August 14, 2008

Jim Cramer says only buy a house if it's 50% off the peak price, and that speculating in real estate is a loser. I agree.

Jim Cramer, say what you will about him, was smartly a bubble sitter these past three years. And he told people last year that if they bought a house they were crazy.

He was right.

And now, he's reluctantly buying a house. Too early by nine months he thinks. And he's advising people to be patient, that speculating is a loser, but to look at the 50% off deals.

I agree.

If you can find a house that's at least 50% off (of a real market price, not a straw-buyer price), think about buying it. Especially if A) you can put 10% down and after all expenses generate a positive rental cash flow and B) it's below the historical price to rent and price to income ratios for your city and C) it's a home you can easily afford the payments, even if you lost your job today.

It's time to go shopping HP'ers (on your own, no realtors!). Home prices will keep falling, and falling, and falling. The inventory is massive and a wave of new foreclosures is about to hit. And 50% off turns into 60% or 70% off pretty quick, so only buy if you can hold.

But there are deals to be had. Be patient. Be smart. And go find them.

Buy when everyone's selling. After selling when everyone was buying.

Anyone agree?

76 comments:

Rational Renter said...

Well in Los Angeles nothing is close to 50% off - YET. The price to income ratio for everything is between 8x and 10x right now. The historical norm for L.A. is 4-5.

Anonymous said...

Not in Seattle.

Still too "special" here.

dp said...

I agree. peak to trough is not the best gauge, and you could still get hurt at the 50% rule...but it would be hard.

In most regions of the US, 2009 will be a blood bath for sellers.

Anonymous said...

I thought he told Regis (God, is that guy great or what) that he didn't want to buy a house, he wanted to buy two houses.

Or maybe I was hitting the sauce a little hard when watching that vid.

Frank@MarketingOpus.com said...

That guy is a clown.

Having said that....

Nothing wrong with buying a house now if you're making millions like Jim Cramer is. If you have money to burn, it's silly to pass up a house you love just because it's still a bit overvalued.

I'm sure this month's book royalty check will cover that for him.

For everyone else, though, who has a job, lives on a budget, or otherwise will require a mortgage to buy a house, now is NOT yet a good time to buy.

Anonymous said...

.












NOPE!

Anonymous said...

"Anyone agree?"

No. Just look back at the 89-97 crash. I'd compare today to 1991 at best, and back then everyone wasn't leveraged to the hilt.

We're still years away from a bottom, then flat for many more. Why pay today's price for that dream home just because you "gotta have it" and let some guessing celeb push you over the edge?

If you plan to buy, rent, then flip, why go through the pain of being a landlord these next 5-10 years? Find a better investment to span the gap. Patience, patience, patience.

IMO (The unknown celebrity)

donald said...

Just for everyone's information, Jim Cramer does NOT rent. He currently onws a house in Summit, New Jersey, which he paid $2,375,000 for in 1999.

Mammoth said...

Good Post Frank.

We finally actually agree on something.

-Mammoth

michael said...

ok keith...how much are they paying you?

Anonymous said...

Will someone please tell Alexandria and Arlington, VA home sellers that the party is over and that if they price their property somewhere in this stratosphere, it just might sell. Much obliged.

Mark in San Diego said...

Actually, I have lost total interesting in buying, it is still a renters paradise here in SoCal, and I have my money in the bank from my house sale in early 2006. . .strangely enough, the dollar is now looking good, as the Euro Economy is showing itself to be a paper tiger - just a subsidiary of the US/China economy. . .actually the Chinese stock market is down 50%, so maybe the good ole USA isn't so bad. My blue chip stocks are all paying and raising dividends (nothing beats utilities), so what's the rush to buy. . .when my current condo gets dirty, I will just rent a nicer one and move.

Mark in San Diego said...

Let's see, housing 50% off, oil/commodities 30% off, gold 12% off, SUV's 50% off. . .can we say the word of the day?? DISINFLATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND - after the utilities, airlines, Chemical Cos, oil Cos, etc. etc. raised prices. . .can we say - BIG PROFIT MARGINS!!

