Category Archives: Housing Market

Trump Dump Coming To The Stock Market

The stock market shot up like a Roman candle for idiotic reasons after the election.    The candle may have reached its apex when the Dow hit 19,999.67 last week.   As I stated in my Short Seller’s Journal, I was “stunned that bank traders were unable to push the index up to the holy grail number of 20,000.   Of course, in and of itself, the “Dow 20k” watch was moronic.  Thirty stocks do not an economic system make.  Sorry Fox, CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN etc.

I also stated in my Short Seller’s Journal, in the issue two weeks ago,  and long before Zerohedge posted the comment from some guy named DeMark who predicted the Dow would never hit 20k, that 20k might not happen.  In fact, I titled the issue, “Is Dow 20,000 Now Out Of Reach?”

The “Dow 20,000” financial media promotion has bordered on vulgar.  Fox Business (which I keep on mute at all times) kept a “Dow 20,000 watch” banner at the bottom of its broadcast during the entire trading day for the last 2 weeks of 2016.  It disappeared last week.  In the context of the entire stock  market and the U.S. economy, it’s meaningless for the Dow to hit 20k other than as a powerful propaganda tool.

The housing market is one of the most important segments of the economy.  The DJ Home Construction Index is down 9.7% today from its 52-week high in July.  Retail spending may be even more critical to generating GDP than housing.  The XRT retail ETF is down 9% from hits 52-week on December 8th.    This stock index has literally tanked during a period of time that is supposed to be the best seasonal period of the year for retail sales.  There’s a serious message there.   THAT’S where the rubber meets the road – not from meaningless platitudes and soundbytes from a President-elect.

Essentially Trump promised on election night to spend trillions and cut taxes deeply and to pay for those  based on borrowing trillions. These are  policy proposals that are destined to fail from the moment the words left Trump’s mouth.  But the stock market went nuts to the upside, culminating in what I would argue – based on using “apples to apples” accounting comparisons – the most overvalued U.S. stock market in history.   Perhaps in the modern era only the Weimar German and Zimbabwe stock markets were more overvalued.  Stay tuned because I am very confident that the Fed is not done printing trillions.

This is not the kind of stock chart in which I would want to be invested:

Yes of course this stock market could break up or down. But since Christmas, every attempted assault on 20k has been rejected. And the Dow opens higher every morning only to sell off every afternoon into the close. Monday was a perfect example.

Today (Tuesday, January 11) it looked the Dow was going to make another assault on 20k. But during Trump’s highly anticipated press conference, the Dow sold down hard from 19,970 to 19,840.  That is a preview of what is likely coming in the months ahead, as the U.S. economic fundamentals continue deteriorate, notwithstanding the barrage of economic fake news coming from the Government and certain industry pimp associations.

If you like the analysis laid out above, you can get similar commentary with even more in-depth analysis and research by subscribing to my Short Seller’s Journal.   I also present at least two short sell ideas along with ideas for using options.

I am a subscriber to both of your journals. I just want to say “WOW” to this post on your site. Thank you for all your work. As a financial professional of 28 years’ experience, I can tell you why there is no churn in your journal subscriptions. Your work is extremely sound and well done even in a massively
manipulated environment. – subscriber “Kevin”

Fake Economic News + Overvalued Stocks = Recipe For Market Disaster

Think you know what will happen this year?  What would you have said to me on January 1st last year if I told you:  ” the S&P 500 would hit several new all-time years this year and Donald Trump will be elected President?”

Craig “Turd Ferguson” Hemke invited me on to his “A2A” webinar with his subscribers last week.  We had a spirited and (I think) entertaining discussion about abundance of fake economic news that permeates the financial media, the true state of the U.S. economy and the growing risks to the stock market.  And of course we chatted about precious metals an mining stocks.

And of course his subscribers had some interesting and thought-provoking questions. You can listen to our conversation here:  A2A with Dave Kranzler and you can access Turd’s webite here:  TFMetals Report.

