Lately, my inbox has been flooded with emails from subscribers asking how to hedge the value of their homes. This can only mean one thing: the residential real estate market has peaked.
They have a lot to protect. Since prices hit rock bottom in 2011 and foreclosures crested, the national real estate market has risen by 50%.
I could almost tell you the day the market bounced. That’s when a couple of homes in my neighborhood that had been for sale for years suddenly went into escrow.
The hottest markets, like those in Seattle, San Francisco, and Reno, are up by more than 125%, and certain neighborhoods of Oakland, CA have shot up by 400%.
The concerns are confirmed by data that started to roll over in the spring and have been dismal ever since. It is not just one data series that has rolled over, they have all gone bad. One bad data point can be a blip. An onslaught is a new trend. Let me give you a dismal sampling.
*Home Affordability hit a decade low, thanks to rising prices and interest rates and trade war-induced soaring construction costs
*July Housing Starts have been in a tailspin as tariff-induced rocketing costs wipe out the profitability of new homes
*New Home Sales collapsed YOY.
*14% of all June Real Estate Listings saw price cuts, a two-year high
*Chinese Buying of West Coast homes has vaporized over trade war fears
Fortunately, investors have a lot of options for either hedging the value of their own homes or making a bet that the market will fall.
In 2006, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) started trading futures contracts for the Corelogic S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Index, which covered both U.S. residential and commercial properties.
The Case-Shiller index, originated in the 1980s by Karl Case and Robert Shiller, is widely considered to be the most reliable gauge to measure housing price movements. The data comes out monthly with a three-month lag.
This index is a widely-used and respected barometer of the U.S. housing market and the broader economy and is regularly covered in the Mad Hedge Fund Trader biweekly global strategy webinars.
The composite weight of the CSI index is as follows:
Las Vegas 1.5%
Los Angeles 21.2%
New York 27.2%
San Diego 5.5%
San Francisco 11.8%
Washington DC 7.9%
However, these contracts suffer from the limitations suffered by all futures contracts. They can be illiquid, expensive to deal in, and you probably couldn’t get permission from your brokers to trade them anyway.
If you want to be more conservative, you could take out bearish positions on the iShares US Home Construction Index (ITB), a basket of the largest homebuilders (click here for their prospectus). Baskets usually present half the volatility and therefore half the risk of any individual stock.
If real estate is headed for the ashcan of history, there are far bigger problems for your investment portfolio than the value of your home. Real estate represents a major part of the US economy and if it is going into the toilet, you could too.
It is joined by the sickly auto industry. Thanks to the trade wars, farm incomes are now at a decade low. As we lose each major segment of the economy, the risk is looming that the whole thing could go kaput. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called a recession and a bear market.
On the other hand, you could take no action at all in protecting the value of your home.
Those who bought homes a decade ago, took a ten-year cruise and looked at the value of their residence today will wonder what all the fuss is about. By the way, I met just such a person on the Queen Mary 2 last summer. Yes, ten years at sea!
And the next recession is likely to be nowhere near as bad as the last one, which was a twice-a-century event. So it’s probably not worth selling your home and buying it back later, as I did during the Great Recession.
See you onboard!
In Your Future?
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/home-sales-signboard.png345612MHFTRhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMHFTR2019-09-11 01:04:282019-10-14 09:48:32Has the Value of Your Home Just Peaked?
Below please find subscribers’ Q&A for the Mad Hedge Fund Trader March 3 Global Strategy Webinar with my guest and co-host Bill Davis of the Mad Day Trader. Keep those questions coming!
Q: Are you sticking to your market top (SPY), (SDS) by mid-May?
A: Yes, at the rate that economic data is deteriorating, and earnings are falling, there’s no prospect of more economic stimulation here, my May top in the market is looking better than ever. Europe going into recession will be the gasoline on the fire.
Q: Where do you see interest rates (TLT) in 1-2 years?
A: Interest rates in 2 years could be at zero. If interest rates peaked at 3.25% last year, then the next move could be to zero, or negative numbers. The world is awash in cash, and without any economic growth to support that, you could have massive cuts in interest rates.
Q: Will (TLT) be going higher when a market panic sets in?
A: It will, which is why I’m being cautious on my short positions and why I’m only using tops to sell. You can be wrong in this market but still make money on every put spread, as long as you’re going far enough in the money. That said, when the stock market starts to roll over big time, you want to go long bonds, not short, and we may do that someday.
Q: Do you see a selloff to stocks similar to last December?
A: As long as the Fed does not raise interest rates, I don’t expect to get a selloff of more than 5% or 6% initially. If we do get a dramatic worsening of economic data and it looks like we’re headed in that direction, the Fed will start cutting interest rates, the recession signal will be on and only then will we drop to the December lows—and possibly as low as 18,000 in the Dow.
Q: General Electric has gone from $6 to $10; what would you do now?
A: Short term, sell with a 66% gain in a stock. Long term, you probably want to hold on. However, their problems are massive and will take years to sort out, probably not until the other side of the next recession.
Q: Microsoft (MSFT): long term hold or sell?
A: Absolutely long-term hold; look for another double in this company over the next 3 years. This is the gold standard in technology stocks today. Short term, you’re looking at no more than $15 of downside to the December low.
Q: Would you short banks (IYF) here since interest rates have failed to push them higher?
A: I would not; they’ve been one of the worst performing sectors of the market and they’re all very low, historically. You want to short highs like I’m doing now in the (SPY), the (IWM), and Apple (AAPL), not lows.
Q: Is the China trade deal (FXI) a ‘sell the news’ event?
A: Absolutely; there’s not a hedge fund out there that isn’t waiting to go short on a China trade deal. The weakness this week is them front-running that news.
