April 21, 2007

HousingPANIC Stupid Question of the Day

What will America do with all its unwanted and unneeded houses and condos now?


Empty houses and condos at record levels

The number that got all the attention this week was 2.7 percent. That's the percentage of homes that are sitting empty across the United States. And it's certainly noteworthy, because in the four decades since the Census Bureau began tracking that number, it's never gone higher than 2 percent.

Put another way, there are 2.1 million empty homes out there, and the people who own them are taking a vicious beating.

But the really nasty number almost got lost in the shuffle. It's 11 percent. That's the number of buildings with five or more units (read: condominiums) that were unoccupied during the fourth quarter.

These and other numbers are being bandied about this week at the National Association of Home Builders' International Business Show. If you recall, this is the same show at which economists last year announced what developers were already figuring out - that the speculators feeding the condo boom had packed up and gone home.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

With such a weak US dollar & a glut of inventory already depressing the price of realty & the same realty being untouchable in many overseas countries I can see alot of international investors buying up US realty on the cheap!!

kilgore said...

Houston has more condos and townhomes under construction than I would have ever imagined possible, yet March 2007 was the peak sales price for both condos and houses. Condo prices were up 15.7% from March 2006. How is this possible? I thought the credit standards were getting tougher since the implosion of the subprime market.

Anonymous said...

I'll ask again, why are builders building more homes?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I'll ask again, why are builders building more homes?

April 21, 2007 1:32 PM
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Because that is what they do. If they don't build homes what else can they do? They just have to accept a lower profit margin, trim costs to be competitive with all the re-sale inventory out there. The profit margins were huge so they have lots of cash to burn as a cushion during lean times. I hate to sound like a realtwhore but if you want a NEW home its a great time to buy!!

Anonymous said...

Builders are building because that's why they do. You can't just stop production cold, lay off 100% of your employees, wait a year before starting again and rehire 100% of your employees. That would cost more than the losses they will incur of the homes they build now.

SeattleMoose said...

"But the really nasty number almost got lost in the shuffle. It's 11 percent. That's the number of buildings with five or more units (read: condominiums) that were unoccupied during the fourth quarter."

That is why rents have nowhere to go but up....because the supply far exceeds demand.

Gee, did I get that right?

hud homes said...

HUD will buy up all those empty homes and resettle the illegal immigrants and lifetime welfare recipients. Say hello to your new neighbors Jose and Tyesha in their free McMansions.

Anonymous said...

What will America do with all its unwanted and unneeded houses and condos now?

Empty houses and condos at record levels,


According to www.themlsonline.com
there is an astounding 27% of the housing stock in Eureka Ca. vacant!

http://tinyurl.com/ytx9do

There are for sale signs EVERYWHERE.

Anonymous said...

Why don't these empty homes get distributed to new owners by incorporating the lottery system that the state or local county runs?

If a house is priced $175K. Then sell $100 raffle tickets until at least 75% of the price is met before picking a winner.

People would stop playing the lottery that has remote odds and play this game more often.

Anonymous said...

All those homes sitting empty will be purchased by fannie mae, and freddy mac; in time, then they will house all those displaced (from Iraq) halliburton employees in one of the biggest federally sponsored corporate welfare programs to date.

Similar to the already approved federally sponsored corporate welfare bailout package in attempt to stabilize the ongoing lending institution fallout that proliferates daily.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is even worse than we surmise.

Think about the concept of "liars loans".

Then...think about the box at a presale condo party that the prospective buyer claims whether he is an investor or a future resident.

I'll bet alot of investors checked that "future resident" resident box and there are more people than we can imagine that are "holding" an extra condo that is listed as "owner occupied"

If one is going to lie about their income to get a NINJA loan to buy a condo...why stop there...lie about being an "investor" also!

Anonymous said...

I think seattle is starting to become , not so special.

usa doomed said...

Congress will grant HUD the authority to buy up all those empty houses at full price to keep home prices from falling. At least that's what people like Charles Schumer think needs to be done. The idiots in charge of the government think that they are helping the middle class by artificially propping the price of a starter home beyond the reach of anyone who make less than $75/yr. How is it good for the economy if families have to spend 80% of their income on housing and taxes?

sweet potatoe said...

Reduce Reuse Recycle
How bout crushing up the 2 million or so empty crap boxes, load them into containers ship them to one of the electrical power plants to be utilized as fuel.
May be enough fuel to provide energy to all of Cali. For approx 6 months.
6 Months down the road do the same with the additional inventory coming on board.
I see this as a win win
Not only providing (Arab free) energy for about 1 year but also reducing some of the excess housing inventory.

Stuck in So Pa said...

"hud homes said...
HUD will buy up all those empty homes and resettle the illegal immigrants and lifetime welfare recipients. Say hello to your new neighbors Jose and Tyesha in their free McMansions."

Couldn't agree more. Also welfare depts. will be grabbing them up for section 8 housing so all of the local bums, winos, drug addicts, and homeless will have a nice place to live in a good neighborhood. Ahh the American Dream! And I'll bet you thought that the government was heartless!

Anonymous said...

Housing panicquer peoples of the world,
please read professor Howard Zinn account of the ‘29 crash, there was enough goods for everyone several times fold; there was a crash because speculation and control of the markets, not because of lack of goods, indeed there were more goods than the then-market could have absorbed. So much better for the supply-and-demand law. There is an over supply of houses, but nobody can afford them because housing prices are extremely over inflated; should these prices go down, many buyers will jump right ahead. It is not about supply and demand, but about price control by the real-estate-and-related-industries cartel on prices.. and the acquiescence of the rest of us. Did I say U.S.?

