September 30, 2006

It's getting a bit surreal, reporting on the housing devastation underway. Who'd of thunk it'd happen so fast?


Sure, we've still got some corrupt fools out there cheerleading, or saying we'll get right back to party-on in just a couple of months (Lereah, Appleton-Young, the corrupt idiot at Harvard, Bernanke, etc).

But you can't hide from reality, and the reality is that the greatest Ponzi scheme of all time is over, only an ignorant fool would be out buying a home today, and prices will now drop right back to (or below) the historic mean.

Here's the view from LA, of a meltdown that has now spread nationwide, soon to be worldwide.

So I guess it's official: The real estate market is tanking. On Monday, the National Assn. of Realtors reported that, for the first time in a decade, the average price of a U.S. home actually declined. In California, sales of existing homes in August were down 30.1% from August 2005, which is the steepest year-over-year drop in almost 25 years.

But like children, houses are highly efficient delivery systems for denial. Just as no parent would admit that his or her offspring — no matter how costly, ill-behaved or intimately acquainted with the juvenile justice system — is anything other than a source of unmitigated joy, people who own their homes will tell you that the market is just fine. Best to listen to National Assn. of Realtors chief economist David Lereah, who said in a quote in this paper Monday: "This is the price correction we've been expecting — with sales stabilizing, we should go back to positive price growth early next year."

Hey, great! Problem is, that same article also quoted another economist who said that "the speed of the collapse has been astonishing" and predicted "no chance of any short-term relief." Translation: If you're a renter, you now have permission to be as self-satisfied as the homeowners who once taunted you with their dizzying appreciation rates. As for us owners, we can just cover our ears and sing "Correction! Correction! I can't hear you!" until things start looking up again.

Call it a correction or call it a crash. Either way, the party's over.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Guess all those editors are just Jealous Bitter Renters, hmm?

Anonymous said...

WHETHER ITS THE 49% WHO VOTED FOR BUSH AND BELIEVED THAT IRAQ HAD WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND SADDAM WAS INTIMATELY INVOLVED IN 911...

OR THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO PURCHASED CARDBOARD TRASH ON ARMS OR ZERO INTEREST.....

ONE THING IS FOR SURE....

NEVER IN HISTORY EXCEPT FOR ANCIENT ROME HAS A NATION SANK SO LOW AND SO FAST....

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE ONLY THEMSELVES TO BLAME...

AT A CERTAIN POINT THEY HAD WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, WEALTH, AND POWER...

BUT INSTEAD OF INVESTING IN TEMPLES OF REASON AND WISDOM....

THEY DECIDED TO THROW IT ALL AWAY AT THE CASINO....

IT WAS NICE KNOWING YOU AMERICA!!!

ON TO OUR NEW HOME IN TROMSO,NORWAY.

foxwoodlief said...

Sales may be down but prices haven't fallen yet to match. People are still sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what happens next. If prices keep rising even by 1 or 2% and rates continue to drop there will be another mad rush into the hot waters.

Renters? More money is flowing into REITs for rental property as they see the next area to make it big is in rentals. Why? A lot of folk can't afford the prices and inflation. The Paper this week said rent prices continuing to rise nationwide and many markets are showing the strongest absorption rate of their rental properties with the average vacancies on apartments around 5%.

So, for all those renters who think they have the edge? Inflation can hit you pretty fast. We can have asset deflation with inflation at the same time. As much as I don't want to own a house at times (more for the freedom to travel and not be tied down) my costs are lower than if I rent an equivilant property. Also saw that article comparing apples with apples in the paper this weekend and it compared an executive style 2200 sq foot home worldwide and the USA still came out the most affordable out of the industrialized world.

There is a big difference between sales volume and prices. There is a difference in a person asking $500,000 instead of $600,000 when they only paid $300,000 to start with. Most people can afford a $1200 mortgage payment for a $200,000 loan for a 2000 sq ft house. I can't find too many places I'd live where $1200 rent gets you a better deal than owning.

Oh, just came back from Galveston and hey, the island has very affordable houses and in their Ghetto there are boarded up houses you can buy cheap!

Salt Lake Mortgage Guy said...

I was afraid of investing in REITs because I feared a housing slowdown. Then I learned they invest in apartments and commercial property. As housing has become more expensive to own, rentals have gone up. REITs have that covered.

During the run up of fuel prices and terror fears, corporate America held onto their profits. Now they are spending on commercial properties.

Even if housing is going down for a while, the professions involved with it will migrate over to commercial construction and financing. That's one big reason I don't believe this housing downturn is going to make big waves in the economy.

Salt Lake Real Estate Blog

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Appleton-Young is now saying this downturn will last a few years at least.

Anonymous said...

Norway, you hit a cord there! This article about the L.A. "Dream House" was well written. It really incorporated the art work with the pills as a methephor for "LaLa Land". This place is screwed up! Maybe it's the Karma from all those Iraqis and Vietnamese we sent to "Valhala". Let the fat lady sing Wagners "Ride of the Volkyeres" as we ride the ships to the other side, our own personal Valhala. Does the ship have slot machines?

veritas_faust said...

These arguments that rents will adjust up now that there is renewed interest in owning apt buildings is inherently flawed.

First, unlike home mortgages which have the teaser and adjustable rates rents are fixed.

If you can't afford to live there then you don't rent the place. The free-market will control the cost of rentals.

Second: Considering the enormous number of vacant condos and houses I think we will see rents sink as homeowners, banks and other business entities that own these empty properties do whatever it takes to move the inventory. Every day they sit empty someone is losing money.

Third: If the market falls as we have all predicted then you will have alot of unemployed and recently evicted people. They have to live somewhere and that somewhere will likely be gov't subsidized. Like so many of the houses and condos Freddie and Fannie are going to repo when the mortgages go kaput!

