Luxury home prices probably will drop another 5 percent before reaching a bottom...?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by Optionpro007, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. Excerpt:

    "Luxury home prices probably will drop another 5 percent before reaching a bottom in September 2010, according to Sam Khater, senior economist at First American. "


    Does anyone know how Mr. Khater figured prices will fall approx 5%? Any ideas?


    Luxury-Home Owners in U.S. Use ‘Short Sales’ as Defaults Rise

    By Kathleen M. Howley and Dan Levy

    Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Homeowners with mortgages of more than $1 million are defaulting at almost twice the U.S. rate and some are turning to so-called short sales to unload properties as stock-market losses and pay cuts squeeze wealthy borrowers.

    “The rich aren’t as rich as they used to be,” said Alex Rodriguez, a Miami real estate agent with JM Group USA Inc., whose listings include a $2.9 million property marketed as a short sale because the price is less than the mortgage, leaving the bank with a loss. “People have reached the point where they can’t afford the carrying expenses of a $2 million home.”

    Payments on about 12 percent of mortgages exceeding $1 million were 90 days or more overdue in September, compared with 6.3 percent on loans less than $250,000 and 7.4 percent on all U.S. mortgages, according to data from First American CoreLogic Inc., a Santa Ana, California-based research firm. The rate for mortgages above $1 million was 4.7 percent a year earlier.

    As defaults on the biggest mortgages rise, borrowers such as Steve Holzknecht are turning to short sales to exit loans that now are larger than the market value of the house. In such a transaction, the lender agrees to accept less than a 100 percent payoff on a mortgage to expedite the property’s sale.

    Holzknecht, 53, last month cut the asking price for his 7,280-square-foot home in Kirkland, Washington, by $550,000 to $1.25 million, lower than the balances of his two mortgages. Holzknecht, the former owner of Four Suns Inc., a Seattle luxury homebuilder that went out of business two months ago, constructed the Craftsman-style home in 2000. He declined to identify his lenders or the amount he owes.

    Common Plight

    “It’s not uncommon to see this situation on the high end of the market -- homes selling for less than it would cost to build them,” said Holzknecht’s agent, Joe Flick of Roanoke Group in Seattle. The property came on the market eight months ago priced at $1.85 million, he said.

    Porter Michael Peterson, a 33-year-old linebacker for the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, bought a mansion near Tampa, Florida, four months ago for $1.1 million -- almost half the amount of the mortgage taken out by the sellers three years earlier, according to real estate records. Reggie Roberts, a spokesman for the Falcons, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

    Short sales almost tripled to 40,000 in the first six months of 2009 from the same period a year earlier, according to data from the Office of Thrift Supervision. The bank regulator doesn’t break out short sales by size of mortgage.

    Upside Down Mortgages

    “You are just starting to see the tip of the iceberg with luxury short sales,” said Adrian Heyman, owner of Property Advisors, a real estate broker in Scottsdale, Arizona. “A lot of wealthy people are upside down in their mortgages and they just can’t afford the second or third vacation home anymore.”

    There are 114,000 home loans of more than $1 million, according to First American. About a quarter of all mortgaged homes in the U.S. have loan balances bigger than their current value, known as being upside down or underwater, the data company said.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than half its value as it tumbled to a 12-year low in March. The number of U.S. households with a net worth of more than $1 million, not counting primary residences, fell to a five-year low of 6.7 million last year from a record 9.2 million in 2007, according to Spectrem Group, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

    The financial-services industry was among the hardest hit by the recession. While Goldman Sachs Group Inc. set aside a record $16.7 billion in the first nine months of the year for employee bonuses, some Wall Street executives will see pay cuts, according to Johnson Associates Inc., a New York-based compensation-consulting firm.


    Year-end bonuses for people at hedge funds, asset- management firms and insurance companies probably will drop an average 20 percent, the firm said.

    “There’s a lot of distress,” said Tracy McLaughlin, co- owner of Morgan Lane Real Estate in Ross, California, north of San Francisco. “You have hedge-fund guys whose funds evaporated and a year-and-a-half later they’re still not working.”

    The entry-level segment of the housing market was aided this year by an $8,000 first-time buyers tax credit that pushed resales to a 6.1 million annual pace in October, the highest since February 2007, the National Association of Realtors said in a Nov. 23 report.

    President Barack Obama signed a bill last month extending the program into next year. The new version keeps the first-time buyer benefit and makes a smaller credit available to some move- up buyers. It can’t be used for homes priced above $800,000.

    Luxury Market Left Out

    The Federal Reserve set out in January to lower fixed mortgage rates by purchasing $1.25 trillion of bonds backed by home loans. The 30-year fixed rate for so-called conforming loans that can be bought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped to an all-time low of 4.71 percent in the week ended Dec. 4, according to McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac, the second- largest U.S. mortgage financier. The rate rose to 4.81 percent last week.

    The Fed purchases haven’t affected the high end of the market because they exclude so-called jumbo loans. Mortgages above the $729,750 limit set by Congress for the nation’s highest-priced markets cost almost 1 percentage point more than conforming loans, according to Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH Associates, a mortgage-data company in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. That’s quadruple the historic spread.

    “There is no refinance market for you if you are underwater and outside the Fannie and Freddie framework,” Gumbinger said. “High-end neighborhoods are all suffering from the same problems of diminished income at a time when there is little equity to work with.”

    Trapped by Market

    Masoud Bokaie, co-founder of engineering firm BORM Associates Inc. in Irvine, California, owes $2.6 million on a 3,664-square-foot house with marble floors and granite counters about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in Newport Beach. He’s waiting to hear whether lenders Luther Burbank Savings and Wells Fargo & Co. will approve a short sale.

