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Nothing Scares Off House Hunters More Than The Prospect Of Price Losses

A report from Myrtle Beach Sun News in South Carolina. “An apartment complex near Coastal Carolina University will soon have a new management company as the property remains at the heart of a $24 million legal fight. In November, U.S. Bank started the foreclosure process on The Provincia. The bank claimed that Coastal Ventures LLC owed about $24 million for construction of the housing complex. On Wednesday, a lawyer for U.S. Bank was in Horry County court for a hearing. Christopher McCurry Towery said that the sides agree to have the Priess Company appointed as a receiver for the complex. The Provincial has 440 units on an 8-acre site about 200 feet away from CCU.”

“U.S Bank says Coastal 544 Ventures was loaned $23 million for the property. Today, Coastal 544 Ventures owes more than $24 million after fees and interest, U.S. Bank claims. The housing company did not make its May and June payments on time, but when they did pay, the owners failed to pay interest, according to the bank.”

The Tennessee Ledger. “The Middle Tennessee State University Business and Economic Research Center report says total home permits dropped almost 5.2% amid a 25.8% decrease in multi-family permits,. Homeowner and rental vacancy rates have shown sharp increases for the quarter, the report found.”

From Queens News in New York. “A recent report found that while home prices are stabilizing, the number of rentals offering concessions in Queens were on the rise last month. Of all the boroughs analyzed in the report, Queens was the only one that saw an increase in price cuts. Throughout the borough, one in ten houses on the market saw a price cut, raising two percentage points year-over-year.”

“The number of landlords offering concessions is Queens were also increasing compared to last year. Borough-wide the share of concessions rose to 15 percent last month. In northwest Queens, 21 percent of rentals advertised concessions last month, a 6.7 percent increase year-over-year.”

“‘Landlords offering free months of rent for tenants signing new leases is a great way for them to fill their units quickly without having to reduce the monthly check they’ll be receiving,’ says StreetEasy Economist Nancy Wu. ‘The uptick in concessions shows that even though rents are still climbing, tenants should never shy away from negotiating other incentives with their landlord, like free months of rent, waived amenity fees or other deal sweeteners.'”

The San Mateo Daily Journal in California. “Zumper rent analyst Crystal Chen said San Mateo is especially susceptible to changes in cost due to the constrained housing market, which is incapable of keeping up with demand. Illustrating her point regarding cost fluctuations, some of San Mateo’s rents actually dropped recently according to the report which showed one-bedroom units decreased by 5% from the month prior.”

“The monthly dip would follow trends also seen in more expensive locales, according to the report which showed rents in Menlo Park slipped to $3,100 for one-bedroom units last month and $4,320 for two-bedroom units. Those prices amount to a 3% drop over the month, and nearly 5% drop over the year for one-bedroom units and a 3.6% drop over the month for two-bedroom units. Similarly, Redwood City one-bedroom units dipped in price by 5% over the month and 8% over the year to $2,880, while two-bedroom unit costs declined 2.4% over the month to $4,070.”

The Ventura County Star in California. “Rents mostly increased in Ventura County cities between November 2018 and November 2019, with one key exception. The median rent in Ventura is down over the past year. The median rent in Ventura fell by 2.9% over the past year, with the median one-bedroom now at $1,531. The report notes that rent growth typically slows toward the end of the year, but growth this year slowed down even earlier than normal.”

“‘Rent growth tends to be slower in the fall and winter months due to seasonality in the market. This year though, rent growth began to slow before the summer was through. This early end to the summer rent spike signaled a return to the stagnant rent growth that characterized the market at the beginning of the year,’ reads the report.”

From NBC San Diego in California. “Good news for renters comes this month with word that rents have stabilized or dropped slightly in San Diego County. The Southern California Rental Housing Association reported that overall rents in San Diego County declined slightly for the first time in the past five years, with vacancy rates rising from 4.1% to 4.7%.”

“‘In general, a vacancy rate of 5% is viewed as healthy for the San Diego market, indicating a reasonable supply of rental housing inventory, so this upward trend in vacancies is positive news,’ the Rental Housing Association said in its Fall Rental Rate Survey.”

The Orange County Register in California. “Southern California home-price appreciation has hit a seven-year low, by the math of one curious yardstick. Since 1943, the Cal Poly Pomona-based group has tracked local home-value movements twice a year by having volunteer appraisers re-evaluate a set of 308 single-family homes across seven Southern California counties to gauge pricing patterns. Local home values were appreciating at an annual rate of 2.8% in October, according to this novel index.”

