Thursday, June 29, 2006

Fed Raises Rates by 1/4

Here is the FOMC Press Release:

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to raise its target for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 5-1/4 percent.

Recent indicators suggest that economic growth is moderating from its quite strong pace earlier this year, partly reflecting a gradual cooling of the housing market and the lagged effects of increases in interest rates and energy prices.

Readings on core inflation have been elevated in recent months. Ongoing productivity gains have held down the rise in unit labor costs, and inflation expectations remain contained. However, the high levels of resource utilization and of the prices of energy and other commodities have the potential to sustain inflation pressures.

Although the moderation in the growth of aggregate demand should help to limit inflation pressures over time, the Committee judges that some inflation risks remain. The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information. In any event, the Committee will respond to changes in economic prospects as needed to support the attainment of its objectives.

The FOMC mislead when it stated there is a 'gradual cooling of the housing market.' *Nice* euphemism. The FOMC can't really tell the truth at this time and use a term like 'significant decline' as its utterance would cause a housing panic!

76 comments:

  1. Looks like more rate hikes to come. The Chinese water torture that are these rate hikes continues.

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  2. Like the FED said, looks like it's a gradual cooling (soft landing), not a hard landing as you bubbleheads like to proclaim.

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  3. http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2006/06/housing_leads_t.html

    For some perspective on mortgage interest rates. They're still quite low historically.

    Don't understand all the fuss over another .25% hike - of course, most Americans have stretched themselves so thin with housing and car costs, and have seriously trimmed their savings rates in the process...

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  4. housing panic? that should be a blog name!

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  5. it is! housingpanic.blogspot.com

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  6. Take a look at the rising rates on the ARM's. Ouch!!!


    http://www.freddiemac.com/dlink/html/PMMS/display/PMMSOutputWk.jsp?week=26&ending=20060629

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  7. yea bill gross of pimco too... " a slight bubble in housing"..... how do you keep inflation from exploding while at the same time avoid the deep hard recession that would result from the housing market boom ending and correcting itself....stagflation is very scary and this is the big fear...good job greenspan...trash the place retire and leave a mess...

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  8. "trash the place retire and leave a mess... "

    yeah, sounds about right for the baby-boom generation.

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  9. You know, threads like these are a pleasure to read. It seems when the conversation reverts to the economy as a whole, housing as the unsteady core of it all and how it's bound to come back down to earth, we can have a nice discussion. It's when a photo is shown or any specific area is mentioned around the NCR that the nitpickers come around and try to convince us all that this neighborhood in DC is still increasing by 18% annually or "shut up shut up shut up dc is so wonderful we have so many nice things everyone wants to live here lawyers make $160K a year if i keep repeating all these things maybe it will happen". Which reinforces the fact that even the housingheads realize that housing is gonna bust, they just have a severe case of IDH (it's different here) syndrome.

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  10. Anonymous at 11:42:

    Would you expect anything different than the FED saying that it is a soft landing?

    Why don't you ask someone who bought a place last year in Arizona, Nevada, or Florida if they are having a soft landing. Or perhaps ask those who are having their ARMs reset. There will be $1 trillion of ARMs resetting next year.

    The term "soft landing" sounds a lot nicer than "slow bleeding".

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  11. I do make $160k, and you should shut your hole until you're unbroken streak of being wrong ends.

    My guess is that you are not a lawyer like Nikki described, because you can't seem to write grammatically correct sentences. If you are a real estate broker or agent, you will see your commissions hacked considerably in the coming months and years. I hope you stashed some of your bubble money away.

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  12. ""Why don't you ask someone who bought a place last year in Arizona, Nevada, or Florida if they are having a soft landing."

    Housing Prices:

    Phoenix = +30% YoY

    Vegas = +10% YoY

    Miami = +18% YoY"

    I believe the word is "pwn3d."

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  13. Anyone know what this guy means by giving away a free house? Or did I just read incorrectly.

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/rfs/176573617.html

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  14. waiting for godotJune 29, 2006 10:44 PM

    *Anyone know what this guy means by giving away a free house? Or did I just read incorrectly.*

    I can see how $750k is close to free...what a jackass - shows you the mentality of those greater fool's trying to find someone dumber to buy their house. Good luck finding someone dumber than this guy trying to sell this house.

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  15. this is a scam ... and the guy who wrote doesn't know the meaning of the word "free" ... what I think he is saying is that he has priced the house at $750,000 (it's probably worth $500,000)and he'll "give" you $75,000 to use as a downpayment on loan for the house and pay the closing costs. So, he's not giving you a "free" house since you are taking out a loan for for $675,000 and giving it to him for a house probably worth far less. The problem with this scam is that the house won't appraise for the $675,000 ... also, since the buyer would need to show bank statements going back something like 3 months, the transfer of $75,000 to the buyer from the seller would be pretty obvious AND how would the seller guarantee himself the buyer was going to use it for the purchase since he really couldn't put it in writing now could he? The whoe thing is some scammer idea on how to get rid of his house at a profit to some unsuspecting person. Luckily the lenders would never lend in a situation like this. 'Course, if someone were really fool enough to fall for something like this, I probably wouldn't have pity for them short of their being perhaps elderly or developmentally disabled.