Me thinks that stocks might be undervalued.

Anonymous said...

I agree more or less. Totally by coincidence I was looking around on craigslist this morning for houses on the FL coast. Asking prices are still out of this world. $450K for a 1300 sq ft, 15 year old home in Ft Myers. So I guess his boots on the ground theory is correct.

I am getting an itchy trigger finger right now. In a month or two, when the summer selling season is done, I will seriously start looking.

The bottom is in sight I do believe.

Anonymous said...

I can see it now...

Lawrence Yun handing Keith the "Man of the Year Award"
at the next NAR convention.

Anonymous said...

Who is ratioal renter buying from?

I just bought a house in LA for over 50%, not through a realtor of crouse.

The secret is to not use a realtor and you must have lots of cash to buy at over 50% off in LA.

take a good guess said...

They have drugs now to fix people like Jim Cramer.

Anonymous said...

One thing you missed is another massive fraud from our government and media that could lead us into WWIII.

The whole Georgia episode is an US orchestrated sneak attack on Russia. The US backed Georgians started the whole thing they just didn't expect such a massive blowback from Russia.

The US and Georgia have been running military drills for the last few weeks. And now the government and our media have the gall to blame it all on Russia but then the American public is too dumb to know any differently anyway...

Fox News Caught Off Guard on Georgia Propaganda Piece


You can get some real news here:

What Really Happened

Anonymous said...

Agree... rent for now, very few deals in AZ

Anonymous said...

Hey Keith, are you getting your RE license soon;)

Chicago Wise Guy said...

I live in Chicago and in my opinion people are still over paying for real estate. For example, a house in my neighborhood was being sold for 749K (a brick English tudor and about 1800 square feet with a two car garage). So pretty much an average American home in an average neighborhood. Well they finally sold it for 599K and the buyers think they got a good deal. I went to several auctions for rental properties and people over pay for them. So at least from my perspective, in Chicago prices have not come to a reasonable level.

Anonymous said...

I agree--based on the caveats he adds in the piece beyond the 50% off rule. Such as: buying a house you basically plan on retiring in. In your child's school district. And a neighborhood where there are not a lot of inexpensive houses. The only thing I would add: if the home is energy efficient.

Paul E. Math said...

I say completely ignore what the house once sold for - this is why Cramer is an idiot. It's tough to know if the place was only bought by a straw buyer or just some poor clueless sap.

Regardless, you want to put the home within the context of average incomes and average rents and then determine whether you're paying a reasonable price or not.

Cash flow positive if you were to rent it is a great gauge. Sure, the price could still fall further but you can always rent it out for profit if you need to move and don't want to sell.

bearmaster said...

Not in Los Angeles. Not yet.

It is true that in some places like Antelope Valley the mortgage = rent equation has reached more favorable levels and buyers are flying like termites out of the woodwork. But a lot of them aren't buying to live in these houses, they're buying for potential speculation possibilities.

When buyers look at the mortgage = rent equation, they assume that rents can't fall.

In a recent series of articles in L.A. area papers proclaiming happy days are here again in the housing market, Dolores Conway made one little comment that got slipped in at the end of one article that gives her and the USC School of Real Estate some CYA room:

"If the bottom falls out of the economy and we have significant job losses, then everything will come down: home prices, rents, everything. That could take quite a while to work through."

Anonymous said...

I'm in San Diego and am tempted by a few houses that are actually affordable. I am so glad I waited and rented, but now am scared that if i wait longer, even if prices go down more, that interest rates will climb at a rate that would make it better to simply buy now. I want to buy a detached house in the $85k to $125K range and was planning to wait until 2009 when there will be lots more to choose from at that price, barring any Banana Republic style inflation trends between now and then. Any advice?

gregoryw said...

Did DOPES steal Keith's username and password? Maybe some kind of man in the middle attack when Keith went to go edit posts in some sketchy Internet cafe?

Dude, it's still $700,000 for a townhouse 20 miles outside of DC in Fairfax County. I wish it weren't, but it is. Nobody can buy ANYTHING around here without a suicide loan. Surprisingly, there are still a few suckers who are buying. I guess they don't care about losing money.

