Richard Suttmeier: Home Prices Could Fall Another 50%

Home Short Sales Bring Real Estate Prices Down

The housing market continues to deteriorate.

Thursday’s report on May pending home sales was down 30% from the prior month and nearly 16% vs. a year ago.

The market weakness spans the country. Sales in the Northeast, Midwest and South fell more than 30%, the bright spot, the West, only fell 21%.The news comes after last week’s record low new home sales in May, which plummeted nearly 33%. Experts say the expiration of the new homebuyer tax credit is to blame for the sudden market softness.

Unfortunately, the market could get worse and prices could fall further, says Richard Suttmeier of ValuEngine.com. High unemployment and struggling community banks are two main causes. Saddled with bad housing and construction loans, local banks will continue to restrict lending.Plus, the failure of the Obama administration’s mortgage modification program means a steady flow of short sales. “People are going to be surprised when they see there have been short sales,” which negatively impact appraisals in the local community, says Suttmeier.How low can prices go?Using the S&P/Case-Shiller index as his guide, Suttmeier suggests homes across the country could lose half their value. “If it gets back, like stocks, back to the 1999-2000 levels, that’s another 50% down in home prices,” he says.

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Richard Suttmeier says, “Forget the Double-Dip,” We Won’t Kick the Recession Until We Start Creating Jobs”

The stock market continued its sell-off Thursday as investors await Friday’s June unemployment report. The consensus estimate among economists is for a loss of at least 100,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to inch up to 9.8%.The jobs data we have already received this week also doesn’t suggest positive news. This week’s initial jobless claims were worse than expected, growing by 13,000 to 472,000. The four-week moving average is now 466,500. That’s well above normal levels, even during a recession. “350,00 is the recessionary threshold,” says ValuEngine.com’s Richard Suttmeier.The private sector is still not creating enough jobs to make a dent. Wednesday’s ADP report counted a disappointing 13,000 new jobs in the private sector in June. Remember, the government’s data only showed 41,000 new private sector jobs in May.The poor job market is proof the economy remains in a prolonged recession, says Suttmeier, noting that in December 2007, when the recession began, the unemployment rate was below 5%. “Forget the double dip, we’re not out of the first dip, based on that statistic alone.”There is one shred of silver lining, at least when it comes to stocks, Suttmeier tells Aaron in this clip. “The market reaction to the negative side has already occurred this week, so you may get a relief rally,” even if the jobs data is weak.

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Robert Shiller, Market Boom “Can’t Be Trusted”

The strength of the recovery in the housing market has surprised a lot of people, including Yale Professor Robert Shiller.”This is historic,” Shiller says of the recent snapback in the Case-Shiller Index. “It’s V-shaped. We’ve never seen it before. That makes it hard to know from statistical basis what it portends.”Are we on track for a repeat of irrational exuberance?With the stock market up more than 50% since March and the Standard & Poor’s Case/Shiller Index on the rise for the last three months, it’s a worry, says Yale Professor Robert Shiller. “Somehow we got into this really speculative mentality and I don’t think we’re out of it yet.”

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Commercial Real Estate Market – Next Shoe to Drop

Great Dpression Homless Man

Great Depression Homless Man

NYC Commercial Real Estate Wreckage

Here’s the scary thing about the commercial real estate situation:   It’s not even starting to get better, actually — Things are still getting worse faster says Moody’s.

The Moody’s Delinquency Tracker (DQT) measured a 41 basis point increase in the month of September. The DQT now stands at 3.64%. This represents a 310 basis points increase over the same time last year. The DQT is now nearly 350 basis points higher than the low of 0.22% reached in July 2007.

September had the largest monthly basis point change in the history of the tracker. The 41 basis point increase is slightly larger than the increases in May and June earlier this year. The tracker resumed its large monthly growth after a lower than average change in August.

The average rise in delinquency in the past six months is 34 basis points. This compares to a three basis point average increase for the same six month period in 2008 (April through September). In 2009 the delinquency rate has risen 269 basis points, nearly tripling since the beginning of the year.

The PBS NewsHour took a look at the bearish obsession du jour, the commercial real estate market.  Real estate analyst Bob White took them around to show some of the ugliest cases out there in New York City.

