Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bubble Sphere Roundup

Car Dealer Tactics on the New-Home Lot (Washington Post)

A Bank Bet on Condos, but Buyers Want Out (NYTimes)

Las Vegas Housing Market Outlook Grim (Las Vegas Channel 8)

27 comments:

  1. From Washington Business Journal -- Less sales but rising prices, stabalization inside the beltway.

    The number of new condominiums sold in Greater Washington has fallen 50 percent from last year, although prices have remained stable.

    As of the end of September, 4,300 new condo units have been sold this year, down from 9,500 a year ago, according to Alexandria-based market research firm Delta Associates.

    The region's median condo price in August was $307,187, up 4 percent from last year. In D.C. it was $357,000, the same as last year.

    Even though prices have not fallen, mortgage interest rates have dropped and concessions offered by builders have increased, said Delta Associates chief executive Greg Leisch. "From a consumer standpoint, maybe it's the time to buy."

    In the metro area, concessions as a percent of sales price rose to 4.5 percent in the third quarter from 3.7 percent a year ago.

    What still remains worrisome, Leisch said, is the pipeline of 19,242 unsold condos in the region.

    The pipeline, however, is shrinking. Over the past two years, 26,000 condos were removed as developers converted them to apartments or canceled projects.

    Once condos are taken out of the system and inventory shrinks, the condo market will become healthier for developers.

    "Inside the Beltway is rapidly approaching equilibrium," Leisch said. "Prices are going to rise in those jurisdictions. It's a good thing for development community because new development will be feasible."

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  2. "The number of new condominiums sold in Greater Washington has fallen 50 percent from last year, although prices have remained stable. "

    If you believe this statement you not only don't understand economics at all but you are the most gulible person in the world. Supply dubbles, demand goes in half, yet prices stay the same... Its a miracle!!!

    There are incentives, cash back, etc.
    bob

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  3. There are incentives, seller contributions, etc. -- but I thought this site was devoted to a complete freefall in the real estate market. It would seem the overabundance of condos would make that market extra-volatile. If the "s" was going to hit the fan, it should have happened in the condo market first.

    Instead, it seems prices are holding steady...

    Heaven forbid any contrary evidence enter the discussion.

    And while your basic economic premise seems fine, I wouldn't classify houses the same as other commodities. They are places to live, not widgets. I can't fill up my car with a new condo. I can't produce more ears of corn with a new condo.

    Developers seem content to keep prices stable, pay the tax bills, and ride out the waves.

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  4. "There are incentives, seller contributions, etc. -- but I thought this site was devoted to a complete freefall in the real estate market."

    Define freefall? Most condo units will probably fall between 25% to 40% in real dollars from peak price till bottom.

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  5. "There are incentives, seller contributions, etc. -- but I thought this site was devoted to a complete freefall in the real estate market. It would seem the overabundance of condos would make that market extra-volatile. If the "s" was going to hit the fan, it should have happened in the condo market first.

    Instead, it seems prices are holding steady..."

    Price declines are just starting in most areas inside the beltway. Right now things inside the beltway are a lot like things outside the beltway were last year this time.

    At that point sales had fallen but sellers were still holding out hope that the market would recover.

    Prices inside the beltway are going to fall sharply before this is over, especially on condos.

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  6. Haha! I love this from The Washington Post:

    Won-Ki Choi and his wife Janice had their eye on the townhouse at East Market at Fair Lakes for some time. But the $536,449 price tag was much too high for them.

    Then they saw a newspaper ad from Ryland Homes: For two hours on a recent Saturday afternoon, the Calabasas, Calif.-based builder would sell 140 homes in the Washington area at a discount, through a silent auction.

    The minimum bid for the 2,068-square-foot Fairfax County home was $429,999. Won-Ki Choi wrote his name down minutes before the auction was scheduled to end at 3 p.m. He was the only bidder.

    "This is your lucky day," Jerie Wolicki, a company receptionist, told him amid applause.


    Here's the whole article.

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  7. fyi- great USA TODAY article this morning: "Home builders' foundations shift with shaky market":

    "Since early August, the real estate market has sunk deeper into recession. Forecasts of a recovery have been pushed back to the middle of 2008 — at the earliest. For home builders, market conditions are already worse than in the last housing recession, in 1991-92.