Crashproofed said...

God forbid we hear the silence of crickets from Greenspan. Guys got an office with paper graphs and charts too! Wonderful!- Not!

Hey REIC - In the end of the article his bright idea is to sell the 800K inventory to the (Wink!) “skilled immigrants”. – Here we go again! If your interested I have stories of Lenders trying to get ”Skilled Immigrants” approved for loans. – Totally Pathetic endeavor!!

Crashproof'd NOTE TO GREENSPAN: “Perhaps”.. you might want to have Educational Leaning Endeavors (Greenspeak for: Schooling) on How and Why they should report ALL their earnings on w2’s and 1040 returns…..and ” HENCE it MAY or… MAYNOT help in denting the inventory in 5 yrs!” If you choose to tell them in this “Schooling” ..that “oh by the way, Obama’s president now, your taxes just went up!” I would do it upon completion of their Schooled Endeavors, stamped by yourself “Easy Money Al” or The Bushwacker…AKA: Bevis Bush. You choose.



http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121865515167837815.html?mod=us_business_whats_news


NOTEABLE Piece from the Article:
He did offer one suggestion: "The most effective initiative, though politically difficult, would be a major expansion in quotas for skilled immigrants," he said. The only sustainable way to increase demand for vacant houses is to spur the formation of new households. Admitting more skilled immigrants, who tend to earn enough to buy homes, would accomplish that while paying other dividends to the U.S. economy.
He estimates the number of new households in the U.S. currently is increasing at an annual rate of about 800,000, of whom about one third are immigrants. "Perhaps 150,000 of those are loosely classified as skilled," he said. "A double or tripling of this number would markedly accelerate the absorption of unsold housing inventory for sale -- and hence help stabilize prices."

Anonymous said...

That jackass was just on TV one month ago saying it was a great time to buy. He was boasting about how he was buying a primary residence plus another place in Palm Springs. Now to cover his ass, he puts this out there. The guy never stick to a story. He is the ultimate wallstreet con artists. Can't believe he isn't in jail.

FU Cramer. Go buy a bunch of calls and then pump the stock to anyone who will listen.

Anonymous said...

Wow,

No realtors, I think you should say no sales people. Good realtors will be invaluable in helping buyers find 50% off from peak.

Salesmen, myopic buyers, and greedy mortgage brokers buried these people. Yes, some were Realtors; but most were not experts they were order takers.

Now they are taking orders at Olive Garden and Home Depot. Many are now in the NOD's themselves. Most experts in the business saw this coming and will still be in the business in 2011 when it starts to turn around.

AZ, NV and Utah are only one 6.5 quake in the LA Basin from another boom. It's coming there is no doubt.

W.C. Varones said...

Way too early in coastal San Diego. Prices still totally out of line with rents and incomes.

Anonymous said...

Keefer ---

It's the PE stoopid!

CramerSucks said...

Is this the same Jim Cramer that recommended now-bankrupt WCi as a strong buy at $14? Mmmmmmmm...

Anonymous said...

Still too pricey in Boston. Nothing here is 50% off. Not even close. Prices are falling, but it's a slow process. Renting is still cheaper than buying. Wait at least another year, probably two. Don't buy now unless you enjoy wasting your money.

Anonymous said...

This is very bubble market specific. There are a majority of us who don't live in 50-100% over priced markets.

California is burning said...

NOT YET.

Need wait to see the whites of their eyes.

xxxooo said...

cramer will probably write it off his taxes as a 'show prop.' so he'll get a REALLY good deal.

Matt said...

You are calling it way too early. We are just starting this credit crisis and another wave of alt-a looks more catastrophic every day. It is too dangerous to enter the market right now.

Anonymous said...

Keith,

Please do a survey as to whether people look for, or avoid, neighborhoods with Home Owners Associations.

Anonymous said...

