That heady buzz from the home buyer tax creditis now turning into a grinding headache, as home sellers realize their very temporary, government-induced catbird seat has now fallen back to earth.
As of July 1st, 24 percent of sellers on the market had cut their asking prices at least once, according to Trulia.com.
That's up 9 percent from the previous month and represents about $27 billion worth of vanished national home equity (or home equity hopes).
"The market is going to maintain a relatively flat trajectory, if not more like a saw tooth trajectory, for the near future, and meaningful recovery may not happen until some time in 2011, 2012," says Trulia's Heather Fernandez.
Shocking? Not so much.
We knew the price stabilization was largely due to increased buying activity on the low end from the home buyer tax credit. The issue now, front and center, is foreclosures. We've already seen a few reports, and I expect we'll see more, that show new foreclosures "stabilizing," while bank repossessions are increasing.
First of all, the stabilization is at such a high rate that it's clearly an unsustainable stabilization for the economic recovery. New foreclosure notices need to drop, not just bump around at their near-record highs. And frankly the bank repossession number is a much bigger deal, because that is going to translate into immediate inventory on the market.
Do banks hold on to foreclosure inventory?
Of course they do, but in Los Angeles at least, they're getting a big incentive to dump it fast. L.A. last week passed a new city ordinance that fines banks, servicers, whoever owns the foreclosed property, up to $100,000 for letting the property fall into disrepair. We've heard and seen plenty of stories about run-down, stripped homes littering the landscape, with their overgrown lawns and broken front fences standing as glaring examples of what is not recovering in the housing market.