How About That Australian Real Estate Market?

Owns Australian Real Estate...

Besides Margot Robbie, Miranda Kerr, and the searing midday sun in the outback, the other HOT thing about Australia is real estate market. (now, there's four things that may not necessarily be found in the same sentence in your regular mainstream newspaper - even Aussie ones). A good stable capitalist economic environment, strong property rights and rule of law, and good beer foster a pleasant living environment.  Basic fundamentals for brick and mortar.  Add in strong population growth through immigration, low interest rates since 2008, strong government controls on releasing new land to development (think Nevada and the San Francisco Bay Area) and in some cities, regulations aimed at preventing higher density land use, and there you … [Read more...]

Thirty Year Mortgages and Fish Oil

  Confusion reigns, needlessly so. Interest-only, balloon, 5/1 and 5/5, two-step or fixed home loan rates. Thirty year mortgages, fifteen, or ten. LIBOR and teaser rates, reverse mortgages and investment-backed. There's about as many choices as there as types of cheesecake on a casino dessert buffet:   not a huge number, but enough to confuse and befuddle, and have you end up with what you didn't want, because the red silk cheesecake with whipped topping looks so frickin' delicious, but what would your date think, you'd totally look like a hog, so you settle for the teeny-tiny slice of low carb, and then go home to pig out on Sara Lee Chocolate Fudge Delight, eaten straight from the box standing up at the bar counter... but … [Read more...]

Kiss Real Estate Goodbye – A Real Estate Appraiser’s Viewpoint

Tiny Victorian-style house, Eureka Springs, Arkansas - photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

This is a guest post of sorts by our own resident investment guru, Fred Carach, a.k.a. The Riverboat Gambler.  Fred is the author of "Forty Years A Speculator". Bear in mind that this article was originally written on July 15th, 2008.  Today we are told that the real estate crisis is in the 8th or 9th inning. I don’t think so, the 3rd inning is more like it. I have a rather a unique insight on the problem. For thirty years I was a State Certified General Appraiser. That means I was licensed by the state of Florida to appraise everything from a chicken coop to office towers. I guess you could say I was there at the creation. Those who champion a quick recovery are quick to trot out trite statements. The one I find the most … [Read more...]

Getting Rich Through Homeownership – The End Of An American Dream

Ottis Cook Home, c.1890

The following is a guest post of sorts by Fred Carach, author of “Forty Years a Speculator“. This article is re-posted with permission from Fred’s blog. Much has been heard in the press lately about the end of the great American dream of homeownership, but what the press has missed is that what has really died in the crash is a perversion of the American dream... the perversion of getting rich exclusively through homeownership. That perversion really started in the 1970s and died in the great real estate crash that began in 2007. Prior to the 1970s home-ownership was regarded as a key asset in the accumulation of wealth but it was never considered the only asset. Real estate values rose too slowly to accomplish that mission. In … [Read more...]

Random Observations and Roundup Links

Random Doodle on a Post-It note

Happy days are here!  The new Raintree Nursery catalog arrived in the mail yesterday.  These catalogs are truly gardener porn.   Lots of new tree varieties to choose from, including some more varieties of Cornus Mas, Cornelian Cherry.  Grapes, Chinese Walnuts, Asian Pears, Sea Buckthorns, Aronia, and Gooseberries. The mind boggles at the possibilities, while the wallet flinches in anticipation of pending abuse. I won a copy of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi in a contest sponsored by Kevin @ Invest It Wisely and Jesse @ PF Firewall.  First of all, wow! I haven’t won anything in a contest in donkey’s years.  As for the book itself, it’s a good, quick, and fun read, especially well suited for young adults … [Read more...]

“Foreclosure Mess Could Threaten Banks”…. I haz sad face

Image via Wikipedia Ready to shed a tear or two at criminals bankers facing the prospect of lawsuits and massive losses? No?  Me neither. "Report: Foreclosure Mess Could Threaten Banks" WASHINGTON -- The disarray stemming from flawed foreclosure documents could threaten major banks with billions of dollars in losses, deepen the disruption in the housing market and hurt the government's effort to keep people in their homes, according to a new report from a congressional watchdog. The reporter(s) get extra points for x-ray insight and rapier-sharp reportage.   Were I the editor though, I might have suggested a paragraph or two how the taxpayers will be on the hook for the banks' losses. Again. Related articles Bank of America … [Read more...]

Anti-Foreclosure Attorneys General Defeated in Elections

Seems that about half of the leading Attorneys General that were taking on the financial industry over the foreclosure frauds have been defeated in the last elections. The Washington Post reports on the various wins and losses, including a loss in Ohio by AG Richard Cordray (D), who was suing a major lending institution over the foreclosure fraud, lost his bid to a republican: In Ohio, Attorney General Richard Cordray -- a Democrat who was the first to sue a major lender over the foreclosure problems -- lost to Republican Mike DeWine. "A campaign website for Mr. DeWine lists job creation and opposing the health-care plan as his top priorities and makes no obvious mention of the foreclosure scandal, the multistate investigation or Mr. … [Read more...]

More Non-Productivity from ForeclosureGate

From the New York Times: Foreclosure Mess Draws in the Lawyers Who Handled Them Lawyers retaining lawyers + court time +  legal battles = less productivity.   While German and Chinese and Indian companies invest in productive factories, Americans invest their time in discovery and court proceedings.   And pundits agonize and speculate over the US trade deficit.  Duh! … [Read more...]

ForeclosureGate Roundup

    This latest real estate foreclosure mess seems to be getting uglier and uglier. A smattering of news and posts on the subject: An article by Charles Hugh Smith on AOL Daily Finance:   The Foreclosure Crisis: Eroding Trust -- and Ending the Recovery? Huffington Post writes on how untrained folks were hired to process foreclosures in Banks' Foreclosure "Robo-Signers" Were Hair Stylists, Teens, Walmart Workers: Lawsuit Gonzalo Lira's blog has a very succinct take on the whole mess, in The Second Leg Down of America's Death Spiral.   Happy title, yes?  (Warning: strong language) From Forbes.com  Legal Heat On Robo-Signing Stokes Foreclosure Fiasco "..... Attorneys General from all 50 states have … [Read more...]