Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NAR Releases Market-by-Market Home Price Analysis Reports

The National Assocaition of Realtors (NAR) released 100 Market-by-Market Home Price Analysis Reports for August 2006.

"Get insight into the fundamentals and direction of housing markets in 119 of the nation's largest metropolitan regions. Each of the 11-page downloadable market reports evaluates a number of factors affecting home prices:"
  • The health of the local job market
  • The prevalence of "non-traditional" home financing options
  • Debt-to-income ratios
  • Net migration patterns

"These reports reflect data available through August 2006."

I have not yet reviewed these reports. More to come. Reader comments on these reports is highly encouraged. Hopefully they will be better then the discredited anti-bubble reports.

45 comments:

  1. It is really amazing how much lag is in these reports.

    "Even in the unlikely event of prices declining by 5%..."

    LOL. Not so unlikely now, is it?

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  2. The only figures they show for the rate of existing home sales are Q1 2006 compared to Q1 2005, by State rather than by region-within-State.

    Nevertheless, for example (already by Q1 2006):

    AZ -22.2%
    CA -19.2%
    NV -15.0%

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  3. The change in affordability calculations that the NAR arbitrarily undertook I've heard mentioned on various blogs is more than annoying to me. Completely misleading is more like it. They have California affordability (LA county) at 42%...STOP AND THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MOMENT!!! Almost HALF of the population can now afford the median/average/mean house here? How about simply stop producing statistics that are misleading? Of course you changed EVERY assumption used to calculate affordability - front end of a NegAm Suicide loan as your qualifier, but likely still 20% LTV (although they show right under it that 1% - yes, not a type, 1% - of loans had greater than a 90% LTV) b/c they're using an adjustable 2nd, etc. Does anybody really believe any of this garbage?

    Okay - sorry. I feel better now and will return to society.

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  4. From the report:

    (1) Look at the national avg. appreciation from 1980 - 2005 (5%), and appreciation in the major metro regions for the last three years (e.g. NYC = 46%, DC = 74.9%, PHX = 69%, with historic rates of 5.9 to 8.6%)and tell me that we are not at the tail end of an historic bubble.

    (2) In calculating mortgage payment/income ratios, it appears RE taxes are not included, unlike the calculation used in the census numbers.

    (3) the comments (unattributed)section for each area demonstrate an ability to dissemble worthy of a presidential press secretary. E.g.: "[t]here are immense tax benefits to owning a home...These positive benefits, if accounted for in the analysis, would have shown an even stronger case for housing fundamentals in supporting home prices." First, the editors, economists, or office temps who wrote the comments did not demonstrate a case for any fundamentals to explain price behavior over the past 3 years. Second, the statement, while true, is misleading; if you are going to put tax benefits on one side of the balance sheet, then you have to put RE taxes, insurance, and maintenance on the other.

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  5. For the Chicago market, they write:

    "The share of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) declined in the first quarter to 45% from 48% just a quarter earlier."

    Oh, fantastic, only 45% of our mortgages are ARMs. Is that a good number?

    And then in the details:
    percentage of ARMs in Chicago: 45%
    percentage of ARMs nationwide: 28%

    It's interesting to watch the region by region meltdown for me — grew up in Fairfax County, VA, but have lived in Chicago for almost a decade. So I watch them both, plus the places on the coasts where i have friends and relatives.

    Chicago is not as overblown as some of the more well-known bubble markets, but the NAR's own stats tell us our city will not escape unscathed. And the industry's stats do not reflect the deesperation of local developers, who are trying to get all projects up and running before the Chicago winter shuts sales down for three or four months ...

    ET

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  6. These are criminal. To put out a report (DC) that touts an 11% YoY price increase in Q1 knowing that there was a >10% price DECREASE YoY in August is really sleazy. This feels like Jack Grubman all over again. I suspect we'll see Sarbox-like regulation for these guys and hopefully a few prison terms.

