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Housing Boom Fading, Leading Real Estate Economist Says
Origiator Times ^ | 10/31/2005 | Steve Brown

Posted on 10/31/2005 11:28:13 AM PST by ex-Texan

SAN FRANCISCO, (KRT) - A combination of higher interest rates and years of rising prices could soon take some air out of the hot U.S. housing market.

"The boom is showing some signs of tiring," David Lereah, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, said Friday. "We are looking at about a 4 percent drop in home sales next year.

"We are projecting a significant drop in the price appreciation pace," Lereah said.

But even though the velocity of the housing market will subside, "we are looking for a soft landing," he told real estate agents from across the country who are meeting in San Francisco.

Economic forecasts have been mixed in recent months, but Lereah is the latest high-profile housing-sector economist to forecast a decline in housing.

David Seiders, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, said recently that the housing market is "topping out."

The Realtors association is forecasting that home appreciation will slow from a nationwide average of more than 12 percent this year to only about 5 percent in 2005. In hot markets, the falloff could be more pronounced, Lereah said.

"Some markets are more susceptible to interest rate risks and shock," he said. "I cannot guarantee that there will be no hard landings."

Cities including Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix and Washington, D.C., are on the Realtors' list of areas that have seen the biggest home price increases in the last three years. Markets like Dallas; Detroit; Austin, Texas; Houston and Denver have remained cool.

"The country is really unbalanced when it comes to the price of a home," Lereah said. "The boom has really discriminated across America."

Many cities are already transitioning from a sellers' market to a buyers' market. And the time it takes to sell a house is increasing in many cities.

"Eventually that seller will have to revise his expectations downward," Lereah said. "Instead of getting 20 percent appreciation in their home they will have to get 5 percent."

Even with the forecast decline in sales next year, housing activity remains at a very high level. And Lereah said the market is fundamentally sound.

"In the real estate market, there is not hard evidence we have bubbles waiting to burst," he said.

But higher interest rates alone will cause a softening in home sales, economists agree.

"Mortgage rates are going up, but they will still be below 7 percent," Lereah said.

While still low by historic standards, he said that mortgage rates approaching 7 percent "could be more troublesome" for some of areas of the country.

The increased use of adjustable-rate mortgages and so-called "exotic" home loans has made some homeowners more vulnerable to higher interest rates. Adjustable-rate loans make up about 30 percent of the mortgage market, Lereah said.

"The biggest risk I see right now in California and other parts of the U.S. is the element of risk introduced by adjustable-rate mortgages and interest-only loans and negative amortization loans," he said.

"When it comes to these exotic loans _ even though it may slow home sales a bit _ I'd like to see stricter guidelines so we can slow housing a bit so we can have a soft landing."

Lereah said among the real threats to the continued health of the housing market are proposals in Washington to cut tax deductions for home mortgage interest and property taxes.

"In my opinion it's terrible timing - it's almost irresponsible," he said. "That would do severe damage to a lot of the local markets across the nation.

"We are looking at probably a 10 to 15 percent drop in home prices" if the proposals become reality.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS: bubbles; housing; realestate
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To: Capriole

This is because Geo Bush is expanding the federal government like there's no tomorrow.


51 posted on 10/31/2005 5:46:00 PM PST by HuronMan
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To: Capriole
I just hope the crash holds off until I can sell my Montgomery County house in the spring.

It won't crash but you will have accept less than last spring unless you want it to sit on the market. At this point you have about 25k listings to compete with. By late winter that might be down a bit, but not much. I would get the house on the market early next year or even december.

52 posted on 10/31/2005 5:50:34 PM PST by palmer (Money problems do not come from a lack of money, but from living an excessive, unrealistic lifestyle)
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To: ex-Texan

Inflation is startign to heat up. Except in extremely overvalued markets where price appreciation has been off the charts most markets will be flat or experience a modest decline.

It won't be a collapse like when the .com bubble burst though the press will treat it as such.

Has anyone noticed that the realestate markets where pricing has taken complete leave of its moorings are always liberal bastions ?


53 posted on 10/31/2005 8:04:59 PM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: SF Republican
Lets see, the price is up 50% over three years since I bought, and we are looking at a 15% drop? OK

Yep, the doom and gloom Freepers have always had a hard time with investments doing well. I'm glad that my three properties in the D.C. area have doubled. I'll take that and a 15% drop that lasts a couple of years any day...

Doom and gloomers, keep on hiding your cash under your mattresses and we'll see who does better...

