Thursday, December 30, 2010

Loans in Foreclosure at Record Highs Into 2013

The real estate market is in a choke-hold which won't be released until 2015-2018.

Did Unions Intentionally Delay Snow Cleanup in NYC?

Did the garbage haulers hold the city hostage? The Shadow knows.

More Snow Around NYC

Walking around 7th Avenue in Manhattan.

New York City 3 Snow Plows Stuck

The snow scene from the street view. The commentary includes the line, "These mutha fuckas are stuck."

Walking in the snow NYC

A video by a huffing pedestrian who probably should stay home before he kills himself.

NYC Mayor 'Dissatisfied' With Snow Response

The emperor has no clothes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NYC Dept. of Sanitation Snow Plow Part 1

NYC Dept. of Sanitation Snow Plow Part 2

NYC Snow....O NOOOOO!!!

Mr. Bill needs to stop crying like a bitch.

New York 6th Largest Snow Storm in City History

It's like a ghost town.

NYC Sanitation snow plow

Three days after the storm, a snow plow rolls through a Staten Island street. Hooray.

NYC covered in snow

I like taking photographs and videos from elevated trains too.

A Slow NYC Snow Cleanup - New York Post

Last year's big snowstorm was cleaned up quickly. This year, not so much.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cars Stuck on Snow Storm - NYC 26.12.2010

Good samaritans in NYC? No way.

Stuck in snow, 3 guys not helping out. Typical NYC

I wouldn't help either because I wouldn't want to contribute to the stupidity of driving a van on unplowed roads.


NYC immobilized by snow.

Ford Mustang Stuck in the Snow - NYC Blizzard 2010

Snow 1, Mustang 0

NYC Snow Day: Journey to Work Part 1

Real life, bitches.

Snow Plow Cleanup FAIL: NYC sanitation workers destroy a Ford Explorer

Looks like a twisting and turning insect.


I saw a few buses that were stuck including this guy in the following video who was stuck for 5 hours.

Post Christmas Day 2010 NYC Snow Blizzard

The entire city is a mess and the amount of taxis that were stranded in the snow was ridiculous.

Monday, December 27, 2010

US to see a double dip in housing: Meredith Whitney

How can she foresee a double dip when the first dip is still in progress? Is it because "double dip" sounds better in headlines? Just call it the big dipper because the first dip that started in 2007 is still dipping.

Snow Storm in New York City December 26 2010- December 27

No real estate deals will be done today in NYC. None.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

NYC Squirrel "Drinking" Snow in the storm

A blizzard's blowing across NYC at the moment. The snow started coming down this morning and it's been piling up ever since.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Best Christmas House Ever!

A Christmas House courtesy of the Valenza family.

Amazing Bayside, New York Christmas House

I think this is the same house in Bayside, NYC that has an elaborate Halloween display every year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mayan Prophecy Dec 21, 2012

   According to these wildcatters, the world will end in 2 years. Wonder what that'll do to real estate values? As for what will happen on December 21, 2012, life will go on as usual. I might even have an extra dessert to commemorate the Mayans as I watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special on television that day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

illuminati Christmas illuminations in Manchester, England

From the description in the video: Manchester has never really been known for using Christian Icons in its Xmas lights. Political Correctness pandering to minority communities? Perhaps, but do a Google search for 'Common Purpose' to see who really holds sway over Manchester City Council and the decisions it makes.

However, to truly understand who really controls Manchester, and indeed the World, we only have to open our eyes to their symbolism which they are obsessed with hiding in plain sight all over the globe. Nowhere is this more evident than in this year's Christmas illuminations in Manchester, England.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Real Estate Downfall

Bernd Eichinger, producer of Downfall (interview on baader-meinhof com)
"I find those parodies tremendously amusing! Obviously, the film and this scene in particular is a real fire starter for people’s imagination. What else can you hope for as a filmmaker? This is moviemaking heaven! My favorite one is when Hitler is having his tantrum over his losses in the real estate crisis...."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Siberian Sounds from Hell

As heard on Art Bell a few years ago. Some things on this Earth simply have to hail from hell. Have to. The pompadour. Oh, the humanity. What does this have to do with real estate? Well, hell is a piece of land too.

Deepest Hole in the World

This probably isn't the deepest hole in the world but it's a cool title nonetheless for a deep hole.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Martin Armstrong: All Economic Theories Today are Worthless

"Economics is not a science but a social gathering of opinions with the end objective of manipulating society like lab rats" -- Martin Armstrong

Will the Dow hit a record high in 2011?
NEW YORK (AP) -- Could the Dow set a record high next year?
That question would have seemed crazy early last year when fear and panic enveloped the stock market and the Dow Jones industrial average plunged to 6,547 on March 9. Many investors thought it would take a decade or longer to get back to the record of 14,165, set on Oct. 9, 2007.

   That's an AP article from this morning. J-Sonoma's timetable is more towards 2012-2013 for record highs but it seems like the mass media is catching on. J-Sonoma is on vacation for the rest of 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Foreclosure House in Tampa

A homeowner loses his house to foreclosure and trashes the entire place before leaving. Wonder if they also took a dump in the basement?

Amazing Bugs You Probably Didn't Know Exist!

This is an older video but it's interesting nonetheless.

GRITtv: The F Word: Harry Potter and the Bailed-Out Banks

The world is doomed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Study: No Housing Recovery Until 2015

The numbers referenced in this study jibe with my opinion but that worries me. The crowd is never right when it comes to things like this so I might have to push my recovery date further out into the future.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stocks at 2-Year High Amid Encouraging Economic Data

^^ That's an AP headline from today. And I quote:
NEW YORK (AP) -- An encouraging trade report and signs that a tax cut package would pass the Senate sent stocks to their highest levels in two years Friday. Bond prices fell for another day as investors expected the tax deal to lead to economic growth and higher budget deficits.

