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Posts Tagged ‘HOUSING’

New signs economy’s recovery faltering

June 2, 2011 Comments off

startribune

Evan Solomon worked at the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday as fears that the economy was stalling rattled the markets.

The U.S. economic recovery is faltering, and Washington is running out of ways to get it back on track.

New reports Wednesday showed a steep slowdown in the manufacturing sector and weak private-sector job creation in May. The grim news comes on the heels of other recent indicators — falling home prices and consumer spending — that reflect an economy slowing to a limp this spring.

The data dash the sunnier expectations that many analysts had entering the year; many forecasters had expected economic growth of 3.5 to 4 percent in 2011.

Instead, the U.S. economy appears to be settling back into a pattern of Read more…

Should You Buy A Home In 2011? Check Out These 29 Absolutely Crazy Statistics About The Housing Crisis

April 27, 2011 Comments off

endoftheamericandream

Has the U.S. housing market reached a “bottom” yet?  Are home prices going to start recovering?  Is the housing crisis going to end at some point?  Today there are millions of American families that would like to buy homes but they are not sure what to do.  After all, nobody wants to end up like all the suckers that bought at the top of the market and now owe far more on their mortgages then their homes are worth.  A lot of people are really afraid to take out home loans right now.  So should you buy a home in 2011?  That is a very good question.  The reality is that there are a lot of reasons why home prices could continue to fall.  Unemployment is still rampant, and American families simply cannot afford to buy homes without good jobs.  Also, lending institutions have really, really tightened lending standards.  That is really restricting the number of buyers in the marketplace.  The number of foreclosures Read more…

Seven Reasons We’re Buying a Home and Four Reasons We’re Not

March 28, 2011 Comments off

irvinehousingblog.com

Although the housing bubble and bust may have shattered notions that home prices have nowhere to go but up, Americans haven’t lost their love for owning a home.  In the latest Allstate/National JournalHeartland Monitor poll, homeownership ranked second, just behind raising a family, in people’s definition of the American Dream. Despite new home sales’ drop to a record low, about four-fifths of respondents said that owning a home is still a better financial decision than renting, and nearly nine in 10 homeowners say would buy their home again.

Those results also underscore the extent to which Americans see buying a home as a deeply personal decision. It seems the decision to buy a home is made from the heart, while the decision to rent comes from the wallet.

That is a great way to look at the situation. Most people want to buy and own. Those who look rationally at the costs often chose to rent, not because it’s the most emotionally pleasing choice, but because it’s the most financially sound decision. Those who chose to rent recognize that being house poor is its own form of Read more…

Highlights of the $3.73 Trillion Budget Request for 2012

February 15, 2011 Comments off

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama released a $3.73 trillion budget for fiscal-year 2012 Monday where he sought to balance two competing and conflicting agendas: dramatic cuts to federal spending while also investing in programs to improve U.S. competitiveness.

A look at what President Barack Obama has requested in his $3.73 trillion budget for the 2012 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Summary: Homeland Security gets $44 Billion with a priority on naked body scanners.  The Transportation Department gets over a half Trillion dollars for new highway and rail construction, including $53 billion for high-speed trains.  $500 million will go to the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Enforcement (See my article on LOST.) and NIST, the group that dropped the ball on the Sept. 11th investigation will be getting $764 million, roughly a 17% increase from last year.

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Agency: NASA

Spending: $18.7 billion

Percentage Change from 2011: 0.9 percent decrease

Discretionary Spending: $18.7 billion

Highlights: Obama’s space budget is about the same as the previous year, avoiding the major proposed cuts other agencies are facing, partly because of the long planned Read more…

Social Security financial headwinds, another 395,000 Americans added to food stamp assistance in latest month of data, and manipulating the unemployment rate.

February 6, 2011 1 comment

The dichotomous American economy is cracking like old paint into two distinct factions.  For a few solid decades after World War II we had a burgeoning middle class, a smaller financial elite, and those who still struggled financially.  The main objective however was to get as many people into the secure middle class.  Today the middle class, the pinnacle of the American Dream, is significantly shrinking and when this occurs, we pull from the current middle class and put new families into the financially struggling category.  The pie is getting smaller for most except for the small elite at the summit.  The financial gaming that is occurring is stunning.  While the unemployment rate fell largely due to people not being counted in the labor report, the latest month of data showed another 395,000 Americans being added to the nationwide food stamp program.  Last year we also crossed a distressing fiscal threshold.  In one month we paid out more in Social Security benefits than was collected.  Social Security is entering the financial tough days and as we look at the statistics, most retired Americans are using Social Security for their entire monthly budget.

Social Security by the numbers

We should start by looking at the total number of Americans receiving Social Security:

social security

Read more…

Take a look at how many ounces of silver have been needed to buy a median-priced home in the US:

February 4, 2011 Comments off

For most people, there are some surefire luxuries that signify wealth, a few pearls of conspicuous consumption that say “you’ve made it!” For me, it’s always been a second home. My grandparents owned a vacation home in Arizona and then Florida when I was a kid, and it was an annual highlight to travel there every year.

But something happened on the way to my generation’s iteration of the American dream. Of all the people I know that have second homes, only one acquired it through his own hard work and success. The rest inherited them.

With high unemployment, shaky business conditions, desperate governments, weak real estate demand, and a suspect stock market, owning a vacation home is not even on the radar these days for most Americans. Paying their existing mortgage is the primary concern, something millions of homeowners still aren’t able to do. So, how is it that I can suggest a way to buy a vacation home in this market?

Because there are two trends in motion that I believe will continue working in our favor. And it likely won’t take long for them to reach a culmination point, allowing those of us with such a goal to see it realized.

