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A Record Glut Of Unsold Units As The Housing Slump Deepens

A report from the Globe and Mail in Canada. “As the Toronto real estate market crawls through a slow patch, there is growing anecdotal evidence that some agents are bending and sometimes breaking the rules to drum up business. For realtors, it’s a rough market. There were 7,187 home sales in the market area of the Toronto Real Estate Board in March, 2019 – the lowest March sales total since the sub-prime mortgage crisis period of 2009.”

“There are currently more than 53,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespersons in and around the Greater Toronto Area. ‘ he reality is there’s a lot of hungry agents who are going to cold call and door knock. But if you’re actually doing door knocking and there’s my sign on the front lawn, it’s pretty obvious they are under contract,’ said Andre Kutyan, a sales representative with Harvey Kalles Real Estate Brokerage Ltd. ‘It’s become a dog-eat-dog world out there.'”

From Bloomberg on the UK. “New homes in London used to fly off the shelves even before construction was finished. Now, the capital faces a record glut of unsold units as the housing slump deepens. The number of unsold homes under construction increased to 31,508 units as of March 31, the highest level recorded since Molior London began compiling the data a decade ago.”

“‘Much of this stock is too expensive to qualify for government incentives such as Help-to-Buy, so normal people who want somewhere to live are not buying them,’ said Tim Craine, founder of the property research firm. ‘Previously, they would have been bought off-plan by foreign investors, but demand has been quelled over the past few years by government measures to discourage investment purchases of new homes.'”

“Developers began work on record numbers of luxury apartments in the years leading up to 2015, hoping to cash in on a wave of overseas money targeting London property. Since then, the city’s high-end residential market has been hit by a series of property tax hikes, capital controls and Brexit uncertainty, deterring investors and leaving developers holding empty units that are too expensive for average Londoners.”

The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. “UBS senior economist George Tharenou said the number of home sales had now fallen by 20 per cent over the past year to its lowest level since early 1996. The rate of property turnover had ‘collapsed’ to less than 3 per cent.”

“‘The peak-to-trough decline in prices is more than 8 per cent, worse than the GFC and near the largest for at least 55 years when Real Estate Institute data for Sydney started,’ he said.”

“Since their peak in September 2017, Sydney dwelling values have fallen by 14.5 per cent. In Melbourne, dwelling values dropped by 2.6 per cent to be 10 per cent down over the past 12 months. They have fallen by 10.9 per cent since their peak.”

From Radio New Zealand. “It’s a buyer’s market in the city – figures show the average asking price is down almost $100,000 since a high three years ago. It was a slow day in the auction room at one of Auckland’s busiest residential realtors, with homes passing in and sellers negotiating down asking prices. Only two of 12 homes sold under the hammer at Barfoot and Thompson’s auction today, with another two selling soon after.”

“Figures from Realestate.co.nz also showed the mean asking price for a house in Auckland dropped $100,000 to below $900,000 in April, the lowest since 2016. CoreLogic senior property economist Kelvin Davidson said buyers were in no rush and had the luxury of choice.”

“‘Listings are as high as they’ve ever been for the last 10 years in Auckland so you’ve got plenty of choice and it’s definitely a buyer’s market you can shop around and to some extend upgrade your location so I’d say it’s definitely a buyer’s market,’ Mr Davidson said.”

The New Zealand Herald. “A large fully renovated character Grey Lynn villa advertised since February has had its sale price cut by $50,000, below the Auckland Council valuation. An agent is advertising 53 Williamson Ave as ‘price reduced’ at $1,725,000, indicating it was originally listed for around $1.77m but an auction and around 70 viewers failed to draw buyers.”

“‘Motivated vendor wants action,’ said Bayleys’ Andre Bodde. ‘It’s not unusual these days,’ Bodde said. ‘We’ve seen some properties where there’s a gap between the vendor expectations and the market. The market has changed somewhat. There’s been a lot of interest in this place but we’ve found people either can’t get the finance or they’re not cashed-up and ready to buy,’ he said.”

“Barfoot & Thompson, which sells around 40 per cent of Auckland residential stock, has seen inventory levels rise from 2802 unsold properties in mid-2015 to 4865 unsold places by last month. The Real Estate Institute noted how Auckland house sale prices fell $20,000 between the end of December and the end of January, down 2.4 per cent from a median $820,000 to $800,000 – the lowest numbers for 35 months.”

