Monday, September 10, 2007

Shadow Inflation Replacement

Using John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics to compare CPI-U to the way inflation was measured in the early 80s I was able to back out the inflation bias at the right end of the Shiller graph.

Date CPI-U Shadow 1980 Difference
1890 $3.56 28.09 $1.45 69.13 1.46
1900 $3.60 27.78 $1.46 68.36 1.46
1910 $4.57 21.88 $1.86 53.85 1.46
1920 $8.57 11.67 $3.48 28.72 1.46
1930 $8.47 11.81 $3.44 29.06 1.46
1940 $6.89 14.51 $2.80 35.72 1.46
1950 $11.80 8.47 $4.79 20.86 1.46
1960 $14.43 6.93 $5.86 17.05 1.46
1970 $18.20 5.49 $7.40 13.52 1.46
1980 $35.98 2.78 $14.62 6.84 1.46
1990 $61.43 1.63 $28.17 3.55 1.18
2000 $82.60 1.21 $54.35 1.84 0.52
2007 $100.00 1.00 $100.00 1.00 0.00

Now that's not so scary, is it?


Peripheral Visionary said...

*Whew*, what a relief. For a moment there, I was worried that housing was overpriced--but now that you put it in perspective it's just a little five-sigma scale move, not a ten-sigma move.

Akubi said...

Am I out of it or is this Second Life somewhat bizarre...?

...But the more mundane items are what really drive the economy: clothes, gadgetry, night life, real estate. “People buy these huge McMansions in Second Life that are just as ugly as any McMansions in real life, because to them that is what’s status-y,” Mr. Wallace said. “It’s not as easy as we think to let our imaginations run wild, in Second Life or in real life.”

Mitch Ratcliffe, an entrepreneur and blogger, was an early resident of Second Life and built a house with a lake. But he was soon disillusioned with the upkeep involved with owning the property. “I don’t see why I would want my second life to be about the same striving and profit that my first is,” Mr. Ratcliffe wrote in a blog entry about his Second Life adventures. He eventually reincarnated himself as Homeless Hermes.

“People come by, see the user name and tell me how sorry they are that I don’t have a home. Why?” he wrote. “It’s very middle class, very staid in the way economic stigma is attached to a failure to get to work.” In the meantime, Homeless Hermes took up buying and selling virtual land and has pocketed the equivalent of $800.

Land is the biggest-ticket item in Second Life, with Linden Lab selling islands for $1,675, plus a $295-a-month maintenance charge.)

Northern Renter said...

So maybe the Shiller curve would be improved by using the ratio of house price to median wages. This eliminates inflation as a significant element and also brings the prices face to face with the ultimate factor in whether houses can be afforded at current prices.


PS I hope that makes sense. My brain doesn't feel too literate this morning.

PPS Akubi, good to see that you haven't entirely disappeared from blogdom.... good, clean, wholesome SFW blogdom, that is ;} Not that I ever look at anything else (nervous whistling ensues).

Rob Dawg said...

Everybody here is too smart. Yes, I'm gonna do gold and wages and hedonics.

Hopefully Sac RE won't bust my chops if it takes a day. Mrs. Dawg is a tad touchy about earning a living and stuff.

Akubi; angels in fishnets. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Sac RE Agent said...

bust your chops. i'm getting my data from john and purva.

Rob Dawg said...

LoL. Drink your moloko you bolnoy Droog.

Rob Dawg said...

Includes gold.

H Simpson said...

CFC is down another buck today. Down at the low end of $18.

So who is going to go long on them?

As Johnny Cash sang:

Love is a burning thing
and it makes a firery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire...

I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down,down,down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns,burns,burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire


ratlab said...

So yeah, who's going long on CFC now that's it's in the $17 range? Or is the $16 range the jump in point?

Sac RE Agent said...

Thanks for that link Dawg. Got this interesting info out of there:

1/18/06 43% of first-time home buyers put no money down. The median first-time home buyer scraped together a down payment of only 2% on a $150,000 home in 2005, the NAR found.

