The Home Price Rally is Over For Now

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 9, 2010 - 8:01pm

The data rodeo will be out shortly, my friends. In the meantime I just put a price chart for January up at voiceofsandiego.org.

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Submitted by jpinpb on February 9, 2010 - 9:09pm.

I expect a spring rally as people scramble to buy before the tax credit expires (though I suspect the government to extend it again.)

Submitted by UCGal on February 10, 2010 - 9:20am.

I'm not sure I agree with jp. I think most of the people who were motivated to buy by the $8k have already bought or are under contract... I don't think we're seeing new offers being made motivated by the $8k.

There might be a spring rally of pendings that is typical for the season - people wanting to move over summer so they can change school districts, etc.

Submitted by outtamojo on February 10, 2010 - 9:39am.

I expect lower sales numbers in the areas I watch- heck there are maybe 10 or 11 active sfr in SEH- that area could use a Tsunami.

Submitted by jpinpb on February 10, 2010 - 10:13am.

UC - the banks are trickling properties on the market. Some places have gotten multiple offers. There are still people out there wanting to buy that haven't had a chance to take advantage of the 8k credit, not to mention flippers buying on the steps that now can unload them w/out a waiting period to FHA buyers who want the 8k credit. As much as things need to still correct further, especially some of the areas I'm checking, I still see spring picking up. And as you also mention, spring/summer is the best time for those w/kids in school and vacation time from work to take advantage and buy. That will add to the sales no doubt.

Submitted by sdrealtor on February 10, 2010 - 10:29am.

Prices seem pretty stable now but could easily pop a little in the more affordable areas. I just ran MLS stats. There are only 6,384 active listings in SD County which isnt much more than we had whne things exploded upward in early 2004 (not saying they will again). There are 3,833 contingent listings which are short sales and REO's that have accepted offers which have been submitted to the banks. There are 4,431 properties in escrow. The suplly looks well under 2 months out there and that is taking into account all the high priced properties which arent selling. Below 500K actives, contingents and pending are roughly equal. Inventory at more more affordable levels should be measured in weeks not months.

Sales volumes should be low because there is very little for people to buy out there. Prices below $1M dont seem to be going anywhere soon.

Submitted by CA renter on February 10, 2010 - 12:35pm.

jpinpb wrote:
I expect a spring rally as people scramble to buy before the tax credit expires (though I suspect the government to extend it again.)

Agree. It will probably look like 2004 all over again (which just so happened to mark the beginning of the inventory build).

I'm seeing what Rich's charts are saying. After a pretty robust spring/summer of 2009, things have calmed down a bit and prices are actually stable/down in our area.

Still waiting for something to snap in this market. Can the govt continue forever without causing huge problems in the credit/Treasury markets?

Submitted by urbanrealtor on February 10, 2010 - 2:19pm.

Rich you are a heretic.
I will now build a bonfire to burn you.

Submitted by SD Realtor on February 10, 2010 - 5:18pm.

To add to the point JP has made, from the trustee sale perspective, it is horrendous out there. I have not seen this pathetic of a volume of what actually does sell for quite awhile. Activity is DOMINATED now by postponements from the beneficiary. Very few properties hitting the block and the number of people buying is frenetic. Lots of hacks paying quite a price with slim slim margins.

Submitted by outtamojo on February 10, 2010 - 10:23pm.

CA renter wrote:
jpinpb wrote:
I expect a spring rally as people scramble to buy before the tax credit expires (though I suspect the government to extend it again.)

Agree. It will probably look like 2004 all over again (which just so happened to mark the beginning of the inventory build).

I'm seeing what Rich's charts are saying. After a pretty robust spring/summer of 2009, things have calmed down a bit and prices are actually stable/down in our area.

Still waiting for something to snap in this market. Can the govt continue forever without causing huge problems in the credit/Treasury markets?

Pricing I expect to be restrained by conservative lending standards and buyer reluctance to "overpay"
in front of the well publicized "Tsunami".

Submitted by sdrealtor on February 11, 2010 - 10:05am.

Absolutely agree. Pricing will continue to be constrained by conservative lending and buyer reluctance to overpay. I think we are going to be looking at a slow, ugly market treading water for a long time. No fun for anyone out there unless you are looking on the very high end of the market.

Submitted by jpinpb on February 11, 2010 - 10:11am.

Nah. Treading water makes it seem like work. The government keeps dispensing life preservers. Let's call it "floating along." ;)

Submitted by urbanrealtor on February 11, 2010 - 11:23am.

jpinpb wrote:
Nah. Treading water makes it seem like work. The government keeps dispensing life preservers. Let's call it "floating along." ;)

Personally, I don't see floating to be all that bad.

My expectation is in line with sdr.
However, I see it as a good thing.
Lots of buyers are more comfortable buying in a market that is not mid-gyration (regardless of the agency of relative stabilization).
Conversely, even a stagnant market is more desirable for sellers than is, say, a roiling market.

A dropping (by which I do not mean a declining) market has the same effect as Toyota recall. It effectively freezes the market. Another good analogy would be possibly tainted meat. If it were priced at 10 cents per pound, people would still risk that 1 in 1000 chance of Salmonella.

