November 19, 2005

Housing Bubble Q&A with UCLA Forecast


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

180 comments:

do_the_mathematics said...

The article says......

"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)"

I can't agree/disagree until we do the math.

Assumptions:

Rent Information:
$2000 Monthly Rent
$15 Monthly Insurance
5% Est. Annual Rent Increase

Home Information:
$700k Purchase Price
$ 6k Yearly Taxes
$1300 Yearly Maintenance
$ 600 Yearly Insurance
5 % Est. Appreciation
3% Selling Costs

Mortgage Loan Information:
$700k Loan Amount
7.75 % Interest Rate
$3250 Est. Loan Costs
30 Loan Term in Years
5 Years Before Sell

Financial Information:
28 % Tax Rate
8 % Investment Rate

Based on the information provided for a 5 year period:

Buying Analysis:
You will pay a monthly principal and interest payment of $5,014.00. You will gain a tax advantage of $74,151.00. You will gain an equity appreciation of $202,661.00, totaling a net value gain of $276,812.00. Selling the home in 5 years will incur closing costs of ($26,801.00), giving you a total net benefit of ownership of $250,010.00

Rental Analysis:
Based on the information provided for a 5 year period: If you chose to buy you would have paid home buying expenses of $300,893.00. You will pay rental expenses of ($133,515.00), giving a difference of $167,377.00. Investing the average yearly difference of $33,475.00 for 5 years at %8 yields $212,099.00.

Final Analysis
Because your Total Benefit of Ownership of $250,010.00 is GREATER than your investment yield of $212,099.00, it would be in your best interest to BUY this home rather than to RENT it.

There, I did the math and I seriously did not know what the outcome would be when I started. It makes sense though.....it is probably why 70% of us own our own homes......

everyone_calm_down said...

It looks like our blog host is paying too much for rent......seriously, $2,000 bucks a month for rent???
That is almost irresponsible with all the stuff going on in the world today....$2000 could buy a lot of aid for Katrina victims.......what a waste....

bubble_boy said...

I'm not good at math....all I know is that the housing market is going to crash because prices are too high and Bush is an idiot. And wait till Hillary becomes president.....she'll bring the whole world economy down.

bubble_boy said...

I'm not good at math....all I know is that the housing market is going to crash because prices are too high and Bush is an idiot. And wait till Hillary becomes president.....she'll bring the whole world economy down.

41cadillac said...

This "Bubble in Real Estate" is getting nasty. Look at this:

Maricopa County believes some Arizona and out-of-state investors are committing crimes and depriving state of millions.
The Associated Press

PHOENIX - Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has launched an investigation into the accuracy of the county's property records as well as the financial implications of any errors.

Real estate investors who falsely claim their rental houses as "owner-occupied" are potentially draining millions from the state treasury and may soon face criminal charges. Homeowners who live in their residence get a 35 percent "aid to education" tax rebate subtracted from their tax bill each year. The state reimburses that amount - an average of $200 a home - to school districts out of the general fund.

Thomas said he doesn't yet know the extent of the fraud or how much money was lost. Investigators likely will question owners if addresses of their properties are different from the addresses where their property tax bills are mailed, Thomas said. Violators could be prosecuted for perjury, a felony.

keith said...

$2000 is month to month rental on a vacation rental in arizona for a place that the similar unit next door is listing for $600,000. Here until I leave for Uk in January

You are correct, a more reasonable rent will be $1000 a month for a one year lease, but in a home that would list for $400,000 - $500,000

As to the math, thanks for the analysis. But one crucial mistake - called home value depreciation.

" You will gain an equity appreciation of $202,661.00"

Whereas I am saying (as are many economists) that houses will deflate, not incrase. Housing values will go to the mean - which is significantly below where we are currently trending.

So, you're whole analysis rides on that one point. And I believe this blog contains enough information that you should at least not have a comfort level when it comes to that one point.

House of cards.

everyone_calm_down said...

The guy said that housing would appreciate 5% a year and you have fault with that? I do too!!! (I think it will increase significantly higher than 5% but that is besides the point). At the end of this post I have listed the average median home prices for the US since 1968......there has not been any years where the price of homes have decreased.

I think the math guy's point is that long term you are almost always better off buying than renting. (Read that again.......especially the LONG TERM part).

You were correct that the math guy's too conservative 5% increase was wrong.....over the LONG TERM, housing for a 1 BR home has increased 6.36% a year since 1968. Again, there has been NOT ONE year where the median US housing price has gone down.

I find it funny that you mock your landlord for charging you "only" $2000 in rent in the original article, but then try to justify it in a later post. You even admit that you are paying too much (saying it is only worth $1000 a month in rent). Spending 2k a month in rent is wasteful........especially for a place that is only worth 1k a month.....wake up man.