It's not apparent now but stocks are headed to all-time highs and beyond. Corporations are raking in profits like never before but you're not supposed to know that. Those record profits aren't being blared across the newswires because it's not supposed to be that way amidst a recession. Understand me? Good news is bad news and bad news is good news. As I've mentioned many times before, BUY and HOLD. That strategy's been out of style in the lost decade for stocks but it's coming back. Feel me.

The Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis

You'd think with the leaps and bounds that technology has made since the 80s, there'd be some better voice synthesizer software out there. The voices in the following video sound like "Poker Sam," an Atari and Commodore 64 computer game from back in the day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

American homes are worth $1.7 trillion less

^ That's a headline from CNN Money this morning which points to the loss in value of American houses since last year. From the article:

   American homes are expected to be worth $1.7 trillion less in 2010 than they were worth last year, according to a report released Thursday by real estate website Zillow.
   This year's drop in home values is 63% bigger than the $1 trillion dip in 2009, and brings the total value lost since the housing market's peak in 2006 to a whopping $9 trillion.

   Instead of leveling off from the $1.0 trillion loss in home values in 2009, the value destruction is accelerating again and the carnage will continue for a few more years. My timetable remains 2018 before any recovery in real estate is evident and prices begin appreciating again. Will real estate values eventually recover entirely to their highs in 2006-2007? Yes, I think so. The market has a short memory and when the good times are rolling again, old manias will reappear. It wouldn't be natural if booms and busts didn't cycle like the seasons.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gold Drops Below $1,400/oz

Gold hit a record high of US$1,416.10/oz on Monday of this week but it's dropping today, losing $25 and waffling around $1,384 this afternoon. The price ranged between $1405.40 and $1372.10. I think gold is dead but it won't drop straight down. It'll drop and rally in alternating waves before the death knell is rung and the rug is pulled out from underneath. I think 2011 will prove that the bull market in gold was a fool's errand in capital preservation futility.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homosassa Foreclosure for $11K

I'm not in the market but if I were, I'd buy the following Florida property just for the hell of it. I'd never live in the house but I'd probably rent it out and attain the status of landlord.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Foreclosure Bullies

Bullies... they're everywhere. Must be the new reality we're living in.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stocks recover ground after weak employment report

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks staged a late afternoon rally after spending most of the day weighed down by an unexpected rise in the unemployment rate. Indexes wound up closing higher for the third straight day.

   YAWwWnn. Why wouldn't stocks go up and continue going up? We're in a bull market. Even though the masses are still scared of the market, it'll continue to go up and as it skies ever higher, Joe Sixpack will bite his lip and stomp his feet as the DOW roars towards 18,000 in the next few years. I've addressed this before but it bears repeating because memories are short and I'm right on this. Could there be a chance that we're not in a bull market? Nah, erase that thought from your mind. The bear is slovenly because he's eaten well and a fatted animal is lazy and apathetic.

   My advice is simple, buy the dips but don't sell the rips. In fact, keep buying the dips and hold the line. Hold on like you've never held before because there's gold in them thar hills and the adage of "buy and hold" is swinging back into fashion.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Home loan modifications lead to foreclosure

From the producer
   This was an in-depth news story I did about three families who found themselves in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure after applying for a home loan modification through their lenders. The families believe that it's in the lender's best interest to have a home go into foreclosure than give a homeowner a modification. This is a practice that's called "parallel foreclosure".
(Side note: I also edited this piece)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jim Cramer: Shortselling the Truth

When Jim Cramer isn't being a clown on television, he has his moments.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks Targets a Bank Next
   In an exclusive interview earlier this month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm in early 2011. Assange wouldn't say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compared the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial, a comprehensive look at a corporation's bad behavior. "It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume," he told me. 

   I'm going to assume that the financial firm Julian Assange is about to spill the beans on is Goldman Sachs. If not Goldman, then it's probably JP Morgan. However, the revelation of all these documents won't mean a thing and they won't change anything. Time heals all wounds and the masses are forgetful. Within a month or two after the documents are released, it will be business as usual.

   Don't believe me? Look at what happened to the "Global Warming Conspiracy" where over 1,000 emails were released to the public which exposed scientists using "tricks" and subterfuge to bolster the global warming farce. Despite the evidence of a coverup, nothing has come of it and the conspiracy marches onwards.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Return of Rampant Consumerism?

What recession? Shoppers eat up Black Friday deals
   For one day at least, you could almost imagine the recession never happened. Millions of the nation's shoppers braved rain and cold to crowd stores while others grabbed online bargains on what could be the busiest Black Friday ever.
   Early signs pointed to bigger crowds at many stores including Best Buy, Sears, Macy's and Toys R Us, some of which had earlier openings than past years or even round-the-clock hours. Minnesota's Mall of America and mall operators Taubman Centers Inc. and Macerich Co. also reported more customers than last year.

   This year's Black Friday news stories are reading a lot like last year's Black Friday stories - namely, a big initial boost only to be followed by apathy, lackluster follow-through, and eventual disappointment. Will it turn out the same this year? I think so. I think there's pent-up demand out in the American landscape but Black Friday deals always draw in the crowds. However, after the "doorbuster" sales are over, demand will slump and the cash registers won't be ringing too heartily in the next few years. This is just my guesstimate. Of course, the sales boom could continue but I don't think so.