Will The U.S. Hit The Wall In 2017?

The parabolic move in the stock market, housing prices and the U.S. dollar, while touted by the media and Wall Street as evidence that “all is well and getting better,” is perhaps the most visible signals that the U.S. financial and economic system is “melting up” before it collapses.

Yes, I know the truthseeking community has been playing “Chicken Little” since the internet stock bubble days, and admittedly the powers that be have been able to extend and pretend for a lot longer than I would have bet on 15 years ago.

James Kunstler has written an epic year-end essay that is a must-read.  He discusses why 2017 may be the year of reckoning for the U.S. – here’s an appetizer:

When mortgage rates go up, house prices go down, because fewer people are in a position to buy a house at higher mortgage rates, and rents go up (more competition among people who can’t buy a house). Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP), in force for ten years, has driven house prices back to stratospheric levels. They are now primed to fall, perhaps severely, leaving many homeowners “underwater,” with houses worth way less on the market than the amount of mortgage left to pay off.

You can read his entire piece here:   Forecast 2017:  The Wheels  Finally Come Off

In addition, take seven minutes and watch this video put together by Crush The Street (I’ll be a podcast guess this week and next week).  It’s an engaging seven minuted encapsulation of the fate that awaits the U.S.:

Jim Cramer’s Christmas Gift To Short-Sellers

Wall Street’s best contrarian indicator has spoken. Jim Cramer issued a strong buy on the Dow last Wednesday. He references the “generals” that are “leading the charge” higher in the stock market.   He sees no end in sight to current move in market leaders. Those will prove, once again for Cramer, famous last words.   It will be more like Custard making his last stand.

Perhaps the most amusing section of his maniacal diatribe was his assertion that Goldman Sachs (GS) and JP Morgan (JPM) are “cheap” because of Trump. A colleague and I were, serendipitously discussing GS as a great short idea last week. Cramer is a bona fide lunatic who must relish the thought of leading the retail stock lemmings to slaughter. The financials have gone parabolic since the election and now the hedge funds who whisper sweet nothings into Cramer’s ear need an exit.   Please don’t give up your chair to the sound of CNBC’s Pied Piper.

The puts on JPM and GS are loaded with premium. I don’t want to recommend any specific put ideas.   If you have an interest in shorting shares, GS and JPM are among the best shorts in the Dow right now.

That was an excerpt from the latest issue of the Short Seller’s Journal.   Shorts are working again.   Four of the five short ideas in last week’s SSJ were down for the week (one was unchanged) – one retail idea was down 13.6% and the puts recommended were up 400%.  In fact, most of the short ideas since early August have been working, some better than others, with one them down nearly 40% since early August.

Beneath the facade of the Dow and the SPX, many stocks and sectors are down for year. For instance, the DJ Home Construction index is down 11.1% from its 52-week high early this year.  It’s 52% below its all-time high in July 2005.  The current SSJ presents an home construction-related stock that is technically and fundamentally set-up to fall off a cliff.  I also presented my for favorite homebuilder shorts along with put option ideas.

The SSJ is a weekly subscription-based newsletter.  It’s billed on monthly recurring basis with no required minimum subscription period.  Each issue is delivered to your email in-box and has at least 2 or 3 short ideas plus put option ideas.   New subscribers will receive a handful of the most recent issues plus a complimentary copy of the Mining Stock Journal.  SSJ subscribers can subscribe to the MSJ for half-price.  You can get more information and a subscription here:  Short Seller’s Journal subscription link.

Fake News Alert: Existing Home Sales Report

I’m going to have to throw a flag on the existing home sales report for November published today by the National Association of Realtors.    The NAR would have us believe that home sales occurred in November at 5.6mm annualized rate for the month, up 15.4% from November 2015 and up .7% from October.   I will point out that, of course, the orignal report for October was revised lower.  But who pays attention to those details?

