Here’s the update to the Case Shiller/S&P Housing Index just out this morning – good news mostly (at least if you’re a homeowner:
“New York, July 31, 2012 – Data through May 2012, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller1 Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that average home prices increased by 2.2% in May over April for both the 10- and 20-City Composites. With May’s data, we found that home prices fell annually by 1.0% for the 10-City Composite and by 0.7% for the 20-City Composite versus May 2011. Both Composites and 17 of the 20 MSAs saw increases in annual returns in May compared to April. Boston, Charlotte and Detroit were the three cities that saw their annual returns worsen in May, with annual rates of -0.1%, +0.9% and +0.6%, respectively. Atlanta continues to be the only city posting a double-digit negative annual return with -14.5%. However, this is an improvement over the -17.0% annual decline recorded in April 2012. All 20 cities and both Composites posted positive monthly returns. No cities posted new lows in May 2012.
“With May’s data, we saw a continuing trend of rising home prices for the spring,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “On a monthly basis, all 20 cities and both Composites posted positive returns and 17 of those cities saw those rates of change increase compared to what was observed for April. Seventeen of the 20 cities and both Composites also saw improved annual rates of return. We have observed two consecutive months of increasing home prices and overall improvements in monthly and annual returns; however, we need to remember that spring and early summer are seasonally strong buying months so this trend must continue throughout the summer and into the fall. “The 10- and 20-City Composites were each up 2.2% for the month and recorded respective annual rates of decline of 1.0% and 0.7%, compared to May 2011. While still negative, these annual changes are the best we’ve since in at least 18 months. “Taking a closer look at the cities, Phoenix again posted the best annual return. Average home prices in that region were up 11.5% versus May 2011. It was one of the hardest hit cities in the collapse, and prices are still more than 50% below their June 2006 peak, but the past five months have been positive for that market. Miami and Tampa are two other Sunbelt cities that were hard-hit in the downturn, but are now showing positive annual rates of change. Boston, Charlotte and Detroit, on the other hand, saw their annual rates of return deteriorate compared to April, even though prices rose over the month of May. Las Vegas posted both a positive monthly change in May and saw an improvement in its annual return; that said, the market is still more than 60% below it August 2006 peak. “June data for existing home sales, new home sales, housing starts and mortgage default rates were a bit mixed, but all are better than their year-ago levels. The housing market seems to be stabilizing, but we are definitely in a wait-and-see mode for the next few months.”
Bottom line is prices are stuck in the 2003 kiind of area, despite the increase shown month over month.
Woes of Darkest India
The electric grid of India has massively failed – and consequently, more than 600-million people are without power.
A couple of “fair comment” observations are in order here:
One: Being a “prepper” might be laughable to the uninformed, but seems to me that if one at taken on any of the prepper steps in India, now would be a fine period of payback.
Two: If you want a quick case study on what a solar kill shot (Carrington Event) would be like – start taking notes.
Three: India would likely not be in this position had the US not willy-nilly jobjacked manufacturing from what Ohioans call the “rust belt.”
Four: Despite claims of capitalism gone mad that the “free market” solves all, it’s a fine example of how capitalism really works at the extremes: Lack of funding and attention to primary infrastructure results in systemic failure.
What’s even more amazing? No reaction out of the financial markets in Europe.
If you wanted an undeniable incident to prove that globalism is dying, I don’t think you could find much better. Leaves only the question “How long before markets grok what this is really saying?” A few days, maybe…
Meantime, this is already going into Wikipedia which sums it up as:
“The July 31, 2012 India blackout began at 1:05 pm local time in India, affecting 15 states. This was the second consecutive failure in the previous 2 days. The previous one occurred on 30 July 2012, beginning at 2:35 am local time with power being restored by 4pm. The blackout was the biggest ever power failure in human history affecting over 600 million people. India’s northern and eastern regions both grid collapse affected a population about that of North India. Gopal Saxena, CEO of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd., a distributor for Delhi. NTPC Ltd. (NTPC) stopped generation at six power plants as a precaution “
Data just out ofrom Washington:
“Personal income increased $61.8 billion, or 0.5 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $52.4 billion, or 0.4 percent, in June, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) decreased $1.3 billion, or less than 0.1 percent. In May, personal income increased $39.0 billion, or 0.3 percent, DPI increased $31.7 billion, or 0.3 percent, and PCE decreased $13.3 billion, or 0.1 percent, based on revised estimates.”
