August 2009 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 13, 2009 - 3:33pm

As discussed in the prior article, the median price per square foot was up again last month, though not as strongly as earlier in the year:

The plain vanilla median, for what it's worth, was mixed -- down slightly for single family homes, up big for condos, and up slightly in aggregate:

The median-based proxy for the Case-Shiller index, being based on three months' worth of movements, had a good head of steam going by August:

The prior article noted that if my little Case-Shiller forecast methodology is even close to correct, this will have been a far bigger spring rally than we saw any time in the last bust (or this one, for that matter).

Sales activity remained above last year's levels, though not dramatically so:

And inventory was ever so slightly down:

Months of inventory notched up a bit but remained quite low:

The prevalence of "reverse shadow" contingent listings increased, implying that inventory is even tighter than the above graph suggests:

But another slug of foreclosures was added to the pile:

The foreclosure rate was down somewhat from recent months but still blows historical rates out of the water:

Pigg discussions have raged lately about what to make of all this. We know that spring rallies are typical, but this is an unusually large one that is accompanied by a notable lack of supply. On the other hand we've got shadow inventory, a weak economy, and the potential for rising rates. I'm not going to rehash all the recent comment threads here as they are long, intricate, and generally quite nuanced and good.

I will say that my own opinion is that people tend to underestimate the power of the printing press and of government stimulus. And by that I don't mean the power to fix things in any kind of healthy or sustainable way, but rather the power to exert a huge influence on economic and market activity. Even if this is just a spring sucker rally, it will be an unusually large one. This suggests to me that the all-out government effort to prop up home prices is having an effect.

Now, will the effect last beyond this summer? I don't know the answer to that and, as I've suggested before, I don't think anyone else does either. The market imbalances and interferences are simply too massive and unprecedented for there to be a clear outcome. It seems that it is more a political question now than a market question.

I strongly suspect that REAL home prices will continue to decline in the coming years -- which is to say that prices will decline when adjusted for the declining purchasing power of our currency. But what happens in nominal terms is a whole lot murkier to me.

(category: )

Submitted by SD Realtor on September 13, 2009 - 4:16pm.

Very well stated Rich. To get a realization of how heavy the squeeze if right now for anyone thinking of buying. Look at the the 2008 sales as well as the 2008 active inventory. Take that ratio and compare it to the same numbers in 2009. This illustrates why it is ridiculous right now.

Submitted by pemeliza on September 13, 2009 - 7:33pm.

IMHO, the market was due for a bounce after the huge price drops. The government intervention dropped fuel on the fire. Reminds me of the sequence of events after the tech bubble and 9/11. While Greenspan was content to drop gasoline, Bernanke seems to have brought out the nitrous oxide.

Submitted by ocrenter on September 13, 2009 - 10:06pm.

09/2009 total SD inventory: 9,084

here's the prior years for reference:

01/2008: 20,581 (1,826)___01/2007: 17,109 (2,772)
02/2008: 20,848 (1,954)___02/2007: 17,544 (2,863)
03/2008: 21,222 (2,108)___03/2007: 18,638 (3,218)
04/2008: 21,257 (2,809)___04/2007: 20,122 (3,436)
05/2008: 21,232 (2,979)___05/2007: 21,169 (3,385)
06/2008: 20,572 (3,077)___06/2007: 22,268 (3,510)
07/2008: 20,595 (3,431)___07/2007: 22,551 (3,106)
08/2008: 19,778 (3,148)___08/2007: 23,518 (3,104)
09/2008: 18,917 (3,366)___09/2007: 23,649 (2,152)
10/2008: 18,507 (3,598)___10/2007: 22,790 (2,327)
11/2008: 17,972 (2,673)___11/2007: 22,239 (2,400)
12/2008: 16,414 (3,325)___12/2007: 20,326 (2,468)

01/2006: 16,161 (2,898)___01/2005: (3,324)
02/2006: 17,262 (3,035)___02/2005: (3,442)
03/2006: 18,261 (4,367)___03/2005: (5,018)
04/2006: 19,480 (3,974)___04/2005: (5,345)
05/2006: 21,175 (4,480)___05/2005: (5,141)
06/2006: 22,588 (4,533)___06/2005: (5,663)
07/2006: 23,385 (3,584)___07/2005: 14,176 (4,765)
08/2006: 23,381 (3,853)___08/2005: 15,240 (5,379)
09/2006: 22,710 (3,336)___09/2005: 16,081 (4,935)
10/2006: 21,692 (3,449)___10/2005: 16,490 (4,155)
11/2006: 19,831 (3,248)___11/2005: 16,072 (3,937)
12/2006: 17,223 (3,613)___12/2005: 14,591 (4,262)

Submitted by DWCAP on September 14, 2009 - 10:49am.

