Skip to comments.Trapped by the mortgage meltdown
Posted on 09/14/2007 5:37:16 AM PDT by Hydroshock
NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -- Whether you're a home seller, owner or buyer, by this point you've got to be feeling a little rattled. The bad news about the housing market seems never ending: Foreclosures have more than doubled over the past year.
Sales of existing homes are off 11 percent from this time last year. At that rate, it will take at least nine months to work off the inventory of unsold homes. And median home prices in July (the most recent figure available) dropped for the 12th month in a row.
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Worse yet, all that happened before problems in subprime lending expanded throughout the mortgage market and beyond, creating what's popularly being referred to as the credit crunch.
While it's too soon to see the impact reflected in the numbers, the immediate future is clear: As lenders tighten their borrowing standards, fewer people will qualify for mortgages.
Fewer qualified buyers can only mean that housing prices will slump further. Worst of all, economists don't see much chance for a turnaround until mid- 2008 and possibly into 2009.
(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...
I know they do not, that is why I ahve been warning of this train wreck for over a year.
Very true. At least 10% down and most people who can verify income at at least have a half-a$$ed record of paying their bills can get a mortgage.
Yeah, that’s what the mortgage company wanted me to put down in order to get the loan. Ah, those were the days!
Sorry to disappoint you, Les, but I'm not.
I was once a realtor and was raised in the home building a remodeling industry so I have seen a lot. I once saw a guy who had a divorce, and a bankruptcy in the past 12 months buy a house. He inherited some money and put 50% down.
Unless you just started working, or didn’t save, you can get a suitable home within your cash range.
Yes, one can play money games to squeeze out a few percent more - but that piles on risk, which the sub-prime borrowers are finding can be a problem.
Obviously you live somewhere away from the big cities of the East or West coast.
There’s no way on God’s green earth you could ever save enough cash to buy a home in those areas unless you live with your parents and don’t pay rent. Or, conversely, make an insane amount of money.
Besides it’s stupid to pay cash for a house if you have money. Leave the money invested and earn more than you pay in interest.
Very few wealthy people buy their homes with cash, and there’s a reason. And by wealthy, I mean someone with a good income AND good asset balances, NOT high-income but living paycheck to paycheck.
I’m not talking subprime here though. See my last post.
I hope to see a return of sane lending stanards and banking.
Not really true. A $50 doctor bill usually doesn’t affect an interest rate at all in my experience, unless everything else about the file is tight, i.e. income is questionable, and pay history on bills is bad over time.
Either that or people who should be using me to finance their homes are going elsewhere! ;-)
Right you are, Hydro! If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t try to buy it. That’s an old, but good lesson; and sometimes the only way to learn it is the hard way.
There’s a simple reason I like the suburbs.
Living in the city=living with crime, liberals, freaks, gays, dirt, traffic and noise.
Living in the country=driving to the city to work unless you like living on minimum wage...
I know you’re more a fan of city living but that’s a minority of conservatives.
Why? I'm a home owner and I am not rattled. I don't plan on selling my house ever, so why should I care about the current little blip in the market? I hate broad generalizations.
Are you saying that equity WILL continue to bring profits or not? Not sure I understand your post.
The debt hangover that we have today is unprecedented at least five times worse than 1989.
This time it will take at least 15 years to unwind the excesses.
Unless the Fed hyperinflates us out of our debts.
Anything is possible.
Hmm... I was in the grocery store not more than 15 minutes ago.
What do you mean?
My house is almost 6 years old and was bought before the boom and while its value is far less than it was during the height of the boom, it is still valued far in excess of what I paid and I don’t owe much on it either.
Two of my 4 kids have now been able to buy homes at bargain prices. One will soon and the oldest is stuck in a bad loan on an existing mortgage. 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.
Hangovers serve a purpose. They tell us that we did something stupid.
Do you want the Fed to hyperinflate us out of our debts?
No, people who hope for huge crashes in the market, and millions of people losing their homes, so they can become the speculators that right now they’re cursing and bitching about.
I ask because usually a straight 20% suffices.
Well, the way to be rid of speculators would be to have government assigned housing.
Better solutions welcomed.
I just bought a house near Atlanta. I don’t make an insane amount of money.
“Rex, I bought my house in 1991, not far away from Alexandria. Even if it loses three quarters of its value, if I sold it Id still make a killing relative to what I could have made in the stock market or any other investment instrument over those years.”
