The #1 reason I know we're in a bubble is the cost of rent vs. the cost of ownership, or the PE ratio of housing - which is completely and totally out of whack (as I sit here in a $700,000 condo renting it for $2000 a month, vs. the $5000 cost of owning it)
This economist from UCLA, who is much smarter than me, does a good job walking through the reason and proof of the pubble. And what will happen. VERY important read - enjoy
A real estate bubble, or any asset bubble is not a situation where you hear a pop. Everyone always associates bubble with a pop. They think, gee, if there's a bubble, there must be a pop! coming at the end. That's not what a bubble is. A bubble is when the price of an asset becomes misaligned with the fundamentals that truly determine the price of that asset.
Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about here. Amazon dot-com -- let's go back to the NASDAQ days. At one point in time, Amazon was worth $180, $190 a share. The big question is: was that stock worth $180, $190 a share? Well, what determines the price of a stock? It's the net present value of the profits that accrue to that stock in the future. That's what we teach our MBA students. When they buy that stock, you're buying a share of the profit stream that comes from that company today and in the future. Some bright economist at one point in time, sat down and said, "Well, gee. What if Amazon dot-com captured 100 percent of the DVD, book and CD market in the U.S.? Would they ever make enough profits today or in the future to justify a share price or the market capitalization implied by the share price of $180, $190 a share?" And the answer was no way.
So, when you're talking about a house, and when I say we have a housing bubble, what I'm talking about is that the price of a house is determined by the stream of profits that accrue to that property today and in the future. And that of course is determined by the rental value of that property today and in the future.
Now, the reason I go through all this is, because you have to ask yourself the question, are we in a bubble market or not right now? And the answer is, as I firmly believe, is we are in a bubble market. And the reason I believe that is, there is no justification, there's no underlying fundamental that would make me think that a house in California today is worth 40 or 50 percent more than it was two or three years ago
November 19, 2005
Posted by blogger at 11/19/2005