  There are blue skies ahead and boom times are brewing. Just not so soon. There were no stampedes at Walmart yesterday but there was one at a Target store in North Buffalo. I abhor rampant consumerism but I work for a company that owns retail properties. However, the difference between our company and the others is we don't do any sales. I don't think they even care if they sell anything on Black Friday but I guess if they sell one toolbox on Black Friday at full price, that's cool. Shrug.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New home sales unexpectedly fall in October- Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. single-family home sales fell unexpectedly in October and prices dropped to a seven-year low, a government report showed on Wednesday, pointing sustained weakness in the housing market following the end of a home-buyer tax credit. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales rising to a 310,000 unit pace in October. Compared to October last year, sales were down 28.5 percent.
The clowns continue to get it wrong. You could have walked on the sidewalk on any street in America and asked 10 random people if they thought houses were going to be selling in October. None of them would have said yea. Analysts are useless. Get rid of them. Smoke 'em out if they won't leave because none of them are going to walk away from a bullshit job on their own volition. Alas, that will never happen because the system is broken and a broke-ass system needs its army of touters, patzers, and imbeciles to continue marching.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The New Face of Foreclosure

A local news story from Minnesota regarding the foreclosure mess.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Economists see 'sub-par' growth ahead - CNN
   The economy will remain sluggish early next year as the lingering effects of the recession continue to drag on growth and the benefit of government stimulus fades, a panel of professional forecasters said Monday. In its November outlook, the National Association for Business Economics predicts that the U.S. economy will grow 2.7% this year. That's a slight improvement from the October survey, but is a far cry from the 3.2% rate the survey had projected in May.

   You know what a "professional forecaster" is? A dumbass. Imagine your job title is "professional forecaster" and your job is to attempt to look into the future by using past and current data/trends to divine what's going to happen. Now imagine that you're wrong most of the time and yet you still have a job? You're not only a dumbass but a lucky dumbass. Despite all the folly associated with forecasters, they serve a necessary purpose in society - they provide headlines and crunch data which is meaningless.

   Now, you're probably thinking, how does crunching meaningless data serve a purpose in society? Meaningless data holds meaning for the uneducated, the headline glancers, and the masses. You ever hear on the radio that a study somewhere recommended drinking at least one cup of coffee a day? Most people listen to that and think coffee is good and drink it. They never follow up on the study, research the study themselves, or look into it further. The masses receive their information in snippets and headlines and data points. Meaningless data serves to bend opinion and color perspective - so, even if the data is completely wrong and irrational, it has served its purpose if it reaches enough people and affects their thinking.

   My forecast? Economy's going to be booming. Growth is going to be blazing. Good times are ahead but the "professional forecasters" could never see what I see because they're unable to break free from the dogma and reams of useless data that have leashed them to the hydrant marked "Dumbass."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ireland holds out its hand for bail-out

Ireland readies budget plan as massive bailout looms
   DUBLIN — Ireland moved Saturday towards finalising its four-year crisis plan for cutting its budget deficit which could pave the way for a multi-billion euro bailout.
The four-year plan is aimed at sorting out Ireland's budget deficit. The government has pumped some 50 billion euros into its stricken banks, pushing its public deficit to 32 percent of output -- more than 10 times the EU limit. The new austerity drive is looking to save 15 billion euros between now and 2014.

The seeds of destruction of the European Union and the currency have been sown. The Union rewards wastrels with wealth from the workers. How can such a system last for much longer? When the next financial doomsday is upon us, can the Union withstand another assault that's even more brutal than the one we witnessed in the past 2 years? My guess is no because systemic risk will be a daily event at that point and wealthy EU members cannot keep the entire membership roll afloat.

   Whatever austerity measures that are adopted by the wastrels in these next 1-2 years will be forgotten when the good times return. They are coming soon and when the world is basking in the loving warmth of the golden sun once more, the next disaster will be lurking around the corner. Memories are short and the wastrels rule the world.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Noise Continues - Part II

   More headlines and clownishness from the "established" media. When's the revolution?

Market's confidence in Fed has rarely been higher
   This is an ironic statement. Whenever the FED sneezes, the market dips by a hundred points and goes on a rollicking romper room ride. That's confidence? What's disbelief then? Why does Bernanke have to defend the FED's bond buying if the market is confident?

Ireland aid plan due next week as spread fears persist
   Fearing fear is no way to live. As I've mentioned yesterday, Ireland will be bailed out and they'll get everything they need. They're on the dole and on the hook with the IMF and the ECB but this is a "good" thing. Ignore the noise.

China Policy Tightening Weighs on World Markets
   Ever get the feeling that something's really wrong with the world? That good news is bad and bad news is good? Read that headline again and realize that good news is rendered bad news.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Noise Continues

   Some headlines that blipped on my screen this morning are in bold below and my commentary follows:

* Expectations of Aid for Ireland Lift Global Markets
   The bailout was never in doubt. The only people who thought that Ireland's "debt crisis" would be allowed to create another contagion were the amateurs. The patzers. The ones who haven't a clue as to how the game is played.

* Foreclosure class actions pile up against banks
   Noise. Someone turn it off already. Stop feeding the lawyers, stop borrowing against your home equity, stop the greed, stop the handouts, stop the bailouts, and definitely stop the blame. All this is noise though. Just another distraction to keep the money in play.