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  16. pwned, you just wait a few months. The peak was late summer/early fall last year, so some appreciation is still cooked into that YoY median. The monthly numbers are bleeding red ink everywhere.

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  17. Lance said...

    "'Course, if someone were really fool enough to fall for something like this, I probably wouldn't have pity for them short of their being perhaps elderly or developmentally disabled."

    Lance, I know you've criticized people's spelling and grammar before, so I feel it's my duty to point out a few errors in the sentence above that must be addressed, so that no one will question your credibility. (And I speak as one who frequently makes errors, too.)

    1. It would have been better to start with the words "Of course..." "'Course" is too, well, coarse. You should also not assume a level of familiarity or comfort with anonymous blog users. It makes you appear "blasse" (note: not "passe," though that word would also apply to your postings on the real estate market).

    2. It would have been better to have written "FEEL pity for them" or "have pity ON them" -- "have pity for them" isn't standard usage, written or spoken.

    3. It would have been better to have bracketed the word "perhaps" (before "elderly") in commas. For example:

    "I think, perhaps, that Lance is a real estate agent, judging by his postings. In other words, he is a shameless real estate shill in the pay of, perhaps, the real estate industry, counteracting the arguments of those critical of the industry on this blog."

    I hope this advice helps you, Lance. Since you freely offer others advice on this blog, I believe it's only fair that we return the favor to you.

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  18. Tell all the YOY good marks to these 2 investors that are losing. Also tell them on their own investor forums that this is a soft landing and to keep buying. I think the word is omgwtfownd

    http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/sdcia/vpost?id=1218242

    http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/sdcia/vpost?id=1205179

    THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY!! Tell that to these 2 :)

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  19. http://sustainlane.com/article/868/%2312+Washington%2C+DC%3A+Leading+by+Example.html

    Good stuff on living in DC.

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  20. "The problem with this scam is that the house won't appraise for the $675,000 ... also, since the buyer would need to show bank statements going back something like 3 months, the transfer of $75,000 to the buyer from the seller would be pretty obvious..."

    Lance, as far as I know, lots of banks out there don't need the 3-month statement any more. The lending standard is quite loose right now. Here is something interesting I read today on another blog contradicts what you've claimed.

    "Just last month, I was present while a friend talked with a loan officer for a major bank.

    The officer said that since my friend intended to put down 20%, the bank would do only a computerized check (something like Zillow I guess) rather than hire an assessor.

    Also, because his credit scores were good, they wouldn't verify income or assests. They needed account numbers but wouldn't actually check the balances. And this is for a "full doc" loan.

    The loan officer kept using the phrase "this might sound strange but..."

    On the positive side, the loan officer strongly suggested a conventional 30-year-fixed mortgage, saying that the adjustable rate options don't offer enough savings anymore to make them worth considering (how true)."

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  21. In my opinion, the housing bubble will not pop because of Bernanke or Greenspan. Bernanke will probably continue raising rates, but too slowly to really pop the bubble.

    In my opinion, the bubble will be popped because foreign investors will start to abandon the dollar, eventually forcing higher interest rates or stagflation.

    A Redskins fan

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  22. anon said:
    "Lance, as far as I know, lots of banks out there don't need the 3-month statement any more. The lending standard is quite loose right now. Here is something interesting I read today on another blog contradicts what you've claimed.

    "Just last month, I was present while a friend talked with a loan officer for a major bank.

    The officer said that since my friend intended to put down 20%, the bank would do only a computerized check (something like Zillow I guess) rather than hire an assessor."

    What the banker said makes a lot of sense. Businesses and government use this kind of screening all the time. For example, only something like 5% of all crates coming into the US get physically examined by Customs agents BUT 100% of them get "screened". The screening is a process that allows you to identify which of the crates might possibly have contraband or terrorist "stuff" in them ... it is based on examining various factors from various sources and coming up with that 2% - 3% that really are questionable ... and then physically examing 5% just to be on the safe side. It wouldn't be possible to physically examine 100% of crates coming in ... Our economy would come to a standstill while the ships lined up at the ports.
    What that banker was talking about was essentially the same thing. If your friend was willing to put up 20% of the sales price, then (1) your friend has a large stake in the deal and (2) there is a lot of room for error in the actual value of the house before the bank gets "burned". The desk appraisal you mention actually is a an appraisal done comparing what the buyer is saying he is buying the house compared to what other similar houses in the neighborhood have sold for. If it is reasonably corredt, then the bank has no chance of getting burned. In the scam example we were talking about, the scam house wouldn't pass muster 'cause it would be far out of range of what houses go for there. I think you are going under the assumption that every one and every transaction must follow the same rules. That just isn't the way it works in business, for good reason. Do you think someone would really ask President Bush to fill out a mortgage application if he needed one? Do you think Clinton did when he bought 6 years ago? You base your "verification/documentation" on the risk of the situation.

