The Daunting Overhang of Unsold Houses

One would have thought that after the Frontline piece, we’d give Real Estate a rest for a while. But no, we can’t leave well enough alone, and feel compelled to add to the discussion on the perennial housing bottom callers.

We have mentioned the cancellation factor before, but lets put it into some context. Consider the following from Doug Kass (via Barron’s): 

"THERE ARE, TO BE SURE, STARK DIFFERENCES between 2000 and 2007, and we hesitate to pound the comparisons to the point where you’re left with the impression that we expect the new year to be a carbon copy of 2000. We don’t . . .

The sharpest contrast is that the greatest housing surge in memory was just picking up momentum in 2000, while the most severe crack in housing in memory is, if anything, worsening. Yes, we’re quite aware that there has been an uptick in some of the recent numbers on home sales and the like and, faint as it is, it has prompted talk of a bottom. But not in our house . . .

Investors and homeowners alike might pay less heed to every squiggle and gossamer indication of improvement and more to the reality on the ground as manifest in continuing price weakness and a dauntingly huge overhang of unsold houses . . .

One interesting light Doug Kass sheds on the supposed modest increase in new home sales, for example, is that the Census Bureau does not adjust for cancellations in its compilation of house sales, which in a soft market like this one not only overstates sales, but understates inventory.

Usually, cancellations run only about 15% of orders for publicly owned home builders. However, cancellations have soared this year. And Doug thoughtfully sent along the third-quarter rate for each of the leading home builders. Here they are: Centex (ticker: CTX), 37%; DR Horton (DHI), 40%; KB Home (KBH), 53%; Lennar (LEN), 31%; Pulte Homes (PHM), 36%; Beazer (BZH), 57%; Hovnanian (HOV), 35%; MDC Holdings (MDC), 49%; and Standard Pacific (SPF), 50%."

Since a picture is worth a 1000 words, rather than just rely on the above excerpt, let’s go to the graphs, courtesy of Calculated Risk:

As chart 1 shows, the past 2 years saw sales falling month over month since August. Year-over-year sales declines accelerated throughout most of 2006:

Existing-Home Sales
click for larger graphs

Chart 2 reveals that whatever drop off there was in exisiting homes was minor, and it hardly impacted the total overhang:

Inventory Reduction? Hardly!
Existing Homes Sales Inventory

Chart 3 shows is a different view of the same data: its the total months of supply. Again, we see visually that the change in the total number of exisiting homes was hardly noticeable:

A Significant Supply Reduction?
Months Supply, Existing Homes

Lastly, Calculated Risk pokes wholes in the inventory "drop" nonsense: Over the past 3 years, the typical seasonal pattern is for homeowners to take
their homes off the market for the holidays. Inventories have dropped as much as 10% in past Decembers. Here are the 3 most recent inventory declines:

Nov-03 2,530,000
Dec-03 2,300,000
Jan-04 2,200,000
Nov to Dec Decline: 9.1%

Nov-04 2,480,000
Dec-04 2,214,000
Jan-05 2,147,000
Nov to Dec Decline: 10.7%

Of course this year inventories barely declined and actually rose in January:

Nov-05 2,924,000
Dec-05 2,846,000
Jan-06 2,883,000
Nov to Dec Decline: 2.7%

inventories are at 3.82 million. If
inventories follow normal patterns, they should see a 10% drop to 3.45 million. Unless they stay elevated, as happened in Dec 2005.

Significant Inventory declines? Housing Bottoms? What are these people smoking?


Sore Winners

November Existing Home Sales
Calculated Risk, Thursday, December 28, 2006

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. anon commented on Dec 31

    If existing home inventory declines 5% in December people will be dancing in the streets declaring a recovery in housing has begun.

    Nevermind that in seasonally adjusted terms that’s really an increase of about 5%.

  2. ECONOMISTA NON GRATA commented on Dec 31

    “What are these people smoking?”

    Really…. Really… good GANJA….



  3. s0mebody commented on Dec 31

    Nothing like a dead horse, pummeled to smithereens.

  4. Eclectic commented on Dec 31

    Since you’re apparently intent on building yourself into a frenzy this weekend, I’ll assume permission to drop back and add on to the Mauldin substitute piece. To do so, I’ll first quote you in bulk passages… and then ***stake my own claim to logical and philosophical foundations I’ve already poured in previous discussions, but now have this additional opportunity to set them in concrete.