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  7. It's totally outdated. Don't even open it. Q1 is gone 6 months ago.

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  8. "knowing that there was a >10% price DECREASE YoY."

    This is a false statement. What kind of sleaze does that make you?

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  9. "Look at the national avg. appreciation from 1980 - 2005 (5%), and appreciation in the major metro regions for the last three years (e.g. NYC = 46%, DC = 74.9%, PHX = 69%, with historic rates of 5.9 to 8.6%)and tell me that we are not at the tail end of an historic bubble."

    Why do you assume that the average for 80-2005 is what the number "should" be at any given time?

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  10. "Why do you assume that the average for 80-2005 is what the number "should" be at any given time?"

    I don't assume numbers should be anything at a given time. That begs the question as to why housing appreciation exploded from 2003 forward. Absent any evidence of similar increases in wages, earnings, or population in the preceding three years, what fundamental factors are driving the RE market?

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  11. I live in Gainesville fl. The report is dated for July which reflects June sales. The first quarter was good with rising home
    prices and a good number of sales.
    Starting for July on, sales have
    fallen off the cliff. Look at August numbers which closed and recorded on Alachua County Property Appraiser site in September.
    August 2005 306 homes
    174 condos
    August 2006 47 homes
    4 condos
    over 1000 homes now on MLS
    not including FSBO

    Wow!!! as far as builders homes, me and my wife have been looking at new homes for 6 months and most of the ones we saw back then, still on the market!
    We have counted about 100 new homes we looked at with no contract or buyer.

    Darren

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  12. Mostly drivel, at least for the Balto. region. They took the anti-bubble reports and updated it a bit to be a tiny bit more realistic, but not enough to be credible. The mortgage info is interesting, as is the fact that MD saw a 20%+ increase in building permits in Q1 2006, while the US saw a slight decline, and the NAR warns several times that the continuing risk of overbuilding increses the risk of an overcorrection. Too bad they don't realize that much of the new building has been $700K homes that few here can afford without a suicide loan.

    MD lost net population in 2004 and 2005, yet prices went up about 50% during that time. Talk about a disconnect from fundamentals. It's gonna take a while to work through all that inventory, both new and existing.

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  13. et said:
    "Oh, fantastic, only 45% of our mortgages are ARMs. Is that a good number?"

    Actually, you're right, that is not a "good" number. If people were planning more in accordance with their actions, that number would be a lot lot higher. The far majority of people stay in their house 7 years or less. If you can get an ARM guaranteed for all (or at least a good part) of the time you actually plan on being in the house for a lower interest rate than a 30 yr fixed rate, then you are doing the financially smart thing. Otherwise, you are paying extra interest for a 30 yr guarantee that you don't plan on using? When looking at what lending intruments are being used, it's important not to assume that everyone is in one's own financial circumstances or position. I'm planning on staying at least 10 years where I am at, so a 30 yr fixed is best for me. However, when I bought my condos, ARMs would have made more sense in hindsight since I paid extra to get that 30 yr rate guarantee that I didn't need. Make sense to you?

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  14. Reviewed Chicago area PDF

    Con's to market:

    * Home prices rose by 11% IN THE LAST QUARTER, after only rising by 10% in all of 2005.

    * ARM's declined to ***45%*** , from last quarters ***48%***.(Half of all buyers using voodoo mortgages? Hmmmm...)

    * Percentage of homebuyers in this region who used subprime mortgages(+3 or more points avg) was higher in this region vs. nation(no specific figure. Hint: It is much higher, wages in this area are depressed due to "low cost of living" and large ratio of manufacturing type jobs.)

    * Stated Risks... This region suffers more during a recession due to the high ratio of manufacturing jobs. "...therefore, SHOULD the national econonomy tip(tip? TUMBLE) into a recession, the job cuts in this region are likely and could(read:will) be severe"(my comments in parenthesis).

