Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
How to Get Rich in the MetaVerse - 20th Jan 21
Should you Buy Payment Disruptor Stocks in 2022? - 20th Jan 21
2022 the Year of Smart devices, Electric Vehicles, and AI Startups - 20th Jan 21
Oil Markets More Animated by Geopolitics, Supply, and Demand - 20th Jan 21
WARNING - AI STOCK MARKET CRASH / BEAR SWITCH TRIGGERED! - 19th Jan 22
Fake It Till You Make It: Will Silver’s Motto Work on Gold? - 19th Jan 22
Crude Oil Smashing Stocks - 19th Jan 22
US Stagflation: The Global Risk of 2022 - 19th Jan 22
Stock Market Trend Forecast Early 2022 - Tech Growth Value Stocks Rotation - 18th Jan 22
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Are We Setting Up For A 'Mini-Crash'? - 18th Jan 22
Mobile Sports Betting is on a rise: Here’s why - 18th Jan 22
Exponential AI Stocks Mega-trend - 17th Jan 22
THE NEXT BITCOIN - 17th Jan 22
Gold Price Predictions for 2022 - 17th Jan 22
How Do Debt Relief Services Work To Reduce The Amount You Owe? - 17th Jan 22
RIVIAN IPO Illustrates We are in the Mother of all Stock Market Bubbles - 16th Jan 22
All Market Eyes on Copper - 16th Jan 22
The US Dollar Had a Slip-Up, but Gold Turned a Blind Eye to It - 16th Jan 22
A Stock Market Top for the Ages - 16th Jan 22
FREETRADE - Stock Investing Platform, the Good, Bad and Ugly Review, Free Shares, Cancelled Orders - 15th Jan 22
WD 14tb My Book External Drive Unboxing, Testing and Benchmark Performance Amazon Buy Review - 15th Jan 22
Toyland Ferris Wheel Birthday Fun at Gulliver's Rother Valley UK Theme Park 2022 - 15th Jan 22
What You Should Know About a TailoredPay High Risk Merchant Account - 15th Jan 22
Best Metaverse Tech Stocks Investing for 2022 and Beyond - 14th Jan 22
Gold Price Lagging Inflation - 14th Jan 22
Get Your Startup Idea Up And Running With These 7 Tips - 14th Jan 22
What Happens When Your Flight Gets Cancelled in the UK? - 14th Jan 22
How to Profit from 2022’s Biggest Trend Reversal - 11th Jan 22
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Are We Ready To Drop To 4400SPX? - 11th Jan 22
What's the Role of an Affiliate Marketer? - 11th Jan 22
Essential Things To Know Before You Set Up A Limited Liability Company - 11th Jan 22
NVIDIA THE KING OF THE METAVERSE! - 10th Jan 22
Fiscal and Monetary Cliffs Have Arrived - 10th Jan 22
The Meteoric Rise of Investing in Trading Cards - 10th Jan 22
IBM The REAL Quantum Metaverse STOCK! - 9th Jan 22
WARNING Failing NVME2 M2 SSD Drives Can Prevent Systems From Booting - Corsair MP600 - 9th Jan 22
The Fed’s inflated cake and a ‘quant’ of history - 9th Jan 22
NVME M2 SSD FAILURE WARNING Signs - Corsair MP600 1tb Drive - 9th Jan 22
Meadowhall Sheffield Christmas Lights 2021 Shopping - Before the Switch on - 9th Jan 22
How Does Insurance Work In Europe? Find Out Here - 9th Jan 22
MATTERPORT (MTTR) - DIGITIZING THE REAL WORLD - METAVERSE INVESTING 2022 - 7th Jan 22
Effect of Deflation On The Gold Price - 7th Jan 22
Stock Market 2022 Requires Different Strategies For Traders/Investors - 7th Jan 22
Old Man Winter Will Stimulate Natural Gas and Heating Oil Demand - 7th Jan 22
Is The Lazy Stock Market Bull Strategy Worth Considering? - 7th Jan 22
METAVERSE - NEW LIFE FOR SONY AGEING GAMING GIANT? - 6th Jan 2022
What Elliott Waves Show for Asia Pacific Stock and Financial Markets 2022 - 6th Jan 2022
Why You Should Register Your Company - 6th Jan 2022
4 Ways to Invest in Silver for 2022 - 6th Jan 2022
UNITY (U) - Metaverse Stock Analysis Investing for 2022 and Beyond - 5th Jan 2022
Stock Market Staving Off Risk-Off - 5th Jan 2022
Gold and Silver Still Hungover After New Year’s Eve - 5th Jan 2022
S&P 500 In an Uncharted Territory, But Is Sky the Limit? - 5th Jan 2022

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

U.S. Housing Market Rebound? Not so fast!

