Monday, July 19, 2010

Jim Cramer comments on this week's upcoming housing numbers

Before calling it a night, we read a CNBC article summarizing Jim Cramer's comments regarding this week's upcoming housing data. Similar to what we said early on Monday morning and what we have been saying for a while, Mr. Cramer expects the housing figures to disappoint.

However, Mr. Cramer is blaming such potential disappointment on economists that provide the housing estimates. He actually said, "thanks to the eggheads economists who've created absurdly bullish expectations." This is an interesting way of thinking about the housing numbers. It seems that he's basically trying to minimize their possible negative impact on the equity market this week, especially given the fact that he had made some bullish statements last week. We don't recall much criticism of the same economists by Mr. Cramer when their estimates were too low or too conservative. We assume criticism was not applicable or necessary as their low and inaccurate estimates partially helped drive the equity market higher.

Mr. Cramer is looking for home prices to rise when builders begin building fewer homes. In other words, when inventories decline, prices are likely to go up. Unfortunately, the tax breaks offered by the government delayed such necessary inventory adjustment by creating an artificial and short-term increase in demand for real estate.

One thing with which we certainly agree is Mr. Cramer's view that one of the main factors slowing down the housing recovery is the lack of recovery in employment, especially given the fact that households remain burdened with debt.

Mr. Cramer also stated that the housing market is not a big percentage of the economy. This may be true, strictly speaking. However, given average household's massive investments in real estate, any significant downturn in housing certainly impacts average household's purchasing power and consumption. Let's not forget that consumption is a big part of the economy.

On top of all of that, we sensed a bit of excess boastfulness when we read his quote saying, " ... remember that you have the real numbers from me, and you can rest assured that you have not only seen tomorrow's headlines today, but Thursday's as well, and it can't get any better than that."

We certainly do not have as much credibility as Mr. Cramer (and likely never will). Nor are we respected and experienced as he is. For this reason, his statements were a surprising, which is why we thought to comment on them.

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