    Pro's:

    Homes are affordable compared to New York and LA!!!!(someone please buy a house!!!)

    * Home building has been 'cut back' to reduce risk of overbuilding in the region. Big whoop. Its called FALL. It's a season, the one where builders north of the 35th latitude slow their building because nobody likes framing houses in -12 degree F. weather.(especially the day labor that is mostly used.)

    Comments on the stats:

    Q1 '06 vs Q1 '05 appreciation : 11%
    more than national..hmm not good.
    Twice the historical annual appreciation.(does historic take into account for the last 5 years? If so, maybe more than double.)

    % for mortgages for second homes is only 10%, compared to 15% nationally. This is a good sign. Still won't offset the 45% of ARM'ers out there.

    Job growth 0.2%. Not a typo. If you take into account the TYPE of jobs created, it's probably somewhere in the -10% to -25%. The days of "gradjeeatin" High school and laboring for 20+ an hour are over. New jobs are in the 8-12$ an hour range.(Still pretty good for a new HS grad.

    Net migration -29k people. And job growth is low AND unemployment is high...with people leaving.(I read further to read this excludes immigration, the kind they can and can't count. Thank goodness you don't need to be here legally to buy a home, things would be worse.)

    Since '01 there have been 110k fewer jobs, and 260k SF homes added, a spiffy 315k discrepancy.(assuming 110k jobs/2 = 55k houses). I have no idea how large the 'chicago' area is , or how many homes are on the market. so this number could be meaningless.(though the two statistics are ugly.)

    They go on to say home price declines are "very rare". Really. About as rare as the RE bubble we've seen?(snap!)

    Also the good one about tax benefits to home ownership. Tell that to the couple that lost their jobs at the widget factory. They'll be relieved.

    My assessment:

    ARMS ARE INSANE HERE. I had no idea so many people practice voodoo financing. There will be a national recession, and this area will lose jobs. Ergo, people will be selling(or trying, or forclosing) on that nice ARM'd McMansion that can no longer afford(due to interest rate hikes, or job losses(or job migrations!).

    The midwest will be absolutely slammed by the perfect storm of a slowing national economy, and a recently popped RE bubble.

    I have lived in this area my whole life(all 30 years of it), and was a home owner until Jul '05. I gladly took my insane profit and will sit on them until I can buy at '02 prices sometime in late '07 early '08.

    Thanks for reading this far, please reply with all manner of comments.

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  15. "I don't assume numbers should be anything at a given time. That begs the question as to why housing appreciation exploded from 2003 forward. Absent any evidence of similar increases in wages, earnings, or population in the preceding three years, what fundamental factors are driving the RE market? "

    Could be any number of things.

    1) As you know, real estate was flat at best in the 1990s. Perhaps the increase post 2000 was a correction for that.

    2) Vastly increased buying power at the high end of the spectrum.

    3) Much improved local economy and many more professional jobs.

    4) Increase in population among professionals.

    5) End of the crack epidemic in DC.

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  16. Here is DC's historical median income in 2003 dollars:

    1984: 34,386
    1985: 34,366
    1986: 38,947
    1987: 42,516
    1988: 39,955
    1989: 38,325
    1990: 37,383
    1991: 39,362
    1992: 38,864
    1993: 34,229
    1994: 36,976
    1995: 36,856
    1996: 37,315
    1997: 36,413
    1998: 37,681
    1999: 42,685
    2000: 44,033
    2001: 42,782
    2002: 39,965
    2003: 45,044

    Your premise that there has been no underlying change is false. Moreover, if you were to restrict the data to places where professionals buy -- primarily NW dc -- the difference would be even more dramatic. I don't want to get into another debate about lawyers, but it's a factor in a city of less than 600,000.