Housing-Market / US Housing Oct 30, 2009 - 01:37 AM GMT

By: Mike_Whitney

Housing-Market

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleSenate Democrats are a dogged bunch. And they're not easily deterred from their primary duty of kowtowing the big banks. Case in point, the first-time home-buyer tax credit, the controversial bill which provides an $8,000 tax credit (re: subsidy) for new home buyers. Changes in the bill, will provide a $6,500 credit to homeowners "earning up to $250,000 for couples" if they have lived in their home for five years.


The Senate is pressing ahead with the bill despite overwhelming disapproval from liberal and conservative economists. Their main objection? It's a waste of money. The Brookings Institute estimates that the $8,000 credit costs taxpayers $43,000 per home. This is based on the fact that 85% of the nearly 2 million buyers were planning to buy a home anyway. The new add-ons to the bill mean that its final costs will be much greater than originally anticipated.

The senate bill is nothing but a $6,500 bribe to keep people in their homes and out of foreclosure. It's another giveaway to the banks so they don't have to face the mountain of debt they generated through fraudulent loans. The banks aren't satisfied with merely blowing up the financial system and extracting trillions of dollars from taxpayers to fix the mess they left behind. Now they want to ensure that they're a constant drain on public resources, by diverting dollars earmarked for healthcare or state aid into broken institutions run by high-stakes gamblers. The Congress has played a critical role in this fiasco.

The Senate has also shrugged off the many reports of fraud related to the home-buyer credit. Here's an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal which summarizes hundreds of similar stories:

"News of the latest taxpayer-funded mortgage scam has traveled fast. The Treasury's inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, recently told Congress that at least 19,000 filers hadn't purchased a home when they claimed the credit. For another 74,000 filers, claiming a total of $500 million in credits, evidence suggests that they weren't first-time buyers.

Among those claiming bogus credits, at least some of them were definitely first-timers. The credit has already been claimed by 500 people under the age of 18, including a four-year-old. This pre-K housing whiz likely bought because mom and dad make too much to qualify for the full credit...

As a "refundable" tax credit, it guarantees the claimants will get cash back even if they paid no taxes. A lack of documentation requirements also makes this program a slow pitch in the middle of the strike zone for scammers. The Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department are pursuing more than 100 criminal investigations related to the credit, and the IRS is reportedly trying to audit almost everyone who claims it this year." ("First Time Fraudsters", Wall Street Journal)

Does it bother senators that the public is being plucked like a Thanksgiving turkey, once again?

Everything that has been done to prop up the ailing housing market, has really been aimed at helping the banks. The Fed has launched the biggest government intervention in history-- purchasing more than $900 billion in mortgage-backed securities, $200 billion in agency debt, and another $300 billion in long-term US Treasuries--all to stabilize a market which was sabotaged by the Fed's low interest rates and the banks abyssal lending standards. Private label "securitized" mortgages have defaulted at 5-times the rate of conventional loans, clear proof of fraud.

The Fed's capital injections will eventually add $2 trillion to the aggregate value of the residential real estate market. The Fed is doing its best to prevent the market from clearing by keeping home prices artificially high. That's the only way to avoid more bank failures.

The Fed's intervention is a sign of desperation. In the long-run, the action is unlikely to have any bearing on prices which will be determined by incomes and supply. Housing inventory is still unusually high, which is putting downward pressure on prices. Distress sales (short sales, foreclosures etc) represent 45 percent of all home sales, which reduces the number of creditworthy buyers for organic sales.

So, what has the Fed's multi-trillion dollar intervention achieved aside from creating a fake market with fake interest rates, fake financing, fake down-payment ($8,000 first-time home buyer giveaway) and fake media coverage of a fake rebound. Not much, really. The Wall Street Journal's James Hagerty sums it up like this in "Uncle Sam Adds 5% to Prices of Homes, Goldman Says":

"Uncle Sam’s interventions in the housing market have pushed home prices 5% higher on a national average than they would have been otherwise, Goldman Sachs estimates in a report released late Friday....
...