” Personal saving — DPI less personal outlays — was $529.5 billion in June, compared with $472.4 billion in May. The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of DPI — was 4.4 percent in June, compared with 4.0 percent in May. “
Right. And I’m the Pope.
Not to be redundant here: bang, bang, boom.
China is going to the Moon. And this leaves a dandy point of contention for future conflict here on Earth: Suppose China gets there (they likely will) and claims the whole damn thing?
Is that when the US rolls out the Navy Space Division rumored to have fleets up? Or, will China get told “Don’t come back!” as conspiracy wonks believe the US was told? Couldn’t be that the Moon really is just a big hunk of rock and we have limited budgets, could it?
Still think social media is all that good? Well, a tweeter on coverage on the Olympics has had his Twitter account closed because of his views.
Ya’ll can apparently cuss up a storm on Twitter, but question (or make fun) of the corporate media paradigm and legal departments may reveal themselves to be a greater threat to free speech than all the jackboots in the world.
Pakistan has signed an agreement through 2015 to let the West keep shoving arms and supplies through its country into Afghanistan.
Why are we there, again?
People in next-door Kenya are on the lookout for deadly Ebola virus to show up from Uganda.
Fast & Furious: Bait & Blame
Attorney general Eric (fireproof) Holder still has his job, and if I’m reading the tea leaves right, the story out this morning about how five people were “responsible” for the Fast & Furious gunwalker debacle will give the public a few ounces of flesh but change nothing.
Notice how the calls for Holder’s removal have disappeared? You see, when there are various grand juries going on around the country which can delve into all kinds of things (like municipal bankruptcies, and such – gotten keep that kind of thing firewalled…) even the PTB have to respect the Attorney General’s power. What could be worse than a big federal investigation of this or that right ahead of elections?
A strange silence falls over the land: Balance of power, or got ‘em buy the nutteroos? Hmmm… Here take this human sacrifice and be off with you.
Why I Dropped Out of Higher Ed
A report out this morning is critical of the role of for-profit colleges, saying they bilk the public. I’ll grant you, the timing of this is obviously political, but with student loan debts now over $1-trillion dollars, at least someone is talking about the rot in higher ed.
Name any other industry based on information and what happens? Instant communications results in a lowering of the cost-basis. But in higher ed? Since funding has gone up virtually every year, almost magically, the cost of chairs in classrooms has gone up faster than the rate of inflation.
Is it a scam? Well, no, not exactly. But when one of the nation’s leading newspapers (which influences how policy is posted in Washington) has a for-profit subsidiary, the media coverage of higher ed being pro-student loans is understandable.
How to solve? Bar newspaper and media groups from all forms of cross-ownership. At least that would remove some of the incentive to bend editorial this way or that, as fits the boardroom agenda.
Oh, and while we’re at it, how come college textbooks cost so damn much? I can build a decent eBook and get it printed for $20-bucks. But college textbooks often costing over $100 per are the norm. Is there really that much cost of collateral material (“curriculum” is a high holy word in higher ed)? Hell no…and why isn’t this racket suspect?
The textbook costs are negligible. Getting a college degree ought to cost pennies not thousands of dollars. Google “open textbook project” and you’ll find fledgling efforts. But like everything else related to the huge profits in higher ed, like the misleading job potential and the scam proclaiming an Ivy League degree is worth more than one from an online/distance learning school, if it threatens profits it must be bad.
While it’s nice to see the issue coming back around, but don’t waste money better on change. Sure, you and I can see that information in textbooks is virtually free, and reading a book and taking a test (particularly online!) ought to be near free or $20 bucks a final test. But that doesn’t get folks worked up ahead of elections and that’s how the herd gets moved…
Hand me my blood pressure meds, would’ja? 22.7% of college costs as marketing overhead? Yep, seen that (and higher, depending on school…).
Turns out, speaking of national headaches, like the student loan scam and the various weighting of degrees deal, that migraines are more common than previously thought.
No, the study doesn’t mention a correlation between how aware people are, but I’ve got a nickel side bet that migraines are related in some way to how aware a person is of the complex way the global financial scam works. Being a sheep my be deplorable on a moral basis, but fewer headaches to be sure…
More after this…