“How does that gain stack up? It’s the smallest increase since the last of Great Recession-led declines in April 2012. Below the 5.3% found in April. Below the 7.2% seen in October 2018. 65% below 7.9% averaged since October 2012. Looking at CoreLogic/DQ stats for their six-county SoCal region, derived from tabulating every closed purchase of all residences, gains in October were averaging over six months 1.2%. That’s below 1.3% of April; 6.1% of October 2018 and 87% below the seven-year average gain of 9.1%. Or, simply put: Appreciation has been evaporating.”

“More importantly, shrinking appreciation brings fears of depreciation. And for all the talk of a need for ‘cheaper housing,’ nothing scares off house hunters more than the prospect of price losses. It’s housing’s conundrum: everyone wants a discount, except on the home they (may) own.”

The Oregonian. “The number of homes for sale in the Portland area continues to shrink. New listings in November tumbled 30.9% from October, according to the local listing service RMLS. Contracts for home sales that will close over the next couple of months, although about 20% higher than last November, were 11.7% less than last month, and there were 15.3% fewer homes sold across the metro area this November compared to October.”

“‘Inventory is low in general and it has been that way for quite some time in west Portland,’ said Blake Ellis of Windermere Realty Trust. ‘Within particular markets, you will see strengths and weakness more than the overall data shows.'”

He said that at a certain price point in Northwest Portland, there might be 20 listings on the market now, where this same time last year there were 10 and at a different price there might only be five. ‘Units in buildings that usually take longer to sell sold in a week while another home has you wondering, ‘Why is it taking so long? It’s a great house in a great neighborhood,’ said Ellis.”

This Post Has 63 Comments
  1. ‘Chen said San Mateo is especially susceptible to changes in cost due to the constrained housing market, which is incapable of keeping up with demand’

    The California REIC is so full of crap.

    ‘Illustrating her point regarding cost fluctuations, some of San Mateo’s rents actually dropped’

    They didn’t say effective rents, which includes concessions and vacancy. The effective rent drop is probably double or triple. Meaning these guys who paid recent prices or refinanced are losing money.

      1. Democrat heads will be exploding as Tulsi Gabbard, despite being a convert to the Hindu faith, sings a song celebrating the birth of Jesus and honoring the true spirit of Christmas. Bad Tulsi! You are supposed to wish us “Happy holidays” and burn incense to St. Greta, not sing a beautiful old Christian song that evokes evil western civilization and its oppressive patriarchal belief systems.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5xcT_83jNk

  2. “U.S Bank says Coastal 544 Ventures was loaned $23 million for the property. Today, Coastal 544 Ventures owes more than $24 million after fees and interest, U.S. Bank claims. The housing company did not make its May and June payments on time, but when they did pay, the owners failed to pay interest, according to the bank.”

    Gosh, I sure hope this is an anomaly. Cuz our all-omniscient central bankers are going to have a problem on their hands if the collateral underpinning the gargantuan debt pyramid created by the Fed’s ultra-loose monetary policies since 2009 starts shedding trillions in Yellen Bux valuations. Looks like you may need a bigger Repo window, Janet Powell.

        1. In a way it’s already emerged. They usually don’t let new apartments rot. The lenders will take a haircut and the new owners will have a lower basis. This is how stuff gets resolved. Coming to a San Mateo complex near you!

          1. The universe has a way of putting itself right, even after ten years of Keynesian lunacy from the Fed and central banks.

          2. ‘Almost $1.5 trillion of the world’s cash, with U.S. $100 bills making up a great deal of it, is reportedly unaccounted for. So what happened to the money? “Literally, a lot of these $100 bills are sitting in bank vaults all over the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs during an interview. “There’s a lot of Benjamins all over the world.”

            ‘There are more $100 bills – also known as C-notes – in circulation than $1 bills, according to data from the Federal Reserve, which found there are more $100s than any other denomination of U.S. currency. The number of outstanding bills featuring a picture of Benjamin Franklin has about doubled since the start of the recession.’

            https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/steven-mnuchin-100-dollar-bills-disappearing

          3. ‘There are more $100 bills – also known as C-notes – in circulation than $1 bills

            I wonder what percentage of them are outside the country, especially since US law enforcement agents can seize it from you.

          4. The US is in effect earning interest equivalent to the inflation rate on that $1.5 trillion that is sitting around slowly decomposing back to wood pulp. Seigniorage is the term.

            So, 2% inflation rate means $30 billion in free money each and every year.

        2. ‘The number of outstanding bills featuring a picture of Benjamin Franklin has about doubled since the start of the recession.’

