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Posts Tagged ‘Barry Ritholtz’

[The Housing Helix Podcast] Barry Ritholtz, Bailout Nation, Fusion IQ, The Big Picture Blog

January 25, 2010 | 9:50 pm | Podcasts |


Barry Ritholtz of Fusion IQ, the The Big Picture blog and author of the must-read Bailout Nation had previously sat down with me last June so I was long overdue in inviting him back.

He is a terrific speaker and is always guilty of providing nothing less than clear cut commentary on the economic world around us. Plus he likes it when I call him irreverent.

This time we talk strategic non-foreclosure, existing home sales, interest rates, going to zero and the dumbest smart people in the room.

Check out the podcast

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.


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[Interview] Barry Ritholtz, Bailout Nation, Fusion IQ, The Big Picture Blog

January 25, 2010 | 8:14 pm | Podcasts |

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[Over Coffee] Quote: Our man Jonathan Miller drops the truth bomb

November 15, 2009 | 11:25 pm | |

In reference to my New York Times quote this weekend by Vivian Toy – Bidding Wars Resume:

Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, estimated that two-thirds of the roughly 4,000 [8,389] apartments for sale in Manhattan are priced too high for the current market.

“So,” Mr. Miller said, “you have this weird situation right now where you have above-average inventory, but people are fighting over the ones that are priced correctly.”

(I’m not sure where the 4,000 number came from because Manhattan 3Q 09 showed 8,389 but the specific amount is irrelevant.)

The difference between a bidding war of two years ago and the current market is the irrational nature of bidding wars back then – it was all about “winning.” The market today is about obtaining value – with prices having fallen an average of 25% since pre-Lehman.

Also, there is a larger disconnect between buyers and sellers than a few years ago as measured by the lower pace of sales. There was a reprieve this summer when sales surged, but listing inventory is still above average levels and a higher level of listings are priced above market level leaving purchasers fighting over a smaller selection.

Although this is anecdotal, I do believe that there are fewer bidding wars that occur above list price than we saw a few years ago.

When my friend and bigger than macro Big Picture blogger Barry Ritholtz refers to me as “Our man Jonathan Miller drops the truth bomb” I am confident I nailed the current state of bidding wars.



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[S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices] August 2009 up 1.2% M-O-M, May Go Negative in September

October 28, 2009 | 9:50 am | |

The August 2009 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report showed continued month over month improvement while the decline from the prior year same period continues to ease. Reporting on this report has been decidedly positive over the past 6 months, cited by many as evidence that housing has bottomed. The report shows that prices are at 2003 levels, which is consistent with my personal experiences with the systemic breakdown of the mortgage process. Back in 2003, the pressure came on the appraisal industry full bore to keep the pipeline full as underwriting restrictions became seemingly non-existent.

Here’s the press release.

My friend Barry Ritholtz over at Big Picture does a very interesting analysis on the high end of the market showing that it now only represents 10% of sales over $500k, a staggeringly small percentage. Barry and I are speaking on a panel today at The Realty Alliance.

Since CSI index is value weighted, the shift in the mix and surge in lower priced foreclosures will likely turn CSI negative in the near future, as early as next month.

In fact, the CSI press release suggest this and feels like our expectations are being managed a tad:

Once again, however, we do want to remind people of the upcoming expiration of the Federal First-Time Buyer’s Tax Credit in November and anticipated higher unemployment rates through year-end. Both may have a dampening effect on home prices.

Since residential housing indices trail the current market by about 4-5 months from “meeting of the minds” to actual reporting of the index (contract date => closing date => recording date => index reporting date) the people that work with this data already have a fairly strong impression of where the index will be next year and even the subsequent month.

If we can’t take the indices at face value when they show a decline, then perhaps the same ought to be true when the indices go positive? The take away here is there is no single barometer of the state of housing.

Here’s the 20-city index breakdown.

As I like to say: “The trend is your friend until it ends.”


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[Seasonal (Seasonings)] Google Real Estate Index (and Weight Watchers)

October 8, 2009 | 10:21 am |


[click to expand]

Apparently Google search patterns for real estate terms is highly seasonal (hat tip Big Picture) – while it doesn’t track exactly with sales activity or prices, it clearly shows that the race is on at the beginning of the year no matter how week the market is and doesn’t dissipate until right after July 4th. The level of search activity changes but the seasonal patterns are consistent.

Of course, web traffic for WeightWatchers.com is also seasonal. After a barrage of holiday eating, there is nothing like a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Like housing, the race to lose weight begins in January of each year.


[click to expand]

What’s curious though, is that WeightWatcher traffic has been rising year over year (I only have two years of info) while the housing market has been falling year over year.

Conclusion? Stress over housing market/economy leads to the need for more dieting.


