The housing singularity and other housing oddities – more coverage on financial history in Mildred Pierce about SoCal housing bubble than all local networks combined. Geithner first to trial test his negative equity home as a rental?

Does anyone else find it remarkable how little mainstream coverage was given (is given) to the largest financial crisis since the Great Depression?  Home prices have fallen deeper in this housing induced recession versus the economic despair of the 1930s.  I know most readers have realized that the tube is simply a method of entertainment and modern version of soma and should be treated as such.  Let us not even examine local news in regards to educating the public on what is truly going on.  The reality is that so much disinformation is being thrown out that people seem financially paralyzed.  For example, most Americans still don’t realize that we are making post-bubble lows when it comes to home prices.  Even entertainment that incorporates previous bubbles like the mini-series Mildred Pierce centered in depression era SoCal and focuses largely on Glendale and Pasadena, seems to bring a tinge of déjà vu.  To argue effectively that home values will appreciate you have to show why household incomes will increase.  There are few that make a well thought out argument combing income and home prices and showing how home values will appreciate.  The more data driven arguments seem to project a stagnant housing market something akin to Japan’s lost decades or further declines.  What are some of the current trends in housing and more importantly, our economy?

The news isn’t talking about news

Take a look at US home prices:
us home prices

Where is the massive appreciation because of low mortgage rates?  With a weak economy and most new jobs coming from lower-wage service sector positions with relatively low security, do you think many will want to saddle up with a large mortgage?  And this is for the modest $150,000 US home.  Let us not even discuss California with an underemployment rate above 20 percent and a budget that is held together with duct tape and a bunch of lucid dreams.

I’m happy that many readers get it as evidenced by the most recent 500+ comments.  For every 50 that make the case of a stagnant or falling market with math, economics, and simply common sense, you have some cheerleading real estate with massive blinders on saying “if things go lower, we’ll be in an apocalypse dome and the government will never let that happen…especially on my precious bubble property.”  I have yet to find a solid argument why prices in bubble areas will go up and the data is showing prices in these areas are still going lower.  Take a look at decreasing values as a percentage for example:

decreasing value year over year

To sum up the chart, we are still in a price falling mode.  I doubt most even realize how devalued the dollar has become over time:

inflation-currency

Just because you can’t imagine it, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.  Always keep this thought in mind.  Black Swans are swimming all around us but our human psyche fails to acknowledge the data not directly in front of us.  Remember this, not since the Great Depression did we see a national decline in real estate prices.  Today we have witnessed a nominal drop of 33+ percent and more adjusting for inflation.  If you were to tell people in 2006 that national US home values would fall 30 percent you would have been seen as certifiably insane.  Even a 10 percent drop was hardly foreseeable to many.  Just because you can’t imagine it, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Don’t think that your absurd and obscure property is somehow on the political agenda for the heavily connected.  Heck, even Timothy Geithner couldn’t unload his underwater home, remember?

geithner home

“(CNN Money) The Geithners paid a premium for the house when they bought it in 2004, plunking down $1.601 million after a bidding war. The “exquisitely renovated” home was originally built in 1931, according to a listing for the 0.2 acre property.

“When the house first went on sale it was very evident that he was not going to get what he paid for it,” said Scott Stiefvater of Stiefvater Real Estate in Pelham, N.Y. “He was [bound] to lose some money.”

It’s a familiar story as the housing crisis unfolds across the country. Indeed, after Geithner’s house sat unsold for nearly 3 months, the price dropped to $1.575 million. Still there were no takers, so Geithner listed it as a rental for $7,500 a month, and has since found a tenant.

But it’s unlikely that even such a steep rent will be enough to cover the mortgage, in addition to the $27,000 in annual property taxes. Of course, no one should feel too badly about watching Geithner take a loss. As Treasury Secretary he’s earning $191,300.”

This was back in 2009 and Geithner was one of the early adopters of the “can’t sell, rent the place out” line of reasoning.  By the way, the place still hasn’t sold:

geithner home sale

Notice how they don’t bring Geithner out anymore to the current circus?  Probably not good to have your U.S. Treasury Secretary as one of the 12,000,000 with negative equity announcing a negative equity refinancing plan.  He rented the place out for $7,500 back in 2009.  So hopefully some people will realize that unless you are part of the massively connected crony capitalist family, your little market is not on the radar hence the continuing drop in prices.  I mean if the U.S. Treasury Secretary is resorting to this, and it has been over two years since he listed it, what makes so many people living in bubble area tract suburbs think that the correction won’t hit them?