* GM is back: Good news for taxpayers, investors
   Whomever wrote this headline shouldn't be in the news business. I'm talking about the real news business and not the business of misdirection, thought control, and utter stupidity ('ello, Huffington Post). GM isn't good for taxpayers - GM swallowed up $50 billion in aid and the IPO is going to net about half that. The government gets the proceeds of those shares they're selling and none of it is going to taxpayers. So, how is this "good news" for taxpayers or is the headline writer just blowing smoke? As for investors, okay sure GM provides another mindless trading stock to play but it's not an investment. It's all noise though. Just another distraction to keep the money in play. See the theme here?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is the Rally Over?

^^^ That's the headline from a WSJ article this morning. I'll quote some of it below for reference:
   For those investors wondering whether the months-long stock-market rally, after retreating a few steps, has more room left to run, Mark Rylance has some words of advice.
   "There's absolutely no way that anyone knows what's going to happen," says the Newport Beach, Calif., financial adviser. Many investors are wondering whether they should cash out or stay invested.
   The DOW dropped about 200 points yesterday. Guess that's why headlines like, "Is the Rally Over?" are being printed. The rally is just getting started. We are at the early innings of a multi-year rally that will take all of the indices way past their former highs. People are down on the stock market because it's a cruel and unforgiving monster. Make a bad trade and you're eaten alive. Fat-finger a trade and half of your capital disappears into the monster's gaping maw.

   Trading ain't easy and it was never meant to be a game played by children. However, the market's going higher. No doubt. There'll be dips and blips on the road to DOW 18K but only children expect the market to move in one direction. That is all. 

Never underestimate the stupidity of investors

GM confirms expanding IPO by 31 percent
GM to expand number of shares by 31 percent in offering; deal could become largest US IPO
DETROIT (AP) -- Just a day before its historic return to the New York Stock Exchange, General Motors announced Wednesday that it would expand its initial public offering of common shares by 31 percent.
The Detroit company, responding to higher-than-expected demand for its shares, said it will raise the size of its IPO to 478 million common shares from the previously announced 365 million shares. Most of the common stock will be sold by the U.S. government, which is trying to unload what is now a 61 percent stake in the country's largest automaker.

   I'm not disparaging individual investors. They're largely out of the market. I'm disparaging crooked fund managers who buy on behalf of individual investors (IRAs, pensions, etc) and they're the "dumbasses" who are pouring money into the GM IPO. In any case, GM's a dinosaur that should've died and stayed dead. Taxpayers were tapped to give it a lifeline and now GM is coming back - a lumbering dinosaur that's facing extinction in another 10 years. Til then, enjoy the IPO, trade the shares, and watch the roller coaster commence. 

Virtual Real Estate Mania

I thought this was ironic. And dumb. Don't forget dumb.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Panama City Beach Luxury Home Foreclosure of the Day

   Youtube has become the spamming ground of choice for businesses seeking to gain exposure for the products that they sell. I look at the daily foreclosure offerings from time to time and this one caught my eye. As an added bonus, a midi version of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" kicks the video off. From the video's sparse description:

"2,700 square foot home in The Preserve coming on the market in Panama City Beach, Florida."

   The guy in the video mentions that the house was built in 2005. That was the height of the boom when cheap construction materials were used to build homes as soon as possible to fill demand. Were substandard materials used to build this house? Who knows. I know I wouldn't buy a house that was built in the past 10 years. The house looks okay from the outside but the dining room that they show isn't a selling point with its green walls and droopy hanging light from Home Depot.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting back into the groove

   Coming back to work after a vacation isn't easy. There's too much on my mind right now and a there are a lot of new projects that we're working on. The trading has also been ripe for the pickings both yesterday and today. So yeah, things are busy and I'm weighing my options. I enjoy writing and all that but trading's more... lucrative.

   Then again, it's not just about the money, man. Life should be about learning new things, exploring the world, and gaining new experiences in endeavors that aren't the same old shit day in and day out. I'm experiencing internal conflict concerning direction and it sucks to be me at the moment. 

   Anyway, when I was in Vegas, I took a few hours to look at some real estate out there but the situation's as dismal as I've been ranting about on Realestatr. My projection for recovery remains 2018-2019. Things should be returning to normal for me soon but I've got a lot on my mind. Cya.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Housing and Financial Stability Forum 2010

I'm back in New York but I've been catching up on everything. I was in Vegas for a multi-day wedding. Yep, a multi-day wedding. Ever go to one of those? Oh, it's ostentatious and... sinful. Everything that happened in Vegas will unfortunately, stay in Vegas. Maybe I'll include the stories in my memoirs when I'm 100 years old and somewhat famous. -J-Sonoma

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real Estate Downfall

J-Sonoma's back in New York but he didn't make it to work today. He should be back tomorrow. Anyway, in the following video, a real estate speculator comes to terms with reality.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Property Billionaire Sam Zell Interview

J-Sonoma returns from vacation tomorrow. Here's a blurry Bloomberg interview with Sam Zell talking about Freddie and Fannie:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Driscoll Middle School Trick Play

J-Sonoma will return from vacation on Wednesday of this week. Til' then, here's a video that serves as a tribute to how the bankers looted American taxpayers.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mortgage Modification Video LOL

J-Sonoma is on vacation. Until he returns, us temps are going to be half-assing it on his pages. Sorry J but we don't have your payscale. This lady in the video talks about something related to real estate.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

US Federal Reserve announces $600b stimulus

The economy's naturally and organically growing by itself. It'll be a roaring river in another couple of years because it's going to recover by itself. Why does the FED feel the need to inject another $600B stimulus into the banking system? It's can't for the purpose that they've stated. I know but I'm not telling. Boo.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Real Estate Listings on Youtube

   Did you know that real estate brokers use Youtube to showcase homes that they're selling? Well, it's true. The videos are usually between 1-2 minutes and allows viewers to look at the outside of the home as well as the inside. None of the videos get much traffic but they're a great way to hook a potential client if he/she needs more than a photograph in a brochure. One example from a few hours ago:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Citigroup's Toxic Mortgage Pipeline Could Mean Mammoth Put-Back Risks

From a CNBC article today:
   Investors have largely given Citigroup a pass when it comes to put-backs-an action where investors force banks to repurchase mortgages and the securities related to them. While Citi's rivals saw their share prices fall last month on put-back concerns, Citi's shares rose.

