Morning Report: Home prices continue to rise 5/25/16

Stocks are higher this morning as emerging markets rally. Bonds and MBS are down.

Mortgage Applications rose 2.3% last week as purchases rose 4.8% and refis rose 0.4%. The average 30 year fixed rate mortgage rose 3 basis points to 3.85%. The average jumbo rate increased 8 basis points to 3.82%.

Home prices rose 0.7% in March, according to the FHFA House Price Index. “While the overall appreciation rate was robust in the first quarter, home price appreciation was somewhat less widespread than in recent quarters,” said FHFA Supervisory Economist Andrew Leventis. “Twelve states and the District of Columbia saw price declines in the quarter—the most areas to see price depreciation since the fourth quarter of 2013. Although most declines were modest, such declines are notable given the pervasive and extraordinary appreciation we have been observing for many years.” Interesting to see prices begin to decline in some states.

A US appeals court threw out the $1.27 billion judgement against Bank of America for Countrywide’s sins related to the “hustle.” The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the proof at trial was insufficient under federal fraud statutes to establish liability. No comment yet from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Hillary Clinton is trying to take Donald Trump to task over comments made as the real estate bubble was bursting. Not sure how much traction that is going to get, however she had a conference call with reporters to push the message. Separately, the Republican party is beginning to unite behind Trump.

39 Responses

  1. Can is kicked again

    “Eurozone Agrees to Debt Relief and Bailout Aid for Greece

    MAY 24, 2016

    BRUSSELS — Fearing a renewed crisis in Greece that could set off economic shock waves, policy makers across three continents have scrambled to strike a deal to ease the country’s debt burden. There have been meetings in the United States, a diplomatic blitz in Europe and talks in Japan.

    In an agreement announced early Wednesday, Greece won additional pledges of debt relief, but nothing substantial until 2018 at the earliest, and only then if it continues to carry out painful reforms. Even so, the accord could help ease concerns about another flare-up of a crisis in Greece as the region deals with a mass influx of migrants and a continuing terrorist threat.

    Eurozone finance ministers also gave a green light for the next round of aid for Greece, money that would allow the country to pay bills in the coming months. Further final approvals for those disbursements will be needed, but ministers allocated 10.3 billion euros, or about $11.5 billion, for Greece, to be distributed in several stages starting with €7.5 billion as soon as the second half of June.”


  2. On another note, the IG Report on HRC’s private email server is bad news for her, although certainly not fatal. If she tries to spin the IG as part of the vast RW conspiracy that will not fly – he’s a BHO appointee.


    I think she avoids prosecution unless she lies to the FBI – the Scooter Libby fate.
    Her bad judgment on having that private server and not preserving the official mails is not criminal, AFAIK.

    But her interview with the FBI is coming up and it will be tricky for her.

    Here are a couple of questions for you: if HRC is crippled by the email issue after the DN Convention, would she withdraw? And then, if she withdraws, would her VP nominee automatically step up or does the D Party get to have a do-over?

    I think there is enough danger for her in this story that she must pick an electable alternate candidate as her running mate.


    • I think Clinton herself will avoid prosecution with the distinction between being the recipient vs sender on the classification issue.

      I see much larger exposure for her aides, especially any who falsely claimed that there had been a legal review and approval for the system in the first place and/or sent classified material that they knew to be classified at the time via the system.


    • Mark:

      On another note, the IG Report on HRC’s private email server is bad news for her, although certainly not fatal….Her bad judgment on having that private server and not preserving the official mails is not criminal, AFAIK.

      I have no idea what the relevant statutes say for Clinton, but I do know that if Jamie Dimon had set up his own personal domain and server off site, used it exclusively to conduct JPM business, and a subsequent investigation into whether he had illegally conveyed inside information to outsiders was hampered by the fact that he wiped the server clean and had not preserved his e-mails, he would be in some kind of legal jeopardy. And certainly such an action would be “fatal” to any hope he might have to remain CEO of JPM or any other bank.

      I also know that it is against the law for even a relatively low-level guy at a third rate bucket shop like myself to use a personal e-mail account to conduct official business, and that if it was ever discovered that I was doing so, it would be “fatal” to my future job prospects in the industry.

      So if you are correct that what Hillary did is not illegal, and that it is not fatal to her her ambitions to rise even higher in the industry of politics, they real question is this: Why the f*** isn’t it?


    • IOKIYAD… That said, I think this is why Bernie is going nowhere


      • I don’t know why you replied to me so I am posting this Baylor news in reply to you.

        Click to access 266596.pdf


        • Mark:

          I am posting this Baylor news

          I know pretty much nothing about either the situation at Baylor or the author of this report, but given that the subject is Title IX and Baylor’s adherence to it, whether the report is a reasonable assessment of actual wrong doing or a political and ideological hit job is, I reckon, a 50-50 prospect.