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  17. Metropolitan Area Residents

    1980: 3,478,000

    1990: 4,223,000

    2000: 4,923,153

    Percent change, 1990–2000: 16.5%

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  18. Big piece of drivel for the Boston region: I'd like to know where they get the idea that the average house price here is less than 4x median income. IIRC median household income for this area is $55,000. Four times that is $220k, and median house price here is IIRC something in the high $300k range.

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  19. Darren,

    I too, live in Gainesville. I moved here about 1 1/2 years ago from NoVA. I think the market started tanking last fall. There are loads of homes that have been re-listed several times and have still not sold. I am always amazed at how many vacant, existing homes are for sale. This place is way over-priced, I'm not buying here for a few more years at least.

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  20. Based on what research of net sites I've been able to do, I can find no demographic driver for the accelerated rise in real estate prices in the DC metro area between 2002 and 2005. There was no significnat acceleration in population growth over the 1990s trend. There was no acceleration of wage growth over the 1990s trend. There was no major deceleration in the growth of housing. So, what factors drove the dramatic rise of prices in the DC real estate market? The likely suspects are very low interest rates during the period, coupled with non-traditional mortgages.
    If anyone else would like to point out another price driver, or point to evidence substantiating a demographic or financial market price driver, I'm all ears.

    Meanwhile, I'm sitting on the sidelines, refusing to pay $650K for a 2000 sq. ft single family "starter" home.

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  21. "If anyone else would like to point out another price driver, or point to evidence substantiating a demographic or financial market price driver, I'm all ears."

    Homes approximately 1 mile from the US Capitol Building, in NW DC, were being given away by the District government 20 years ago. 10 years ago they could be purchased for less than $100k.

    These are homes of historic architectural significance, in the heart of the Capital. Same era and architecture as Georgetown - some magnificent big homes in a prime location. They have been undervalued since the 1960's Their market prices have risen of late after being depressed for decades.

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  22. "These are homes of historic architectural significance, in the heart of the Capital. Same era and architecture as Georgetown - some magnificent big homes in a prime location. They have been undervalued since the 1960's Their market prices have risen of late after being depressed for decades. "

    This is right. It's simply a matter of DC being a more livable place than it was 10 or 15 0r 25 years ago.

    Why would you expect price changes to unfold at a constant rate?

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  23. Anonymous said:
    "They have been undervalued since the 1960's Their market prices have risen of late after being depressed for decades."

    Individuals trying to justify why the prices for property should be no more than they can comfortablt afford without making the sacrificies that usually come with the early years of home ownership, will conveniently resort to evaluating the property as if it were an equity or other similar investment. In so doing, they completely miss the mark in understanding that the value of places where people live are determined by intangibles not in the least related to "returns on investment" or other such measures. People buy a home because of what it affords them and their family in the way of intangibles. This is what drives the price up or down. The vast social changes of the mid-20th century led people to abandon the District ... or at least many parts of it. Those social changes have stabilized and the District is returning to what it once was ... and more. Like ANY area, the prices of its homes there will be determined by the intangibles it affords its residents --- which have been greatly on the rise over the last 10 years!

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  24. What about the rest of the homes in DC? Are we saying all of them have architectual significance. So does that mean a home in Deanwood 3 bed 1.5 bath should cost 550K? Singling out certain neighborhoods with proximity to the capital etc. does not tell the entire story. There are places in DC proper without grocery stores or close access to subway stations with extremely high asking prices. I think a more honest assessment is that there's a bit of increase in value associated with people wanting to move back to the city as well as price increases based on low interest rates and increased used in other financial instruments like ARMs. Not all of these neighborhoods in DC are going to gentrify and have their own Ruby Tuesday or Target on the corner.

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  25. I doubt that all the mega price hikes in the price of a single family home built in the 50's is due a to vast undervalued market.

    No, the reality is that the area in the last 5 years has seen a phenomenal amount of real-estate investment speculators buying up anything they could and throwing back on the market make a quick 50k profit per unit.

    Those days are over, but there may be banks or such companies filing for bankruptcy in the near future.

