Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Property Values Projected To Fall 12 Percent In 2010 projects residential real estate prices will fall 12 percent nationwide in 2010.

Our average of four major indexes predicts a total fall in prices of 34% from peak to stable trend. The total fall of 34% is based upon a current loss across four number sets of 19%.

The timing and the total fall vary widely among the data. The most conservative picture of our total fall is a 20% loss. The most radical prediction is that values will fall 51% from peak to stable trend (more)

Gold in euro terms hits record high 816.33 euro/oz

Euro-priced gold extended earlier gains to hit a record high 816.35 euros an ounce on Tuesday, as investors spooked by fears over the fiscal health of peripheral euro zone economies bought the metal as a haven from risk.

Gold denominated in euros was bid at 815.82 euros an ounce at 0948 GMT, against 809.01 euros an ounce late on Monday. Its earlier peak beat a previous record high of 812.43 euros an ounce set in December.

Dollar-priced spot gold also rose to $1,113.20 an ounce versus $1,100.05. Gold typically has a close inverse relationship with the dollar, rising as the U.S. currency falls versus others. (more)

Jay Taylor: Turning Hard Times Into Good Times

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Silver Price Trend Shows Strong Signs of a Bottom

We sidestepped the recent C-wave decline in the sector, in particular the plunge in silver, scaling back positions the day before it began, and as we now know the PM sector has followed the script set out in the Marketwatch update of the 19th January to the letter. However, the evidence that has accumulated over the past week or so suggests that we have since become too cautious - we should have stuck to that script as it now appears that the correction is over and that the PM sector is powering up for a major advance. Fortunately little has been lost provided that we get back on track without delay. (more)

Experts: Foreclosures Will Push Home Prices Down

Two new studies say the tsunami of home foreclosures will continue to surge, meaning home prices will keep falling in troubled areas.

And both studies, conducted by Standard & Poor’s and John Burns Real Estate Consulting, say most government efforts to ease the terms of troubled mortgages will merely delay rather than prevent further foreclosures, The Wall Street Journal reports.

John Burns figures that 5 million more homes will enter foreclosure or related proceedings over the next few years.

That accounts for 65 percent of the estimated 7.7 million homeowners who are now delinquent on their mortgage payments. (more)

Report: 2011 Economic Time Bomb Will Hurt All of U.S.

The latest report from the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel says that things may feel relatively stable right now on the commercial real-estate front now, but a time bomb primed to explode in 2011 will affect “every American.”

“Over the next few years, a wave of commercial real estate loan failures could threaten America’s already-weakened financial system,” the report says.

At special risk are the nation’s smaller and mid-sized banks, gave loans to local property buyers and developers but were never subjected to any stress tests.

The TARP panel fears “that as the damage spreads beyond individual banks that it will contribute to prolonged weakness throughout the economy. (more)

Goldman Sachs in new storm over secret deal to mask Greek debts

Goldman Sachs struck a secret deal with Greece to help it mask its vast debts, it emerged yesterday.

The Wall Street giant is claimed to have reaped as much as £192million in fees by entering a complex currency transaction in 2001 that helped Athens borrow cash without putting it on the books as a loan.

The so-called 'swap' deal, while permitted under EU rules, helped Greece meet eurozone limits on government borrowing. (more)

Marc Faber on the Alex Jones show 14 Feb 2010

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Morgan Stanley Strategist: Head for the Hills!

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that the former chief global stategist for Morgan Stanley is telling people to prepare for the worst. One more time folks, this is no conspiracy theorist. Barton Biggs, MORGAN STANLEY'S FORMER CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST is telling you there is going to be an economic collapse. Read the article below.

Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with ``seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.''

The ``etc.'' must mean guns.

``A few rounds over the approaching brigands' heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,'' he writes in his new book, ``Wealth, War and Wisdom.'' (more)

Suburban homeless: Rising tide of women, families

Homelessness in rural and suburban America is straining shelters this winter as the economy founders and joblessness hovers near double digits — a "perfect storm of foreclosures, unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing," in one official's eyes.

"We are seeing many families that never before sought government help," said Greg Blass, commissioner of Social Services in Suffolk County on eastern Long Island.

"We see a spiral in food stamps, heating assistance applications; Medicaid is skyrocketing," Blass added. "It is truly reaching a stage of being alarming." (more)

Foreigners cut Treasury stakes; rates could rise

A record drop in foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury bills in December sent a reminder that the government might have to pay higher interest rates on its debt to continue to attract investors.

China reduced its stake and lost the position it's held for more than a year as the largest foreign holder of Treasury debt. Japan retook the top spot as it boosted its Treasury holdings.

The Treasury Department said foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury bills fell by a record $53 billion in December. That topped the previous record drop of $44.5 billion in April 2009.

Private analysts, though, were split over the significance of the decline. Some doubted that the drop in foreign holdings of short-term Treasuries signified growing unease about holding U.S. debt. They noted that net purchases of longer-term Treasury debt rose in December by $70 billion. (more)

China 'to allow' yuan to rise

Jim O'Neill, Goldman Sachs' chief economist, believes that "something's brewing" in China that could lead to a major policy shift in the country's stance on its own currency.

To date, the Beijing authorities have opposed widespread calls – including from US President Barack Obama and Tim Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary – to allow the yuan to strengthen. Beijing has dismissed suggestions that its artificial position creates an unfair playing field for the country's exports. (more)

Gold Jumps Most Since November on Demand for Alternative Assets

Gold rose the most in more than three months on speculation that Greek debt concerns will spur demand for the metal as an alternative to holding currency.

European finance ministers pressured Greece to rein in budget deficits and refused to say how they would rescue the nation if it can’t contain its debt. Gold rose to a record $1,227.50 an ounce last year as central banks in the U.S., the U.K. and European Union kept lending rates low to revive growth.

“There’s a lack of faith in fiat currencies that’s driving the market,” said Matt Zeman, a metals trader at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago. “There’s too many sovereign-debt problems and too many countries printing money. Gold is the only hard asset I’d want to own right now.” (more)