Thursday, May 31, 2007

US Ecomomy Stalls; Headed for Recession

The US "ecomony nearly stalled in the first quarter with growth slowing to a pace of just 0.6 percent. That was the worst three-month showing in over four years."

"The new reading on the gross domestic product, released by the Commerce Department Thursday, showed that economic growth in the January-to-April quarter was much weaker. Government statisticians slashed by more than half their first estimate of a 1.3 percent growth rate for the quarter." (AP News 5/31/07)

As the US housing market continues to decline and consumer spending weakens look for negative growh in the 2Q & 3rd quarters of 2007 & beyond. The US recession has probably already begun.

Monday, May 28, 2007

BubbleSphere Roundup

Man uses pigs to trash own house after foreclosure. What a stink! No, I'm not making this up! blog is putting blogging " aside for a while." He writes "I'd like to think I helped a few people get better advice about their mortgages, and not fall into the trap of interest-only loans and million-year deals." I'm sure you did. :-) Best wishes!

Check out Shadow Government Statistics.

The Florida - Paradise Lost blog has not been updated since March 9th. In one memorable sentance "In the supposedly altruistic notion of converting more people into homeowners (regardless of creditworthiness), all sorts of exotic instruments were employed over the past 5 years." Frank, it was a quality blog. :-)

Speed of subprime bust surprises lenders (CNN Money) "Michael Marriott, a panelist and managing director for Credit Suisse, said, "Last October, I predicted the subprime market would collapse and many issuers would go out of business. But the violence and speed of the market sell-off surprised people." [ Hattip to Economic Despair ]

Questions for Mr. Bubble Meter

The posts on this blog less often then in the past. Do you have blogger's fatigue?

Yes. I do have blogger's fatigue. Sorry. Thankfully, these day there are many quality blogs and other sources of information regarding the declining housing market.

Now that your other blog David Lereah Watch is basically inactive, will there be more focus on the Bubble Meter Blog?

Hopefully. :-) In some ways the David Lereah Watch was more successful then this blog, as it had a significant role in discrediting Mr. Lereah.

Who don't you trust when it comes to telling it like it is with regards to the housing market?

David Lereah, Pat V. Combs, Lawrence Yun, Leslie Appleton-Young, Ben Bernanke, Donald Trump. Of course there are many of housing cheerleaders throughout the world.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Trump: It's a Great To Buy!

"Mr. Trump’s gleaming $850 million, 1,392-foot tall hotel and condominium tower, which has shot out of the ground in recent months complete with banners proclaiming his name along the edge of the Chicago River. "

"There's no question, the market has taken a serious hit and is slowing," Trump said. "But it's a great time to buy in our building because we aren't raising prices." (NYTimes May 25th, 07)

Oh! Sign me right up!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bernanke on the Suprbime Meltdown

In a recent speech Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, talked about the subprime mortgage meltdown.
All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.
Ok. Nothing to see here, please move right along.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lereah: It Was My Publisher's Fault

David Lereah was interviewed by ROBERT SIEGEL of NPR.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: But to put this in some context, you have been a positive voice for real estate. So much so that a couple of years ago, you published a book in 2005 whose original title was "Are You Missing The Real Estate Boom" .... the subtitle of that book was "Why Home Values and Other Real Estate Investments Will Climb Through the End of the Decade." What went wrong? Where was the point where you stopped seeing real estate values going up through 2010 and something happening to it instead?

Lereah: Great Question! First the boom was Double Day Random House Word that ..

Seigal: that your publisher, you are telling me

Lereah: .. put on the title. It wasn't my title unfortunately. So it was a poor choice of titles.

Siegal: You are not the first person with that excuse in this studio.

Lereah: But if you actually read the book. I say the boom is not good, it cannot sustain itself. I actually redefine boom to be a healthy expansion.

Siegal: Well wait a second. But in the cover of the book you said it would be the "golden age' of real estate.
A most interesting exchange. It is amazing to see the press actually press David Lereah for his relentless cheerleading, his half truths and bad predictions.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BubbleSphere Roundup

Who will replace David 'paid shill' Lereah? There is some speculation it will be Lawrence 'Lereah Lacky' Yun.