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  26. Actually, you're right, that is not a "good" number. If people were planning more in accordance with their actions, that number would be a lot lot higher. The far majority of people stay in their house 7 years or less. If you can get an ARM guaranteed for all (or at least a good part) of the time you actually plan on being in the house for a lower interest rate than a 30 yr fixed rate, then you are doing the financially smart thing.

    Come on, Lance! This only works when home values are going UP. Like you said, some set of circumstances compel most people to move within 7 years. If you have built no equity with an interest only ARM, you are now in the hole when you move - even if your home's value has remained the same!!! Why? Because you spent $ on closing costs, interest, property taxes, any and all maintenance or upgrades, etc. You have lost $. If home values have declined at all, you are in even deeper, maybe even having to bring additional $ to the table in order to move.

    Once again, I/O-ing because you plan to move soon is only a good idea if 1. you are guaranteed a move (maybe you are in the military) AND 2. home values are for-sure going to keep rising. No guarantee of that now.

    Remember, I/O's are cheaper because of the risk! The bank isn't loaning you free money because they are nice - it is because the risk (leverage) is higher...

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  27. "...[M]arket prices have risen of late after being depressed for decades."

    The resurgence of housing in the Capitol area is a fascinating subject; over the past decade I've seen same urban rebirth thing going on in Phila.,Chicago, and Brooklyn.

    Granted, there has been a favorable change in perception regarding city living; but I don't see any reason why that perception would manifest itelf in the drastic price spike that occurred in 2003.

    "Undervalued" and "overvalued" are judgments with only relative meaning. If your argument is that Capitol-area prices caught up to a mean, my question is: why did it happen at the same time prices shot up across a wide range of statistical areas across the county?

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  28. "If you have built no equity with an interest only ARM, you are now in the hole when you move - even if your home's value has remained the same!!! Why? Because you spent $ on closing costs, interest, property taxes, any and all maintenance or upgrades, etc. You have lost $."

    Or, you saved and invested the extra money you pocketed by having a cheap loan. My 5/1 is at 4.375 -- that has allowed me to save quite of bit of money. I took an ARM because it's a good deal and I knew I could still afford the payments even if interest rates shot up by the time of the adjustment - if I still live in my current place, which I probably won't. I'll probably have bought a townhouse on capitol hill, where I still see tremendous value. Those are $2-3 million homes, not $750k like they're getting now.

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  29. I (guy with the 5/1) should add, by the way, that prices have continued to increase in my zip code (20009). They're up about 10% yoy. I know that upsets you, but it's true. See http://www.mris.com/reports/stats/

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  30. originaldcer said:
    "Not all of these neighborhoods in DC are going to gentrify and have their own Ruby Tuesday or Target on the corner."

    I certainly hope not! That's what makes us so much better than the burbs! Actually, the greatest fear here in the District is that the unique non-shopping mall types of stores and restaurants that people come in to the District region-wide to enjoy will disappear ... and we'll just be a "same in every state and city" kind of place ... Target and Ruby Tuesdays can stay in Columbia Heights where anything is an improvement, but let's hope they don't spread!

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  31. Anon said:
    "If you have built no equity with an interest only ARM ... "

    You're doing it again ... Showing how little most bubbleheads know about real estate or financing. Who was talking about interest only? We were talking about ARMs ... Adjustable Rate Mortgage. They are not one and the same. Yes, you can have an adjustable rate mortgage that is interest only, but that doesn't mean all or even most ARMs are interest only. The situation I was talking about --- which if you re-read you'll see was pretty clear --- was why should you pay a premium to guarantee your interest rate for 30 years if you know you're going to be moving in something like 7 years as most people do. This has NOTHING to do with interest only loan terms ... it only has to do with whether you pay for example 6.5% on your loan to have the same rate guaranteed for 30 years or whether you pay 5.5% for the first 7 years with the rate adjusting after that period based on something like Treasury rates ... If you come to better understand real estate and lending, you'll come to understand why "bubbles" aren't even possible when discussing real estate prices. Yes, it'll be shocking at first 'cause you'll realize you should never expect those 50% price reductions, but once you better understand it you'll realize that everything will be okay in the end because other mechanisms out there such as inflation will someday make that house affordable to you ... And, more importantly, instead of fearing "the establishment" you'll come to understand that without it, you'd never be able to get into that house. You might even come to understand how under the right circumstances, an interest-only loan can be a much smarter course of action than a fully amortizing one. But you have a lot to learn ... so, I don't expect you to understand that part for many years ...

