Archive for November, 2012

When I developed the OC Housing News Report, one of the biggest challenges was to develop a rating system that would time the housing market to maximum advantage. As we've all seen over the last few years of constant government manipulation, its very hard to pick the exact bottom, and although it looks like the bottom was earlier this year, that is not yet certain. Changes in government or banking policy could easily result in more foreclosures finding their way to the MLS causing prices to fall again. Despite these challenges, there are certain key indicators one can look for to evaluate market timing. I discuss these at length on the market report sign up page. In short, the best…[READ MORE]

Many markets in Orange County barely corrected during the bubble collapse. Many of the most desirable markets are already selling for more than peak values due to the stimulus intended to revive the rest of the national market. This will be the story over the next few years as some markets inflate mini-bubbles in reaction to stimulus while some markets languish under the weight of shadow inventory liquidations. Over time, the substitution effect will kick in and the markets will reestablish the equilibrium they once had prior to the housing bubble. Of course, that assumes politicians stop stimulating and manipulating the housing market at some point -- an assumption that may be proven false. Nobody who isn’t kool aid intoxicated…[READ MORE]

In late 2011, the valuation metrics in the OC Housing News Report became very bullish. Due to low interest rates and slowly deflating prices, the cost of home ownership relative to rent fell far below historic norms. In other words, it was much cheaper to own than is usually is. Despite the falling prices, the valuations were attractive, and this report began issuing strong buy signals. Those that trusted that advice bought at what appears to be the bottom of the market. Only time will tell if the spring 2012 bottom is durable. In spring 2012, lenders dramatically slowed their foreclosure processing and disposition in order to create a shortage of properties on the MLS and stop the decline in…[READ MORE]

The bubble collapse was rife with denial caused by false rumors of homeowner bailouts. Many homeowners held out hope that if they could just keep current on their mortgage long enough, the government would come to their rescue in the form of a mandated bailout program.  Many such programs were attempted, but if their stated goal was to keep loanowners in the properties they occupied, these programs were a dismal failure -- thankfully. If they had succeeded, the moral hazard would have served to inflate an even more massive housing bubble in the future. Moral hazard is central issue in housing bust. Part of the bailout fantasy was not just that people could keep their homes, but that they could…[READ MORE]

In the lead up to our presidential election, I noted that the housing bubble creates no-win political situation for either presidential candidate. As a result, both Obama and Romney have been largely silent on this important issue. It was absent from the debates, and with the exception of a sketchy housing plan that lacks fresh ideas from Romney, housing has been ignored by both candidates. In a final effort to bring pressure on the candidates to acquiesce to his wishes, a prominent realtor (if there is such a thing) has released a scathing attach on both candidates for failing to embrace his self-serving agenda. Special Series: RE/MAX's Dave Liniger Makes a House Call(ing) Out Andy Beth Miller - 10-/31/2012 Recently,…[READ MORE]

After the collapse of lending caused by skyrocketing delinquency rates which ultimately brought down the housing market, lending was taken over by the US government. The FHA, which was an existing government program, saw its share of mortgage origination balloon from 4% to 25%. The government sponsored entities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken into conservatorship by the Department of Treasury and injected with about $150 billion to keep them solvent. With takeover of the GSEs and the increase in FHA lending, the government insured the loans on as much as 98% of the housing market. The current footprint is still well over 90%. Most of the parties involved with supervision of the GSEs and FHA agree that…[READ MORE]

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