Six Degrees of Leverage: Part II
In Part I I looked how a 10-year bond can be leveraged and the increased leverage of the money supply because of banks and I suggest that this increased leverage comes with substantial increased risk.
A 10-year bond with a utility company is very different than the bonds being sold for mortgages.
First, how different are families from utilities? There is an implied trust that payment streams will continue from families until the debt is repaid. What’s the relative difference in risk?
I did a blog, “Bad Feeling Good Times,” which was inspired by how the employment world, and standard of living has been changing. Workers born between 1957 and 1964 have held an average of 10.5 jobs and I think that is probably getting worse, not better. Add in that mortgages are based on family incomes and families fail. A utility company isn’t going to get a divorce, cancer or have an unexpected pregnancy.
And homes have been priced to family income based on low interest rates. This is another form of leverage. Traditionally mortgages were granted so that only 30% of your gross income could be used for the mortgage payments and property taxes. It seems to me that when I worked in banking mortgages were over 25 years, not 30, butI will use 30 years because this is what is being sold. Heaven forbid, a blog I read somewhere this week was talking about mortgages that had been granted allowing 50% of income for debt servicing. Seriously, this is economic slavery. There is no hope ever of digging out of that level of debt.
So, in how many ways is this leverage playing out in the economy that it can collapse? Take a household income of $100k lets have a look at how much mortgage they qualify for at different interest rates and difference percentages of income. To simplify this calculation I assume only mortgage payment, and no property taxes for this 30-year table.
|30% || 35% || 40% || 45% || 50% |
| 2% || 676,000 || 789,000 || 902,000 || 1,015,000 ||1,127,000 |
| 3% || 592,000 || 691,000 || 790,000 || 889,000 || 988,000 |
| 4% || 524,000 || 611,000 || 698,000 || 785,000 || 873,000 |
| 5% || 465,000 || 543,000 || 621,000 || 699,000 || 776,000 |
| 6% || 416,000 || 486,000 || 556,000 || 625,000 || 695,000 |
| 7% || 375,000 || 438,000 || 501,000 || 564,000 || 626,000 |
| 8% || 340,000 || 397,000 || 454,000 || 511,000 || 568,000 |
| 9% ||310,000 || 362,000 || 414,000 || 466,000 || 518,000 |
| 10% || 285,000 || 332,000 || 380,000 || 427,000 || 475,000 |
| 11% ||262,000 || 306,000 || 350,000 || 394,000 || 438,000 |
| 12% || 243,000 || 284,000 || 324,000 || 365,000 || 405,000 |
First, the fact that this is a 30-year table means that it already has debt amortized over an excessive amount of time. It means that it is already not conservative in any way, shape or form. Because it has become a social norm does not mean it has prudence built into it. Set the qualifying standards to 30% of income at 12% as the maximum for a prime loan over 30 years and now you have prudence built into it. It is insane and grossly ignorant to have allowed mortgage amounts to have increased to an identical percentage of income as rates declined.
And then a larger degree of insanity was added when the allowable percent of income was increased. And this has been referred to as progress and even a good thing by calling it “modernization” of loans? It isn’t a good thing, a wise thing, or modern innovation; it is an innovation of mass economic destruction that lines the pockets of a few for a relatively short period at the economic peril of the masses for a long term and has enormous spill over costs that are already being felt around the world, for example, Yukon has $36 million of this mortgage debt frozen, a bunch of Norway small towns have lost half this year's budget, including the school budgets, etc.
The degree of leverage, or money creation as that table goes from prudent at 12% and 30% of income to Master of Snake Oil finances at 2% and 50% of income is 464%. To see the same income qualify from a low of $243k to a high of $1.1 million is an absurd range with an absurd level of increased risk.
In part III I will look at the declining leverage of families to get ahead due to the structural difference of low interest loans compared to high interest loans and the gross negative leverage implications for families.