Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Media Misses the Forest from the Trees with Sub-Prime Scare
Is it me or is the Main Stream Media (MSM) taking the easy way out on the deflating housing bubble. We have finally passed the stage of denial of the falling values and are now approaching acceptance of them. Most likely by the fall of 2007, we'll be moving on to panic stage after a dismal spring-summer peak buying season passes. Currently the easy way out to explain why home prices are falling and our economy is slowing is to blame it on some shady loans in sub-prime. If you came from another planet and began reading today's business news you would think the entire housing bubble could be blamed on the segment of sub-prime and shady loans. However the MSM is completely missing the forest from the trees because it was a convergence of numerous factors that helped spur massive home speculation.
Yes problems with sub-prime are showing up now, but it was only a symptom of the great housing bubble not the disease. Plus the real shady loans, 110% financing, 40-50yr mortgages, neg-ams, and ninja loans (no income-no job-no assets) haven't even reared their ugly head yet! They showed up around 2005. Why did this happen, well I will tell you why. From 2002-04 a massive amount of people were hired to meet the demand for new homes, refinances, and other real estate activities. This just led to a feeding frenzy of increased real estate activity as more and more people fueled the rise of prices and the rise of the Real Estate Industrial Complex. No Dick Cheney and the black helicopters were not behind this, it is just an easy way to describe everyone (REIC: agents, lenders, builders, title, escrow, appraisers, etc) that has vested interest in real estate activity. Continuing: Greed took greater hold with speculators buying 2nd, 3rd, and 4th homes which artificially inflated prices and created jobs for the REIC. While the REIC reciprocated and encouraged more and more speculators and buyers to join in. In economics this is your typical multiplier effect. As values skyrocketed home affordability was falling like a rock. But REIC and the general buying public didn't want the gravy train to stop and that is where the true sub-prime stepped in to extend the bubble for another year and half.
Here is a simple way that the media should be describing the entire situation out there: The housing market got way ahead of itself and now its coming back to earth! The simple economic term says it all: revision to the mean. Or here is yet another way of putting it: the housing bubble was one big bender of a party and now the inevitable hangover is here. Those at the party tried in vain to keep it going with redbull/vodkas, cocaine and on the housing side you had low rates, creative financing, and general propaganda. Now they enter the long and drawn out hangover which for housing means long periods of price declines to high inventory from inactivity, etc. Ahhh, but I digress.
So when somebody tries to blame this housing decline or anything else for that matter on just one factor, take it with a grain of salt. There are a lot factors to this housing hangover and there is a lot of blame to go around: Greenspan & his artificially low rates, Bush's idealistic ownership society, sub-prime, REIC, yen-carry trade, a greedy uneducated public, black helicopters, etc. America and the media need to wake up and take responsibility for this mess that we all had some stake in creating! One tree of this mess is sub-prime, while the forest are all these factors together that created one of the largest bubbles of history, the late and great housing bubble.