So being the real estate watcher I have been for the last 30 years - many of which I spent as a Real Estate Agent, Broker, Property Manager and Landlord, I have always prided myself on having a fairly educated knowledge of the market, its factors, and the influences on it. As such, I have often 'bet the farm' on my predictions and had more success than failure through the years - until now.
Last year, I came to the conclusion that the residential real estate market must be nearing the bottom of its value trough to a low end plateau based on months of relatively stabilized prices, a fair number of sales, and my own observations of what I have come to since realize has been one of the more solid real estate markets in the country in the Charleston SC area.
However, as I have dug into the numbers, and studied the trends more closely, some very disturbing factors continue to gel in my assessment, and as such, I have developed new insights.
This real estate market both residentially and commercially is about to tank to unimaginable lows in the next two years for a variety of reasons - none of which lends an ounce of optimistic upside.
1. Over 70% of all purchases in the last year in markets across the nation are by first time buyers taking advantage of government incentives with starter level homes. The rest have almost all been sellers of these homes 'stealing' foreclosures at approximately 60-70% of market highs, and at less than the mortgage value was on them as little as two years ago. Most of these potential buyers have already bought, and this market is drying up.
2. The next group of buyers (a very small group) has been the speculative cash buyers. These are the people who had pockets full of cash, and like I thought the market had stabilized, and as such ran out and bought up more of these 'stealable bargain' houses for cash. Banks don't lend to speculators, so these people have been blowing their wad gambling that the housing market is coming back, or that they can rent these homes at a profit, and make a buck either way. These people are quickly disappearing and most have already blown their cash. This market is also now drying up.
3. The California market that always seems to be a year or two ahead of the rest of the American market is in a commercial real estate tailspin, which is destroying the state economically, as well as psychologically. It is also destroying the residential market as all the effects of neighboring empty properties take their toll on adjacent, and then all real estate. This market is out of control.
4. The American economy which is on government aid, is about to take another major decline as the US Government increasingly loses favor with the rest of the world including its two biggest benefactors - China and Europe. It is also losing favor with the American people as ALL major by-elections in the last 6 months have gone against the leadership - primarily over major spending policies, and as such, the only politically viable position is going to be to spend less to curry political favor, or to spend more to keep buying off the economic decline. There is no right answer, and the net result will be inaction. This is a major change from last years cash injections, and as such, the real effects of economic deterioration are about to take their true effect. While the FDIC closed 140 banks last year, it is almost certainly going to shutter over 200 or more this year, and every banker knows that this is no time to be giving away, (or even lending) the only life source that will be available when the government aid dries up. As such there is no lending going on, and that is the most fundamental factor in supporting real estate values.
5. Recent efforts by mortgage professionals demonstrates that even the best credit scores in America can no longer borrow enough money to close a real estate investment of any sort unless it comes with government backing, and a massive amount of equity. This of course limits buyers potential to buy to very small amounts of real estate -even if they are in a position to buy anything. The real result of easy credit was the ability to leverage a lot of property with very little cash. The opposite is now true such that even the most solid and liquid of investors can still buy almost nothing. The credit market is an increasing disaster.
6. And in the face of all of this chaos, prognosticators are nervously playing their cards ever closer to their chests - hoping to hide the impending doom, while bankers and lenders are saving every dollar they have to save them as long as possible as they go into what they know are going to be the worst two years in American economic history.
7. The foreclosure trend statistics are the most biting factor in the future of real estate as we contend with what was the most aggressive two years in lending prior to the crash - wherein five year ARM mortgages were issued like candy to people that were absolutely incapable of affording what they bought, and the lions share of these mortgages are coming up for renewal between now and the summer of 2012. Every evidence from their predecessors over the last two years - generated in the years 2003 through to 2005 have demonstrated an ever growing default rate generated by increased interest rates, combined with widespread unemployment and a quickly falling average credit score - making it impossible for these homeowners to renew - even if they now have the income to support the new mortgage. The net result is disaster.
If you don't believe it, you go ahead and support the monkey and his minions. They have their heads so far up their asses, they are now effectively color blind. There is no color in blackness, and Oblacka is so clueless, he wouldn't know where to spend the next dollar if he really had one. He doesn't though - he only has yours.
Grab your ankles folks - its coming!