Saturday, January 20, 2007

Here's a Blog I found that is owned by a Realtor. He has decided to write a Blog that seems to be honest and direct about the Real Estate Business. Check it out. Link

Friday, January 19, 2007

Condo Prices Reveal Housing Trends

Comparing condo prices may be the best way to gauge the direction of housing prices.
By Les Christie, staff writer
January 18 2007: 1:20 PM EST

"In the third quarter of 2005, NAR stats for single-family homes show that prices fell 1.2 percent from a year earlier, with 30 percent of markets showing declines. "

"Condo prices not only dropped more steeply, 2.1 percent, but 46 percent of markets showed declines." Latest home prices

"Which gives a truer picture? Adam Koval, a former investment banker who now runs, which covers San Francisco's real estate market, insists condos are the way to go." Full Article.

House as an ATM Machine?

12MoDef -- hip hop for a U.S. housing bubble on the edge
E-mail Harry Koza
Read Bio
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"Anyway, a company in California (where else?) called Mortgage Payment Deferral Inc. has come up with such a fiendishly clever idea for a new kind of mortgage that they've actually applied to patent it. It's the "no payment for 12 months" mortgage. Forget those picayune no-money-down mortgages or those cheesy negative amortizers -- they're, like, so last year. This one, which the company calls the "12MoDef" mortgage, (as in 12 months deferred) is, as MPD's president, Jeremiah Miller says, "a truly wonderful product.""

"It's elegant in its simplicity. Instead of U.S. consumers refinancing their homes and withdrawing the accumulated equity to spend on buying stuff made in China, their bank can withdraw the equity and keep it. Obviously, this is much more efficient. Freed -- at least for a year -- from the burden of making monthly mortgage payments, the consumer can then direct himself to paying down the outstanding balances on his 17 maxed-out credit cards. "

"Canadians are fortunately, by and large, still wedded to that increasingly old-fashioned notion of buying a house to live in and actually paying off their mortgages some day. That sounds rather quaint by modern California standards."

"Meanwhile, in New York and Washington, D.C., 2,500 condo projects have been cancelled, and builders are turning existing unsold buildings into rental units, according a New York Times story last week about the travails of condo speculators. One example: You need to sell it for $890,000 (U.S.) to break even, or accept an offer between $800,000 and $840,000, or rent it out for $4,000 a month (though it costs $6,800 a month to carry). Some choice: a quick fat loss or death by a thousand monthly payments." Full Article.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Has Housing Hit Bottom? - US

About That Short Housing Slump…

"Has housing hit bottom? Not if history is any guide, says Hugh Moore, a partner at Guerite Advisors, a money manager in Greenville, S.C. Using data from the seven previous housing cycles since 1959, Moore concludes that the sector will fall further—and land hard. "

"Take housing starts. In the past, they fell an average 51% from peak to trough. So the current downturn, with housing starts off about 30% from the January, 2006, peak has further to go. And it may meet recession on the way. That's because in six of the seven cycles, when starts fell more than 25% from their most recent peaks, the economy tanked."

"Another gloomy stat: In the same seven cycles, the amount people spent on new housing as a percent of gross domestic product fell an average 28% from market peak to trough. Worse, in six cycles, recession kicked in when the ratio fell more than 10% from its most recent peak. In this slump, Moore says, that ratio has fallen 10.5% from its fourth-quarter peak."

"History also shows housing corrections take an average 27 months. Thus, the current doldrums may linger a year or more. "It's just going to be this slow, grinding drain on the economy," says Moore, who adds that month-to-month housing stats producing relief rallies are "just noise."" LINK

By Mara Der Hovanesian

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Vancouver Condos Crowd out Business

Vancouver's downtown may become victim of its urban housing success.
Housing policy crowds out business

By Linda Baker Published: January 17, 2007

"Commercial tenants say they are feeling the squeeze."

""We were disappointed there wasn't more new building in the city," said Iain Mant of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, a law firm based here. This spring, Mant said, the 350-employee firm will relocate from a "fairly oppressive" 37-year- old building to the Bentall V, the only new office tower under construction downtown.
"We thought we would have more options to consider," he said. "But the projects you kept hearing about ended up being residential and hotel." There are currently 47 residential buildings under construction in the central core."" Full Article

Calgary Real Estate Listings Up 42% YOY. Gains still expected?

Realtors predict moderate gains in Calgary, Edmonton
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 2:22 PM MT
CBC News

"Already in January 2007 there are more listings than at the same time last year, 4,221 compared to 2,482. Stanners said sellers and buyers who were unsure of where the market would go at the end of 2006 have since regained confidence, meaning more homes are on the market." Full Article

Real Estate Agents ReListing Homes - US

New Listing! (Sort Of)
Agents are pulling houses off the market and then presenting them as new offerings

"He pulled the house out of the regional database of active listings and then immediately reinserted it, changing the property ID number used to track properties over time. "

"The result: The house appeared to be hitting the market for the first time. "

""It's in the best interests of my client [the seller]," Simone said in a November interview. "I started doing it consistently this year. I do it as much as I can."" Full Article.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Calgary Housing Market Blog.

Looks like the Calgarian Contrarian 2 is back from a month long Holiday. If you are interested in the Calgary side of things, check out his Blog.

