December 25, 2005

FLASH: New Home Sales Plummet in November - Down 11.3%, Median Price Falls 4.1% from October


Wow. These numbers were much worse than even I expected.

The 4.1% drop in US Median Home Value from October is the most shocking - that number folks is nationwide. So if you bought a home for $500,000 in October, it's now worth $20,000 less. Ouch. Pretty tough 30 day loss. And we're just getting started.

No Santa Claus rally for those beaten down homebuilder stocks... Hope "the banker" had stop-losses in...


Sales of new homes plunged in November by the largest amount in nearly 12 years, providing the most dramatic evidence yet that the red hot housing market over the last five years is starting to cool down.

Some of that price moderation was evidenced in the November report, which showed that the median price of a new home sold was $225,200 last month. That was up just 0.3 percent from November 2004, the weakest year-over-year price change in two years. The November median price was down 4.1 percent from the October median sales price of $234,800.

Some economists are worried that housing prices in some areas have been driven higher by a speculative frenzy that could see prices plunging as sales slow in the hottest markets. That scenario would evoke memories of the sharp declines that occurred when the stock market bubble burst in early 2000.

118 comments:

Dogcrap Green said...

For all it's worth you are miss reading the "median home price" value.

It's more of a reflection of smaller cheaper homes over taking the expensive homes in market share.

An example of "median home price" odditiy is that the median price for a condo is about the same as the median price for a single family home. Of coursethe condos in any specific market is cheaper than the single family homes in that market, but condos have a tendicy of being built in the blotted land bubble markets vversus central Iowa.

Home builders are holding steady. Could be we are talking about their expense - LAND droping in value in the bubble market, and not their profit margins.

They still out paced the S&P for 2005, watch them out pace them again in 2006

Dogcrap Green said...

Checkout my blog for an explaination as to how the home builders are growing their profits in a "declining" market. You're not quit getting this one.

keith said...

dogcrap - respectfully disagree. people didn't start buying smaller homes nationwide in November vs. October.

The median price is the best indicator of US home values, period.

Also, in today's numbers, time on market exploded to a 9 year high. This at a time that a tremendous amount of inventory is about to enter the market.

Also, this:

"Sales fell in all other areas, led by a 22.1 percent drop in the West, the biggest decline in this region since February 1995"

Good luck trying to explain away these numbers.

Anonymous said...

Keith - you are absolutely correct

"The median price is the best indicator of US home values, period"

Your blog states that home values will go down "20%, 30%, 50%".....here are the median home values for the past 38 years......there is not one year when home values have done down. Are you saying that when 2005 is over, the median home sales will show a decrease?

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

Anonymous said...

Keith B - Good luck trying to explain away those numbers.

Anonymous said...

4.1% drop from October to November. I can only assume that number will increase for November to December base on the fact that it is the winter season and Christmas. We could be looking at a combine drop of 10% by the end of December.

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Anonymous said...

It's very strange to see people that have doubt about the housing bubble enter into a housing bubble blog to read. Worry?

P.L. said...

I would say that this is probably very big news and could be a sign of things to come.

Back to the first dogcrap/Keith exchange:

The housing mix can definitely alter the median price, but that tends to show up more in localized analysis, with a smaller pool of houses that can skew the median. The fact that these are national figures would indicate Keith is spot-on and the drop is real.

If the median price was the accepted guide for appreciation on the way up (and it was), there's no reason it isn't valid on the way down.

keith said...

HP readers will recognize the median home value historical # copy and paste job - I think it's the 5th time it's been posted in response to bad housing news

And you know the intelligent folks in the room respond accordingly: Past performance does not guarantee future results.

For the un-savvy amongst us who can't grasp that simple concept (or can't or won't see a bubble when it forms), I wish you all the best. Good luck out there - you'll need it.

Happy holidays.

Tom said...

When Flippers read this news, they will be calling their local realtor to put their properties on the market. I don't think you need to worry till spring to see a flood.

Open the floodgates, it's going to get ugly.

Colorado Springs here said...

In 1994 a friend of mine wanted the seller to fix the front door of the house she was buying he would not because he was PO'd that he was selling the house for $60,000 less than he had bought it for. This was in San Jose, CA. Not positive but I think he had bought in 1989 or 1990.

Anonymous said...

The Sad Violins are playing in Boston, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma County, Placer County, Reno, Chicago, Suburban Chicago.... and on and on and on..... The cracks started in the spring YES the spring and the finger in the hole did not stop the flood...... The final curtain is dropping!