I kinda think this bounce is a venting of the demand built up in the past two years, and that is why the bounce has been so rebust. Not to mention that prices are actually 'normal' for the first time in atleast 5 years.

In the 90's boom Rich has shown that each and every spring we got a bounce, even if 1993 looked like a snail trying to jump. After a entirly average bounce in the spring of 2006 (2-3%) we got nothing in the next two years. 2007 kinda leveled out alittle in the spring, and 2008 was like cliff diving, just straight down, no bounce in sight. We havnt had a real spring ralley in over 2 years. All those people who usually buy in the spring were renting, saving (hopefully) and dreaming of when they could buy a house. Well, now they can buy a house.
Coupled with the mass incentives thrown at people, it isnt any suprise things are going up. I foresee this winter being one of the least bearish winters in recient history. We have a housing hangover in inventory which will take time to heal.

Having said that, I also see this pentup demand beginning to fail. I have lived near atleast 4-5 foreclosures in the past few years (the ones that stick out in my head), big suprise, I live in Mira Mesa.
I drive by one now multiple times every day. I can say that the appearance of the people looking at the property is of a different calibar than before. Before it was 2 income families (usually asian or white) driving newer minivans and SUV's. They had nice clothes, though nothing designer that I would recognize. They were polite and well spoken, and they walked around the neighborhood to 'get a feel for it'. They brought grandma and grandpa to get opinions and advice (yes, even the white people).

Now they are different. Perhaps a very young couple who I can only imagine are streching father than they should, they dont look the part. Or two or three white guys guys in pickups, which I was thinking were flippers, cept they looked really lost. Maybe first time flippers. They are driving old cars that I can only guess missed 'cash for clunkers' by an MPG or two. The wifebeater-to-designer purse ratio has gone straight to the moon. They walk all over the REO property, and the neighbors property without regard or permission. They look angly at whomever passes by, regarding neighbors as possible competition rather than a source for information about the neighborhood. Forget grandma and grandpa coming along for advice.

Maybe it is a sign of the times, maybe it is all in my head. But if this is the buyer pool right now for SFR's, then we are scrapping the bottom of the barrel and this ralley is not long for this world. Though itll go till our government says it is time to 'start pulling back', same as a doctor announces there is nothing more that can be done, and that 'it is time to pull the plug'.

Submitted by patientrenter on September 14, 2009 - 7:15pm.

DWCAP wrote:
....
Now they are different.... They are driving old cars that I can only guess missed 'cash for clunkers' by an MPG or two. The wifebeater-to-designer purse ratio has gone straight to the moon. They walk all over the REO property, and the neighbors property without regard or permission. They look angly at whomever passes by, regarding neighbors as possible competition rather than a source for information about the neighborhood. Forget grandma and grandpa coming along for advice.....

we are scrapping the bottom of the barrel...

Next time, please say Hi to Russell from his fellow Piggs :)

Oh, and Rich couldn't have said it better. Sums it all up nicely, uncertainties, key factors, all.

Submitted by sdduuuude on September 15, 2009 - 1:51pm.

I'd love to see the first 6 graphs going back a much farther - say to pre-bubble 2001 or so with monthly detail. I don't think we need to see the long-term chart every month, but it would help to get a perspective on how today compares to 2004, for example, when things were just nuts. Especially on the # of sales. We see a y-to-y increase in sales, but it's still kind of pathetic.

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 15, 2009 - 3:12pm.

Dude, I don't have that data except for home sales. That would be a good chart however. Watch this space...

rich

Submitted by Vishon on September 15, 2009 - 7:18pm.

