Nov 6 2012

A nation in the pangs of deleveraging – The long-term trend of a declining dollar and a collapsing middle class.

As Americans go out to vote many go blissfully unaware of the reality that our total public debt is now above $16.2 trillion.  If your only source of information was the mainstream press this fact rarely came up in any debates or journalistic investigations.  The discussion of stagnant household income never even came up in […]

Jan 9 2012

Las Vegas real estate and the dynamics of a lower priced housing market – With median home prices around $100,000 they now reflect the reality of a lower paying service sector economy. Foreclosures and short-sales make up over 70 percent of all sales activity.

Las Vegas is a case study in the limits of the housing bubble but also the reflection of a new economy driven by a demand for lower price real estate.  Wedged in the story of a collapsing real estate market is a new reality that many families are craving lower priced properties.  Few places in […]

May 16 2011

Scorching the desert housing markets – Arizona and Nevada real estate blossomed with cheap fuel and easy access to debt. For last two years 40 percent of buyers came from all cash purchases. What happens when the well runs dry in the financial desert?

The Arizona housing market is a perfect example of what happens when the housing religion spirals out of control and implodes in dramatic fashion pushing up against environmental limits.  I remember driving in the blistering summer heat through Arizona before all the housing mania launched out of control in the late 1990s and thinking that […]

Mar 3 2011

Phoenix real estate breaks a record with 50 percent of all home sales coming from all cash investors. Locals barely can buy with FHA insured loans. Can a desert market dependent on cheap oil and survive in the $100+ a barrel world?

The Phoenix real estate market is a fascinating case examination of an area guided by FHA loans for first time buyers and all cash investors purchasing 50 percent of properties.  In January of 2011, the latest month of stunning data, 1 out of every 2 homes sold went to an all cash buyer.  We are […]

Jan 13 2011

The road least pillaged – S&P 500 up 90 percent from bottom but housing values down 30 percent nationwide. Wealthy store most of their wealth in stocks while most Americans have their net worth in housing. 2010 record year in foreclosures and the upcoming lost decade in housing.

There are few investments in the US that are so heavily subsidized like housing.  Residential and commercial real estate included benefit from favorable government policies to increase demand.  Some of these policies may have merit but a large part of the housing market has been injected with so many perks that the true value of […]

Oct 11 2010

Will the U.S. face a generation of underperforming housing values? It happened from 1915 to 1945 and the current trend is not looking favorable. Current U.S. housing values over priced by 30 percent.

It is hard to imagine a time in U.S. history when housing was actually perceived as cheap for an entire generation.  Yet this is the exact experience that occurred from 1915 to 1945.  Home values were cheap in relative inflation adjusted terms.  Even after 1945, homes were still affordable and this is where the seeds […]

Oct 9 2010

Bank of America has $2.3 trillion in assets but $956 billion of that is made up in loans. Think those loans are valued at current market levels? The FDIC would have a challenge even breaking up one too big to fail bank.

The FDIC has a herculean challenge in confronting the too big to fail banks.  There is little doubt that having institutions that are too big is part of the reason for the current systemic crisis.  Yet through the last few years the solution has been to make these banks even bigger allowing their web to […]

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