It was different this time

From the NY Times:

A Housing Market Cycle Different From Others

(Click the link for the accompanying charts)

TO judge by the overall level of home sales in the United States, the housing market has stabilized at a level well below the peak period of 2005 and 2006 but still higher than the sales rates that characterized prosperous periods in the 1980s and 1990s. Still, few of those sales are of new homes and a rising proportion are forced sales of homes no longer worth the amount that was borrowed.

The sales rate for existing homes — about 4.9 million over the last 12 months — is virtually the same as in mid-1999. Yet sales of newly built single-family homes have plunged to the lowest levels seen since the government began collecting statistics on such sales in 1963. The Census Bureau reported this week that only 17,000 new homes were sold in February, for an annual rate of 250,000 after taking seasonal factors into account. Both of those numbers are the lowest on record.

As a result, this cycle has been very different from previous ones. Home sales plunged in the early 1980s, when a combination of severe recession and high interest rates devastated the housing business, and they also suffered in 1990 and 1991, another recessionary period. But in each of those recessions, sales of new and existing homes declined at about the same pace.

It was decreased demand that hurt sales in previous downturns. Now demand is down, in part because some would-be buyers cannot qualify for mortgages that would have been available during the boom. But oversupply is also a major problem now.

Too many houses were built in many areas during the boom, and now housing starts have plunged, as can be seen in the bottom chart. There are fewer newly built homes available, and in some areas, buyers complain that builders have not been willing to cut prices to meet the prices available on used homes in the same area.

But there is a large number of used homes available. The National Association of Realtors estimates that almost two of every five used homes sold in February were on the market because the previous owner was in trouble. It says 26 percent of sales were from foreclosures, and an additional 13 percent were “short sales,” in which the lender agrees to allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the outstanding balance of the loan. Sellers often have little say in the timing of such sales, and are in a poor bargaining position.

This entry was posted in Economics, Housing Bubble, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to It was different this time

  1. Jay in NYC says:

    The problem in NJ is taxes. The PITI calculation isn’t reliable when one’s property taxes rise 7-8 percent per year because some chummy school board decides to do nothing about bloated administration costs.

  2. Morpheus says:

    yah. . .I got the silver!

  3. Confused In NJ says:

    It is sad that Taxes can be greater then Morgage.

  4. willwork4beer says:

    You’re a bad parent if you don’t own a home, according to one Realtors group

    Published: Friday, March 25, 2011

    Trentonian Columnist


    I’m talking specifically about “The Field Guide to the Benefits of Home Ownership,” a pamphlet found in this month’s “Parents” magazine, to which my wife got a free subscription somehow and thus I end up reading about potty tips.

    Anyway, this pamphlet —put out by the National Association of Realtors (see it here: —is one of the most outrageous, unfortunate and stupid things I’ve ever seen.

    To nutshell: According to the information laid out, if you don’t own a house, your kids will be dumb, won’t go to college, will be miserable, possibly drug-addicted and pregnant.

  5. Shore Guy says:

    What was the pololation in 1963? Maybe 200mm?

  6. Shore Guy says:


  7. gary says:

    The National Association of Realtors estimates that almost two of every five used homes sold in February were on the market because the previous owner was in trouble. It says 26 percent of sales were from foreclosures, and an additional 13 percent were “short sales,” in which the lender agrees to allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the outstanding balance of the loan. Sellers often have little say in the timing of such sales, and are in a poor bargaining position.

    And yet, in the “Real Deal” portion of the RE section of today’s Bergen Record, they showcase a house that sold with multiple offers, above asking price, with one day on the market. Right. It’s different here, it’s contained to subprime, granite rules and housing never goes down. What a load of sh1t. Do people really fall for this f*cking stuff? Oh, and by the way, FHA is raising the premiums on insurance for new loans. Pile that on top the 7% annual increase in property taxes and let me know how that Abner Louima style workover feels.

  8. Essex says:

    Go back to sleep Gary. We’ll wake you when they need C++ coders.

  9. Morpheus says:

    #4: sorry, cant talk now. .. . . . As a renter, I am very busy slinging “rocks” and pimping hos. sorry dont have time to read the NAR flyer. . . .reading is for suckers.

    Excuse me, I have to beat some money out of sum bitches!

  10. So What /Who Cares!! (formerly 3b) says:

    #9 Was that necessary??

  11. chicagofinance says:

    So What /Who Cares!! (formerly 3b) says:
    March 27, 2011 at 9:50 am
    #9 Was that necessary??