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  23. Redskins fan,

    It amazing how you and I seem to agree on what is happening ... but draw 180 degree different conclusions from what is happening. I agree we are heading toward inflation and yes foreigners are starting to abandon our currency 'cause of trade deficits etc. The last time this happened (after Vietnam), what resulted was out of control inflation in this country (and around the world) ... and part of that inflation meant that house prices skyrocketed ... hurting the investors who held the nominally-denominated loans (i.e., the "principal" they had lent was losing value quicker than the interest they were earning could compensate for the losses) and, more importantly for us as homeowners, making our mortgage payments rediculously low in inflated dollars. For example, someone earning $5,000/yr back in 1965 might have paid $25,000 for a house that same year and had mortgage payments of something like $117/mo. By 1979, that same house might have tripled in value to $75,000 and the person might have been making $20,000/yr ... but still paying only $117/mo.
    The mortgage holder now had $50,000 in equity on his house, extremely low payments considering his current salary ... while the lender had a note out there that had lost considerable value because inflation had made the principal (and the monthly mortgage payment) nothing.
    So, seeing as you and I are in agreement as to what is occuring, I would be interested in knowing why you don't think what happened in the 70s under the same circumstances will result in the same benefits to the mortgage holder that they did then?

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  24. This time, housing prices have already skyrocketed. What I mean by stagflation is that now the prices of other things will have to catch up.

    I believe that house prices will return to their more normal prices relative to commodities and consumer goods. Whether this restoration of prices will come because house prices fall back or because the prices of other goods go up will be decided by the monetary authorities. I believe they will choose inflation. Houses already have inflated too much, so I see them staying the same or falling slightly in nominal terms as the nominal prices of everything else comes way up.

    But I could be wrong.

    You are right that IF a person has a fixed loan (and many do NOT), and IF their wages rise with inflation, that their house payment will go down. However, many buyers do NOT have fixed loans, and generally wages react LAST to inflation, because otherwise there wouldn't be any point to the inflation (i.e., raising seignorage by inflating prices while wages do not rise as much).

    A Redskins fan

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  25. Large Mortgage HolderJune 30, 2006 10:02 AM

    Lance,

    I disagree with your "social contract" junk, but your analysis of inflation's effect on homeowners is dead-on.

    Unfortunately, since the consensus that inflation is bad is nearly universal, and the tools for combatting it are widely known, it will take a very manipulative, self-serving President to overcome the anti-inflation bias.

    Hillary in '08!

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  26. Monetary Policy is lagging and RIGHT NOW we are seeing effects of monetary policy from AUG-OCT of 2005. What happens when the last 75 bps of rate hikes, plus future ones of course, go into effect and mortgage rates reach 7.5-8% by late 2007?

    Or do people think this won't happen?

    I think it will and as a result speculative buyers won't be interested in a 'dead' housing market, and regular buyers will be few and far between as they wont be able to afford as much house as they like with lending rates so much higher than 3-4 years ago.

    Housing has cooled in the sense that buyers are NOT CHASING, NO BIDDING WARS, WEAK OH's ACTIVITY which puts those sellers who MUST sell for whatever reason, under pressure to use their ONLY weapon to move their property faster ---> lower asking price!

    Once sellers live through 4,5,6 months of no bids in their self proclaimed 'will accept range' they start to panic and finally come out of denial about their homes true market value.

    To understand this we must look at why a housing market cools? Rising inventory? Check! Rising Interest Rates? Check! Still High Asking Prices w/ slowing Buyer Activity? Check! Buyers market? Check!

    What goes up, usually comes down with time and the fundamentals are all guiding the housing market lower; how do you fight this or argue against it? Housing has had an unsustainable incredible run since 2001 or so due in large part to monetary policy as a result of the dot com bust and recession that followed. This 1 time event is now over and if the fed overshoots (making lending much more expensive) and leads to a recession (job losses) what do you think will happen to housing in 2007-2008-2009?

    Time to buy is when the fed is mid way through a RATE EASING campaign when you still have 1-2 years before those moves go into effect! Im thinking 2008-2009 will be awful for sellers and good for buyers!

    If anything, time is on the side of bueyrs, NOT sellers! How can you argue this after analyzing where we came over the past 3-4 years!

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  27. Lance doesn't use traditional methods of understanding economics and the market.

    He uses a 'faith-based' model - he believes if he says something enough (and emphatically enough, not matter how off base), it will come true; he has faith his blog postings will help him out as a real estate agent by again bringing him eager buyers soon.

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  28. Redskins,

    You and I are on the same page. So, why do you not feel it would be wise for you to buy now with a fixed loan rate. (Which is what I did incidentally.)

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  29. Because I think nominal house prices will be flat to lower in several years, while the prices of other goods and commodities rise.

    I could be wrong. We will see.

    A Redskins fan

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  30. WHY BUYING A HOUSE RIGHT NOW COULD BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR FINANCIAL HEALTH

    http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2006/06/haefling_on_hou.html

    Quoted in full, from one of the best "expert" blogs (i.e., the author profoundly knows what he's writing about, unlike myself and many other bloggers).

    Bit long, but definitely worth the read:

    "Carl Haefling is a portfolio manager in Bainbridge Island... He also has a sharp eye for the Macro-environment, and I often find his take on events intriguing. Following the recent data releases on Housing, he recently observed:


    "Housing stocks topped out in Dec and are now down up to 50% in numerous cases from those highs. It will take a couple of years at least for this scenario to complete itself. A significant decline in the housing market over the next 2 to 6 years is being predicted by housing stocks.

