Tag Archives: Housing Market

Bitcoin, Propaganda, Fake News And Unmitigated Idiocy

I want to show two quotes from commentators in related areas of financial analysis because they illustrate the difference between truthful commentary and unmitigated idiocy.

Yesterday, James “Mc” wrote in Bill Murphy’s nightly “Midas” report:

“The sexiness of Bitcoin, Tesla, Netflix, and hundreds of other techie things will become FAR less sexy in a good old fashion economic crash. Reality will quickly set in, and real stuff, made by real people will prevail. As history has shown everything else becomes superfluous. Millennials, or even Gen-Xer’s for that matter have never experienced truly hard times. Many will be shocked to learn when TSHTF a plumber is far more marketable than an IT guy. Bartering with Bitcoin might prove problematic.”

I doubt there’s anything with that statement with which anyone could dispute. Murphy prior to that made the valid points that Central Banks and sovereign nations will never incorporate Bitcoin into their currency reserves like they do with gold. The point being that, while Bitcoin is accepted as a form of currency by its users, it is not considered a wealth storage asset.

It would be tough to classify James’ comment as propaganda or fake news. Gold is the world’s second oldest form of money (silver is the oldest). Bitcoin may or may not become a passing fad but it certainly has not stood the test of time. Its use can be eliminated by shutting down the global power grid.

Here’s an example of propaganda, fake news and unmitigated idiocy from Citicorp’s “respected” strategist, Tom Fitzpatrick:

“…markets ultimately will be driven by the economic backdrop rather than by headlines. US labor and housing markets remain robust and should continue to drive growth. European growth is picking up. China remains stable in our view despite recent volatility.” LINK

China remains “stable?” I doubt anyone would disagree that China has fomented the second biggest debt and asset bubble in the world, with the U.S. bubble the largest, and its financial system rests on the precipice of systemic collapse resting on a pyramid of debt and derivatives that requires a flood of printed money and credit creation in order to defer the inevitable financial and economic implosion. That’s the truth, in contrast to Fitzpatrick’s moronic assertion.

As for the remark that the U.S. labor market is “robust.” My guess is that a majority of the 95 million working age people (37% of the working age population) in the U.S. who are no longer considered part of the “labor force” would have a different set of adjectives to describe the labor market here (they would also have a set of adjectives to describe Fitzpatrick that would make some blush).

A “robust” housing market? Total home sales are running two-thirds of the long run average and about 50% the last peak in sales. This is despite a steady long term growth in the population. Furthermore, in order to for a home to sell, in general buyers have to resort to using a 0-3% down payment mortgage and use at least 50% of their monthly income to service the mortgage. An oversupply of housing in New York City and Miami is beginning to crush those two housing markets, a dynamic that will soon spread to most major metro areas across the country. Flippers and “investors” were about 35% of all home sales in 2016.

These are unequivocally NOT the attributes of a “robust” housing market, not to mention the fact that the even the monthly manipulated home sales data series published by the Government and the National Association of Realtors have been trending lower this year. Tom Fitzpatrick’s remarks embody the attributes of Wall Street propaganda,  outright fake news and total unmitigated idiocy.  I hope you get rich selling lies and feel good about it, Tom.

There’s been a lot of debate over the meaning and significance of the parabolic move in Bitcoin.  Allhambra Investments’ Jeffrey Snider has come the closest to the truth by equating the Bitcoin move as the manifestation of Gresham’s law.

While this encapsulates the Bitcoin frenzy, beneath the surface represented by Bitcoin is an even bigger movement  of bad money (fiat currencies) piling into physical gold that is occurring in the eastern hemisphere, specifically in India and China.  The evidence of this movement in the form of a higher price expressed in dollars is being hidden by the continuous intervention in the western gold market implemented by the western Central Banks using paper gold derivatives.

The point of this is that the price of Bitcoin is behaving the way price of gold would be behaving in the absence of manipulation.   The rush into both is a rejection by the market of  the continuous devaluation of fiat currencies that is occurring from the trillions of paper currencies that have been created since 2008.

