evident! In addition, we have been in a Goldilocks fantasy land for both interest rates and CRE for about 30 years. CRE culminated in the 2007 bubble pop, but was reblown by .gov policies and machinations. The same with rates. Ever hear of NEGATIVE interest rates where YOU have to PAY someone to LEND THEM MONEY!!!

So, BoomBustBloggers, where do YOU think rates are going to go from here? Up of Down??? Let's ask Portugal or any of the other PIIGS group. I have shown, very meticulously, how Portugal can not only afford the path that they are on (record high interest rates) but the losses that will come when they restructure (default) - for all to see. I have done the same with Spain, Ireland and Greece (for subscribers only). See The Truth Behind Portugal’s Inevitable Default – Arithmetic Evidence Available Only Through BoomBustBlog followed by The Anatomy of a Portugal Default: A Graphical Step by Step Guide to the Beginning of the Largest String of Sovereign Defaults in Recent History (December 6th & 7th, 2010).

Here is the contagion effect we are experiencing today, clearly foretold to the ING clients and banking executives in April of this year, from the banking perspective as opposed to the real estate perspective. Same difference, though... What was not caught in this video is the fact that the Dutch will bear the highest per capita costs for bailing out their more profligate brethren. You can imagine how enthused thery were to hear that tangy fact :-)

So, what's next? The US Follows Japan Into A Balance Sheet Recession: What Do Investors Know and Why Is It That Policymakers Appear Clueless? 

Will the Netherlands be very far behind? Will any country with a high debt load, high NPA/GDP ratios and underwater real estate truly trail very far? I doubt so, but hey... What the hell do I know? I simply called nearly every twist and turn of this debacle from the beginning of the real estate crash in the US to this point in the Pan-European sovereign debt crisis. See "Who is Reggie Middleton?" for more.

Online Spreadsheets (professional and institutional subscribers only)

Published in BoomBustBlog

Here is an interesting video that illustrates the extreme vulnerability of the banks if the "Occupy Wall Street" movement truly gets organized with direction from someone with a deep understanding of the system. You know, someone tall, brown, charismatic and not afraid to really speak the truth...

image012_copy

This video touches upon many taboos in society, business and Wall Street finance... Right up my alley. One of the more interesting topics is that of social class, and how the little naked woman in the video just doesn't have the same impact as Carl Icahn. Careful, now. Don't laugh prematurely. The lightning fast distributed method of communal communication commonly known as social media is truly changing the way thing get done around here. Think about how you are reading this message and who you're reading it from.

One concept that I would like to dwell on this post, but unfortunately will not be able do due to time constraints, is the very real fact that there is NO MIDDLE CLASS! I believe it is a construct created by the capitalist class and their managers to placate the masses and muffle would be insurrectors who would dare attempt to move up the ranks. The reality is everybody is a member of the working class who is not a member of the capitalist class and needs to work for a living. That's right, if you cannot live off of your capital, then you are a working class citizen. Middle class and upper middle class monikers, are just that... monikers. That goes for you doctors, lawyers, accountants and well educated PhDs. You know the old saying about the friends walking down the street in Greenwich. One saw a neighbor and immediately urged the other to hustle across the street. When his friend asked what the rush was, the 1st man replied, I heard that Biff over there is starting to live off of his principle. Long story short, many more of you are members of that 99% than may have been led to believe by those in charge.

As excerpted from Super Brokers form to push Super Broken products to make those with High Net Worth Super Broke

Social Mobility: Unlike the Jefferson's, We're moving on down!

Social class is defined (on this blog) as the amount of control one has over one's socio-economic environment. It is much more than money, although money is a large component. For instance, Barack Obama is in a higher class than Robert DeNiro or Michael Jackson, although Robert DeNiro and Michael Jackson are most likely wealthier (although that is quite debatable after taking into consideration the value of Obama's campaign contribution list and membership database from his social networking site!). Obama's higher class stems from his ability to exert more control over his socio-economic environment. The factors that this author uses to determine class combine (with the associated weights) to create a "socioeconomic index":

Socioeconomic Index=

(Occupation X 12) + (Income source X12) + (Income X 7) + (Wealth X 14) +

(Education X 7) + (Dwelling area X 15) + (Class Consciousness X 7) +

(Housing X 12)

There is a handy dandy BoomBustBlog class model (based loosely upon the Index of Status Charcteristics) available for download for anyone interested in delving  into this further. See boombustblog.com_social_class_model v.7.3 156.00 Kb.