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-guided-tour-of-nyc-commercial-real-estate-wreckage-video-2009-10

Moody’s Delinquency Tracker - Commercial Real Estate

Moody’s Delinquency Tracker - Commercial Real Estate

Marc Faber Is “Highly Confident” the Future Will Be Very Bleak: See Video on Tech Ticker – Yahoo! Finance

“The future will be a total disaster, with a collapse of our capitalistic system as we know it today, wars, massive government debt defaults and the impoverishment of large segments of Western society,” Marc Faber writes in the September issue of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report.A statement like that pretty much speaks for itself, but it’s a bit more complicated than appears on first blush.Faber has been bullish — especially on commodities and emerging market stocks — for some time now and believes the current global recovery trade will last another two-to-three years, as discussed in more detail in a forthcoming clip. But he has major long-term concerns about the dollar’s long-term viability given rising U.S. deficits, massive unfunded mandates and the fact “we have a money-printer at the Fed.”This combination will eventually lead to runaway inflation, wholesale debasement of the dollar, and a major lowering of living standards for most Americans and many Europeans as well, says Faber, who is “highly confident” in this grim prediction.

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Marc Faber – Emerging Market Economies Will Challenge and Surpass the West

Marc Faber has an informal rule never to spend more than 10 days in a country before rushing to the next one. In addition to lots of frequent-flyer miles, this gives him the chance to see firsthand how lots of the world is doing.So how’s it doing?Better than the U.S., says Faber, the editor of the The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report.In the U.S. we have a “structural unemployment” problem. We have a debt problem. We have an economy-propped-up-by-frantic-government-spending problem. And, by in large, while the rich get richer, the middle class does not benefit, especially during the boom days earlier this decade.The rest of the world has problems, too, of course, Faber says, but they’re not as bad as ours. He’s observed businesses in emerging markets in Asia are less vulnerable to market fluctuations because they tend to be cash rich, and therefore less reliant on debt and leverage. He also says there’s a hunger and competition, in countries like China and India, that’s missing in the U.S.So go ahead and enjoy the “v-shaped” recovery while it lasts, says Faber, who has already fled to Hong Kong.

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Buffett Says, We Are Doomed – We’re Going to Be Crushed Under A Mountain of Debt

A highly influential American has finally hit the panic button about the tremendous mountain of debt the country is piling up.Last year, Warren Buffett says, we were justified in using any means necessary to stave off another Great Depression. Now that the economy is beginning to recover, however, we need to curtail our out-of-control spending, or we’ll destroy the value of the dollar and many Americans’ life savings.Some not-so-fun facts from Buffett’s editorial today in the New York Times: * Congress is now spending 185% of what it takes in * Our deficit is a post WWII record of 13% of GDP * Our debt is growing by 1% a month * We are borrowing $1.8 trillion a year$1.8 trillion is a lot of money. Even if the Chinese lend us $400 billion a year and Americans save a remarkable $500 billion and lend it to the government, we’ll still need another $900 billion.So, where’s it going to come from? Most likely the printing press. And, ultimately, Buffett says, that will destroy the value of the dollar.

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One In Three Chance You’ll Soon Owe More Than Your House Is Worth: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

One In Three Chance You’ll Soon Owe More Than Your House Is WorthPosted Aug 20, 2009 11:15am EDT by Henry BlodgetRelated: xhb, tol, len, kbh, dhi, phmForeclosure rates in the U.S. remain near record highs. More than 13% of American homeowners with a mortgage are either behind on their payments or in foreclosure. The latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, released today, shows the percentage of loans that entered the foreclosure process dipped slightly to 1.36%, down from an all-time high of 1.37% in the first quarter.However, that number may soon rise again as mortgage delinquency rates continued to climb in the second quarter.That news is no surprise to Karen Weaver of Deutsche Bank. She startled everyone a few weeks ago when she predicted that, by 2011, nearly half of American mortgage holders would be underwater (meaning that they’ll owe more on their mortgages than their houses were worth).Half of mortgage holders means about one-third of American households. Put another way, Weaver forecasts 25 million mortgage holders will be under water by 2011, up from an estimated 14 million currently.Aside from the mega-bummer of owing the bank more than your house is worth, underwater mortgages exacerbate another problem: foreclosures. In previous housing busts, being underwater led to a greater likelihood of default, and Weaver believes this the foreclosure problem will be much worse this time around.In a recent report, Weaver analyzed all the various kinds of mortgages in the US and estimated that 48% of them would be underwater by 2011. This includes “prime” borrowers, of whom a startling 41% will be underwater.