    Essex is cranky because he didn’t lube up before I fudge packed him……

  12. Punch My Ticket says:

    How is this different than any asset? A substantial fraction of the population are momentum players, in the vernacular lemmings. As long as prices are trending up, people will stretch to get on the train. If leverage is available, they will use that as soon as they become convinced that the trend is firmly in place. That continues until the last possible victim is sucked into the Ponzi.

    Then it’s Albania time.

  13. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Wow, shaping up to be another testy day on the blog with Chifi calling out SX.

    Might as well wake up Fabius. Maybe we can tag team.

  14. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [13] punch

    Already starting to look a lot like Tirana in many spots in this country.

  15. So What /Who Cares!! (formerly 3b) says:

    #14 Essex’s sarcastic comment on gary’s job loss, is one of the lowest comments I have seen on this blog, and I have been gone from the blog over a year.

    Losing a job/layoff is a painful experience;essex’s comment was way below the belt. Very sad.

  16. Shore Guy says:

    The good news for those who lose their jobs is that more and more companies are willing to let unemployed folks work for free (even though most such arrangements violate FLSA):


    “People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they’re going to outperform, they’re going to try to please, they’re going to be creative,” says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services. “From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it’s huge. Especially if you’re a small business.”


  17. Shore Guy says:

    In most settings, unless an intern is part of a bonafide job-training or educationl program, the FLSA gets in the way of free labor.

  18. Essex says:

    Waaaaaa. Waaaa. Like Gary is the only person to ever lose a job. Geeeezus

  19. Essex says:

    Chifi that actually was the gayest comment i have ever heard. Ahem

  20. Hi,thanks in support of the great importance of your blog, each things i roll in here, i m amazed.
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  21. So What /Who Cares!! (formerly 3b) says:

    #19 Best pray it does not happen to you grasshopper; perhaps if it does you will no longer be so unsympathetic.

  22. chicagofinance says:

    Punch My Ticket says:
    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 am
    Then it’s Albania time.

    You shut up or I will Punch Your Face…..

  23. Shore Guy says:

    From 17: “says Kelly Fallis,”

    How woud the women on this board like to go through life with a last name like that?

  24. Shore Guy says:

    When this place closes, I bet that tax rates in the Forked River area go through the roof.

  25. Essex says:

    22. Could happen to anyone…..has happened to me. Might happen again. C’est La F’ing Vie. GO CATS

  26. So What /Who Cares!! (formerly 3b) says:

    #26 Such a philosopher.

  27. Fewer than 30 posts, and we’ve hit rock bottom.

    I think the tourney is UConn’s to lose at this point.

    Not a bad effort by our 11 vs. Argentina last night. Too bad Bradley won’t put his best 11 on the field to start the game. As usual, we give up the first goal, have the other team up our arses for the first half, then have to play like maniacs in the 2nd to get a draw.

    I wonder what even a shit manager like Capello could do with our team.

  28. Essex says:

    27. eet mah dick.

  29. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “Losing a job/layoff is a painful experience; essex’s comment was way below the belt.”
    3b. Don’t waste your time. Essex is obnoxious as possible on almost every single post. If he says something non-offensive, its only to bait someone into a troll tap.

  30. Neanderthal Economist says:

    “Not a bad effort by our 11 vs. Argentina last night.”
    Debt, I was there too, freezing but 20 seats from field so wasn’t complaining. Earned a new respect for messy… his touches and speed shifts are super human.
    I think the 4-2-3-1 formation worked well for us.

  31. Essex says:

    31. Imma letchu finish nea, but first lemme say that the CATS are final four bound. How can you expect me to give two shits about anyone but myself????!!!

  32. Jim says:

    Everybody knows ESSEX is our resident azzhole . He proves it daily.

  33. Neanderthal Economist says:

    Im a big usa fan but we just couldn’t keep up with arg’s short passing. At one point looked like barca playing a hs jv squad. Thankfully we muscled a goal back. I was just happy it wasn’t 4 – nill.

  34. Punch My Ticket says:

    chifi [23],

    Not picking on Albanians and had no idea you were a scion of the race. It was just the most recent huge Ponzi that has been revealed as such. People don’t seem to have figured out that residential real estate is a similar animal. Because, you know, houses only go up.

  35. veets (32)-

    Bradley should write a letter to Mourinho for that. That shape works for almost every team on the planet.

  36. The amazing thing about Messi isn’t his acceleration (which is insane); it’s how he can slow himself down from maximum acceleration and strike a clean pass or shot.

