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Because the last prediction I wrote last week was such a success, I thought to myself, why don’t I blog a bit more about my predictions so, here it is.
I predict that 2011 may actually end up seeing the highest number of foreclosures in our nations recorded history.
Reason # 1: Lack of substantial job growth.
I do believe that with the extension of the Bush tax cuts the Federal Government passed a couple weeks ago, our Government instilled some…….just some…..confidence in the business community to spur a very modest growth. You have to keep in mind, the extension of the Bush tax cuts was a tax hike prevention or, in other words, the business community is at a wash, one way or another. To elaborate a bit further, the business community had already been working under the cuts with no growth so, an extension of the cuts isn’t going to do much to grow the economy because, it really doesn’t change the underlying systemic fundamental problems. I am not saying that we should have allowed the tax cuts to expire because if that had happened, we would have made problems worse by raising taxes on everyone in a distressed, possibly depressed economy. I am for the cuts but, I don’t believe they are going to make that big of a difference because, the true problems are not addressed. The cuts were nothing more than a lesser of 2 evils.
Reason # 2: 5, 7 and 10 year ARMS (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) adjust in 2011.
During the height of the sub-prime mortgage bubble, we saw people getting 5, 7 and 10 year ARMS. Take 2011 and count back 5 years and you get 2006, the early days of the bubble build up, 7 years back you get 2004, when sub-prime lending was really breaking out of it’s shell and of course, 10 years back, 2001 when people hadn’t even heard of sub-prime lending. My point is, in 2011, 3 different types of very popular sub-prime, bubble building ARMS are going to reset, this is more resetting than we have every seen during this crisis. I can’t even imagine the carnage.
Reason # 3: Government Home Retentions Programs Prevent a Real Estate Bottom.
HAMP is the single greatest home retention failure of this Obama White House. 75% or more HAMP participants default out and end up in foreclosure however, what HAMP does do is buy these people time. In some cases a year or more. So, John Smith, homeowner is 3 months behind, applies for HAMP which takes an additional 2 months to get preliminary approval, John pays his preliminary discounted mortgage regularly for 5 months and then defaults off, 6 months for the bank to catch up with the default and file foreclosure paperwork and 3 months to foreclosure and evict, then 6 months before the home hits the market. Add it all up and you get 25 months or 2 years before a home hits the market from the time the homeowner defaults. So, look at it this way, Government has contributed 2 years worth of underlying inventory to an already 3-5 year inventory of distressed property simply because Government wants to save people’s homes in the name of reelection. This is bad no matter how you cut it.
Reason # 4: Energy Prices will Rise to un-precedent levels.
It was just 2 days ago that BP (British Petroleum) announced that they are re-working their 2011 budget with the premise that gas prices in the US will rise to $5.00 a gallon. Fuel cost effects every aspect of our daily lives. It’s not just how much you pay at the pump. It’s how much it cost the truck delivery man to deliver the goods to your local grocery store. Over 90% of the goods you buy at a grocery store get there from a truck and that truck can only get there when it fuels up its tanks. If that fuel increase goes up on that trucker we can expect to see prices for individual goods to increase as well. A absolute correlation between prices of goods and price of logistics is fact and this is a law of supply and demand that can’t be broken.
Reason # 5: Risk of inflation becomes a real concern in 2011.
Instead of speculating about inflation, 2011 will be the year we actually start talking about what percentage inflation will rise. Increased trade deficits, continual devaluing of the US Dollar, continual movement towards a green agenda and, high federal debt will move inflation up. This will be done in order to stem off a collapse of the dollar because of continual devaluation.
Reason # 6: Credit Tightening.
As a direct result of the foreclosure fall out that I predict will occur in 2011, we will see an increased credit tightening. Now, personally, I don’t see this as a bad thing, I am of the opinion, a home is not a right, it’s something you earn and if you can’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. None the less, since the Community Re-investment Act, this country has been on a drunken binge of “everyone deserves credit” and it had everything to do with our real estate bubble however, times are changing and banks are going to have no choice but to tighten credit standards so they can reduce their risk for losses. This will increase housing inventories and work towards a further across the board housing price drop but, it gets us closer to a bottom and the ability to rebuild.
Reason # 7: Unforeseen National Crisis.
It was once told to me that luck favors those who are prepared and bold. Unfortunately, this Country as a whole is not prepared and our threshold to make big bold global decisions has all but disappeared since the Obama administration has taken a apologetic, appeasement stance on the World stage. This has done nothing but embolden our enemies and provided safe havens in countries that are less than cooperative. I can’t predict an unforeseen national crisis but, I can imagine a “what if’ scenario and it’s not pretty. The best I can say here is that we should be preparing for the worse and hoping for the best but, that is most definitely not happening with most Americans, let along our Government.
Any one of the above reason I listed is enough to truly hurt the housing industry. If you couple all of these things together in one hit, it stands to reason, can the housing recovery even take place in 2011. My opinion is no, a housing recover won’t take place in 2011 because if we were to resolve any one issue, we would still have 6 others threatening the recovery. In other words, the housing industry has too many uncertainties, Government influence and, was much more devastated by the Community Reinvestment Act and sub-prime lending than anyone wanted to really tell the American public. I hope for the best but, I have prepared for the worse.