Remember the "Flywheel Effect"... That is also going on with the builders. They have their development money in place, the belly scrapers are out and running. The first spec houses are going up on the land. This is happening all around Chicago..... but WHERE OH WHERE are the Sales....... YES there is a HUGE BUBBLE IN THE CHICAGO AREA in the city with gross over building of condos and in the burbs with the single family homes and condo-plexes. The unintended consequence in Illinois of the big real estate bubble is RECORD REAL ESTATE TAXES! Yes for many in Illinois their highest taxes are their real estate taxes! A friend on the North Shore just popped $31,000 in real estate taxes. Another in West Chicago just popped $24,000.00. Another in Oak Brook $30,000.00. YES FOLKS this IS real! By the way the high school drivers ed teachers in these areas make about 100 grand a year! Passin' out the spoils of the Real Estate Bubble Boom! A Palatine school system administrator just retired with a cool 175 grand a year platinum parachute! Oh the BUBBLE and the law of unintended consequences thanks to Alan Greenspan!

Anonymous said...

keith -

Of course we've all seen the historical numbers. We're also in a housing (asset) bubble unlike anything that has even been seen in American history.

Poster saying that numbers are negative because of smaller home sales. You're so full of it. The average house has been growing in size for many years and it hasn't suddenly changed back to smaller homes.

Anonymous said...

Weighing in on the use of past performance as a predictor of future performance...

... I think it is bold to claim that the national median price will drop in 2006 or 2007, considering that it never has before. It seems more likely in local markets...

... that said, the game has changed so much since 2001/2002 that it may be time to throw out the old data. Why? The historically unprecedented use of interest only adjustable rate loans. When everyone is using a 30 year fixed, typically with a 20% down payment, and mortgate payments < 32% of monthly income, then it makes perfect sense that markets will be stable, because the vast majority of buyers can ride out a drop in the market. I'm not sure this will be the case as the arms come due... this is a new game, and we need a new set of metrics.

Anonymous said...

I was a multi millionaire in the fast food business till I invested in the Texas boom of the 80’s. After the crash I lost all including my primary residence. I ended up moving in with friends and have never really recovered.

This type of loss is not represented on the above chart.

000000000000000000000000000000000000 said...

I lost all in 1991 in California. Where is that on your chart.

Loss includes...

Venice walk street bungalo
Marin starter house
High Desert Mc Mansion
$230,000 cash
My investments
My IRA acount
My Business
My furniture

All easy come assets from the boom of the late 80's

Another New Renter said...

The reader who insists that "smaller cheaper homes over taking the expensive homes in market share" certainly isn't looking at new home housing stock in California. There has been almost no low-end development around Southern California since 2000. Everything I've seen is bigger and more expensive than the regional norms. The numbers are real and I'm suspicious that the Oct numbers were manipulated somehow. Speculators and flippers might be adding LOTS of inventory to the MLS on Jan 2 or 3rd. It will be interesting to compare tonight's MLS inventory to that of Jan 3 or 4. Where I'm at in Ventura County, asking price declines are evident and most of last summer's inventory hasn't moved and is now priced at or below sales prices for this time in 2004. The flipper/speculator inventory will be added very soon and spring inventory will hit in a few months. Nationally, as rates rise this probably will be the first nationwide decline in recent memory, probably a few percent nationwide, and a bigger decline than the 1990 bubble burst (40%) in Southern California. It's a mistake to assume real estate has never declined in US history. It did decline on average from 1890 to 1940. What happened then? According to Harry S. Dent and historians, a technological revolution from the widespread adoption of the telephone and motorcar. This allowed people to move further out. What is happening now? 1. The broadband telecommunications revolution that will allow people to keep their LA and NYC jobs while living in the desert or mountains. 2. The babyboomers are about to retire, downsize, cash out, move away from pricey areas. 3. The yield curve is about to be inverted, which means no more buyers of the 10year treasury, which means a spike in mortgage rates as the 10 years T-Bill rates must go up to bring back buyers. An inverted yield curve is also usually a precursor to recession. 4. Real wages have been falling in most bubble areas for sometime. 5. Affordability index in Los Angeles County is now at 11%, in SD it is 9% and the average buyer must make well over $100K to really afford the average home. Schiller and Case have shown that the income to home price ratio in California goes between 4 and 8 and then back to 4 usually, by either incomes rising or prices falling or combination of both. It is currently over 10 and white collar incomes are falling as major industries accelerate outsourcing, relocating to cheaper labor markets, and offshoring.

"Smaller cheaper homes" will overtake the fancy new developments in the near future. Instead of Hoovervilles or Katrina trailor parks, we can probably call these trailer parks for foreclosure victims Greenspan Villas.

foxwoodlief said...

foxwoodlief

foxwoodlief said...