Low prices and investors not enough to turbo-charge market

If you take a look at California home sales, a market dominated by investors and FHA buyers, you see that fringe buying has been the market for years:
california monthly home sales

From the late 1990s to 2009 60,000 sales per month were common at some point during the year.  We have yet to see one of those months since 2009.  Even during the raging mania we were seeing 70,000+ home sales a month.  You’ll notice that in the last few months, the momentum of the 50,000+ months has now dwindled in the 40,000 to 50,000 range.  The point?  Even a near 50 percent median price drop for the state has done little to boost bubble prices or even juice up sales.  This is why we have many cities seeing double-digit declines in Southern California in 2011.  Very little of this makes the tube coverage because where will you find the time to report this in between the HD traffic report and the morning seven day forecast?  The nightly network news?  Unless it fits into a 20 second piece you can forget it.  They need to make time for the pizza ads, credit card marketing, and online degrees that promise roads to riches (and the implication, more money for that dream home).

History forgotten is dangerous

I enjoyed the mini-series Mildred Pierce, based on the 1941hardboiled novel by James Cain.  Mildred played by Kate Winslet lives in the bubble land of Glendale and is married to a failed home builder.  I won’t give the story away but it also touches on prime Pasadena.  Of course the location is simply the backdrop here but we get more information on this fictional mini-series compared to what we get from news that purports to cover “things that matter.”  Like which gas station is going to save us half a cent is “breaking news” and every network covers the same story at the same time.  In case the point isn’t made, Southern California has been in a massive bubble before and we would have to go back to the Great Depression to find a comparable time.  Even a hardboiled genre novel writer in 1941 had a good sense of this.

I usually get a few e-mails about what good books serve as primers on bubbles and economic history.  I recommend the following:

-Frederick Lewis Allen for US history is fantastic (Only Yesterday, Since Yesterday, The Big Change)

-Walter Bagehot is a must

– Charlie Kindleberger (Manias, Panics, and Crashes, The World in Depression)

I also recommend Nassem Taleb’s Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness.  The good news for most of us is that we do live in a time where we can share information relatively easily and in real-time.  Can you imagine if network television was your only source of information?  You would think that this technology would make bubbles harder to come by but in this recent bubble, too many people online were talking about their 15, 20, and 25 percent year-over-year gains in real estate that the herding went into overdrive.  If the magnitude was amplified because of information, will the pop be that more significant because of information as well?

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38 Responses to “The housing singularity and other housing oddities – more coverage on financial history in Mildred Pierce about SoCal housing bubble than all local networks combined. Geithner first to trial test his negative equity home as a rental?”

  • Gheitner will do just fine in a year or two. He’s paid his dues with this crappy job (193,000 is peanuts for the type he travels with), and he’s pretty much announced with no denial from the White House that he’s not sticking around for round two if they win. He’ll score a sweet at least seven figure gig in the private sector and retire comfortably on insider trading with his investments. What I’d like to know is who is the fool paying that much rent for a not too impressive Tudor in a not too great and faded town. Could it be a rich and powerful person who has no intention of actually living there, and, maybe is just helping to support Timmy with his finances until he’s wealthy? hmmmmmm………..one wonders……..

    • And Bingo was his name oh.

      I thought the same thing.

      It’s similar to how politicians, who no one wanted to hear from when they were in office, retire and write books (ghost written) so they can become a best-selling author selling millions of “books” (i.e. political favors) that allows bribes to be passed through at 2 bucks cost minus $34.95 cover price which happens to sell really well overseas by chance where they don’t keep real good sales records which coincidentally led to the formation of a new reef at the bottom of the Atlantic where the detritus of the laundering mechanism provides homes for the fishes.

      Yeah, I’m a best-selling author – that’s where my wealth came from and if you question it, it’s only because you disagree with my politics so you can’t recognize my brilliance – sour grapes and all. I’m rich because people like to read what my ghostwriter wrote – deal with it.

      “Back to Work” is Clinton’s third book since leaving office, following his million-selling memoir “My Life” and a work on philanthropy and community activism, “Giving.” As with his previous books, the publisher is Alfred A. Knopf and the editor is Robert Gottlieb, whose other authors include Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Robert Caro and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Deals for all three books were negotiated by Washington attorney Robert Barnett.