   Citi may be "the best in class" when it comes to mortgage put-back exposure. But it is hardly immune to put-backs. Keep in mind that put-back exposure does not arise from mortgages Citi itself owns. Instead, the put-back issue arises from mortgages Citi sold to others, either directly or as part of a pool of mortgages underlying a mortgage-backed security.

   Citi executives say there are $504 billion of these mortgages that it services but does not hold. (We call these the Serviced But Not Held Portfolio, or SBNH Portfolio for short.) These mortgages do not appear on Citi's balance-sheet.

   None of this matters. None of it. Citi will be allowed to survive and even thrive in the next upswing in the economy. All of the stories that you'll read about in the next few years about the mortgage market is noise. No one will care about any of the "toxic mortages," "robo-signers," "foreclosure mess," in a few years. All of the follies of the banks will be papered up, paid for by tax payers, and allowed to simmer down. This is how it's going to be, how it has been, and how it always will be. Welcome to the Republic.

Monday, November 1, 2010


   I don't advocate what she says but her voice helped me sleep while I was at the office.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ryland Shares - Update

   Last week, I mentioned that Ryland was my favorite housing stock. I also mentioned that I wasn't buying yet because I don't buy on weakness but on strength. When I wrote my post last week, Ryland shares were trading at around $16.50. Today, those shares are down to $14.98 because of a middling earnings report earlier in the week. From Reuters:
Oct 28 (Reuters) - Shares of Ryland Group Inc (RYL.N) fell on Thursday, the day after the seventh-largest U.S. homebuilder reported a quarterly loss and a 37 percent drop in orders. Ryland shares were down 4.5 percent at $15.20 in midmorning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, compared with a 0.9 percent dip in the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index .DJUSHB.

    The shares are off about $1.50 from last week. So, am I looking to scoop any shares up NOW? Not yet. As I've mentioned before and I'll mention it again in the future, I don't start a position on weakness. I know that the shares are a nice bargain now compared to last week but there's a chance that prices will be discounted further in the next 1-2 months. I'm a patient investor and my time horizon is usually a minimum of 5 years. I do have a price in mind where Ryland shares would be so compelling that I'd have to break my buying rule and start a small position. In general however, I'm looking to buy size in Ryland only on strength.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Foreclosure activity up across most US metro areas

   From an AP article today:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The foreclosure crisis intensified across a majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas this summer, with Chicago and Seattle -- cities outside of the states that have shouldered the worst of the housing downturn -- seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure warnings.
California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona remain the nation's foreclosure hotbeds, accounting for 19 of the top 20 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates between July and September, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
Those states saw housing values surge during the housing boom years. When the boom ended, values collapsed and foreclosures soared.

   I feel like I'm beating a dead horse when I state that the "foreclosure crisis" won't be over for at least another 5 years and recovery in the real estate market won't arrive until 2018-2019. I know that seems like a long time but this is how financial crises work. They take time and they burn up huge amounts of wealth before they're contained. While the foreclosure crisis is resolving itself over the next few years, the economy will continue to get stronger and the stock market's going to go ballistic. The seeds of the next boom have already been planted and all it's going to take is time. Most people don't have the patience to wait nearly a decade for all this to happen but my advice is to continue working at your job (if you have one), invest monthly, take care of your family, and watch for the boom to happen right before your eyes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Home Price Reports Are Irrelevant - CNBC

^^ The article title is correct but the content of the article by Diana Olick still doesn't get it. Let me state emphatically that ALL reports are irrelevant. You know why? They all rely on trailing/lagging data which is useless. Revisions are constantly done as well to these reports so what use are they? There is no use but we live in a world where people in power live and die by "data points" and ever changing information. They need to put the information in some sort of tabulated order and stamp an "official" inkstain on the data. It's all nonsense but that's the world we live in. If you want to read the article, here you go.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Owners seek short sales as banks push foreclosure

   The mighty American foreclosure machine is about to start cranking again in style and thousands of Americans are going to be kicked out of their homes. The banks are foreclosing on these homes because said Americans haven't paid their mortgages but a New York Times article this morning asks, "Why not short sales instead of foreclosures?" From the piece:
   Concerns about fraud are one of the reasons lenders are so careful about short sales. Sometimes well-off homeowners want to portray their finances as dire and cut their losses on a property. In other instances, distressed homeowners try to make a short sale to a relative, who would then sell it back to them (a practice that is illegal). A recent industry report estimates that short sale fraud occurs in at least 2 percent of sales and costs banks about $300 million annually. Short sales are also hindered when homeowners fail to forward the proper papers, have tax liens or cannot find a buyer.

   Banks are swamped with delinguent mortgages and the attendant foreclosures. When swamped in such a manner, large organizations such as BAC have to wade through the morass and attempt to move forward as efficiently as possible. The current firebomb attack method to push through foreclosures is the only way that banks can proceed and this is how it'll be henceforth. It's ugly but that's business. Nothing personal.

