You can’t get away from it. The media fawn over it. Rational neighbors drool unexpectedly. Ads flood the airwaves. “Learn our simple three-step system on how to flip homes,” the announcer says. Everyone knows: untold riches are waiting for you. “Right here in the Bay Area,” he says. It’s hot, so hot that people will get burned. And banks will get hit (again).
Oaktree Capital and Carrington Mortgage are trying to dump a portfolio of 500 single-family homes they’d bought out of foreclosure. They’re trying to get the heck out of the once hot buy-to-rent trade. Blackstone, which gobbled up 32,000 of these homes, is trying to get its money out. They all are. That trade is turning sour. Trouble in the housing market!
When the Fed shied away from tapering its $85 billion a month in asset purchases, while simultaneously downgrading the economy for the third time this year, it gave the impression of being mired in fear. It has many reasons to be afraid. But one in particular.
Dizzying home-price increases fused with pandemic hype and trillions from the Fed into a self-propagating force. It’s now accepted that housing will recover all the way to where it was in 2006, a sign the Fed has done its job, that it cured the ill that has dogged this economy for so long. Prices of 2006 are no longer “the peak of the housing bubble” but a goal.
By Lee Adler, The Wall Street Examiner: There’s been a lot of talk over the past year about the housing “recovery.” But the fact of the matter is that in terms of new single-family homes, there’s no genuine recovery, but there’s certainly a bubble in prices.
Home prices have jumped around the country, in some cities over 20% on an annual basis. “Recovery of the housing market,” is what this phenomenon is called. Everyone from President Obama on down has taken credit for it, particularly the Fed, whose handiwork this is. But there is a very ugly fly in this illusory ointment.
By Lee Adler, of The Wall Street Examiner: By now it’s clear to everybody, even the Fed, that QE does absolutely nothing to stimulate economic growth while fomenting bubbles in housing and stock prices. The Fed will disingenuously use steady job growth as an excuse to begin cutting back on QE soon. But its real reason lies elsewhere.
Wall Street engineering is back in the housing market. Its newest product is one heck of a contraption, a synthetic structured security of the type that helped blow up the financial system back in 2008. It’s like those triple-A rated mortgage-backed securities that became toxic waste in your “money-market-equivalent” bond fund – only worse.
The asset bubbles the Fed’s money-printing and bond-buying binge has created are spectacular, the risk-taking on Wall Street with other people’s money a sight to behold. Big winners were mortgage Real Estate Investment Trusts – and those who got fat on extracting fees. But now the pendulum is swinging back, and the bloodletting has started.
The good old days are back. Those days when money grew on trees: home prices jumped 10.9% year over year, based on data through March 2013. The usual suspects: Phoenix soared 22.5%, San Francisco 22.2%, Las Vegas 20.6%. You can’t lose money in real estate. I’m already hearing it again.