The key here is selling it - the markets across the country are overbuilt and have massive amounts of inventory that’s not selling. That’s why this is happening, why foreclosures are growing - nobody can sell, because nobody is buying. Take a look in your area, and see how long houses are sitting on the market - the appraisal you’re basing your “killing” on may not be accurate anymore.
If you can afford your mortgage, and have a fixed loan, more power to you, you’ll be fine (except having your purchasing power diminish with a recession). If you have to sell, for any reason...you may be in for a surprise.
Not in southern Connecticut, unless you're willing to live in the worst part of the urban ghettos....
Prices in Atlanta are still pretty reasonable.
“I know they do not, that is why I ahve been warning of this train wreck for over a year.”
I have too - I gave it up as a pointless hobby, and I refuse to show any compassion to people who made fun of me or were rude to me when I DARED question the housing market. They made their bed, they can now lie in it, and I’ll be damned if they pass some kind of bailout on my dime.
I’m stocked up on popcorn, gonna get every ounce of entertainment value out of watching American’s greed and the shady doings of the banking and and real estate and mortgage industry tank our country into one hell of a recession. It’s too late late to change the course of this iceberg, might as well enjoy the show.
C’mon, all you mortgage brokers and real estate agents who barge into these threads and throw their attitude around, let’s get some more “NAH NAH NAH I CANT HEAR YOU” while you stick your fingers in your ears, and try to sell people 800K houses that are worth 200k. Get some more blood money while there are still a few greater fools out there. C’mon, one more round of “real estate only goes up!” “You can just refinance later when the rates reset!” “They’re not making any more land!” and “rent is throwing money away!” for old time’s sake. It’s your party, get your butts on the dance floor and WORK IT! We’re paying for it, after all.
Now, you’ll excuse me, I have to go to work now (where I havent had a raise in 4 years), gotta get gas (which is rising in price), and make some cash to pay my rent, which is half of what i’d be throwing away in property tax, insurance, and upkeep on an overpriced shitbox McMansion you real estate idiots and mortgage vultures were trying to fob off on me for the last 4 years.
Bitter? You BETCHA.
Why would you ask that?
I heard a local store was now accepting Peso’s. Maybe thats where all the money is going?
I know you feelings all to well.
Let's hope not. For me the last *real* recession was back in the early 70's. My family was a West TN cotton farming family that wasn't particularly affected. However, I still remember the highly educated managers and engineers coming up to our house 2-3 evenings per week with hat in hand - looking for jobs as farm laborers.
A *real* recession is pretty ugly alright!
But my point is that, increasingly, you are getting all of that in the suburbs, too - especially in California. You've got to go way out to the backwoods now to avoid it.
I lived in the suburbs most of my life, and now split time between two cities, living right downtown in both. I can't say that the quality of urban life is appreciably worse than suburban life in either city, though twenty years ago the differences were doubtless much greater. If suburbs were what they used to be, I would probably prefer to live in one - but they've become the worst of both worlds in a lot of ways.
A very unpleasant truth is that stereotypical urban/suburban quality of life differences are primarily differences in proximity to majority black neighborhoods. In a lot of West Coast cities, lower-income blacks have been priced out (or driven out by illegal immigrants) and have relocated to suburban areas - resulting in a patchwork quilt of safe/unsafe areas that offers little advantage over urban living. Wealthy whites are returning to cities in droves, and the cycle is starting over again.
I don't know. Maybe that? :-)
The only thing you left out was reversion back to the stone age.
If Fred has $400,000 and he puts $100,000 of it down on a house, he has a $300,000 mortgage that must be paid off over time. But he also has $300,000 in his pocket that can be invested elsewhere. So if he's paying off a 6% mortgage and getting a 6% return on his investment, he's at least breaking even in a nominal sense -- and he's coming out ahead if his 6% mortgage interest is tax-deductible and the 6% return on his investment is taxed at a lower dividend/capital gains rate.
Joe owns the house outright, and everything he earns after that is available for other use & investment. Heck, he can drop his expenses to near zero (compared to a mortgage) and virtually retire with little more than a part-time job.
Fred may be able to play numbers games and make a marginal profit (I didn’t say one couldn’t make money in this, I’ve just concluded the risks outweigh the benefits), but if things go sour he still owes the lender that money. A lot can happen in 30 years.