Take a look at this graphic sourced from Zerohedge which shows existing home sales plotted vs mortgage applications back to 2013:

I hate to be cynical, or accuse anyone of presenting “fake news,” but the mortgage application data completely contradicts the NAR’s “seasonally adjusted, annualized rate” interpretation of the data it collected. Existing home sales are based on closings (escrow clears), which means the sales report for November is based on contracts signed primarily from October and some in late Sept/early November. But mortgage applications began dropping off a cliff in late August. Clearly the NAR’s seasonal adjustment interpretation of the data is highly suspect.

Looking at the data itself  – LINK – you’ll note that the NAR’s data sampling shows that home sales dropped 6.7% from October.  Yet, it’s “seasonal adjustments” suggest that home sales increased from October to November, despite a massive plunge in mortgage applications during the period in which contracts would have been signed for November closings.

I’ve emailed the NAR several times over the years to have them explain their seasonal adjustments calculus.  Every time I am politely declined.  I will note that they use the same regression analysis model used by the Census Bureau.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonal adjustments, which are determined by using the X-12 Variant created by the Census Bureau, are then used to factor out seasonal variances in resale activity.

They do at least disclose that, although, if anything, that fact detracts from the credibility of their calculations.  Of course, if I were looking for credibility, I would not advertise that I use the statistical guesstimate package created by the Government…

I would suggest that a year from now, anyone who looks back at the data produced today by the NAR will discover that the number was revised lower by a significant amount.  But who looks at revisions?  The Government and industry promotion organizations know this.  It doesn’t matter how far off the rails their initial “seasonally adjusted” data strays, as long as they revise them at some point in the future, when no one is looking, it gives them plausible deniability if they are ever held accountable.

In the next issue of the Short Seller’s Journal, I’m going to present a comprehensive analysis on the housing market and the damage already inflicted on it from a 1% rise in mortgage rates.  Despite the fact that S&P and Dow have been pushing all-time highs almost on a daily basis, the DJ Home Construction index is down over 11% from its July 52-week high.  I will show why in this next issue.  You can access more information and subscribe to the SSJ using this link:  Short Seller’s Journal.

 

Is The U.S. Stock Market About To “Super Nova?”

ETF flows tend to be a good contrary indicator when they become extreme, so the buying frenzy doesn’t bode well for U.S. equities.  – David Santschi, CEO of TrimTabs

If the Federal Reserve were a private corporation and did not have a money tree, it would be technically insolvent – i.e. bankrupt. As of its latest balance sheet the Fed was reporting a book value (net worth) of $40.4 billion.   But the Fed does not have to mark to market its assets.   Given the recent 100+ basis point move in the 10-yr Treasury, if the Fed were forced to mark to market its $3.8 trillion Treasuries and mortgages, it would be forced to reduce the holding value by close to $400 billion, taking the Fed’s net worth to negative $360 billion.

This is the most conservative valuation scenario.   The Fed has other holdings, on and off balance sheet, that would likely take the Fed’s book value well past negative $400 billion if mark to market accounting were applied.

Think about this for a moment:   the U.S. dollar is backed by a Government and Central Bank, both of which are technically bankrupt.   The only difference between what happened to Greece and the U.S. is the U.S.’ ability to print money unfettered.

Just like water, markets eventually find their own level of balance.  At this point the U.S. stock market, is the most unbalanced financial market in the world.  A Trim-tabs report out yesterday revealed that the public threw $98 billion into U.S. stock ETFs between November 8th and December 5th.  Compare this to the $61.5 billion that went into stock ETFs over the entire year in 2015.   Currently the rate of cash flooding into stock ETFs for December is even higher than November.

Money from the public is literally flooding into the stock market, making this the most dangerous stock market I’ve witnessed in 30+ years as a financial markets professional.  If the GAAP accounting standards enforced in 1999 and 2007 were applied now to corporate earnings, this would prove to be the most overvalued stock market in history on an “apples to apples” accounting basis.