    “A funny thing happened on the way to the recovery: Despite the massive stimulus, nothing much happened at all. Following the Tax Relief Act of 2001, plenty of deficit spending in 2002, lower rates, and even more tax cuts in 2003, the economy was still barely limping along. Real GDP was barely positive in Q4 of 2002 (chart below[*can be seen in the original piece by BR]). The possibility of a “double dip recession” was very real, and that was making the members of the Federal Reserve very nervous.”

    ***It is because for some economic cycles, particularly when they are the result of one or more ‘upsets’ that disturb the economic steady state, monetary stimulus becomes sterile. Although this is counterintuitive, monetary stimulus is indeed made sterile, for at least a while, due to a disturbance in the aggregate perceived liquidity assumptions of market participants (all economic agents of GDP) and the corresponding substitutions of perceived liquidity that occur for nominal liquidity transactional demand at the then-present level of aggregate demand. I’ll restate my ‘Perceived Liquidity Substitution Hypothesis’ which I introduced publicly on this blog:

    The Perceived Liquidity Substitution Hypothesis:

    (I) The sum total of all money in an economy is held in only two forms; (i) perceived liquidity, and (ii) deferred liquidity, and market participants hold these forms subjectively and interchangeably.

    [I have defined Perceived Liquidity and Deferred Liquidity previously; both have relational aspects to traditional econometric measures of the money supply (the traditionally measured ‘Ms’), yet they are not measurable by econometric studies and thus not truly discoverable by the central bank.]

    (II) Perceived liquidity is always greater than conventionally held nominal liquidity measured at the same time, regardless of economic state.

    (III) Perceived liquidity is at the steady state equal to nominal liquidity multiplied times a hypothetical terminal low coefficient of perceived liquidity that is always greater than 1 (one).

    (IV) Perceived liquidity is at all times substitutable for nominal liquidity transactional demand at a rate of substitution that is always greater than zero, and the rate of substitution varies in direct proportion to variations in the coefficient of perceived liquidity.

    (V) Upon an upset to the steady state the coefficient of perceived liquidity will increase to some higher but not unlimited value, and the increase will be proportional to the severity and speed of the upset.

    (VI) An increased coefficient of perceived liquidity can not resume its former steady state value until economic conditions resume the steady state.

    The aggregated effects of this phenomenon temporarily prevent economic modulation via monetary stimulus. As I’ve stated before in other discussions on this blog, this is so difficult to conceptualize that it’s much like attempting to accept a sunrise occurring in the western sky; that the policy thought to be most needed in an economic crisis is actually: sterile. Worse, it may be harmful and actually extend the economic downturn.

    “The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) had watched Japan get caught in a decade-long recession, compounded by a nasty case of deflation. Consumers there – even more gadget loving than Americans, if that’s possible – had become increasingly cautious. While the Japanese are culturally more likely to save than we Americans are, they had taken frugality to new extremes.”

    ***It was more than just purely nominal transactional demand frugality, it was their increased and rather profound capacity to also substitute perceived liquidity for nominal liquidity transactional demand. Thus fully substituted (like Mauldin on vacation!… just kidding Mr. Mauldin – I greatly appreciate reading your concepts) the nominal monetary expansion efforts of the Japanese central bank went for naught.

    “And the less the Japanese spent, the more manufacturers and retailers slashed prices, hoping to draw them back to a consumptive mode. The longer consumers waited, the cheaper goods got. It was a vicious deflationary cycle, and once started, difficult to break.”

    ***It was a collapse of demand, pure and simple, and the failure of monetary stimulus to correct it is the supreme example of the failure of supply-side economic theory. Because of the phenomenon I’ve described, failures of this type are illustrative of monetarism’s greatest limitation. I was a great admirer of Milton Friedman, but I must say he departed the earthly realm still in denial, even while watching his protégé pursue a relentless monetarist drive toward zero interest rates. I disagree that it was the reason for the economic recover… it was only merely coincident with it, becaused failed monetary stimulus can, at best, only coincide with a demand recovery.

    “On November 21, 2002, then Fed Governor Ben Bernanke gave a speech on the subject. It was titled “Deflation: Making Sure “It” Doesn’t Happen Here.”

