May New Home Sales Plunge; West Worst. Wall Street Stunned

Sales of new single-family homes plummeted a record 33% in May, according to Commerce Department figures released this morning (June 23). Sales plunged to a seasonally adjusted rate of 300,000, the lowest since records were first compiled in 1963, according to MarketWatch. Sales were down 50% in the West. Contributing to the plunge was the expiration of a a federal subsidy for home buyers. But economists had expected a 20% drop to a seasonally-adjusted to 405,000. May's median sales price was $200,900, down 9.6% from a year earlier and the lowest since December of 2003.The stock market had been up when the numbers were announced, and quickly turned south.


Stunning. Time will tell if this is symptomatic of a double-dip in Q3/Q4.

All the Pollyannas in the real estate industry were proclaiming that home prices were starting a new and inexorable rise. But those claims were made in the face of an overhang of pending foreclosures and a weak job market. Who was bidding up the prices, and who was buying? Hard to tell, but whoever they were, they stayed on the sidelines in May. Looks like a double dip to me.

As for DJIA, 10300 or so is comfortably in that sideways range for the rest of the year that I had been hoping for. My conditional DJIA magnet is 10100-10650 if BP stays BP for the rest of the year. Of course, the double-dip thing if it does happen may lower that range considerably... just in time for the elections!

Response to post #1: A lot of people worry about a double-dip in housing, and a few see a double-dip in the entire economy. See my column that comes online today. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #2: The residential real estate industry has tried to get a bandwagon going, as it always does. It may not work. There is too much shadow inventory out there. Don't be surprised if the federal government comes back with another stimulus program for housing. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #3: The stock market is really hard to judge. The Fed can move it up by hinting that it may lower rates even more (despite near-zero rates now), or buy more bad mortgage paper or buy other long paper. Most of the trades now are hyper-rapid, electronically-driven-- in other words, computer-manipulated. The market may not reflect economic prospects at all. It just responds to liquidity. Best, Don Bauder

Hey, didn't everyone hear, Ben Bernanke said the recession is OVER!!!

Good times are back!

Where is Alan "Mr. Bubble" Greenspan when you need him?

Don't be surprised if the federal government comes back with another stimulus program for housing.

I have had it with these bailout "stimulas" programs. Programs that are doing nothing but digging the poor and middle class a much bigger hole to dig out of.

$1.4 TRILLION deficits? COME ON!!Someone has to be an adult in this country and say no more spending, cap EVERYTHING!

If Obama does not get the economy rolling again within 24 months I am going to vote him out.

Where is Alan "Mr. Bubble" Greenspan when you need him?

he is still sniffing the ink on newly printed bills

Response to post #7: Make sure it is Kleenex. We have stock in Kimberly-Clark. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #8: Greenspan missed more than one bubble. He bought into the "new paradigm" b.s. of the 1990s and did nothing about the dot.com/tech stock market bubble that burst ignominiously. Then he kept interest rates exceedingly low, creating a huge housing bubble, which he did not recognize. Neither did Bernanke. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #9: Remember, Obama did not create this economic mess. Bush did. And whom would you vote for to replace Obama? Palin? Some other tea bagger? Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #10: .....or sniffing something else. Best, Don Bauder

Response to #12:

Greenspan also didn't see a problem with unregulated derivatives, and he was famously taken by surprise that banks couldn't regulate themselves.

Remember, Obama did not create this economic mess. Bush did. And whom would you vote for to replace Obama? Palin? Some other tea bagger?

No Obama did not create the mess, but he now has it and he is the one that needs to fix it-without $1.4 trillion deficits or more "bailouts" of special interest groups at the expense of the poor and middle class.

I voted for Obama, but if he cannot turn the country around in 4 years-well, then it is time to let someone else try.