      This has become the go to bribery mechanism. Bubba needs more coin – go get that ghostwriter to write me another $5 million advance. The book laundering scam. Not just Clinton, they all caught on to this. This is how the bribes are laundered.

      • ….And don’t ignore the fees collected for “speaking engagements”. I haven’t read recently what Clinton is commanding for a nice night out and a small speech and a few handshakes recently, but, right after his last term, his take was around 100 grand for such a thing. Nice, huh? Guiliani, for one, and there are many making millions like this, commands about 60 grand a speech. Where did I go wrong.

  • I’ll go out on a political limb here. Our print and mainstream news media is largely under the control of the Democratic Party. I don’t want to even say the words “liberal” and “conservative” because there are things about the economy that far-left news sources are printing that the mainstream is ignoring. But the fact of the matter is, that the Democrats are committed to getting their guy re-elected in November. That being the case, their allies in the news media (look no further than the LA Times if you want proof of this) WILL NOT report on anything which contradicts the election year narrative: a.k.a. “We are in the midst of a recovery” and “Happy times will be here again soon, so long as Obama is reelected”.

    I guarantee you that if John McCain was President, and nothing was different, the media would have most of the country convinced that emigration from the United States was the only hope for the future. We would find out all sorts of things about the economy, housing, and finance that we would not want to know.

    • Right, because the media were so critical of the economy and incisive about the housing bubble and impending derivatives time bomb in 2006 during the Bush Administration.

      • The media were incredibly critical of the Bush economy, even in 2006. There was a constant drumbeat of “this economy is the worst since the Great Depression”, “we’re gonna’ be in a recession”, etc. I think this is why people are so compacent about current unemployment levels…to a lot of uninformed folks, things have been bad since Clinton left office.

        But you are correct in that no one was talking about the housing bubble, or what was going on behind the scenes…for very good reason. No one in the media wanted to expose Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for what they were doing because that might expose some uncomfortable truths. I would also suspect that there were certain people on the left who were hoping, itching, praying for an economic collapse of some kind under Bush’s watch.

      • “this economy is the worst since the Great Depression”, “we’re gonna’ be in a recession”

        What strange parallel world do you live in? ’06? Really? You really should find some links to back that one up.

  • I’m still thinking that hedge finds will be getting the “bulk” deals on REO’s and then flipping them to the investor class. Who will then rent them out. Doing all the work and taking all the risks as high real unemployment remains persistent.

    • Again with that hedge fund argument. Do you even know what a hedge fund is? Trust me, buying and selling low end RE is not what they do.

      • Hedge funds look to make money.
        If that means buying distressed property at a huge discount and flipping them at a smaller discount to less rich, less well connected investors, then thats what they’ll do.

        Big money the whole world over is keeping an eye on the US housing market. If it sniffs an oppotunity to buy at or near bottom levels with a big discount for bulk purchases, as long as the whole Robbosigning/MERS/clouded title problems get guarenteed for them by the government, then the big money will go for it.

      • I read an article on HousingWire about Carrington Capital (former VP of RealtyTrac, Rick Sharga is now VP there) and Oaktree Capital forming a partnership for a $450M deal they made as phase one of the REO Bulk Sale as Rentals for a nice discount on the dollar.

        I read a few other firms are on board to buy the REO’s in bulk and rent them out, too. I use to think the sheer headaches of managing the REO Rentals wouldn’t be so inviting, but the renters send their checks to a drop box, and the property managers don’t get called much. The homes will be in good shape for a rental, I read. Some of the areas of the rentals will be flooded with so many, there will be rent to own programs on them. IIRC, it’s a 5 year timeline.

      • Listen, trust me, the only reason any of those snakes are even looking at homes right now is with the bet that they will double in value in a fairly short period of time, say, ten years. That’s the only way they can justify such a deal. I really doubt this will happen. Do you?

        Besides, there are too many hedge funds, and they are dropping like flies right now. They saw their heyday, just like many other financial firms did, and now is the time of reckoning. There are dumb and clueless hedge fund managers just like there are dumb and clueless in any industry. Try not to pay attention to them as they self destruct. Certainly, don’t give them any of your money, if you can. But, your dumb and clueless pension fund manager might be doing this as I type, and you can’t do a thing about it.

      • “Listen, trust me, the only reason any of those snakes are even looking at homes right now is with the bet that they will double in value in a fairly short period of time, say, ten years. That’s the only way they can justify such a deal. I really doubt this will happen. Do you?”