    ***Protégé numero dos. A fine and well-trained man, only too enraptured by monetarism.

    “This unprecedented monetary stimulus had five primary impacts:

    1) The initial stimulus “reflated” the economy: The ultra-low cost of capital encouraged economic activity, and GDP surged.
    2) Dollar denominated asset classes were “re-priced:” Money was so cheap and plentiful, anything priced in dollars – oil, gold, industrial commodities, etc. – rallied dramatically in nominal prices.
    3) A new round of Inflation was ignited in just about every item in the production pipeline – with the exception of labor (this becomes important later on).
    4) The Consumer aggressively used cheap debt, financing whatever they possibly could. This led to their savings rate promptly dropping below zero – levels last seen in the post-crash 1930s.
    5) Major debt-financed consumer purchases – primarily homes and automobiles – saw a huge spike in sales.
    More so than any other factor – tax cuts, deficit spending, increased money supply, etc. – it was the generational-low interest rates that resuscitated the economy. These other stimuli all played a role, but ultra-low rates are what dominated economic activity.”

    ***I must say that, on reflection and after putting this list in juxtaposition with what I’ve garnered from an intense study of Adam Smith’s ‘Wealth of Nations;’ to my mind the economy has not been reflated, except in merely nominal terms. I anticipate Smith would’ve today scoffed at the notion that this economy has produced real or sustained economic growth derived simply from an apparent reorganization of phantom asset value assumptions. Remember that I have claimed that the core basis for all economic exchange (all real money) is labor, either mechanical labor or intellectual labor. The price of that commodity, expressed worldwide, is now lower, and is likely to spiral still lower, regardless of its denomination in any currency, or for that matter were it to be denominated in terms of the marine shells my father gave me as a child to begin my philosophical contemplation of the concepts of: money, liquidity, productivity and wealth.

    “But the first rule of economics is that there is no free lunch, and the stimulus came at a price: Inflation. Even China’s explosive growth was indirectly related to FOMC actions. Chinese apparel, electronics, manufactured and durable goods makers were the prime beneficiaries of the debt fueled spending binge here. So Beijing returned the favor, buying a trillion dollars worth of US Treasuries. This helped to keep rates relatively low, even when the Fed shifted into tightening mode. Thus, a virtuous Real Estate cycle was reinforced and extended even further.”

    ***I’m not so sure it was as indirectly related to FOMC actions as you suggest. Much of China’s productive capacity build-out was financed by economic agents of the U.S. and the industrialized West, who are also customers of Federal Reserve member banks and other central banks in the West. To that extent the Fed has possibly done more to encourage an adoption of nominal U.S.D. as the de-facto operational currency of China than it has to successfully reflate a ‘healthy’ U.S. economy. As I’ve said, the Chinese will ride that currency, like a bucking bronc, regardless of how it fluctuates against other world currencies, and they will keep the yuan pegged, like the song says, at: ‘..Eight -to -the -bar… -in -boogy –rhythm,’ and Bernanke and Paulson may as well realize and accept that… and save us the jet fuel (and indignity) in the effort.

    “At this point in the business cycle, the Fed seems to be running out of maneuvering room. Unless inflation decelerates rapidly (allowing more rate cuts), or the economy somehow manages to re-accelerate without igniting more inflation, we find it hard to imagine how the economy avoids a hard landing. In a post-crash economy, that’s about the best we can hope for.”

    ***I’ll end by expressing my sincere hopes that, regardless of the semantics we all use in regards to some supposed recession or slow-down being hard versus soft, or even avoided altogether, and about what the economic consequences might mean for the stock and bond markets… it’s what I call the ‘walking-around economy’ that I think is far more important in consideration. That’s the economy that supports us all… it’s where you get your tires changed, your house painted, and your doctor and dentist care for you, and where we conduct the great majority of economic endeavor that enriches our lives even outside of a primary concern for stock and bond prices. That’s the economy that the FOMC needs to be most concerned about, and it is very possible that the Fed has an impossible mandate of dual responsibility that is structural in nature and derives from a too-highly expressed regard for monetarism and a failure to understand its limitations.

    It’s time for new economic thought, for the new times we live in.

    Happy New Year

  5. Repoman commented on Dec 31

    (I wrote this post on CR and would like feedback from this board on my thoughts)

    I believe that the reason for the “stickiness” of price declines is due to the complacency of the real estate run-up and out of control debt situation’s effect on the economy (complacency is rampant; stock market..look at the VIX). Even the most bearish commentators on the housing market are looking for a mere 10-20% drop in housing prices (after most areas up 90-200% in 6 years). I think most will agree that the financially challenged individuals who took out exotic mortgages with no money down and rampant speculators will obviously get crushed in the coming downturn.