As you can see, wealth is the largest contributor to the class standing, and coincidentally it is the factor
that is the most at risk in this current economic climate. I believe that there will be a significant entry into the upper middle class by those who were once firmly entrenched into the upper classes! While that may not seem like a big deal to many, it is damn big deal to those who are moving down the ladder. This also means, that there will be some space for others to move (relatively speaking) up the ladder. One man's (or woman's) misfortune is another's opportunity. I believe this blog can not only be used to insure and proof against downward mobility
for those in the upper strata, but can also be used by those in the lower, middle and lower upper strata to rise upward a notch or even two. Social Mobility is the name of the game in times of severe dislocation - times like we are experiencing now.

Lower Strata

Underclass/Poor

 
 

Working Poor

 

Middle Strata

Lower Middle Class

 
 

Upper Middle Class

 

Upper Strata

Lower Upper Class

<-- 20% to 30% of BoomBustBloggers are here, roughly 1,000 of you!

 

Higher Upper Class

 

Now, in term of wealth (not social class and influence, just wealth) we can split the upper strata into three different categories (there are only two above because of the other factors that come into play when social class or socioeconomic standing is taken into consideration).
There is the poor wealthy, those guys and girls that are just a hair's breath from being pulled into the upper middle class strata due to marginal wealth. This would be the $1m to $10m net worth crowd, who rely on business profits, salary and investment returns for income. The next would be the middle strata of the wealthy, hailing between $10 to $100 million in Net Worth, and then there is the upper strata wealthy at above $100 million. Each of these three strata of wealth represent, in my opinion, distinct behavior tranches in terms of discretionary expenditures, investment, and politics and (what passes as, this is a story for another post) philanthropic activities.

 

Demographic

Source of wealth

Net Worth

Lower strata wealthy (High net worth)

Service professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs,
inheritors

Salaries, stock options, restricted stock, small business
profits, investment returns

$1 m to $10 m

Middle strata wealthy (Very High Net Worth)

Corporate executives, entrepreneurs, inheritors

Business ownership, investment returns, salaries, restricted
stock, stock options

$10 m to $100 m

Upper strata (the truly
Rich!)

Entrepreneurs, inheritors, very few CEOs

Business ownership, investment returns

$100 m to several $billion

A trip to practically any decent sized yacht club or recreational vehicle port reveals the relatively stark differences in discretionary spending behavior. The first strata can be found in the 36 ft. to 68 ft. yacht docks (where a captain is optional, but not mandatory and you really don't need a crew). The second strata can be found 50 ft to 120 ft docks, where captains, crews and semi-custom fiberglass boats abound. The third strata are almost exclusively in the super yacht category, where the carrying cost alone for these (basically waste of money) fully custom built hulls and vehicles are about million a year to start with. You can also see the other social economic strata as well, upper middle class in the 20 to 35 ft boats, the middle and working class in the considerably smaller fishing boats - as opposed to the ultra fast Viking and Hatteras deep sea fishers, etc. It is an interesting and instructional study in social studies and anthropolgy just walking along your local docks! Once you are aware of how these things break down, you will see many settings in a different light.

The dark purples, deep greens and reds are most likely the general demographic to get hit hardest.
Fortunately, those who follow this BoomBustBlog closely, either personally or through their advisor, should have seen a net increase in networth rather than a net decrease. This has hurt non-BoomBustBloggers in this demographic tranche significantly, and will hurt them even farther. At the same time, let's hope that the opinion and research that I bring to the blog helps, because many will need it. Download The new BoomBustBlog.com Socio-economic stratification model

And The European Bank Run Continues...

As excerpted from the article titled above, we find corroborating evidence that the common man/woman can indeed elicit significant cooperation from Wall Street baks, for those very same banks' institutional counterparties are quite skittish as it is. As a matter of fact, we are seeing the makings of an insitutional run right now, one that will easily be exacerbated if retail depositors pull their money out as well.