        I do doubt it, because that would take a huge rise in median incomes. But we only know that because we read the best housing blog on the net, the superlative Dr H.B.

        You think all those hegies and 1%ers and pension fund managers follow him as well? To people who don’t realise the fundamental truths about the housing market revealed in this blog, US housing looks like a sure fire winning bet if you can get a fat discount.

      • @CAE

        You pretty much prove my point by using Paulson. He had a horrible ’11. He’s becoming a one hit wonder with that short of the RE market back in “08, and, as we have found out since then, he engineered a lot of those shorts with the dirtbags at Goldman. He ain’t so smart. He’s just rich.

      • @Mike M.

        You lost me at: “Listen, trust me…”

      • You said Hedge Funds would not buy real estate and Paulson is a very well known hedge fund manager. So you were wrong. Right off the bat. And then you state that Paulson had a bad year? So what? That means he’s not running a huge hedge fund?

        Your statement ,”Trust me…”, is about as unpersuasive a thing as can be said. And, is usually said by people that don’t have facts to utilize.

      • http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/loss-of-wireless-dream-caps-a-fast-fall-from-grace/?ref=business

        Another genius from the hedge fund industry. You see, they aren’t so smart after all.

        CAE, you should relax and have faith in the market. Think – even if these “smart” money men and women jump in and buy some houses, how would that raise prices with such massive inventory out there? Will they have some magic trick up their smart sleeves to make those homes worth more to the next greater fool? I don’t think so. This isn’t 2003 anymore.

  • Dr. HB, I’ve been following your blog for a few years now and totally get your arguments. I am wondering now, though, about this new deal with the banks. What will the effect of that be? If it’s to put more foreclosures on the market, who will buy them? And who will buy all these expedited short sales we’re hearing about now? Are stagnant incomes going to keep those sales down, or will this so-called easing of the market actually make a difference to the 99%?

    Thanks for your great work, as always!!!!

  • From A. Gary Schilling’s “insight” Feb 2012:

    Americans’ love of homeownership
    has weakened with the collapse in
    prices even though the
    Administration, the Fed and the
    courts are still trying to keep people
    in houses they can’t afford and
    forestall normalization.
    The reality that house prices can
    and do fall along with foreclosures,
    tighter lending standards and
    persistent high unemployment will
    probably continue to push the
    homeownership rate from its 69%
    peak in 2004 to its earlier 64%
    norm or below. This along with
    normal household growth implies
    about 4 million new renters over the
    next five years.
    It will take almost that long to
    eliminate the 2 million inventory of
    housing units over and above
    normal working levels. The
    overload should push prices down
    another 20% to return to the centuryold norm. Settlement of the robosigning flap should initiate a wave
    of foreclosures and touch off this
    big price drop.
    As households separate their
    abodes from their investments,
    about 1.3 million of the 4 million
    new renters may prefer apartments
    while 1.7 million rent the surplus of
    single-family houses

  • Big fan Doc HB…professional trader and CPA for many years, 20 year resident of Malibu, CA…
    Book recommendation, Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds…

    “Retired” on the Big Island in Hawaii now and making an offer on a 1,700 4bdr 2 ba home that is a FNMA foreclosure…a mile up on Mauna Loa, better weather than Malibu, 2 acres…
    asking $107,500, will go in the 80s…

    So, I too love the housing bubble…buying a home for a BMW 5 series payment

    G

  • Look at the sharp increase in price level and the continued decrease in purchasing power in the consumer price inflation chart. The decade in which this happens? 1970. What happened in the ’70s that might account for this? On August 15, 1971, the United States unilaterally terminated convertibility of the dollar to gold. Essentially the gold standard ended and fiat currency was all that was left. While correlation certainly does not imply causation, a coincidence I think not. The ability to print money with no backing will lead to debasement of that currency and inflation/decrease in purchasing power. Look at the Wiemar Republic. Look at Zimbabwe.

  • Two books that decribe the current mindset in RE and, in my opinion, are better than Taleb’s books are:

    The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

    The Halo Effect…and Eight other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers by Phil Rosenzweig

  • This is perhaps a little off-topic but I need to vent.

