Zillow Group Inc. shares fell as much as 6.8% in premarket trading Monday after the online real estate firm said it would stop buying new homes and work to clear a backlog of properties it already has.
The Seattle-based company, which acquired more than 3,800 homes during the second quarter, has seen its stock price tumble about 27% this year after it nearly tripled in 2020 amid the pandemic-fueled housing market boom.
The shares have come under additional pressure in recent weeks after a viral TikTok video from a real estate agent in Las Vegas said an unnamed company was pulling off a convoluted scheme to manipulate housing prices in his home market. Zillow is also facing increased competition from firms like Opendoor Technologies Inc., which announced in August that it bought about 8,500 homes during the second quarter.
Zillow, which acquired more than 3,800 homes in the second quarter, will stop pursuing new home purchases as it works through a backlog of properties already in its pipeline.
“We are beyond operational capacity in our Zillow Offers business and are not taking on additional contracts to purchase homes at this time,” a spokesperson for Zillow said in an email. “We continue to process the purchase of homes from sellers who are already under contract, as quickly as possible.”
Zillow is best known for publishing real estate listings online and calculating estimated home values – called Zestimates – that let users keep track of how much their home is worth. The popularity of the company’s apps and websites fuels profits in Zillow’s online marketing business.
Of course, The Fed dumping in trillions into a bottlenecked housing market is helping to fuel the flipper fire.
Is this a secret warning about a possible slowdown in the housing market?
Has The Federal Reserve lost control of the economy? And inflation? The answer is likely yes. Why?
The Covid crisis has been played by the Federal government as an excuse for insane levels for spending coupled with massive monetary stimulus from The Federal Reserve.
As an example of The Fed losing control is US savings. The Fed’s model is to drive savers into consumption, therefore raising production and increasing GDP growth. But alas, The Fed can’t overcome the fear faced by consumers with Covid, Covid shutdowns, and rapidly rising prices.
(Bloomberg) — Consumers in Europe and the U.S. aren’t rushing to spend more than $2.7 trillion in savings socked away during the pandemic, dashing hopes for a consumption-fueled boost to economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the wake of lockdown easing during the northern hemisphere’s summer holiday season, excess savings in euro-area bank balances declined only marginally in August, and Italy still recorded an increase, according to calculations by Bloomberg Economics. In the U.S. there has also been no drawdown, the figures show.
The absence of a consumption surge that had been anticipated by some economists may speak against the prospect of a lasting inflation shock feared by central banks. While higher balances could help households cope with skyrocketing heating bills, tepid demand might temper businesses’ ability to push through permanent price increases.
In the USA, we see accumulated savings despite near-zero deposit rates at banks.
To be sure, The Fed reacted (or overreacted) to the Covid outbreak by increasing the money supply and their purchase of Treasuries and Agency MBS as the Federal government went on a wild spending spree.
But with trillions in Stimulypto Federal spending and Fed money printing, the bottlenecks in the economy (which apparently weren’t known before … ) have contributed to massive price increases that aren’t going away any time soon.
Notice how Fed monetary policies changed after the housing bubble burst and ensuring financial crisis/Great Recession. Before 2008, The Fed periodically whipsawed their Fed Funds target rate. But since late 2008, we have seen hardly any move from The Fed (except for 2017-2020 while Trump was President). For Obama,
Here is a look at The Fed’s record under Obama, Trump and Biden. The Fed raised their target rate only once under Obama until Trump was elected. Then The Fed raised rates 8 times. Then began lowering them again (5 times) leading to a big drop when Covid stuck. So for Trump, The Fed changed their target rate 13 times compared to 1 rate change under Obama and none under Biden.
And the above chart is only The Fed’s target rate. My point is that Yellen failing to raise rates under Obama has resulted in this over DC-Stimulypto we are seeing today.
Note the difference in Fed policies BEFORE the financial crisis. We need to return to a normal Fed policy rather than the hyper-inflationary zero-rate, QE policies since 2008.
M2 Money velocity (GDP/M2 Money) remains near an all-time low.
But given DC’s spending spree and all-time lows for M2 Money Velocity, The Fed is going to need to keep purchasing trillions in debt at low interest rates. The abnormal Obama years (Bernanke/Yellen) are the NEW abnormal. Or should I say abby normal policies?
Well, Janet, we are headed there anyway with GDP crashing to a measly 1.33%.
The fear of not approving a debt ceiling increase (laughable since Democrats can do it on their own) has caused there to be a “little dipper” in the US Treasury actives curve. Meaning that the 1-month T-bill yield is higher than the 1-year T-bill yield.
Since Joe Biden took office in January 2021, we have seen several actions from The White House. First, was the cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline (making the US more energy dependent on others). Second, Biden waived US sanctions on Russian pipeline to Germany. Big winner? Russia. Big loser? US consumers trying to heat their homes.
Here is a chart of natural gas prices since Biden took office in January.
Biden reminds me of Dwight Schrute from the TV show “The Office” as he loves to punish people. In this case, families trying to heat their home. And have his own currency, Schrute Bucks.
Perhaps The Federal Reserve should rename the US Dollar as “Biden Bucks.”