Well, as hard as it may be for some to understand, the truth always lies some where in-between. Yes, 2006 may show parts of the country in a hurt when it comes to blotted real estate prices, maybe Miami, parts of Florida, New York, Boston, Chicago, California, and Phoenix, but many other places will see stability and others actually may see a price rise.

The most important thing for a local market is affordability and that old rent vs owning ratio. After that it is about JOBS. Then the diversity of the local economy. Denver suffered in the past because it was to reliant on Telecommunications, in the 80s Texas was too reliant on oil. A diversified ecomomy with good wages and affordability is what people should look at when they invest in a home just as they'd look at PE ratios for a stock or debt vs profits in a company. Then of course they need to look at the true cost of construction (the cost of raw materials) and cost adjusted for inflation.

Phoenix is in a bubble but will houses plummet in price? I personally think they will fall. Many of my friends here think they will stabilize. What will happen? Well time will tell. Phoenix's weakness is the lack of high paying jobs and an over reliance on construction and growth. If one out of three dollars generated are from real estate and housing construction then a slow down there will spell bad news for the local economy. A spiral can begin with people laid off, forced to sell and move, and a further increase in supply reducing the need to build allowing more people to loose their jobs blah blah blah.

Other places like Texas haven't experienced the cost run up in homes the past five years and adjusted for inflation many homes still sell for less than in the early 80s. Add to that the Texas Supreme courts ruling that property taxes alone to pay for schools was unconstitutional and the state has until Aug 31 of 2006 to find new sources of taxes which will lead to a 25-30% reduction in property taxes making homes even more affordable than they currently are and since even in brisk markets in desirable neighorhoods say in Austin the property tax reduction will have a positive effect on both the local DIVERSIFIED economy and the affordability of the current cost of homes.

Every market and every city may have pockets of over-priced homes but not every home owner will suffer equally. Those who own their homes outright saw paper gains and a paper loss will not hurt them as hard as a person who owes the bank more than an asset is worth. Others may have mortages but since they bought five, ten, fifteen years ago if they didn't take out their equity are still in good finacial positions and if refinanced at lower rates may be in even better positions. Even many who say bought fifteen years ago for say $145,000 and borrowed $60-80,000 on a home that is currently in a bubble worth $500,000 can see a 30% drop in prices and still be okay. Same with folk who may have bought in Phoenix a year ago and saw a 55% increase here then see a 50% drop would still be in an okay financial position as they'd still have seen a normal appreciation rate for the year on a house minus the bubble.

The economy is resiliant and continues to surprise. Consumer confidence is also going back up. Inflation will tame some of the excess in local markets as well. Is the Sky falling? For some. As in all markets some will win and some will lose.

Those who read the signs and act accordingly will prosper. Those who don't? Well even their suffering will be dependant if they are over leveraged or not.

What should one do? Depends on where you live and the trends manifested in local markets. If I lived in California and loved my home, my job, my life and own a home, nothing. I'd stay put and enjoy. If I was worried about a bubble? Sell and move some where cheaper. If I didn't own? Rent and save and if the market comes down, great and if it doesn't? At least I will have a larger down payment for my purchase.

Here in Phoenix I chose to sell and am relocating to Austin. The home I bought is twice as nice and half the cost and with no debt the payment is more than affordable. If I had wanted a change in my life I'd have kept the house I bought three years ago that was a bargain then fully loaded with everything one could want and a pool in a great location at less than $100 a sq ft, I'd have just stayed put. The payment was less than rent for a place half the size or quality and if I lost $200,000 in a bubble I wouldn't have cared since I still would have owed half of what people paid this summer.

So just evaluate your individual needs and finacial position. You don't jump in and buy because of froth in the market and you don't sell because you panic and see the sky falling unless all the signs point you individually to act in your own personal interest and needs. Don't ever get emotionally involved in your house or it may affect your ability to make rational, sound, financial decisions about your home. And numbers and statistics mean nothing by themself since they can be manipulated to say and mean anything a person wants them to mean. Just because 100% of people on death row eat carrots doesn't mean that everyone that eats carrots will be on death row.

foxwoodlief said...

One more comment, Why does everyone seem to concentrate on the US housing bubble? There are many other countries, especially European where homes are much more expensive and you get a lot smaller house and no one seems to think how will thier bubble affect the world economy. Europe always seems to get the kid gloves. Katrina and race? Oh, horrible America, France and riots? Well, we are learning. Home prices in US a Bubble? But you buy a McMansion for $800,000 and that is a bubble but no one thinks that $1.2 mil for a small condo in London or Barcelona or Paris extreme.

The American market has much more flexibility and liquidity and ability to absorb economic shocks and losses. What you get for the money even in over-heated markets here in the US seem like bargains from other markets.