At some point, and there’s not anyone who can predict when, Tom Fitzpatrick’s fake news and unmitigated idiocy will be exposed for what it is as global financial markets and economies crash and money that is pulled out of bubble assets floods into the safety of physical gold and silver.   At that point the Central Bank effort to suppress the price of gold and silver will fail.

It’s been occurring slowly since 1971 (and really since 1913) and will at some point happen all at once.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend and try to enjoy what you can, as much you can, while you still can.

The Government’s New Home Sales Report Is Idiotic

Absurd surges in new home sales activity were not significant…Headline reporting of this series is of no substance, as seen frequently with massive, unstable and continuously shifting revisions of recent history… – John Williams, Shadowstats.com on the June report.

Like everything else going on in the financial markets, the Government’s new home sales report is thoroughly inconsistent with all of the actualized supporting data and bears absolutely no resemblance to observable reality.

The Census Bureaus, which is notorious for producing fraudulent data, reports that new homes sales hit a 9-year high in July on a “statistically adjusted, annualized rate” basis. However, it had to revise its original report down for June to 582k from 592k.   Bloomberg theatrically describes the report as indicating “sky high momentum.”  These are, of course, fairytale numbers.

This is how John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics described last month’s new home sales report:    “Despite ‘benchmarking’ to the unstable seasonal-adjustment factors with the April 2016 release, this series remains extraordinarily unstable and consistently unreliable on a near-term month-to-month basis as weather headline sales increased or decreased.”  (Shadowstats.com)

The Government’s numbers were “driven” by an unexplainable 18% surge in new home sales in the South.  Yet, according to Redfin.com’s data for July, homes sales for July in the south’s biggest MSAs (population areas) cratered:   Atlanta -12.9%, Dallas/Ft Worth -13.3%, Miami -24.2%, Orlando -16.1% (LINK).  In other words, the Government’s metric conflicts drastically with observable reality.

Additionally, the new home sales report is entirely at odds with the ongoing economic contraction as reflected in most private-sourced economic reports.  This morning, for instance, the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index collapsed the most on record (going back to 1993).   Another report on U.S. manufacturing activity released this morning showed continued weakness in the manufacturing sector, with the employment index at its lowest in four months.  If economic activity is contracting and real jobs (not Census Bureau fake jobs) are declining in number, homes are not being purchased.  Again, the new home sales report does not fit the facts.

Finally, in the report it showed that new home inventory is declining.  However, I look at several new homebuilder financial reports every quarter and they all show inventory levels that are ballooning (and being financed with debt).   For instance, Toll Brothers reported this morning (more on that later) and its inventory level of new homes increase 5.3% from the end of last quarter and 6.8% from the end of January.    DR Horton is the country’s largest new homebuilder, its inventory level has soared nearly 10% over the last four quarters.

Also, the same Census Bureau has been reporting well in excess of 1 million supposed housing starts for the last several months.  How is it possible that starts exceed sales by a significant amount and yet inventory is said to be shrinking?  Once again, the facts do not fit the report.

Remember the Redfin.com report referenced above when existing home sales are reported tomorrow. The National Association of Realtors uses the same statistical meat grinder used by the Government in producing its seasonally adjusted annualized fictional account of the housing market.

As far as demand at the lower end of the market, I will republish the market color I received earlier this month from one of my Short Seller Journal subscribers, who has been a real estate professional for over 3 decades:

You are spot-on the housing market. I think the flippers in Denver metro are driving the under $400,000 price to a frenzy and the over $500,000 in the burbs are dropping in price. Some of these flippers have 8-10 houses at the same time. A little jiggle and they will dump. Then the part time rental landlords follow in selling as the rental market gets tough.

The only reason that prices keep rising is because the Fed’s near-ZIRP interest policy and the Government’s sub-prime dressed-in-drag mortgage-lending programs have enabled buyers to pay more than ever for a home and make monthly payments – for now.  As the real economy continues to implode, delinquencies and defaults will pile up as quickly as they did from 2008-2010, led by the flippers reference in the quote above.

Energy Debt Is Imploding – Housing Market To Follow

“The banks are still clinging to their reserve reports and praying.  The bonds are all toast. Most are in the single digits or teens.”