    The complacency that seems to be overlooked is to be found with the majority of the real estate speculators who bought before the 2005 peak (1999-2005). Almost all buyers before that time have seen their investments more than double in value. To them a 10% correction is a drop in the bucket. I believe they, as well as many others that have missed the opportunity and want to buy homes as an investment, believe that after the 10% correction has run its course (in the next year or two), the housing market will resume it’s bull run and make new highs.
    That is what I am sensing from even the most bearish on real estate. A quick, or slow decline of modest proprotions…and then we’re off to the races again!!! No, long term impact.

    On a historical basis, one must realize that it takes YEARS, many YEARS for real estate to bottom and then move up again. Since 1800, it’s usually an 18-20 year cycle from one peak to the next. That was under normal conditions; no exotic debt instruments, 20% down mortgages (what happened to those?), affordability.

    If this is indeed a “Bubble”, which I’m completely convinced it is (due to the underlying CREDIT bubble), it will take years if not decades to achieve the highs that were made in 2005 (if ever). The problem with bubbles is that it takes a long time to repair the damage. Since this real estate cycle brought one of the largest price expansions ever, it only makes sense that the corrective cycle will be equally as long and painful on the way down.

    Look for an alternating slow drip and large swings down for many years. Coupled with the extremely poor balance sheet of the U.S. homeowner, retiring baby boomers (selling their homes to fund their retirements, due to no savings), high inventory of homes for sale,and rampant speculation, the next decade is going to be very tough for those with too much house.

    The Nasdaq (Bubble) hasn’t even recovered half of what it was at it’s high. If the housing market is also a true “bubble” we can see the same results for that market as well (why shouldn’t we), and it will effect a much larger percentage of the population…don’t say that one market is different than another…A BUBBLE IS A BUBBLE!!!

    Bottom line, those with 1-3 year time horizons for a housing bottom should do more homework on real estate cycles and the bursting of bubbles.

    Am I missing something in my assessment of the state of the housing market? Why are the bears so bullish?

    Happy New Year!!


  6. TRW commented on Dec 31

    This helps quantify why residential real estate acts different from EVERY other asset class: The Wife Effect. No self respecting spouse is gonna let you try to sell her nest over the holidays. After we sold our home 1 1/2 years ago for massive $$’s, I showed my wife the net check and she looked at me, while crying, and declared “I could care less about the money”. Now I sit ensconced in a luxury 4000+ sq. ft. rental mired in a pitched battle debating the economics of stability. Net result: I have bought all the time I could and will re-enter the market before 2007 is over. I have fought the good fight, but you have to know when it’s over…
    With tongue firmly implanted in cheek, I think I speak for all right thinking, economically focused, troglodyte husbands. You can play around with your stocks/401k as much as you want, but don’t mess with mama’s house…

  7. Eclectic commented on Dec 31

    Repoman, you’ve managed to get your horse to the water, but until he drinks, nobody can know just when, or if, he will.

  8. edhopper commented on Dec 31

    Your analysis is good. I truly believe that some who bought in 04-05 will never see that price again in their lifetime.
    I think the 1-3 years is also foolish. What I have read is that the housing busts in the last 40 years have taken 24-52 months to bottom. But, it is a very long period uphill to the next peak. Your 18 year wavelength might be right.
    I also agree that the 10% to 20% drop is a joke. Here in NYC housing prices are already down 10% in real terms. I think the problem is how they calculate “median prices”. I have not seen it stated that “median prices” rose 100% to 200% over the last 6 years. In fact they have. If the stated “median prices” were up 40%. Then a 20% drop is significant and might reflect a 40% to 60% in real terms.
    I go with Prof. Shiller on prices. A return to the mean is 1997 prices plus inflation. It hard to see given rent to own and cost to income ratios, how this is avoided.
    Perhaps most of those economist should retake Economics 101.

  9. NK commented on Dec 31

    Great comments! All the analysis coming out lately always makes a special attempt to single out Seattle (and the greater Pacific Northwest in general) as immune to any bubble, or for that matter immune to any declines whatsoever! Granted that real estate is local, but why this elite treatment?