Give us all a break and look at value for the dollar, the size of the American economy, productivity gains, growth in GDP, national debt compared to a country like Japan that exceeds 150% of GDP and yet America is the country that seems to get bashed?

Lets have some balanced perspectives and realize that the housing market nees some corrections in some markets but the sky isn't falling and won't be in the near term.

keith said...

fox - this bubble is truly worldwide. When I see stats that $30 Trillion has been added to home values worldwide since 2000 (from $40T to $70T in 5 years) I know it's the biggest bubble in world history.

When I see a flat in London that I could buy for $1.2M US rent out for $3000 US a month, I know we're in a worldwide bubble.

When I see the head of the New Zealand fed doing everything he can to stop the madness, including saying he doesn't care if NZ goes in for a hard landing, I know we're in a worldwide bubble

And when I see the bartenders in Phoenix buying investment property, as they're certain they'll make a killing, ...

Anonymous said...

The BUBBLE is essentially NATIONWIDE except in economically depressed areas like Detroit, Flint.

The reason it is NATIONWIDE is because of the super low Greenspan interest rates... and SPECULATORS combined with people only looking at the payment that went DOWN with the low rates.

Now take those low rates and put them in an economically hot area and you have a SUPER BUBBLE... it is like pouring gas on a fire!

When is the fed going to realize that interest rates should be area specific. If the area ie Detroit, Cleveland, etc. is in the economic pits.... target the incentives to THAT area.

Another New Renter said...

"Oh, horrible America, France and riots? Well, we are learning. Home prices in US a Bubble? But you buy a McMansion for $800,000 and that is a bubble but no one thinks that $1.2 mil for a small condo in London or Barcelona or Paris extreme. "

According to The Economist the bubble is world wide. However, I own a small place in Paris I've put on the market recently and the appreciation there has not been nearly as great as in Southern California. Also, hokey financing schemes that now account for the majority of originations in California are much less common in France and Paris, in particular, will always be a very desirable place to live as they don't have disastrous social policy like letting the homeless fend for themselves on the streets and dumbing down the entire public school system to avoid hurting the self esteem of the 4 dumb kids in the class.

The Economist, which has had the most trenchent analysis of this global asset bubble over the past few years, has called it the biggest global asset bubble in history (last June 16 I think).

Anonymous said...

another new renter-

I am just curious, we were in Germany for 1 year 1993-1994 and I remember people saying that the home loans were 100year loans. Is it like that in France and England to?

Anonymous said...

Germany does not have 100-year loans. There is no such thing there. 30-year loans are standard. 20-30% downpayment, often up to 50% are common. Some people even put 100% cash on the counter.

Option-ARMs, IO loans, and other fool schemes are unheard of in Germany, though.

Another New Renter said...

"I remember people saying that the home loans were 100year loans. Is it like that in France and England to? "

I've never heard of such a thing. My French banker tried to sell me a 20 year loan (rates are lower than the US but transaction costs and BS fees are higher), but I refinanced my US mortgage and have subsequently paid it off and cashed out. Europeans typically have a bigger down payment. The Economist pointed out that France appreciation rates are very high, as are Spain. There has been a real estate frenzy in British babyboomer retirement areas on those sunny shores. There has been unprecedented appreciation, without the hokey financing schemes that have put a very high percentage of bad debt in those securities the Chinese and Japanese are now holding.

Anonymous said...

A good way to look at housing prices is Current List price for newer < 10 years old houses on the market over time. The prices are dropping, but not as fast as they should. People are looking at closing prices to set the prices on their house. The problem is the sale is usually 30 to 45 days ago, and does not reflect the current market. IE. A 4 year old house in Roseville CA is now 630K, reduced from 700K, 2 months prior, reduced from 770K 6 months prior. This is a house that is behind the curve. Only realtors can see the reduced amounts and when. But you can see the "REDUCED" on the adds for houses. You will see them everywhere, and in quantity. In my area (Placer county, CA), the number of resale 1 story houses < 10 years old with list prices < 400K have increased 10 fold in the past 6 months.
Yes the bubble is leaking bad. It will continue at least until the spring. The best thing for the real estate industry is to take the hit fast and avoid the slow 4 year decline like the 90's. Realtors need to stop hiding the facts, they are starting to sound like used car salesmen (no offense meant to honest used car salespeople).

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Hint #11 for . You Can Sell Pride Of Ownership. Cleanliness counts. Potpourrie works. So does a nice-smelling stew simmering on the stove. Happy buyers often tell us: "I liked the smell of the home." And you'd be surprised how many people walked away from a "perfect" home because "the owners were smokers."

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Anonymous said...

watch "absorption rates" closely. It's a time-tested yardstick for home sales. Does it prove that the Housing Bubble has already popped? You bet it has.

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Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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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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