Friday, December 21, 2012

Today's links

1--The Fed vs. the Fiscal Cuts: Not a Fair Fight, NYT

2--Yanis Varoufakis: Will the Real Economy Rebound, Following Wall Street’s Resuscitation? And What of Europe?, naked capitalsim

3--The real meaning of rising home prices, marketwatch

The national median sales price of existing single-family homes hit $180,600 in November, 10.1% higher than a year ago, according to data released this morning by the National Association of Realtors. It marks the ninth consecutive monthly year-over-year increase, which last occurred from 2005 to 2006. Since January median prices have risen about 17%.

But experts say that spike is largely due to the limited number of homes on the market. There were about two million existing homes available for sale at the end of November, which equates to the lowest housing supply since September 2005, according to the NAR. With fewer homes to choose from, buyers intent on purchasing a property are more inclined to offer a higher price or engage in bidding wars, housing analysts say, which ultimately drives prices up.

The problem is this limited inventory underscores a weakness in the housing market: Many sellers have resisted putting their home up for sale, out of concern that it will sell for far less than they paid for it, says Jack McCabe, an independent housing analyst in Deerfield Beach, Fla. That’s set off a domino effect. Because they’ve held off, supply has remained limited, in turn pushing prices up. “Prices have gone up in the last year because of this temporary, artificial market,” he says....

there’s a large backlog of homes that could hit the market in the next year or so, possibly pulling down prices of nearby properties or at least slowing down the pace at which home prices are rising.

4--- The year of bank fraud, Reuters

5--After Libor, arguments against financial regulation are a joke, Reuters

6---Kyle Bass you tube (Bond market armageddon?)

7---Consumer sentiment tumbles in December, Marketwatch

U.S. consumers’ sentiment tumbled in December, according to data released Friday, with concerns about the fiscal cliff more than offsetting lower gasoline prices and higher stocks.
The University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer-sentiment gauge fell to a final December reading of 72.9 — the lowest level since July — from 82.7 in November, reports said Friday.

8---Mortgage Recovery Still Rocky, CNBC

Home prices and home buyer confidence are rising in tandem, as the housing recovery appears to be gaining steam, even into the winter months.
A drop in sales of distressed properties are largely to thank for both. Just under 34 percent of homes sold in November were either foreclosures or short sales, according to a new report from Inside Mortgage Finance. That's the lowest level in three years, down from a record high of nearly 46 percent in 2011.

"Current homeowners are continuing to drive the recovery of the housing market," according to IMF's latest HousingPulse. "In November, current homeowners accounted for 46.3 percent of the total home purchase transactions tracked. This was the highest level ever recorded in the HousingPulse survey and was up from 44.8 percent a year earlier." (Read More: Housing's Repo Man Is Back)
Up to now the housing recovery had been fuelled by investors buying up thousands of distressed properties, the bulk of them in western states like Arizona, Nevada and California. This helped shrink supplies in those states and boost prices by double digits. While it may seem like the distress is quickly flying out of the market, that may not be the case just yet. (Read More: Best US Housing Markets for Buyers and Sellers)

Much of that strength is driven by investor interest, as many distressed and non-distressed homes are purchased and transformed into rentals," says Stan Humphries, Zillow's chief economist, in the report. "This investor activity is contributing to very low inventory levels, which increases demand and helps drive up prices, particularly for less expensive homes in these markets."

9---House prices fall in 10 of Canada’s 11 major markets for first time since 2009, Financial Post


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