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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Barry Ritholtz, Bailout Nation, Fusion IQ & The Big Picture Blog

June 12, 2009 | 10:34 am | Podcasts |


I had the pleasure of speaking with Barry Ritholtz of Fusion IQ and The Big Picture weblog. He’s a wealth of information and never pulls any punches in his characterizations of the current economic mess we find ourselves in. Listening to Barry speak about this whole situation and reading his book is much pretty much required.

The Big Picture is the leading financial weblog with must-read content and it boasts a huge following (self-included).

Barry recently released a terrific book: Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy. I highly recommend it.

Check out this week’s podcast.

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.


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[Interview] Barry Ritholtz, Bailout Nation, Fusion IQ & The Big Picture Blog

June 11, 2009 | 10:17 am | Podcasts |

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Ritholtz’ Anatomy (of a Crash)

June 9, 2009 | 12:01 am |

Next week, my guest on The Housing Helix will be Barry Ritholtz of Big Picture (check out this week’s podcast with Dan Gross of Newsweek). He’ll be discussing his book, Bailout Nation.

Source: Big Picture

Click here for full sized graphic.

Barry does a great job at laying out how this crisis evolved.

Systemic.


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[Interview] Dan Gross, Newsweek & Slate Columnist

June 8, 2009 | 12:01 am | Podcasts |

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NAR Spin Cycle Set To Permanent Press

April 23, 2008 | 1:22 pm |

On Matrix I have long been critical of the NAR’s efforts to spin the market as positive no matter what is happening (there is an alternative to negative spin – it’s called neutral). NAR is a repository of great information so I am not sure what they are afraid of. They don’t make the market. This tactic really represents old school thinking.

I have wanted to visually show how this was done, but alas it never got, well…done. I don’t grab other posts but this time I need to make an exception since it was so brilliantly done (hat tip to reader RentinginNJ, a fan of NJ RE Report via Big Picture). Both Jim Bednar’s New Jersey RE Report and Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture are heavily trafficked go to blogs for real estate info.

View original post on New Jersey RE Report

Although Barry makes an interesting point, I’d have to say I see no real change in NAR’s orientation in delivery of information to the press other than the latest release. One slight negative release doesn’t show a trend (3 data points to make a trent I am told). In fact, the press release titles for the prior two months had nothing to do with the data in their reports.

Each press release statement pertains to the corresponding number in the above chart.

  1. “There’s no question there is a strong demand for housing from a growing population.” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  2. “For the foreseeable future, the demand for homes will continue to outstrip supply” -Al Mansell, NAR President

  3. “We’ve been expecting sales to remain at historically high levels, but this performance underscores the value of housing as an investment and the importance of homeownership in fulfilling the American dream.” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  4. “We are returning to more balanced markets between home buyers and sellers… We feel confident that housing is landing softly as rates continue to rise.” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  5. “This is part of the market adjustment we’ve been discussing, with a soft landing in sight for the housing sector. The level of home sales activity is now at a sustainable level. Overall fundamentals remain solid…” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  6. “Higher interest rates are slowing home sales, but we see this as another sign of a soft landing for the housing sector which remains at historically high levels.” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist “After five years of booming sales, we are now experiencing normal market conditions across most of the country… most owners can expect steadier gains in home values for the foreseeable future.” -Thomas M. Stevens, NAR President

  7. “Over the last three months home sales have held in a narrow range, easing to a level that is near our annual projection, which tells us the market is stabilizing” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  8. “Now sellers in many areas of the country are pricing to reflect current market realities. As a result, there could be some lift to home sales, but it’ll likely take some months for price appreciation to rise.” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  9. Existing-home sales stabilized at a sustainable pace in August -NAR

  10. “…the worst is behind us as far as a market correction — this is likely the trough for sales. When consumers recognize that home sales are stabilizing, we’ll see the buyers who’ve been on the sidelines get back into the market” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  11. “It looks like we’re moving beyond the low for the housing cycle last fall, and buyers are responding to historically low interest rates and competitive pricing by home sellers. In addition, a tightening inventory of homes on the market is supporting prices.” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  12. “Fundamentals have improved in the housing market and buyers see a window now with historically-low mortgage interest rates and competitive pricing by sellers,” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  13. “We also may be seeing some losses as a result of the subprime fallout. However, this is masking improved fundamentals in the housing market, with lower mortgage interest rates and motivated sellers.” -David Lereah, NAR Chief Economist

  14. “Buyers who’ve been on the sidelines may want to take a closer look at current conditions in their area – if they wait for sales to rise, their choices and negotiating position won’t be as good as they are now.” -Pat V. Combs, NAR President