Most are like Sally, who buys the $400,000 house with $100,000 down (or $0 down), and has to spend the next 30 years earning $600,000 to pay off the loan.
It's about time. I used up all my Yen in the early 90's
What kind of business are you in?
LOL! Rough night for me.
IMO, prices will come down another 15% minimum...so with that, it's kind of hard for me to look a prospective buyer in the eye who asks me "Is now a good time to buy?"
Last real estate bust was in 1990 and it took the entire decade of the nineties for it to return to 1990 prices.
Of course they doubled within the next 4 years..but that can't happen again without more creative mortgage programs to make the monthly nut manageable.
Then don't live there.
Suburban Georgia is surprisingly affordable. Other areas will do nicely too.
Actually, if you search the web a bit, you can find towns that will GIVE you land so long as you build a modest house and live there a few years. That plus a "Glassic Soho" for $65K will give anyone a nice starting point. May not be as exciting as southern Connecticut, but "supply and demand" rules.
Be honest & humble about what you need & want, look carefully, and you can live pretty well on not very much - and everything you earn thereafter isn't already claimed by someone else.
Come to Houston, you can get 2500 sq ft home on 8000+ sq ft lot 30 to 45 minutes from downtown at less tehn $200K.
So where do you live in the meantime? You’re either paying rent (not tax-deductible), or you’ve paid cash for your home and thus can’t invest it elsewhere.
The government has been propping up our economy for years by allowing low interest rates for the housing market that have somewhat offset high inflation in the energy sector.
Now that energy has started draining people of disposable income, every other sector, housing and retail are suffering. With less income available to spread around, everyone has downward pressure on their income.
For example, in my business (masonry contractor) competing contractors are dropping their prices by 20% just to have the work, which has dried up. Taxes and insurance adds 35% to the cost of payroll. With all the overhead , taxes, etc, one just as well be working for someone else. There is no need of trying to operate a business on an hourly wage because it can’t be done and cover overhead. I would rather sit on my ass and go broke as to work it off and still go broke. Thats why I post here today because I am sitting on my ass pondering a future at McDonalds just to make my truck payment. Thank God my wife has a good, recession proof job but losing a second average income hurts tremendously.
The general contractor loves the competition for their limited work because it reduces his costs. But I guarantee non of the sub contractors will have enough income to buy that home or any other home. They will be lucky to keep insurance and cover payroll taxes before winter hits. And the house will sit unsold so interest eats up the contractors profit.
Less disposable income, less demand for goods and services.
Lower profits= recession.
There's one thing about Washington DC: every two years a new influx of political hangers-on arrives and needs housing, so the real estate changes hands. Yes, there's a massive amount of backed-up inventory, but some houses still do sell if their owners aren't greedy and don't ask an unrealistic price, as if it's still 2005.
masonry contractor residential/commercial
I am leaning heavily now towards masonry restoration, tuckpointing etc but didn’t shift gears away from new construction quite soon enough to keep a steady work flow. Although there is some good promise for future work things are really tight for the time being.
Come to think of it, other than in certain urban areas following the riots of the 1960s, I can't think of a time when there were real estate "firesales" in the region. Of course, you had cases in the Bronx in the 60s and 70s where the owners simply paid locals to torch the buildings, but that's a whole 'nother story.
During the last big real estate downturn (early 1990s), I remember something similar to what we see now (housing prices plateuing and sitting on the market for a long time), rather than an out and out crash (which seems to hit the sunbelt/resort areas harder than the NE).
Living below your means and saving for a rainy day are always a good idea. I’d usually recommend avoiding debt, too — except that in some cases it makes all the sense in the world to have it.
You live where you can afford. Don’t live somewhere expensive.
Sure, maybe you’ll need to rent for a bit. Humble acommodations are not expensive if you choose wisely.
Sure, maybe the first time out you’ll need a mortgage. Get something for $50,000 (not a half-million), live frugally, start early and pay it off ASAP.
Heck, live with mom & dad for a while. Get a fixer-upper. Go to the last-chance gov’t repo auctions. Get a used RV and an unwanted plot. Nice meals can be had for $1; save the rest. With some creativity, elbow grease, and crow pie you can get to an outright title pretty quick.
If we’re talking mid-six-digits (which this thread is focusing on), you’re probably driven more by greed & pride (fancy house and/or prestigious location) than economic wisdom. (Full disclosure: to oversimplify, I’m a narcissistic hypocrite - but know the risk.)
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