So I predict credit standards loosen for renters and paniced owners do what they always do best: cut each other's throats to drop the price/

LauraVella said...

Agree with you Veritas, rents around here in SW Reno are actually going down slightly, and recently I see some nice homes for rent in my area, whereas 1-2 years ago, it was extremely hard to find anything good in my area.

Across the street, there's a 2/2 SFH on Lakeridge Golf Course renting for 1250 a month. A year and a half ago ago they wanted 1500 with no takers...

Here in Reno the rental market is getting softer because of all the additional homes that are being built with no buyers and these speculators will have to rent with a negative because ABSOLUTELY nothing is selling here in Reno. I have seen discounts of 100K-200K on existing homes with no movement at all....now that is scary.

Anonymous said...

Our country is f'd and you can thank evangelical america. They won't escape the wrath that is coming their way though.

Butch said...

Again I caution against linear thinking when it comes to the real estate bust currently underway.

Rather, I submit to think in terms of "economic convulsions" whereby waves of debt default and destruction are met by equal-or-greater waves of liquidity injections (such as the Fed monetizing MBS, bank-held mortgages), debt-moratoriums (such as congress declaring a "mortgage payment holiday), conversion of ARMs to fixed-rate loans, all backed by FHA and other government agencies, the re-creation of the RTC, and other measures.

This back and forth "see-saw" of cause and effect will ensure that the housing bubble collapses in fits and starts over the next few years.

Therefore, be very careful of believing that "the bottom is in" at any point between now and, say, 2010 (assuming we even MAKE it to 2010 with the way the world seems to be marching toward WWIII!)

keith said...

rents will go down. we built an incredible amount of housing over the past few years that nobody needed and nobody is living in

in addition, millions of houses will be foreclosed on

these units will be rented out as the owners try to get any kind of cash flow they can get

then add in an ugly recession, job losses and you've got bad news for landlords

I remember in 1991 during the Colorado housing crash renting a condo in Boulder, view of the mountains, tennis courts and a pool for $205 per month. Then I moved into a nicer apartment in Denver for $265 a month

Condos that had gone for $150,000 were gathering dust at $60,000.

When there are no buyers, funny things happen.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy winter in Tromso....

Anonymous said...

My rent in a nice SoCal townhome just went up 6% ($100), effective in November.

That's my first rental increase in 4 years. Meanwhile, the "market" value of the place has increased about 150% during those 4 years. It is now a _huge_ factor over the rental rate.

Anonymous said...

I think a interesting point is that homeowners have come to this blog to refute the housing bubble....the same way that big losers on stock boards show up to refute their reality: they lost their ass.

trailer trash said...

"It's getting a bit surreal, reporting on the housing devastation underway. Who'd of thunk it'd happen so fast?"


Yeah. The housing market has performed just like The Energizer Bunny. It kept going and going -- until it suddenly stopped.

Anonymous said...

Rents going up? Thats a good one.

The Dept. of Commerce reports 16 million vacant US homes.

Supply and demand economics went out the window with the hopes of Ponzi riches in home ownership. There is no such insentive in the rental market.

foxwoodlief said...

16 million vacant homes? What does that mean. It says nothing about WHERE they are or WHAT CONDITION they are in.

I just came from Galveston and saw boarded up houses and this is a beach town. I'd say at least 60% of these are low-income units. Maybe another 25% are middle-income housing or new home inventory and the rest high end, which at that end will sit empty until there is a buyer. They are not going to give away an empty house on La Jolla beach.

Before the bubble in Phoenix I saw illegals renting dumps in the ghetto that should be torn down, six or seven renting and paying $600 a month and wondered why when decent housing was available in other neighborhoods for a little more (if six are going to share a house why not a better one?)

You can always save money depending on how low you are willing to live. I had a sister in California (drug addict) who chose to live in an abandoned house in the middle of a junk yard, no electric, no water because it was free so she and her boyfriend could spend his money from his good paying job on drugs and scratch off tickets.

You want to live cheap? There are plenty of houses in small towns like San Angelo (which isn't a dump) where you can rent a house for $300 a month and even buy one for $40,000. So what?

The reality is people continue to migrate to the large cities of the south and southwest for a higher quality of life or for sunshine. Even though I believe homes are overvalued even in those areas I still don't see the apocolyptic meltdown Keith and others here have been predicting for quite some time.

At 52 I saw three waves of house appreciation and depreciation. Not all areas happened at the same time and most areas surived with a recession that wasn't apocalyptic. Of course the saying still applies, What do you call a slowdown when you have a job? A recession. When you loose your job? A depression." Same applies even in an up market.

Don't forget in the Great depression 70% still had jobs.

Everything in life swings to the beat of the pendulum. Even bell-bottome pants come back in style eventually. So with recessions, dollar depreciations, inflation, asset inflation, fads, bubbles, everything and the human race is still here and more prosperous today than ever in history.

Anonymous said...

I see the melt down that Keith is talking about. It is going to be bad. How many bubbles have that ended positively. Zero! This has been the biggest bubble in world history! And it is world wide! Do you think when it busts it won't be ugly! If I see anything I still see too many people in denial! This bust will be one of the world's worst economic disasters! Strap yourselves in, this is going to be a hell of a ride!

Anonymous said...

dow at 11730 statisticaly negates the secular bear of lower lows and lower highs that averaged 17 years as it cycle, if its not manipulated, it will have been a short 7 years, if true and exits us from the commodity, real estate, hard asset, bull market, a lot of iffyness

Anonymous said...

did not account massive debt, population demographics, jobs and wage concerns, or existant manulipation politics or production capabilities, revolutions or war, in the cycle of the cycle, as the cycle, cause and/or effect