    And depending on how the subprime mortgage debacle plays out in coming months, this recession could be more painful for the industry than the wicked one in 1980-82...

    KB Home said its cancellation rate jumped to 58% for its third fiscal quarter, which ended in August. The company said it abandoned plans to build homes in Indiana and Fort Myers, Fla.

    "There was a significant deterioration in the housing market, and this accelerated dramatically toward the end of the quarter," said Jeffrey Mezger, CEO of KB Home. The number of buyers touring model homes and signing contracts hit "the lowest levels of the current housing downturn."

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2007-10-08-home-builders-downturn_N.htm

    [NOTE: I thought Mr. Yun of the Realtors said the recovery was around the corner? Guess he'd better shake his 8-ball again]

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  8. The minimum bid for the 2,068-square-foot Fairfax County home was $429,999. Won-Ki Choi wrote his name down minutes before the auction was scheduled to end at 3 p.m. He was the only bidder.

    All evidence is pointing to the market freezing up in the last few weeks. I see inventory going to new levels despite the normal historical pattern being a peak in September.

    So the REIC can quote out of date information all they want. There is a reason we talk pre-crisis and post-crisis. The mortgage market is different now. People actually have to qualify somewhat. ;)

    Sadly... lots of builder layoffs. That pesky cancellation rate.

    All of those lovely condos. How many were flips? :)

    Got popcorn?
    Neil

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  9. "Define freefall? Most condo units will probably fall between 25% to 40% in real dollars from peak price till bottom."


    Yep. Any time now. Any ... time ... now. *looks at watch*

    Nice predictions. Going really well for you. Hey, by the way david, can you afford one yet? No? LOOLOLOLOLers.

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  10. i've been watching CORUS Bankshares just get crushed over the last year... and haven't done a thing to profit from it!! D*MNIT!

    talk about a giant bagholder...

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  11. "Tricked"October 10, 2007 9:46 AM

    David,

    I don't think your estimate of price declines is out line, although I would guess a lower range, when you consider real (constant) dollars. What I think is inaccurate is claiming that prices are in "freefall" or that even a 40% decline is a bursting bubble.

    If you consider that the bottom of the market is likely to be 5 years from the top, then a $400,000 condo in 2006 will sell for about $300,000 in 2011 your worst case scenario. That just doesn't seem to deserve such an extreme designation as a "bubble". Historically, there have been much more extreme market swings in US real estate markets.

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  12. Anon5:28am, you seem to have difficulty contrasting "dollars" and "time" as units of measure. 25% is a little conservative seeing as how those drops have already occurred since this time last year in several DC condos.

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  13. When I said:

    "Define freefall? Most condo units will probably fall between 25% to 40% in real dollars from peak price till bottom."

    I never used teh word freefall. I would not use the term freefall.

    When I said "Define freefall?" I meant for the commentor who used that term.

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  14. "tricked'October 10, 2007 10:37 AM

    David,

    On my first read-through I thought you were defining "freefall" - sorry. But, the core issue is whether the pull-back constitutes a burst bubble. The American Heritage Dictionary lists as one of its definitions for bubble as "A speculative scheme that comes to nothing: lost money in the real estate bubble"

    Again, even under your worst case scenario, 60% of value is retained.

    Of course "Pull-Back Meter" is not a very compelling name for a blog.

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  15. "5. an inflated speculation, esp. if fraudulent: The real-estate bubble ruined many investors. "

    www.dictionary.com

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  16. Some intel from the front lines. In the neighborhood I have been looking to buy, there are over 30 properties for sale, and sales are averaging 1.5 a month, which is a 20 month supply. In addition, no new houses have gone under contract in the last 30 days, and no new homes have gone on the market in 20 days. Despite the balmy weather in D.C., it looks like the winter's "deep freeze" came early this year.

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  17. "If you consider that the bottom of the market is likely to be 5 years from the top, then a $400,000 condo in 2006 will sell for about $300,000 in 2011 your worst case scenario. That just doesn't seem to deserve such an extreme designation as a "bubble". Historically, there have been much more extreme market swings in US real estate markets."