Friday, October 22, 2010

America Hates Wall Street

   A CNBC article from today reminds me that, "America Hates Wall Street" and one from the WSJ exhorts, "A new form of madness grips investors" which are about Americans' distaste for the stock market.

   These types of stories are indicative of the fear that still grips the American public when it comes to Wall Street. I guess it's understandable because during the 2007-2009 crash, the DOW dropped from 14,279.96 all the way down to 6,440.08. I traded through those days so I know there was irrational trading going on, lots of fear, and a feeling amongst the rabble that the end of America was upon us. Crazy right? Yet, here we are in 2010 and the Dow's recovered all the way to 11,113.91 but folks are still fearful.

   That's why po' folk will never get ahead. They should've been buying with both hands and both feet when the market dropped like a stone in 2008 - mom and pop investors should've been stampeding into the market when Pfizer was $11.62 on March 2009 and GE had dropped to $5.87. Yeah, I know GE is a hedge fund in drag (Thanks, Cramer) but c'mon now. GE has survived wars, turmoil, and recessions before and it's not going out of business.

   So yeah, the social class strata in America is going to stay the same for the next hundred years because of fear and greed. It's as simple as that. When the market dives, Joe Sixpack becomes fearful and sells near the bottom only to watch the market bounce back again. However, he doesn't buy when the market climbs - he stays out because of a fear of being whacked again. That's why Joe will never ever become wealthy or be rewarded by the market.

   Joe Sixpack will probably buy when the DOW's at all time highs in the next few years when prices are dear. A powerful bull market is upon us but the majority of American's won't benefit from what's coming because their fear outweighs their greed at precisely the wrong time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fannie and Freddie may need another $215 billion

   The black holes known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to suck money into their nether regions like a pair of ravenous vortices without end. From today's Reuters article:
   NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fannie Mae (OTC BB:FNMA.OB - News) and Freddie Mac (OTC BB:FMCC.OB - News) may need as much as $215 billion in additional capital from the Treasury through 2013 to offset losses and maintain a positive net worth, their federal regulator said on Thursday. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose programs fund the lion's share of all new home loans, are at the center of debate as Congress sets to overhaul a U.S. mortgage finance system that contributed to the worst housing crisis since the 1930s.

   The capital to support those two hulking disasters ultimately come from the American taxpayer. The wealth of the United States is created by working men and women who toil at their jobs and a good chunk of that will be going to fund Fannie and Freddie and keep them from imploding. I'm of the belief however that if that capital wasn't being used to keep F&F alive, it would be going to waste in another BIG program designed to destroy wealth and feed the wastrels. Remember Gravina Island Bridge aka "The Bridge to Nowhere" which was advocated by Representative Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens? That's the kind of waste and wastrel(s) I'm referring to.

   Continuing further into the Reuters article:
   "The cumulative capital needs of the two housing finance giants, which were seized by the government in late 2008, will likely fall between $221 billion and $363 billion through 2013, the Federal Housing Finance Agency estimated."

   Whenever I read a cost estimate preceded by the word, "likely," I automatically double the figure in my head so I'd pinpoint the total losses to be $750 billion when 2013 rolls around. Since I'm certain there's no housing recovery until 2018 or thereabouts, the total losses will probably reach $1.5 trillion when it's all said and done.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How the Foreclosure Fiasco Threatens the Economy

^^ Another doom and gloom article, this time from US News and World Report. The first paragraph starts like so:
It might seem like a respite for struggling homeowners, but the sudden snags and slowdowns in thousands of foreclosure proceedings could prolong the housing bust well beyond its fifth year--and spell deep trouble for the broader economy.

   The broader economy's already in recovery mode and it'll soon be galloping along like a stallion despite the stumbling banks, the struggling homeowners, and the snarky foreclosure proceedings. America's like an engine that might sputter every now and then because of overheating but once it's been sufficiently cooled and lubricated, it's going to purr like a kitty kat. Yeah, I believe in America and the resourcefulness of our citizens and workers. Watch with me and see how the economy rebounds in the next few years. When the country is basking once again in the spotlight, we'll reminesce about how awful 2008-2010 was. When it's 2015 and the economy's hotter than the Alabama sun at noon, I'll probably be preparing for the next bust because by then, the engine that is America will be reaching for another critical temperature event.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Favorite Housing Stock

   Nah, it's not Toll Brothers or D.R. Horton nor Pulte Group. My favorite home builder stock is Ryland (RYL) which I've followed and traded since the 90s. Their profile is as follows:

The Ryland Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a home building and mortgage-finance company in the United States. The company’s operations cover various aspects of the home buying process, including design, construction, and sale. It offers single-family detached homes; and attached homes, such as town homes, condominiums, and mid-rise buildings, as well as sells land and lots. The Ryland Group also provides mortgage-related products and services, as well as title, escrow, and insurance services to its homeowners and subcontractors. It markets its homes to entry-level, and first and second-time move-up buyers. The company was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Calabasas, California.

   Ryland's near 52-week lows so I'm not buying now. I do think ~$16 is a good price for each RYL share but as mentioned before, I normally don't buy on weakness. I prefer to buy as a stock goes up and then pyramid the position as higher prices lead me upwards. The market's pulling back today but housing stocks are nursing middling losses. This doesn't mean anything based on a 1-day snapshot but I am of the opinion that housing stocks will recover way before the real estate market recovers and they're my indicators for the impending real estate recovery.

