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    U.S. housing market

    Ben Bernanke began his tenure as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board just as the housing bubble was peaking in February 2006.

    He exited the post in February of this year after supposedly shepherding the country out of the Great Recession the mortgage crisis spawned.

    He recently admitted the housing recovery is hitting a wall.

    But this time, it's personal... Full Story

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Housing Market

What Today's Case-Shiller Home Price Index Doesn't Show You About the Housing Market

Case Shiller

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a widely followed benchmark for home prices, showed a slow growth in home prices amid an unimpressive housing recovery.

But given the factors underlying this recovery, and the activity in the housing market, this should come as no surprise.

Here's why this housing recovery just can’t seem to take off…

The New Way the Government Is Poisoning the American Dream

FHA

Private equity shops and institutional players are buying and packaging nonperforming mortgages from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and selling those mortgages to mutual funds and themselves.

On the surface, the HUD wants to minimize the cost to taxpayers. That's really nice of HUD and the FHA, thinking about us taxpayers.

But something else is behind this recent action, and it's poisoning the American Dream...

Don't Believe the New Housing Market Index Numbers

Home construction

This month's Housing Market Index (HMI) numbers would have you believe that this so-called housing recovery is picking up steam.

Figures released yesterday (Monday) show that home builders are both more confident in the current housing market, and are more optimistic for the six months ahead.

But even as some will try to spin this narrative that these numbers point toward a substantial recovery, there are more sinister forces at work...

Profit Massively from This "Margin Call" on American Homeowners

Get ready. There's more trouble ahead for home buyers, home builders, and especially homeowners who took out home-equity lines of credit before the housing crisis. Those heydays have turned into haymakers.

What's already started to happen might not only knock out the formerly aspiring but now petering-out housing recovery, but also might knock the already weak economy to the ground.

Back in the good old days, when banks and mortgage shops were selling mortgage money and home-equity credit lines like carnival barkers wowing crowds into the big top, millions of homeowners stepped right in.

That circus tent was nothing but a trap, however. And now I'm going to tell you what that trap means for those borrowers - and the rest of the economy... Full Story

Why We're Making These Housing Market Trades Now

housing market-001

Get ready. There's more trouble ahead for home buyers, home builders, and especially homeowners who took out home-equity lines of credit (HELOCs) before the housing crisis.

What's already started to happen might not only knock out the formerly aspiring but now petering-out market recovery, but also might knock the already weak economy to the ground.

That’s why we’re making these housing market trades now...

What Today's Housing Market Numbers Really Mean

20140225_sgvarney

Today's mixed numbers from the Case-Shiller price index have some prognosticators wondering if the housing market has plateaued.

U.S. home prices posted their largest annual gain since 2005 and increased 11.3% in Q4 compared to the previous year. However, growth slowed toward the end of the year, particularly in December.

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This Echo of the Housing Market Bubble Is About to Triple Loan Payments

House for sale with "For Sale" sign

The housing market is bracing for another shock. Thousands of borrowers who took out home equity loans during the bubble years are now getting alarming news - their monthly payment will soon triple. And as more bubble-era home equity loans reach their 10th birthday, more homeowners will be affected.

This 'wave of disaster' is just getting started...

New Rental Securitization Deal Likely Heralds Double Dip in Housing

Today, in New York, investors will be pitched the first-ever REO-to-rental securitization deal. The $500 million deal bundles foreclosed single-family homes, "real-estate-owned" by Blackstone Group, into securities that pass-through rental payments to investors.
The new securitization of rental properties comes at a time when home prices have rebounded dramatically across the country. But rather than confirming a bull market in housing, the "trade," as Reuters calls the transaction, likely heralds a coming double-dip.
The upward trajectory of housing prices, fueled by private equity companies and hedge funds' cash purchases, now faces institutional liquidity demands - and their potential exit.
Here's what the Blackstone deal is all about, why its structure is problematic, how the ratings agencies will view it, and what it portends for the future.

This is a very big deal...

How to Buy Prime Manhattan Real Estate for Less Than $100

Unless you own a home in each of America's 20 biggest cities - or you're an economist - a 12.4% increase in the S&P/Case-Shiller Index doesn't mean much.
You can't make money from a nationwide statistic. Not in real estate...
Cleveland, for example, may have seen a 3.4% increase from July 2012 to July 2013. But that's nothing compared to Los Angeles, where prices jumped 20.8%. Or San Francisco, which posted a 24% year-over-year increase.
Las Vegas prices jumped even higher, up more than 27%.
And then there's New York, where you can make a killing on some prime Manhattan real estate right now...
There's a hassle-free way to do it, too. So you'll never have to worry about tenants, taxes, insurance, maintenance...
You won't need a million-dollar down payment, either.

Thanks to one savvy New York firm, you can start building your own Manhattan real estate empire with less than $100...

The All-American "Short Squeeze" No One Else Sees

Everyone knows the U.S. housing "recovery" has been resurrected on slippery ground. But now that we're finally about to slip - big time - no one sees it coming...

Then again, how could they?

The numbers are incredibly misleading...

According to the Commerce Department, new residential home sales in July fell a whopping 13.4% from their June sales pace. And sales in April, May, and June were all revised significantly lower.

Yet according to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales (completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops) increased 6.5%... to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in July, from a downwardly revised 5.06 million in June.

On the surface, the divergence is confusing. But not when you look below the surface, where the real money gets made.

As you'll see (before anyone else), the housing "recovery" is just one giant "short squeeze."

And you can make a flat-out killing the moment it ends...

How Higher Mortgage Rates Will Dent Housing's Recovery

Housing Question

How much do higher mortgage rates reduce home sales?

That, of course, depends on how much rates rise and whom you ask. But there's no doubt higher mortgage rates hurt sales, experts say.

Interest rates have been climbing since May. Rates on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.37% for the week ending July 18, Freddie Mac's weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates said. That's up more than a percentage point from early May.

And existing home sales fell 1.2% in June, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million, from 5.14 million in May (but still 15.2% higher than in June 2012), the National Association of Realtors said Monday.

Lawrence Yun, the NAR's chief economist, told Money Morning he expects interest rates to hit 5% to 5.5% within a year. And while he foresees existing home sales rising as much as 10% for 2013, he predicts only a single-digit percentage increase next year primarily because of higher mortgage rates.

"There's no risk of any reversal of this housing recovery; it's just slowing the pace of this housing recovery," Yun said.

He said robust demand and affordable prices would lessen the impact of the higher mortgage rates in much of the country, but pricier markets in New York, parts of California and Hawaii would be hit harder by the higher mortgage rates.

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DON’T BE SO ARROGANT, MR. PRESIDENT

Empires have come and gone. Some lasted a blink of an eye and some millennia.
The question is, after 9/11, the rise of China and a great financial crisis, where does the U.S. empire stack up to its predecessors?
Well, it seems the one commonality they all have is the point when their might was undermined by sloth and greed. And entitlements: free bread and circuses. For some it took years, others centuries.
Here, in a compelling and unique address, is what Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of the Roman Empire, might say to President Obama now about how to keep America great.
Read on and share with family and friends...