    Well prices might decline 25% in real terms over five years. How more bubblicious can you get for an entire market? Provide evidence. As has been said many times here, prices for homes go up fast, but come down slowly (sales dry up because sellers won't lower prices).

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  18. "tricked"October 10, 2007 12:31 PM

    "Provide evidence." So authorative.

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/08/26/weekinreview/27leon_graph2.large.gif

    It's a link to Robert Schillers graph on housing values. I'm not a fan of his work, but he's popular here.

    Anyway, I think David was referring to the DC market. I certainly was, but Schiller's graph shows previous swings larger than 40% on the national market. (If you trust his methodology)

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  19. David,

    Did you this article on the auction results? 75% of the properties failed to sell. Heck, I wonder how many of those that went into escrow will close:
    It was the biggest Washington-area auction that Hudson & Marshall has handled in its 11-year history.

    http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071010/BUSINESS/110100078/1001

    or (broken up so it will fit):
    http://washingtontimes.com/
    apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/
    20071010/BUSINESS/110100078/1001

    No point in debating the 6% to 13% drop. Its starting to look like an optimistic prediction.

    Anyone who said "buy now or be priced out forever" should be taken to task.

    Got popcorn?
    Neil

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  20. Neil said:
    "Anyone who said "buy now or be priced out forever" should be taken to task."

    First off, anyone who really believed that really wasn't very bright to begin with. But, as far as your "justification" for why apparently prices weren't going up, that doesn't hold water. In all markets over all times there will be properties being sold/built/renovated in areas that are "iffy" at best. And whenever the market turns, people who bought there get left "holding the bag". Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing ahead of time when it will turn. There were people predicting as far back as 1999 that the market was about to turn ...

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  21. "First off, anyone who really believed that really wasn't very bright to begin with. "

    says lance in 2007

    "A class of perpetual renters will have been created where its members can never work their way out of their condition." Lance June 23 2006

    said lance in 2006

    I guess Lance in 2007 must be quite a bit smarter than lance in 2006 because lance in 2006 CLEARLY "wasn't very bright to begin with."

    lol

    lance, when you are in a hole, stop digging.

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  22. I love it when lance gets burned by his own comments. Seriously, will he ever admit he was wrong or just keep saying how he new prices would go down and he predicted drops. Oh but his house is still appreciating....

    oops maybe not
    paid 900k, worth 854k max.
    Bob

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  23. LOL. Bob thinks assessment equals value. Bob is also arrogant. Maybe someday when Bob is a homeowner himself he will understand the incentive to keep an assessment low and the reasons why assessments are so very detached from fair market value. In the meantime he just keeps paying other people's taxes and mortgage payments ... and illustrating why arrogance has its roots in a delusional sense of being right that is based on an unwillingness to accept simple and well known truths.

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  24. lance said "illustrating why arrogance has its roots in a delusional sense of being right that is based on an unwillingness to accept simple and well known truths."

    This statement fits you perfectly. Lance, you have been burned here. You are not taken seriously anymore. But, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. When you are paying for a house that you are underewater on for the next ten years you might finally understand what the BH's are talking about. Have fun working well past retirement age paying for a house.

    How does that go again...
    Not in DC,
    Not in my neighborhood,
    Not on my strett,
    NOT MY HOUSE!.

    Oh, by the way, I understand tax assessments and the such. The whole point is that you said your home would never go down in value. You got proved wrong, and a typical fashion you are trying another out. So sad. Come back to reality home debtor!

    Bob

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  25. Bob,

    Again, your fervent desire to want reality to match your expectations does nothing but blind you to simple truths. Your arrogance is astounding.

    Check out MLS #: DC6539205
    (1531 S Street NW)

    www.tutttaylorrankin.com

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  26. 7bd, 2 ba

    sold 11/06/2006: $800,000

    bob

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  27. bob said:

    "7bd, 2 ba

    sold 11/06/2006: $800,000"

    What are talking about? 1531 S ST? It's been owned by the same person for years ... and is currently on the market for over $1.3 million ...

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