    I heard on one of the cable financial news channels this morning that there was a big surprise that foreclosures were up a few percent from the same time last year. The reporter seemed to state this in the context of surprise, and pondering what effects it would have on the “recovery” we’ve been seeing. There was so much wrong, I barely knew where to begin. It seems people still want to define “recovery” as meaning a return to massively overvalued real estate. This say a lot about the state of financial education (mostly flunkies) we share our voting pool with but when such a sentiment comes from anyone with affluence — whether in politics or “journalism” — I can’t help but be a bit disturbed.

    At the height of the bubble, median prices in OC were over $600,000. Median wages were about $60,000. That translates to about $3800 for the monthly payment on a traditional 80/20 30 year fixed rate, at the rates available then. Take-home pay on a $60,000 salary would be about $3500. Do we really want to go back to that? A crash was inevitable. The recovery is the correction. No two ways about it.

    Next, if we examine the timeline, it is exactly as the good doc predicted several years ago. There was a massive wave of foreclosure in response to the collapse of the 2 year-teaser rate and option loans as they reached their balloon points. Similarly, as late as 2007-2008, lenders were still offering 5/25 and 5/30 year loans where the first five years consisted of interest-only payments. Many were expecting a “mild correction” at that time, and thought such a program could be a good way to get into a property they might not otherwise be able to afford. If I had found a good condo (ha, isn’t that an oxymoron?) I might have been among them. It was expected that equity would soon continue its meteoric rise and that 5 years would be plenty of time to re-fi, sell, rent out, flip, or implement any of a number of get-rich-quick schemes. However, prices continued their plunge toward sanity, abated only by governmental decree, and now we are living in another phase of this housing price crash which, of course, “nobody could have predicted.”

    Mom, please, flush it all away.

  • Yes Dr. HB. I find it remarkable how much television programming passes for original thought. I’m chatting it up with the buddies over the weekend at a get together and someone announces. ” Gentlemen. Good news. The jobs are coming back. ” I had heard the same news myself the day before on the TUBE.

    The Most Awesome Force In The World

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HbkDbr9f_A&feature=player_embedded

  • Yes Doc, it is a “housing induced recession versus the economic despair of the 1930’s.”

    But to be thorough, the despair was addressed and in reality contained by the laws and regulations implemented in the 1930’s to restrict reckless banking practices…and those restrictions went “bye-bye” thanks to folks like Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, Phil Gramm, Bill Clinton, etc….and the result was a recreation of the 1930’s depression…only with an additional 145 million+ Americans. One can only surmise they knew exactly what they were doing…and what the results would be….because plenty of us warned about it at the time…and were dismissed by “mainstream Americans” as “kooks.”

    Well, “kook” this: you Americans are screwed now. It doesn’t make me feel happy to say I TOLD YOU SO. I have kids too you know. It makes me very upset with many of you…many many of you.

    Take those de-regulations, combine them with obscenities like NAFTA and “Free Trade (not FAIR TRADE mind you…”Free Trade”…free from regulations and oversight) , “Globalization”…..lack of tariffs on products made in countries with a lesser standard of living….”temporary tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires” that created ZERO JOBS and an annual $500 billion hole in the budget, and the (completely expected and well-documented when it occurred) result is what we know see: joblessness, no prospects of manufacturing base to grow, “IPO’s” of corporations pushing “Like” as a way of life to create billionaires of folks with a 3rd grade mentality….while always stroking nationalism and police state tactics. Degrading education with defunding…..while finding money to launch 30,000 projected drones to patrol American skies…and a $38 billion “Homeland Security” apparatus ( that is translated as “Gestapo” in German, btw)

    Can anyone sane really see an improvement on the horizon with bozos like Rick Santorum, or sleazy, robotic corporate raiders/job destroyers like Mitt Romney being pushed by msm as “presidential material” while opposed by Wall Street’s puppet Obama??? All pushing the “invasion/occupation” meme AIPAC constantly foists on America through it’s msm tentacle?

    Really? Then you need your head examined.

    Housing growth…bwahahaha. Try looking at 1985 prices……because, with the inflation since then…the loss of jobs and income declines…that is where I see the trend line going in your first chart. Those teeny-tiny “bumps up” you see in trend line?

    That is just Uncle Ben printing up more “Minute” money….instant debt, and now in their great wisdom…the D.C. geniuses are actually talking about issuing *negative interest rates* bonds to investors: give us $100,000 and we’ll pay you back $98,000…in 30 years…while we debase the dollar through more printing.

    And STILL the economy tanks, still housing tanks…still unemployment/homelessness grows…it is called LOOTING.

