Sometimes the stock market is more “faith based” than a mall-church full of unemployed white trash. The Dow did a triple-digit plunge this morning, because the world is actually ending, especially the “making money” part, but it suddenly did a 200-point turnaround on month-old data suggesting a whole 4,000 heavily marked-down new homes sold in September, before the complete collapse of all American and Global stock markets. What?
This is how desperate investors are for any kind of good news, and it’s tough to blame them for wanting a little positive sign we might be somewhere near the bottom. But they’re still stupid.
We can blame all sorts of idiots, con-artists, bad morals, clueless “consumers” and a basic rottenness at the diseased heart of America — for example, the fifth installment of an infantile yet gruesome torture pornography movie called “Saw,” as in “sawing up alive people while they scream,” topped the weekend box office alongside a live-action Disney movie about an idealized nation where American kids are attractive, wealthy and speak in adult sitcom sentences.
But mostly, we can blames housing. Your greater issue might be an addiction to dirty whores, but first you need the penicillin to kill the syphilis, before it kills you.
So even a 2.7% uptick in new-construction (or “houses built two years ago and still sitting empty”) housing sales should be super good news, right? That means there are only 394,000 vacant never-lived-in tract homes in America instead of 398,000! It’s a Halloween Miracle!
The prices are also down to four-years-ago prices, and these places are only moving with huge piles of “incentives” that would make the prices much lower if people were asked to pay for all the faux-fancy add-on crap developers used to make an extra 20% on, like those ghetto granite countertops and tacky window coverings and landscaping and even free swimming pools.
The regional numbers follow the resale numbers released last week: In the battered West, there are bigger increases in sales as house prices have dropped as much as 40% this year. In the rest of the country, sales are still way down or flat. (Nobody buys a house in the Northeast even when times are pretty good, because everyone is in their heating-oil hobbit hole until Bill Murray rescues the groundhog from Pennsylvania bitters after Barack Obama declares same-sex socialism for all.)
But it doesn’t matter, as this tiny positive number is barely 1% of the national inventory of empty tract homes that will probably all fall apart and blow away before America comes out of its Great Big Depression.
These sales happened in September, before the country was even in official recession territory, and before the spectacular collapse of capitalism that capped off 18 months of slow-boiling real estate/credit/investment/insurance/securities crises. Who knows if those 4,000 new “homeowners” even made their first payment?
Can you imagine anybody putting whatever cash they might have left down on a house this month?