“[This] cycle has a very long time to run its course.”

From the Asbury Park Press:

Outlook bad, but not terrible

Expect at least another 18 months for the state’s economy to heal from the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble. But demand for homes could start to creep up again in six months.

That’s the forecast of Joel Naroff, chief economist for Commerce Bancorp, who spoke to about 75 people at an Ocean County Business Association luncheon here Thursday.

“Really, it’s the issue driving a lot of the factors causing the economic problems in the country and local areas,” Naroff said.

Since mortgage lenders started overextending themselves by handing out loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay them off, the housing crisis has been working its way through a corrective cycle, Naroff said.

We’re in a sellers’ denial phase, in which homeowners are reluctant to sell based on a false hope that the price will go up, he said.

“We’re beginning to see a softening as prices come down,” he said. “But they’re not coming down nearly enough, because sellers can’t come to terms with dropping prices enough to clear the market.”

The median sale price for an existing single-family home in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Somerset counties was $385,100 in the second quarter of 2007, down 0.1 percent, or $200, from $385,300 in the same quarter last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Once prices become sufficiently low, the next phase kicks in: buyers’ denial, in which those looking to purchase wait on the hunch that the prices will continue to fall.

A glut of homes will be left on the market, a lot of supply with little demand. The next phase is working off the inventory brought on by foreclosures.

“What that tells you is this cycle has a very long time to run its course. How long depends on the specific market,” Naroff said. “But nationally, I’ll not be surprised to see problems into spring 2009.”

“I think 2008 should be a sluggish year, but not a terrible year,” Naroff said. “I see a cautiousness, not a recession.”

In the meantime, as banks and the government realize the error of their capricious lending behavior, New Jersey is experiencing a credit crunch.

“So when you came into a financial institution in June and they said, “OK, we’re willing to take a risk with you,’ now they won’t even look at you,” Naroff said.

Such a reversal to caution has stunted business growth. This is compounded in New Jersey by a series of financial hangups — particularly a state budget deficit competing with pressure to lower taxes — that won’t allow it to invest, as other states have, in an infrastructure that generates commercial prosperity, Naroff said.

Business owners at Thursday’s luncheon said they have witnessed this stagnancy.

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4 Responses to “[This] cycle has a very long time to run its course.”

  1. RentinginNJ says:

    Expect at least another 18 months for the state’s economy to heal from the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble.

    And how long will it take once people realize this isn’t a “subprime” bubble; it’s a speculative housing bubble. Sure, subprime contributed. It kept the bubble going longer than it should have and it will contribute to its fall, but a correction was in the cards anyway.

  2. Ed Sanders says:

    too true, renting, too true

    What I love though is that it is never going to be bad, just, you know, “sluggish.”

    Either somebody welded rose colored glasses onto these guys heads, they say something differently in private, or they are idiots.

    At this point, with the hedgies et. al, it’s starting to look like musical chairs on Wall Street, only the music isn’t stopping so more people keep coming into the room and sooner or later the chairs are going to run out, they’re not even going to have to be taken away, their just won’t be enough and the place is going to be so packed most people won’t be able to get to a chair anyway.

  3. Greg says:

    Dont forget, the ever increasing property tax burden will also affect the affordability of a home in NJ. Its not looking good folks – except for renters

  4. Confused In NJ says:

    There is so much talk about Creative Financing allowing people to buy homes in NJ with “Zero money down” and in some cases “Negative Amortization”. The old rule required PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) anytime you had less then 20% of purchase price to put down. If PMI still exists as a requirement, won’t Insurance Companies take a hit on Mortgage Defaults? I don’t see any concerns published on PMI negative effects with massive Mortgage defaults?

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