Since the problems have not been cured, they're literally guaranteed to come back and bite ass. Guaranteed! So, as suggested earlier on, download your appropriate BoomBustBlog BNP Paribas "Run On The Bank" Models (they range from free up to institutional), read the balance of this article for perspective, then populate the assumptions and inputs with what you feel is realistic. I'm sure you will come up with conclusions similar to ours. Below is sample outout from the professional level model (BNP Exposures - Professional Subscriber Download Version) that simulates the bank run that the news clippings below appear to be describing in detail...(Click to enlarge to printer quality)

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Bloomberg reports: Lloyd’s of London Pulls Euro Bank Deposits

Lloyd’s of London, concerned European governments may be unable to support lenders in a worsening debt crisis, has pulled deposits in some peripheral economies as the European Central Bank provided dollars to one euro-area institution.

“There are a lot of banks who, because of the uncertainty around Europe, the market has stopped using to place deposits with,” Luke Savage, finance director of the world’s oldest insurance market, said today in a phone interview. “If you’re worried the government itself might be at risk, then you’re certainly worried the banks could be taken down with them.”

European banks and their regulators are trying to reassure investors and customers that lenders have enough capital to withstand a default by Greece and slowing economic growth caused by governments’ austerity measures. Siemens AG (SIE), European’s biggest engineering company, withdrew short-term deposits from Societe Generale SA, France’s second-largest bank, in July, a person with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.

Lloyd’s, which holds about a third of its 2.5 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) of central assets in cash, has stopped depositing money with some banks in Europe’s peripheral economies, Savage said, declining to name the countries or institutions.

Simply fuel to the fire... As excerpted from my bank run post yesterday: Most Headlines Now Show French Bank Run …

Siemens shelters up to €6bn at ECB: Siemens withdrew more than half-a-billion euros...matter told the Financial Times. In total, Siemens has parked between €4bn ($5.4bn) and...to deposit cash directly with the ECB. Siemens’ move demonstrates the impact of the eurozone... By Daniel Schäfer in London and Chris Bryant and Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt...

... As excerpted from "The Fuel Behind Institutional “Runs on the Bank" Burns Through Europe, Lehman-Style":

The modern central banking system has proven resilient enough to fortify banks against depositor runs, as was recently exemplified in the recent depositor runs on UK, Irish, Portuguese and Greek banks – most of which received relatively little fanfare. Where the risk truly lies in today’s fiat/fractional reserve banking system is the run on counterparties. Today’s global fractional reserve bank get’s more financing from institutional counterparties than any other source save its short term depositors.  In cases of the perception of extreme risk, these counterparties are prone to pull funding are request overcollateralization for said funding. This is what precipitated the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, the pulling of liquidity by skittish counterparties, and the excessive capital/collateralization calls by other counterparties. Keep in mind that as some counterparties and/or depositors pull liquidity, covenants are tripped that often demand additional capital/collateral/ liquidity be put up by the remaining counterparties, thus daisy-chaining into a modern day run on the bank!

image006image006image006image006

...The biggest European banks receive an average of US$64bn funding through the U.S. money market, money market that is quite gun shy of bank collapse, and for good reason. Signs of excess stress perceived in the US combined with the conservative nature of US money market funds (post-Lehman debacle) may very well lead to a US led run on these banks. If the panic doesn’t stem from the US, it could come (or arguably is coming), from the other side of the pond. The Telegraph reports: UK banks abandon eurozone over Greek default fears

UK banks have pulled billions of pounds of funding from the euro zone as fears grow about the impact of a “Lehman-style” event connected to a Greek default.

 Senior sources have revealed that leading banks, including Barclays and Standard Chartered, have radically reduced the amount of unsecured lending they are prepared to make available to euro zone banks, raising the prospect of a new credit crunch for the European banking system.

Standard Chartered is understood to have withdrawn tens of billions of pounds from the euro zone inter-bank lending market in recent months and cut its overall exposure by two-thirds in the past few weeks as it has become increasingly worried about the finances of other European banks.