Response to post #15: Yes, he was completely taken in by derivatives, and he honestly thought that banks would not act against their own corporate interests when their employees were raking in money. He simply did not understand greed. Generally, economists don't grasp scams and don't take avarice into account when examining the macroeconomy. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #16: Again: whom would you vote for? What Republican has the cerebral capacity to handle this situation? What's particularly scary is that Republicans are replacing old-line conservatives with utter hyenas in these primaries. To be nominated, a Republican candidate would have to kowtow to this bunch of imbeciles. And capitulate to them if elected. Best, Don Bauder

Oh, Surfpuppy! Don't even start on who's at fault for this economic mess. According to my husband, who knows all of this political stuff, Bush didn't create the economic mess, the Clinton administration did. Attorney General Janet Reno threatened to investigate and bring charges against banks who didn't provide loans to minorities, who ultimately couldn't afford them.

He tries to absolve Bush of all blame, and I say, well, what the h*ll was Bush doing for eight years? He wasn't there to play tiddly winks! And then he concedes that Bush screwed up too.

I voted for Obama too, however, he scares me with the way he spends money, and he's a typical liberal--all talk and no action. I've lost confidence in him. I've switched back to the GOP, but I really don't care for either party. I may switch back if Palin runs for office. It takes more than a cute pit bull joke, an eye wink, and showing a little leg to win my vote. And, I'll go to my grave before I vote for a hunter!

"tea bagger": third millennium carpetbagger?

Oh, Surfpuppy! Don't even start on who's at fault for this economic mess. According to my husband, who knows all of this political stuff, Bush didn't create the economic mess, the Clinton administration did

LOL...actually the country under Clinton had one of the biggest expansions in US history.

But, whoever started the mess, well, it is here right now, has been here since 2008, and we need to fix it.

And spending deficits of $1.4 trillion, with every special interest group who donates money getting bailed out is not fair and it is going to destroy the country.

I really don't care for either party.

They are both the same, one is tax and spend, the other borrow and spend.

One is a bag man for Big Business, the other a bag man for public unions.

No difference. That's why I am an Independant.

"Don't even start on who's at fault for this economic mess. According to my husband, who knows all of this political stuff, Bush didn't create the economic mess, the Clinton administration did."

Actually, it all started during Reagan's second term. In the Reagan years, many regulations were eased, Chicago School economists were favored. I am a staunch a Hayekian, by the way, and I agree in principle with what they did. Where they went wrong is that you can't deregulate the market and still permit it ties to the Federal Government. The proper way to accomplish what they wanted would have been to wipe out the Federal Reserve. There can be no ties to the government in order for Hayek's notion of economics to work.

In other words, when the market fails in Hayek-land, it fails, period, no bail-outs, no stimulus, and creative destruction incentives is as far as the government should intervene.

As time went forward, every administration used these ties of Government (Freddie and Fannie, for example) to unregulated markets in order to further how their parties appeared, riding the coat tails of a false positive economy. And then, kaboom, there was really little value behind anything. People are seeing this as a recession, but historians might re-write this as a depression. It wouldn't surprise me.

Response to post #19: Obama is following the typical Keynesian recipe: spend, spend, spend to stimulate private sector activity. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is following the monetarist path: keep interest rates at zero, keep printing money, the public will lap up free money. What bothers me is that neither approach may work. Neither has worked in Japan. It's scary. I was a Republican for my entire life until changing registration in 2004. I couldn't take the Bush/Cheney idiocy anymore. (I never voted for Bush, always believing him cerebrally inadequate.) Now, these tea baggers are making Bush and Cheney look sane. At least, Obama is intelligent. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #20: The post-Civil War carpetbaggers were crooks, but intelligent crooks. The same cannot be said for tea baggers. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #21: Obama is being fed advice by several sides. Two very intelligent economists, Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz, want even larger spending and deficits. But the nation correctly suspects that all the stimulus is not working and the deficits are out of control -- in the U.S. and in most of the industrial world. What happens if we have a double-dip -- the economy going down again? It's possible. Then Obama really will have a dilemma. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #22: Actually, the Democrats are bagmen for business, too. Private sector unions -- which used to provide Democrats their funding -- are moribund. Public sector unions have power and money but not enough to support one party. So the Democrats whore out to business, too. It's a bad situation. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #23: Yours is an interesting analysis. The trouble with the Austrian School (Hayek, others) is that the nostrums are impossible in today's political reality. Hayek may be right that the government should not bail out anybody. The economy should fall until it reaches an equilibrium. But that approach is politically impossible in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and in many other democracies. The Chicago School, as you point out, compromised with government intervention; that doesn't work. Best, Don Bauder