          BTW, lines like this don’t inspire confidence:

          Baylor failed to effectively implement Title IX in the wake of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) April 4, 2011 “Dear Colleague Letter,”

          Dear colleague letters are not law, nor are they even legally created rule making, so the question of exactly why Baylor’s implementation of Title IX should be analyzed in the wake of a legally meaningless “Dear Colleague” letter remains a question.


        • It’s from the Baylor BoR, summarizing the independent law firm’s investigation the BoR hired, and if you read it you will learn about the multiple rapes by footballers that were covered up by the athletic department. In violation of both Title 9 and Texas criminal law.

          Briles: fired.
          President Ken Starr: removed from operational control.

          Scott, it was so bad that one girl on a soccer scholarship was told not to report the assault on her and when she did her schollie was pulled.

          This was very bad shit for four years. Maybe more.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mark:

          Agree…it sounds really bad.

          I just find it irritating that the badness of the situation is framed in terms of violating Title IX or Obama’s ridiculous application of it. I don’t think the existence of either Title IX or Obama’s “interpretation” of it makes it any worse than it would have been if neither existed. As you point out, rape is a violation of Texas law already. So for these purposes Title IX is entirely unnecessary and redundant. And let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Obama’s Dear Colleague letter instructions really are as unconstitutional as I think they are. Would that have rendered threats and retaliation for reporting an actual crime any more acceptable to the Baylor BoR? Unlikely, I think.


  3. Got this solicitation from Bernie Sanders on behalf of Senator Jeff Merkley:

    All in support of the Keep it in the Ground! Act. Because any further drilling, fracking, coal mining, or whatever, should be outlawed. Because the place for fossil fuels is in the ground!

    This strikes me as very representative of why I don’t vote for liberals, and rarely for Democrats.

    When I introduced a bill in the Senate that would slow the effects of climate change, I knew that I could count on Bernie Sanders to stand with me from the very first day.

    Last year Bernie and I introduced the Keep It in the Ground Act, which would prevent new fracking, coal mining, and oil drilling on federal lands, as well as all new offshore oil drilling.

    Bernie and I are committed to this fight because we know we can – and must – slow the pace of climate change. Scientists tell us that we need to keep 80 percent of remaining fossil fuels in the ground to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

    I knew I could count on Bernie to fight this fight — can I count on you, too? Add your name to join me and Bernie in supporting the Keep It in the Ground Act. Click here to say you support our plan to prevent the worst of climate change’s effects.

    To stop climate change from destroying our planet, we must act quickly and boldly to bring an end to the extraction and exploitation of fossil fuels in lands owned by the American people.

    Not one more lease to extract coal.

    Not one more license for fracking.

    Not a single additional offshore oil drilling rig.
    We must keep 80 percent of the world’s proven reserves in the ground – and the Keep It in the Ground Act is a powerful step toward this goal to avert climate catastrophe.

    The fossil fuel industry is geared up for a fight. The Koch Brothers want us to fail, and we expect heavy resistance from people who profit off of the destruction of our planet.

    Showing tremendous public support will help pass the Keep It in the Ground Act – will you be a partner with me and Bernie in this movement to fight climate change?

    Click here to show your support for my bill with Bernie Sanders to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

    We’re building a movement to take on climate change and speed up our transition to clean, renewable energy. We need to act together and we need to act now.

    Jeff Merkley
    U.S. Senator from Oregon

    … also, there’s no other way to modulate carbon dioxide except via keeping fossil fuels in the ground?


  4. The shameless mendacity of the media never ceases to amaze me.

    At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.

    Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

    The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene.

    However, raw audio of the interview between Katie Couric and the activists provided to the Washington Free Beacon shows the scene was deceptively edited. Instead of silence, Couric’s question is met immediately with answers from the activists. A back and forth between a number of the league’s members and Couric over the issue of background checks proceeds for more than four minutes after the original question is asked.


    • That they don’t understand that the slight of hand will often be revealed, and that plenty of people know better, know or at least sense how fake such setups are . . .

      I mean, seriously. What sort of gun “activist” or involved gun owner or sportsman would believe, for a minute, that the Virginia Citizens Defense League would be mystified by her incisive question? And just stare back at her and have no answer? It’s ludicrous.

      It’s political porn for the urban elite, is all it is. They paint a picture of those folks as being stupid so urban cosmopolitans can feel superior to such lesser beings. “Ah! Kouric showed those rednecks! And I am a smart liberal like her! Yay for me!”


      • When bloggers and pseudojournos do this it is a reminder not to trust them.

        When supposed main stream media do this it is a reminder not to trust them.


    • I guess the message is always record yourself so there’s evidence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • McWing:

        I guess the message is always record yourself so there’s evidence.

        Absolutely. Given the ease with which these deceptions can be uncovered nowadays, it is a wonder that they still try to get away with it. Makes me think that they actually do get away with it often enough to make it worth a shot.


      • Yes, and don’t discuss the recording of it. When such things are brought up, bullshit about copyright and exclusivity or some other reason why they can’t make their own independent copy is brought up. But what they don’t know . . .