First, Read more…

China’s coming fall

January 24, 2011 Comments off

Like the Soviet Union before it, much of China’s supposed boom is illusory — and just as likely to come crashing down

In 1975, while I was in Siberia on a two-month trip through the U.S.S.R., the illusion of the Soviet Union’s rise became self-evident. In the major cities, the downtowns seemed modern, comparable to what you might see in a North American city. But a 20-minute walk from the centre of downtown revealed another world — people filling water buckets at communal pumps at street corners. The U.S.S.R. could put a man in space and dazzle the world with scores of other accomplishments yet it could not satisfy the basic needs of its citizens. That economic system, though it would largely fool the West until its final collapse 15 years later, was bankrupt, and obviously so to anyone who saw the contradictions in Soviet society.

The Chinese economy today parallels that of the latter-day Soviet Union — immense accomplishments co-existing with immense failures. In some ways, China’s stability today is more precarious than was the Soviet Union’s before its fall. China’s poor are poorer than the Soviet Union’s poor, and they are much more numerous — about one billion in a country of 1.3 billion. Moreover, in the Soviet Union there was no sizeable middle class — just about everyone was poor and shared in the same hardships, avoiding resentments that might otherwise have arisen.

In China, the resentments are palpable. Many of the 300 million people who have risen out of poverty flaunt their new wealth, often egregiously so. This is especially so with the new class of rich, all but non-existent just a few years ago, which now includes some 500,000 millionaires and 200 billionaires. Worse, the gap between rich and poor has been increasing. Ominously, the bottom billion views as illegitimate the wealth of the top 300 million. Read more…

Categories: China Tags: , , , , ,

Bank of America posts loss on mortgage problems

January 23, 2011 4 comments

Joe Rauch
and Maria Aspan

CHARLOTTE, N.C./NEW YORK, Jan. 21, 2011 (Reuters) — Bank of America Corp, the largest U.S. bank, reported weaker-than-expected revenue and a second straight quarterly loss after its limping mortgage business triggered writedowns and legal settlements.


Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch businesses — including retail brokerage and investment banking — were profitable but did not make enough money to overcome the bank’s massive losses from mortgages.

As the financial crisis was ramping up, then Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis bought Countrywide Financial Inc for $4.2 billion. Current CEO Brian Moynihan is still coping with the aftermath.

In the fourth quarter, Bank of America took a writedown of $2 billion to recognize the declining value of Countrywide. The bank also set aside $4.1 billion for legal costs linked to home loans it is buying back from investors, or is likely to buy back.

“Countrywide is still hurting them and it will continue to. It’s like a tooth being pulled — it’s only going to feel good when it’s done,” said Matt McCormick, portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel Inc in Cincinnati, which does not own Bank of America shares.

It was not clear how Bank of America’s results compared with analysts’ average estimates, given the profusion of special items in the report. Read more…

Home Price Declines Greater than Great Depression

January 21, 2011 Comments off

 

Source – Reuters

(Reuters) – Home prices fell for the 53rd consecutive month in November (the latest data available), taking the decline past that of the Great Depression for the first time in the prolonged housing slump, according to Zillow.

Home prices have fallen 26 percent since their peak in 2006, exceeding the 25.9 percent drop registered in the five years between 1928 and 1933, the housing data company said in a report on Monday. Prices fell 0.8 percent over the month.

It is a dubious milestone for the U.S. housing market which has failed to gain much traction despite a host of government programs to reduce delinquencies and encourage demand with temporary tax credits and lower interest rates. Many economists expect further price drops, even if there are some anecdotal signs of growing demand, such as in pending home sales data.

“For the next six to nine months, the larger factors affecting the housing market that will produce more home price declines will be the excess inventory of homes, high negative equity and foreclosure rates, and weakened demand due to elevated employment, Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, said in a blog post.

Declines are accelerating, and it will take a while before falling unemployment and other signs of economic improvement support the market, Zillow said.

Home prices fell at a 0.78 percent pace in November, the fastest since February 2009, the company said.

12 Economic Collapse Scenarios That We Could Potentially See In 2011

January 21, 2011 Comments off



What could cause an economic collapse in 2011? Well, unfortunately there are quite a few “nightmare scenarios” that could plunge the entire globe into another massive financial crisis.  The United States, Japan and most of the nations in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt.  The Federal Reserve continues to play reckless games with the U.S. dollar.  The price of oil is skyrocketing and the global price of food just hit a new record high.  Food riots are already breaking out all over the world.  Meanwhile, the rampant fraud and corruption going on in world financial markets is starting to be exposed and the whole house of cards could come crashing down at any time.  Most Americans have no idea that a horrific economic collapse could happen at literally any time.  There is no way that all of this debt and all of this financial corruption is sustainable.  At some point we are going to reach a moment of “total system failure”.

So will it be soon?  Let’s hope not.  Let’s certainly hope that it does not happen in 2011.  Many of us need more time to prepare.  Most of our families and friends need more time to prepare.  Once this thing implodes there isn’t going to be an opportunity to have a “do over”.  We simply will not be able to put the toothpaste back into the tube again.

So we had all better be getting prepared for hard times.  The following are 12 economic collapse scenarios that we could potentially see in 2011….

#1 U.S. debt could become a massive crisis at any moment.  China is saying all of the right things at the moment, but many analysts are openly worried about what could happen if China suddenly decides to start dumping all of the U.S. debt that they have accumulated.  Right now about the only thing keeping U.S. government finances going is the ability to borrow gigantic amounts of money at extremely low interest rates.  If anything upsets that paradigm, it could potentially have enormous consequences for the entire world financial Read more…