Re #23: I encapsulated a lot of information into a a couple of paragraphs. My last day job depended heavily on the housing market. It was when I was out of that job that I wrote an article about the housing collapse, and it was rigorously challenged by some readers who were much younger than myself, and their Keynesian-based economics classes were fresh to them. I took their challenge to heart and spent a lot of time re-educating myself both in Keynesian macro principles and in Hayek's micro approach. I learned much about both that I was never taught in college.

And I concurr, it would be next to impossible to impliment Hayek's economic platform in 2010 in most countries, especially with the relative success that Canada has achieved in recovery. Hayek would likely roll over in his grave, but their tight banking controls have made Canada the model for this recovery that eludes other Western countries. They have steadily been raising interest rates as of late, a sign of health that the U.S. seems far from.

But that doesn't make Hayek's principles incorrect nor irrelevant. The Austrian School would agree with your position that people should be saving and not spending, and I also agree. Eventually that money will be spent, and when it is, it will be invested in creating from the destruction. What the government is currently doing is hiring people to dig holes and then hiring people to fill them.

And for anyone interested in Hayek, I whole-heartedly recommend following Dr. Russ Roberts from George Mason University. Every week he podcasts a broad range of economics-related topics, a one-hour show that is downlowdable for free. Free is good. His site, Econtalk, is here: http://www.econtalk.org/

I don't think a double dip is going to occur. I think the federal stimulus program for real estate expiring caused a statistically significant drop in new home sales.

Real estate itself is an unusual market in the sense that you're not actually paying the price up front, but instead taking out a loan and making payments. Just as with today's money being confidence based, not to say fiat currency, so it is with buying real estate. It does take confidence.

With the global economy clearly recovering, I'm not worried about real estate.

With the global economy clearly recovering, I'm not worried about real estate.

By diegonomics

Global economy clearly recovering? I have not seen any evidence of that, but in fact the opposite.

The global economy is going into cardiac arrest, everyone is going down the tubes, with the PIIGS countries leading the way.

America still has huge UE numbers, and still no private sector job creation-with the gov going on a hiring binge that is not helping the economy at all.

The key to a thriving economy is private sector job creation. That means manufacturing or making products. It is that simple, nothing more. If we do not create that PRIVATE SECTOR job growth we will not recover.

And b/c of short sighted past policy that private sector job creation base is now decimated.

Not being at all familiar with F. Hayek on micro-economics, I did a quick worldcat.org search and found HAYEK ON HAYEK:


The initial search also turned up some nice book covers featuring Selma. In the meantime, I can plan a trip to SDSU's library or USD's... and there are other interesting Hayek titles, such as CAPITALISM AND THE HISTORIANS and THE ROAD TO SERFDOM...


It's absurd for you to claim that the global economy is not recovering just because you do not see any evidence of it. I do.

The acronym PIIGS is just a sourpuss term to displace the acronym BRIC- Brazil, Russia, India, China , fast growing economies that are finding their stride.

On the up side, I am in total agreement with you that the private sector pays the bills, and that job creation is what's needed to get the U.S. on a stronger growth track. What do you think about a federal program to promote small business creation?

Response to #15

Greenspan also didn't see a problem with unregulated derivatives, and he was famously taken by surprise that banks couldn't regulate themselves

could it be he was too honest ( moral person) to even think some persons would think of pulling this crap?

SurfPuppy is right, diegonomics. The world economy is pretty shaky. Our economy only looks like its improving at the moment due to Census jobs, but new home sales tell the truth of the matter; you can't buy a home on a temporary job. People are worried about the future, short term and long term. We can't be fooled into spending anymore. That giant cracking sound you hear is the old paradigm collapsing. What will replace it is yet to be seen.