  15. “The rise in sales and prices in the Northeast region on a fairly consistent basis in recent months is promising because this was the first region that underwent sales and price weakness after the boom. Now, it appears that it will be the first region to climb back, indicating that other regions could follow a similar path.” -Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist

  16. “The unusual disruptions in the mortgage market, including a significant rise in jumbo loan rates, resulted in a fairly high number of postponed or cancelled sales…Once we get through these disruptions, we’ll get a better sense of where the actual market is in late fall as conditions begin to normalize,” -Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist

  17. “Existing-Home Sales Rise in November, Market Likely Stabilizing” -NAR

  18. “Home sales remain weak despite improved affordability conditions in many parts of the country, but we could get a quick boost to the market if loan limits are raised in combination with the bold cut in the Fed funds rate,” -Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist

  19. Existing-Home Sales to Stablize Before Upturn in Second Half of 2008 -NAR


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Book ’em Dano: Real Estate Reading List+

May 10, 2007 | 7:50 am | |

With 4 kids, 3 businesses, the Yankees and a lot of things going on in between, I still wonder why I haven’t been reading as many books as I used to. My wife is a voracious book reader, but over the past few years, I haven’t kept pace.

I took on this self-loathing view point after attending Daniel Gross‘ book launch last night for Pop! Why bubbles are good for the economy. I spoke with him at his book launch party last night as well as met Barry Ritholtz, who, along with Dan, are among the smartest and most acessible writers and interpreters of economics out there.

I read a large portion of Dan’s new book on my train commute home. Really good…enjoyable. When I got home, I decided to take a look at my magazine and newspaper subscription list and I realized how large it has become. To examine my list…

I am not including papers I pick up for my commute home including the NY Post, NY Sun, NY Daily News or Newsday, or count copies of Metro or AM New York for the subway.

I am not includimg the 119 rss feeds coming into my bloglines account, the email blasts I subscribe to, nor the sites like Slate, Salon, CNN/Money, Curbed, TheStreet.com, Inman, WashingtonPost.com, SFGate.com (SF Chronicle), Bankrate.com, PIMCO, Forbes.com, Seeking Alpha and quite a few others I like to check in with every day.

Now there are a few on the list that are simply impossible to read everything or I choose not to (namely the New Yorker and The Economist because they are weekly and chock full of stories although I admit I look at every cartoon in the New Yorker.) I definitely don’t read all of these publications front to back. I included non-real estate subscriptions because, well, you never know.

Its apparent that anyone can get so involved in reading news, it could become a full time job. Where’s Evelyn Wood when I need her?

I feel like a sieve, with a slew of these publications going through my brain and the parts that stick, end up in my blog and in my understanding of the real estate market, the economy, and of course, make intelligent picks for next year’s March Madness tourney.

I suspect I am missing a few but don’t have time to check…too many to things to read. Here are the subscriptions I can think of and these are in no particular order.

new york times
wall street journal
barrons
financial times
new yorker
city journal
new york observer
crains
the economist
new york magazine
new york living
time out new york
the real deal
sports illustrated
portfolio
wired
hemmings muscle car
excellence (porsche)
panorama (porsche)
businessweek
american banker
valuation review
real estate weekly
yankees magazine
2 local weekly newspapers

The quantity has cut into my book reading time, that’s for sure. Its a good thing I have invented more time in the day (no time to explain). Suggestions for additions are welcome (no lesson learned from this exercise).

Hey did you hear about that new magazine that came out the other day….?

UPDATE: Here’s a few I forgot to mention:
rolling stone
haute living
new york home
appraisal today
real estate valuation magazine
appraisal journal


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If Greed Is Good…Bubbles Are Good

May 7, 2007 | 3:10 pm | |

As the character Gordon Gekko (not to be confused with the Geico version) said in the one of my favorite movie speeches in the 1987 film Wall Street, “Greed is Good” (I have been in the apartment Charlie Sheen “dumped.”)

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms, greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words — will save not only Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

It seems that bubbles are good too. Daniel Gross, one of my favorite econ columnists in Slate and the New York Times wrote a book with an intriguing title and comic book cover design Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great For The Economy.

The book is available tomorrow. Click the widget above.

The concept is that the frenzy of irrational economic enthusiasm lays the groundwork for sober-minded opportunities, growth, and innovation. Of course that means ignoring the pain and suffering of individuals, but it peeks piques my curiousity enough to buy the book. Much of the bubble discussion out of the housing sector to date has been an us vs them, real estate industrial complex v. renters, etc. conspiracy theory.

Barry Ritholtz of Big Picture highlighted a TheStreet.com Brett Arends post that bubbles are everywhere as per value investor Jeremy Grantham who writes that the entire world is a bubble.

Here’s more on the topic (via Unstructured). No real visuals but its interesting nevertheless.


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