Average US Median Home Price

1968 $20,100
1969 $21,300
1970 $23,000
1971 $24,800
1972 $26,700
1973 $28,900
1974 $32,000
1975 $35,300
1976 $38,100
1977 $42,900
1978 $48,700
1979 $55,700
1980 $62,200
1981 $66,400
1982 $67,800
1983 $70,300
1984 $72,400
1985 $75,500
1986 $80,300
1987 $85,600
1988 $89,300
1989 $89,500
1990 $92,000
1991 $97,100
1992 $99,700
1993 $103,100
1994 $107,200
1995 $110,500
1996 $115,800
1997 $121,800
1998 $128,400
1999 $133,300
2000 $139,000
2001 $147,800
2002 $156,200
2003 $169,500
2004 $185,200

Robert Coté said...

There are two reasons the median home has gone up in price since 1968. Inflation has increased 459% and the median home size has increased 60%.

1968 $20,100 adjusted for both: $179,774
2004 actual $185,200

Any questions?

everyone_calm_down said...

Thanks Robert - but what does that mean? Are you pro-bubble or anti bubble, I can't tell.....

Are you saying that home prices are increasing because homes are getting bigger? Well that makes sense.

Are you saying that home prices are increasing because of inflation? Well that makes sense.

Are you saying that home prices are increasing ONLY because of inflation? Well that does not make sense. Look at the below calculator from the
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics:

http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

It says that 20,100 in 1968 has the same buying power as 109,106 in 2004.....yet the median home price in 2004 is 185k. What that says is people are paying relatively more for housing in 2004 than in 1968, even adjusting for inflation. And as you say, they might be also buying relatively larger houses in 2004 than in 1968.

So?

Housing continues to be a good LONG TERM investment, whether it is 1968, 2005, or 2025. "Flippers" will stand to lose money, but history shows that LONG TERM investors will find owning their homes more profitable.

If you are going to use stats in your arguments......please cite your sources - hopefully they are credible.....I like to use the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Robert Coté said...

I thought I was clear with:

Since 1968. Inflation has increased 459% and the median home size has increased 60%.

1968 $20,100 adjusted for both: $179,774
2004 actual $185,200

$20,100x1.6x5.59= $179,774

Even at that it doesn't tell the whole story since median houses at 60% larger are more baths, better wiring, longer lasting components, built to higher codes, etc.

As to me personally pro/anti-bubble? There is a bubble and it has started to turn. Does that make me pro or anti?

The easiest calculator is at the Minn Fed Reserve:

http://minneapolisfed.org/Research/data/us/calc/index.cfm

I suspect that the median price for a comparable 1968 house sold today would lag substantially behind inflation. We'd be talking about 1400 sq ft with two prong 80 amp electrical service and 60% efficient oil heating, single pane leaky wood windows, few built-ins, formica counters, single car garage, uninsulated,... getting the picture?

Long term homeoqnership is a good deal because it is better than renting. Compared to other pure investment choice however... different story.

everyone_calm_down said...

Exactly.....that is exactly the point i try to drive home, especially to our poor blog host shelling out 2k a month in rent.

"Long term homeoqnership is a good deal because it is better than renting"

Robert Coté said...

"Long term homeoqnership is a good deal because it is better than renting"

Before any embittered renters out there complain about not getting fair treatment let me assure you that if we started discouraging homeownership the rental market would suffer. I'm always amazed at my renters voting for higher taxes/fees/restrictions on the rich landlords. Remove the interest deduction, I raise their rents. Increase property taxes, the increase is passed on. I don't lose money renting to others, I make money.

Our blog host pays $2000/month? Ouch. That's like a $700k mortgage after taxes.

keith said...

again, everyone calm down, to clarify - I sold my home ($150k gain 2 years) and am now renting a vacation rental at $2k a month, while owner is carrying $4k a month cost, or $2k loss for him, until I leave for UK in January

Real rent on a 12-month contract would be $1200 or so

everyone_calm_down said...

It's time for you to post a new article so you can end this thread and start a new one......you're embarrassing yourself on this thread string and need to start over.

Holgs said...

It's time for you to post a new article so you can end this thread and start a new one......you're embarrassing yourself on this thread string and need to start over.

No, you are.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that argument that housing always goes up, inflation-adjusted, LONG-TERM, depends on not buying at the peak of a bubble.