I'm in San Diego and am tempted by a few houses... I want to buy a detached house in the $85k to $125K range and was planning to wait until 2009

==================

Friend,

Please see a doctor immediately. If you think you can buy a house for under $100K in SD, you are obviously mentally challenged. You can't buy a house for $100K in Omaha for crying out loud.

I swear for every idiot homeowner who thinks their 3/2 is worth $800K there is an equal amount of people on the other end of the crazy pole who thinks houses will be free.

theloknesmonster said...

Prices are coming down in the Twin Cities, but really only noticeably in areas that are less desirable, for houses that really fall under the category of fixer-upper.

I'm only going to buy a house if I can get something that only needs a little work in a nice neighborhood at 1995-1999 prices. (not inflation adjusted either) That doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon, as these houses seem to have sellers still in denial about the market.

Maybe I'm in denial too, as I'm so turned off by what has happened that I just want to screw someone.

Anyway, I'm thinking more and more like Mark in San Diego and have almost totally lost interest in buying. So I guess holding out for the right terms doesn't really have much of an effect on me.

a.creampuff said...

So Housing Panic is over?

We can all "go home" now?

Anonymous said...

Saw a cool-looking house the other day. Looked it up: 5BR asking over $500k. Zillow pegs it at $425k, and falling - like neighboring houses.

I can't see why I need to spend over $325k for a decent house. Should be even lower as an awful lot of sellers would be clearing $100k or more, funded by me. I'll wait.
What's 50%? Where I live, prices went up 200%. It's all relative.

Anonymous said...

"Jim Cramer, say what you will about him, was smartly a bubble sitter these past three years. And he told people last year that if they bought a house they were crazy. "

You're an idiot, keith.

Kramer was denying the bubble as recently as December 2006. Remember the youTube video where he used his stupid analytical formulas to argue that we had hit the bottom and that housing stocks were on the rebound? And just recently, he was on the Regis show making the assenine claim that houses were down 66% in Palm Springs.

You're phoney, Keith. Now go on and take your next vacation.

consultant said...

A way to go in the Atlanta area. Our home prices are low compared to the coasts. But the mortgage fraud that went on here was/is just as bad as the top hot spots in the country.

My county (DeKalb), which sits next door to Atlanta, has a great website (free) that allows you to enter a address and pull up the entire sales/tax history, current owner, etc. of a home. And they keep it up-to-date. Looking up homes in our county is scary. The amount of obvious fraud is staggering. Just mind blowing.

Folks we have a long way to go. If you buy a home around here at anything close to asking price, you are either a fool, or you found a liars loan.

Anonymous said...

My hispanic house cleaner (single with three kids) is shitting in her pants right now.

Last year she re-financed her house for $450,000. (I've no idea how she managed that on her pay)

Last week the EXACT same house opposite her was a short sale for $105,000 - yes, that's $105K !!!!

I personally know three families who are about to walk away from their mortgages - large ones $500K+

Tucson Collapse said...

# of listings in my zip (a 'good' neighborhood) is up 20% over June, but prices down only 10%-15% (if that, some are UP double from 2006 purchase price with no improvements!) Nothing is moving, and sellers are hanging on to insane prices. While I wait, I rent for half the cost of owning a declining asset.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please tell Alexandria and Arlington, VA home sellers that the party is over and that if they price their property somewhere in this stratosphere, it just might sell. Much obliged.

August 14, 2008 8:37 PM

I totally agree something is wrong with these moronic sellers in NOVA. They still believe the party is on.

Anonymous said...

Anon:"Just look back at the 89-97 crash. I'd compare today to 1991 at best, and back then everyone wasn't leveraged to the hilt."



Agree. right now = 1991. Just wait until Dec 2008. Prices will be cut another $100-200K and many years of price declines to follow. We're at the top of the waterfall, looking down over the edge....

Not going to see me buying a house because I 'just have to have it'.

Anonymous said...

Anon Said...
"Will someone please tell Alexandria and Arlington, VA home sellers that the party is over and that if they price their property somewhere in this stratosphere, it just might sell. Much obliged."