Barclays has also cut its exposure in recent months as senior managers have become increasingly concerned about developments among banks with large exposures to the troubled European countries Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

In its interim management statement, published in April, Barclays reported a wholesale exposure to Spain of £6.4bn, compared with £7.2bn last June, while its exposure to Italy has fallen by more than £100m.

One source said it was “inevitable” that British banks would look to minimise their potential losses in the event the euro zone crisis were to get worse. “Everyone wants to ensure that they are not badly affected by the crisis,” said one bank executive.

Moves by stronger banks to cut back their lending to weaker banks is reminiscent of the build-up to the financial crisis in 2008, when the refusal of banks to lend to one another led to a seizing-up of the markets that eventually led to the collapse of several major banks and taxpayer bail-outs of many more.

Make no mistake - modern day bank runs are now caused by institutions!

Make no mistake! And just for those who cannot catch the hint... Reuters reports:

Bank of China halts FX swaps with some European banks

The European banks include French lenders Societe Generale (SOGN.PA), Credit Agricole (CAGR.PA) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), and Bank of China halted trading with them partly because of the downgrading from Moody's, the sources said.

Another Chinese bank said it had stopped trading yuan interest rate swaps with European banks.

The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak with the media.

Contacted about this move by the Chinese banks, spokespeople for Societe Generale, UBS and BNP Paribas declined comment. Credit Agricole was not reachable for comment.

One of the sources said that Bank of China's decision may apply across its branches, including the onshore foreign exchange market.

"Apart from spot trading, all swaps and forwards trading (with the European banks) have been stopped," one source who is familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A step by step tutorial on exactly how it will happen....

Again, I believe the next big thing, for when (not if, but when) European banks blow up, is the reverberation through American banks and how it WILL affect us stateside! Subscribers, be sure to be prepared. Puts are already quite costly, but there are other methods if you haven't taken your positions when the research was first released. For those who wish to subscribe, click here.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Bloomberg reports: Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Increased More Than Forecast

21 Sep 2011 Of all purchases, cash transactions accounted for about 29 percent, the same as in July, Jed Smith, managing director of research at the NAR, said in a news conference today...
... The 7.7 percent increase left purchases at a five-month high 5.03 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington.
... The median price of a previously owned home dropped 5.1 percent to $168,300 from $177,300 in August 2010, today’s report showed.

Existing-home sales, tabulated when a contract closes, rose 19 percent from the same month last year.

Housing Inventory

The number of previously owned homes on the market declined 3 percent to 3.58 million. At the current sales pace, it would take 8.5 months to sell those houses, down from 9.5 months at the end of the prior month.

Month’s supply in the seven months to eight months range is consistent with stable home prices, the group said.

Of all purchases, cash transactions accounted for about 29 percent, the same as in July, Jed Smith, managing director of research at the NAR, said in a news conference today as the figures were released.

Distressed sales, comprised of foreclosures and short sales, in which the lender agrees to a transaction for less than the balance of the mortgage, accounted for 31 percent of the total in August, up from 29 percent in the prior month.

“Investors were more active in absorbing foreclosed properties,” Lawrence Yun, the group’s chief economist, said in a statement. Investors accounted for 22 percent of purchases in August, up from 18 percent the previous month.

 And to think, I thought Bloomberg got the message.

A First In The History Of Mainstream Media? NAR Is Identified As A Joke!

So, what's my beef with the National Association of Realtors? Well, quite frankly they are simply doing their job, which is lobbying on behalf and marketing the interests of realtors in the US. The fact of the matter is that they not only undermine the credibility of all in the profession but purposefully mislead those who may not have the money to spare into flushing said hard earned dollars down the toilet, all of the sake of a 2.5% commission split. Let's take this step by step, shall we?

On Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 3:14 pm I posted " wherein I laughed at the WSJ article that illustrated where the NAR's housing data may have understated extend of collapse. But of course, it understated said collapse. If one were to peruse the history of the NAR and their paid marketers economists one will see a very long history of such.

The NAR video from 2008 saying that buying opportunities have never been better| buying now is a key to building long term wealth | there are a lot of buyers in the market to buy your home, etc. while I was saying the commercial and residential real estate markets are in the beginning of a long term collapse...

This is David Lereah, the NAR chief economist in 2006...

Then again, one can peruse David Lereah's literary prose, circa 2006-7...