54 posted on 10/31/2005 8:22:44 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: festus
Has anyone noticed that the realestate markets where pricing has taken complete leave of its moorings are always liberal bastions ?

Yep, and I'm dead square in the middle of one of them. It has a lot to do with liberal land use policy. They limit the supply yet demand stays high. Prices skyrocket. Also, they get more in taxes from corporate land than they pay out. So they allow way more businesses to locate than the housing market can accommodate. Jobs need people - people need houses - houses are not there - prices go WAY up...

55 posted on 10/31/2005 8:32:25 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: Proud_USA_Republican
I have watched as condos in Seattle that were going for 280K at the begining of the year now being sold for 380K in October. I hope the whole house of cards comes crashing down on the speculators heads as soon as possible.

Not in Seattle.
Geography plus the land management legislation equals no end in sight for spiraling upward real estate prices. And as long as Californians are leaving their state with wheelbarrows full of cash to invest in "cheap" Seattle real estate, there's no end in sight.

56 posted on 11/01/2005 2:41:30 AM PST by ppaul
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To: ppaul
Not in Seattle.

"Won't happen here". I hear that from everybody everywhere. Even people in the middle of nowhere who say their prices didn't rise much so they can't fall. But take a look at inventory, in No VA it has more than doubled even though many people are moving into this area. But the newcomers can't soak up a 30k supply of listings. There are 45k new condos scheduled in the next 3 years, and condos currently are break-even year-over-year taking into account commissions. Take a comprehensive look around and you will see it CAN happen anywhere.

57 posted on 11/01/2005 4:26:29 AM PST by palmer (Money problems do not come from a lack of money, but from living an excessive, unrealistic lifestyle)
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To: Proud_USA_Republican
I hope the whole house of cards comes crashing down on the speculators heads as soon as possible.

Ahhhhhh.... Refreshing to see an extreme liberal on FR (are you Algore? John Kerry?)! Amazing that you will actually be glad if and when people lose on their investments. A perfect democrat - hoping for people to be hurt, hoping for bad news...

58 posted on 11/01/2005 5:55:17 AM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: ex-Texan
All the talk about a housing boom is amazing. The experts like this guy want us to believe that this is some strange phenomenon. Real estate like everything else is cyclical. Anyone that treats Real estate as a risk free investment in any economy and has a need to sell will find its only a matter of time before they get hurt.
59 posted on 11/01/2005 6:03:04 AM PST by JIM O
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To: Proud_USA_Republican
I have a couple properties in the No Va' suburbs of DC I am trying to sell. The Realtors I have dealt with have all proposed fairly conservative asking prices and frankly state the market is cooling from last spring. None were shysters or BS spreaders. I have to say I was impressed by their competent and business like approach.
60 posted on 11/01/2005 10:03:29 AM PST by robowombat
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To: tscislaw
I can only surmise that you missed the great surge in appreciation these last few years and you're pissed.

Aint that the damned truth. When I bought in 2001, there were chicken littles screaming the same thing, the crash was at hand...anyone buying now is going to get slaughtered yadda yadda...meanwhile, 4 years later, here I am with a 30 yr fixed at 5.5% and up by 50% (200% over the $80k down), I am so glad I didn't listen to those fools back then.

61 posted on 11/01/2005 10:35:12 AM PST by Citizen of the Savage Nation
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To: ex-Texan

We sold our condo 3 weeks ago. It was on the market for 5 days.

Hopefully they don't back out and in the next week or two the hard landing hits around here and they don't take notice :D


62 posted on 11/01/2005 10:38:43 AM PST by kx9088
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To: ex-Texan

Co-worker in Silicon valley area told me yesterday he sold a house - he said it was on the market for 7 days. So some houses are still moving out there.


63 posted on 11/01/2005 10:41:17 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten (Is your problem ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care.)
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To: Arthalion
Merced(ites? ians? ers?)

Mercederists.

64 posted on 11/01/2005 10:48:29 AM PST by ArmstedFragg
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To: silverleaf
Oh no! People in Washington DC metro area will have to live with 5% appreciation on their $650,000 colonials instead of 20% appreciation on their $250,000 colonials!

So what is your house worth now?

65 posted on 03/12/2009 5:40:42 AM PDT by palmer (Cooperating with Obama = helping him extend the depression and implement socialism.)
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To: ppaul
Not in Seattle.

Hey, how'd it work out in Seattle?