Bank of Canada rate stays at 4.25 per cent

Bank of Canada leaves key interest rate unchanged at 4.25 per cent
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 10:07 AM ET
Canadian Press

Full Article

Uncertainty in US Housing Market

Data point to uncertainty in US housing
By Krishna Guha and Eoin Callan in Washington
Updated: 11:42 p.m. PT Jan 15, 2007

""The question is: is this the bottom? Or is there another downward leg to come?" he adds."

"Mr Bernstein thinks demand could weaken again, as investors pull out of the housing market." Full Article.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Housing Gains Slowing...With a 46% increase in inventory could this be a bad year for Real Estate?

Housing Gains Slowing
By Jeff NagelBlack Press
Jan 14 2007

"Greater Vancouver house prices sagged again in December but the overall real estate market still ended the year with major gains"

"“The record-breaking sales pace of 2005 continued well into the first five months of 2006,” said president Rick Valouche. “Sales activity has been quieter since June.”"

"Home sales fell 12.4 per cent in Greater Vancouver and 10.7 per cent in the valley, where active listings are 46 per cent higher than a year ago. " Full Article.

Real Estate Speculators in Calgary?

Did Property Investors/Flippers help contribute to Calgary's sudden increase in Housing value? It's quite obvious that this is rampant in some US Real Estate Markets, and Vancouver's Condos have had their fair share.

How much of our Real Estate Market is speculator driven? It may be more than you think.

Sellers are overly optimistic: real estate agent
Last Updated: Monday, January 15, 2007 3:32 PM MT
CBC News

"At least a third of condos and houses on the market in Calgary are vacant, prompting concern from a real estate agent that sellers aren't being realistic about the price they hope to get for their properties." Full Article.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bought Real Estate in Naples during the Housing Boom?

If so you may want to take a close look at this Report. Naples Real Estate Market Report

I got this lead from Housing PANIC.

Condo Price Index
Average Prices per Square Foot by Quarter
vs. 12% Trend Lines from January 2001
2 Bedroom Condos, Similar Size, Similar Communities

I would say 12% annual growth, as a normal trend,has been exaggerated by this Realtor. If he went back a few more years it would be a lot less.

Want a good dose of Real Estate Spin with some good Counter Spin?

Go check out Ben's Real Estate Blog, it's over on my side bar under Feeds. He does a great job of finding Housing related News Articles that show the ugly of the US Housing Market.

The posters in his comments section offer some good counter spin to these, sometimes surprising, Housing Articles.

Go check it out. The Housing Bubble Blog

TSX set to rise this week

Malcolm Morrison, Canadian Press
Published: Sunday, January 14, 2007

"And although the TSX appears set to recapture some more lost ground this week, the near-term future is murkier."

"It looks like we're going to push higher but my suspicion is that maybe the next five to 10 per cent move is down rather than up," said John Johnston, chief strategist at the Harbour Group at RBC Dominion Securities."

"Everything is still looking a bit stretched and there is probably more downside than upside in the near term and that we run into the risk of a correction -- back to around the 12,000 level, about five per cent."

"The TSX moved higher last week after a series of punishing losses, largely based on tumbling commodity prices, which at one point pushed the main index down 3.5 per cent from the start of the year."

"A rebound in oil prices was a big reason for the turnaround last week. Crude prices closed as low as US$51.88 a barrel last week, a drop of 15 per cent since the beginning of the month."

"Copper was another notable decliner, falling sharply as housing construction slowed and inventories piled up."
Full Article.

Bleak world view doesn't pay off....or does it?

Offer of BMW driven away
Bleak world view doesn't pay off
By Paul Jackson

"I talked myself out of a long-term free loan of a top-of-the-line BMW sports car this past week. But, as in so many under situations in my life, I immediately started digging a hole under the kind BMW offer. "

"Natural gas is down 40%, I warned my would-be benefactor. Oil has taken yet another dive from its high in the $78-a-barrel range to the mid-$50 range. "

"The fellow who predicted the 1987 stock market crash is predicting a similar collapse within months if not weeks. "

"Warming up to my case, I pointed out there could well be many more Enrons, WorldComs and
Adelphies out there in which tens of thousands of people lost their pension plans and life savings. "

"Even in Canada, we had Nortel, which while not run by a bunch of shysters now serving time in U.S.federal penitentiaries, was surely run by incompetent managers who took the stock down from $120-a-share to less than $1 at one point. "

"More recently, we had the flipflop on income trust policy -- and I have no sympathy for whose loaded with spare cash who invested in income trusts -- on the basis every legitimate financial expert will tell you never to invest in anything simply for the tax advantages. "

"Next I pointed out both Ford and General Motors are losing billions of dollars a year and shedding workers as quickly as they can. If the stock market does collapse, or if Ford and GM and other large companies have to merge with their Japanese competitors to salvage themselves, the ripples will spread throughout the entire automotive industry. "

"Plus, Communist China is about to start dumping under-priced cars on world markets. When all these converge, people -- who already hold sky-high debt -- are going to have to sell
everything off at 10 cents on the dollar and with that the housing boom will fall apart, too. "

"Well, since my friend knows I read every issue of Business Week, Forbes and the Financial Post cover-to- cover, said colleague gulped and decided now was not the time to buy the BMW.
I surely know how to put together a compelling assessment."

"So it's still the $75-a-month Calgary Transit pass for me. "
Full Article.

The author of this article has a strong argument for being cautious with your money this year. He also goes on to point out how his friend is making a lot more than him. It makes you think.

Sure, High Rollers do make more money, but they also have a greater potential to lose it all. There is a reason why very successful people only make up a small percentage of the World's population.


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