Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Ravencoin RVN About to EXPLODE to NEW HIGHS! Last Chance to Buy Before it goes to the MOON! - 21st Oct 21
Stock Market Animal Spirits Returning - 21st Oct 21
Inflation Advances, and So Does Gold — Except That It Doesn’t - 21st Oct 21
Why A.I. Is About To Trigger The Next Great Medical Breakthrough - 21st Oct 21
Gold Price Slowly Going Nowhere - 20th Oct 21
Shocking Numbers Show Government Crowding Out Real Economy - 20th Oct 21
Crude Oil Is in the Fast Lane, But Where Is It Going? - 20th Oct 21
3 Tech Stocks That Could Change The World - 20th Oct 21
Best AI Tech Stocks ETF and Investment Trusts - 19th Oct 21
Gold Mining Stocks: Will Investors Dump the Laggards? - 19th Oct 21
The Most Exciting Medical Breakthrough Of The Decade? - 19th Oct 21
Prices Rising as New Dangers Point to Hard Assets - 19th Oct 21
It’s not just Copper; GYX indicated cyclical the whole time - 19th Oct 21
Chinese Tech Stocks CCP Paranoia, VIES - Variable Interest Entities - 19th Oct 21
Inflation Peaked Again, Right? - 19th Oct 21
Gold Stocks Bouncing Hard - 19th Oct 21
Stock Market New Intermediate Bottom Forming? - 19th Oct 21
Beware, Gold Bulls — That’s the Beginning of the End - 18th Oct 21
Gold Price Flag Suggests A Big Rally May Start Soon - 18th Oct 21
Inflation Or Deflation – End Result Is Still Depression - 18th Oct 21
A.I. Breakthrough Could Disrupt the $11 Trillion Medical Sector - 18th Oct 21
US Economy and Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 17th Oct 21
The Gold Price And Inflation - 17th Oct 21
Went Long the Crude Oil? Beware of the Headwinds Ahead… - 17th Oct 21
Watch These Next-gen Cloud Computing Stocks - 17th Oct 21
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC 1 YEAR Use Review Verdict - Does it Still Work? - 16th Oct 21
Altonville Mine Tours Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 16th Oct 21
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

History Will Show That Alan Greenspan Was Responsible for the U.S. Housing Market Bubble

Housing-Market / US Housing May 20, 2009 - 12:51 PM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Housing-Market Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleBack during the U.S. invasion of Iraq, when the U.S. government issued its now-famous deck of playing cards featuring pictures of the 52 arch villains of the Iraqi police state, Saddam Hussein's face adorned the Ace of Spades. If the Barack Obama administration wanted to engage in a similar public relations campaign - this time with a focus on the U.S. real estate crisis - that top card should be reserved for former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.


In a speech before the National Association of Realtors last Tuesday, Sir Alan "the-bubble-blower" Greenspan claimed that his low-interest-rate policies in the early and middle years of this decade had no effect on mortgage rates or real estate prices. As a result, he claims no responsibility for the subprime mortgage crisis. But even current Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner - who shared interest-rate-policy responsibility as governor of the New York Fed during the Greenspan regime - recently admitted that overly accommodative policy helped inflate the bubble. So what does Greenspan know that everyone else doesn't?

Greenspan's primary defense is that mortgage rates were a function of long-term interest rates that were simply not responding to the movement in short-term rates, which he did control. While it is true that the flow of capital from foreign creditors with excess dollars did keep long rates low despite rising short rates, this "conundrum" was not the leading factor in the housing bubble. Although rates on 30-year-fixed-rate mortgages are based on long-term bonds, by 2005 such loans had become an endangered species. The housing bubble was all about adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) with teaser rates of one to seven years - which are primarily based on the benchmark Fed Funds.
The rock-bottom teaser rates, permitted by the 1.0% Fed Funds rate, were the primary reason that many homebuyers were able to qualify for mortgages they couldn't otherwise afford - which, in turn, enabled them to bid U.S. home prices up to "bubble" levels. By pushing down the cost of short-term money, the U.S. central bank enabled homebuyers to make big bets on rising real estate prices. Without the Fed's help, few borrowers would have "qualified" for these risky mortgages and real estate prices never would have been bid up so high.

Greenspan expresses exasperation now, as he did then, that his careful nudging of interest rates higher by quarter-point increments did not translate into corresponding increases in long-term rates. Unfortunately, according to Greenspan, the markets would not cooperate with his wise guidance, and to his dismay, mortgage rates fell despite his best efforts.

As they say in Texas, that dog just won't hunt. If the "measured pace" of his quarter-point rate hikes were too slow to produce the desired effect, why didn't Greenspan jack up the pressure? With interest rates far below the official inflation rate for so many years during the bubble, he certainly had plenty of room to maneuver. The claim that he was unhappy with the ultimate results of his rate hikes - despite his having done nothing to adjust that policy - is ridiculous.

In addition to his colossal errors on interest-rate policy, there were many other ways Greenspan blew air into the real estate bubble. One example was what the market called the "Greenspan put." By creating the perception in word and deed (that has since proven accurate) that the Fed would backstop any major market or economic declines, lenders became more comfortable making risky loans.

In an often-quoted 2004 speech, Greenspan went so far as to actively encourage the use of adjustable-rate mortgages and praised home-equity extractions for their role in contributing to economic growth. In fact, rather than criticizing homeowners for treating their houses like ATM machines, he often praised the innovative ways in which such homeowners were "managing" their personal balance sheets.

In short, Greenspan was as much a proponent of leverage for homeowners on Main Street as he was for bankers on Wall Street.

The bottom line is that Greenspan fathered the housing bubble and now he refuses to acknowledge kinship with his wayward child. His denial of responsibility is an act of stunning bravado, and is a testament to his ability to turn even the simplest of situations into an impenetrable tangle of theories and statistics.

"The Maestro" easily trumps the private sector jokers who now hold top dishonors in our pack of economic villains. The fact that Greenspan still has any credibility shows just how little understanding the general public - including Wall Street and the media - actually has about this crisis.

[Editor's Note: Peter D. Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital Inc.'s president and chief global strategist, is a well-known author and commentator, and is a periodic contributor to Money Morning. Schiff is the author of two New York Times best sellers: "The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets," and "How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse." For a more-detailed analysis of the nation's financial problems, and the inherent dangers that these problems pose for both the U.S. economy and for dollar-denominated investments, click here to download Euro Pacific's new financial-research report, "The Collapsing Dollar: The Powerful Case for Investing in Foreign Securities."

In the midst of an ongoing financial crisis that's eradicated trillions of dollars in shareholder wealth, the profit search facing U.S. investors is tougher than ever. The uncertainty surrounding the economic-stimulus and banking-bailout plans isn't helping.  But a special new offer from Money Morning is a two-way win for investors: A free report provides insights into the threats those plans pose, while our monthly newsletter, The Money Map Report, consistently spotlights some of the hard-to-find but potentially lucrative profit plays that remain. Investors who subscribe to the Money Map Report can obtain a complimentary copy of Schiff's best seller, "Crash Proof," in which he details the causes of the housing bubble and financial-system collapse, and tells investors how to dodge losses from the problems that are still to come. To read our free report, and to find out more about thisspecial offer , please click here.]

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2009 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in