A supernova is an astronomical event that occurs during the last stellar evolutionary stages of a massive star’s life, whose dramatic and catastrophic destruction is marked by one final titanic explosion. For a short time, this causes the sudden appearance of a ‘new’ bright star, before slowly fading from sight over several weeks or months.  – Wikipedia

The U.S. financial markets, specifically the U.S. dollar and the stock market, can be likened to fiat currency-based financial markets “Super Nova.”  The public and the momentum-chasing hedge funds are desperately chasing the “appearance” of the stock market’s “bright new star.”   Unfortunately, it’s an illusion.  The stock market is headed for catastrophic destruction.

I don’t know if this final explosion will occur early in 2017 or if there will be on last “Weimar-like” push fueled by a round of money printing substantially larger than “QE 1 thru 4.”   Either way, the U.S. financial system is heading toward a period of unprecedented wealth destruction.

I’m not going to sit here and urge anyone who will listen to move their money into the safety of physical gold and silver because I have no idea how diabolically aggressive the Fed and the banks will be in exerting downward pressure on the price of gold and silver using fiat paper gold.  No one knows and anyone who proclaims to know is full of horse hooey.   I’m moving any money not needed for expenses into physical silver.  I know a sale when I see one and sovereign-minted silver bullion coins are on “fire sale” right now.

Unfortunately, the only chance you have to financially survive what is coming at us is to get your money out of all financial “assets.”  These are not “assets.” They are fiat paper liabilities issued by a Federal Reserve that is technically insolvent by at least $360 billion and likely multiples of that when off-balance-sheet considerations are factored in to the equation.  If you don’t want to buy precious metals, at least get your money out of the stock market.

While Wall Street shills and the financial media are busy seducing the public with their incessant “Dow 20,000” rally cry, corporate insiders are busy unloading their shares hand-over-fist.  Every company (other than mining stocks) I’ve analyzed over the last month has been characterized by extremely heavy insider selling.  The parabolic rise in the dollar is annihilating corporate revenues and profitability.   Follow the money here because insiders are broadcasting this fact loudly.

China is dumping Treasuries and corporate executives are dumping stocks.  Total U.S. debt outstanding hits new highs daily.   Once again “smart money” is unloading its paper “assets” on an unsuspecting public.  The delinquency and default rates in mortgage, auto and credit card debt are beginning to spike up, according to the latest reports made available and not disseminated through the mainstream media.

The U.S. markets are going Super Nova – don’t be left holding bag…

Housing Starts Crash – Sales Volume And Prices To Follow

In many areas of the country prices are already down 5-10%.   I know, you’re going to say that offer prices are not reflecting that.  But talk to the developers of NYC and SF condos who are trying to unload growing inventory. Douglas Elliman did a study of NYC resales released in October and found that resale volume was down 20% in the third quarter vs. Q3 2015.  A report out in November published by Housing Wire said that home sales volume in the SF Bay area fell 10.3% in the first 9 months of 2016 vs. 2015. Price follows volume and inventory is piling up.

NYC led the popping of the big housing bubble.  It will this time too.  Prices in the “famed” Hampton resort area down 20% on average and some case down as much as 50% from unrealistic offering prices.  Delinquencies and defaults are rising as well.  While the mainstream media reported that foreclosures hit a post-crisis low in October, not reported by the mainstream media is that delinquencies, defaults and foreclosure starts are spiking up. Foreclosure starts in Colorado were up 65% from September to October.

Housing starts for November were reported today to have crashed 18.7% from October led by a 44% collapse in multi-family starts.  No surprise there.  Denver, one of the hottest marekts in the country over the last few years with 11k people per month moving here, is experiencing a massive pile-up in new building apartment inventory.   I got a flyer in the mail last week advertising a new luxury building offering 2 months free rent and free parking plus some other incentives.   Readers and subscribers from all over the country are reporting similar conditions in their market.  Yes, I know some small pockets around the country may still be “hot,” but if you live in one of those areas email me with what you are seeing by June.