I asked a former colleague of mine from my Bankers Trust junk bond days who is now a distressed debt trader what was going on in the secondary market for energy sector bank debt and junk bonds.  The quote above was his response.

Zerohedge posted a report last night with a Bloomberg article linked that describes what is going on – “Assets selling for far less than what companies owe lenders – Creditors are left holding prospects no one wants to buy.”   the article further cites the ridiculously small reserves that four biggest banks in the energy sector have set aside:  “Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. — have set aside at least $2.5 billion combined to cover souring energy loans and have said they’ll add to that if prices stay low”  – (Bloomberg).

Considering that those four banks combined probably have at least $100 billion of exposure to sector – not counting the unknowable amount of credit default swaps and other funky OTC derivative configurations the financalized Thomas Edisons at these banks dreamed up – the $2.5 billion in loss reserves is a complete joke.  It’s an insult to our collective intelligence.  Of course, Congress and the SEC took care of the problem of forcing banks to do a bona fide mark to market after the 2008 financial crash.

This is the 2008 “The Big Short” scenario Part 2.  The banks underwrote over $500 billion in debt they knew was backed by largely fraudulent reserve estimates.  I bet most of the “professional” investors at pension funds and mutual fund companies were not even aware that oil extracted from shale formations trades at a big discount to WTI.  When creditors go to grab assets in liquidation, they’ll get a few handfuls of dirt to resell.  And when the bondholders go to grab assets, they’ll get an armful of air.

The same dynamic is about to invade and infect the housing market.  Notwithstanding the incredulous existing home sales report released on Friday – (how can the NAR expect us to believe that December experienced the largest one month percentage increase in existing home sales in history when the economy is sliding into recession and retail sales were a disaster?) – the housing market is on the cusp of imploding.  I was expecting to see a unusually high number of new listings hit the Denver market right after Jan 1st and so far my expectations have been met. The acceleration of new listings is being accompanied by a flood of “new price” notices.   I believe a rapid deterioration in home sales activity will take a lot of the housing bulls by surprise.

The stock market’s reflection of my assertions about the housing market is exemplified by the homebuilder stock I feature in this week’s issue of the Short Seller’s Journal.  This stock is down 16% from when I first published a stock report on this Company in 2014. This is a remarkable fact considering that the S&P 500 is down only 4% in the same time period AND the Dow Jones Home Construction Index UP 8% in that time period.  This company happens to originate a high percentage of the mortgages used to finance the sale of its homes.

The company relies on an ability to dump these mortgages into the CDO and Bespoke Tranche Opportunity configures conjured up by Wall Street in order to seduce dumb pension and mutual fund money into higher yielding “safe” assets.   As the energy debt market implodes, it will cause the entire Wall Street supported asset-backed credit market to seize up.  The next biggest losers after the energy sector will autos and housing.

This week’s Short Seller’s Journal features the above housing stock plus a copy of the report I originally published (the data is old but the ideas behind why the stock is a short are intact, if not more pronounced) plus I have presented two “Quick Hit” energy sector stock short ideas. All three ideas are accompanied with my suggestions for using puts and calls to replicate shorting the stock  You can access this report here:Untitled

 

 

Retail Sales Are Crashing – Housing Sales Are Next

Flippers are getting stuck with houses they can’t flip for a profit. Hedge funds have stopped buying and have begun selling. Anyone dumb enough to have been lured into this market in the last few years will be underwater in no time. The foreclosure train will be leaving the station shortly. We’ve been here before. It was ten years ago. Some people never learn.  – The Burning Platform

Last week in the stock market featured several “cliff-dive” drops in retail stocks:  Macy’s, Nordstroms, Advance Auto Parts.  The middle class (yes, “middle class” includes the wannabees living beyond their means in million-dollar “mcmansions”) is tapped out of disposable income and has run up against is ability to take on more debt.   The Nordstrom’s report is what has really freaked out economic analysts:  LINK.