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  32. Sorry Lance,

    Target's coming to Ward 8!! My larger point is that some of the increases simply aren't justified based on location. It's not just a "city" thing. It's the individual neighborhoods within those cities. There are areas such as those on Mississippi Avenue where housing developments were built say 5 years ago maybe a bit less. While this neighborhood has been transformed from its former self it is not without its problems with crime etc. Therefore the home should not be 400K.

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  33. Puh-leeze. Of course interest-only loans are valuable tools for smart investors. But in the hands of average consumers (like now) they are dangerous, because people do not understand the inherent risk. I certainly don't need a lecture from someone like Lance who displays his ignorance regularly about how little I understand about finance.

    So here we go again: Yes, an I/O can certainly be an ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) like the one Lance has. But his argument was that people are going to move anyway so they might as well get the cheapest mortgage possible. But this goes counter to the argument that over time, inflation makes your house cheaper. That argument works best with a 30 year fixed, NOT a mortgage where your payment jumps (i.e. any type of ARM). In that case, your housing expense is increasing the same as rents do. I thought we were trying to lock in low payments? Assuming you can afford the higher payment later….oh wait, something about counting chickens before…

    Regarding investing the savings by taking an ARM. Eh. That would have made more sense when rates were super high. More recently, when rates on 30 year fixeds were as cheap as they had been in 30 years, you were probably are better off locking that rate in. Even if you can afford the higher rate later when it adjusts (in 3, 5, 7, 10 years), you will still then have to pay what will almost certainly be a higher rate for the duration of the remaining mortgage – the remaining 20 years.

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  34. "Regarding investing the savings by taking an ARM. Eh. That would have made more sense when rates were super high. More recently, when rates on 30 year fixeds were as cheap as they had been in 30 years, you were probably are better off locking that rate in. Even if you can afford the higher rate later when it adjusts (in 3, 5, 7, 10 years), you will still then have to pay what will almost certainly be a higher rate for the duration of the remaining mortgage – the remaining 20 years. "

    Higher than what?

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  35. "Regarding investing the savings by taking an ARM. Eh. That would have made more sense when rates were super high. "

    Why? Do you understand what I said? I have a dirt cheap (4.375) mortgage for 5 years, which has allowed me to save a ton of money -- i.e., the interest I pay is far less than I would pay in rent for the same apartment. Even if you assume zero appreciation (which is a false assumption), I come out way ahead. I am unlikely to stay in this place beyond the 5 year period and have plenty of equity now to withstand even a bad downturn (which I don't see happening -- as I also mentioned, we're still up considerably year over year in 20009).

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  36. originaldcer said:
    "Therefore the home should not be 400K."

    Everything is relative. And in a town where a couple each earning less than $35K a year would qualify on an 80% loan for a home valued at $400K, then the home IS worth $400K.

