Archive for September, 2011

The fact that prices are falling is not a bad thing, not that loan owners who rely on HELOC income would agree. Financial market implosions purge irresponsible and unsustainable habits from the populace. HELOC dependency serves no one, not even the sheeple who got to enjoy it for a time. The unceremonious fall from entitlement is inevitable, and although the fall is emotionally devastating, getting off the HELOC heroin is better for borrowers in the long term. Falling prices bring affordability to the prudent who understand valuation and their cost of ownership. Many people have put off their purchases because they understand the power of rental parity. Those people will be rewarded with lower debts, and the ability to move…[READ MORE]

The current low interest rates are truly remarkable. We are approaching the all-time recorded low from the early 1950s. The reason for the latest drop in interest rates is more market manipulation by the federal reserve. However, in a broader context, the continually dropping interest rates are a sign of monetary deflation caused by the ongoing write-offs of bank debt. It can be argued that today's low interest rates are high in real terms. If you accept Mish's definition of inflation as the expansion of money supply and credit, we are currently experiencing deflation caused by all the write downs. When you have deflation, even low interest rates are high relative to inflation. Another way to look at the situation…[READ MORE]

I first covered the flopping phenomenon a few months ago in Flopping: unscrupulous realtors deceive lender clients and profit from fraud. Apparently, the occurrence is common enough the story is gaining traction in the mainstream media. The main reason I am covering it again is because a reader posted a property that looks like a particularly egregious case of flopping. I'll let you decide. More short sales bring new scam: flopping In 'flopping,' a home is purchased by insiders at a steep discount, then immediately sold for a big profit. By Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate Real-estate agent Lynne Wright thought she had found the perfect home for her clients. The quiet house on a cul-de-sac in one of the most prestigious…[READ MORE]

Today's featured article is a commentary from Housing Wire's Kerri Panchuk. Apparently, she does not accept the wisdom of strategic default. For a variety of reasons, I believe strategic default is a wise course of action for underwater loan owners who are paying more to own than the cost of rental. Let's read the counter-arguments to check their validity. The new slap in the face of foreclosure by KERRI PANCHUK -- Tuesday, September 20th, 2011, 2:33 pm Every American upset with the state of mortgage lending should read the Fox Business News article on strategic default in order to meet the "New Face of Foreclosure." Strategic defaulters are underwater borrowers who intend to remedy their "upside-down situation" by simply walking…[READ MORE]

Some foreclosure and eviction cases can be heartbreaking. However, we live by rule of law in this country, and unless we want to start giving away real estate to those with the saddest story, these evictions must take place. Elderly woman, 101, in tears as she's evicted from her home and her possessions are thrown into dumpster Texana Hollis's son failed to pay her property tax Detroit woman had lived at her home for 58 years Rushed to hospital after eviction over heart attack fears By Paul Thompson Last updated at 7:44 PM on 13th September 2011 A 101-year-old woman has been evicted from her home of the last six decades after her son failed to pay property taxes on…[READ MORE]

The economy is being dragged down by massive debts taken on by insolvent households. We have tried loan modifications, and they failed. Voluntary principal forgiveness is not forthcoming, so that leaves only one alternative to purging the excess debt: massive strategic default. Massive default is best way to fix the economy Commentary: Clearing away the debt is the only way forward Brett Arends -- Sept. 12, 2011, 12:00 a.m. EDT NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — You want to fix this economic crisis? You want to put people back to work? You want to light a fire under the economy? There’s a way to do it. Fast. And relatively simple. But you’re not going to like it. You’re not going to like…[READ MORE]

There are too many market indicators. Anyone who has studied technical analysis of stocks quickly realizes there are far too many ways of parsing data, and most of them are useless. As I pondered what I wanted to present to give an overview of the housing market, I considered many ways of looking at the data. I rejected many of the indicators I felt were irrelevant to answer the basic questions buyers have. What do buyers want to know? Most buyers want to know two things: (1) am I paying too much, and (2) are prices likely to go up or down in the future. These are important questions. People asked these same questions in 2006 and came up with…[READ MORE]

As most of you know, I have been operating a flipping fund buying auction properties in Las Vegas and selling them on the local MLS. The business has had its ups and downs, and I have learned a great deal about Las Vegas and operating in the local business culture. One of the reasons I selected Las Vegas was due to my own research on the housing bubble. Prices have crashed well below rental parity to price levels where cashflow investors find the returns attractive just as I have described in many posts going all the way back to my first week of writing for the IHB in What is Past is Prologue: ... market prices enter the range of…[READ MORE]

Equality has power. Rental parity is a powerful price point because the cost of ownership is equal to the cost of rental. Theoretically, buyers should be indifferent at rental parity, but in the real world kool aid intoxication prompts many buyers to bid prices up above rental parity. The true power of this threshold doesn't become apparent until prices fall and owners find themselves paying far more than comparable rentals for properties worth less than they paid. Today's post will be heavy on math, but I want to give everyone a look inside the black box of aggregate rental parity calculations. I use this analysis in Las Vegas to locate neighborhoods with the best rental property deals, but owner occupants…[READ MORE]

Throughout my posts on the IHB, I make references to what I believe is happening in our local housing market. The IHB serves as a valuable market resource to people considering buying Irvine and Orange County real estate. The message for the first nearly 5 years has been simple: don't buy a home yet. Over the last couple of years as the plethora of market props have been removed, the message has evolved to the more nuanced advice: buy below rental parity if you have a long holding time. That advice will remain our mantra over the next few years until conditions in the market change. Why are you afraid to buy? If you have been reading the IHB regularly,…[READ MORE]

In Memoriam: Tony Bliss 1966-2012