Posts Tagged ‘tax credits’

Burning Down the House

Burning Down the House

Courtesy of DEAN BAKER at CEPR 

This column was originally published by The Guardian. 

Las Vegas, US housing market, foreclosures, mortgages

Trash is piled up outside houses at the abandoned Desert Mesa subdivision in Nevada. The north Las Vegas housing authority started the project in 2004, but the entire subdivision has since fallen into foreclosure. Nevada continues to lead the nation in foreclosures, unemployment and bankruptcies. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The howls of surprised economists were everywhere last week as the government reported on Tuesday that July had the sharpest single-month plunge in existing home sales on record. The next day the Commerce Department reported that new home sales hit a post-war low in July.

All the economists who had told us that the housing market had stabilized and that prices would soon rebound looked really foolish yet again. To understand how lost these professional error-makers really are it is only necessary to know that the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) puts out data on mortgage applications every week. The MBA index plummeted beginning in May, immediately after the last day (April 30) for signing a house sale contract that qualified for the homebuyers tax credit.

It typically takes 6-8 weeks between when a contract is signed and a house sale closes. The plunge in applications in May meant that homebuyers were not signing contracts to buy homes. This meant that sales would plummet in July. Economists with a clue were not surprised by the July plunge in home sales.

What should be clear is that the tax credits helped to pull housing demand forward. People who might have bought in the second half of 2010 or even 2011 instead bought their home before the tax credit expired. Now that the credit has expired, there is less demand than ever, leaving the market open for another plunge in prices. The support the tax credit gave to the housing market was only temporary.

It is worth asking what was accomplished by spending tens of billions of dollars to prop up the market for a bit over a year with these tax credits. First, this allowed millions of people to sell their home over this period at a higher price than would…
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Burning Down the House; New Home Sales Consensus 330K, Actual 276K, a Record Low; Nationwide, Zero New Homes Sold Above 750K

Burning Down the House; New Home Sales Consensus 330K, Actual 276K, a Record Low; Nationwide, Zero New Homes Sold Above 750K

Courtesy of Mish 

I failed to comment yesterday on the huge miss by economists on consensus new home sales, but Rosenberg has some nice comments today in Breakfast with Dave.

Burning Down the House

Once again, the consensus was fooled. It was looking for 330k on new home sales for July and instead they sank to a record low of 276k units at an annual rate. And, just to add insult to injury, June was revised down, to 315k from 330k. Just as resales undercut the 2009 depressed low by 15%, new home sales have done so by 19%. Imagine that even with mortgage rates down 100 basis points in the past year to historic lows, not to mention at least eight different government programs to spur homeownership, home sales have undercut the recession lows by double-digits.

in the aftermath of a credit bubble burst and a massive asset deflation, trauma has set in. The rupture to confidence and spending from our central bankers’ and policymakers’ willingness to allow the prior credit cycle to go parabolic has come at a heavy price in terms of future economic performance. Attitudes towards discretionary spending, credit and housing have been altered, likely for a generation.
The scars have apparently not healed from the horrific experience with defaults, delinquencies and deleveraging of the past two years — talk about a horror flick in 3D. The number of unsold homes on the market exceeds four million and that does include the shadow bank inventory, which jumped 12% alone in August, according to the venerable housing analyst Ivy Zelman.

Nearly 1 in 4 of the population with a mortgage are “upside down” and as a result are now prisoners in their own home. We have over five million homeowners now either in the foreclosure process or seriously delinquent. The government’s HAMP program was supposed to bail out between 3 and 4 million distressed homeowners and instead we have only had a success rate of fewer than half a million.

Now back to the new home sales data. Every region in the U.S. was down, and down sharply. The homebuilders did not cut their inventory levels and as a result, the backlog of new homes surged to 9.1 months’ supply from 8.0


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Overpriced Bay Area Real Estate Sees a 25% Gain in House Prices Thanks to Tax Credits

Overpriced Bay Area Real Estate Sees a 25% Gain in House Prices Thanks to Tax Credits

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

Great views! Close to transportation!

Anyone remember "whatever it takes"? Whatever it takes, even if it means keeping real estate at artificially high values just to stave off deflation, I guess.

If you guys wonder why I am so desperate to get out of this third world toilet I have called home for the last 11 years, look no further than the following. I hope every idiot who got stuck in a new home just for the $8000 tax break (no offense, WCV) enjoys the financial [violation] to come that is amortized over the next 30 years as still-broke municipalities scramble to pay their bills using property taxes as ATMs. Good luck with that, hope it was worth it!