Absolutely exquisite insight!!!

It's not just David. After moving on, Lawrence Yun (David's successor) got nearly 8 minutes on Bloomberg (hopefully, I will get the chance to get 10 or 15 minutes to truly illustrate the lay of the land from an unbiased, empirical, investor's perspective sometime soon) to say that 2008 was an opportune time for buyers who want to own a home

Here's Dr. Yun with more good news for home sellers in 2008. Ohhhh, the optimism!!!

In July 2008 Yun stated “I think we are very near to the end of the housing downturn,” Yun said (AP News).

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors, said that the housing rescue bill should play a major role in helping the housing market to rebound. He said an especially significant feature is a tax break worth up to $7,500 for first-time home buyers who purchase between April 9 of this year and July 1, 2009. Yun estimated that up to 3 million first-time home buyers could qualify for that tax break, providing a significant boost to sales at a critical time. “I think we are very near to the end of the housing downturn,” Yun said.

As a point of reference..


Of course, I can go on…

In 2007 Lawrence Yun state there would be no recession in 2008, according to USA Today. Of course, in that year I took the opposite side of that trade and said very bad things were coming. As it turned out I was a tad bit optimistic: Correction, and further thoughts on the topic, How Far Will US Home Prices Drop?, and Is this the Breaking of the Bear? (Yeah, the Bear Stearns and Lehman Brother’s collapse were an easy calls if you read the balance sheets and were realistic about leverage and the real estate situation). This  was also about the time I got into it with GGP’s CFO for calling out their insolvency. He called me names, and then they filed for bankruptcy. Of course, they had an investment grade and buy ratings from the ratings agencies and the sell side: BoomBustBlog.com’s answer to GGP’s latest press release and Another GGP update coming… (among over 700 pages of analysis, review the January 2008 archives or search for “GGP” for more research).

In my post “On the Latest Housing Numbers” of  Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, I quipped.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist volunteered,

We have seen some bulk purchases by investors, but we are not picking up that data through the Multiple Listing Service or through our release data, but we do know that there is some bulk purchases by investors who plan on releasing those properties within a year’s time, when they see a better market condition.

I don’t believe “better” market conditions are coming any time soon. We are just coming off of the best market conditions anyone will see in their lifetime. Those market conditions were predicated upon unsustainable conditions, hence they came crashing down. They are crashing down, not crashed – as in past tense. I believe we have some ways to go. That is why I am not buying real estate, and I believe that those that are jumping in now are jumping in prematurely.

Personally, I don’t consider Mr. Yun to be a credible source, either. He may be smart and capable, but the extreme bias of his employer (the ultimate real property perma-bull) and the incredibly biased reports of his predecessor color his opinions by default. He is not nearly as bad as David Lereah (who was literally sensationalist-style perma-bullish) was, but he is still not objective. See  The Reggie Middleton Real Estate IQ Test – Who believes the NAR?

This is an excerpt from that post on Tuesday, 08 January 2008

From CNBC.com: Home Sales Seen Holding Steady In Coming Months

Pending sales of existing U.S. homes inched lower in November and should hold steady over the next few months, a real estate trade group said. (I ask, “Why should they do that? Credit is tighter, recession evidence is stronger. Supply is greater, and demand is lower. Hmmm, let me consult the book written by that ex-NAR guru for the answer.” )

The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in November, dropped 2.6% in November, to 87.6 from an upwardly revised 89.9 in October.

Economists polled by Reuters ahead of the report were expecting pending home sales to decline by 0.5 percent from October’s originally reported 87.2.

The November number was down 20% from a year earlier.

The pending homes sales data suggests that the volume of sales will hold steady for a while before turning upwards before the end of the year, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

With all due respect to Mr. Yun, Mr. Lereah and the NAR, anyone swift enough to complete the registration form for this blog should know, by now, to discount this association’s data and opinions. They do not do the industry justice with this nonsense. Realtors should actually be the first in the protest line. It is their credibility that is being called into question, for this is THEIR trade group. Credibility is the key!

Notice how accurate that NAR prediction was for 2007 and 2008!  We are actually in a real estate depression, and no amount of flowery commercials with cute little girls can counteract this fact.

