Thursday, July 28, 2011

Housing in For Long Road to Recovery

From San Francisco Fed President John Williams: The Outlook for the Economy and Monetary Policy


20. Some excerpts on housing: 
One of the most important currents holding back recovery has been housing. The collapse of the housing market touched off the financial crisis and recession. In most recessions, housing construction falls sharply, but then leads the economy back when growth resumes. As you well know, that snapback hasn�t occurred this time. Before the crisis, residential investment as a share of the economy was at its highest level since the Korean War. Today, housing construction remains moribund and residential investment as a share of the economy has fallen to its lowest level since World War II.


22. On one level, that�s not surprising. We simply built too many�in fact, millions too many�houses during the boom and we are still feeling the effects of this overhang. Consider housing prices. From their peak in 2006 until early 2009, home prices nationwide fell by nearly a third. When you exclude distressed sales, prices appeared to bottom out in 2009 and early 2010. New housing starts also appeared to stabilize in 2009, after plummeting some 75 percent during the housing crash. ...


24. The $64,000 question is when will the housing market finally recover? One daunting challenge for such a recovery is the huge number of homes in foreclosure. Almost 7 million homes have entered into foreclosure since the first quarter of 2008 and some 2 million are still in the foreclosure process. In addition, there is a shadow inventory of homes currently owned by delinquent borrowers. When you add up unsold new houses left over from the boom, homes for sale by owners, foreclosed residences for sale by lenders, and the shadow inventory of houses at risk of distressed sale, you come up with a massive supply overhang.


26. Over time, more reasonable prices and an improving economy ought to bring buyers off the sidelines and set the stage for recovery. But high unemployment and anemic wage gains are leaving people worried about their income prospects and cautious about buying homes. Also, the dramatic plunge in home valuations since 2006 has made some first-time homebuyers wary about entering the market because of worries that prices might fall further.
These are key points: Usually housing is a key engine of recovery, but not this time because of the massive supply overhang. And looking forward: 

It�s only a matter of time before we work off the inventory overhang and construction picks up. How much time it takes will depend in part on what happens with foreclosed properties. If we begin making progress on working down the foreclosure inventory, then single-family housing starts could plausibly rise from their current level of about 400,000 per year to an average level of perhaps 1.1 million per year in three or four years, according to research at the San Francisco Fed.4 To put this in perspective, such an increase would boost real gross domestic product, or GDP, by at least 1 percent.


29. 4 By contrast, if we can't work down the foreclosure inventory, then a return to normal construction levels could be delayed several more years. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jumbo Loan Rates Continue Hovering Below 5%

Mortgage Delinquency continues to be a problem. It is our view that this could take several more years to run it's course. Average days till a home goes from first missed payment to getting listed as a foreclosure is roughly 1.5 to 2 full years in most states. The chart below is showing that over 10% of all mortgages are at least 60 days.

Here is your jumbo mortgage rate chart as well:




Monday, July 25, 2011

Energy: Where the jobs of today and tomorrow are found.

Renewable energy is the fastest growing energy sector, despite the fact we still get the majority of our power from non-renewable sources. Oil, coal and fossil fuels are not only in limited supply, but are also detrimental to the health of the planet. On the other hand, renewable energy is in infinite supply and draws its power cleanly and naturally. Solar, wind, water and geothermal energy sources are the future of the industry and are expected to create 12 million new jobs through 2030. In West Virginia alone, a mere two percent of the state�s geothermal power could replace its entire electrical capacity. In just one hour, the Sun provides enough power to meet the world�s energy needs for a year.





Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Show Me The Money

As we have previously discussed the current unemployment rate and poor GDP figures hide the enormous gains of the high net worth and high earners. Cap Gemini has all of the details.
Most of America may be treading water, but the High Net Worth Individuals are getting their piece of the pie.