Anonymous said...

"HUD will buy up all those empty homes and resettle the illegal immigrants and lifetime welfare recipients. Say hello to your new neighbors Jose and Tyesha in their free McMansions. "

If John McCain were to get elected President or if Ted Kennedy were to have his way, this would definitely happen. It's so great to have politicians who represent the middle class and people who live financially responsible lives.

Anonymous said...

hud homes said...

HUD will buy up all those empty homes and resettle the illegal immigrants and lifetime welfare recipients. Say hello to your new neighbors Jose and Tyesha in their free McMansions.

April 21, 2007 3:08 PM


Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. But don't forget the city governments that park unemployed, white trash single mothers and their 3-8 kids in subsidized housing. Do you think the single moms take care of those houses? With what money?

Oh, and I especially enjoy when 4 Mexican families move into a single house. Can you say, "Lots of cars in various states of disrepair?" Sure 'nuff.

Anonymous said...

Yup let's blame illegals for everything, it's so much easier than admitting failure in your life.

Anonymous said...

I'm blaming the government for not deporting the illegal immigrant criminals while making law-abiding, educated people wait seven years before getting their greencard.

It must be one of Chimpy's national security and economic initiatives.

Anonymous said...

If there's a bailout, I'm going to divorce my wife after turning over all my assets to her.

Then I'm going to become destitute, get lots of free stuff from the government.

Then I'll remarry her and celebrate getting all the free stuff.

It's just my way of sticking it to the man.

Anonymous said...

"Yup let's blame illegals for everything, it's so much easier than admitting failure in your life. "

We know that YOU are a failure, so shut your stupid mouth!

Anonymous said...


We know that YOU are a failure, so shut your stupid mouth!


Oooh, such a tough guy. Maybe the reason you are unemployed and living at home with mom is this hostility. Try being nice and maybe you'll get a job some day.

Minimum Wage said...

If there are so many "unwanted and unneeded" houses sitting vacant, why are rents going up here and projected to rise almost 10 percent in the next year? And why is the low-end rental vacancy rate here negligible?

Anonymous said...

Why, turn them into a theme park, of course. "Out Of Suburbia" - see the gas guzzlers in the driveway. Wonder at the waste of water and chemical runoff caused by obsessive lawn maintenance. Observe the Sims in sweat-shop-produced period costume as their alienation drives them to highly dysfunctional behavior...

Anonymous said...

The only people praying for rents to rise 10% a year ar the FB's trying to rent ut their McMansions to avoid foreclosure. All those unwanted condos going up across the country will end up as apartments. The banks will get reamed and renters will have nice downtown living quarters for fair prices

Anonymous said...

This unwinding is gonna get ugly!

Anonymous said...

Fast!

RealityCheckFlunker said...

tear up one of every ten houses, make the lot into a nice garden. have bored oldsters from the old geezer homes volunteer as gardeners. then we'll have lots of flowers - *lots* of flowers, given these new stats, and the world will be colorful and happy and everything will be fine. wee-hee-hee!

PaintSplat said...

I live in a too-small apartment, working on some large paintings, and needing space for other things too, and space to just live in. Sure would be nice to borrow some of that empty indoors space somehow...set up a bigger art studio, maybe one with a fireplace. wouldn't want to pay too much per month though, not regular rental prices.

Anonymous said...

Rents are up 10% next year??? HAHAHAHA somebody forgot to tell my landlord, because he cut my rent. These FB's are desperate and funny with their ridiculous lies

Minimum Wage said...

Hey bozos! Come out here to Portland and you can SEE the rents going up! Especially at the low end where vacancy is close to zero and there is NO slack in the market.

We just had 9,000 people sign up for a lottery for 3,000 Section 8 vouchers.

Yes the high end has a ton of vacancy but those of us on the low end have a very tough market to deal with.

You can look it up, prices are still going up here if not in your neck of the woods.

Anonymous said...

rents are going up every year, but you idiots think there are so many empty units out there.
If there were so many then rents would go down and houses would go down instead of going up very year. You guys should stop dreaming and just get some more work to buy and stop crying!

Minimum Wage said...

Re: anon 3:04 ---

It's more complicatged than that. Actually, there are lots and lots of vacant units out there.

Unfortunately, the low end of the rental market (in most areas) has very very few vacant units and the few vacancies which exist tend get filled very quickly. (Think of two rental markets, just like two Americas.)

Another problem - and it is very much a problem for renters - is what might be called the professionalization of rental ownership.

Rental ownership used to be spread out very broadly, with the vast majority of landlords owning or controlling only a handful (often one or two) of units.

This made ANY vacancy a financially nontrivial event and small landlords had a strong incentive to avoid vacancy and therefore to keep good tenants, frequently leading to rent breaks and a heaitancy to raise rents while occupied.

There is a trend toward ownership and management by big landlords and professional property managers.

When you own or control 100 units, one or five vacancies is often a small price to pay if you can maximize income by raising the rent. For example, a landlord might see a 100-unit building fully occupied at $800/mo and gladly accept 10 vacancies (move-outs) if he can get $950 on the 90 units which remain occupied.

In other words, it is often easier now to raise rents than it used to be, and easier to raise them by a larger amount. And that's also how you can have lots and lots of vacant units while renters continue to get soaked.

Anonymous said...

It's great if we have an oversupply of housing. Perhaps now the prices will return closer to reality and working class families will be able to afford small modest houses again instead of living like sardines in small apartments.

I do feel badly for the poor folks who legitimately wanted to purchase houses for their families and now find themselves facing foreclosure and upside-down on their loans, but at the same time the insane prices need to drop.