But these artificial props won’t last forever and may have created a false bottom in the market.

“The risk of renewed home-price declines remains significant,” Goldman economist Alec Phillips writes in the report, “and our working assumption is a further 5% to 10% decline by mid-2010.” (James Hagerty The Wall Street Journal)

Over $1 trillion has been committed so far, and prices have budged a mere 5%. Does Fed chair Ben Bernanke really believe this is an affordable plan?

The Administration’s Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) will have only a marginal effect on the rate of foreclosures when the next wave of pay-option adjustable-rate mortgages and other oddball loans come due. And, when the loans reset, more banks will default pushing even more inventory onto the market at firesale prices. Foreclosures have exceeded 300,000 for the last 3 months and the inventory-backlog suggests the worst is still to come.

This is from Diana Golobay at housingwire.com:

"Recent analysis by the Amherst Securities Group indicates the housing industry will not only worsen as a delayed pipeline of foreclosed loans begins to liquidate, but that the Administration’s Making Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) will have no lasting effect on keeping delinquent loans current...

Amherst estimates this “shadow inventory” at around 7m housing units, or 135% of a full year of existing home sales, compared with 1.27m units in this bucket in early 2005. The backlog is due to high transition rates, low cure rates and a longer timeline for loan liquidation — in other words, loans continue to transition into the delinquency/foreclosure pipeline at a rapid pace, but are moving out at a very slow pace.

The loans, however, are “destined to liquidate” and will impact the signs of recovery seen in recent months by pulling down house prices through distressed sales.("Amherst Sees 7m Foreclosures Poised to Distress House Prices", Diana Golobay, housingwire.com)

So, what can Bernanke do to head-off a bigger meltdown in housing?

The Fed revealed its long-term strategy in the minutes of its September 22-23 FOMC meeting. Here's an except from the Fed's statement:

"The Committee agreed that it would continue to evaluate the timing and overall amounts of its purchases of securities in light of the evolving economic outlook and conditions in financial markets. Members discussed the importance of maintaining flexibility to expand the asset purchase programs should the economic outlook deteriorate or to scale back the programs should economic and financial conditions improve more than anticipated."

In other words, the Fed is planning to continue its quantitative easing (QE) program (monetisation) which pumps liquidity into the system and puts more downward pressure on the dollar. Bernanke is trying to inflate-away the problems in housing, but with little success. In fact, according to Robert Shiller, who created the index for measuring house prices in 20 major cities, the Fed may have generated another bubble. This is from the UK Telegraph:

"The S&P Case-Shiller index... showed that house prices were up 1 percent from the previous month, following a 1.2 percent increase in July. However, August's prices were still down 11.3 percent year-on-year, highlighting the continued problems in the market as a whole. Professor Shiller, who is credited with calling both the late 1990's tech market bubble and the bubble that led to the US property market crash three years ago, pointed to price increases in areas including San Francisco and Minneapolis, which have seen double-digit gains in the last four months. He said that if these rises are viewed on an annualised basis they could be seen as "bubble territory.'" (UK Telegraph)

Housing prices will continue to tumble through 2010 no matter what the Fed does. In fact, on Wednesday the Commerce Dept reported that sales of new one-family houses in September dropped to a rate of 402,000, down 3.8 percent from August. That's 7.8 percent below 2008, well below economists worst predictions. The news sent stocks plummeting.

The sense that the economy is returning to normal, is an illusion nurtured by the financial media. This week's dismal consumer confidence data, shows that the public "isn't buying it". And, neither are investors, who continue to avoid equities despite a seven-month, 68 percent rally in global stocks. According to Bloomberg, "Almost 40 percent of investors and analysts in the latest quarterly survey... say they are still hunkering down. U.S. investors are even more cautious, with more than 50 percent saying they are in a defensive crouch." The mood is grim. The public has lost faith in the media, in the Fed, and in public institutions. The "cheery predictions" are no longer having any effect. No doubt, this will make it even harder to stabilize the teetering housing market.

By Mike Whitney

Email: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Mike is a well respected freelance writer living in Washington state, interested in politics and economics from a libertarian perspective.

Mike Whitney Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in