I'm no expert on, well, anything. That's why I report what other people say. Increasingly, experts are saying we are at the bottom of the housing cycle.
I interviewed "golden boy" developer Rick Caruso last week. He said that while it's difficult to predict a bottom, he's investing now. I've never known him to be wrong.
Hedge fund manager Cyrill Moulle-Berteaux (what a name!) writes in the Wall Street Journal that home sales are bottoming and that price declines will quickly slow. Soon, people will start buying again, owners underwater in mortgages will be more willing to tough it out, and mortgage-backed securities will stabilize.
A friend who runs a homebuilder in foreclosure-heavy Stockton says appraisers are using foreclosures as comps, driving down prices. This is forcing him to match those prices or risk losing loans for his buyers because his new homes are too "expensive." The race to the bottom is picking up speed.
Suggestions that, even if prices fall further, interest rates and closing costs may be at a sweet spot now for buyers (though NPR reported on a woman who claims Countrywide tried to sell her a loan with $10k in closing costs--and allegedly encouraged her to lie about her income. The company says it is looking into the accusations).
Foreclosure bus tours. When the Average Joe jumps in, it's over.
Others say the worst is yet to come. The last of the major resets on adjustable rate mortgages is happening in the current and next quarters. That will be followed by more people who can't afford higher loan payments, more foreclosures, more distressed sales, etc. My question: are lenders really going to reset all those loans in this environment?
But, finally, there's Exhibit F, the ultimate sign we've hit bottom: I'm talking about it. I am truly a lagging indicator. That's why I have to work for a living...
YOUR EMAILS ON MY INSENSITIVITY AND MY ACTING
Regarding my admittedly insensitive post on MINDSTORM, a virtual tool to simulate schizophrenia, Amarah S. writes:
"The press release isn't funny, nor is this company's work. Instead, as you recognize but then for some reason disregard, this would be a very important tool in helping doctors, family members, care givers and the public appreciate the impact of a devastating illness."
And after reader Ray N. suggests that my acting chops are wanting in the"Fake Jane Helps the Economy" video, the suspiciously-named B. Wells writes:
"Oh great, now everybody's a critic--who died and made him Nancy Franklin? I'd like to see HIM put on big hair and lipstick and get in front of a camera......"
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