          Inflation or deflation? It’s hard to say…

          Fire and Ice
          By Robert Frost
          Some say the world will end in fire,
          Some say in ice.
          From what I’ve tasted of desire
          I hold with those who favor fire.
          But if it had to perish twice,
          I think I know enough of hate
          To say that for destruction ice
          Is also great
          And would suffice.

  3. This Christmas, Over Half A Million Americans Will Struggle With Homelessness:

    “While millions of Americans celebrate Christmas this year with loved ones, carving turkey and sharing gifts, others are not so fortunate. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over half a million of us will spend Christmas on the streets. The government agency estimates that on any given day, around 553,000 Americans are homeless. A third of those are families with young children. African Americans and those with disabilities are particularly likely to become homeless.

    Tens of millions of Americans are barely managing to stave off the same fate. Almost half of America is broke, and 58 percent of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, with savings of less than $1,000. 37 million Americans go to bed hungry and around 130 million admit an inability to pay for basic needs like food, housing or healthcare. After a decade of decline, the homeless population is again creeping up.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/health/christmas-over-half-million-americans-will-struggle-homelessness

    1. “There are always going to be people who live in the streets by choice. They make it their own choice for staying out there.” —Ronald Reagan, Dec. 23, 1988

        1. I wonder how long until the California Dems try to make it mandatory to take such people into your home if it’s “underutilized”?

    2. – Too All: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Best Wishes for the New Year!

      – Yes, it is a sad commentary on our increasingly two-tier socio-economic system. While there will always be some at the bottom rung of the economic ladder, there are more and more moving in that direction from the middle class as their personal wealth and opportunities erode. The monetary stimulus since the GFC has greatly benefited asset owners over those that don’t. As per B.B.’s 2010 WaPo Op Ed, the Fed specifically targeted housing and stock (asset) prices to be elevated. Reference here:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/03/AR2010110307372.html
      What the Fed did and why: supporting the recovery and sustaining price stability
      By Ben S. Bernanke
      Thursday, November 4, 2010

      This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. [Translation: We’re a “one-trick pony” and we don’t know how to do anything else, so let’s re-inflate asset bubbles.] Stock prices rose and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action. Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable [Is housing more or less affordable now?] and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. [Low interest rates (i.e. cheap credit) have driven stock buybacks over Cap. Ex. How has this boosted investment over C-Suite compensation? Answer: It hasn’t, but rather greatly contributed to wealth inequality. BA is a good example of this behavior.] And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. [While asset bubbles appear positive on the upside, what about the (inevitable) downside?] Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.”

      The current economic system in the U.S. is not capitalism as some people believe, but rather a hybrid of crony-capitalism and socialism for the wealthy. There can be no improvement until this systemic cancer is rooted out and free markets (with oversight) are allowed to function normally. A move towards Socialism sounds inviting and egalitarian, but it’s only a siren song. A look at history and/or current events supports this assertion.

      Please also consider that the current U.S. economy is relatively strong, thanks to ~$4T of stimulus (ex nihilo, or “out of nothing” dollars) from the U.S. central bank (aka the Fed). However, it’s pretty clear that as the economy moves from here into recession in 2020 (my view), that many more will be struggling financially, and those in a tenuous position may join the ranks of the homeless. What’s the next step then? Interest rates are already ultra-low and national debt is ultra-high. We never really exited the GFC of 2008-09, IMHO, but only papered over it with artificial stimulus. There was no “creative destruction”; no organic growth. The U.S. economy is addicted to monetary stimulus. Until it goes into rehab, I don’t see the situation improving. Three giant asset bubbles (with two crashes so far) in 20 years does not make for a healthy economy.

      “You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt.” – Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament

      1. There can be no improvement until this systemic cancer is rooted out and free markets (with oversight) are allowed to function normally.

        Testify, Sister RPE. There needs to be a wholesale purge of corrupt and complicit policymakers, regulators, and enforcers who have rigged the game in favor of a corrupt and venal .1% in the financial sector. Sadly, that probably won’t happen unless we have post-collapse tribunals that hold the guilty parties accountable for their malfeasance, starting with the gold collar criminals at the Fed.

    3. “The government estimates ending homelessness would cost around $20 billion, less than Americans spend on Christmas decorations, yet there appears to be little appetite to address the growing problem…”

      My @ss

      The swamp would skim $16 billion off the top and $3.5 billion would go to pay do nothing government employees to answer the phone and tell people why they don’t qualify for the program for the next for 10 years.

  4. Why the value of Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store dropped by billions – and what it means to the fate of HBC

    ‘For a sense of why the value of Hudson’s Bay Co. real estate is in free fall when most property prices are rising, and why HBC executive chairman Richard Baker is refusing to boost a takeover bid for the department store chain despite fierce opposition, take a stroll down New York’s storied Fifth Avenue.’