Here’s a preview of some of the content in Sunday’s Short Seller’s Journal (click to enlarge):

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The graph above is from the NAHB’s website that shows its homebuilder “sentimement” index plotted against single-family housing starts. You’ll note the tight correlation except in times of irrational exuberance exhibited by builders. You’ll note that starts crash when exuberance is at a peak. Exuberance by builders hit a high in November not seen since 2005…here’s how it translated in the homebuilder stocks:

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Note the crash in housing stocks a few months after homebuilder “sentiment” index peaked.  From a fundamental standpoint, the homebuilders are more overvalued now than they were in 2005 in terms of enterprise value to unit sales.  This because debt and inventory levels at just about every major homebuilder is as high or higher now than it was in 2005 BUT unit sales volume is roughly 50% of the volume at the 2005 peak.  The equities are set up of another spectacular sell-off.

Refi and purchase mortgage applications are getting crushed with mortgage rates up only 1% from the all-time lows.  What will happen when mortgage rates “normalize” – i.e. blow out another 3-5%?

The next issue of the Short Seller’s Journal will include a lot more detail on the housing market and some surprisingly bearish numbers on retail sales this holiday season to date. You can find out more about the SSJ by clicking on this link: Short Seller’s Journal subscription link. 

Who Is Buying China’s Dumped Treasuries?

According to the latest Treasury International Capital report (for October), China unloaded nearly $42 billion in Treasuries in October. In the last 12 months, China has unloaded nearly $150 billion in Treasuries, equivalent to more than one month’s worth of new Treasury issuance by the U.S. Government.

The Zerohedge/mainstream financial media narrative is that China is selling Treasuries to defend the yuan. They hold reserves other than dollars. Why not sell those? They are trying to unload their Treasuries w/out completely trashing the market. Imagine what would happen to the bond market if China announced a bid wanted in comp for $1.1 trillion in Treasuries. They are working with Russia to remove the dollar’s reserve status and the U.S. doesn’t like it which is why there is an escalating level of military aggression toward Russia and China by the U.S.

Too be sure, China’s Treasury selling has contributed heavily to surprising spike up in long term Treasury yields.  But who is buying what China is selling?  Japan has been unloading Treasuries every month since July.  On a net basis, foreigners unloaded $116 billion Treasuries in October.  A colleague in the pension industry told me today that pensions are not buying Treasuries because the yield is too low.

Phil and John (Not F) Kennedy invited me on to their engaging and entertaining podcast show to discuss the chaos that has enveloped the global financial markets including the Fed rate hike, the manipulated take-down of gold and silver and the deleterious effects from the spike up in interest rates.

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Adios To The Housing Market

That popping sound you just heard is the Fed popping the housing bubble.  The housing bubble that it inflated with ZIRP and zero-bound credit requirements to qualify for a mortgage.    But first, let’s get this out of the way:  Goldman’s Jan Hatzius – apparently the firm’s chief clown economist commented that the Fed’s “faster pace” of rate hikes reflects an economy close to full employment.  That statement is hand’s down IRD’s winner of “Retarded Comment of the Year by Wall Street.”

I guess if an economic system in which 38% of the working age population is not working can be defined as “full employment” then monkeys are about to crawl of out Janet Yellen’s ass.  I guess we’ve witnessed more stunning events this year…

Before we start assuming the Fed will raise rates three times in 2017, let’s consider that Bernanke’s “taper” speech was delivered in May 2013.  3 1/2 years later, the Fed Funds rate has been nudged up a whopping 50 basis points – one half of one percent.

I hope the Fed does start raising rates toward “normalized” rates, whatever “normalized” is supposed to mean.  Certainly there’s nothing “normalized” about an economic system in which real rates are negative – that is to say, an economic system in which it’s cheaper to borrow money and spend it than it is to save.