    "It takes time for the housing market to fully unravel, we are in the early stages of stage 1. Stage 1 is where the market begins to recognize that prices have reached levels that reduce affordability and thus the number of possible buyers. Sellers, who have been holding back selling for fear of not selling at the top, begin posting signs advertising their home, usually at prices that reflect the highest paid for a similar home, and suddenly the inventory of homes foresale explodes. This has already happened in many parts of the country. This stage may take one to three years to fully unfold.

    "Stage 2 is price cuts by those who are becoming convinced that the market has softened if they want to sell their home they better cut prices. Once those "reduced" signs start appearing, buyers start reducing offers, even on properties that have been already reduced. Prices will drop far lower then anyone thinks possible in stage 2.

    "Stage 3 is the exhaustive phase. Buyers are afraid to buy, investors have no liquidity, mortgage requirements demand a high down payment and supporting cash flow, and the press is filled with articles claiming real estate is a terrible investment. (which happens to be true in the previous 5 years).

    There are serious other problems that will contribute to this cycle, including a decline in the buying power of the middle class, tilting demographics which will reduce the number of possible buyers beginning about 2010 for real estate and possible shifts in values of owning vs. renting. There remain other problems that are related to real estate but not thought of as being directly connected. A decline in the value of the dollar may force foreign owners of commercial and residential real estate to try and liquefy. Higher interest rates because of inflation or stagflation also impact real estate prices.

    "And one of the unseen values will be the desire to downsize as the cost of insurance (in some high risk hurricane states you cannot get homeowners insurance except through the state at 3 times previous cost) explodes, the cost to heat and air-condition accelerates, and the cost of maintenance become detriments to ownership.

    "A house may go from being something that we take pride in, to becoming a burden."

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  31. but Redskins fan ... even if prices are flat to lower in several years, wouldn't it still make sense to lock in that payment now? I mean, if prices are going to be flat, then it is a no brainer that you are better off starting to take advantage of tax savings, etc now ... since waiting won't do you any good ... and will actually do you harm because interest rates will surely rise in the period between now and then. Ditto if the prices actually do nominally go down a bit. Again, the higher interest rates and the opportunity foregone on tax benefits and the like will more than eat up any savings you might get by buying a little cheaper. I don't know, you and I see the same future, but our reactios are opposites. I think maybe you are more risk adverse than me. By that I mean, you will only go for a 100% sure thing. I don't believe there are 100% sure things in life. You just have to use your best judgement and go for it before the opportunity passes you by. What's that's saying... ? A decision not acted on is a decision made for you by others? ... or something like that!

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  32. Urbandigs--

    I found it intersting that in one Bloomberg story I read last month after BB came out hawkish and guns a-blazin' regarding inflation and how it was at an uncomfortable level, that bonds actually rose. The quote from a broker or whomever was something along the lines of "If the Fed keeps raising on account of inflation pressures, that makes it all the more likely they'll eventually have to cut rates." Huh? Of course they'll cut rates sometime, someday, but it seems to me that nobody wants the party to end. It's the Fed's job to keep the economy from overheating, and one can argue it's been overheated for about 3 years now, and is showing virtually no signs of slowing. Consumer spending continues to rise, gas demand is higher than last year, available credit is everywhere despite all the rhetoric about tightening, etc. With this mindset of traders, I do not think the 30 yr will be up at 7.5-8%. I think it will maybe hang around 7%, but for a short while, and then drift slightly down if there is indeed a pause. No pause, all bets are off. All this whining about these rate hikes when rates are still very low indicates a fundamental weakness in the economy that fears anything but the status quo of the past 5 or so years. Just MHO.

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  33. Nikki: Your humble opinion is totally non-credible given your stated views that you believe homeownership is nothing more than a scam.

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  34. Lance said: "What's that's saying... ? A decision not acted on is a decision made for you by others?"

    No, the saying goes, "No new eras, only new errors" (Alan Abelson) -- like buying in a rushed manner in a declining housing market, because someone suggested you do so. Find what's right for you.

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  35. I think alot of you on this board are losing sight of something. Immigration has brought millions upon millions of immigrants to America. These people were not here 30 years ago. Not to mention, many of them have high birth rates. In addition, as manufacturing and textile jobs have moved to Mexico and other cheap labor countries, the US population has increased significantly. Maybe not in Textile Town, USA. But at least around the urban areas. And that is exactly what has happened. The supply has essentially stayed flat or decreased over the last 30 years. Increased demand for housing vs. flat or declining supply for land leads to an increase in the value/cost of the land. That is economics at its purest form. Now assuming that the vast majority of these immigrants want and need some form of housing, doesn't it just make sense that the cost/value of land should increase? And if the cost of the land increases, the price of housing has to follow.