    ‘The nine-block stretch from Central Park to Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store, once lined with high-end retailers, is now home to 17 empty storefronts. Online shopping is giving customers a reason to avoid the crowds. So, too, is competition from two newly opened Manhattan department stores, the city’s first Nordstrom outlet on the west side of Central Park, and the first Neiman Marcus, located in the Hudson Yards development, also on the west side of the island. Fifth Avenue is not the destination it used to be.’

    ‘In 2014, the flagship Saks store was the jewel in HBC’s real estate crown, valued by a lender at $4.1-billion. This fall, as part of a bid to take the retailer private from a group led by Mr. Baker, real estate appraisers pegged the value of the Manhattan property at $2.1-billion – with $1.64-billion in debt.’

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-why-the-value-of-saks-fifth-avenue-flagship-store-dropped-by-billions/

    1. real estate appraisers pegged the value of the Manhattan property at $2.1-billion

      That’s still an insane amount of money for a department store building.

    1. CNN Spokesman Matt Dornic rejected the comparison in a statement to VICE News.

      “By comparing the engagement metrics of Breitbart to those of actual news outlets, you’re insinuating they produce journalism. And that’s a mistake,” Dornic said. “Breitbart produces outrage and propaganda, which will obviously evoke more passion and emotion than news and information.”

      LMAO. Pot, meet kettle.

    1. Nothing frightens the Chinese Communist Party like the prospect of social unrest, and high food price inflation has been a catalyst in the past for protests. The Chinese leadership probably hasn’t failed to notice that social unrest against corrupt, unaccountable elites has gone viral as 2019 draws to a close, and they are not immune from such unrest – neither are we for that matter. So they have plenty of incentive to conclude a trade deal and buy huge quantities of U.S. soybeans (used to feed pigs, primarily) and U.S.-produced pork since their own herds have been decimated by African Swine Flu and related culling. Even so, food prices are likely to be up sharply this year, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep a lid on public discontent.

        1. Yes, passive resistance only works in decent societies. When you have large number of people who are perfectly winning to shoot unarmed people engaging in peaceful protest it is useless. China restricts the growth of Christianity precisely because it imposes internal limits on people. Of course this lack of a moral compass is precisely why people in China have no qualms about spreading swine fever to increase profits.

  5. The Orange County Register in California. “Southern California home-price appreciation has hit a seven-year low, by the math of one curious yardstick.”

    – So the RATE of price appreciation is declining (aka negative acceleration or deceleration).

    “It’s the smallest increase since the last of Great Recession-led declines in April 2012.”

    “Or, simply put: Appreciation has been evaporating.”

    “More importantly, shrinking appreciation brings fears of depreciation. And for all the talk of a need for ‘cheaper housing,’ nothing scares off house hunters more than the prospect of price losses. It’s housing’s conundrum: everyone wants a discount, except on the home they (may) own.”

    – So, let me try to wade through the morass of Realtor-speak on this: “Prices aren’t rapidly appreciating anymore (actually decelerating, or turning negative now as reported numerous times recently on this blog) and so speculators, who have been largely driving the market into the stratosphere, might not be interested in buying anymore.” Is that about right?

    “It’s housing’s conundrum: everyone wants a discount, except on the home they (may) own.”

    – It’s only a conundrum for Realtors who depend sales and commissions. Speculators have already or are in the process of exiting the (artificial) market. Shelter-buyers (the original housing cohort) are THRILLED with the prospect of FALLING PRICES! It’s like Christmas in December! Oh wait, today IS Christmas… Merry Christmas!

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair

    – I for one welcome falling housing prices and any hint of a return to a more normal, pre-bubble (1.0) housing market. End the Fed.

    – My forecast (swag): Since speculators are leaving the housing market, and prices are (still) too high for most shelter (read normal) buyers, prices have to fall a lot more to achieve affordability. Wages certainly aren’t going to rise enough to fill the gap. Now the Fed could step in again (I’m sure their working on this with their nefarious schemes), but mortgage interest rates in 2019 are already rock bottom historically and appear to be trending back up. The drop in rates this year has largely fueled a (temporary) price and sales increase in 2019. What’s going to drive these higher in 2020? I don’t see anything at this point and so a resumption/continuation of the downward trend seems the most likely outcome. We shall see. Remember though, without speculation, only shelter-buyers remain, and their housing purchasing power is directly tied to income (just like it used to be). We’ll see how this plays out in 2020.

    1. “Southern California home-price appreciation has hit a seven-year low, by the math of one curious yardstick.”