66 posted on 03/12/2009 5:43:33 AM PDT by palmer (Cooperating with Obama = helping him extend the depression and implement socialism.)
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To: palmer

You are questioning me on a comment posted:

on Monday, October 31, 2005 4:13:59 PM

YGBSM

and what does MY personal situation have to do wth 4 year old commentary on inflated property values in the DC burbs?
Typical lib tactic- ignore the fact or nonfact (or satire) of the comment and attack the questioner’s personal background?


67 posted on 03/12/2009 5:44:54 AM PDT by silverleaf (Freedom's just another word for "nothing left to lose")
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To: silverleaf

Bitter eh? I just like gloating about how right I was.


68 posted on 03/12/2009 5:47:41 AM PDT by palmer (Cooperating with Obama = helping him extend the depression and implement socialism.)
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To: palmer

Nice call. It is fun to read these threads. It’s like the Twilight Zone episode where a group of old people say that playing “kick the can will make them young again”. But one old one tells them their full of it...you probably know the rest.


69 posted on 11/16/2010 11:37:42 PM PST by BobL (The whole point of being human is knowing when the party's over.)
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To: BobL
It was an easy call then and even easier in retrospect. But one thing I didn't factor in was the huge growth in the Federal Govt. That has kept prices pretty firm the closer to DC that you get. Further than 20 miles out it has been rough with 550-600k houses selling for 350 (bank sale). Go even farther, 60+ miles where I live, and the market is dead except for 150k or less. 100k houses are selling like gangbusters, 300k and up are just sitting doing nothing.

I should go look for an old gold thread since we know the price will never go over $550.

70 posted on 11/17/2010 4:10:06 AM PST by palmer (Cooperating with Obama = helping him extend the depression and implement socialism.)
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To: palmer
Wow, what a prophetic post.

I love reading old posts, and this one hit the nail on the head. What is your next prediction, so I can "cash in, or cash out" whatever the case may be?

71 posted on 11/17/2010 4:30:18 AM PST by codercpc
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To: palmer

I agree it was an easy call, in hindsight. When the price of houses are 5 to 10 times incomes in many areas, something is going to crash - but when? In my case I shorted Countrywide and several other financials. It was NERVE-RACKING being about the only person in the country that actually read some of their loan documents (from a Florida county website) rather than simply taking the word of Orangeman.

I managed to ride Countrywide all the way down, and rode the others maybe 25% down, before getting cold feet and bailing. I kept my stock-picking record perfect...which was that every stock I ever ‘owned’ has gone down - but this time I got a nice car out of it. LOL.

I agree, with the feds printing money like mad, and with these sick attempts to prop up housing prices, it’s really hard to predict what’s next. Unfortunately people involved in gold don’t sit around like zombies, but instead are proactive and have already priced in inflation (i.e., when I started shorting, it was late 2006 - I could not believe that these stocks were still near their highs...WHAT IDIOTS were holding them?).

Now we have a new world, where every country is trying to kill their currency at the same time. The logical thing would be to buy land - but it is being inflated by low interest rates - so I wait for the bottom to fall out of the dollar.


72 posted on 11/17/2010 5:24:51 AM PST by BobL (The whole point of being human is knowing when the party's over.)
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To: BobL; codercpc
We are supposed to buy what nobody else wants, based on the market signal of price. Houses are still a bit high although in my county 60-70 miles west of DC there are livable (i.e. rentable) houses for reasonable prices. BobL points out that gold has inflation priced into it. The Fed will have to allow high inflation sooner or later to alleviate the debt burden (other alternative is to default, or I suppose we could grow our way out of it). But our public and private debt is also deflationary as it hangs over the economy. Here's what I would buy: a bunch of dredges for gold mining to sell to urbanites who decide to become gold prospectors. Buy scads of shovels to sell to the folks who can't afford a dredge.

Seriosuly though, I like BobL's land idea but other people are still snapping it up. Even better to buy land with something on it like timber or water. I "buy" collectable gold and silver by trading in junk and bulk precious metals. The prices are high, driven by the PM prices, but often a low multiple. I've got a stash of copper wire although I might end up using some of it myself. Buy a decent classic car if you like that sort of thing. Go to the flea market and buy things that look good; I buy unique colored glass pieces (vases, bowls, etc) but only if they look unique and colorful. I don't pretend that it's worth anything, but at buck or five bucks does that really matter?

73 posted on 11/17/2010 7:30:07 AM PST by palmer (Cooperating with Obama = helping him extend the depression and implement socialism.)
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