My point in mentioning this is that a decline that is steep enough can create an extra-linear positive feedback loop (thus making it much steeper than a normal decline in demand would predict). Currently, the semi-stabilized market has people looking for bargains but not avoiding it. Desire is a bit more lined up with demand than it was, say, 14 months ago.

Thoughts?

Submitted by Arraya on February 11, 2010 - 12:21pm.

I think Mish said it perfectly the other day:

If you throw enough money at something, prices are bound to stabilize, at least for a while. However, eventually the pool of pent-up demand is exhausted, much like the pool of original fools was exhausted.

The shadow supply of homes is through the roof, rental prices are dropping, and there is no real sign of jobs. Moreover, the Fed is supposed to end its agency buying purchases soon.

I doubt they do, at least for long. But they should. Efforts to prop up the housing market are misguided. Eventually housing will find a bottom, but all the Fed gets in the meantime is prolonging the agony while loading up its balance sheet with garbage, praying for miracles.

No miracles are coming.

That about sums it up. The Fed's plans are predicated on miracles. It's a faith based program.

Submitted by jpinpb on February 11, 2010 - 4:52pm.

Arraya wrote:
The Fed's plans are predicated on miracles. It's a faith based program.

What ever happened between separation of church and state?

Submitted by peterb on February 12, 2010 - 10:27am.

Wherever there are old Indymac loans, trouble now lurks.
http://www.thinkbigworksmall.com/mypage/...

Submitted by AK on February 12, 2010 - 2:12pm.

What if it's a Gary Watts inverted year? :)

Seriously though, I've noticed a bunch of short sales closing recently (two of them a block from my future home in the last week) which may be affecting sale prices. Well, that and the absolutely atrocious condition of most of the inventory out there. From what I've noticed all the good stuff sold last fall, and the new listings are pure junk.

Submitted by sdcellar on February 12, 2010 - 11:24pm.

I still see nice properties on the market, it's just that they're still asking for more than I want to pay.

Submitted by temeculaguy on February 13, 2010 - 12:20pm.

peterb wrote:
Wherever there are old Indymac loans, trouble now lurks.
http://www.thinkbigworksmall.com/mypage/player/tbws/23088/1287086

I like those guys, they are funny. The problem is that their conspiracy theory is in conflict with the shadow inventory conspiracy theory. If their indymac theory is correct, then there is overwhelming incentive is to approve short sales and foreclose as fast as possible, then sell for whatever low price can be got. Both theories cannot co-exist, at best, only one can be correct. Both theories require a flood of the market to validate them, so far, no flood sightings yet. In fact we should have already seen the flood, keep those grains fo salt handy.

Submitted by Arraya on February 13, 2010 - 12:45pm.

Such agreements are usually considered to be interpreted to the benefit of the homeowner, as with HAMP and other programs. In legalese, it is called “Intent”.

What was the “Intent” of the Shared-Loss Agreement? Was the intent to provide OneWest Bank solely with a profitable incentive to take over Indymac Bank? If so, then OneWest has been truly successful in every manner.

Or was the intent to offer to OneWest Bank a way to be compensated for losses for foreclosures, but with the primary goal to assist homeowners in trouble? If this was the intent, then OneWest has failed miserably in its actions. And if so, could OneWest be actionable by the Federal Government for fraud?

In fact the true “Intent” was to limit losses to the Treasury Department. Each and every loan modification done would save the Treasury, and the tax payer, from 80-95 cents on every dollar.

Since, technically, One West would get 5-20 cents of any savings, it should have been an incentive to use foreclosure alternatives. But the reality is that the quick turnaround on foreclosure seems to give OneWest a better return. As a result, OneWest appears to simply ignore the intent and just foreclose (as far as I can tell).

So, OneWest’s failure to modify loans may actually amount to fraud on the Treasury and US taxpayers.

Conclusion

I have presented the story of Indymac/OneWest and what is happening today. But the story does not end with OneWest. There are over 50 different lenders and servicers who have Shared-Loss Agreements executed with the FDIC. Each Agreement offers essentially the same terms. Though other Lenders do not appear to be acting as flagrantly as OneWest, they are all still engaging in the same actions.

Submitted by moneymaker on February 18, 2010 - 10:26am.

Does anyone know when these Shared-Loss Agreements began? I thought it was strange when we bought our house that the bank did not accept another offer that was "supposedly" 20K higher than ours. Then again at one point Zillow had our house "zestimated" at more than twice what we paid,currently "zestimated" at 20% more than we paid. I would have guessed back then that we would be underwater 20% at this time, and that interest rates would be around 6% by now, strange financial world we live in now. I think it all started with Enron, they cooked the books and got away with it for a very long time,then other companies found out they could do it also. I think the SEC is pretty much hog tied these days.

Submitted by sobmaz on February 19, 2010 - 5:48pm.

Unless you settle for a complete dump, a house will cost about 600K in the S.D. area.

8k is just barely enough to cover 2 months of payments.

only those stupid enough to buy into a bubble would be motivated by such a piddly amount.

Many on this board now think fundamentals don't matter. What seems to matter is how much inventory our government can hold off the market and how much other manipulation our government can throw at the housing sector.

News Flash, you may think the Government has bottomless pockets but I guarantee you they don't.

The market will need to stand on its own sooner or later.

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