Posts filed under “Credit”

A Robust Segment of the Housing Market

I have spilled alot of pixels detailing the weakening Housing market, and its potential impact on the economy.

But not all is woe in the Real Estate market: In select locations, things aren’t so bad.

Indeed, in one very specific area, and in a rather particular slice of Housing, things are actually pretty rosy: The very very high end of Manhattan. The upper tier of homes in NY County — the top 3% — are still seeing robust sales, and actually enjoying price gains.

The New York Times detailed this yesterday in $6 Million for the Co-op, Then Start to Renovate:

"While the general housing market is cooling off in much
of the country, brokers in New York say that the demand at the high end
still resembles a luxury- home arms race. Manhattan residents in the
third quarter of this year paid 19 percent more than they did a year
earlier for co-ops with four bedrooms or more, compared with an 11
percent gain for the average one-bedroom apartment, according to data
tracked by the brokerage firm Brown Harris Stevens.

So far this year, 324 buyers purchased Manhattan apartments worth
more than $5 million; of those 16 buyers closed on homes that cost more
than $20 million, according to the research firm Another 45 homes are on the market with asking prices of more than $20 million."

The secret? Wealthy purchasers who do not require mortgages! The credit crunch has had zero impact on this market segment:

"Even after paying top dollar for a luxury apartment, most buyers see
the need for more work . . . often embarking on costly and lengthy
renovations intended to reflect not only their own taste but also their
ambitions to find a perch in the social and economic swirl of today’s
Gilded Age. These newly wealthy are crowding into the market not just
to buy the city’s most expensive homes, but to hire its most coveted
decorators, surround themselves with dozens of remodeling specialists,
and ultimately invite friends and colleagues to see their urban


I do enjoy the accompanying chart:

graphic courtesy of NYT

Age of Riches:  $6 Million for the Co-op, Then Start to Renovate
NYT, October 6, 2007

Category: Consumer Spending, Credit, Economy, Real Estate

Saturday Afternoon Chart-Porn

Category: Credit, Data Analysis

NAR on “Temporary” Housing Problems

Category: Credit, Data Analysis, Markets, Real Estate

Fear of a Dollar Collapse, part II

Yesterday, we discussed the potential impact of the ongoing weakening of the US dollar.

Today, we look at a few printing press Money Supply issues. Our focus: The spread between the Fed liquidity action (a/k/a Repos) and the M2 money supply measures.

This is simply a measure of how much cash the Fed is injecting into the system.

The following Bloomberg chart shows the spread between the two of these monetary measures. It is quite instructive:



Speaking of surges: As you can clearly see above (bottom left chart), the amount of MZM (repos) versus M2 during 2007 is enormous.

This means that the Fed is "inflating" at a rate faster today than it did right after 9/11, or during the deflationary scare of 2003.

As we asked Wednesday night, "What did the Fed Chair and the FOMC see that spooked them into a half point (over) reaction?"  I am not sure what is was (and we’ve discussed many of the potential issues over the past 2 years), but the Fed is obviously scared witless. 

The manifestations of this free  printing press are many: Any commodity priced in plentiful dollars will cost more. Crude is now $82; and Inflation Fears Send Gold to 27-Year High.

Why? One way to think about it is supply and demand. Print ALOT more dollars and each one is worth a little less. 

Or, consider it this way: Extracting Oil or Gold from the earth ain’t easy: We have to explore for Oil, determine where it is, how deep, what quality, etc. Then we have to use lots of heavy machinery to extract it, ship it to where it gets processed, refined, used in chemical manufacturing. Some of it gets refined into gasoline, and it is then transported to a network of gasoline stations, and it gets pumped into your car — all for less per gallon than diet Coke or peach Snapple!

For gold, the process is not all that dissimilar.

Just crank up the printing press: Its cheap and easy. But why should us gold and oil producers exchange our hard won commodities (its hard work) for pieces of paper you people are simply cranking out for free? Either give us something of real value — or instead, we will insist on more of your crappy ittle pieces of green paper.

Thus, the inflationary repercussions of a "free money" policy. In fact, every commodity that is priced in dollars can potentially see much higher prices:  Gold, Oil, Wheat, Soybeans, Copper, Timber, Corn, etc.

Its easy to understand why inflation has been called The Cruelest Tax.


BTW, for those of you without a pricey Bloomberg terminal on their desks, a good source for (free) data of this kind is the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ publication, Monetary Trends. There are always a solid collection of charts showing money supply, economic conditions, etc. Not to get too wonky on you, but this is simply pornography for econ geeks.

There are a few charts after the jump worth reviewing. For the less visual of you, they show that Money Supply continues to grow at a rapid pace, that bank borrowings are increasing.


Monetary Trends
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’
October 2007

Where Crude Goes Now May Depend on Dollar
Futures Close Near $82
WSJ, September 20, 2007; Page C1

Inflation Fears Send Gold to 27-Year High
Weakening Dollar Also an Influence; Metal Hits $732.40
WSJ, September 21, 2007; Page C6

Read More

Category: Commodities, Credit, Currency, Energy, Federal Reserve, Inflation

After the Mortgage Boom

Category: Credit, Real Estate

I Love the Smell of Repos in the Morning . . .

Category: Credit, Economy, Federal Reserve, Psychology, Real Estate

Open Thread: Markets, Inflation, Growth, Recession

Category: Credit, Economy, Federal Reserve, Fixed Income/Interest Rates, Inflation, Markets, Psychology, Trading

FOMC Statement Changes

Category: Credit, Economy, Federal Reserve, Inflation, Real Estate

Bernanke Blinks

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Economy, Federal Reserve, Inflation

Nine Reasons the Feds Can’t Save Stocks

Category: Credit, Derivatives, Economy, Federal Reserve, Investing, Markets, Psychology