"What will replace it is yet to be seen."

I plan on being an instigator...

diegonomics, China's economy has major problems, and the only reason it has been doing so well in the past is b/c they manipulate their currency and we don't do anything about it.

India does not have the industry and environment safeguards in place we do, and India has a poverty rate 1,000 times that of the US or any other developed country-they do not have a booming economy given those factors.

The US is by far the biggest consumer of goods in the world- WE DRIVE the world economy, so if we falter, like right now, then so does everyone else by default.

As for the private sector-we are dead ducks. The Obama administration has done nothing to help it, and in fact all the so called "stimulas" money that has been tossed out- 95% went to the states to shore up their over comped public sector jobs.

Greenspan also didn't see a problem with unregulated derivatives, and he was famously taken by surprise that banks couldn't regulate themselves

could it be he was too honest ( moral person) to even think some persons would think of pulling this crap?

Mr. Bubble was a failure.

The housing boom was a product of two factors-and if either of the two factors had been shut down there would not have been a housing meltdown;

1) the lowering of mortgage/trust deed underwriting standards

2) Mr Bubble keeping interest rates at an artificially low rate for far longer than he should have, when the real estate bubble was clearly being driven by the the low interest rates....

Take away either of those two factors and there would have been no RE bubble.


OK...just got back from Walmart with Kleenex to make u and the wife happy Don

r there any other products u have stock in that u'd like me to change my brands for let me know

but don't mess with my Ben and Jerry's homey!!!

oh...and i DID find Eeyore's tail

Response to post #39: One of the troubles with Hayek is that he puts far too much trust in the so-called "free" market. He simply doesn't recognize that so many markets are manipulated and hardly free. Things have gotten a lot more corrupt since the days when he was writing. Greenspan has that same difficulty; he believes in the beauty of the way and the goodness of the wayfarers, to quote Samuel Beckett. Greenspan is rethinking his positions now. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #30: You may be right. I am deeply worried, however, about a double-dip in residential real estate, particularly in California. A double-dip in the overall economy is not out of the question, either. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #31: Europe has deep problems. Japan has been sick for 21 years. China is prospering, but could be in a bubble. India seems to be doing well. It's a mixed bag in Latin America. I do not see that global recovery either. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #32: The Road to Serfdom is a classic (although I do not accept many of his theses). Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #33: We already have a number of programs to aid small business creation. Also, we have a lot of so-called emerging companies: people that were laid off going into the "consulting" business. Most won't last. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #34: Honest people have to be aware that there are a plethora of crooks out there. If the so-called honest people don't know that, they should lock themselves in their homes. Best, don Bauder

Response to post #35: As the old paradigms crack, so will a lot of economists. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #36: A revolutionary, you mean? Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #37: I don't think 95% of that money went to prop up states, but I think you will see more and more money going to save states and municipalities. The US can't let California go into bankruptcy. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #38: Another factor was crooks taking advantage of the lowering of standards. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #39: For starters, load up on Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson products. Buy medicines made by Bristol Myers, Abbott Labs, Pfizer...oh, there are a bundle of things you can do. We buy Orville Redenbacher's pop corn because we own a little ConAgra. Best, Don Bauder

I think you will see more and more money going to save states and municipalities. The US can't let California go into bankruptcy

CA is in big trouble and the senate is not going to let CA get bailed out at everyone elses expense. You need 60 votes there to make the magic happen.........

Re #40: One problem with all economic theory is that no account is taken of excessive greed, corruption, and negligence. With followers of Hayek, Adam Smith's invisible hand is benevolent regardless; greed, corruption, and negligence would serve to destroy the portion of the market or industry where they exist, and a new market or industry would fill the vacuum left from the one that was destroyed. However, attempting to impliment this in 2010 is tricky and unrealistic; and certainly impossible when the government is directly guiding the markets. But some Hayekian principles can certainly be followed regardless. For example, no market or industry should be bailed out, ever. A correlation can be made between a failed business due to corruption and a failed business due to outdated technology. If the government props up AIG after their foolishness, then why wouldn't they bail out a buggy whip manufacturer? In both cases, an argument can be made that by stopping their destruction, government interference is retarding the creation of better industries from the ashes of failure.