Housing Slump Offers Opportunity In Apartment-Building Market

   CNBC has a reasonable article on apartment-building investing during the current downturn in real estate. The first paragraph draws the reader in with a small tale of success:
   "The property in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. was originally valued at $285,000. Clint Gordon, a private investor in multifamily properties, offered the bank $50,000 cash-and within 10 days had closed the deal. A few days after that, he began renting it for $15,000 a year.
"Anybody that's getting into this business now, you get a whole lot of return if you're paying cash for properties," he says. "You're just buying them so cheap."

   The company I work for has been investing in various businesses in the past year and I think buying a few apartment buildings might be a workable plan in depressed areas like Fort Lauderdale. Then again, do we really want to be landlords? I mean, landlords have to deal with non-paying tenants, evictions, dirty ass people, property damage, bed bugs, and sabotage. What's going to stop an evil tenant from putting bed bugs in his apartment and then withholding rent until the bed bugs are evicted? I have an active imagination and I can think of a thousand ways a tenant might torment a landlord but I won't post them here. Posting the bed bug evilness was bad enough. 

   So, anyway, we probably won't become landlords anytime soon but it's awful tempting with the knockdown and blowout prices that we've seen in Florida. The economy's going to be roaring back in another few years and buying sometime in the next 2-3 years might be a wise investment.

The Love Dress (Just a joke to make you smirk)

   The mother-in-law stopped by unexpectedly at the recently married couple's house. She rang the doorbell and stepped into the house to see her daughter-in-law standing naked by the door. "What are you doing?" the mother-in-law asked. "I am waiting for my husband to come home from work," the daughter-in-law replied. "Why are you naked?" asked the mother-in-law. "This is my love dress," the daughter-in-law replied. "LOVE DRESS!. You are naked," said the mother-in-law. "But my husband loves it when I wear this dress. It makes him happy and he makes me happy," said the daughter-in-law. "I would appreciate your leaving now because my husband will be home any minute."

   Soured by all this romantic stuff, the mother-in-law left. On the way home she thought about the LOVE DRESS and got an idea. She undressed, showered, applied her best perfume and waited by the door for her husband to come home. Finally the pickup truck drove up the drive way and she took her place by the door. The father-in-law opened the door and immediately saw his wife naked by the door. "What are you doing?" he exclaimed. "This is my love dress," the mother-in-law replied. "Maybe you should iron it," retorted the father-in-law.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bank of America starts thaw in foreclosure freeze

   Remember the foreclosure moratorium that was mentioned last week? Remember how some people thought it was seriously going to be considered by the banks? Well, there won't be a moratorium and BAC is already restarting their foreclosure machine after halting it in 23 states. From an AP article published today:

"Bank of America said Monday that it plans to resume seizing more than 100,000 homes in 23 states next week. It said it has a legal right to foreclose despite accusations that documents used in the process were flawed.
Other major lenders have yet to say whether they will follow suit and resume foreclosures in the 23 states that require a judge's approval. But analysts said they expect the move by the nation's biggest bank will mean other lenders will proceed with a wave of foreclosures that have depressed the housing market.
Banking analyst Nancy Bush of NAB Research said other lenders are likely to follow because foreclosure practices were similar from bank to bank."

   On the back of that news,  bank shares rebounded today. Am I buying the banks now? Nah, not yet. If I'm late to the banking party, so be it but as mentioned last week, I buy on strength. If the banks are going up, they're going up by a lot more than what they've shown in the past year and there's always time to take a bite out of the impending move once it's in motion.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A House in Maine kicks off Foreclosure Freeze

   A woman named Nicolle Bradbury lives in the house in Maine that set off the current furor over the foreclosure mess that the banks find themselves mired in. The NY Times captures her case like so:
"Nicolle Bradbury bought this house seven years ago for $75,000, a major step up from the trailer she had been living in with her family. But she lost her job and the $474 monthly mortgage payment became difficult, then impossible.

It should have been a routine foreclosure, with Mrs. Bradbury joining the anonymous millions quietly dispossessed since the recession began. But she was savvy enough to contact a nonprofit group, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, where for once in her 38 years, she caught a break." 

   That break came in the form of a retired lawyer named Thomas A. Cox who was volunteering at Tree Legal. Cox exposed the shoddy paperwork that GMAC was using to evict Ms Bradbury and eventually showed that all of the banks were using the same shoddy paperwork and questionable tactics to foreclose on borrowers.

   This type of laxity on the part of the banks shows me that there's no leadership at the top. The troops look to the leadership for guidance and structure but what happens when there's no leadership to begin with? Well, just look at the sorry state of banks like Citi, BAC, and GMAC for the first clue. Are we really in 2010? Is this still America? Feels more like the old times I've seen in movies where banks did whatever they wanted and kicked widows and orphans to the curb with all the might of a grizzly old sea captain. Shit's depressing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wall St blames homeowners in foreclosure fiasco

   I'm ambivalent on the opinions of Wall Streeters who scalp their earnings and profits from the backs of the general population whom they despise. Okay, maybe that was harsh but it's true. People in positions of power don't find the unwashed masses agreeable. That's why the ultra-rich and nouveau-riche build fences and gates around their estates and seclude themselves in protected enclaves to huddle with their own kind. In a Reuters article titled "Wall St blames homeowners in foreclosure fiasco,"  I have to grudgingly agree with the following statement:

"Wall Street's reaction to the allegations that some banks cut corners while foreclosing on 3 million homes since 2007: Pay your mortgage in the first place.

Those on Wall Street, however, are largely unsympathetic, insisting that possible errors in the foreclosure process are beside the point, that the process begins only when a borrower starts missing mortgage payments."