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Bob Prechter “Quite Sure” Next Wave Down Will Be Bigger and March Lows Will Break

Yes, the late 2007-early 2009 market debacle was just a warm-up to what Prechter believes will be the bear market’s main attraction. In this regard, he says the current cycle will echo past post-bubble periods such as America in the 1930s and England in the 1720s, after the bursting of the South Sea bubble.The 2000 market peak market a “major trend change” for the market from a very long-term cycle perspective, and the downside is going to continue to be painful well into the next decade, Prechter says. “The extreme overvaluation, the manic buying and bubbles in the late 1990s [and] mid-2000s are for the history books – they’re very large,” he says. “The bear market is going to have balance that out with some sort of significant retrenchment.”

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Going for Broke – By ALAN ABELSON

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2008
UP AND DOWN WALL STREET
Run and Hide

Run and Hide

Going for Broke

Uncle Sam plans to spend like there’s no tomorrow to cure what ails the credit markets and rev up investors. Will it work?

BABY, IT’S COLD OUT THERE. So let’s toss another billion on the fire.

What’s that make it? Well, let’s see: $29 billion for Bear Stearns, somewhere between $1 billion and $100 billion each for Fannie and Freddie (a nice narrow range), $85 billion for AIG, a couple of hundred billion to keep stray banks, brokers and their errant kin from asphyxiating themselves by swallowing toxic paper. And then there’s the proposed reincarnation of the Resolution Trust Corp., which all by itself may mean shelling out $800 billion, perhaps even as much as $1 trillion.

While we’re at it, we might as well include the $400 billion with which the Paulson-Bernanke grand plan envisages endowing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. so it can insure money-market funds.

But, please, understand those mind-boggling sums in no way, shape or form are to be construed as designed to aid and abet a bailout. Instead, they are merely the essential ingredients of an “intervention,” or, if you prefer, a “rescue” — just about anything, in other words, that’s semantically sweeter than bailout, with its ugly connotation of a sinking ship.

Besides, we have it on the best authority that none of this largess will cost the taxpayer a cent over the long run, which, if nothing else, speaks volumes about what constitutes the best authority these days. The reasoning is simple (or perhaps simple-minded is more accurate), namely that deep-pockets Uncle Sam can sell off the assets of the foundering companies on which he has bestowed that bounty and come out whole.

Surely, they jest. For a heap of those so-called assets might easily be confused with liabilities since even those that can be sold will likely fetch a feeble fraction of what their possessors now claim they’re worth.

This is not to say that until the powers-that-be pounded the panic button last week, the billions they had already thrown at the problem as well as taking a big step further and making the wretched companies soaking up those billion de facto vassals of the government were completely in vain. They undeniably had an instant impact. Unfortunately, an instant was about as long as the impact lasted, and it failed miserably to becalm the frantic credit markets or rekindle investor confidence.

The sad truth is that just about every one of Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke’s previous brainstorms — and they seemed to come with increasing frequency as Hank and Ben’s agitation mounted — touched off a brief spasm of exhilaration among investors, only to evaporate in very short order as the credit crisis resolutely morphed into a credit calamity. Or, to change the metaphor, what had been a slow-motion train wreck picked up demonic speed.

That little chart that adorns these gray columns offers an eloquent description of how bad things had gotten until the clouds parted and the sun finally came out as the week wore down. It depicts the yield on three-month Treasury bills going back to 1930. On last Wednesday, investors were so gripped with fear and desperate for a haven that they poured into the bills even though the yield was nonexistent. In effect, they were willing to pay the government for keeping their money safe. As a glance at the chart shows, that hasn’t happened since the Depression.

