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Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

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- Realtor (2nd or 3rd best you'll likely run into)
- Philosopher King of Real Estate Business in Ontario (self-assessed)
- Likes Public Policy & Governance Discussions
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Friday, May 06, 2011

May 6 2011 - Inflation or NO? "GDP boost from Squatters Rent" vs "...Fed Behind Curve"


May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Melissa White and her husband stopped paying their mortgage in May 2008 after it reset to $3,200 a month, more than double the original rate. That gave them extra cash to pay off debts and spend on staples until their Las Vegas home sold two years later for less than they owed.

“We didn’t pay it for about 24 months,” said White, who quit her job as a beautician during that period after becoming pregnant with her first child and experiencing medical complications. “What we had, we could put towards food and the truck payments and insurance and health things I was dealing with.”

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So-called “squatter’s rent,” or the increase to income from withheld mortgage payments, will be an estimated $50 billion this year, according to Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. The extra cash could represent a boost to spending that’s equal to about half the estimated savings generated by cuts to payroll withholding in December’s bipartisan tax plan.

“We’ve had a lot of government transfers to the household sector; this is a transfer from the business sector to households,” Feroli said. “It’s a shock absorber that has helped the consumer ride out the storm.”


more
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aZqgjYA25BGs&pos=10



Restaurants Lift Prices as Inflation Hawks See Fed Behind Curve

By Anna-Louise Jackson and Anthony Feld

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- Dining out will cost more this year as U.S. restaurants take advantage of the nearly two-year long expansion to boost prices on food and drinks.

Higher-priced menus reflect growing confidence by eateries that consumers can afford to pay more to eat out. Restaurants are emboldened in part by the success of U.S. airlines, which have raised fares almost 10 percent since a year ago, according to Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays Capital in New York.

“The fact that the airline industry was able to pass along cost increases signals that the pricing environment has become somewhat more favorable than it was during the heart of the recession,” Maki said. “It’s more likely restaurants will be able to pass along price increases now relative to the last few years.”

snip ...
Pressure on the Fed

All this is putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to prevent inflation from getting out of hand, said Samer Nsouli, chief investment officer in New York for the Lyford Group Macro Fund.

“Inflation hawks see restaurants and airlines passing through higher prices and say the Fed’s behind the curve,” Nsouli said. “The Fed’s not paying enough attention to such trends when it comes to its continued accommodative monetary policy.”

The central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee said it “will pay close attention to the evolution of inflation” in the statement for its April 27 meeting, when it kept the target for the federal funds rate, or overnight inter-bank lending rate, at zero to 0.25 percent. It first set the rate at the record low in December 2008. The Fed also reaffirmed at the April meeting its plan to complete a $600 billion Treasury purchase program by June.

full article
http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=ahEOfkKdNVvY&pos=11

‘Squatter Rent’ May Boost Spending as U.S. Mortgage Holders Bail

By Bob Willis and John Gittelsohn

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