  37. chicagofinance says:

    Punch: I would easily give a pass, but you permanently had yours revoked for being a pointless prick…..make money and I will hunt you down…..and he’s full-blooded from Montenegro….

    Punch My Ticket says:
    March 27, 2011 at 7:17 pm
    chifi [23],

    Not picking on Albanians and had no idea you were a scion of the race. It was just the most recent huge Ponzi that has been revealed as such. People don’t seem to have figured out that residential real estate is a similar animal. Because, you know, houses only go up.

  38. Punch My Ticket says:
  39. chicagofinance says:

    Debt…..I’m going to buy this for my father-in-law’s birthday unless you say no….

  40. Punch My Ticket says:

    chifi [39],

    Yeah, been deathly afeared of Montenegrins ever since I ran into Nero Wolfe when I was 14.

    As for you, you’re just a used bond salesman. Only JJ buys your shtick.

  41. Confused In NJ says:

    NEW YORK – A magnitude-6.5 earthquake shook eastern Japan off the quake-ravaged coast on Monday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, prompting Japan to issue a tsunami alert.

    There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but the Japan Meteorological Agency announced that a tsunami of up to 1.6 feet (a half meter) may wash into Miyagi Prefecture.

    The alert was prompted by a quake that the U.S. Geological Survey measured at 7:23 a.m. Monday Japan time (2223 GMT Sunday) near the east coast of Honshu.

    The USGS said the quake was 3.7 miles (5.9 kilometers) deep.

  42. Essex says:

    34. Eat my asshole Jim You cum drunk f*ggot.

  43. chi (41)-

    Everclear is probably better than this stuff.

  44. I’ve drunk a little moonshine in my time. Virtually all of it tasted toxic at the first sip, and I stopped. A couple were really well-made and carefully distilled through clean copper.

    My grandfather made moonshine every few years, and I have no doubt it helped plant him at the age of 55.

  45. Fabius Maximus says:

    #179 Nom previous thread

    Are you seriously putting up that POS as credible?

    “Between 2007 and 2008, the incomes of the top-earning 1% fell 16%, compared to a decline of 4% for U.S. earners as a whole, according to the IRS.”
    In CA Income tax collected actually went up from 64B to 67B, but the share of total revenue jumped from 26% to 43% as Business revenue fell off a cliff. While the data is technical correct, yes, is the message misleading.

    Highest income tax rate 10% that kicks in at 1Million very misleading as the band below that is 1% less with an upper limit of $47K. add that into the table and the message changes.

    So my answer to you and the Tax Prof for Jesus is:

    Either you miss the fact that data like this is being misrepresented by not doing due diligence, or you are accepting this data and the misrepresentation as is. If the later then it would explain why your profession has an image and credibility issue.

  46. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    Fabius, did you read the article and go to the underlying data? Further, you call the data and article misleading without explaining why.

    This is typical of you. Its easy to call something wrong, but harder to explain why it’s wrong. Twain said that there were lies, damn lies, and statistics. You don’t even offer more than one statistic, one part that moved against an overall trend but still proved the underlying point. And you defend it only by calling it misleading?

    Frankly, I was hoping for better. I pointed to a link to a WSJ article in order to bait you, and you swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Nary a word to rebut my point that the high earners carry the load, and without them we are fcuked. In fact, I am not sure what you found misleading or why you dispute the data. Were you typing on an android device?

    But go ahead. Call me some names. If schabadoo is still lurking out there, he will be on your side.

  47. Barbara says:

    Figures…. I just ordered a new car last week. Hope I’m not driving a Betamax two years from now.

  48. Fabius Maximus says:

    Yes I read the WSJ article is its garbage. It starts off as “Here is CA all these high earner propping up the start. They are like Atlas carrying the world on their shoulders 43%! Of the load. But the side steps into Federal data when the CA data wont support the argument.

    You want data to support, here you go, this site has a good spread. I may not agree with the host politics, but at least he puts all the data out there and doesn’t selectively pick and choose.

    As to your point to the high earners carrying he load. I hear what you are saying but I don’t agree. Two points.
    1) Look at the California 2009 numbers. Business Revenue fell of a cliff. If (and that’s a very big IF) all your top 1% fcuked off to Gaults Gulch AND the 50% of income tax paid is correct (BS), it would only be 30% of what CA lost in business revenue in 2009. In CA and up to the Federal level, that’s not the torpedo that’s going to sink the boat

    2) Not all the high earners are going to give up the US lifestyle. They will look at the likes of Marc Rich trying to get back in.

    Your industry has a credibility issue. All these sites your link to, they all seem to be very quiet on GE? Why is that?

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