Heh - its at 4 months of inventory - has been for most of the past 2 years - how much faster do you want it to sell - take your 5-10% off and be happy with it. Inventory is falling - FAST!!!

Frank@MarketingOpus.com said...

No realtors, I think you should say no sales people. Good realtors will be invaluable in helping buyers find 50% off from peak.

Yeah, maybe at 1%. At 6% they can kiss my a**.

AZ, NV and Utah are only one 6.5 quake in the LA Basin from another boom.

That will be the same kind of trailer trash who fueled this past boom on toxic loans, the ones who didn't have home insurance, etc. The few people I've met who lost homes in Northridge didn' t leave the state, they moved to south OC and San Diego. Only the real rock-bottom trash and two-striker felons move to AZ and NV.

Anonymous said...

2 times average income 54,000 times 2 equal good deal for a mansion

Anonymous said...

all else a suckers game or a flipper planing a screwjob

Anonymous said...

Anybody have any opinion on Nashville? Looking for alternatives to LA, and thinking of making an lowball offer on a place in maybe Brentwood/Green Hills.

Anonymous said...

"...Any advice?"

Save all you can and wait. It is better to buy cheap assets with expensive money. Banks have massive foreclosure inventory not on MLS.

W.C. Varones said...
Way too early in coastal San Diego. Prices still totally out of line with rents and incomes.


Yes. Even if you miss the bottom, the risk/reward sweet spot is past it.

California is burning said...
...wait to see the whites of their eyes.


Heh. VERY good, Sir.

Anonymous said...

think id rather a vacant trailer lot in northridge near quake epicenter than most houses in nevada and arizona........especialy with no neighbors within sight or sound and gas priced mid range.

Anonymous said...

mid ranged adds 5 bucks costs to a night out...and a night out with 5 buck drinks up from 25 cents is fool hearty............

Anonymous said...

In what world is an $749 k house of 1800sf average price in the US? The tightening mortgage requirements will squeeze even the $100k plus earners to shift down to lower cost housing. Already happening in Central Florida.

Not @50% this year, but next and the year after. Disappointed home owners will bail after they see in 2010 that a house is an anchor not an investment or retirement fund. The equity market will come back as it did in the late nineties, but the housing market will languish for years without the artificial, Clinton induced, cheap mortgage market that supported the bubble.

Anonymous said...

yeah and the two striker felons who moved to az and nevada bought those 3bd/3bth 2cgar with pool and non asso lot for 87,000 that were selling all over the valleys and called mcmansions and refinanced their way out of jails untill in a few short years they who think their shit does not stink think like all the rest that their shit boxes are now worth 800,000 and somedody will need to buy it..........yup...me toooooooooooooooooooooooooo but for 87,000 i w3ould move to san deigo especially for an 87,000 beach area deal...................... or a real deal

Anonymous said...

a real deal means more money away from malinvestment that puts no money into the industrial economy that made us safe from aggressors and independent and free......and strong.

Frank@MarketingOpus.com said...

Not in Seattle.
Still too "special" here.


Ok, what's the deal on Seattle? I've been to plenty of places where I wouldn't choose to live, but I could see why people would like to live there. Chicago, Dallas, NYC, SF, etc etc.

But what's the appeal of Seattle? I just don't get it. All I experienced there was horrible weather, mediocre food at supposedly "great" restaurants, and a populace that seemed to act like zombies with vacant stares on their faces.

To top it all, scientists agree it will be leveled by the real "big one" someday; Seattle is struck by magnitude 9+ earthquakes approximately every 300 years and the last one was in 1700. And the buildings aren't up to earthquake standards like they are in CA.

I guess if you're a pothead or into rain it's cool but otherwise I don't get it.

Happy4LA said...

Are there only a few people who realize what a fraud Cramer is? Nice post Anonymous about Cramer posting this to CYA and play both sides of the fence. He did say prices were down 66% in Palm Springs. WTF! Where did he get this information? How are some people so teflon to get away with being accurate when they have no idea what they are talking about?

Cramer's smart, but he doesn't have any idea what he's talking about more than 50% of the time. And he's equally vociferous on stuff he knows and the stuff he doesn't know crap about. Follow his advice at your own peril.