IF you buy at the peak of a bubble (which has, BTW, already passed.) then the only way you stand to make money, inflation adjusted, is by waiting for the peak of the next bubble, and only if the next bubble brings prices even higher than this one. That is going to be a long way off (probably not in your lifetime.) considering that the current bubble has been unprecedented. The only comparable bubble is Japan about 15 years ago, and prices there have been declining ever since. Maybe one day they'll turn around again, but it'll be another long road up before they get back to the bubble-peak prices of 15 years ago.

keith said...

Holgs - thanks for the support, but in the end, we can't save everyone. "Everyone calm down" is obviously invested in the scam continuing, not in touch with reality, closed minded as the intelligent design crowd, and beyond help

But, he/she is a good poster and welcome - we need contrarian input, no matter how bad it is

Walter said...

The real problem with assuming that housing will continue to increase exponentially at a 5% clip is that the affordability is not increasing at all for most people, but declining due to wages being generally stagnant, higher cost of energy, health care, etc... This is the crux of the matter that seems to be neglected by some here. Part of this is due to globalization of our economy, more competition in the market, fewer jobs, etc...

My story:

I purchased a modest 2 bedroom ranch back in '97 in central MA for 105K. The previous owner paid 135K back in 88. Interest rates were even lower in '97 than in '88, so yes indeed the cost of housing does decline. Fortunately I sold my house last spring for an insane 250K and plan to rent until the prices get back to normal.

Also I'd like to state that I'd rather purchase with a higer interest rate than a low one as you have the possibility to refi down the road if rates drop. Right now, rates are historically pretty low.

good luck to all!

keith said...

Walter = Genius

Enjoy, and build up your cash so when it's popped, 2007, 8.5% interest rates, you can buy and not have to finance - just pay cash with your 2004 sale proceeds and three years of savings from renting vs. owning

Genius.

REM528 said...

Something wrong with the appreciation math.
1 $700,000.00
2 $735,000.00 700x1.05
3 $771,750.00 735x1.05
4 $810,337.50 810x1.05
5 $850,854.38 850x1.05

An equity gain of $150k.

000000000000000000000000000000000000 said...

As a child I watched my father buy foreclosures from the bank in real estate cycles that use to run every 5 years. I remember the crash of the early 70's. I remember the 17.49% interest rate of January 1980 that wiped out real estate.

I bought in 1985 just before prices went up and tripled my money in three years. I moved to Marin County (wealthiest county in California at the time). We stayed for one year and sold at a loss of about 15%. We then moved to California’s Antelope valley, stayed one year and lost %50 of our homes value.
Crunch all the numbers you want and quote whatever cooked up statistics you can find. You will never convince me that real estate does not deflate. You can't sell me an investment that has a monthly tax and requires a 6% paper jockey to liquidate. I have been a trader my whole life and know this. "PEOPLE ALL BUY AND SELL AT THE SAME TIME"

keith said...

devestment - what is it like to sell a home at a 15% or 50% loss emotionally?

Also, did you consider renting it out vs selling?

I want to get into the emotions of what we're about to see. The pain.

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Potential buyers have to say "yes" many times to purchase your home ... but a single "no" over a seemingly minor item can kill the deal. You can do something about this.

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Someone knows how to bring a lot of into your home, over a single weekend. Opportunity attracts them. Emotion captures them. Competition excites them. Their wallets open. Top dollar for your home pops out in an open bidding process that concludes on a single Sunday afternoon .

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In this "cooling off" real estate market, suggest that the average residence is shown about 4 times a week during the first 3 weeks of a real estate listing. After that, an unsold home goes "stale" ... it gets shown less .

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Here's the home buying process into a single weekend. She does it by compressing the real estate marketing budget into a much tighter timeframe than normal .

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Hint #9 for . Bathrooms Sell Homes: Check and repair caulking in bathtubs and showers. Make the room sparkle!

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Hint #6 for . Clutter will clog a sale: Display the full value of your space by removing all unnecessary articles. Consider storing things you don't need all the time.

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. Be It Ever So Humble: Never apologize for the appearance of your home. After all, it has been lived in. Let the trained agent answer any objections. That's the job of your Realtor�.
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The average home is currently on the for about 4 months before it goes to contract. Around 15% of initial real estate contracts never make it to a successful closing ... something goes wrong, and the frustrated seller puts the home back on the real estate market .

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The average home is currently on the for about 4 months before it goes to contract. Around 15% of initial real estate contracts never make it to a successful closing ... something goes wrong, and the frustrated seller puts the home back on the real estate market .

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In the year prior to Hurricane Wilma, which ripped through south Florida in October, 2005, 64 homes had new owners at the . A snapshot of the present may show the Housing Bubble has already popped.

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Hint #5 for . Loose knobs, sticking and squeaking doors and windows, warped cabinet drawers, and other minor flaws detract from home value. Fix them. Most buyers assume there will be ten hidden problems for every one they see.

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