The housing market will show the affects of a rapidly deteriorating economy next.   I noticed something had changed in the housing market in mid-summer based on all of the available data I analyze.  Interestingly, the CEO of Redfin agrees with me:  Something We’ve Seen In The Last Month Should Make You Worried About The Housing Market.

I noticed that the number of listings all around Denver began to increase rapidly.  The NAR’s manipulated “months supply” metric is lagged by a few months and does not pick up big increases in listings right away.  I  noticed this especially in the higher-end areas all around Denver.  My observations have been confirmed in San Francisco:   LINK and in New York:   LINK and NYC/Washington DC:  LINK.

The small bump up in home sales that resulted from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lowering their down payment requirement from 5% to 3%  has now run its course.  It’s pulled sales forward and coerced a lot of people to overpay for a home – most of them are households that, over the long term, can not afford the monthly cost of homeownership.   Anyone who bought a home within the last 6 months in almost every major city and used a 10% or less down payment is now underwater vs. their mortgage.  Many are now starting to realize this which is part of the reason retail sales are tanking.

The homebuilder stocks are now more overvalued than they were at the peak of the housing bubble – using ANY financial metric.   What’s different is that the Fed is now out artificial fuel to power the next phony housing “recovery.”  The homebuilder stock are set up for a spectacular drop.

My two most recent reports are being offered for a short period of time in a two-report special price.  Each report is $30 or you can buy both reports for $45:    Two Homebuilder Stock Report Special

Note:  If you have purchased either the Low End Homebuilder report or the Red Flag Alert report, please contact me if you are interested in adding the other report for $15.

One more point of note:  DO NOT overlook or underestimate the fact that big homebuilders like Lennar are now offering ZERO-DOWN mortgage financing in many of their new home communities.  Lennar is not the only homebuilder offering mortgage incentives to move homes.  Many homebuilders are now showing a big increase in “mortgages held for sale.”  These are mortgages that can not be off-loaded on to the taxpayer because they are subprime quality.   The homebuilders are stuffed to the gills with inventory right now.  

Econ Nazi To Homebuilders: “No Soup For You” – Lumber Is Limit-Down

Buyer of my homebuilder research:   I’ve never gotten a bigger return for the value. Paid $25 pay for the report,  invested $4k in KBH Jan 15’16 $15 put since August [2014] and closed today [mid-Jan 2015] for $3.2k profit.

The price of lumber is the “tell-tale” of the tape.  It sold down hard early in the year and got a manipulated dead-cat bounce along with oil.  It’s limit-down today and headed back to multi-year lows:

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Homebuilder sentiment peaked in mid-2005, just in time for Dow Jones Home Construction Index to plunge from 1,039 to 140 over the next 3 years – click to enlarge:

UntitledOutside of AMZN and private Silicon venture plays – which can’t be shorted – the homebuilder sector is THE best sector of the market to make a lot of money shorting. My reports will help you understand why:
HOMEBUILDER SHORT SELL REPORTS

This sector has more debt and more overvalued inventory than it did at the peak of the market in 2005/2006.  The p/e ratios are several multiples higher.  The last of the public has gorged on easy credit and “easy flips.”  This will be worse than the bear that started in 2005/2006 – the second leg down in bear markets always is…

Once I get my reports updated, I will be raising the price.

Homebuilders Jump On Lennar’s Highly Managed Earnings Report

For starters, let’s not forget that all indications seem to indicate that the housing market hit a wall in August.   So LEN’s earnings released today are “looking in the rear view mirror” numbers.

But not only that, Lennar has blown smoke across that mirror, making it difficult to determine what’s real and what’s questionable accounting.   In fact, Lennar has not even filed an 8-K SEC disclosure, which companies typically file before they release their earnings report to the public.  I went to look for it after I scanned LEN’s press release and found several troubling aspects to the numbers they reported this morning.

The bottom line is that, despite the large contribution to LEN’s revenues from higher prices,   LEN’s gross margin was barely higher than for the same quarter last year.  Furthermore, they included several accounting “add-backs” to boost their net income.  Finally, like all these homebuilders, LEN has removed a significant portion of its interest expense from its income statement.  I won’t know just how much until they file their 10-Q.