Oh, refried, I have many a time extolled on the non-virtues of greed as a major contributing factor to this terrible current state of affairs. Greed, greed, greed, greed, greedy-greed, whoooo hhoooo hoooooo hhooo...greed, greed, greed, greed, greedy greed, greed, greed, ahaaaaaaa. Song to the tune of "Manly Men".

Response to post #51: I do not think the U.S government will let California, Illinois or other troubled states go into BK. Time will tell which of us is right. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #52: The government bailed out AIG to bail out Goldman Sachs. Period. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #53: Please: no screed about greed. Avaricious -- so delicious. Cupidity: pursue it with avidity. Best, Don Bauder


my lord Don...u even write poetry...hahahahahahaha...what's a girl to do???

Response to post #57: Most girls prefer football players to poets. The jocks are macho and make much more money. Best, Don Bauder


u r so completely wrong Don....which just go to show ur all male...

women go nuts for poets..do a double swoon and drop limply at their feet with limpid eyes looking up at their desire one frozen by their gaze...chest blushing and eyes sparkling like shiny new pennies

hahahahahahaha...they think about the money later...MUCH LATER!!!

if they can ever think again at all...hahahahahahahaha

believe me Don Juan and Casanova were NOT football players ;-)

Response to post #59: There was no football in the days of Don Juan and Casanova. (Soccer may have been around, though.) Swordsmanship entranced the ladies. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #61: Few great swordsmen were also poets. Best, Don Bauder

That's because most swordsmen didn't live long enough to become poets. They died as they lived--in a flash of the blade. A book that I can recommend: "Inside Job"--A book that detail what happened after President Reagan signed the Garn-St.Germaine Act that "de-regged" the Savings and Loan industry. Though it's out-of-print now (the publisher is McGrawHill), your local library just might have a copy in their "used book lot/book store"). There's a San Diego connection in it as well (Don Dixon of DONDI Corp).

Garn-St.Germaine was the harbinger of the mess we are in today, and a very good reason why deregulation can spell the death knell of a whole industry (when FDIC took over FSLIC, it was "party over" for the S&L Industry).

"Those who wear rapiers are often afraid of goose quills!" (Author unknown to me...perhaps known to you kind folks?)


Don Dixon ran Vernon Savings & Loan, one of the biggest S&L failures of the 80's, along with Tom Speigal's Columbia S&L.

As far as I know the only connection Dixon had to San Diego was the Del Mar beach house he bought with Vernon S&L money and supplied hookers to all his buddies when staying there.

True, SP. However, before he bought the Del Mar property, he and his wife had a beachfront place in Solana Beach. And he bought both using DONDI company funds, rather thasn out of his own bank account. In fact, all of his real-estate deals (plus the streetwalkers he hired from both San Diego and Dallas) were paid out of the DONDI funds, not Dixon's personal funds.

Just "business as usual" in the Egotistical Eighties.


True, SP. However, before he bought the Del Mar property, he and his wife had a beachfront place in Solana Beach

I did not know that-

I thought the only one was the Del Mar beach house..........Dixon got off easy-as did all of those clowns.

But I am pretty sure the Del Mar house and the hookers were paid for with Vernon S&L money-as those were some of the many federal charges he faced in his trial.

Response to post #63: I read "Inside Job" many years ago. It is a good book. And Don Dixon was a dandy -- prostitutes he hired and all. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #64: Yes, the beach house and hookers were covered in that book. But you are right: Dixon was a Texan. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #64: This "business as usual" continued in the Naughty Nineties and the "Oh! Oh!" 2000s. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #66: Yes, they all got off easy. One of the things that tickled me was that the regulators would remove a CEO from an S&L it was seizing, and then send that CEO to a different S&L in another state. Best, Don Bauder

Response to poste #67: Perhaps the book will answer that, although possibly not, because the denouement may have come after the book was published. Best, Don Bauder

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