So, I query the mainstream media, "At what point do these clowns lose credibility?" For consumers of such media, at what point will you refuse to view said clowns?

I'm not in the business of giving out buying advice to potential homeowners, but if I were a home buyer and I cared about capital depreciation in the near to medium term, I would definitely hold off. I have crunched the numbers for March 2011 and calculated the most recent shadow inventory numbers for subscribers. It ain't pretty. Click here for the PDF summary (File Icon Shadow Inventory Update) and click here for the embedded spreadsheet with the latest numbers, graphs, projections and calculations (note that this is actually a very large model, so be sure to scroll past the first 6 or 7 graph tabs to access the raw data and calculations behind them). You can increase the magnification of your browser if you want a larger view of the embedded model.


Subscribers have access to all of the data and analysis used to create these charts, in addition to a more granular application, by state in the SCAP template and by region in housing price and charge off templates – see

The 3rd Quarter in Review, and More Importantly How the Shadow Inventory System in the US is Disguising the Equivalent of a Dozen Ambac Bankruptcies! Wednesday, November 10th, 2010: All paying subscribers can download the full shadow inventory report here: File Icon Foreclosures & Shadow Inventory. Professional and Institutional subscribers should also download the accompanying data and analysis sheet in Excel – Shadow Inventory.

Banks, Monolines, and Ratings Agencies As The Three Card Monte (Wall)Street Hustlers! Its a Sucker’s Bet, Who’s Going to Fall for it in QE2? Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

The Truth Goes Viral, Pt 1: Housing Prices, Economic Sales and the State of Depression Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

In continuing the discussion of trade setups and related strategies started with As Requested By Our Constituency: Trade Setups Based on BoomBustBlog Research, and continued in …

I bring you the next installation in the discussion of trading the Pan-European Sovereign Debt Crisis. The annotated email chain is actually quite long so it will be continuously broken up. I will also include the comments of the European equity trader in later posts. Any accomplished tradeer who wishes to join the crowdsourced debate is more than welcome to throw their hat into the ring.

Eurocalypse, the European CDS trader

At this stage i have a remark/question in your « the inevitability of a banking crisis »(dated when ?) you were waaay too optimistic (!!) seeing 172bn of losses related to PIIGS. We may be over that only on Greece exposure!

Reggie Middleton, the American Realist

For those that don't read me regularly, Eurocalypse is referring to my work below...

Is Another Banking Crisis Inevitable?

Attention subscribers: A new subscription document is ready for download File Icon The Inevitability of Another Bank Crisis

Banks NPAs to total loans

Source: IMF, Boombust research and analytics

Impact of bank’s banking books on haircuts

EU banking book sovereign exposures are about five times larger than trading book. The table below gives sovereign exposure of major European countries for both trading and banking book. The EU trading book has €335bn of exposure while banking book has €1.7t exposure towards sovereign defaults. EU stress test estimated total write-down’s of €26bn as it only considered banks trading portfolio. This equated to implied haircut of 7.9% on trading portfolio with losses equating to 2.4% of Tier 1 capital. However, if the same haircuts (7.9% weighted average haircut) are applied to banking book then the loss would amount to €153bn equating to 13.8% of Tier 1 capital.

We have also presented an alternative scenario since we believe that EU stress test had failed not only to include banks HTM books but also the loss estimates were highly optimistic, as has much of the economic and financial forecasting that has come from the EU. It is highly recommended that readers review Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse! for a detailed view of a long pattern of unrealistically optimistic forecasting. Here's and example...

image031.png

Revisions-R-US!

image044.pngimage044.pngimage044.png

In an alternative scenario, we have assumed weighted average haircut of 10% (exposure, haircut assumptions and writedowns for individual countries are presented in detail in the tables below) and have applied writedowns on both banking and trading books with the results available in the subscription document File Icon The Inevitability of Another Bank Crisis? Individual and more explicit haircut calculations are available for the following nations for professional and institutional subscribers:

Eurocalypse, the European CDS trader

Certainly, if we compare the fiscal trajectory of the Eurozone as a whole with the US, the US is not really on a better path. Austerity has started in Europe. US seems still in full spending spree.