My conclusion is that LEN’s earnings report is product of carefully managed smoke and mirrors.  Most of its gains came from the West region.  If LEN is counting on sales growth from the West going forward, they will be very disappointed because, as I showed with yesterday’s post, the West is crashing.

As existing home sales listings pile onto the market, and sellers continue to cut prices, it will force new homebuilders to compete by lowering prices.  Most of these homebuilders are not generating positive operating cash flow after accounting for the cost of their massive inventory stockpiling.  Lower sale prices will obliterate their operating earnings.

I am reitierating a table-pounding sell or sell-short on the homebuilder stocks.   The LEN report has given us an ideal opportunity to establish or add to short positions.  My Homebuilder Stock Reports go over the misleading accounting techniques thoroughly being used by these unscrupulous homebuilders.  I also provide ideas for capital management techniques given that this sector is highly volatile.  And I include a section that discusses call and put option strategies.

I have been clear about advising traders to make sure they save plenty of capital in order to take advantage of days like today, as this can be a very volatile sector.  But the downside volatility will be spectacular once the stock market finally rolls over…

P.S. – my firm participated several junk bond deals for Lennar back in the 1990’s.  This management team loves to pile on debt and engage in misleading accounting techniques. I remember after sitting through a dry-run investor presentation that they reminded me of stereotypical South Florida boiler-room operators.  I really wanted to run home and shower off…

 

 

 

 

More Evidence That Housing Hit A Wall In August

Homes sales volume PLUNGED in August in Southern California, San Francisco/Bay Area and Las Vegas. These had been among the hottest markets in sales volume, low inventory and price increase in 2012/2013. Not anymore:

Southern Cal August Home Sales Volume
SoCal August Sales Volume

SF/Bay Area August Home Sale Volume
BayAreaAugVolume

The numbers for Vegas are for July, but I guarantee that August was worse
VegasJulyHomeSales

Furthermore, a large percentage home sellers in Orange County have been forced to cut prices if they want to attract prospective traffic:

In Orange County, the region’s priciest market, about one-third of sellers have been forced to cut prices, according to data from real estate firm Redfin. Across the Southland, prices have hit a plateau this summer, with sales volume slumping as buyers got pickier.   LA Times

The San Francisco market has been hailed by housing market bulls and Wall Street stock pimps as the “poster child” for the new bull market in housing.   Well, you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of reality.  Sales volume absolutely plunged over 20% in August.  Alas,  San Francisco, like it was in 2005, will be the poster child for the housing market collapse Part Two.

Please note that “New Home” sales in Vegas did a Wiley Coyote cliff-dive of nearly 17% in July.  Homebuilders have loaded up their “boat” with inventory by issuing debt and spending shareholder cash – right at the top of the market, just like in 2005.

I have three homebuilder short-sell ideas featured on this blog:   Homebuilder Research  Each report offers insight, analysis and presentation of misleading accounting like you will never find anywhere else.  The only other time in my 30 years of involvement in the stock market that I have seen a better short-sell opportunity than right now is the tech bubble in early 2000 and original housing bubble in 2005.

Note:  I originally sourced some of the source data from the Dr Housing Bubble blog.

Homebuilder Stocks Getting Hit Again Despite Higher Dow

[note:  the DJUSHB Dow Jones Home Construction Index has hit a new low on the day since I posted this report – it’s down almost well over 2%  nearly 3%  now]

Despite what seems to be an inexorably rising stock market, the homebuilder stocks continue their negative divergence from the direction of the general market.   In fact, the homebuilder stocks dropped over 1% at today’s market open despite another unexplained “pop” in the S&P 500.

The message of the market is unmistakable:   the housing sector is tanking (click to enlarge).

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This is despite the fact that 30-yr mortgage rates have come down to their lowest level in a year.  That fact that buyers are disappearing is reflected in today’s mortgage purchase applications report from the Mortgage Bankers Association which showed another 2% drop in applications files vs. the previous week and a 12% plunge from a year ago.

The message:  This is NOT the healthy housing market in recovery that the industry associations and Wall Street pimps are trying to sell to us.