  10. jagmohan swain commented on Dec 31

    The uptick in housing sales was an offshoot of
    rally in the bond markets.Now that Bond market has topped ( there could be a small rally in between ) housing sales mayn’t get so lucky in a month or so.As far as I am concerned bond market still holds the key to the intensity of hard landing.If bonds continue to sell off expect a major recession accentuated by deeper housing crisis.If bonds rally then the impact
    might still be limited as demand should not drop off too fast while the builders start putting a cap on the new supply which could eventually work off the excess inventory.In any case 2% growth appears far fethched.

  11. Norman commented on Dec 31

    Here in the Bay Area over the last 25 years the mortgage payment on the median house has grown at 5.2% per year vs nominal GDP’s 5.5%. Be bearish at your own risk.

  12. Teddy commented on Dec 31

    But house prices in the Bay Area over the last 25 years have increased at a rate almost 4 times the rate of increase in nominal median family income.

  13. Norman commented on Dec 31


    Median Bay Area home prices appreciated by about 7.2% per year over the 25 yrs. So, you mean to say that nominal median family income has grown by 1.8% or less than the inflation rate? I don’t think so.

  14. Teddy commented on Dec 31

    Relax Norman, I think I am right, but I also think house prices are going to go up because Bernanke said about a year ago that about a 5% rate of appreciation would be appropriate. Probably a giant hedge fund in the sky will save most of the homeowners when rates go down next year. But are they really homeowners or sharecroppers as Warren Buffet would call this nation of debtors. When you pay 12 to 15 times your median family income for your house, do you really own that house?

  15. RP commented on Dec 31

    Norman – house prices in the bay area have doubled, twice…in the last 10 years. The 15 years before that were 1980 – 1995 looked nothing like that.

    If you want to make a linear argument, why pick 25 years…why not 100 years? It’ll be just as pointless.

    A double double in home prices.
    A good rise in wages during the first double,
    but roughly flat wages during the second double.

    I wouldn’t bet on wages rising to meet current home prices…
    I think either the dollar will fall or home prices will.

  16. Norman commented on Dec 31


    25 years was the data the SF Chron published so that’s what I used.

    But the interesting thing to me is how little people want to believe that current prices can be considered in line. Seems almost everyone is following the dour mantras of the media and the professors, kind of like what we are seeing in Global Warming. Ah, the (reverse) madness of crowds.

  17. Teddy commented on Jan 1

    Norman, that giant hedge fund in the sky directs the flow of money in only one direction, right into its mouth. It has no reverse. And if the world is getting warmer, why REVERSE it, let the next generation worry about it!

  18. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jan 1


    At the risk of starting a thread of comments that is far too complex, how do figure?

    Are there any factual statements above you disagree with? Data? Charts? What is it about the actual sales data that bugs you?

    I do not find a housing correction any more gloomy than day turning into nite, or summer giving way to autumn and then winter. They all follow a regular pattern of cyclicality — understanding where we may be in the process can only help home buyers (who should be remembering the rule: location-location-locations) and sellers (who should be pricing property realistically).

    I have a stake in RE doing well; We own property in Nassau and Suffolk County (and we sold something in Nassau in 2006 in one weekend by pricing it right).

    But the bottom line is that the noise you hear from the NAR, the Media and Wall Street is totally misleading . . . I try to provide a factual counterbalance to all that bullshit.

    To once again quote The Daily Show’s Rob Corddry: “How does one report the facts in an unbiased way when the facts themselves are biased?”

  19. Larry Nusbaum commented on Jan 1

    “how do figure?”
    Well, as we entered 2006 I didn’t see the sky falling in housing. It didn’t.
    You are Dr. Gloom and I am Mr. Happy. (just here)
    Norman is right about prices in San Francisco. They have been very high going back decades. Any ratios people have used to explain why they should therefore fall have fallen flat on their face. Prices seem to carry on higher.
    I have no idea why so many have been fixated on what the NAR has been saying. People don’t use their press releases as “investment advice” in local markets. They use their knowledge and skills combined with a good realtor. But, you seem to think that they should be silent when all they are doing is rallying the troops (realtors) against a flood of negative media.

  20. Larry Nusbaum commented on Jan 1

    It’s probably true of many professions, but I have come to the conclusion that most journalists / economists / commentators are completely seperated from the realities of real estate and housing in everyday life.
    A good (but not best) example is the emphasis that the media has put on Interest-Only loans and on Negatively Amortizing loans. They lump them together as if they are the same (and they’re not) and point to their pending resets as why we are going to have a huge drop in housing prices. But, my God, they said that in 2005 and not much happened in 2006…….

