Friday, February 29, 2008

This is an Economic Crisis

Oli: $102+

Gold: Almost $1000

Euro: $1.51

Wheat: $15+

Case Shiller Housing Price Index: -8.9% for 2007

This is an economic crisis?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yun Says Housing Market is "Scratching Bottom"

Reuters reports that "The NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said the market is 'scratching the bottom,' with sales holding at a deflated rate of around 5 million units for the past several months."

That is just what Yun's mentor the infamous David Lereah said in March 2007: "Sales have hovered for the last four months, scratching bottom and then coming up, scratching bottom and coming up again. We are comfortable this is now the bottom"

Foreclosures Surge in Washington Region

Foreclosures are surging in the Washington, DC area. The Washington Biz Journals reports that:

District of Columbia homeowners continued to feel the impact from the nationwide housing crisis in January, as foreclosures jumped 90 percent from the previous month, according to a market report released Tuesday.

RealtyTrac, an online foreclosure tracking firm, didn't give D.C. a state ranking in foreclosure rates, but Virginia 14th and Maryland ranked 15th.
Also reported: "In the fourth quarter of 2007, Prince George's County reported 2,732 foreclosures, the highest in Maryland." However, during the 4th quarter in Prince George's County only 1279 sold according to the MRIS. Basically, the number of foreclosures was double the number of houses that sold.

The housing bust in the Washington, DC area is far from over. This year a rising inventory of foreclosures will put significant dowarnd pressure on prices.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Case Shiller Housing Index Shows Major Prices Declines

Prices continue to fall significantly in almost all bubble cities. Forbes reported that:

The virtual collapse of US home prices continued in December, including record annual declines in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes released today.

The 20-city price index was down 2.1 pct for the month and recorded an
annual decline of 9.1 pct.

Washington Biz Journal reports that in the Washington area the "Case Shiller Home Price Indices report released Tuesday found price declines in the Washington area averaged 9.4 percent this past December, compared with December 2006."

The Washington, DC area is now13.3% below peak prices. Anonymous wrote that "Prices dropped 1.7% in November and another 2.5% in December - both record decreases in the last 21 years. The fact that prices are ACCELERATING downwards still is a very bad sign considering we're already 13% off the July 2006 highs." Very well put!

The declining housing market is far from over in the Washington, DC areas. Thus far outer suburbs have experienced much larger prices declines then inner part of the region. Similarly, condos have experienced larger price declines then single family residences. The housing bust is far from over in the Washington, DC area.

Months Supply in Washington, DC (January)

Note: This is just for Washington, DC proper (no suburbs). Includes condos and single family residences from the MRIS. According to the knowledgeable Calculated Risk "Usually 6 to 8 months of inventory starts causing pricing problems, and over 8 months a significant problem." By 'pricing problems' , Calculated Risk means declining prices. Washington, DC is at a 9.5 months of supply. Expect declining prices in Washington, DC this year.

But, at least DC is not Prince William County (outer suburb of DC) where the months supply is at 17.1. Expect large price declines in Prince William County this year and other outer suburbs of Washington, DC

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rowhouses in Washington,DC

Capitol Hill neighborhood. Just because.
Enjoy your weekend.

Lawrence Yun Cannot be Trusted

Lawrence Yun, the chief paid spinner at the Realtors Association regularly speaks at real estate related gatherings throughout country. The Rockford Register Star reports:

"The chief economist for the National Association of Realtors had a strong message to potential home buyers who may be waiting to see if prices in the Rock River Valley will go into free fall before putting in an offer.“There is no chance of a large price decline in Rockford,” Lawrence Yun told a crowd of more than 400 at Cliffbreakers, 700 W. Riverside Blvd. “There is not a price bubble in Rockford.”
But, can he be trusted?

