Advertise | Bookmark | Contact Us | E-Mail List |  | Update Page | UraniumSeek.com 

Commentary : Gold Review : Markets : News Wire : Quotes : Silver : Stocks - Main Page 

 GoldSeek.com >> News >> Story  Disclaimer 
 
Latest Headlines

SWOT Analysis: Is Silver Poised For A Rebound?
By: Frank Holmes

Italy: An Anti-Euro Government Takes Power In the Heart Of The Eurozone
By: John Rubino

Why the “Gold is Ready to Explode Higher Any Day” Narrative Hurts the Truth Movement About Gold
By: JS Kim

Incomplete silver COT analysis, revisited
By: Steven Saville

Beware “Snollygosters” and the Empty Promises of Pathological Politicians
By: GoldCore

Gold’s Near-term Downside Target
By: Przemyslaw Radomski, CFA

New Jersey Mining Company Sells Its Toboggan Project to Hecla Mining Company for $3-Million
By: New Jersey Mining Company

Something for Nothing
By: Keith Weiner

GoldSeek Radio: Raghee Horner and Bix Weir, and Chris Waltzek
By: radio.GoldSeek.com

Technical Scoop - Weekend Update May 20
By: David Chapman

 
Search

GoldSeek Web

 
Time To Add Housing To The Bubble List?


By: John Rubino



 -- Published: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 | Print  | Disqus 

Housing is hot again, but lately it’s been overshadowed by flashier bubbles in government debt, tech stocks and possibly cryptocurrencies.

Still, the warning signs are spreading. Today’s Wall Street Journal, for instance, reports that homeowners are back to using their houses as ATMs:

Homeowners Are Again Pocketing Cash as They Refinance Properties

Americans refinancing their mortgages are taking cash out in the process at levels not seen since the financial crisis.

Nearly half of borrowers who refinanced their homes in the first quarter chose the cash-out option, according to data released this week by Freddie Mac. That is the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008.

The cash-out level is still well below the almost 90% peak hit in the run-up to the housing meltdown. But it is up sharply from the post-crisis nadir of 12% in the second quarter of 2012.

In a cash-out refi, a borrower refinances an existing mortgage with a new one, typically at a lower borrowing cost, that has a higher principal balance than the existing one. This allows the homeowner to pay off the old mortgage and still have cash left over for other uses.

The growing popularity of cash-out refis has helped buoy refinance activity. After booming for several years, demand for refinance mortgages had begun to slow as the Federal Reserve began increasing short-term interest rates and longer-term bond yields moved higher.

Mortgage rates remain low by historical standards, though. The average rate for a fixed, 30-year mortgage was 3.95%, Freddie Mac reported this week.

Meanwhile, rising home prices have helped increase the equity homeowners have in their houses. This allows more people to refinance to capture the benefit of lower mortgage rates.

And borrowers whose homes are rising in value are often more likely to be interested in refinancing for cash. For example, in Denver and Dallas, where home prices have jumped, more than half of refinancers opted for cash last year, according to Freddie Mac.

To some housing-market observers, the fact that more homeowners are tapping their homes for cash represents a healthy confidence in the economy. It comes against a backdrop of continued gains in employment.

At the same time, the increasing use of cash-out refis causes some concern since, in the run-up to the financial crisis, borrowers used their homes like veritable ATMs.

Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist, says this time has been different. Borrowers now are subject to stricter standards when they get a loan or refinance a mortgage. There is also less money at stake now than a decade ago.

Cash-out refis in the first quarter represented about $14 billion in net home equity compared with more than $80 billion in each of three straight quarters in 2006. On an annual basis, total home equity cashed out in 2016 was $61 billion, according to Freddie Mac, versus $321 billion in 2006.

“People have been using cash-out for years,” Mr. Kiefer said. “From a personal-finance standpoint, it can make a lot of sense.”

One example is a borrower using the cash from a refinance to consolidate credit-card debt that has far higher yields. That in many cases can produce a big savings in debt-servicing costs by replacing debt that has double-digit interest rates with a loan that has a rate in the low single digits.

Here we go again. In every cycle, destructive behavior like using home equity to pay off credit cards or take vacations or whatever starts to surge. And every time the banking/real estate complex trots out paid spokesmen masquerading as economists to explain that this behavior is perfectly safe because everything else is going so well.

This deception eventually blows up in their faces, the pseudo-economists are disgraced (See Realtors’ Former Top Economist Says Don’t Blame the Messenger) and the people suckered in by the experts’ assurances are stuck with bills they can’t pay.

If cash-out refis continue to soar in the second quarter, then housing is officially a bubble again — with one big difference: This time around it’s just one of many, which means the eventual reckoning will be a lot more complex and interesting.

 


| Digg This Article
 -- Published: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 | E-Mail  | Print  | Source: GoldSeek.com

comments powered by Disqus







 



Increase Text SizeDecrease Text SizeE-mail Link of Current PagePrinter Friendly PageReturn to GoldSeek.com

 news.goldseek.com >> Story

E-mail Page  | Print  | Disclaimer 


© 1995 - 2017



GoldSeek.com Supports Kiva.org

© GoldSeek.com, Gold Seek LLC

The content on this site is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and is the property of GoldSeek.com and/or the providers of the content under license. By "content" we mean any information, mode of expression, or other materials and services found on GoldSeek.com. This includes editorials, news, our writings, graphics, and any and all other features found on the site. Please contact us for any further information.

Live GoldSeek Visitor Map | Disclaimer

The views contained here may not represent the views of GoldSeek.com, its affiliates or advertisers. GoldSeek.com makes no representation, warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy or completeness of the information (including news, editorials, prices, statistics, analyses and the like) provided through its service. Any copying, reproduction and/or redistribution of any of the documents, data, content or materials contained on or within this website, without the express written consent of GoldSeek.com, is strictly prohibited. In no event shall GoldSeek.com or its affiliates be liable to any person for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided herein.