  5. I’ll never be convinced that the deceptive headline wasn’t intentionally so:

    Trump protesters smash door, break through barriers

    Actually, it was anti-Trump protesters that were smashing things, throwing rocks, and breaking through barriers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An innocent mistake, I’m sure. In truth, they can’t decide between portraying the protestors as light-hearted ragamuffins expressing their youthful ideals, or vile, intolerant minions of Trump. Or people who are justifiably violent and criminal, because Trump’s words have magically caused them to do violent things.


  6. Uh, really?

    Hillary Clinton: ‘You’re fired’ won’t work in the White House

    Billy Dale was not available for comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This dude gets me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m guessing Democrats and the left are going to want to run women, minorities, or openly gay or transgender candidates from now on out. It gives them a pat and easy explanation as to why people are rejecting the avatar of their ideas, or so hostile to them: it’s because they are women or minorities, and Republicans and conservatives and whoever reject them because they are misogynist bigots (even BernieBros, apparently).

      There is nothing that cannot be explained by sexism, racism, or homophobia.


    • I gotta admit, the explanation is compelling:

      First of all, I’d argue that Clinton earned her unpopularity in an even more old-fashioned way than Trump did, a way so old-fashioned it is part of the Biblical creation myth—i.e. she was born a woman, natural servant and helpmeet to man, in a country where the vestiges of couverture existed until the ’60s, a woman’s right to regulate her own reproductive process is consistently endangered, and the very existence of an all-female movie remake still makes men angrily poop their pants.

      In other words, it’s hard to imagine why you would look, as David Brooks does here, at the comparable approval ratings of Hillary Clinton (who is imperfect and corruptible but a competent and experienced center-left public servant) and Donald Trump (who is a monstrously bigoted political dilettante with a history of bankruptcy, no platform to speak of, and a success record hinged entirely on his tactic of stoking fear, anger, and violence in the heart of this country) and then throw Occam’s razor straight into my eyeball to conclude that Clinton, who has for her entire life in politics been criticized for being the wrong kind of woman, faces Trump-like approval ratings because of a reason that is mysterious and unknown.

      BTW, the Ghostbuster’s remake looks awful. Put Sandler, Spade, and Kevin Hart in it . . . still would look awful.


  8. From Vox:

    “How Venezuela’s socialist dream collapsed into a nightmare
    Updated by Francisco Toro on May 26, 2016, 8:10 a.m. ET”

    Uh, they elected a socialist who implemented socialism?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, no, no! They “did it wrong”. Pure socialism would result in an almost perfect society, it’s just they’ve all done it wrong up until this point. That’s not real socialism, anyway, Plus it’s all the capitalists fault.

      That being said, Somalia is pure, unadulterated libertarianism done exactly like libertarians say they want it, and look how it turned out! Ironic that a non-libertarian state is some how the avatar of libertarianism done exactly as pure libertarianism would prescribe, but every failure of socialism or communism was done wrong, thus explaining the outcome. Ergo, libertarianism has been tried and failed (Somalia, not actually a libertarian state, but why quibble or use facts) while socialism has never actually been tried, ever.

      The problem in Venezuela is that it’s not actually socialism at all. It’s capitalism at root again, with some socialist decorations, but not real socialism at all. Socialism done right would be awesome!


  9. Interesting read. Note the corporate sponsorship too.

    “Technology is changing how we live, but it needs to change how we work
    By: Ezra Klein”


    • Lord, the amount of energy Klein can waste saying very little. What I noticed was an absence of the government and regulatory bodies as mitigating factors in increasing productivity or economic growth. Presumably, technological growth in many areas is constrained by government regulation or interference where it was not, or was less so, during previous technological booms of electrification and indoor plumbing.


  10. I almost feel like re-joining the R party, just so I can quit again over this.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tell us what you really think.


  12. Strange Bedfellows: Matt Taibbi in the uncomfortable position of defending Trump

    “As for the whole issue of “rooting” for a crash so as to make money off the misery of others, what Donald Trump was talking about — and it’s galling to the point of being physically painful to have to defend him here — may sound scummy, but was neither illegal nor even unethical, unless you want to call this kind of capitalism unethical (which some might).

    Trump wasn’t rooting for an avoidable disaster, like a 9/11. With this bubble, the disaster had already happened. The properties were already overvalued. Trump or not, that pain was coming.

    Taking advantage of market inefficiencies is what investors are supposed to do, a la the traders in The Big Short who spotted the corruption in the real-estate markets early and bet accordingly. Personally I doubt Trump was smart enough to bet so much as a penny out of his alleged billions on the market collapsing, but if he did, it wouldn’t have been unethical, just cold.

    The same can’t be said for Goldman Sachs, the company famous for paying Hillary Clinton $675,000 for three speeches.”

    Uncomfortable conclusion:

    “By blaming Trump for a problem caused by their own political patrons, Hillary and the Democrats are walking face-first into Trump’s rhetorical buzz-saw. Couldn’t they find something else to hit him with?”


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