Reggie Middleton, the American Realist

I disagree, in a way. The US situation is truly FUBAR, indeed, but it is a slightly differently  FUBAR'd than the EU. The US still:

  1. is the world's reserve currency,
  2. has the world's pre-eminent military and technological forces (which go hand-in-hand with number 1, hence is essentially the same thing if history is any indicator),
  3. has a much more contiguos economy than the EU,
  4. although is prone to lie about its book keeping situation, is definitely not as detached from reality as the EU states. Reference:
  5. Lies, Damn Lies, and Sovereign Truths: Why the Euro is Destined to Collapse!,
  6. Once You Catch a Few EU Countries "Stretching the Truth", Why Should You Believe Any Others

  7. LGD 100+: What's the Possibility of Certain European Banks Having a Loss Given Default Approaching 100%?

Then there is the commercial real estate issue looming in the EU. The two strongest economies in the EU are being looked to pull the rest of the EU out of the fire through bailouts, but the ugly truth is that they are tied to the proflicate (and not so profligate, but still hampered) states by the waist. Outside of the (borderline recessionary) EU being their major trading partner(s), they have pretty much bankrolled CRE lending throughout the entire trading block. Those loans are due to be rolled over, and they are due to be rolled over on property that has materially declined in value - leaving a significant equity gap. We're talking close to 70% to 80% of CRE loans coming due in the next year and a half on properties that have significant oversupply, weakening rents, recesionary economies, sovereign debt issues and staunch austerity plans, and generally devalued properties leaving many a loan underwater. Haircuts, anyone? Inflation Misconceptions Hide A Downright U-G-L-Y Real Estate Landscape! - Part 1

You see, there is a highly reflexive relationship between overvalued sovereign debt held on a higly leveraged basis on EU bank balance sheets and CRE loans coming due on devalued and underwater real estate. The sovereign debt crisis is straining lending capacity at the same time that excess lending capacity is needed to fund underwater property loans that need to be rolled over. No one is discussing the real estate portion of the EU banking crisis to be, but it is very real!

I have delved deeply into this topic during my lectures in Amsterdam. Reference my featured article in Property EU, one of Europes leading real estate publicatios

Those who wish to download the full article in PDF format can do so here: Reggie Middleton on Stagflation, Sovereign Debt and the Potential for bank Failure at the ING ACADEMY-v2.

Now, the US is in a similar situation, but we have managed to fudge the books to such an extent that some of our CRE investors have actually risen in price. See The Conundrum of Commercial Real Estate Stocks: In a CRE "Near Depression", Why Are REIT Shares Still So High and Which Ones to Short?

With the dearth of synthetic profit streams to support accounting earnings (as banks did in their supposed recover of 2009/10), Weakening Revenue Streams in US Banks Will Make Them More Susceptible To Contingent Risks. I believe, due to major policy errors in dealing with our crash, that we will see our own lost decade(s) in the US...

There are those who believe US CRE is on a bullish trend, but I believe they have been mislead by accounting and regulatory shenanigans. Commercial real estate rarely thrives in high unemployment, increasing interest rates, stagflationary, sluggish economic times. Then again, maybe I'm wrong... Reggie Middleton ON CNBC's Fast Money Discussing Hopium in Real Estate

 

The US CRE situation is overshadowed (and possibly rightfully so) by the popular realization that Reggie was accurate in his 2007 assertions that we are in a residential real estate depression, further complicating any truly organica economic recovery - at least until true price discovery is allowed by the financial markets central planning cartel of government and central bankers. Reference:

  1. Reggie Middleton's Real Estate Recap: As I Have Clearly Illustrated, It's a Real Estate Depression!!!

  2. The "American Realist" Says: Past as Prologue - Re-blown Bubble to Pop Before the Previous Bubble Finishes Popping!!!!

  3. The Residential Real Estate Week in Review, or I Told You We're In A Real Estate Depression! The MSM is Just Catching Up

  4. There's Stinky Gas Inside Of This Mini-Housing Bubble, You Don't Want To Be Around When It Pops!

  5. Bubble, Bubble, Real Estate Toil and Trouble: Macro Climate for Real Estate Still Sucks, Despite New Bubbles

As this discussion/debate is getting rather lengthy, it will be continued in a later post. In the meantime, interested readers can follow me on twitter or subscribe to BoomBustBlog directly.

