Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Links 05/26/2009

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Jumps More Than Forecast – Bloomberg

Home sizes change with the times – The Los Angeles Times

Though the square footage of new houses tends to dip modestly in recessions, the size of the American home has essentially increased since 1973. But that changed last year, when the size of the typical house suddenly shrunk by 11%. That appears to be faster than at any time since the 1970s.

US bonds sale faces market resistance – Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

The Obama administration needs to raise $2 trillion this year to cover the fiscal stimulus plan and the bank bail-outs. It has to fund $900bn by September.

"The dynamic is just getting overwhelming," said RBC Capital Markets.

In Attempt To Jump-Start Economy, Obama Declares Tuesdays Ladies' Night – The Onion

State of Paralysis – The New York Times, Paul Krugman

"Drone Wars" Coming as Japan Prepares to Rejoin Global Arms Industry – Mish

Signs of more trouble ahead for housing market – The San Francisco Chronicle

House Prices: Real Prices, Price-to-Rent, and Price-to-Income – Calculated Risk

Housing Bust Leaves Most Sellers at a Loss – The Washington Post

Lawyer to Stars’ Ex-Wives Has Never Been Busier – The New York Times

Homes Are Consumer Items - Not Investments – Minyanville, Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Momentum Builds For Big Muni Bailout – Clusterstock

But the real story here is not the details of the bailout but the fact that a ludicrous idea of a city and state bailout when it was first put forth (last October) is now pretty mainstream. Both Tim Geithner and Obama have made nods towards its inevitability. None of them have come out and used the "b" word, but it's really a matter of how Washington can help California (and, to be fair, other states and cities) raise more funds, rather than if Washington helps them.

Four County Inventory Levels – Sacramento Real Estate Statistics

Realtors are abandoning a listing ship – The Los Angeles Times

"The real estate brokerage industry is not going away, but the combination of efficiency gains via the Internet and the cyclical downturn will both be significant forces to their rapidly shrinking ranks," Gabriel said.

The National Assn. of Realtors reports a 13% drop in membership since 2006.
In California, which has been hard hit by the housing downturn, just 2,030 people took examinations for broker and agent licenses in March, down from more than 18,000 in March 2005, according to the state Department of Real Estate.