And yes, Cramer's smart, but he's a unethical moron. He's out for himself to make money, his crediblity be damned. For everything he says wait a few days and he'll say the opposite to CYA. CNBC are fools to hitch their wagon to Cramer.

I'm not able to post the direct Youtube link here, but Type in Cramer Don Harrold and go to his August 2nd rant on Cramer. Cramer's a fraud.

Anonymous said...

I live in Fauquier County (Warrenton), VA, about 1 hour west of DC. Indeed the McMansions in ugly subdivisions have come way down but trust me, the really beautiful parcels of land (of which there are practically none for sale unless you can buy 100 acre parcels) and "unique" or "country" homes are still top dollar. I have been looking for 2 years. Other than the national builder subdivisions, prices just don't come down around here. Around here, you almost have to know someone personally to get a premium property.

Anonymous said...

consultant:

Atlanta prices are not falling. Maybe out in the sticks like Canton, Dallas, Cumming, etc. But I don't care about that area as I have no intention of living there. ITP homes are selling and prices are holding up. Try to find anything in Va Highlans or Morningside under $500K. Doesn't exist and if it does, it's sold in a week. And to rent a decent house is $2500 and higher, if you can find one that is.

Out at the peak said...

Here is an example of more than 50% peak in Santa Rosa, CA ($510K to $250K):

http://tinyurl.com/6hnv54

This does not show the full picture because the same model a few streets over sold for $560K at the peak. That's over 55% off comps.

We know we are not at the bottom because of the Alt-A implosion. I think this neighborhood could be looking at 70% off at the bottom.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

consultant:

Atlanta prices are not falling. Maybe out in the sticks like Canton, Dallas, Cumming, etc. But I don't care about that area as I have no intention of living there. ITP homes are selling and prices are holding up. Try to find anything in Va Highlans or Morningside under $500K. Doesn't exist and if it does, it's sold in a week. And to rent a decent house is $2500 and higher, if you can find one that is.

August 16, 2008 1:35 AM

Are you kidding me? Or are you just outright lying? In Atlanta area to rent is $2500 per month and houses are selling for 500K? I don't think so. There are PLENTY of homes in Morningside and Highlands area. I attended a family event over the Fourth of July weekend and in one subdivision/neighborhood, I saw 17 homes for sale and the sellers all want 499K to 750K for their McMansions! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Out at the peak said...

Here is an example of more than 50% peak in Santa Rosa, CA ($510K to $250K):

-----------------

That house could cost $25 and I wouldn't want it.It's like Detroit where you can buy a house literally for $1. You don't see too many people rushing to buy.

The pattern is clearly forming. Places where people want to live (NY, DC, Boston, SF, LA) are not falling in price. Places where people don't want to live (Phoenix, Miami, Inland Empire, Detroit) are falling off a cliff.

Your choice now becomes this: do you want to live in a shithole and pay $100K for a house. Or do you want to live in a nice area and pay $500K for the same house.

The notion however that you will get the house for $100K in both areas is ridiculous. And you dreamers should stop dreaming about it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe hard to find those good deals as Banks are not letting realtors out signs out in front.

consultant said...

Anonymous, Anonymous. The first Anonymous who commented on my post sounds like a realtor-maybe.

Here's a link that gets you into the Atlanta area MLS. The realtors who run it are your typical say anything realtors to get a listing or a sale.

http://www.homeatlanta.com/atlanta_mls.htm

The point is, if you can access a local county real estate website and find the actual sales history on many of these properties, your tongue will fall out. Many, many homes in Metro Atlanta are underwater. In some cases, whole neighborhoods are underwater.

Check the sales history if you can. It tells you a lot!

AnonyRuss said...

Phoenix area prices had more than 100% in falsely inflated gains, and so 50% below peak is still overpriced. There are many REOs at that price point that are rightfully sitting unsold.