Published in BoomBustBlog

Do you remember my recent missive "There’s Something Fishy at the House of Morgan"? Well, in it I queried how it was that JP Morgan can continuously pull risk provisions and reserves to pad quarterly accounting earnings at time when I not only made clear that we are in a real estate depression but the facts actually played out the same. As excerpted from the aforementioned article:

I invite all to peruse the mainstream financial media and sell side Wall Street's take on JP Morgan's Q1 earnings before reading through my take. Pray thee tell me, why is there such a distinct difference? Below are excerpts from the our review of JP Morgan's Q1 results, available to paying subscribers (including valuation and scenario analysis): File Icon JPM Q1 2011 Review & Analysis.

 

Well, I’ve a confession to make. I really do know why there is such a distinct difference. A very similar situation was illustrated in my article on Apple's presence on the Goldman Sachs' "Convict"ion buy list, which I fear is a must read before you finish this article. Reference Goldman Sells Nearly Half $Billion Of Apple Stock Directly Into Their Client’s Conviction Buy Recommendation: Guess Who Really Agrees With Reggie Now! These shenanigans were clearly and plainly illustrated in two recent mainstream articles, believe it or not. Here they are…

Published in BoomBustBlog

On 5/24/11 I recorded a podcast interview with the Sound of Money, an interesting financial show that airs on NYC's WNYE radio. You can listen to 46 and a half minutes of my viewpoints and opinions via this link, Sound-money-interview-of-reggie-middleton-05-24-11. Be sure to peruse the blog of the show as well.

 

Published in BoomBustBlog

Summary: I called it the coming RE Depression in 2007! I put MY money where my mouth was and sold off all of my investment real estate. I put YOUR money where my mouth was and shorted all that had to do with real estate (REITs, banks, builders, insurers). I called almost every major bank collapse months in advance. I warned the .gov bubble blowing does not = organic economic recovery. Now I'm saying we need to, and will, continue what's left of the crash of 2009, with ample global company. There will be no RE recovery this year, and there will be a crash. OK, you heard it here!

First, let's go through the headlines for the day then proceed to breadcrumb trail that clearly led us to where we are now and where we will ultimately end (oh yeah, In Case You Didn’t Get The Memo, The US Is In a Real Estate Depression That Is About To Get Much Worse Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011)

...

Commercial Real Estate

US Commercial Real Estate Prices Decline to Post-Crash Low ...‎ - Bloomberg

U.S. commercial property prices fell to a post-recession low in March as sales of financially distressed assets weighed on the market, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

 

The Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Index dropped 4.2 percent from February and is now 47 percent below the peak of October 2007, Moody’s said in a statement today.

 

The national index has fallen for four straight months as sales of distressed properties hurt real estate values. Investor demand is strongest for well-leased buildings in such major markets as New York and Washington as vacancy rates decline and the economy grows.

 

The index “continues to bounce along the bottom as a large share of distressed transactions preclude a meaningful recovery of overall market prices,” Tad Philipp, Moody’s director of commercial real estate research, said in the statement. “Indeed, the post-peak low in price has been reached in the same period as a post-peak high in distressed transactions has been recorded.”

 

So-called trophy properties in New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco are helping those markets avoid the drag caused by distressed asset sales nationwide, Moody’s reported. Prices of properties of $10 million or more have risen 23 percent since their July 2009 low, according to a separate report issued today.

 

No Recovery Signals

 

The overall index shows “no sign of recovery,” Moody’s said.

 

Almost a third of all March transactions measured by Moody’s were considered distressed, meaning the properties’ owners faced foreclosure, had difficulty covering their mortgage payments or experienced other financial problems. It was the largest proportion of distressed property sales in the history of the index, Moody’s said.

For all of those wondering how CRE can be doing so bad while REITs are doing so well, well I explained it in explicit detail several times in the past. Once we eliminate rampant fraud and bring back mark to market, all will be good again...

  1. The Conundrum of Commercial Real Estate Stocks: In a CRE “Near Depression”, Why Are REIT Shares Still So High and Which Ones to Short?

Published in BoomBustBlog