Realty Check

Update: Your Emails On My Home Sales Data Post

I got some interesting email replies to my previous post on housing numbers. Take a look:

I've returned to California after a six year corporate move to find my Southern California tract house selling for $1 million more than I sold it for in 2001? I am not in the market. The house was barely worth what I sold it for in 2001. I have an excellent credit rating, equity in the bank and am leasing for now. We are Leasing a new 3,100 square foot home in a new development for the price of an apartment. Why buy?

There's always been two worlds: Main Street (real world) vs. Wall Street (investor world). Investor world treats money like it's abundant and always more in the pipeline. Real world treats money like it's scarce and difficult to get more when it's lost. When Investor world got-rich-quick in the technology boom, money then moved to the real estate flip boom, now it's moved back to Wall Street where it belongs. Meanwhile those of us living in the Real World are left with all the misery created by inflated housing prices, inflated loans, etc. Stop talking about the boomer echo. "It's the prices stupid." (Especially when these kids are stuck with buying their grandparents' houses for 10x-20x initial cost and then have to replace all the utility infrastructure.) Why would anyone buy now when prices are falling?

The numbers are worse in tone. Many of the sales are backdoor repossessions. One can see this when the home sales, which are listed in local papers, are to an LLC or a bank or another non-residential entity. This means that the property was in default and transferred to the mortgagor with a price near the value of the mortgages. We had a good laugh about this in the portfolio management course I teach, many students who worked for banks also noticed this.

The reason is simple economics. These boomer echoes are broke and have high student and credit card balances and zero savings, and home prices are still at five to six times incomes in most places. You guys need to expose these points.
Bob K.

Questions?  Comments?