So Casey wasn't the only one with no skin in the game.

Rob Dawg said...

Sac RE,
Another way to think of it is that every first time buyer in the last 2 years is upside down and has no skin in the game and has never seen a recession and has never experienced qualifying for credit. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Funny Circus Bears said...

I am looking to take another long position in CFC in the $16.xx range prior to the 09/18 FOMC meeting.

I was / am also hoping to take GS long again at around $175 prior to their earnings announcement.

Funny Circus Bears said...

Also if I was a CD investor, I'd be looking to make my monthly allocation prior to 09/18.

Rob Dawg said...

CFC is the first so the Fed and IBs and hedgies at al will be using them as guinea pigs. I thought $17.50 (typed $17.80 so I'm stuck with that) but I can't think of a bad word for the CFC -stock- anywhere in the $16s right now.

Vice CDs I've got a 3mo maturing at IndyMac and boy is that outta there. I ain't waiting three years for insurance to return principal in 2010 pesodollars. [Hyperbole.]

On topic. Does anyone see where I'm going with the Shiller curve? I am going to call the max and the drop.

Sac RE Agent said...

rob, there's a lot of things that today's younger generation hasn't experienced. but let's not stop them from repeating mistakes that are very apparent in looking back at history.

Peripheral Visionary said...

As much as gold has helped hedge my dollar exposure, I would still argue that it's too speculative to be a true store of value. Perceived value of gold, and the supply of it (thanks to changes in mining technology, conquest of hapless but gold-rich native peoples, etc.) has dramatic effects on its purchasing power.

The question of what constitutes a true store of value is an interesting one. I don't buy the "basket of goods" argument, as manufacturing technology and changes in quality have changed the value of goods relative to services and wages. Instead, I would argue that the best constant value is the cost of unskilled labor. While there are currently differences in that cost across the globe, the harsh realities of the modern world are that those differences are likely to be erased in the long run.

Also, if the goal of the inflation-tracking exercise is to determine the ultimate impact of inflation on the working population, but especially on the vulnerable working class, wouldn't it make sense to track the cost of goods and services (and housing) against the purchasing power of that very demographic?

Peripheral Visionary said...

The trick with real estate is that it may go from being national (global?) back to being local. Sorry, but the "it's different here" will apply to some areas (just not the ones where people think.)

The areas that have real jobs will see drops in real estate, just not nearly as much as the areas where virtually the entire economy was built on the residential real estate Ponzi scheme (e.g. Inland Empire, Phoenix.) D.C., for better or for worse, won't fare as badly, as there are substantial numbers of jobs available. That will put a floor on the drop in housing prices, although in the near term there's such a huge overhang (especially in condos) that prices will have to drop. The same is likely true of the PacNorthwest, the Mid-Atlantic, and commodity producing regions.

The other day I met some of the first of what I call the housing refugees--young family, husband used to work for a homebuilder, lost his job as the market went bust, moved to D.C. because they heard there were jobs here, found jobs and are settling down in D.C. suburbs. They won't be the last.

Zintradi said...

so, even according to your graph, home prices are the highest they've been since 1893. hopefully, it will only drop back down to around 120 or so before leveling out.

TK said...

I'm beginning to think that my grasp of economics is really, really bad hanging around this bunch. Hoping some of it'll rub off on me and I can ditch the bitter renter routine and start earning some sweet passive I mean a real living.

Legion said...

cfc closed at 17.21

114000 shares sold after hours from 17.19 to 17.48, with the lwoer end at the end of after hours. I guess it will all depend on what happens in the it going to sell for even lower or is there going to be a rise.
If it's lower I may wait, if higher I may go long.

Legion said...

DO I feel bad about the 5000 dollars less I made? Sure. but I still rock with 60,000 in profit in like a month. That's a lot of computer games and upgrades...

Legion said...

playing medal of honor airborne:-)

Legion said...