DWCAP wrote:
I drive by one now multiple times every day. I can say that the appearance of the people looking at the property is of a different calibar than before. Before it was 2 income families (usually asian or white) driving newer minivans and SUV's. They had nice clothes, though nothing designer that I would recognize. They were polite and well spoken, and they walked around the neighborhood to 'get a feel for it'. They brought grandma and grandpa to get opinions and advice (yes, even the white people).

Now they are different. Perhaps a very young couple who I can only imagine are streching father than they should, they dont look the part. Or two or three white guys guys in pickups, which I was thinking were flippers, cept they looked really lost. Maybe first time flippers. They are driving old cars that I can only guess missed 'cash for clunkers' by an MPG or two. The wifebeater-to-designer purse ratio has gone straight to the moon. They walk all over the REO property, and the neighbors property without regard or permission. They look angly at whomever passes by, regarding neighbors as possible competition rather than a source for information about the neighborhood. Forget grandma and grandpa coming along for advice.

Maybe it is a sign of the times, maybe it is all in my head. But if this is the buyer pool right now for SFR's, then we are scrapping the bottom of the barrel and this ralley is not long for this world. Though itll go till our government says it is time to 'start pulling back', same as a doctor announces there is nothing more that can be done, and that 'it is time to pull the plug'.

It is one thing to interpret people's "caliber" by the way they act, but to judge by skin color and race is a bit of a stretch...

Can non-white/Asian be good potential buyers?

Submitted by DWCAP on September 15, 2009 - 8:18pm.

Vishon wrote:
DWCAP wrote:
I drive by one now multiple times every day. I can say that the appearance of the people looking at the property is of a different calibar than before. Before it was 2 income families (usually asian or white) driving newer minivans and SUV's. They had nice clothes, though nothing designer that I would recognize. They were polite and well spoken, and they walked around the neighborhood to 'get a feel for it'. They brought grandma and grandpa to get opinions and advice (yes, even the white people).

Now they are different. Perhaps a very young couple who I can only imagine are streching father than they should, they dont look the part. Or two or three white guys guys in pickups, which I was thinking were flippers, cept they looked really lost. Maybe first time flippers. They are driving old cars that I can only guess missed 'cash for clunkers' by an MPG or two. The wifebeater-to-designer purse ratio has gone straight to the moon. They walk all over the REO property, and the neighbors property without regard or permission. They look angly at whomever passes by, regarding neighbors as possible competition rather than a source for information about the neighborhood. Forget grandma and grandpa coming along for advice.

Maybe it is a sign of the times, maybe it is all in my head. But if this is the buyer pool right now for SFR's, then we are scrapping the bottom of the barrel and this ralley is not long for this world. Though itll go till our government says it is time to 'start pulling back', same as a doctor announces there is nothing more that can be done, and that 'it is time to pull the plug'.

It is one thing to interpret people's "caliber" by the way they act, but to judge by skin color and race is a bit of a stretch...

Can non-white/Asian be good potential buyers?

Blah Blah Blah, I knew that adding that in would draw out some dumbass comment about race. I never said anything about anyone not being a good buyer because of their race. I said most of the people I noticed attempting to buy before were of those two races. They were, which isnt supprising becuase whites and asians make up the majority of people living in Mira Mesa.
I also commented that the 'flippers' who didnt seem to have any idea what they were doing were white. Actually the only race I mentioned about todays "bottom of the barrel" was white. Kinda hurts the argument I was being racist against 'non white/asians' when the only race I mention in the negative comments was white. I was giving examples of the people I am seeing. Just because I didnt see any 'non-white/asian" buyers doesnt mean they are anything other than not doing walkthroughs of these houses when I am around. I am sure there are plenty of people of 'other' races that would be excellent buyers and are very nice, courtious, and welcoming people. (does that make it all better?)

Submitted by temeculaguy on September 15, 2009 - 11:44pm.

Let's put all the race cards and playing cards back in the deck for a minute, DW was making an observation and it wasn't racist, it was demographic.

Now about the changing demographic, drive by analysis is tough, and you even admitted it is a random sample. Today's buyers have to be more qualified than those from two years ago because the actually check your income now and make sure you can make the payment, exotic loans are vanishing (people complain about fha but it still requires reserves, a small down and most importantly, loan qualification for wat are primarily vanilla loans). It is possible that the buyers of the past, with their newer cars and designer handbags were less qualified than those buyers you are seeing now, despite their modest appearance.