    We ran some numbers a couple months back, and someone earning $35K/yr could qualify on their own for a $200K condo with a minimum down AND a 30 yr fully amortized loan at today's interest rates. Put two incomes together and take out the condo fee, and you have more than enough income at $70K to buy that $400K home. I realize that median family income for the area is lower than $70K/yr. But "median" family income does not equal "median buying family income". To get to that, you'd have to strip away a lot of other family incomes ... for example the college student who is counted by the census as a family but makes zero income living off of past savings or what mom and dad send him/her, ditto for the retirees whose home is paid for and can live easily on social security, ditto again for the welfare family that isn't out there looking to buy but gets some section 8 housing for cheap. Taking all that into account, I would wager that most families (or even individuals) out there looking to buy are making at least $75K/yr ... and could easily buy that $400K house you are talking about. No, it's not the perfect place, but that's why it's a starter house. This same couple just starting out and make $75K/yr will easily be making double that within 10 years ... And will probably have moved already anyway. I think the problem really comes down to unreal expectations. I remember being 20 something and thinking I should be entitled to the best right away. I guess it's a good thing 'cause it drives you on to work for the best. But it's a bad thing if you instead freezes you in place with you thinking that an Armagedon will get you out of your situation ... rather than just your own hard, honest efforts.

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  37. Higher than what?

    Than rates were last year.

    Say you save an extra $500 a month by going with the ARM. Let's say you invest it all. As many on this board insist, a return of even 6-7% is what you might get on that. So with a 4% rate for those first few years and returns of 6%, you are ahead. If you could keep that rate for the duration of your mortgage, it would be perfect. You are pocketing a 2% difference. But it is an ARM. It resets to 7%. You can afford the new payments, and hopefully you can still invest the same amount too. Over the long term, however, you might have been better off taking the 30 year fixed at 5.5%, locking in that payment, but ensuring that you can save $400 a month consistently for the whole 30 years.

    That is why I said 'eh.' You lose some of your mortgage deduction with the lower rate too, so a 2% return might not be worth the risk. This also only refers to a standard ARM (I/O can leave you in a real pinch if any unforeseen moves are necessary)

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  38. The median price at the heart of Orange County(Irvine) is down quickly now. Look at this chart.

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  39. So why are you ignoring the part where I said it's very unlikely that I will outstay the 5 year initial period? And the fact that my savings compound?

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  40. "The median price at the heart of Orange County(Irvine) is down quickly now. Look at this chart. "

    If you make the chart huge, you can make the change look dramatic. How do you like that plummeting inventory?

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  41. Lance,

    I think my point was that home prices should vary based on neighborhood. A lot of the neighborhoods are just up in general. House A in bad neighborhood with the same or similar offerings should not cost (my opinion of course) the same as House B in good neighborhood. I'm talking about similar homes here. Not condo versus SFH. I'm also not debating affordability. Ward 8 currently without its own grocery store isn't offering the same as say a home in ward 5 with 3 of them. I'm not looking for the best, but paying such a price for a home in that area right now without decent schools, stores, etc..just doesn't sound like a good option for me. Not discounting the benefits of home ownership. It just seems like some of what you say ( and I may be misinterpreting you..if so I apologize) is that folks should just buy anywhere in the district and they'll come out on top. I just don't see that especially when you know you don't want to be in that same place for more than 5 years.

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  42. You call that a report. I call that an advertisement. I hope they didn't invest a lot of time into that. LOL.

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  43. I just bought and can tell you that a 7 ARM quoted to us was not much lower than a 30 fixed. 6.375 vs. 6.25

    Obviously, we went with a 30 fixed/

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  44. "I just bought and can tell you that a 7 ARM quoted to us was not much lower than a 30 fixed. 6.375 vs. 6.25

    Obviously, we went with a 30 fixed/ "

    That says to me that banks anticipate rates dropping.

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  45. This blog moves way to fast for me, but I do like the following quote from the NoVa Association of Realtors:

    The market correction in Northern Virginia may indeed continue for as long as the remainder of the year (sic), but as National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist David Lereah noted recently, "Although it may seem to go against your better judgment, this is a good thing for the long-term health of housing."

    Geez, yah gotta love Lereah (and give him some kudos for his chutzpah.) According to him, all the housing bears were chicken littles one year, but social benefactors now.

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