Oh and I swear if I hear one more real estate guru or realtor mention "Oh, we are undergoing a HEALTHY correction right now" I'm gonna scream.

That's like saying you are scheduled for a healthy colonoscopy, it may be healthy, but someone is gonna be getting it in the ass, and hard.

Sac RE Agent said...

Legion, what would you honestly like to hear an agent say? I'm not sure I would say it's healthy, but I do believe the correction is good. Sorry if it's costing you appreciation on houses you own or may have owned, but this correction has affected me and still does.

serinitis said...

Countrywide is going to be a beautiful shade of Red all day tomorrow. Its afterhours went up slightly because LM had announced that they had slightly increased their CFC stock to around 10%. CFC's 2 largest shareholders also filed today saying they had cut their holdings by 1/2 or more. Those 2 filings are going to cause a race for the door. A brief glance at LM leads me to believe they might be heavily invested in real estate and mortgage companies so they might be a good target to short next.

ha38349 said...

RE: 100% financing
I've noticed a number of 100% financing deals in my neck of the woods and I'm not in a bubbly area!
In one deal that closed Aug 2006 ($170,000) they did 80/20 fixed $136,000/$34,000 then in Jan 2007 did a refi ($196,000) again 80/20 this time with the 80 being a 5/1 ARM $156,800 / $39,200. For a 3/2 1,750 sqft ranch (35 yrs old) $196,000 is just crazy (at least here).
Another (two years ago) Aug 2005, new construction (2,200 sqft.) $250,000 100% financing to people who had a foreclosure in 2003.
And the latest one closed in Aug 2007 had been listed at $230,000 (2,200 sqft. 10 yrs old) and on the market for 6 months. Sold for $237,000 with 100% financing.
Not a scientific sampling because I've only recently been interested in the financing angle but it looks like 33% plus of sales in the last couple of years have been 100% around here.

Bakersfield Bubble said...

STATE of CA files charges against CRISP & COLE!!

Lou Minatti said...

That's great news about C&C.

Dawg, thanks for these posts. I am as bearish on housing as everyone else, but I think sometimes the hysteria becomes a little nonsensical.

Gypsy Pete said...

wagga said...

BB @ 5:01

State asscues Crisp & Cole of FRAUD!!!

Are asscues something to worry about?

serinitis said...


Great news on Crisp & Cole!!!

@Gypsy Pete

The article didn't include any pictures :(

Akubi said...

Thanks. The NSFW Zillow Book project has been fun and significantly more popular than Baabaabaab (so I’d say you’re not the only one who should feel the need to nervously whistle), but it doesn’t seem the best vehicle for particularly serious commentary – and I find so many interesting topics and tidbits in my RSS feeds that I decided to resurrect Baabaabaab for the SFW areas of concern and/or bewilderment.

While I was getting ready for work this morning the Philadelphia Cream Cheese angel commercial was on – and I don’t think I’ll ever think of it the same way thanks to my own active association/imagination.

I’m with you on that ;).

@Gypsy Pete,
I always wondered about KC’s Utah house on that front…

Lou Minatti said...

While I was getting ready for work this morning the Philadelphia Cream Cheese angel commercial was on – and I don’t think I’ll ever think of it the same way thanks to my own active association/imagination.

What's the Philadelphia Cream Cheese angel? Don't forget, Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day. Anthony!

Lou Minatti said...

Gypsy Pete, here's an old one, but one of the best.

RealtWhores by day, RealWhores by night.

Looking at their mugshots, I don't think I'd hit that. Ever. Even if I looked like Jon Lovitz.

TK said...

Jesus "High end prostitution"? There was enough bad skin between the two of them to knit a new Edward James Olmos from scratch.

RE: Crisp & Cole

Proof positive that faking it til you make it will only work for so long.

David and Carl should have taken the money and run a long time ago. But I guess where were they gonna go when they spent all their money on $2,500 suits and expensive cars to keep the image of success...

Lost Cause said...

