Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Today's links

1--Banker Plan Would Fund Super-PACs to Sway Senate Races, Bloomberg

A banking trade group is preparing to set up a political fund that would allow members to funnel money anonymously to pro-industry candidates in the final months of the U.S. elections.

The American Bankers Association board is set to vote tomorrow on a plan to create a nonprofit that would donate to super-political action committees, or super-PACs, that can spend unlimited amounts on TV ads and other campaign activities.

2--Wages, Salaries and Employment Pop in August, TrimTabs

3--Will rising taxes force housing over the fiscal cliff?, OC Housing News
Could Housing Fall Off The Fiscal Cliff?
Fiscal cliff fears are here. With nearly $500 billion in simultaneous tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January, economists have been forewarning the devastating consequences the so-called “fiscal cliff” could cause if Congress fails to come to a budget agreement before the end of the year. The latest report hails from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), warning that inaction could plunge the U.S. into a “significant” recession in the first half of 2013.

Economists have focused primarily on the impact to overall gross domestic product (GDP), the financial markets, and businesses’ bottom lines. But what about housing?...

More than four years of squatting

If anyone doubts the can-kicking game the banks are playing, have them explain properties like this one. The owners were served their first notice of default in December of 2007 (which means they were delinquent at least 90 days before then), and the foreclosure didn’t happen until December of 2011.

Today’s featured property was purchased on 2/2/1996 for $240,000. The owner used a $228,000 first mortgage and a $12,000 down payment.
On 12/29/2000 he refinanced with a $276,000 first mortgage.
On 3/18/2002 he refinanced with a $386,750 first mortgage.
On 7/28/2004 he refinanced with a $518,000 first mortgage.
Total mortgage equity withdrawal was $290,000. As with the other former owners I have profiled, this excessive borrowing cost him his home.

4--Home Prices Are Not Rebounding as Fast as You Think, Realty Check

Home prices are rising faster than expected so far this year, or are they?

Prices nationwide in July rose 3.8 percent year-over-year, according to the latest reading from CoreLogic. This includes prices of distressed properties and is the biggest annual jump since August of 2006. ..

Home prices nationally are in real recovery, but the factors pushing those numbers may not be real organic strength in the housing market, but rather stimulus and simple comparisons. This summer the market saw a huge drop in the number of distressed homes for sale, as banks tried to modify more borrowers or opted for short sales, which is when the home is sold for less than the value of the mortgage. Short sales often garner higher prices than bank-owned (REO) sales. Investors, especially big money bulk buyers, flooded the market, pushing prices up on the higher end and causing a severe drop in supplies. (Read More: Pending Home Sales Beat Expectations in July)

Now to comparison, which reveals a striking truth in home prices. They are definitely higher, but not nearly as high as we think....

In addition to recovery from a hangover, this year mortgage rates are a full percentage point lower than they were in July of 2011, which creates much more purchasing power/stimulus, thereby skewing the comparison even more.

5--Canadian housing bubble goes into full mania mode – Canadian debt-to-personal income ratio near 145% while US at peak of the housing bubble was at 125%, Dr Housing Bubble

6--First Black President Can’t Help Blacks Stem Wealth Drop, Bloomberg
7--Will We Never Learn? Subprime Auto Loans Accelerating (Again), zero hedge

8--Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?, Bloomberg

The feeling that the country was on the wrong track hit an all-time high of 89 percent on Oct. 10-13, 2008, in a CBS News poll, worse than the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Now, 62 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, according to a CBS poll taken Aug. 22-26. While that level of anxiety ordinarily would doom a president’s re- election chances, it’s a marked improvement in the context of where the U.S. was four years ago....

Real median household income continued to decline, reaching a bottom last August and growing unevenly since then, according to Sentier Research, an economic-consulting firm in Annapolis, Maryland. Median income was $50,964 in June -- $4,019 lower than when Obama took office when adjusted for inflation, according to Sentier’s most recent data.

Though median income has climbed by $1,426 since last August and the 8.3 percent July unemployment rate is down from a peak of 10 percent in October 2009, plenty of Americans have slipped into poverty. The Agriculture Department released a report yesterday showing a record 46.7 million people were receiving food stamps in June.

9--Broken Democratic Platform Promises from 2008, naked capitalism

10--The Myth of Upward Mobility, economists view
11--'Zero Lower Bound Denial', economists view
12--Weak Productivity Is Another Bane of Recovery, WSJ
13--Vital Signs Chart: Shrinking U.S. Output, WSJ

U.S. manufacturers are cutting production amid weak demand. A gauge of manufacturing production slipped 4.1 points to 47.2 in August, the weakest level since May 2009. A reading below 50 indicates that activity is shrinking. Meanwhile, an index of inventories — which isn’t seasonally adjusted — surpassed 50 last month for the first time in nearly a year. Together, this suggests that businesses are accumulating stock due to poor sales.

14--Auto lenders go back to subprime borrowers, Reuters

15--ROSENBERG: Subprime Auto Lending Is Bigger Today Than It Was At The Peak Of The Credit Bubble, Business Insider


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