I have noticed in my neighborhood and the water cooler talk locally with friends and relatives nearby that the opposite is happening. It seems every one of them had a house or two on their street where they disliked the demographic of the inhabitants (the unsavory temec demographic that the neighbors fear is usually the shaven headed, multiple tattoo, monster truck type, and that's the wife, no I'm kidding, but you get the point). Those types, sometimes a few guys living in one house are the ones being tossed out and being replaced by nice families. For the most part, people don't really know their neighbors 10 or more houses away, so they only see the outside. The ones that have way too many cars and take very little care of their yard are usually the ones that upset the neighbors. Just tonight, my mother commented that there isn't one brown lawn or unkept yard left in her tract and a year ago it was at least 10%, if not 20%. She was happy to see some of the new owners making visible frontyard landscaping improvements. That's all the distant neighbors really care about, that the homes they have to drive by on the way home look cared for.

I theorized a year or two ago that the foreclosures and changing loans wouldn't make most neighborhoods worse, that poor people wouldn't invade nicer neigborhoods, that in the end, everyone would go back to where they belonged (demographically and financially speaking, that is).

Submitted by Vishon on September 16, 2009 - 9:54am.

I am not smart enough to determine which one is dumber, judging people by their clothing, bags, and cars, or bring awareness thereof.

Also concur with TG on the sample size used, it is difficult to draw conclusion from limiting drive-by observations.

It was not so much as a personal attack as questioning the validity of your argument. Please don't take it as such.

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 17, 2009 - 8:56am.

sdduuuude wrote:
I'd love to see the first 6 graphs going back a much farther - say to pre-bubble 2001 or so with monthly detail. I don't think we need to see the long-term chart every month, but it would help to get a perspective on how today compares to 2004, for example, when things were just nuts. Especially on the # of sales. We see a y-to-y increase in sales, but it's still kind of pathetic.

Thanks for the idea, dude, I put some charts up in the most recent article.

As I mentioned before, I only have pre-bubble data for sales. Does anyone know of a source for historical inventory data? That would be cool.

thanks,
rich

Submitted by DWCAP on September 19, 2009 - 12:39am.

Vishon wrote:
I am not smart enough to determine which one is dumber, judging people by their clothing, bags, and cars, or bring awareness thereof.

Also concur with TG on the sample size used, it is difficult to draw conclusion from limiting drive-by observations.

It was not so much as a personal attack as questioning the validity of your argument. Please don't take it as such.

ok, disregarding the first sentence in your response, what part of the argument do you disagree with? Other than the racial part which is the only part you brought up as incorrect in the first reply.

-That spring bounces are normal buyer behavior?
-That we didnt get a real spring bounce in either 2007 or 2008?
-That this will be a very bullish winter? (in winter terms)
-That there currently are and have been lots of foreclosures in Mira mesa, and that there is plenty of demand for these forclosures?
-That supply is down and it will take time to correct that with new supply?
-That people who buy into a neighborhood with family input and 'eyes wide open' are preferable than would be flippers who dont know what they are doing or people who cant afford buying a house and will keep the cycle of foreclosures spinning?
-That people who are rude, unwelcoming, and entitled suck?
-That there are lots of people who have no buisness (financially speaking) buying houses are trying to buy houses?
-That alot of current investor behavior is rather amatureish, and that many 'investers' are doing things that have a good probability of loosing money?

-That behavior, in conjunction with public appearance and social interaction with others, can be a way of imperfectly determining if the population of people attempting to buy houses has changed????? That this change is towards people who traditionally had more difficulty buying houses, or in the case of the bubble, keeping houses?

I agree with TG that some of this may be a good thing, that a shift to people who save and dont need to drive brand new cars (mine is 10 years old) and carry designer bags, may be a shift to more stable and 'better' buyers. I was remiss to have not mentioned that not every single buyer I see didnt fit the 'new, less stable' profile I mentioned. (I was also remiss in not adding that in atleast two cases (as in seperate REO's, not people) it was/is MY yard/driveway/plants that were not respected. It isnt as if I just drive by a house 20 blocks away.)

BTW, if you had led with your second point, about sample size, I would have fully agreed with you. It was a simple 'brown lawn' observation.

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