Humm. A peak, at 1979, not to get that high again until 2005. 26 years?

So I guess if I bought in 2006, I should begin to see appreciation in 2032.

TK said...

No's different this time.

Try 2052.

Lost Cause said...

OK. It has been a much higher climb this time, which means it will fall for even longer. Maybe I begin to get a return around 2050, like the Japanse, who are still underwater 25 years later?

Lost Cause said...

I just have one question. As a capitalist swine, I have already made my money on munitions and other defense issues involved with the blowing up of children in Iraq. But where do I put my hard earned money now? Real estate speculation is not longer certain 20% appreciateion ... is the stock market or any other dollar denominated vehicle the way to go? I mean besides my GMC Yukon? I await your advice.

Rob Dawg said...

I'm expecting technolgy to slap whatever's left of the housing industry into oblivion. Have you guys seen the robotic cement constructor? I'll get to that after we finish this Shiller series. Tomorrow; hedonics.

Curious said...

@ TK, Rawb, and anyone else who feels like chiming in... Ack, I’ve just invited a maelstrom and hope that I don’t get one.

TK said Hoping some of it'll rub off on me and I can I can ditch the bitter renter routine.

Theoretically, let's say "somebody" bought a house 20 years ago at $80K and has faithfully made their monthly blood and pound of flesh payment to the mortgage holder.

As such an FB, they've made roughly $200K in mortgage payments, on an $80K mortgage, so far.

Yet, bitter renters™, look this house up on Zillow or some other website, and declaim that "this asshat boomer™ is trying to rip me and the rest of GenX, Y, and Z off by asking for a price of $200-250K for the same house they "only" paid $80K for.

Never mind that said asshat boomer™ paid $80K for the same house that the greatest generation ever™ paid $3-6K for 20-40 years earlier.

I am not talking about flippers who come in and save/flip a distressed, uncared for property at a low price from a scuzzy owner who's squeezed every last dime out of a property without making any improvements, or even having kept a property cared for as a prudent person would. Or those who would like 100% appreciation from the other idiots who bought into the ponzi scheme.

I am talking about homemoaners who've owned and cared for a property while bleeding sweat (in some cases) to keep a place up and cover their mortgage.

I really am not asking for sympathy. I've followed these blogs for awhile and have total sympathy for people who have been priced out of the market by specuvestors. But I am curious about what the bitter renters™ consider to be an acceptable loss for current homoaners before they are willing to purchase?

Do they seriously think that people should sell at the same price they paid 20 years ago when that hasn't ever been the case in US history? Simply because of Zillow? Zillow and it's ilk, don't provide data on the current "paid for" amount of a home. Sure, Zillow says X paid Y and now they're trying to sell at 3x's Y. But Zillow doesn't tell you what they've paid for 20-30 years on that mortgage. For the record? I'd also like to see what they've paid in the last 1-5 years on the mortgage and how much the principle has been paid down.

For the record, this "theoretical owner" will stay in the house forever because the loss to sell is much greater than the current payoff balance of the (currently small but formerly gigantic) mortgage.

If I "paid" $80K 20 years ago which has already cost me $200+K, why would I accept a lowball offer on a home with a $30K balance? If you offered me less than $230K (down payment at 1987 dollars + interest in current dollars) which allows me to, at least feel like, I'm walking away at a break even/no profit stance (minus the tax benefits), why would I ever consider your offer? It's much cheaper to stay. My house payment is much lower than rent, although my tax break is much lower too, and in 10 or less years, all I'll owe monthly is my garbage, water, sewer, and land taxes. In a Prop 13 state like California, I'm paying less than $200 per month. And I'm not on the dole, I don't use public schools, I don't use any other "welfare" benefits. At least, not currently. I also don't pay much into the schools YOUR kids use and need.

Seriously, California GenX, Y, and Z, you should bid up the prices of boomer homes. Whatever it costs you now will cost you less in the future if you offload our retirement costs to currently high welcoming/low cost senior friendly states like Arizona, Oregon, Texas, and Nevada.

