The U.S. housing market is in trouble… again.
As I write this, several housing stocks I recommended my Short Side Fortunes subscribers get in on are down fairly sizably today. One stock is trading right now at $39.85. If it breaks below $38, that's bad news. Another is trading at $23.75. If it breaks below $23, that's bad news. And yet another is trading at $31.05. If it breaks below $30, that's bad news.
That will be good news for the shorts, but bad news for housing.
Why are there still dark clouds over our supposed economic recovery? We're five years on from the mortgage meltdown, after all, and housing prices have bounced back dramatically and interest rates are at near-record lows.
I've been saying it all along. The housing rally is fabricated. It is, as Pete Townshend sang in The Who's last great single, an "Eminence Front"…
An Eminence What?
The so-called resurgence of the U.S. housing market is not about individuals and families buying back into the market, though of course some have. Home prices have bounced back because of institutional buyers paying cash for "affordable" housing.
I'm talking about the homes that were bid up when banks were giving mortgages away. These are houses in the $200,000 to $450,000 range… you know, the ones that banks foreclosed on in the tens of millions.
Institutions with cheap borrowing capabilities have been buying, with cash, foreclosed homes hand over fist in order to rent them out. And now they're securitizing packages of those homes and selling interests in pools of them to other institutional buyers looking for decent-yielding investments.
It's a trade.
Traders bid up those homes. It's not about a real recovery in housing.
Like I said, it's a trade.
As far as more expensive homes go, the buyers there are mostly foreigners taking money out of their respective countries – China, Russia, Ukraine, Latin America, Europe, South Africa, South Korea. These are people with money who want to park it here in real estate.
After all, there's more to gain from homeownership than 2.5%-yielding 10-year U.S. Treasury securities.
And the high, high end? How high is the high, high end, and what does it tell us about the state of the housing recovery?
About the Author
Shah Gilani boasts a financial pedigree unlike any other. He ran his first hedge fund in 1982 from his seat on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange. When options on the Standard & Poor's 100 began trading on March 11, 1983, Shah worked in "the pit" as a market maker.
The work he did laid the foundation for what would later become the VIX - to this day one of the most widely used indicators worldwide. After leaving Chicago to run the futures and options division of the British banking giant Lloyd's TSB, Shah moved up to Roosevelt & Cross Inc., an old-line New York boutique firm. There he originated and ran a packaged fixed-income trading desk, and established that company's "listed" and OTC trading desks.
Shah founded a second hedge fund in 1999, which he ran until 2003.
Shah's vast network of contacts includes the biggest players on Wall Street and in international finance. These contacts give him the real story - when others only get what the investment banks want them to see.
Today, as editor of Hyperdrive Portfolio, Shah presents his legion of subscribers with massive profit opportunities that result from paradigm shifts in the way we work, play, and live.
Shah is a frequent guest on CNBC, Forbes, and MarketWatch, and you can catch him every week on Fox Business's Varney & Co.