I recently completed Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow and it is a wonderful read about the fascinating life and times of John D. Rockefeller. Ida Tarbell, one of the great muckraking writers and profilers who gained her fame while writing for McClure’s was personally impacted by Standard Oil’s brash business tactics.
With the tax overhaul now being law, I wanted to do a granular analysis of what the changes mean for those who own and those who rent in a high tax, high-cost state (California) and one residing in a low cost, low tax state (Texas).
In some ways, it is understandable why the subprime meltdown took place. Prior to 2006 home prices in the United States in the post World War II era rarely, if ever, declined materially on a sustainable basis. Based on this rearview mirror modeling investors in mortgages were led to believe that default rates would be manageable and if they did default then losses would be negligible because recovery rates would be strong because home prices kept rising.
I typically wouldn’t discuss Tax Reform until it has passed since it would usually be speculative, I am making an exception given that many of the parameters are known and because of its potential impact on housing. The basis of the plan was to cut the corporate tax rate first and then work around the constraints that Senate rules and supposed deficit hawks impose on the process.
It was quite a week of action for CWS, particularly for our risk management, safety, construction, operations, asset management, human resources, marketing, and maintenance teams. We have been having very early calls (at least for me on the west coast) every morning, including over the Labor Day weekend,
Key economic data and stock prices almost always change before the narrative does. Although the housing meltdown didn’t really come into force until 2007, new home sales had already peaked in 2005 and this corresponded with the stock price of home builders hitting all-time highs. The first chart shows new home sales topping out in July 2015 and the same for Lennar’s stock price as the second chart depicts.
Are We Opening Pandora’s Box to a New Housing Crisis?
With the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announcing that the Government Sponsored Agencies will probably start purchasing loans with 3% down payments, it’s understandable that people would be concerned that we’re opening up Pandora’s Box again to a new housing crisis precipitated by terrible lending practices.
[2018 UPDATE ] The Dallas Fed released its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey, January 29, 2018. The data was collected Jan. 16–24, and 97 Texas manufacturers responded to the survey. As you can see the business indicators in Texas remain strong as following chart shows:
Note the highlighted section showing that every indicator is “increasing”.
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