/tongue in cheek.

But I do really wonder...and my question to bitter renters™ stands. Yes I might have paid $80K (or double, triple that amount) 20 years ago but with interest compounded to $400 or $600K the original loan amount.

I am talking about non-equity suckin’ boomers who have actually already paid for their homes, or are close to it, and ask; What is the correct price for their homes? I know, the price is whatever the market will bear.

Did this boom/doom just hit your generation or has it been building for decades?

Disclosure: Yes, I have friends whom have sold out their home equities for toys. I feel bad for them but always knew they were borrowing against their retirements. But what do you do with the people who didn't do that? Who have honestly (and stupidly) paid triple the original house cost by taking on a mortgage?

Let the games begin if my post is intelligible and let me roast on the fires of Internet infamey if I'm just that effin' stupid.

Let the flames and education begin.

I am always willing to learn. :)

Disclosure two: Post begun on glass of wine number one, 1/2 finished.

Post concluded on glass of wine number three, fully consumed.

My sincerest apologies and a promise of this being my last post of the night...or perhaps of the week. I can't swear I won't do any tipsy reading and drunken interpretations though. : )

Akubi said...

Well the key aspects of Zillow-izing can be found at Zillow Book where critical issues are brought to light for your viewing pleasure;).

Akubi said...

Obviously, guyz, it is all about Hedonics!

Legion said...

@ SAC RE Agent
Sac RE Agent said...
Legion, what would you honestly like to hear an agent say? I'm not sure I would say it's healthy, but I do believe the correction is good. Sorry if it's costing you appreciation on houses you own or may have owned, but this correction has affected me and still does.

Oh I don't know, how about the truth. How about
1. We lied when we said real estate only goes up
2. We lied when we said NOW is the time to buy or get priced out forever.
3. We lied when we said don't worry about the loan and the arm; you would have appreciated enough in two years where you can sell for a profit or refi.
4. We are lying now when we say it is undergoing a healthy correction, bottom line is, it's gonna take years to get out of this mess, and there are more corrections to come.
5. We lied when we said we were on your side "See freakonomics"
6. We lied when we claimed there was NO housing bubble.
7. We lied when we said there were no investment properties left (actually we bought and buy all the good stuff first)

Just admit it, there was a housing bubble, anybody that breathed became a real estate agent, and the healthy correction that is occuring has about 98% of the way to go before we can say..well, now that it is corrected...

Legion said...

Oh, and I don't INVEST in houses, I live in one. They aren't as liquid as stocks:-)

Curious said...

@ Akubi:
Well the key aspects of Zillow-izing can be found at Zillow Book where critical issues are brought to light for your viewing pleasure;).

I admire your tenacity and the love your followers show you, but why must you consistently deflect hard questions with deflections to porn?

Perhaps you saw my question as fluff, but it truly was a request for information. Maybe badly phrased and incoherent, but still a request for information from a pool of really intelligent bloggers.

At least, that's the way I've interpreted your previous blog hijackings.

For the record, I'd still really like to know the answer to my original question. If anyone was able to discern it from my random post.

Curious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curious said...

My apologies, I should have put disclaimers on my first post that I'd rebut any piggybacks. My bad.

And yes, Akubi makes me giggle as much as the rest of you, even if I don't read the porn as much as uhm-em nobody else does.

Sac RE Agent said...

Legion, let me apologize for all re agents completely misleading or lying to any and all people wishing to buy, sell, invest, speculate or rent a piece of property. We were completely incorrect in everything we said or implied about real estate. :-)

H Simpson said...

Last Sunday morning one of the big TV news organziations did a timeline showing look forward statements from Dave Lereah of NAR and how he was 100% wrong for the past 24 months.

It was funny, but also showed someone was looking behind the curtain. Now there is a man who ought to confess his sins in case rapture comes early..