Paper Money explores the relationship between discretionary spending and home prices. "A lot has been made in recent years about the “wealth effect” associated to the unprecedented home value appreciation .... "

DC Housing Bubble Blues
will be missed. It has not been updated in over two months. :-(

Palm Beach County, FL: "The number of unsold homes on the market from Boca Raton to Vero Beach has been steadily rising, surging to a record 24,028 homes for sale in March, according to Illustrated Properties Real Estate. That's a 27-month supply at the March sales pace. The same month a year ago, there were 18,178 unsold homes." (Palm Beach Post)

The National Association of Realtors responded to Sunday's 60 minutes segment on real estate. In their response they stated that "The one-sided journalism and egregious errors served no one well." Someone is running scared of Redfin and others.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

April 2007 Washington - Baltimore MRIS Numbers

The new monthly numbers for April 2007 are out from the MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information Systems) the multiple listing service for the area. YoY = Year over Year, that is the comparison between April 2007 and April 2006. These numbers include all housing units ( not just single family residences but also condos and co-ops).

The housing market in the Washington and Baltimore area had already started declining in fall 2005. Thus the year over year comparisons only represent a portion of the declining housing market.

Northern Virginia (Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Arlington County, Alexandria City, & Falls Church City, VA (NVAR))
  • Median Price: $470K
  • Median Sales Price YoY: -1.2%
  • Average Sales Price YoY: -2.5%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: -12%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 52%
  • Active Listings YoY: -8.7%
Baltimore City Area (Anne Arundel, Baltimore City/County, Carroll, Harford, Howard (BALT AREA) )
  • Median Price: $275k
  • Median Sales Price YoY: 2.6%
  • Average Sales Price YoY: 1.9%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: -11%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 64%
  • Active Listings YoY: 33%
Washington, DC (just the District of Columbia, no suburbs)

  • Median Price: $419k
  • Median Sales Price YoY: -1.4%
  • Average Sales Price YoY: 2.7%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: -0.9%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 38%
  • Active Listings YoY: -1%
Prince George's County, MD
  • Median Price: $325K
  • Median Sales Price YoY: 0%
  • Average Sales Price YoY: 0%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: -36%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 108%
  • Active Listings YoY: 87%

Montgomery County, MD
  • Median Price: $450K
  • Median Sales Price YoY: 3.4%
  • Average Sales Price YoY: 4.3%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: -22%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 69%
  • Active Listings YoY: 17%

Loudoun County, VA
  • Median Price: $432K
  • Median Sales Price YoY: -8.1%
  • Average Sales Price YoY:-6.4%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: 0%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 58%
  • Active Listings YoY: -23%
Arlington County, VA
  • Median Price: $485K
  • Median Sales Price YoY: -7.6%
  • Average Sales Price YoY:-0.1%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: 17%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 52%
  • Active Listings YoY: -16%
Frederick County, MD
  • Median Price: $310K
  • Median Sales Price YoY: -2.9%
  • Average Sales Price YoY: 8.9%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: - 27%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 102%
  • Active Listings YoY: 21%
Fairfax County, VA
  • Median Price: $474K
  • Median Sales Price YoY: -1.2%
  • Average Sales Price YoY:-3.8%
  • Total Units Sold YoY: -19%
  • Average Days on Market YoY: 53%
  • Active Listings YoY: -8%
For more numbers on jurisdictions not mentioned here please go to MRIS Market Statistics.

These numbers clearly showing a declining housing market in the Washington - Baltimore area. The housing market in the Washington, DC area is experiencing a significant decline. The above numbers are nominal dollars, looking at real dollars (inflation adjusted) the declines are even greater.

The Washington - Baltimore area is not having a spring bounce that will save the housing market from further declines in 2007. In the metropolitan area a declining housing market is reality.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Quoted in the Chicago Tribune

In a Chicago Tribune article, I was quoted:
"The media regularly turns to him for real estate quotes," said David Jackson, who created the hypercritical David Lereah Watch blog because he believed the economist was churning the housing market. "Lereah tells half-truths and manipulates facts and figures. He cannot be trusted, as he is a paid shill."
Nice to see an independent blogger getting quoted in the mainstream media. :-)

1256 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC

Buffet: "Housing Market is Sick"

Legendary investor Warren Buffet talked about many things recently including housing.

He said too many homes were bought by people carrying mortgages with little or no money down who then hoped to flip them quickly for a profit. "The housing market is sick and it's going to stay sick for a couple of years" he opined.
Great. Sick is an appropriate term to describe the declining housing market.