    So when we talk about the cost of housing in a particular area, you can not lose sight of the cost of the land. While inflation may affect your driving habits or your consumption of certain goods, housing and food are necessities. Noone even considers staglation, inflation, or deflation when it comes to finding a place to stay. They may not be able to afford to buy, but that doesn't deter them from renting. As you see now, as prices have gotten too high, the rents have been increasing. For the people that own places that they rent, this is boom time for us. I own several houses in DC. I can tell you unequivocally that the demand from renters is very high. From my point of view, I fail to see the pending crash.
    With that said, real estate is comprised of many submarkets. The condo market may very well be in TROUBLE. Big Trouble. I see it daily from the people I know that wanted to get rich quick pre contract flipping. I see it from the people that thought they would buy a house, paint it and make 50K. Those people were lazy. And they deserve exactly what they are getting. But for the patient, methodical, long-term homeowners like myself. I see no doom on the horizon. Sorry. I just don't see it.

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  36. "Nikki: Your humble opinion is totally non-credible given your stated views that you believe homeownership is nothing more than a scam."

    Yawn...can't you come up with a new line, particularly when you can't even validate that one?

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  37. nathan--

    If immigration was the solution to the glut of housing and the salvation of all the housing heads, why is it that the state with one of the highest amounts of immigrants has some of the lowest housin gcosts in the nation? While TX has lots of land, so does Vegas...it's called speculation, and the loss of it is what will drive the pending crash.

    Please see here , about halfway down the page, for 9 reasons why it's really not different this time, immigrants or not.

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  38. Nikki said...

    nathan--

    If immigration was the solution to the glut of housing and the salvation of all the housing heads, why is it that the state with one of the highest amounts of immigrants has some of the lowest housin gcosts in the nation? While TX has lots of land, so does Vegas...it's called speculation, and the loss of it is what will drive the pending crash.

    I have friends that invested in TX real estate. They have not done well at all. As I said in my previous post, the US is becoming increasingly centered around its urban cores. That is where the jobs are. Texas and the south, in general, have problems that go beyond this board. So I will address my thoughts on TX. Texas is a very large state. Very large. Yet, as big as it is, it has few major cities. Dallas. Houston. Austin is not a major city. Land in TX is plentiful. While land supply is fixed, in some areas there is more land than the demand for it. Texas would be one. I was in Dallas a couple of years ago and was surprised to see so much vacant land in and around a major city. Also, you must take into account that TX does not do a good job of keeping its immigrants as well. But that just concerns the Mexicans. Many other immigrants enter this country. There are no major universities in TX (other than UT) to attract the upwardly mobile immigrants. The majority are moving to the east and west coasts. The middle of America is essentially becoming a wasteland. Just look at where the real estate boom has occurred. It has been on the coasts. Even major cities like Chicago have been passed over.

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  39. Austin has close to 1 million people right now, one of the country's largest universities, and a large hi-tech industry - not to much a vibrant arts and music scene, plus loads of immigrants. The city is growing and is considered "major" by Texans. No, not Dallas or San Antonio yet, but a magnet for brain power and money.

    Immigrants go where the jobs go, not where the cities are. If the jobs are in cities they go there. But they also go to the farms, industries, and ranches along the border in Texas and throughout the state.

    As for Chicago, it has close to one million Mexicans living in the area alone. Plus Poles and other groups of immigrants increasing in numbers (thanks to high birth rates). Chicago hasn't seen astronomical real estate price increases, unlike DC (which has seen a population shrink the past year). Why? Likely, the absence of speculation. Land ability has little to do with the curretn run-up in prices as of late.

    All this brings me to a point, do you know what you're talking about?

    I don't mind folks thinking out loud, but you seem to do so without any foundation in fact or data. If you have a hunch, fine. But keep it to yourself, unless you can back it up.

    (Note: I've lived and studied Economics and Sociology in Austin and Chicago.)

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  40. reasonably resilientJune 30, 2006 2:17 PM

    Texas has fewer than average land use controls, while Vegas has water availability restrictions. Plus, Vegas is hemmed in by federally owned, non-developable land.

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  41. Nathan Boggs,

    "Even major cities like Chicago have been passed over"

    Have you been to downtown Chicago in the past few years. It is the best in the US. Wonderful!

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  42. Bill,

    You must have slept through the section on demographics. Everyone else knows that DC's population loss is through a change in household size and that the District is seeing an increase in households.

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  43. nikki said:
    " TX has lots of land, so does Vegas."

    TX has lots of buildable land. Vegas does not. Only 11.5 percent of Nevada is privately owned. The federal government controls 86.1 percent, tribes 1.6 and the remaining 0.8 percent is owned by state and local governments.
    http://dcnr.nv.gov/nrp01/land01.htm

    By comparison, 87 percent of Texas' land in is private hands.

    www.texasep.org/html/lnd/lnd_5pub.html

    Your comparison between prices in TX and NV has just helped substantiate Nathan's point that limited land is a big factor in exploding prices. It would be interesting to see how much immigration (legal and illegal)and new births has been going on in each state.

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  44. "I don't mind folks thinking out loud, but you seem to do so without any foundation in fact or data. If you have a hunch, fine. But keep it to yourself, unless you can back it up.

    (Note: I've lived and studied Economics and Sociology in Austin and Chicago.)"

    Where's the fact or data supporting your assertions? Oh, you went to school. Sure, now I'm convinced.