    FACT IS: Bernanke is printing money to buy the Treasury bonds now: hocus-pocus finances…you think it is bad in Greece???

    Just WAIT America…..the Wall Street con men plan to turn you upside down and shake out every last nickel.

    So, go read about Whitney Houston , or some woman alleging JFK boinked her 50 years ago…….or fret about Iran, surrounded by 45 US military bases “threatening” anyone….anything to distract you from the reality…..you live in a declining empire….there will be no *magic cure*, and you will pay $700 BILLION to DOD for the oppressors to control you this year: enjoy!

    • @Farang,

      You made a superb and accurate comment regarding the state of the US. It is a declining empire and has been so for years. The Wall Street vultures are circling above us, waiting for their opportunity to extract every last drop of financial blood from our beaten down economy. At least we will be able to watch Pawn Stars(if you can afford cable TV) and the other vulture feeding shows which exploit the economic misery of others. Americans are in a big state of denial and sleep as they continue diverting their energy into useless ends like all the cultural garbage used to distract and anesthatize us. Manufacturing jobs have left for good unless slave labor is reintroduced into the US, a strong possibility if one of the Republican clowns gets elected.

  • Two other book recommendations:

    Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosen

    All the Devils are Here by (I forget her name).

    ALSO, PLEASE WRITE ABOUT THE CASTRO VALLEY AREA IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. I HAVE A FRIEND WHO, CERTAINLY AGAINST MY ADVICE, HAS STRETCHED HIMSELF TO PURCHASE (WITH 25%) DOWN, 6 HOUSES AND/OR CONDOS. I FEAR FOR HIS WALLET WHEN THE FORECLOSURES IN NEARBY CERRITOS (WRITTEN ABOUT HERE), COME TO MARKET.

  • Why the surpise about media coverage. Before releasing to the public, content is scrutinized and sanitized to insure it is does not offend advertisers. Given the enormous economic and political clout of the Financial Sector, don’t expect much controversial or for that matter, factual reporting on their misdeeds.

    Jcc – You really need to get beyond the left/right, liberal/conservative, dem/rep, gay/straight, etc. issues. These ideological dividers are thrown out like raw meat by politicians and the media to detract the public from the underlying issues of economic and social justice.

    • Whether it is Democratic bias or not, it is true that all media coverage (especially all that is NOT covered), leads to the reelection of Obama. All roads lead to Rome.

      Because it only covers a very small sanitized part of what is actually happening and thus prevents any true widespread challenge to the status quo (which I know most of the mainstream candidates including hopey dopey changy are not).

  • Thank you, Dr. H.B., for keeping us focused on what matters! I would really like to hear your thoughts on areas around universities. How will they fare as other prices drop lower? My son who currently attends UCSB wants to transfer to UCLA.

    • In Isla Vista (next to UCSB) they are having trouble renting out all the apartments for the first time in decades. Even on oceanfront Del Playa landlords are advertising early to make sure everything gets rented for the coming school year. Stories are afoot of students defaulting on rents because parents have lost their jobs. Rental rates are still pricey, but the market is softer than it has been in a long time.
      Some of the non-UCSB student residents (mostly attending SB City College) have departed to go to junior college at home and save money.

  • “You think all those hegies and 1%ers and pension fund managers follow him as well? ”

    Yes. Even these people have herd mentality like the rest of us. If the stampede starts, then most of them will follow.

    Different targets but most have no contacts to reality: they are just making money.

  • Frederick Lewis Allen’s “Only Yesterday, Since Yesterday, The Big Change” is available for free here:

    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/Allen/Cover.html

  • It saddens me to see my parents enter into their 60’s with a pathetic 401k and hopes of social security. They watch cable news daily and tell me not to worry about them because the economy is getting “better”. They tell me in a few years they will be able to sell their oversized 4 bedroom tract home in Huntington Beach when the housing market “picks up again”. They are counting on that to retire. Try as I might to recommend books, and websites, they refuse to financially educate themselves. After all why should they? All they have to do is watch CNBC! How many other Southern California tract home dwellers are desperately clinging to the ghost of bubble pricing as an only means of financial security?

    • Well written Sunshine, but really somebody in their 60’s with that 4 bdr house has no chance of turning it around. I hear the same thing from my friends, “we will sell when prices go back up” my only comment to them is make sure you’re the first to sell on your block no matter if prices go up or not.

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