Having said all that, put a big pitch-fork into the housing market.  Notwithstanding the highly manipulated “seasonally adjusted annualized rate” data puked on a platter  and served up warm by the National Association of Realtor and the Census Bureau – existing and new home sales data, respectively – the housing market in most areas of the country is deteriorating at an increasing rate.    I review this data extensively and in-dept in my Short Seller’s Journal.

Even just marginally higher mortgage rates will choke off the ability of most buyers to qualify for anything less than an conventional mortgage with 20% down and a 720 or better credit score.   With a rapidly shrinking full-time workforce – the Labor Department reported that last month the economy lost 100,000 full-time jobs – the percentage of the population that has a 720 credit rating and can afford 20% is dwindling rapidly.

The Dow Jones Home Construction index is down 2.5% today.  What will happen to the stocks in that index when the Fed cranks back up it’s “we’re raising again” song and dance?

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Despite the rampant move in the Dow/SPX since the election = while the Dow and SPX were hitting all-time highs almost daily – the momentum was not enough to propel the homebuilder stocks even remotely close to a 52-week high.  Hell, the 50 dma (yellow line) has remained well below the 200 dma (red line) and has not even turned up.  THAT is the market sending a message.

Here’s a weekly version of the same graph that goes back to 2005, when the DJUSHB hit an all-time high:

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When looked at it in that context, one has wonder where this great housing boom has been hiding? The stock market certainly didn’t price in a booming housing market. That’s because the truth is that the housing market since 2008 has been driven by massive Fed and Government intervention. The intervention enabled a segment of the population to buy a home that could not have otherwise afforded to buy a home. It was really not much different than the previous bubble fueled by liar loans and 125% loan-to-value mortgages. As I detailed yesterday, the system is now re-entering a cycle of delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures.

If you are thinking about buying a home – primary, vacation or investment – wait.  You will be happy you waited.  Prices have been pushed up to near-record levels by 3% down payment mortgages and credit assessment that gears the amount of mortgage available to a buyer based on maximizing the monthly payment based on monthly gross income.  That system is over now.  Prices and volume are going to spiral south.

If you need to sell your home, you better list it as soon as possible.  You will find that you will be competing with a surge in new sellers that descend like locusts.  “Price reduced” signs will blossom everywhere.  Just like 2008…

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A Bearish Signal From Housing Stocks

The yield on the 10-yr Treasury has blown out 109 basis points since July 3rd – 70 basis points since October 30th.   30yr fixed rate mortgage rates for 20% down payment buyers with a credit score of at least 720 are up 90 basis points since October 1st.

Interestingly, the Dow Jones Home Construction index has diverged from the S&P 500. While the DJUSHB index is up since election night, it has been lagging the S&P 500 since the beginning of the year:

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The graph above is a 1yr daily which compares the ROR on the SPX with that of the DJ Home Construction Index.  I use the DJUSHB because it has the heaviest weighting in homebuilders of any of the real estate indices. As you can see, the DJUSHB has been in a downtrend since late August, almost as if stock investors were anticipating the big spike in interest rates that started about 6 weeks later. You can see that, while the volume in the DJUSHB spiked on December 5th, it’s been declining steadily since then. The SPX volume spiked up on December 5th and has maintained roughly the same daily level since then. Note: volume often precedes price direction.

Here’s another interesting graphic sourced from the Mortgage Bankers Association:

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The data is through December 2nd, as mortgage application data lags by a week.  As you can see, mortgage application volume – both refinance and purchase – has been negative to highly negative in 9 of the last 12 weeks.

A report by Corelogic was released today that asserted that foreclosures had fallen to “bubble-era” lows.  This is not unexpected.  Historically low rates have enabled a lot mortgagees who were in trouble to defer their problems by refinancing.  Unfortunately, the Marketwatch author of the article did not do thorough research – also not unexpected.

