Many have said since this "housing crisis" erupted that commercial real estate would not be impacted - it would be "different this time."
I have argued consistently that in every other residential-led building problem we've seen commercial R/E follow by 12-18 months. Guess what
"The Seattle project joins other projects in New York, Phoenix, Atlanta and Las Vegas that have been shelved, scaled back or beset by financial problems in recent months. Many city officials hoped they would provide jobs and economic activity that could help make up for a housing-market downturn that still hasn't reached bottom."
But I thought the market crooners said that Commercial R/E wouldn't take a hit? All would power on and be fine?
The "Mortgage Mess" has yet another change in policy announced - FHLB Chicago is no longer buying mortgage loans
. One has to wonder, however, how much risk is out there on their balance sheet thus far. Specifically, I am more than a bit concerned whether the FHLB network is overexposed to bad mortgages and overpriced houses. It will likely be a few more years before we know exactly how bad this will get for the FHLB network, which is a network of "bankers banks" that were originally designed to serve smaller institutions but have, from many people's points of view, been abused horribly by the likes of Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC) as a "conduit" for mortgage money in the last year or so.
If you've wondered if the banks were intentionally gaming the system - cheating, to be blunt - you shouldn't wonder any more. The UBS fiasco should be all the proof you need
- their release of a blunt report stating that they simply ignored risk management because they were quite sure "The Fed had our back" is about the most damning piece of evidence thus far.
In any reasonable world this would have led to immediate criminal charges against the "bad actors." But we're not in a reasonable world, are we? So long as the people who steal are bankers and other "rich, monied people", and the people who get stolen from are either taxpayers or "less fortunate", its all ok. And before you turn this into a "Bash Bush" game, go study some history - the fact of the matter is that the seeds of this mess were sown during President Clinton's time in office, and have bridged both Democratic and Republican Congressional majorities as well.
In short the politicians are more than happy to see you ripped off and have your money given to anyone who makes large campaign contributions to them. You, as a voter, appear to be happy with this state of affairs, as you keep re-electing them and sending them back to Washington, when you, not the lobbyists and corporations, are the ones who can vote.
Part of this is unfortunately that people have become conditioned to "Vote For A Living" via entitlements, but what those who are doing so don't realize is that this isn't a zero-sum game - its a negative amortization game for the voter, in that these promises can't possibly be kept and what's worse, the promise and its "attempted" fulfillment winds up picking your pocket in the process.
We are finally getting attention paid to the fact that many states are in recession
- right now. Reality is that despite whether the NBER says "there's a recession" or not, the states have a much more sensitive gauge that is simply never wrong within its boundaries - tax revenues. Sales tax, in particular, is an almost-instantaneous response mechanism and provides immediate feedback on consumer spending and economic trends, and states are getting hammered from both sides - falling revenues and rising costs:
"The weakening economy is hitting tax revenue in a number of ways: People's discretionary income is being gobbled up by higher food and fuel costs, while the tanking housing market means people are spending less on furniture and appliances associated with buying a house."
You mean people don't spend money they don't have when their credit runs out? Fancy that.
Oh, but the states do respond to this sort of pressure. Guess how? Yep - they raise property taxes
"Spring Valley, N.Y., approved a 9.7% increase in the property-tax rate to balance its budget. A number of fast-growing suburbs around Washington, D.C., have raised rates, while Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton has proposed a 17% increase in the property-tax rate to close a budget gap."
Oh boy, that's gonna go over well, right?
Then there is this, which of course we will ignore in this country
, because its not "here and now" - until it happens:
"Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets says oil production will barely grow over the next five years, edging up barely more than 1-million barrels a day over the next three years, and only half a million barrels a day between 2010 and 2012.
The increases will fall far short of demand, forcing the price of crude oil to surge to US$150 a barrel by 2010, and over US$200 a barrel by 2012. The updated forecast is aggressively higher than Mr.