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How Much Longer Can Our Unaffordable Housing Prices Last?

Spoiler alert: not much
Friday, October 9, 2015, 5:12 PM

Markets discover price via supply and demand: Big demand + limited supply = rising prices. Abundant supply + sagging demand = declining prices.

Eventually, prices rise to a level that is unaffordable to the majority of potential buyers, with demand coming only from the wealthy. That’s the story of housing in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and other desirable locales that are currently magnets for global capital. » Read more

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How The Federal Reserve Is Purposely Attacking Savers

But bungling badly as it does
Monday, October 20, 2014, 12:36 PM

There's something we 'regular' citizens wrestle with that the elites never seem to: a sense of moral duty.

In a perfect world, we would honor our debts and obligations, every one of us. But the world is an imperfect place ,and moral obligation is something that almost never enters into the decision matrix of our society's richest. Or the banking industry.
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The US Housing Market's Darkening Data

Get ready for the return of declining home prices
Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 1:15 AM

The more we look at today's data, the more it looks like that we are in a new type of pricing cycle -- one that homeowners and housing investors have no prior experience with.

And the more we learn about the fundamentals underlying the current cycle, the harder it becomes to justify today's home prices on any sustained level. Meaning a downward reversion in home values is very probable in the coming years. » Read more

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The Fed Matters Much Less Than You Think

It can't control the real economy
Thursday, August 1, 2013, 1:18 AM

This lemming-like belief in the power of the Federal Reserve generates its own psychological force field, of course; the actual power of the Fed is superseded by the belief in its power. We can thus anticipate widespread disbelief at the discovery that the Fed is either irrelevant or an impediment to the non-asset-bubble parts of the economy. » Read more

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Housing Prices Are Being Dangerously Distorted by Big Institutional Money

Do we really want to live through Housing Bubble 2.0?
Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 10:20 AM

The airwaves are full of stories of economic recovery. One trumpeted recently has been the rapid recovery in housing, at least as measured in prices.

The problem is, a good portion of the rebound in house prices in many markets has less to do with renewed optimism, new jobs, and rising wages, and more to do with big money investors fueled by the ultra-cheap money policies of the Fed. » Read more

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The Unsafe Foundation of Our Housing 'Recovery'

Overdependence on subsidies, debt, and unfounded optimism
Monday, February 25, 2013, 5:55 PM

What could go wrong with the housing 'recovery' in 2013?

To answer this question, we need to understand that housing is the key component in household wealth. And, that Central Planning policies are aimed at creating a resurgent “wealth effect,” as follows: When people perceive their wealth as rising, they tend to borrow and spend more freely. This is a major goal of U.S. Central Planning.

Another key goal of Central Planning is to strengthen the balance sheets of banks and households. And the broadest way to accomplish this is to boost the value of housing. This then adds collateral to banks holding mortgages and increases the equity of homeowners.

Some analysts have noted that housing construction and renovation has declined to a modest percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP). This perspective understates the importance of the family house as the largest asset for most households and housing’s critical role as collateral in the banking system. » Read more

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2012 Year in Review

Free markets, rule of law, and other urban legends
Friday, December 21, 2012, 3:34 PM

Background

I was just trying to figure it all out.

~ Michael Burry, hedge fund manager

Every December, I write a Year in Review that has now found a home at Chris Martenson’s website PeakProsperity.com.1,2,3 What started as a simple summary intended for a couple dozen people morphed over time into a much more detailed account that accrued over 25,000 clicks last year.4 'Year in Review' is a bit of a misnomer in that it is both a collage of what happened, plus a smattering of issues that are on my radar right now. As to why people care what an organic chemist thinks about investing, economics, monetary policy, and societal moods I can only offer a few thoughts.

For starters, in 33 years of investing with a decidedly undiversified portfolio, I had only one year in which my total wealth decreased in nominal dollars. For the 13 years beginning 01/01/00—the 13 toughest investing years of the new millennium!—I have been able to compound my personal wealth at an 11% annualized rate. This holds up well against the pros. I am also fairly good at distilling complexity down to simplicity and seem to be a congenital contrarian. I also have been a devout follower of Austrian business cycle theory—i.e., free market economics—since the late 1990s.4

Each review begins with a highly personalized analysis of my efforts to get through another year of investing followed by a more holistic overview of what is now a 33-year quest for a ramen-soup-free retirement. These details may be instructive for those interested in my approach to investing. The bulk of the review, however, describes thoughts and observations—the year’s events told as a narrative. The links are copious, albeit not comprehensive. Some are flagged with enthusiasm. Everything can be found here.5 » Read more

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Real Estate: Is the Bottom In, or Is This a Head-Fake?

The housing recovery is no sure bet
Thursday, December 6, 2012, 11:32 AM

Everyone interested in real estate is asking the same question: is the bottom in, or is this just another “green shoots” recovery that will soon wilt?

Let’s start by reviewing the fundamental forces currently affecting real estate valuations. » Read more