How take advantage of this?   You can short homebuilder stocks.  I have two reports which explain why these respective companies will drop over 60-70% over the next year or two.   I expose accounting fraud, earnings management and disclosure lies.   You can access the reports here:   Homebuilder Short Ideas.

In the second report I included a section which outlines options trading strategies which enable you to play the downside view without shorting stock, in case you are not comfortable shorting stocks outright.

I’m one of the very few market analysts/traders who is exploiting this obvious market play. This means that you can get in early before the big money dumps longs and hedge funds pile into the short side.

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July New Home Sales Tank

July is typically the 2nd or 3rd best month of the year for home sales.  This should especially be true  this year given that mortgage rates are at their lowest in almost a year and the banks are relaxing credit standards.  But today’s new home sales report showed the lowest monthly rate of sales since March and it was well below the sales rates reported during the so-called “polar vortex” months.

I have presented a detailed analysis of new home sales which you can read here:   July New Home Sales

One of the best areas to make money in the stock market right now is in shorting the homebuilder stocks.  These stocks are insanely overvalued based on historical fundamental market metrics.  This is an incredible opportunity to take advantage of a sector of the market that is not widely followed.  The big mutual and retirement funds holding long positions have their head in the sand are not compelled to sell, especially since the general stock market hits new record highs everyday.  HOWEVER, the homebuilder sector per the DJUSHB is down nearly 13% since it hit a peak in May 2013 while the SPX has risen nearly 20% in the same time period.  What does that tell you?

I have two homebuilder short ideas for which I’ve written a detailed fundamental analysis in support of my price targets for these stocks.  Both plays offer significant profits if you are patient with the market and let the fundamentals blow these stocks up.  I have included a section on call and put option strategies in the second report.  You can access them here:  Homebuilder stock short-sell plays  or by clicking on this picture:

HousingBubblePic

 

The San Francisco Housing Bubble Is Popping

The housing “recovery” of 2012 – 2013 was nothing more than a product of the mult-trillion dollar market rigging that has been implemented by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Government .  TARP, TALF, HAMP, HARP, FHA, FNMA, QE – all acronyms for “our economy is collapsing and we’re going to print as much money as it takes in order to steal as much wealth from the public as we can before we can no loner to prevent the demise of the United States.”

As I’ve been exhaustively detailing since November/December, the housing market has entered another “negative feedback” cycle that will lead to the bursting of Housing Bubble 2.0.  You can’t look for the same factors that inflated and popped Housing Bubble Stage 1. No, the inflation/blow-up cycle this time around was powered by slightly alternative fuel. But the means is leading to the same end – first slowly and then all at once (to paraphrase Hemingway).

Just like the internet stock bubble, which was seeded in northern California, the poster child of housing bubble 2.0 is San Francisco.  Interestingly, as I detailed back in early 2013 – The Housing Recovery is a Complete Myth – northern Cali led the way in that it experienced the first big investment fund to go through  the “buy to rent and hold for gains then dump when the idea fails” algorithm.

Wolf Richter wrote a great article on the bubble bursting in SF:

The hot air had begun hissing out of the San Francisco housing bubble. And in April, the price dropped again to $922,500. While that is still up 13.2% from prior year, it’s down 2.4% from just two months ago.

That this drop came in March and April is particularly nasty. This is the time when home prices rise. Even during the down-years of 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 when the housing bubble in San Francisco was imploding, home prices religiously rose in March and April! So this downdraft is very special; and an early indication that this fabulous boom is once again turning, as it always and inevitably does, into a bust.

This is a must-read article if you are interested in understanding why I’m highly confident that my view on the housing market is correct:  The San Francisco Housing Bubble Is Popping.

Like SF, prices in Denver – which has been one of the hotter markets – have been declining the past two months.  Again, this is the seasonal period of the year when prices always rise.

I would bet that if any of you reading this were to drive around the urban/suburban neighborhoods around where you live this weekend,  you’ll see a lot of “coming soon” and “new price” signs perched on top of “for sale” signs.  I know I’m seeing that visual everywhere in Denver – just like I noticed starting in 2007…