   It's true that the foreclosure process only kicks off when a borrower misses payments but should it really just be business as usual without regard as to why the borrower has missed payments? I understand that altruism isn't part of the Wall Street vernacular and it's a shark-eat-shark world out there but a part of me feels there should be a little more compassion and a willingness to work with borrowers. That won't ever happen though because banks are huge corporations and once they get that big, they lose their humanity and become more machine-like even though it's still humans that operate within the corporation. What's the primary driver of corporations? Profit. Greed. Avarice. It's as simple as that and the reason why robo-signers, foreclosures, and the whole dang real estate mess ignited into a conflagration in the first place.

Mortgage rates hit decades-low of 4.19 percent- AP

From the AP today:

"As a result, the average rate for 30-year fixed loans dropped to the lowest level on records dating back to 1971, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. It's down from 4.27 percent the previous week. The last time rates were this low was in the early 1950s.
The average rate on 15-year fixed loans fell to 3.62 percent, the lowest on records dating back to 1991, Freddie Mac said.

Rates have fallen since spring as investors shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds. That demand lowers their yields, which mortgage rates tend to track. The 30-year rate was 5.08 percent at the beginning of April. The 15-year rate was 4.39 percent."

   Rates are lower than they've been in decades but hardly anyone who needs those low rates are going to get them. Could mortgage rates break down below 4%? Yeah, they can drop all the way to 3% after QE2. If and when rates drop to 3%, I'm going to take out a $250,000 loan. My FICO is in the high 700s and I can service a 3% vig on a quarter-of-a-million which I'll use to invest with a time horizon of 5 years. If rates never hit the 3% level, I won't act because the risk/reward wouldn't be worth it for my investment scenario.

Bank shares drop on foreclosure woes

   Banks can't get out of their own way but I like it. Earlier this morning, shares of JPM were down 3.2%, BAC down 5.5%, C down 5.4%, and Wells Fargo was dropping 5%. Will they go lower? Yes, I think so. Although it is unlikely that a moratorium on foreclosures will be instituted, the fear of such a stoppage is going to weigh on shares in the short term. I've mentioned before that a moratorium won't happen but not everyone knows that. These weak hands flee on any sign of trouble and their selling presents opportunity.

    This doesn't mean that traders should blindly buy when trouble rears its head however. I've mentioned before that I prefer to buy shares on strength instead of weakness. With the bank shares sliding, I'd take a wait and see approach before starting any positions but I like the banks for trading. I'd never hold them long term however because they blow up every now and then and destroy capital like nothing else.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Foreclosure Fraud: It's Worse Than You Think

^^ That's a headline from a CNBC article today. The writer assumes that the reader doesn't know how bad the "Foreclosure Fraud" has become but I know. I've looked into the hearts of men and I have found unbounded greed, lust, and a thirst for vice. Think about it this way: As bad as someone tells you something is, multiply it by 5 to get the true reality of the situation. Sometimes you have to muiltiply it by 10 depending on how good a liar the official in charge is.

   Where do we go from here? Now that the writer Diana Olick has told us how bad it is, what happens? Well, nothing really. Facts and figures don't make things happen. What does make things happen is greed, lust, and a thirst for vice. The country will slog through the mortgage and foreclosure mess for a looooong time until someone figures out a way to make money from all this crap. Once that spark is ignited, action will be taken, swamps will be cleaned up, and things will get moving again. Until then, the reality will be like molasses. Slovenly, syrupy, and slow to move.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How Banks Can Fix the Foreclosure Crisis

   Daniel Gross has written an article for Yahoo Finance which states that banks can "Fix the Foreclosure Crisis" by doing the following:

"Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, and other banking CEOs willing to show their face in public should call a press conference today and announce their intention to hired 50,000 people to deal with all aspects of the foreclosure crisis. They should hire processors who will actually read the legal documents, but also professionals to work on debtor counseling and modification, landscapers to mow loans of real estate they own, and security guards who will ensure that repossessed homes aren't stripped or occupied by squatters."

Does Daniel Gross live in a fantasy land where 50,000 people can be hired and marshalled into a foreclosure force capable of efficiently going through the muddle that is the American real estate crisis? How long will it take for the banks to train those 50,000 people and ensure that the foreclosure process is performed in admirable fashion? My estimate would be at least 3-5 years and banks aren't going to invest the capital and time for that. In the eyes of the banks, hacking and slashing people out of their homes should be quick and painful. Daniel goes on in the article to state the following:

"Doing so would help put a small chunk of the underemployed workforce back on the job.  It would be a bold, public gesture that might spur other companies to hire. It would demonstrate to courts and politicians that the banks are finally getting serious about getting on top of the problem. Perhaps some of the newly employed will use their wages to stay current on their mortgages, and the banks can certainly afford it. Fifty thousand people at $50,000 per year comes to $2.5 billion. J.P. Morgan Chase earned $4.8 billion in the second quarter. In other words, it would cost the industry about what one of its leading members makes in seven weeks."   

   Since when was altriusm part of any banks' business model or vernacular? I found this sentence particularly laughable" "It would be a bold, public gesture that might spur other companies to hire." HAHAHA. Daniel, you do live in fantasy land. Can I join you and look at the unicorns and rainbows? Daniel insinuates that just because banks hire people, other businesses like Dunkin' Donuts, Saks Fifth Avenue, and British Petroleum are going to start hiring people too. Damn, that's the kind of logic that writers for Yahoo are capable of? He even works out the equation for hiring 50,000 people and then multiplies everyone's $50,000 in annual wages to come up with $2.5 billion in total wages. This guy is a simpleton of the highest order and he can't be taken seriously. I'm done with this guy and his future articles will be shitcanned immediately.