In September 2005 Yun predicted "The chance of a housing price decline in the DC area is close to zero, in my view. I anticipate that prices in DC will outpace the national average price growth. DC prices will rise at close to a 7 to 10 % rate of appreciation. "

As we know prices have declined significantly in the DC area since Yun's wrong prediction. According to the S&P Case Shiller Index, since September 2005 DC area prices have fallen 8.4%.

Do not trust Lawrence Yun. The general public and media need to be aware of his spins, predictions that have proven very wrong, and his contradictory statements. Mr Yun is a paid spinner who has lost his credibility.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Condo Projects Going Rental

In many bubblicious areas across the country condo projects are turning to rentals as is the case in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Washington, DC. Columbia Heights News reports that:

We just got word from a number of readers that the Allegro condominium development will become rental apartments. Allegro condo purchasers were
recently sent letters from the developer informing them of the news and providing assurance that their deposits will be returned as a result of the conversion to rentals.

The reason cited for converting the condos to apartments was the downturn in the housing market and the credit crunch. Condo purchasers were offered the option to lease their units. Allegro follows Highland Park as another major condo project in Columbia Heights that is converting to apartments due to slowing sales.
This is generally a good thing for condo purchasers there. They get back their security deposits and thus won't lose money on a depreciating asset.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

BubbleSphere Roundup

A decade of January Sales in Northern Virginia at Northern Virginia Housing Bubble Fallout. Great blog!

Calculated Risk reports that Countrywide's Delinquencies Rise. Amazing economic blog with much info on the housing market. And NAR: Housing Sales Bust is Everywhere. Its bubblicious.

Three's Company at BubbleTracking. That is 3 realtors, 3 foreclosure, 1 small suburban culdesac.

Lower prices in Detroit. Sales Rebounding. But, for how long?

Lawrence Yun Spins In Rochester

Lawrence 'paid spinner' Yun is back blaming the media and saying the housing slump is 'greatly exaggerated.' This paid spinner does not know when to be quiet. The Rochester Democrat Chronicle wrote:

Talk of a pending recession spurred by a housing slump is greatly exaggerated by national media and could spur a self-fulfilling prophecy as the negative news is emphasized, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors told local real estate agents today.“Paraphrasing Franklin Delano Roosevelt, what I fear is fear itself,” Lawrence Yun said at the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors 2008 Real Estate Trends and Issues luncheon today at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Yun told the audience that the national news outlets tend to cherry pick data and expert interviews to perpetuate the story that the economy is heading into recession as housing prices fall and foreclosure rates rise.“If the news organizations have an agenda, they will call somebody and they’ll get the information they want,” he said.

Mr. Yun has not yet reached the level absurdity of the infamous David Lereah, but he is sure heading in that direction. Yun has been discredited for his paid spining and his ridiculous predictions.

Lawrence Yun should be fired because he has lost his credibility. The NAR should get out of the business of making predictions about the housing market as they have been so wrong, often.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Housing Units of The Wealthy Also Declining Significantly

In general prices in percentage terms have fallen more in less desirable areas of bubble markets. Prices and sales volume are falling for housing in wealthy areas. Forbes reports that:

Even Hollywood's rich and famous can't avoid the housing downturn that's sweeping the nation. In Los Angeles, only 4,430 homes were sold in December, down 48% from the previous year. And prices fell 11% to an average $470,000.

Of course, celebrity homes cost much more than that. An entry-level house for an up-and-coming star costs at least $1.4 million in L.A., say experts. Realtor Barry Sloane of Sotheby's International Realty says it's the owners trying to sell homes in the $3 million to $6 million range that are having the most trouble

Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon is also having real estate troubles. He put his 7,000-square-foot Beverly Hills home on the market In July 2006 for $7.7 million. He has since reduced the price three times, and the house is now selling for $5.7 million.

Housing units owned by the wealthy are also being affected. It is not different there! Those wealthy areas are also seeing price declines, lower sales and longer days on the market.

Prices are falling in almost all areas in the bubble markets. Oh, there will be no spring bounce for housing units in the bubble markets.