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  45. "Nikki: Your humble opinion is totally non-credible given your stated views that you believe homeownership is nothing more than a scam."

    Yawn...can't you come up with a new line, particularly when you can't even validate that one? "

    Nikki, let me guess, you deleted your comments from your blog after your rant about homeownership being nothing but a scam (a post I read) garned a little attention and rightfully caused readers to question your credibility? And now you ask someone to "validate" that you in fact posted this rant? Just admit it. Your credibility is damaged more by being evasive.

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  46. Anon-
    Can you please provide a link so that the rest of everyone can "know" that? I don't mean to be flip but making a statement that everyone knows something without a source is not reliable. If it's really that well known it should be no trouble to find a link.

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  47. DC Housing aka Bill,

    So, with your economics degree, why are you working in a low paying association job? Were you and A student who understood well the concepts but couldn't apply them to the real world? Or a less-than-stellar student who got his degree by signing on to the 6 yr plan? Curious minds want to know!

    You know you should consider selling real estate. I bet your economics degree would impress a lot of "on the fence" bubbleheads.

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  48. First, I think the FOMC used the right phrase. We might believe a housing correction is coming to the DC area, and I personally think a housing correction is starting, but we're not in the middle of a sharp downturn...yet. "Cooling" is the right phrase to use at this time. Whether the current cooling is a steady state or a precursor to a sharp correction is the subject of our debates, and the FOMC doesn't exist to take sides in debates.

    First, as Ed Glaeser (the best housing economist in the biz) points out, land-use controls do partly drive higher housing prices in certain locales, like DC and LA and New York. And it's not because these controls make life better. The difference between hedonically identical houses on a quarter acre of land in LA and a half acre of land in LA aren't that different. That indicates that demand for land is not the driver of high housing prices, which explodes a lot of the "amenity" stories that people tell. Instead, land-use controls and other types of zoning add to housing prices because the right to build a house becomes very valuable. Ideas like making developers build low-income housing and other controls would only worsen the problem.

    But even Glaeser believes that the runup in housing prices in areas like NY, Boston, LA, and DC over the last 5 years is excessive, and that housing prices are due for a correction.

    Everybody here seems to agree that condo prices are due for a bigtime correction, even the "housingheads".

    As for townhomes and single family homes...it gets dicey.

    If housing prices stay flat or slowly fall for a long enough time as inflation rolls by, that's a fairly steep real-dollar drop. Does that count as a correction?

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  49. Again I ask you to post a link, and you can't, so you claim I deleted some of my own comments from my blog? Next time why don't you try contributing to the discussion instead of...well, what exactly are you trying to do by not just trolling, but lying? Make me feel badly about myself, shut my blog down, make me stop posting, attempt to discredit me by insulting me? Good luck with that...

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  50. anon,

    You really hit a nerve with Nikki. I think she's having a meltdown!

    Quick someone! Get the Bubblemedics in here!

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  51. Nikki,

    Thanks for holding other people to a higher standard than yourself.

    Try a thought experiment:

    Lots and Lots of new construction plus gentricfication = ????

    (Hint: see also posts from rental property owners as anecdotal evidence re vacancies)

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  52. DC Housing News said...

    "Austin has close to 1 million people right now, one of the country's largest universities, and a large hi-tech industry - not to much a vibrant arts and music scene, plus loads of immigrants. The city is growing and is considered "major" by Texans. No, not Dallas or San Antonio yet, but a magnet for brain power and money."

    Immigrants go where the jobs go, not where the cities are. If the jobs are in cities they go there. But they also go to the farms, industries, and ranches along the border in Texas and throughout the state.


    Sure immigrants go where the jobs are. That is why DC is attracting more and more highly skilled immigrants. Not just Mexicans. But Koreans. Vietnamese. Africans. Mexicans catch their first break in TX and move on. My contractor came to America through TX. He moved through AL to GA before making his way here. He's now in DC. And has never thought about going back to TX.

    As for Chicago, it has close to one million Mexicans living in the area alone. Plus Poles and other groups of immigrants increasing in numbers (thanks to high birth rates). Chicago hasn't seen astronomical real estate price increases, unlike DC (which has seen a population shrink the past year). Why? Likely, the absence of speculation. Land ability has little to do with the curretn run-up in prices as of late.



    All this brings me to a point, do you know what you're talking about?

    I don't mind folks thinking out loud, but you seem to do so without any foundation in fact or data. If you have a hunch, fine. But keep it to yourself, unless you can back it up.

    (Note: I've lived and studied Economics and Sociology in Austin and Chicago.)

    Austin has ~1MM people. If Austin ain't San Antonio yet, then how major could it be? Austin is no major city by any means. Major cities have busy major airports (Laguardia, LAX, SFO, Ohare). Big time newspapers. UT at the end of the day is a football school. Detroit has close to 1MM people. It is not a major city either. Sure, Texans may see Austin as being major. But it doesn't matter what they think. It matters what the world thinks. Example: Point out the major cities on this list. You can only choose the TOP five.
    -Boston
    -DC
    -LA
    -San Fran
    -NYC
    -Austin
    -Dallas
    -Houston
    See anything common about that list? The coastal cities have had real estate booms. The others have not.
    Sure immigrants go where the jobs are. That is why DC is attracting more and more highly skilled immigrants. Not just Mexicans. But Koreans. Vietnamese. Africans. Mexicans catch their first break in TX and move on. My contractor came to America through TX. He moved through AL to GA before making his way here. He's now in DC. And has never thought about going back to TX.