SJ Mercury News:

The Bay Area’s two biggest metro areas had two of the nation’s three biggest housing price gains in the second quarter, the National Association of Realtors reported today.

The median house price in the beautiful San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area jumped 26 percent year over year to $630,000. In the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area, the median price climbed 25 percent to $591,200. (Only Akron, Ohio, oddly enough, had a bigger gain, at 36 percent.)

Of course, prices in both the San Jose and San Francisco metro areas are still down sharply from the peak of the market. In 2007, for example, the median house price was $836,800 in the San Jose area (Santa Clara and San Benito counties) and $804,800 in the San Francisco area (which includes San Francisco, its relatively expensive suburbs in Marin and San Mateo counties, and more affordable — at least by Bay Area standards — communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties).

Yes, you read that correctly. Read it again just to be sure.

The funny part is we were actually beat out by Akron, Ohio (of all God-forsaken places) as far as percent increases are concerned, though their median $119,700 looks pathetic next to our $591,000. $591,000? Man, what a steal!

Here are other winners and losers from around the country:

BIGGEST INCREASES

1) Akron, Ohio, $119,700 median price, up 36 percent

2) San Jose, $630,000, up 26 percent

3) San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, $591,000, up 25 percent

4) Riverside, $190,200, up 18…
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Housing Bubble will Not be Reblown; Foreclosures Increase in 154 of 206 Metro Areas with Population Over 200,000

Housing Bubble will Not be Reblown; Foreclosures Increase in 154 of 206 Metro Areas with Population Over 200,000

housing bubble Courtesy of Mish

It’s been one hell of a non-recovery in housing, smack in the face of now-expiring $8,000 home tax credits that have proven to be as stimulative and futile as attacking fire ants with a BB-Gun.

Please consider Foreclosure Filings Rise in 75% of U.S. Metro Areas

Foreclosure filings climbed in three-quarters of U.S. metropolitan areas in the first half as high unemployment left many homeowners unable to pay their mortgages, according to RealtyTrac Inc.

The number of properties receiving a filing more than doubled from a year earlier in Baltimore, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque, New Mexico, the mortgage-data company said today in a report. Notices of default, auction or bank seizure rose more than 50 percent in areas including Salt Lake City; Savannah, Georgia; and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“Foreclosures are spreading out from areas that had been hardest hit,” Rick Sharga, senior vice president for marketing at Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac, said in a telephone interview. “We’re dealing with underlying economic weakness as opposed to unsustainable home prices and bad loans.”

Continued weakness in employment and efforts to prevent foreclosure may “delay the inevitable” and weigh on home prices, RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer James J. Saccacio said in a statement.

The company said 154 of 206 U.S. metro areas with populations of more than 200,000 had increases in households with filings from January through June.

Cities in Nevada, Florida, California and Arizona accounted for the 20 highest foreclosure rates. Nine of the top 10 metro areas had decreases in the total properties receiving filings, a sign that foreclosures may have peaked in the states hurt the most by the housing market’s collapse, RealtyTrac said.

Video with Rick Sharga Senior Vice President of RealtyTrac 

Bloomberg has an interesting Video Interview with Rick Sharga that inquiring minds will want to play.

Partial Transcript: "There is a pretty direct correlation between job loss and foreclosure. Until the unemployment rates start to go down, and until we actually see net job creation, and importantly until consumer confidence comes back, the housing market has really slim chances of recovery. That coupled with the huge overhang of distressed property, really suggests the housing market is not going to turn around for the next few years."

Flashback Thursday, October 25, 2007

When Will
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Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

Government for Sale: How Lobbyists Shaped the Financial Reform Bill

By Steven Brill, courtesy of TIME 

government for sale, time

The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the July 12, 2010, print and iPad editions of TIME.

Two weeks ago, along a marble corridor in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, I watched about 40 well-dressed men (and two women) delivering huge value for their employers. Except that we, the taxpayers, weren’t employing them. The nation’s banks, mortgage lenders, stockbrokers, private-equity funds and derivatives traders were.