Q: Do you see emerging markets (EEM) pushing higher from the 42 level, or will a global recession bring it back to earth?
A: First of all, (EEM) will go higher as long as interest rates in the U.S. are flatlining, so I expect a rally to last until the spring; however, when a real recession does become apparent, that sector will roll over along with everything else.
Q: Would you buy homebuilders (ITB) if this lower interest rate environment persists?
A: I wouldn’t. First of all, they’ve already had a big 28% run since the beginning of the year— like everything else—and second, low-interest rates don’t help if you can’t afford the house in the first place.
Q: Would you short corporate bonds if you think there’s going to be a recession next year?
A: I’m glad you asked. Absolutely not, not even on pain of death. I would buy bonds because interest rates going to zero takes bond prices up hugely.
Q: Should you buy stocks in front of a blackout period on corporate buybacks?
A: Absolutely not. Corporate buybacks are the number one buyers of shares this year, possibly exceeding $1 trillion. Companies are not allowed to buy their own stocks anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month ahead of their earnings release. By removing the principal buyer of a share, you want to sell, not buy.
Q: What are the chances the China trade deal (FXI) breaks down this month and no signing takes place?
A: I have a feeling Trump is desperate to sign anything these days, and I think the Chinese know that as well, especially in the wake of the North Korean diplomatic disaster. He has to sign the deal or we’ll go to recession, and that would be tough to run on for reelection.
Q: Which stock or ETF would you short on real estate?
A: If you short the iShares US Home Construction ETF (ITB), you short the basket. Shorting individual stocks is always risky—you really have to know what’s going on there.
Q: What’s the best commodity play out there?
A: Copper. If China is the only country that’s stimulating its economy right now, and China is the largest consumer of copper, then you want to buy copper. The electric car boom feeds into copper because every new vehicle needs 20 pounds of copper for wiring and rotors. Copper is also cheap as it is coming off of a seven-year bear market. What do you buy at market tops? Only cheap stuff.
Q: Why did you go so far in the money in the Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) call spread with only a 10% profit on the trade in five weeks?
A: In this kind of market, I’ll take 10% in 5 weeks all day long. But additionally, when prices are this high, I want to be as conservative as possible. Going deep in the money on that is a very low-risk trade. It’s a bet that copper doesn’t go back to the December lows in five weeks, and that’s a bet I’m willing to make.
Q: Will a new round of QE in Europe affect our stock market?
A: Yes, it’s terrible news. It will weaken the Euro (FXE), strengthen the dollar (UUP), and force US companies to lower earnings guidance even further. That is bad for the market and is a reason why I have been selling short.
Sending You Trade Alerts from Africa
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/john-laptop.jpg388335Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-03-08 01:06:512019-07-09 04:01:56March 6 Biweekly Strategy Webinar Q&A
Years ago, if you asked traders what one event would destroy financial markets, the answer was always the same: China dumping its $1 trillion US treasury bond hoard.
It looks like Armageddon is finally here.
Once again, the Chinese boycotted this week’s US Treasury bond auction.
With a no-show like this, you could be printing a 2.90% yield in a couple of weeks. It also helps a lot that the charts are outing in a major long term double top.
You may read the president’s punitive duties on Chinese solar panels as yet another attempt to crush California’s burgeoning solar installation industry. I took it for what it really was: a signal to double up my short in the US Treasury bond market.
For it looks like the Chinese finally got the memo. Exploding American deficits have become the number one driver of all asset classes, perhaps for the next decade.
Not only are American bonds about to fall dramatically in value, so is the US dollar (UUP) in which they are denominated. This creates a double negative hockey stick effect on their value for any foreign investor.
In fact, you can draw up an all assets class portfolio based on the assumption that the US government is now the new debt hog:
Stocks – buy inflation plays like Freeport McMoRan (FCX) and US Steel (X) Emerging Markets – Buy asset producers like Chile (ECH) Bonds – run a double short position in the (TLT) Foreign Exchange – buy the Euro (FXE), Yen (FXY), and Aussie (FXA) Commodities – Buy copper (CU) as an inflation hedge Energy – another inflation beneficiary (USO), (OXY) Precious Metals – entering a new bull market for gold (GLD) and silver (SLV)
Yes, all of sudden everything has become so simple, as if the fog has suddenly been lifted.
Focus on the US budget deficit which has soared from $450 billion a year ago to over $1 trillion today on its way to $2 trillion later this year, and every investment decision becomes a piece of cake.
This exponential growth of US government borrowing should take the US National Debt from $22 to $30 trillion over the next decade.
I have been dealing with the Chinese government for 45 years and have come to know them well. They never forget anything. They are still trying to get the West to atone for three Opium Wars that started 180 years ago.
Imagine how long it will take them to forget about washing machine duties?
By the way, if I look uncommonly thin in the photo below it’s because there was a famine raging in China during the Cultural Revolution in which 50 million died. You couldn’t find food to buy in the countryside for all the money in the world. This is when you find out that food has no substitutes. The Chinese government never owned up to it.
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Man-in-China-story-2-image-6.jpg225336Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-02-27 01:07:462019-07-09 04:06:37Why China’s US Treasury Dump Will Crush the Bond Market
(THE NEXT COMMODITY SUPER CYCLE HAS ALREADY STARTED), (COPX), (GLD), (FCX), (BHP), (RIO), (SIL), (PPLT), (PALL), (GOLD), (ECH), (EWZ), (IDX), (WHY THE REAL ESTATE BOOM HAS A DECADE TO RUN), (DHI), (LEN), (PHM), (ITB)
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.png00Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-02-20 01:08:042019-02-19 16:33:08February 20, 2019