    Are you saying that Chicago doesn't have speculators? A large part of their economy is centered on people that speculate on corn, soybeans and pork bellies for a living. Even the weather. But there are no real estate speculators? Incredulous. You give too much credit to the speculators. Chicago is in the same boat as second tier cities like ATL, Dallas, and Houston. They are major cities in size alone. Take away the Merc, CBOT, University of Chicago Business School and the Sears Tower and what's significant? That is part opinion, part truth. Actually the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Chicago are the notorious housing projects.
    If you are such an accomplished economist, you should understand and appreciate the role of speculators in any economy.
    (Note: I have lived and studied Economics, Finance in DC and NYC. I have a MBA and passed the first two levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam.)

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  53. Nikki:

    You have posted on the comments section of this blog statements as to how homeownership is nothing more than a scam. Even David acknowledged that that kind of thinking was out in the fringes.

    So let's end this little tangent of yours and get to the heart of the matter:

    1) Do you deny posting comments on this site stating that home ownership is a scam?

    2) Do you deny believing that home ownership is a scam?

    Simple yes or no answers.

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  54. Bill:

    How many alisases to you have? Why the new "dc housing news"? Why not just stick with your old alias, or one of the plethora of aliases you created to hype this blog about your own blog?

    How is that blog doing, by the way? It must be pretty lonely sitting in a virtual room by yourself.

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  55. Nathan/ DC Housing,

    Blaming the "speculators" is blaming the sympthoms for the problem rather than the underlying disease. It is not seeing the forest for the trees.

    Speculators show up in a real estate market only when their is gravy to be ladled off the top. They don't cause the problem, but profit from it. They are the vultures that hover around a dead carcass, and not the beast that left the carcass to rot in the sun. Do you see what I am saying? Chicago has no real estate speculators 'cause there is nothing for them to speculate over. Would you speculate over a flat market?

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  56. Nikki, for what it's worth, and please don't make people post proof of what you've previously stated, that's very poor form:


    At May 25, 2006 3:14 PM, Nikki said...
    Anon 2:11
    "By the price a willing buyer will pay to own it. The owner of the house owns that value."

    Yes, the owner of the house owns that value, but that owner is the bank. The person who is residing in the house and paying the mortgage has paper equity, none of which materializes until it is sold for that amount. This is all a giant scam, and anyone banking on their home to make them wealthy is the sucker. I feel sorry for the boomers who truly believe their house will allow them to retire comfortably. Even if prices just stagnate, these people will have nothing--inflation will have pissed all their "equity" away.

    http://bubblemeter.blogspot.com/2006/05/one-year-anniversary.html

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  57. Wow, I hit a nerve. I go to the bathroom and return to find dozens of angry postings. No idea there would be more sh*t posted here than what I deposited in the toilet!

    Thanks for all the attention -- nice to know anonymous bloggers care so much for what I write.

    Have a good weekend, guys.

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  58. Nathan Boggs - "UT at the end of the day is a football school."

    I don't care what you've studied. Statements like that are moronic.

    UT's MBA program ranking is higher than any of the DC-Baltimore area schools.

    UT's law school ranking is only two places behind Georgetown's.

    UT's Economics PhD program leaves all of the DC area universities in its dust (with the possible exception of U MD.)

    In fact, there is simply no DC area school that is as strong in as many different graduate programs as UT.

    Yes, and UT is good at football, too.

    By the way, I have no loyalties to UT. I didn't go there. But "UT at the end of the day is a football school" is a spectacularly stupid statement.

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  59. someone needs to visit http://www.bannedmembers.com

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  60. See Mish's Global economic analysis here for an explanation of how the changes in the Fed's comments released with this recent hike inidcate that they seem to be more concerned with inflation now, not less, and that the rally may have been overdone. One in particular can be found in the excerpt on David's blog..."However, the high levels of resource utilization and of the prices of energy and other commodities have the potential to sustain inflation pressures." Hell, the dovish nature of the statement as traders took it was enough to drive up the price of oil all by itself--if they stop raising rates, the economy won't slow and therefore oil demand won't moderate. It's an ugly conundrum.

    And thanks for proving my point...yes Fritz, I deny both of those things, and I challenge you or anyone to prove it. I cannot prove a negative, but obviously this purported statement of mine really left an impression, so why is it so difficult to find? That quote from me above is not only irrelevant to a "scam", but actually a correct, cogent thought. But I'm glad to be in your thoughts so often!

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  61. Dammit, the site is www.globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com.

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  62. Nikki,

    As anon said above "everyone knows" that assets are the best protection against inflation.

    Your statement:

    "...inflation will have pissed all their "equity" away"

    is just fundamentally false. Your error is neither original nor cogent.

    And if a link makes it true, click on the Housing Panic blog for many lengthy treatises on inflation hedges.

