Utter insanity is turning south.
In Palo Alto, a small town of about 67,000 souls, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, about an hour south of San Francisco, in the middle of Silicon Valley, and part of the 9 million people in the vast Bay Area, the median home value in July, according to Zillow, fell to $2.486 million.
That’s still up 103% from July 2011. These are not palaces. Median price means 50% cost more, 50% cost less. These are modest homes, in theory where the median household can settle down. Drop to $1 million, and you get the “million dollar shack.”
One month ago, we said that “it is not looking good for the US housing market”, when in the latest red flag for the US luxury real estate market, we reported that sales in the Hamptons plunged by half and home prices fell sharply in the second quarter in the ultra-wealthy enclave, New York’s favorite weekend haunt for the 1%-ers.
Reuters blamed this on “stock market jitters earlier in the year” which damped the appetite to buy, however one can also blame the halt of offshore money laundering, a slowing global economy, the collapse of the petrodollar, and the drastic drop in Wall Street bonuses. In short: a sudden loss of confidence that a greater fool may emerge just around the corner, which in turn has frozen buyer interest.
A beachfront residence is seen in East Hampton, New York, March 16, 2016.
We concluded this is just the beginning, and sure enough, several weeks later a similar collapse in the luxury housing segment was reported in a different part of the country. As the Denver Post reported recently, high-end sales that fuel Aspen’s $2 billion-a-year real estate market are evaporating, pushing Pitkin County’s sales volume down more than 42 percent to $546.45 million for the first half of the year from $939.91 million in the same period of 2015.
The failures of government intervention in the economy have made headlines yet again. Recent stress tests by the Federal Housing Finance Agency found something sinister brewing under the surface at notorious mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The results show that these puppet companies could need up to a $126 billion bailout if the economy continues to deteriorate.
That’s right — the two companies that were taken over by the government and that sucked $187 billion from the treasury could be entitled to more taxpayer money. The toxic home loans bought during the last crisis coupled with a lack of liquidity have suddenly become serious risk factors. The so-called “recovery” that has been trumpeted for years by countless politicians and economists is falling apart in plain view. The media will do just about anything to assure the public that this is all isolated and overblown, but the canary in the coal mine has just dropped dead.
The percentage of Americans that own a home has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded. During the second quarter of 2016, the non-seasonally adjusted homeownership rate fell to just 62.9 percent, which was exactly where it was at when the U.S. Census began publishing this measurement back in 1965. This is not what a “recovery” looks like. All throughout the Obama years, the percentage of Americans that own a home has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller. The reason for this, of course, is that the middle class in America is dying. Last year, we learned that middle class Americans now make up a minority of the population for the first time ever. In order to have a high rate of homeownership, you need a thriving middle class, and you can’t have a thriving middle class without good paying middle class jobs. This is why I write about the evisceration of the middle class so extensively, because the U.S. economy is systematically being hollowed out and most Americans don’t understand what is happening.
The mind-numbing Case-Shiller regional charts below are presented without too much comment. As MHanson.com’s Mark Hanson adds,the visual says it all.
Q: If 2006/07 was the peak of the largest housing bubble in history with affordability never better vis a’ vis exotic loans; easy availability of credit; unemployment in the 4%’s; the total workforce at record highs; and growing wages, then what do you call “now” with house prices at or above 2006 levels; worse affordability; tighter credit; higher unemployment; a weakening total workforce; and shrinking wages?
A: Whatever you call it, it’s a greater thing than the Bubble 1.0 peak.
1) Funny (and Demented) Seattle area Realtor anecdote regarding the potential for another housing Bubble: “House prices can’t be in a bubble because they are only 10% greater than the 2006 peak, meaning growth of only 1% per year since 2006. And 1% per year is not the Bubble type gains we saw back in the mid-2000’s”.
Real Vision TV’s Grant Williams offers a true look into what is known as an absurd debt level and unimaginable central bank manipulation. Less than a week ago we highlighted Grant’s comments on commodities. Although the information contained in the video below is nothing new to Zero Hedge, we do enjoy the way the information is presented. Set aside some time to listen as Grant tells a story about debt and the current investment landscape.
Grant sees people “with more power than you can possibly imagine” as the ones responsible for experimental economics that led the world down a path of self destruction.
“I don’t think there is any argument about whether or not the central bankers of the world should have done something in 2008. The question is ‘should they still be doing it 8 years later‘?”
We recommend viewing the entire clip
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“When a country embarks on deficit financing (Obamanomics) and inflationism (Quantitative easing) you wipe out the middle class and wealth is transferred from the middle class and the poor to the rich.”
– Ron Paul
“Deficits mean future tax increases, pure and simple. Deficit spending should be viewed as a tax on future generations, and politicians who create deficits should be exposed as tax hikers.”
– Ron Paul
“By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”
– John Maynard Keynes
“In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. … This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.”
– Alan Greenspan
“Capital must protect itself in every way… Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principle men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd.”
– J. P. Morgan
“We have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks, hereinafter called the FED. They are not government institutions. They are private monopolies which prey upon the people of these United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign customers.”
– Louis McFadden
“It was not accidental [the 1929 stock-market “crash”]. It was a carefully contrived occurrence. … The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so that they might emerge as rulers of us all.”
– Louis McFadden
“What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.”
– Adolf Hitler