This Post Has 33 Comments
  1. London, Sydney and Auckland were each at one time in the past 5 years the hottest housing market on the planet. Toronto wasn’t but Vancouver was. Now it’s crater all around.

    1. Maybe the stock market miracle can be replicated in real estate when Zillow and Keller Williams start inventory buy backs.

      1. They completely missed the boat. Their only way to make this profitable now will be to lowball sellers, essentially making Zillow the online equivalent of “We Buy Ugly Houses”.

        1. Their only way to make this profitable now will be to lowball sellers

          And they are behind the curve on that. There’s a different place (can’t remember the name off the top off my head) already aggressively marketing how easy it is to sell directly to them and GTFO. I hear radio ads for it almost every day in the Folsom area and I only have the radio on for a few minutes.

          1. Exactly. The only advantage they might gave is that they are a more well recognized and potentially trusted entity than someone nailing a sign to a utility pole at an intersection (which makes me wonder where they’re going to come up with the funds to buy property if that’s all they can afford for marketing their business).

        2. You can only get so far by lowballing, as you can lowball yourself below market value, out of a deal. Maybe if they time their purchases for the trough of the next recession, when foreclosures and unemployment are both high, and most end users are too risk averse to buy…

          1. And by that time they probably won’t have any money either, just like everybody else. Which is what will make it a real trough. Or maybe they can do God’s work using Fed money and “save” us from the trough.

    2. The trick is figuring the timeline for when we see the same here. Some places here showing early strain, but others still chugging along. Of course the real estate industry not commenting honestly. A point will get reached whereby they will no longer be able to conceal, but still waiting.

      I think good things will come to those who wait to purchase.

      1. “Of course the real estate industry not commenting honestly. A point will get reached whereby they will no longer be able to conceal, but still waiting.”

        Sounds eerily similar to the Fed and its “no inflation” bullsh!t. I’m seeing more and more people in comments sections online getting angry and talking about how expensive things are getting everywhere. This powder keg is gonna blow…

        1. Was in Boston yesterday and a round trip fare on the subway was 5.50$. Studio apts in town are renting for 2000$ a month. There are luxury condo developments going up all over the city. How many biotech bubble employees and rich foreign students are there to buy/rent these things?

          1. The number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in China has risen nearly 9 times in the last decade, a private survey released on Tuesday showed, as strong growth in the world’s second-largest economy has spurred wealth creation.

            The number of Chinese with at least 10 million yuan ($1.47 million) of investable assets hit 1.6 million in 2016, up from 180,000 in 2006, according to the 2017 China Private Wealth Report by Bain Consulting and China Merchants Bank.

      2. It’s also a good idea to listen to the Fed, as they appear to have added maintaining a floor under housing to their policy mandate.

    3. “London, Sydney and Auckland…”

      not to mention the U.S. of A.

      What is it about the vestiges of the former British Empire and housing bubbles?

      1. What is it about the vestiges of the former British Empire and housing bubbles?

        I don’t know…who invented/perfected central banking originally?

        1. I think the original fractional reserve banking system was introduced by the Medici Italian banking house. Certainly Amsterdam introduced the first central bank.

  2. “There are currently more than 53,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespersons in and around the Greater Toronto Area. ‘ he reality is there’s a lot of hungry agents who are going to cold call and door knock.“

    So I’m not the only one… Mabye some more 8’s will bring back the cash buyers.

    1. “Governor Gavin Newsom begs Congress for federal relief as California home-staging industry announces plans for 650,000 layoffs.”

  3. “Since their peak in September 2017, Sydney dwelling values have fallen by 14.5 per cent. In Melbourne, dwelling values dropped by 2.6 per cent to be 10 per cent down over the past 12 months. They have fallen by 10.9 per cent since their peak.”

    Thus the 100% and beyond increases have a looooong way down to go. Seems the only difference between these other countries is the greedy sellers are bending over and taking it where here the sellers in the US are clinching there cheeks together stubbornly holding it in not to stain there pants.

    1. “Both initiatives are part of Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve plan, which focuses on supporting underserved markets by financing more rural and manufactured housing and preserving more affordable housing for homebuyers and renters nationwide.”

      This sounds like the Community Reinvestment Act. The manufactured housing angle could be meant to help tornado alley where the deplorables hole-up.

  4. Rest in peace Riley Howell. A true hero. Very few people have the courage to act in the way you did.

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