On another track, anyone see this new TV show "so what is my house worth?".
It tells flippers what their p.o.s. homes are worth via relators that try to calculate based upon local prices. The best ones are the clowns in California.

Some Chinese guy had paid a million+ at the peak for a freak house 70% of the population would not even look at, and put 350K in granite, cherry cabinets, s/s appliances, and pergo floors.

The $15k new bathroom looked like the mock up used in Lowes plumbing depts. (I can see why all those illegals want to jump the border and take so much gringo money for crap upgrades).

The back yard (about 20x60') was a complete mess. The master bedroom was smaller than my guest room.

The flipper clown was angry when the relator said 150K less than he wanted. I wouldn't have bought that LA dump for 1/3rd the price.

They really need to have a show that comes back and shows what it actually sells for, most likely as a REO when the initial ARM rate expires.

Anyone know if the stores run out of cookie dough on the weekends what the open house showings take place? ;>)


H Simpson said...

here is a chance to see if C-S statistics logis goes negative correctly...

Ogg the Caveman said...

@ H Simpson:

They really need to have a show that comes back and shows what it actually sells for, most likely as a REO when the initial ARM rate expires.

One of the shows on TLC (Property Ladder? Whichever one has the very critical host following the whole process.) has been doing that some of the time. You'll occasionally see a followup about a house that's still on the market, or an episode that ends with the flipper moving into the house when they can't unload it.

The vast majority of episodes still feature flippers that make big bucks despite their constant screwups, all of which are pointed out at length by the host. In a way I think that's even more effective at selling house flipping than the shows that depict the process as all puppies and candy, with people always making more than their estimate. The message isn't "You can't lose", it's "Look at how badly these guys fucked up, and they still made a tidy profit. As long as you don't suck worse than them, you can't lose."

I predict that we'll see one or two more house flipping shows crop up yet as the bubble deflates. The people who are paying for product placement on those shows are going to be hurting, and they'll do what they can to prop things up as long as possible.

@ Curious:

For the record, I'd still really like to know the answer to my original question. If anyone was able to discern it from my random post.

To me, your comment came across more as a rant than a question. You posed a lot of questions but most of them seemed to be rhetorical in nature. It wasn't clear to me what you actually wanted folks to answer.

Oh, and just like you and everyone else, I don't look at the porn.

H Simpson said...

On What's my house worth yesterday was some yuppie family with small kids.

House was in Ft Lauderdale on the water.
bought for 1.2 a couple years ago.
put in 400K in improvements.
This was the house of their dreams, but dreams change (more later).

Had a note for $13K a month that included 1350 bucks a month for insurance (I smell blood).

Owner figured an inland based McMansion would knock 8K a month out of payments that could be used for college savings.

I spit up some of the Australian Merlot I was drinking.

I am thinking?

A: You know you are ground zero for hurricanes when you have an insurance bill of 15k on a 1.5 mil home. That is 3 times what I am paying on a insured coverage/dollar ratio.

B: They were on drugs wanting 2 mil for some 1950's bungalow even with an updated kitchen, new lawn and hardwood floors.

C: They are going to have a tough time selling the house now that jumbo loans are a thing of the past and the overbuilding of luxury condos 10 miles away in Miami.

I bet they were having or about to have money trouble. Likely that the teaser ARM was about to reset, which probably was going to kick the mortgage up to 20-30K a month and they know they cannot afford those payments, and the taxes and insurance were insane.

What were they thinking when they made this move?

Didn't any friends or family member stop them?

God there are going to be some folks getting clobbered for their stupidity in the coming years..


anonymous said...

Forget RE. I just came upon the most incredible investment I've ever seen!

This guy is offering an 80% return. Not annually, not even monthly but in just 1 day. 1 day!

Casey, if you're still here, this could be your ladder out of the hole.

Aaron said...

W. John Williams is a hack with an ideological ax to grind. His numbers are highly suspect.

If you want to see historical CPI data that incorporates the newest methodologies check out the CPI-U-RS numbers.