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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great Recession Roundup — June 30, 2009

Items of Interest:

Joel Kotkin / Forbes:
Did Homeowners Cause The Great Recession? -- Once considered sacrosanct by conservatives and social democrats alike, homeownership is increasingly seen as a form of economic derangement. The critics of the small owner include economists like Paul Krugman and Ed Glaeser, who identify the over-hot pursuit of homes as one critical cause for the recession. Others suggest it would be perhaps nobler to put money into something more consequential, like stocks.

Homeowners also get spanked by leading new urbanists, like Brookings scholar and urban real estate developer Chris Leinberger. He lays blame for the downturn not on unscrupulous financiers but squarely on aspiring suburban home buyers. "Sprawl," he intones, "is the root cause of the financial crisis." ...

Shiller Sees ‘Improvement’ in Rate of Home-Price Drop -- Home prices saw a “striking improvement in the rate of decline” in April and trading in funds launched today indicates investors believe the U.S. housing slump is nearing a bottom, said Yale University economist Robert Shiller.

“At this point, people are thinking the fall is over,” Shiller, co-founder of the home price index that bears his name, said in a Bloomberg Radio interview today. “The market is predicting the declines are over.” ...

“My guess would be that home prices are going to level off -- they’re not going to keep falling,” Shiller said in a separate interview with Bloomberg Television. Still, it’s “hard to predict” a speculative market, and “I am not optimistic that we’re going to see any sharp rebound.” ...
WSJ: Home Prices Drop at Slower Pace
Seeking Alpha: Housing Index's Possible Silver Lining
Diana Olick / CNBC Realty Check: Home Prices: Are We There Yet?
CNN: Home prices drop, but at a slower rate

Henry Blodget / Clusterstock:
House Price Crash Rate Finally Beginning To Ease

Andrew Sullivan / The Daily Dish: Nearing The Bottom?
Calculated Risk: House Prices: The Long Tail -- With record delinquencies, record foreclosures, few move-up buyers (impacting the mid-to-high end), a huge overhang of inventory, I believe prices will continue to fall in many areas.
Would You Buy This Stock? -- Would you buy a stock whose chart looks like the one below? It had a nice run but has pulled back quite a bit over the last couple of years.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 10-City Composite Median Home Price indexThe chart above is of the S&P/Case-Shiller 10-City Composite Median Home Price index...
Housing Wire: Prices in Major Markets Return to 2003 Levels
Delinquencies Double on Least-Risky Loans, U.S. Says --Delinquency rates on the least-risky mortgages more than doubled in the first quarter from a year earlier as U.S. efforts to help homeowners failed to keep pace with job losses that pushed more borrowers toward foreclosure.

Prime mortgages 60 days or more past due climbed to 2.9 percent of such loans through March 31 from 1.1 percent at the same point in 2008, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision said today in a report...
Mish's Global Economic Analysis:
Home Loan Delinquencies Double on Prime Loans; Foreclosure Filings Top 300,000 3rd Straight Month
Blown Mortgage:
New Report Links Foreclosures and Homelessness -- The Foreclosure to Homelessness: The Forgotten Victims of the Foreclosure Crisis report released last week provides insight into how foreclosures have affected homeless populations around the country. Based on surveys completed by 178 organizations across the U.S. that provide services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness it was determined that the nation’s homeless population has been directly impacted by foreclosure and that the is likely to increase along with the number of foreclosures. Nearly 80 percent of the respondents reported that at least some of their clients became homeless due to foreclosure...
John Boudreau / Mercury News:
This recession is so bad not even sex sells -- “How bad is this recession? Even sex doesn’t sell.

That’s the glum assessment of those in the adult entertainment industry, hundreds of whom gathered last week for the annual Cybernet Expo conference in San Francisco. The industry, now a multibillion-dollar online business, has discovered that people just aren’t willing to click-to-pay for vice the way they once did . . .
Barry Ritholtz / The Big Picture: Recession Hard On Porn Stars
John Mauldin / Minyanville:
No End in Sight for Recession -- I recently heard someone on CNBC talking about how the market was getting ready to rise, and that the recovery had started. (This was based on the fact that the S&P 500's 50-day moving average was rising above its 200-day moving average.) I listened to this babbling for another 2 minutes or so, then had to turn it off.

We keep hearing that the market is "telling us something" -- usually that the recession's going to end, and that the market looks out about 6 months. This is rubbish...
Wrapping up the Bernie Madoff Ponzie Scheme
Rasmussen Reports:
42% Say Climate Change Bill Will Hurt The Economy — Americans have mixed feelings about the historic climate change bill that passed the House on Friday, but 42% say it will hurt the U.S. economy...
John / Power Line: He Thinks You're Stupid...
Roger C. Altman / Wall Street Journal:
We'll Need to Raise Taxes Soon -- Expect Congress to seriously consider a value-added tax.

Only five months after Inauguration Day, the focus of Washington's economic and domestic policy is already shifting. This reflects the emergence of much larger budget deficits than anyone expected. Indeed, federal deficits may average a stunning $1 trillion annually over the next 10 years. This worsened outlook is stirring unease on Main Street and beginning to reorder priorities for President Barack Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership. By 2010, reducing the deficit will become their primary focus...
J.D. Foster / The Foundry: Obama's Battle of the Bulging Deficit
Noam Scheiber / The New Republic: The Right and Wrong Deficits to Worry About
Joe Weisenthal / Clusterstock: Tax Hikes, Coming Soon!

Calculated Risk

MishTalk - Mike Shedlock

Paul Krugman - NY Times

The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz

naked capitalism - Yves Smith

Pragmatic Capitalism

Washington's Blog

Safe Haven

Paper Economy

The Daily Reckoning - Australia