Here they go again! A cautionary tale of a government gone wild resulting in gut-wrenching inflation and 76.7% of the population living in extreme poverty.
Venezuelais launching a new version of the bolivar in the latest attempt to salvage a currency so beaten down by years of hyperinflation that residents have adopted the U.S. dollar.
The so-called digital bolivar, which is being introduced Friday, effectively removes six zeroes from the “sovereign bolivar,” which started circulating just three years ago.
New banknotes and coins will be put into use. Bank accounts will be adjusted to reflect the redenomination. And debit and credit card purchases will become easier: there were so many digits involved in some transactions that merchants were forced to split the transaction into multiple card swipes.
It’s another maneuver aimed at propping-up the national currency, even though President Nicolas Maduro’s government is permitting the use of the U.S. dollar as a way to cope with runaway inflation and shortages. The government has implemented two other currency changessince 2008, dropping eight zeroes. Hyperinflation, among the highest in the world, has slowed to 2,146% per year from more than 300,000% in 2019, according to Bloomberg’s Cafe Con Leche index.
Under Friday’s change, the largest former banknote, for 1 million bolivars — worth about $0.23 –will be replaced by a 1-bolivar coin. One dollar will fetch around 4.2 bolivars instead of 4.2 million bolivars at the official exchange rate.
“This is useless. Prices will continue to rise and, in a few months, the new bills will be useless,” said Leida Leon, a 37-year-old cleaning worker at a Caracas school.
And Venezuela’s official inflation rate for household goods is a blood-curdling 4,245% YoY.
On Thursday, demand for dollars rose as people feared a prolonged suspension of banking services as the redenomination is rolled out, said Luis Arturo Barcenas, senior economist at Caracas-based financial analysis firm Ecoanalitica.
Two-thirds of retail transactions involve the U.S. dollar, according to Ecoanalitica. Yet, many Venezuelans need bolivars for everyday transactions, like bus fares and to buy gas subsidized by the government. While the government is attempting to boost the use of digital payments, many regions are beset by regular electrical blackouts that affect communications.
Venezuelans have faced disastrous government policies and pressure from U.S. sanctions that have put the country on the brink of its eighth-straight year of economic contraction. More than 5 million people have fled the country, once one of Latin America’s wealthiest.
An estimated 76.6% of Venezuelans are living in extreme poverty, up from 67.7% last year, according to a university survey on living conditions known as Encovi.
As least Venezuela’s Treasury Department could produce a likeness of Simón Bolívar (aka, Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco) that doesn’t look like a bad cartoon character.
Central banks are turning “hawkish” in the face of inflation.
(Bloomberg) — Treasuries fell, sending 10-year yields to a three-month high, as traders braced for a testing week of heavy bond auctions and continued to digest the prospect that central banks in the U.S. and Europe will step up the pace of policy tightening.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries reached 1.51%, the highest since June, before settling at 1.48%. The yield has climbed 16 basis points over the past week as the Federal Reserve signaled it may start reducing its asset purchases in November and raising rates as soon as next year. Yields on two- and five-year Treasuries hit their highest levels since early 2020, with a combined $121 billion of the securities set to be sold Monday. A seven-year auction is due Tuesday.
While Treasuries briefly extended the selloff after a report showed durable goods orders exceeded economists’ forecasts, they started to pare losses after U.S. equity futures soured.
Bond yields increased across the globe last week as central banks move to reduce pandemic stimulus. The Bank of England surprised markets by raising the prospect of increasing rates as soon as November, and Norway delivered the first post-crisis hike among Group-of-10 countries. In the U.S., traders pulled forward wagers on an interest-rate increase to the end of 2022 following last week’s Fed meeting.
On the equity side, FAANG stocks trail the S&P 500 as 10-year Treasury yield climb.
We have the 10-year Treasury yield climbing above the S&P 500 dividend yield.
The next Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting is next week with an announcement on Wednesday, September 22nd.
(Bloomberg) — Volume in the December 2024 eurodollar futures contract has surged Friday, approaching 200k, highest in the strip. Weekly volume exceeds 800k ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting. The December 2024 contract is a proxy for the Fed’s taper timeline, similar to the belly of the Treasuries curve (aka, the belly of the beast).
As of 2:30pm ET, nearly 197k Dec24 eurodollar contracts had traded, bringing weekly total to 816k, third most in its lifetime; notable flows on the day have included three block trades for 5k each:
The contract also appeared in curve trades including 9.3k Sep24/Dec24 3-month, 18.9k Dec23/Dec24 12-month and 24.8k Dec22/Dec24 24-month
The Dec22/Dec24 eurodollar spread has been in the spotlight since Morgan Stanley recommended the steepener in June as a way to exploit the disconnect between expectations for the pace and timing of Fed rate increases
As of today, we see a kink in the US Dollar Swaps curve at 21m.
With inflation the highest since 2008, and M2 Money still growing at 12.1% YoY, it is time for The Fed to take it foot off the accelerator pedal.
The Fed’s Dots Plot as of the last FOMC meeting indicates a willingness to let the Fed Funds Target rate start rising again after over a decade of rate suppression.
Given the fear of The Fed tapering (eventually), is it any wonders alternative investments such as Bitcoin have risen as The Fed cut rates?