May 26, 2010

Housing: Where Are We Now

With house prices expected to slid and unemployment to rise substantially further, this third foreclosure wave will grow larger. If house prices fall another 10% over the coming year,as Moodys currently forecasts, an estimated 18.6 million homeowners could be underwater.

More to Come
Even if the economy stabilizes in 2010 as expected, defaults will remain elevated long afterward. More large payment resets are due to hit so-called option ARMs. Most of these mortgages were designed on the 5-25 plan: five years of fixed payments and rates pegged to Libor after that. All the option ARMs issued at the peak of the housing bubble in 2005 and 2006 will thus reset for the first time in 2010 and 2011.

Case Shiller

Prices of single-family homes fell 0.5 percent from February, which is the sixth month-on-month drop, seems prices should have spiked from record low mortgage rates. Unless the crises in Europe remains huge, mortgage rates which are benefiting from a flight from the Euro, will rise sooner trather than later. This is a window of low cost money for buyers and refiers. Its a sale! And if this isnt causing a spike in prices then inventory and psychology and persistently the villains. Now that the tax incentives have ended, there seems to be no reason to expect prices to rise in 2010.

Foreclosures are going to have a fairly negative impact on the housing market through the beginning of next year," she predicts, adding that housing prices could drop another 5 percent between now and the end of the year.

NAR says that total housing inventory soared 11.5 percent at the end of April from a month earlier. This means that it would take 8.4 months to sell all the properties, if sales continue at the current pace. High inventories are likely to prevent big price gains over the next year or two.

Long Term
the upside is in view.
The long-term recovery seems to be in place: National prices were up 2.3 percent from last year. Some cities are slowly working through their foreclosure mess, San Diego and San Francisco, up 1.5 percent each reduced their share of foreclosure inventory.

U.S. sales of new homes jumped nearly 15% in April to the highest level since May 2008 as homebuyers rushed to meet the deadline to qualify for tax credits. Sales jumped 14.8% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. This follows an almost 30% gain in March. Everyone expects these numbers to crash next month, the tax incentives are gone. Mortgage Bankers Association already reports that reported that purchase applications plummeted. But it does point to a lot of buyer appetite out there.

Mark Zandi, Chief economist for says that this is the time to buy, even though prices may continue to drop. Now, Zandi says, is best time to buy in a quarter-century, thanks to low mortgage rates, low prices and a recovery in place.

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