      California population growth slowest since 1900 as residents leave, immigration decelerates

      By JULIA BARAJAS, SARAH PARVINI
      DEC. 21, 2019 8:30 AM

      The Golden State remains stuck in the slow lane when it comes to population.

      The number of Californians increased to 39.96 million, with new data from the Department of Finance showing mostly downward trends.

      They are rooted in fewer births, coupled with increased deaths among an aging population. The Golden State, however, has also seen changes in international migration, along with more and more residents leaving the state.

      https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-21/california-population-continues-to-decline-with-state-emigration-a-major-factor

    1. We just signed a two-year lease on the new place. And Friday night we will sleep there for the first time. I hope the new owner of the place we are vacating enjoys the termites I reported to our landlords several years ago, which went untreated so far…

  6. “…nothing scares off house hunters more than the prospect of price losses.”

    Nothing scares off home sellers more than the prospect of price losses, either.

    Has anybody considered the possibility that the perceived inventory shortage is no more nor less than buyers and sellers collectively trying to avoid throwing their hard-earned money down the real estate rat hole?

  7. Great commentary on the known problem: Centrally-planned, command economics has replaced free markets. “True dat.”

    http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2019/12/all-i-want-for-christmas-is.html
    All I Want for Christmas Is an Unmanipulated Market
    Tuesday, December 24, 2019
    Charles Hugh Smith

    “All I want for Christmas is an unmanipulated market, because manipulated markets always crash big and crash hard. Virtually every market in America is heavily manipulated by the Federal Reserve, which creates currency out of thin air to either buy assets (outright market manipulation) or distribute to financiers, banks and corporations, which then manipulate the markets with their own profiteering (stock buybacks, leveraged buyouts, derivatives, etc.).”

    The Fed decided long ago that the housing and stock markets were too critical as signals that all is well to remain real markets, because real markets fluctuate and on occasion crash, especially if participants are playing fast and loose with debt, leverage and speculative bets placed with zero collateral (or fake collateral, which is the same thing),”

    “To make sure no decline could ever collapse the happy-happy euphoria of ever-rising markets, the Fed turned markets into simulations of real markets, controlled “markets” masquerading as real markets in which price and value are set by participants, not central banks and proxies of central banks.”

    To make sure no decline could ever collapse the happy-happy euphoria of ever-rising markets, the Fed turned markets into simulations of real markets, controlled “markets” masquerading as real markets in which price and value are set by participants, not central banks and proxies of central banks.”

    ———————-

    – “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999

    – “Livin’ The Matrix since 1913.”

  8. New listings in November tumbled 30.9% from October, according to the local listing service RMLS.

    Is the cyclical nature of real estate different in Portland than in other parts of the country? Because the number of home listings always drops in the fall and winter around here.

    That’s an awful broad brush to be making out of an anecdotal difference between 30 or so days.

      1. I want to hear more about the “shortage” when the market gets flooded with listings next February/March.

  9. The Yule Log was originally a Nordic tradition. Yule is the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe, such as Germany. The Yule Log was originally an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony, to chants of “Realtors are liars.”

  10. The Financial Times
    Opinion Language and grammar
    Year in a word: negative yields
    By mid-2019, this once-unthinkable quirk of the bond market had exploded to extremes
    Katie Martin
    © FT montage
    Katie Martin 3 hours ago

    Negative yields

    (noun) Financial-market terminology to describe the situation in which bonds are so expensive that buyers are guaranteed to make a loss.

    Markets took a funny turn in 2019. In fairness, they had been acting oddly for some time. Ever since the financial crisis of 2008 prompted central banks around the world to slash interest rates, the price of supposedly steady, boring bonds has been rocketing higher, squeezing the yields investors could expect to extract from them ever smaller.

    In the mid 2010s, this started to fuel the phenomenon of negative yields; certain pockets of the European bond market became so pricey that buyers knew they would make a nominal loss from holding the assets to maturity. But by the middle of 2019, this once-unthinkable quirk had exploded to extremes.

    At the peak of a frenzy of summertime bond buying, more than $17tn worth of debt ended up trading with negative yields. German government bonds maturing in 10 years’ time — a key European market benchmark — ended up with a yield as low as 0.7 per cent below zero, forcing a rethink among investors about how to build portfolios and what constitutes a risky bet. Even emerging markets got caught up in the rush, with Czech, Hungarian and Polish yields slipping into the freezer. In October, Greece issued three-month debt at a negative yield. Yes, the same Greece that required repeated bailouts in the earlier part of the decade to stave off national bankruptcy.

    1. I think that student loan debt is more insidious, as it can’t be discharged in a BK. And CC interest rates are typically about 15%.

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