  21. Larry Nusbaum commented on Jan 1

    “But house prices in the Bay Area over the last 25 years have increased at a rate almost 4 times the rate of increase in nominal median family income.
    Posted by: Teddy | Dec 31, 2006 2:42:38 PM”

    Ted: now go back and see what has happened to median family income in San Francisco over that time period. Also, during the past 10 years, the numbers of people able to purchase for cash and not based on icome has exploded due to employee stock options.

  22. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jan 1

    Let me remind you that I am one of the few commentators who said: Don’t Believe the Housing Bubble Propaganda

    I consider myself a realist. If the best argument you can muster is name calling (“Dr. Gloom”), it hardly bespeaks the strength of your case.

    But I’ll play along: A year ago, based on my read of the economy and housing, I discussed how we were entering a “slow-motion slow down”. More recently, and for the same reasons, I noted that the holiday shopping season was very likely to be sub-par.

    Those discussions — and the subsequent reality on the ground — turned out to be dead on.

    I’m not sure exactly how my review of facts figures and data materially differed from your optimism. I bought a piece of real property and sold a piece of real property. How did your “optimism” differ? Where you a big buyer of property? Are you banking land?


    As to the NAR — some people find the steaming pile of manure they put out and the blind repetition by most of the press to be both irresponsible and morally repugnant. Let’s not mistake sales BS with economic analysis — and thats the problem some people have with the NAR.

  23. Teddy commented on Jan 1

    Larry, I think you are on …. to something. Let’s not discriminate against the renters and homeless. Now that we have mortgage brokers, let’s create an army of renter’s brokers who can intervene when the landlord questions the financial credentials of the renter or homeless. Let’s set up a Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for renters. The renter broker can “enable” a long term rental agreement for the now renting and the homeless and sell it to Fannie and Freddie. The rental agreement can include the bells and whistles of mortgage loans like negative rental payments and interest only payments on the rent. And if the renter has to move or needs money and rents have gone up, he or she can tap the rental agreement for the excess equity.

  24. Larry Nusbaum commented on Jan 1

    “I consider myself a realist. If the best argument you can muster is name calling (“Dr. Gloom”), it hardly bespeaks the strength of your case.”

    I kind of like that tag as fun. But, I won’t use it again.

    “How did your “optimism” differ?” – Because, I was never very optimistic nor pessimistic. Nor did I find anything particularly wrong with the NAR reports….any more than with others like Dr. Roubini, knowing full well that some forecast would be wildly wrong and some right. Morally repugnant? Why?

    “Lastly, Calculated Risk pokes wholes in the inventory “drop” nonsense” – So, then, the past two months saw increases in inventory?

  25. Monetizin’ the Debt commented on Jan 2

    Ha Ha. You’ve just been Nussbaumed.

    The Nuss is the the biggest d-bag on the internet today. He quieted down for a little while when the bad news came out, but he’s a raging perma-bull with a chip on his shoulder and not a shred of evidence to back it up.

    Look for him to shut the f up in March when the bad news from the bad men come back.

    Dude, you are a raging d-bag, and everyone knows it.

  26. RP commented on Jan 3

    > RP:
    > 25 years was the data the SF Chron published so that’s what I
    > used.

    They keep dropping off the SF Chron for free – I keep asking
    them to stop littering on my driveway. Am I supposed to
    value your argument because the SF Chron needs to
    sell advertising?

    > But the interesting thing to me is how little people want to
    > believe that current prices can be considered in line.

    Both sides of my family have been in the SF Bay Area for
    4 generations…if you use a very long time frame, home
    prices have always gone up. But if you look at it a different
    way, those homes had a real cost and ongoing expenses
    and the only thing that really happened was the dollar
    lost purchasing power. It’s interesting to me how little
    people want to consider prices in a larger context. I
    argued that this could swing a couple ways, and I proposed
    that wages aren’t one of them this time (because of
    globalization). Google millionaires can buy with cash,
    but there aren’t enough of them to dent as large an area
    as the Bay Area.

    > Seems almost
    >everyone is following the dour mantras of the media and the
    > professors, kind of like what we are seeing in Global Warming.
    > Ah, the (reverse) madness of crowds.

    As opposed to the inverse mantra?

    I have no beef here…I own a home. I’m not in the market to buy.
    It seems you are mystified when you run into a debate made by
    someone who isn’t selling something….

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