[chart]

Then, everything changed, at least for now. And the soaring rise in the stock market that began Thursday afternoon and extended through the final bell on Friday had Ben and Hank whooping with joy, exchanging high fives and just venting their pleasure with cat-that-swallowed-the-canary smiles, a welcome change from the funereal faces they had donned for the past few months.

While we’re in a generous mood, we might as well add Christopher Cox to the cheerful circle of celebrants. The SEC chief has been the target of a steady stream of slings and arrows directed his way by John McCain, which rather than nailing Cox’s inadequacies (and they’re bountiful) once again demonstrated that McCain and his advisers haven’t much of a clue how markets work.

Cox, in any case, deserves some of the credit for the smashing rally that boosted the Dow comfortably nearly 800 points in two sessions. For he proudly announced a ban on shorting 799 financial stocks and sparked talk of banning short selling entirely, and that scared the dickens out of the shorts who en masse rushed to cover. The resulting buying burst, we haven’t a scintilla of doubt, played a significant role in the great market lift-off.

Frankly, it seems to us, Cox, in taking out after the shorts — whom nobody loves except their immediate families (and we’re not even sure about them) — was more interested in covering his derrière than in protecting investors. As an early-warning sounder, keeping markets reasonably honest and offering a way to hedge against the inevitable mistakes or bad luck that investors are prey to — short selling serves a valuable function, and messing with it is apt to yield a lot more harm than good.

And we say that fully aware short selling has its quota of bad guys who do wicked things, but also aware that there are rules and regulations aplenty to curb untoward practices, if somebody would only enforce them.

But then, if regulators hadn’t been asleep, banks probably would have had real trouble finding ways to go belly-up, those innovative weapons of mass destruction called derivatives might have been defused long before they blew up, and those speculative bubbles, as in housing, might not have made the Guinness Book of Records for sheer size.

Just think of all the fun we’d have missed.

WILL THE GRAND PLAN WORK? Will piling on all those billions on billions atop a budget deficit that’s already a cinch to shoot up to over half a trillion next fiscal year allow the badly winded economy to start a sustainable recovery?

Ben, remember, vowed to use helicopters to drop money from the sky, but now he seems to be gearing up to use 747s. Can the Fed run its printing machine full-time to churn out all those billions without a substantial infusion from increasingly pinched taxpayers? And won’t priming the pump like mad drive the dollar back into the pits and force interest rates higher?

The plan, in all its extravagance, seems to have been thrown together on the fly, and once Congress gets a whack at it in the waning days before the lawmakers scurry off to the hustings, it may bear only passing resemblance, for better but probably for worse, to Paulson and Bernanke’s handiwork.

Obviously, the unknowns greatly outweigh the knowns, which make those and myriad other questions tough or downright impossible to answer.

We’re willing to concede that some forceful action was necessary, if only so the Fed can pay penance for its critical part in creating the incredible credit-cum-housing disaster.

As Merrill Lynch’s David Rosenberg observes, the fact that the government is suddenly so aggressive in coming to grips with an epic credit collapse is eloquent testimony to how the Fed and the Treasury “have consistently underestimated the severity of that collapse from the get-go.”

He reminds us, moreover, that the original Resolution Trust Corp. was strictly about buying bad mortgages. So he wonders whether the new incarnation will also undertake the purchase of Level 3 assets, whose value is extremely problematic and, in any case, more than a little difficult to gauge, and which are a sizable and not particularly desirable presence in many banks’ portfolios. And will the new RTC also buy credit-card debt, commercial real estate, leveraged loans “or the other mountains of bad debts out there?”

David cautions that the entire credit collapse to date has “reflected the unwind of the largest bubble of all time — residential real estate. Meanwhile, a consumer-led recession is taking hold this very quarter for the first time in 17 years, and every consumer recession in the past was followed by a negative credit cycle of its own.”

As to the euphoric market reaction, he thinks it’s a bit much. In their stampede to buy, investors seem to be ignoring the depressing fact that what prompted such drastic action was the sorry state of the financial system, which isn’t likely to change overnight no matter how vigorous the government exertion.

After the RTC was set up in 1989, he notes, it took two years for the economy to turn around, three years for housing to recover and a year for the stock market to bottom.

So what’s the rush?