Housing Bubble Pop Alert: Colony Pulls IPO On “Market Conditions”, Blue Mountain Rushes To Cash Out Of Own-To-Rent
Here is a simple way to test if the last year of housing market gains have been due to a real, fundamental, consumer-led recovery, or nothing but the latest iteration of the Fed’s money bubble machine manifesting itself in the place of least du jour resistance – houses: Assume rising interest rates.
That’s right – the oldest economic joke in the book is also the best way to approximate real marginal demand, especially by those whom even the NYT earlier today identified as the primary beneficiary of cheap credit which they have subsequently transformed into an ubiquitous landlord industry, buying up homes by the tens of thousands with the intention of quickly converting them to rentals.
So if, indeed, it is the smart money that defines the marginal price, and since said money is “smart” and realizes that either the US consumer is tapped out and unable to satisfy a priori modeled cash flow demands or it anticipates a rise in interest rates (not due to a pick up in the economy but due to a tapering of Fed purchases – two very, very different things: note the pick up in yields at the end of QE1 and QE2 which signaled not an economic recovery but simply more QE a few months down the line) which contrary to the propaganda on TV would have a devastating impact on the housing market and also the economy, then we would promptly see the imminent pop of the second coming of the housing bubble.
One can make the argument that some have already felt the early tremors: late last year it was Och-Ziff, one of the original entrants in the REO-to-Rent business who called it quits as the returns it was generating from rental income were “less than expected.” Then just last week we wrote about Carrington, an early landlord investor backed by OakTree, which too decided to quietly slip out the back exit. Carrington’s memorable quote still haunts us: “There’s a lot of — bluntly — stupid money that jumped into the trade.“