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  63. "As anon said above "everyone knows" that assets are the best protection against inflation."

    So, so, true. The only better hedge is capital being repaid at a lower than inflation interest rate. The folks who took out 5% mortgages over the last couple years will be really coming out ahead when inflation hits something like 10%. They will have made the deals of the century because they will in effect be being paid to borrow money. Not a bad deal at all!

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  64. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  65. nikki -

    you said:
    ""...inflation will have pissed all their "equity" away""

    This is outright incorrect because hard assets are the best protection for one's wealth in inflationary times. Currency, bank accounts, anything fairly liquid loses value when there is inflation simply because price inflation really means nothing more than liquid asset devaluation. That is, since it takes more and more of that liquid asset to buy something as inflation ups prices, the liquid asset moneytary value drops. Hard assets such as land, hold their value. Gold, land, etc.

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  66. Nikki,

    I noticed you deleted your post asking how your statement could be incorrect. I guess you understand why it is incorrect now?

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  67. gb-
    Can you elaborate on how my statement is wrong? If you're going to say I'm in error, would it not be more useful to correct me? How is it incorrect that if prices just stagnate at current levels for several years, many people's equity will be pissed away? It's not my original thought, but thanks for giving me the credit. Another nicer way to say it, if that's what you'd prefer, is that it's the refreshing pause that allows wages to catch up with prices--again, not my original thought,, and that may be the best possible outcome,even according to the FDIC. Check out the conclusion section in this study.
    "Conclusions
    Our analysis of the OFHEO historical home price data shows that metro-area housing booms don’t last forever. But what matters to lenders and borrowers alike is the manner in which housing booms end. In over 80 percent of the metro-area price booms we examined between 1978 and 1998, the boom ended in a period of stagnation that allowed household incomes to catch up with local home prices. While neither lenders nor current homeowners particularly like stagnation in home prices, such an outcome represents a necessary adjustment in market conditions that helps bring home prices within the reach of new homebuyers.

    Mortgage lenders and borrowers encountered a great deal more distress in the 21 episodes of U.S. metro-area housing busts identified between 1978 and 1998. Fortunately, based on the criteria we use to define a housing bust, such an outcome can be characterized as relatively rare. In fact, only 17 percent of the housing booms identified during this period led to a subsequent bust, and where busts occurred they were typically preceded by significant distress in the local economy. To the extent that local factors continue to determine home price trends, the expectation would be that metro-area home price busts will continue to be relatively rare.

    However, the broadening of the U.S. housing boom during 2004 may imply a growing role for national factors–including mortgage credit conditions–in explaining recent home price trends. More research is needed to establish exactly what role, if any, changes in the cost and availability of mortgage credit played in the expansion of the U.S. housing boom in 2004. But to the extent that credit conditions are driving home price trends, the implication would be that a reversal in mortgage market conditions–where interest rates rise and lenders tighten their standards–could contribute to an end of the housing boom. While our analysis shows that boom does not necessarily lead to bust, it remains to be seen to what degree the current situation might differ from our previous experience in U.S. housing markets."

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  68. Lance--
    No, I actually thought I needed to add some more. But don't worry, I copied and pasted the initial post as is at the top of this one. Hope that satisfies your jones for my two cents, man you spend alot of time here.

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  69. Nikki said...
    "Lance--
    No, I actually thought I needed to add some more. But don't worry, I copied and pasted the initial post as is at the top of this one. Hope that satisfies your jones for my two cents, man you spend alot of time here."

    But do you understand now how GB was right when he said your statement re: inflation was incorrect? I.e., do you understand that placing your money in a house protects it from inflation and not vice versa?

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  70. Nikki,

    The more you write, the more you're right?

    Their is no way anyone can argue with your straw man. Unless, of course, the logic in your straw man is fundamentally flawed as well. Which is a distinct possibility, but I couldn't read the whole comment.

    Not too many people are going to define stagnating prices as inflation, though.

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  71. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  72. GB,

    You may have noticed by now, that the bubble-universe is an alternate universe: "House prices have risen, so we're now going to have a Great Depression that is going to lead to great stagflation and deflation ... and I can then buy a house 'cause my salary will have remained the same despite all the other changes in the economy." "Inflation will eat away at the price of a house that others have bought but it won't touch my savings in the bank or stockmarket ... so then I can buy a house which will not be eaten away by inflation when I own it." "Buying a house should be strictly a financial decision not based on emotions, so when I go to buy my house, I don't care if high interest rates mean a higher payment as long as I can buy my house because it is
    priced 50% cheaper on "paper" than what it is now."

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  73. http://www.washtimes.com/fhg/20060621-085645-6351r.htm

    "'The rental market is very good right now,' says Leonard Wood, an apartment and condo builder from Atlanta and chairman of the National Association of Home Builder's Multifamily Leadership Board."

    We read and think seriously about what the experts, economists, and smart money say about housing nowadays - and you are none of those things, Mr. Lance.

    Buyers beware.

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  74. “Lance said...

    ……You may have noticed by now, that the bubble-universe is an alternate universe…..”

    Yep, one based on numbers, facts, and spread sheets.
    Yours? Based on what the realtor told you. How much was that commission again?

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