As it turns out, mortgage delinquency rates are quickly rising:

Black Knight Financial Services, which provides data and analytics to the mortgage industry, released its Mortgage Monitor report for October. It reported that the 30+ day delinquency rate had risen “unexpectedly” by nearly 2%. The overall national delinquency rate is now up to 4.35%. It also reported a quarterly decline in purchase mortgage lending. The highest degree of slowing is among borrowers with 740+ credit scores. The 740+ segment has accounted for 2/3’s of all of the purchase volume – Short Seller’s Journal – December 11, 2016

Even more interesting, it was reported by RealtyTrac last week that home foreclosures in the U.S. increased 27% in October from September. It was the largest month to month percentage increase in foreclosures since August 2007. Foreclosures in Colorado soared
64%, which partially explains the rising inventory I’m seeing (with my own eyes). Foreclosure starts were up 25% from September, the biggest monthly increase since December 2008.

Finally, again just like the mid-2000’s housing bubble, NYC is showing definitive signs that its housing market is crumbling very quickly. Landlord rent concessions soared 24% in October, more than double the 10.4% concession rate in October 2015. Typical concessions include one free month or payment of broker fees at lease signing. Days to lease an apartment on average increased 15% over 2015 in October to 46 days. And inventory listings are up 23% year over year. Note: in the big housing bubble, NYC was one of the first markets to pop.  Short Seller’s Journal – November 13, 2016

Finally, I saw an idiotic article in some rag called “The Sovereign Daily Investor”   that was promoting the notion that another big boom in housing was about to occur because of a surge in buying by millennials.   Unfortunately, the dope who wrote this article forgot to find data that would verify proof of concept.  On the other hand, here’s actual data that applies heavily to the millennial demographic:

The Fed reported on Wednesday that household debt had hit a near-record $12.35 trillion led by new all-time highs in student loan debt ($1.28 trillion) and a new all-time high in auto loans ($1.14 trillion). 11% of aggregate student loan debt was 90+ days delinquent or in default at the end of Q3 2016. Fitch has projected that it expects the subprime auto loan default rate to hit 10% by the end of the year. At the time of the report, it was at 9%.  – Short Seller’s Journal – December 4, 2016.

The point here is that the millennial demographic is overburdened with student loan, auto loan and personal loan debt.  In addition, it’s becoming increasingly hard to find post-college full-time employment that pays enough to support the cost of home ownership, especially with the mortgage payments associated with a 3% down payment mortgage.   This is the dynamic that has fueled the rental market boom (and soon the rental housing bust).

Speaking of which, Blackstone, the largest player in the buy-to-rent game, quietly filed an IPO of its housing rental portfolio about a week ago.  If Blackstone thought there was more value to be squeezed out of its portfolio – i.e. that housing prices and rents had more upside – it would have waited longer to file.  I’m sure that Blackstone would love to get this IPO priced and its equity stake in this business unloaded on to the public before the market cracks.

The housing market data tends to be lagged and extremely massaged by the most widely followed housing data reporters – National Association of Realtors and the Government’s Census Bureau (existing and new home sales reports).  The reports from these two sources are highly unstable, subject to big revisions that go unnoticed and entirely unreliable.   But the fundamental statistics cited above will soon be filtering through the earnings reports of the companies in the DJ Home Construction Index.  I would suggest that the market has already sniffed this out, which explains why the DJUSHB is diverging from the S&P 500 negatively in both direction and volume.

The Short Seller’s Journal is a subscription-based, weekly publication.  I present in-depth detailed data, analysis and insight that is not presented by the mainstream financial media and often not found on alternative media websites.  I also present short-sell ideas, including recommendations for using options.   Despite the run-up in the broad market indices, there’s stocks everyday that blow-up.  Last Restoration Hardware plunged 18% after reporting its earnings.   You can subscribe to the Short Seller’s Journal by clicking on this link:  SSJ Subscription.   It’s monthly recurring and there is not a minimum number of months required.