They were lobbyists — the best bargain in Washington. Capitol Tax Partners, for example, is one of 1,900 firms that house more than 11,000 lobbyists registered to operate in Washington. Last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), firms like Capitol Tax were paid a total of $3.49 billion for unraveling the mysteries of the tax code for a variety of businesses. According to Capitol Tax co-founder Lindsay Hooper, his firm provided "input and technical advice on various tax matters" to such clients as Morgan Stanley, 3M, Goldman Sachs, Chanel, Ford and the Private Equity Council, which is a trade group trying to head off a plan to increase taxes on what’s called carried interest, a form of income enjoyed by the heavy hitters who run venture-capital and other types of private-equity funds. (Time Warner, the parent company of TIME magazine, is also a client of Capitol Tax Partners.)

Since 2009, the Private Equity Council has paid Capitol Tax, which has eight partners, a $30,000-a-month retainer to keep its members’ taxes low. Counting fees paid to four other firms and the cost of its in-house lobbying staff, the council reported spending $4.2 million on lobbying from the beginning of 2009 through March of this year. Now let’s assume it spent an additional $600,000 since the beginning of April, for a total of $4.8 million. With other groups lobbying on the same issue, the overall spending to protect the favorable carried-interest tax treatment was maybe $15 million. Which seems like a lot — except that this is a debate over how some $100 billion will be taxed, or not, over the next 10 years.

And what did the money managers get for their $15 million investment? While lawmakers did manage to boost the taxes of hedge-fund managers and other folks who collect carried interest as part of their work,…
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MasterCard Study Says Consumer Spending Has Taken A Break

MasterCard Study Says Consumer Spending Has Taken A Break

Courtesy of Mish

Shoppers checkout at a Target store in Virginia

Michael McNamara, Vice President, Research and Analysis for SpendingPulse, observes Consumer Takes a Respite as Spending in Many Sectors Declines.

The momentum in consumer spending that was building through the first quarter, seems to be taking a breather in the second quarter of 2010, at least so far. Financial volatility in the capital markets and ongoing macroeconomic issues could account for this shadow cast over the recovery in consumer spending. Some sectors seem to be responding to specific disruptive events, such as the expiration of the Federal housing tax credits, where previously we’d noticed a beneficial "echo" effect on housing related categories such as Furniture and Furnishings.

In addition, Memorial Day occurring a week later than it did last year, could have pushed some spending into June, 2010. Nevertheless, we continue to see strength in pricing, and in most categories, we are registering solid increases in the SpendingPulse Price Index, indicating that inventories continue to be aligned to demand, and retailers have not had to return to steep discounting.

Price Wars

In response to Michael McNamara’s statement "retailers have not had to return to steep discounting" I counter with Foreclosure Life Raft; Price Wars at Walmart; Electrical Demand Drops Two Straight Years, First Since 1949.

Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, others are clearly in the midst of price wars hoping to capture market share.

YouTube Commentary From McNamara

Here’s a short YouTube video with additional commentary from Michael McNamara.

Factors in Spending Respite

McNamara discusses several factors in the spending respite.

  • Some Memorial Day sales falling into June instead of May. This may benefit June sales.
  • Financial market volatility impacts big ticket items and durable goods.
  • The end of $8,000 housing tax credits pushed forward big ticket spending items like furniture and appliance.

Spending Trends

Interestingly, apparel sales and footwear showed a significant decline although online apparel sales were up 20-30% depending on category.

Furniture sales were down 9% compared to a year ago. This was in spite of a mini-rush to buy housing ahead of the expiring tax credit. Perhaps we see a bump in furniture and appliance sales in June or July after some of those home purchases close, but that will be the last hurrah in my opinion.

Luxury retail spending showed an increase of 9.7%…
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Small Businesses Owners’ Association Slams Obama’s Stimulus Efforts, Sites Weak Demand and Poor Sales

Small Businesses Owners’ Association Slams Obama’s Stimulus Efforts, Sites Weak Demand and Poor Sales

Courtesy of Mish
Senior male butcher selecting leg of lamb, smiling, portrait

Small business optimism inched higher but all it really means is things are getting worse at a falling rate. Please consider U.S. Small-Business Optimism Index Rose in January.

Confidence among U.S. small businesses increased in January for the first time in three months as the outlook for sales improved, according to the National Federation of Independent Business optimism index.

The gauge climbed to 89.3, the highest level in 16 months, from 88 in December, the Washington-based organization said today. The advance left the measure close to the 2009 low of 81 reached in March, which was second only to a 1980 reading as the lowest on record.

