Who are the 'experts' that the AP quote?
- William Mack, a housing analyst for Standard & Poor's, predicted "a soft landing. The overall market is just taking a step back."
- "We started to see the strain in July and August, and by the fourth quarter the market definitely had slowed," said Layne Marceau, president of the Northern California region for Shea Homes, one of the nation's largest private builders.
- David Seiders, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, said California, Las Vegas, Florida and the Washington, D.C., area "have the largest potential for a price slowdown." ... The rising prices in those markets were fed by speculators who bought homes intending to "flip" or sell them for a quick profit, Seiders said. "The biggest fear I have is investor-owned units coming back on the market in large numbers," he said.
- I've never seen a market as good as this," Mike Mishler said as he took a break from making finishing touches on a $1.6 million lakeside home near Dallas. "Maybe it will slow down in a couple years, but right now we have lots of California folks coming in, and empty-nest people looking for new homes." .... Mishler, president of the local builders association, says Texas markets are holding up because they are affordable _ the median price in Dallas is $145,000 compared to the national average of $213,000. But even in Dallas, the inventory of unsold homes rose to a record in the fourth quarter.
- Asha Bangalore, an economist for The Northern Trust Co. in Chicago, estimates housing created 43 percent of all new jobs from late 2001 until mid-2005. That included the obvious, such as jobs in construction and mortgage services, but also retail and service jobs that were created because consumers tapped their rising home equity to buy more things. "The housing slowdown that we are seeing is very modest, not alarming, but I think the ripple effects are going to be enormous because of the employment factor," she said.
- "This will either be our most profitable or our second-most profitable year in the company's history," Joel Rassman, chief financial officer of Horsham, Penn.-based Toll Brothers, told investors this week. Its profits rose about 50 percent in 2004 and nearly doubled last year.
- Alex Barron, an analyst in San Francisco for JMP Securities, said builder stocks have been trading at relatively low multiples of their earnings since the late 1990s because investors always believed the strong housing market was too good to last.
"Investors kept saying, 'Next year housing will go down,'" Barron said. "I guess they're finally right."
Then there are two links in the article at the bottom:
On the Net:
National Association of Realtors: http://www.realtor.org/
National Association of Home Builders: http://www.nahb.org/
How about some independent sources for information? The article does a poor job of presenting the reality of the declining housing market.