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- Analysis: Japan faces record-long trade deficit, little sign can reverse trend | Reuters
…a closer look at trade statistics shows that the currency's 15 percent decline since the beginning of this year has failed to produce the export turnaround needed to bring the trade balance back into the black and there is little indication it will do so in the future, posing new policy challenges.
"I cannot tell when the trade deficit will end," said Norio Miyagawa, a senior economist at Mizuho Securities Research & Consulting Co. "What's worrying more is that Japan's export competitiveness may be waning."
A corporate tax cut would allow lower prices for exported goods, but is that how they'd spend it? Will Japan tie the cut to a particular desired outcome/policy such as lower export-prices?
Read the source article … http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/1 6/us-japan-economy-trade-analysis-idUSBR E98F0XR20130916
- States With The Most Zombie Homes – 24/7 Wall St.
There are more than 770,000 homes in foreclosure in the U.S. According to the latest data provided by RealtyTrac, roughly one in five of these, over 150,000 in all, has been abandoned by its owners, but remains unclaimed. These properties are referred to by the industry as "zombie" homes.
RealtyTrac provided 24/7 Wall St. with the latest foreclosure data by state, including the number of homes in foreclosure and the proportion of those homes that are vacant. In some states, the problem of zombie homes is particularly severe. In Indiana, for example, roughly 30% of the 16,618 foreclosed homes have been abandoned. 24/7 Wall St. identified those states with more than 10,000 homes in foreclosure, and at least a one-in-five foreclosure vacancy rate. These are the seven states with the most zombie homes.
Read the source article … http://247wallst.com/special-report/2013 /09/12/states-with-the-most-zombie-home s/
- Short sales under attack in California? | Smart Real Estate Investing
Short sales have become a critical alternative to foreclosure for struggling homeowners who are underwater. However, a decision by the Assembly Appropriations Committee within the California legislature is about to make this option much less appealing for troubled borrowers. Failure to move Senate Bill 30 out of the appropriations committee in California means homeowners who sold their homes in a short sale over the past eight months will be forced to pay state income taxes on money they never received, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) warned in a report. Senate Bill 30, backed by CAR, conforms California tax law to federal tax law, which states that sellers cannot be taxed on forgiven debt. Without it, troubled borrowers wanting a short sale are stuck between a rock and a hard place, CAR claims. "We are disappointed that California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Pasadena) failed to show the leadership necessary to provide relief to distressed homeowners who are already in dire financial trouble," said CAR President Don Faught. He added, "These are real families in real financial need who may well be forced into bankruptcy by an unresponsive legislature."
You borrow money to buy an asset. The value of the asset crashes. You owe taxes on your loss. That's strange. Is it also immoral?
Tightening short sales via such taxes hurts investors too. It slows the recovery, which hurts state revenue in the longer run. California should avoid being shortsighted on this.
Read the source article … http://www.smartrealestateinvesting.com/ short-sales-under-attack-in-california
- Stuck in Neutral | CCIM Institute
This is from the Sept/Oct issue, but the article is pre-taper delay. It's an excellent article nevertheless. Just keep in mind that the taper delay will change things for as long as the delay lasts. In addition, people may start taking seriously that even when the delay ends, the Fed may be very gradual and careful rather than using a wild-meataxe approach.
A stubborn office market vacancy rate still hovers around 17.0 percent nationally in second quarter 2013, only marginally below its 17.6 percent peak in 2010. This reflects the cautious attitude tenants still have about leasing office space.
"I'm currently working on a deal with a national tenant for roughly 13,000 square feet," says Adam Palmer, CCIM, managing director of the office division for LandQuest Commercial in Fort Myers, Fla. "Negotiations are ongoing as they have been for nearly a year. While the market is improving, nearly all deals seem to take much longer to complete these days."
Commercial real estate professionals who lease office space around the country report several factors that contribute to the slow office leasing market: tenants who examine every aspect of leasing office space, slightly improving markets burdened by too much space, and a new breed of landlords who can afford to discount rents.
Read the source article … http://www.ccim.com/cire-magazine/articl es/323224/2013/09/stuck-neutral
- Cable Demands Rethink of Plan to Boost U.K. Housing Market – Bloomberg
U.K. Business Secretary Vince Cable repeated criticisms of a Treasury plan to help people with minimal savings buy houses, saying it needs more work before it's implemented.
The first phase of the Help to Buy program — interest-free loans for buyers of newly built homes — began in April and has already helped to stoke the strongest housing market since the financial crisis. In the second phase, starting in January, guarantees meant to spur 130 billion pounds ($206 billion) of mortgage lending will be available for homes costing as much as 600,000 pounds, helping those with deposits of 5 percent to access low-cost loans.
While Cable has repeatedly raised doubts about the second phase, fellow senior members of his Liberal Democrat party defended it yesterday. Both Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander denied it would lead to a bubble.
- Absorption Rates Rising for New Multifamily Homes | Eye on Housing
Absorption rates for new rental and for-sale multifamily units continued to improve at the start of 2013, consistent with the positive trends that been in place since the end of the Great Recession.
According to data from the Survey of Market Absorption of Apartments (SOMA), completions of privately financed, unsubsidized, unfurnished rental apartments were up strongly in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same quarter a year prior. The reported 24,400 completions in buildings with 5+ units was 53% higher than the 15,900 completions recorded in the first quarter of 2012.
Read the source article … http://eyeonhousing.wordpress.com/2013/0 9/16/absorption-rates-rising-for-new-mul tifamily-homes/
- Why Former Investors Despair of Returning to Mortgages – Bank Think Article – American Banker
A scathing indictment:
Investors are likely to say "fool me once…" which may explain why the volume for newly issued private label residential mortgage securitizations is a fraction of what it was a few years ago. Through bitter experience, bond purchasers learned about the moral hazard embedded in private RMBS and their grossly inadequate legal protections.
"The private RMBS market was at the heart of the financial panic and the Great Recession that followed," writes Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics. Indeed. At year-end 2007, private RMBS totaled $2.2 trillion. According to Zandi's tally, those bonds realized losses, during the 2006-2012 period, of $449 billion. That amount exceeded the total losses on $9 trillion of mortgage debt financed by everyone else, all depository institutions and all government-backed lenders, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Also, Zandi excludes synthetic subprime collateralized debt obligations, which financed nothing tangible and which lost more money than Fannie and Freddie combined.
More pointedly, the heart of the financial panic and the Great Recession that followed was an epidemic of fraud and sloppy recordkeeping facilitated by the originate-to-distribute model for private RMBS. Parties complicit in fraud — borrowers, mortgage brokers, originators, rating agencies, investment banks and servicers — calculated that the odds of being held fully accountable were close to nil. That assessment has stood the test of time.
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