Three of every 10 companies surveyed said a lack of sales remained their biggest concern even as the demand outlook turned positive for the first time since January 2008, the month after the recession began. A majority of small businesses expect profit and employment to decline, showing why the Obama administration has announced new plans aimed at providing credit and tax breaks to small firms.

“This is very disappointing for an indicator of the health of the most critical segment of the economy in terms of new job creation,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc. in New York.

“The good news was less bad news,” William Dunkelberg, chief economist at the NFIB, said in a statement. “Optimism has clearly stalled in spite of the improvements in the economy in the second half of 2009.”

President Obama last week announced he will back a temporary increase in Small Business Administration loans to $1 million from $350,000 to encourage hiring. He has previously endorsed $33 billion in small business tax cuts and incentives for hiring as well as a plan to use $30 billion of bailout money paid back by Wall Street financial institutions to help community banks make loans to small businesses.

Such aid is “misdirected,” NFIB’s Dunkelberg said in the statement, because the top problem for small business leaders is weak demand rather than a lack of credit. Stimulus therefore should focus on reviving consumer spending, he said.

Recovery In Doubt

Please consider No Job Growth for Small Business Spurs Recovery Doubt.

Small businesses are becoming the Achilles


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Phil's Favorites

Taxes and caps on carbon work differently but calibrating them poses the same challenge

 

Taxes and caps on carbon work differently but calibrating them poses the same challenge

There are different kinds of policies that can curb greenhouse gases. Climber 1959/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, Rochester Institute of Technology

Virtually everything most people on earth do these days involves, either directly or indirectly, the combustion of oil, gas and coal. Burning these fossil fuels is generating carbon emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere, contributing to ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stock Market Crash Deja Vu? Keep An Eye On This Pattern!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Just over 3 weeks ago, I shared a chart looking at the divergence that has been brewing under the surface of the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY). Since that post, the S&P 500 finds itself in a deep pullback, with other key stock market indices hitting correction territory at their lows.

Today we provide another look at the divergence and highlight why it’s time for investors to pay closer attention. In the chart below, we compare today’s setup to 2000 and 2007 and the market crashes that followed.  Note, though, that we have NOT broken trend support yet.

Similar to today, in 2000 and 2007 the S&P 500 made a...



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Zero Hedge

Sweden's Most Powerful Family Braces For The Next Global Crisis

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

When it comes to families that exercise undue influence over their country, the Kochs, the Morgans, the DuPonts, even the Rothshilds and the Bushes pale in comparison with the Swedish Wallenberg family.

Here's why: the Wallenbergs are renowned as bankers, industrialists, politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats; they are present in most large Swedish industrial groups, like Ericsson, Electrolux, ABB, SAS Group, SKF, AIK, Atlas Copco and more. In the 1970s, the Wallenberg family businesses employed 40% of Sweden’s industrial workforce and represented 40% of the total worth of the Stockh...



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Chart School

History Rhymes with the Dow

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

The next 10 years, or even the next 2 years will not be like any of the years in the past 10. Risk is moving closer and closer to the surface.

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Market risks coming to the surface:

1) Higher interest rates.

2) US Congress control.

3) China vs USA in trade.

4) World wide Leverage.

5) World wide liquidity issues.

6) US Pensions.

7) Corporate bond market....



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Digital Currencies

Grocers: Get ready to join the blockchain party

 

Grocers: Get ready to join the blockchain party

Five people died and more than 200 got sick during a 2018 E. coli outbreak, the largest in more than a decade. The bacteria was traced to contaminated romaine lettuce. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Sylvain Charlebois, Dalhousie University

In the wake of this year’s large E. coli outbreak, Walmart notified its leafy green suppliers that they must be using blockchain technology to trace their products before the end of 2019.

Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers, has be...



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Insider Scoop

10 Stocks To Watch For October 18, 2018

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

  • Wall Street expects Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) to report quarterly earnings at $1.27 per share on revenue of $7.15 billion before the opening bell. Philip Morris shares fell 0.07 percent to $84.50 in after-hours trading.
  • Analysts expect PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: ...


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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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Members' Corner

Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

 

This is very good; it's about "firehosing", a type of propaganda, and how it works.

Why obvious lies still make good propaganda

A 2016 report described Russian propaganda as:
• high in volume
• rapid, continuous and repetitive
• having no commitment to objective reality
• lacking consistency

...

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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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