Greg Swann, everyone's favorite Phoenix realtor, posted this recently:

"As a matter of eating crow, I will attest that I publicly denied that housing prices could ever behave like securities prices, falling far below their fundamental value. The market has proved me wrong. We’re writing contracts on REO properties where the purchase price is well below the replacement cost. I read a listing for a potential rental property in a not-awful neighborhood that is selling for $49,500. We anticipate prices like that in premium rental neighborhoods when the Ameridream/Nehemiah calliope grinds to a halt."

Anonymous said...

consultant:

dude I am no realtor, I do however clue into reality. Yes MLS listings are high. And whole neighborhoods are for sale. I agree. However that is not in desirable areas of the city. If you want to live 1.5 hours away from the city, you will find fire sale prices. If you want to live in the city you won't.

And if you don't know, Atlanta MLS listings are for 23 counties, which inlcudes towns on the Alabama and Tenn border. Not really a good representation of "Atlanta".

And to whomever said you saw house for sale in Va. Highlands at cheap prices, by all means post them. I'd be interested to see these figments of your imagination.

still waiting said...

it's going to take a few years of this sort of thing to really get the party started:

Tough Housing Market Complicates Divorce

Couples aren't fighting over who gets to keep the house. They're scrambling to get away from the burden of it. It's too soon to see the trend reflected in official statistics; the most recent marriage and divorce numbers compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics date back to 2005 -- just when real estate markets started to turn down from their boom years. But lawyers and financial planners anecdotally say they are seeing more clients stay married -- if only for the time being -- simply because they cannot afford to break up.


"There are a lot of folks who want to get a divorce, and the house is an impediment because nobody wants it."

House No Longer Counts as an Asset

The tough housing market is hitting divorcing couples in several ways. If the home's value has fallen below the amount owed on the mortgage, neither spouse wants to be saddled with that liability. If one wants to keep the home, it's difficult to refinance the mortgage so the departing spouse can be cut loose from the debt. And evaporating home equity can take with it the means to pay lawyers for the divorce itself.

http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/105565/Tough-Housing-Market-Complicates-Divorce

Anonymous said...

So what you are saying is that Atlanta is immune to what is happening to the rest of the country (i.e. tightening mortgage standards, lack of buyers who are ready to buy a home over the weekend, incredible price appreciation, etc...).

I don't know what you are smoking. But get a reality check. Prices in Atlanta (including the nice posh areas) will decline. People are just not living in reality thinking that they can get $800,000 for a 2500 square foot house that was recently built.

I went to visit relatives and it was amazing to see the amount of sale signs. Some sellers were stubborn and not going to lower their prices no matter what and they have been on the market for two years. A lot of properties are sitting on the market because sellers have bought the real estate machine's propaganda that prices never go down and they always go up.

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Anonymous said...

Show me one listing, just one, where a house in Va. Highlands is under $500K. And to those of you who don't know the area, $500K is for a 1200 sq ft, home built in the 20s or 30s.

A 2000 sq ft house goes for $1M an up. And that is what the houses are ***SELLING FOR*** not asking prices. If think I'm wrong, prove me so and show me those oodles and oodles of listings you claim to see.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with using a Realtor? It does not cost a buyer anything to e represented by a Buyer's Agent. They can actually guide buyers through the process. Remember, this is what they do for a living everyday. That would be like advising people to handle their own legal work, or medical problems. You write a check for these, but don't have to for the person handling the largest financial transaction in your life. Can just anybody step in tomorrow and do your job effectively...just because? There is a reason specialists exist. Use them.

Prof Margin said...

Keith,

You can't keep confusing being a contrary investor with buying a house the first or second month that the mainstream press catches on that housing in the US is doomed.

Lets continue warning people about the dangers to asset prices and the risks of incurring debt. We responsible people should only suggest buying once we are certain there's no more room for prices to fall. We risk being lumped in with the Alan Greenspans of history if we jump over to his side already.

With Freddy and Fannie's bail-out about to throw another monkey wrench in the credit market, Prime mortgages just starting to weigh on the bank's balance sheets and NOTHING to prevent house prices from falling for the next 5 years, it would be a shame if someone took your advice and bought a home now.