    He received an offer last month “close to” the loan balances, said Shirley Cameron, his agent at Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties in Irvine, who declined to specify how much. Bokaie said he doesn’t want to pay $7,000 a month in net costs including the property’s mortgages and taxes when real estate values in the area continue to tumble.

    “What’s the point when the market is going in the other direction?” Bokaie said in an interview.

    The U.S. median home price was $173,100 in October, 25 percent lower than its July 2006 peak, according to the National Association of Realtors. Prices fell 7.1 percent from a year earlier, the slowest pace of the year.

    More Declines Expected

    “The reason the low end stopped falling is because the government stepped in with affordable loans,” said Scott Simon, managing director at Pacific Investment Management Co., a Newport Beach-based investment firm that runs the world’s largest bond fund. “There is no political will to bail out a million-dollar house.”

    Luxury home prices probably will drop another 5 percent before reaching a bottom in September 2010, according to Sam Khater, senior economist at First American.

    Those declines may lead to losses on jumbo mortgages that dwarf the “haircut,” or discount to full value, that banks take on short sales or foreclosures of moderately priced homes, said Rodriguez, the agent with JM Group in Miami.

    “When the bank takes a loss on a $3 million property it’s a lot bigger than the loss on a home with a $150,000 mortgage,” Rodriquez said.

    To contact the reporters on this story: Kathleen M. Howley in Boston at; Dan Levy in San Francisco at
    Last Updated: December 17, 2009 00:00 EST
  2. Another 50%. Check the Great Depression.
  3. The same way Kashkari calculated the $700B bailout--

    "5% sounds good"
  4. pupu


    No way dude!

    RE has bottomed!

    Recession is over! Everything is super and getting even better!Unci Ben told me so!

    Credit is free for all thanks to Unci Ben.
    All the cnbc experts are super bullish!

    RE and Stocks to double every 3 years for the next 20 years! At least!

  5. Let's see if we can figure this out.

    I will start with a little market theory. I will have to make some assumptions, but for the sake of this exercise let just work with them.

    If bubbles behave similar to parabolic patterns, price will most often retrace at least +/-60% from the high.

    "The U.S. median home price was $173,100 in October, 25 percent lower than its July 2006 peak"

    "The Federal Reserve set out in January to lower fixed mortgage rates by purchasing $1.25 trillion of bonds backed by home loans."

    Where would the median home average price really be? Could we just take prices of the high end and conclude median prices would have fallen by the same amount, 50%? If so we would have another 10% to go on the high end, and how is the Fed going to reconcile the 1.25Trillion pumped to the median-line without distorting the entire market?I don't know if this same scenario occurred during the great depression i.e. 25% of mortgages being under water, but this doesn't add up anyway I see it.

    Comments, corrections, welcomed. :)

    (Has anybody read this book. I am thinking about ordering.

    ‘This Time Is Different’

    “This Time Is Different” by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff (Princeton). Economists Rogoff and Reinhart have compiled an exotic array of data to document centuries of meltdowns. Wherever you open this landmark study, you’ll find proof that debt-fueled expansions have ended in financial ruin for 800 years. ")
  6. Houses will be sold for payment of back property taxes in the next two years.

    Take a look at the million dollar homes with $50K+ in property taxes. Present market may only fetch $500K but the taxes don't go down. Fire sales galore with many quick claim tax deeds on the horizon.
  7. Debtor's Dilemma: Pay the Mortgage or Walk Away
    In Down Real-Estate Market, Homeowners Are Deciding to Abandon Their Loan Obligations Even if They Can Afford the Payments


    PHOENIX -- Should I stay or should I go? That is the question more Americans are asking as the housing market continues to drag.

    In good times, it would have been unthinkable to stop paying the mortgage. But for Derek Figg, a 30-year-old software engineer, it now seems like the best option.

    Mr. Figg felt trapped in a home he bought two years ago in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe for $340,000. He still owes about $318,000 but figures the home's value has dropped to $230,000 or less. After agonizing over the pros and cons, he decided recently to stop making loan payments, even though he can afford them.

    Mr. Figg plans to rent an apartment nearby, saving about $700 a month.
    Strategic Defaults by State

    A growing number of people in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, where home prices have plunged, are considering what is known as a "strategic default," walking away from their mortgages not out of necessity but because they believe it is in their best financial interests.

    A standard mortgage-loan document reads, "I promise to pay" the amount borrowed plus interest, and some people say that promise should remain good even if it is no longer convenient.

    George Brenkert, a professor of business ethics at Georgetown University, says borrowers who can pay -- and weren't deceived by the lender about the nature of the loan -- have a moral responsibility to keep paying. It would be disastrous for the economy if Americans concluded they were free to walk away from such commitments, he says.
    Discuss the Ethics

    Developments: Is Walking Away FromYour Mortgage Immoral?

    Walking away isn't risk-free. A foreclosure stays on a consumer's credit record for seven years and can send a credit score (based on a scale of 300 to 850) plunging by as much as 160 points, according to Fair Isaac Corp., which provides tools for analyzing credit records. A lower credit score means auto and other loans are likely to come with much higher interest rates, and credit card issuers may charge more interest or refuse to issue a card.

    In addition, many states give lenders varying degrees of scope to seize bank deposits, cars or other assets of people who default on mortgages.

    Even so, in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreclosures, "it's going to be really difficult to prevent a cascade effect" as one strategic default emboldens others to take that drastic step, says Paola Sapienza, a professor of finance at Northwestern University. A study by researchers at Northwestern and the University of Chicago found that as many as one in four defaults may be strategic.

    Driving this phenomenon is the rising number of households that are deeply "under water," owing much more than the current value of their homes. First American CoreLogic, a real-estate information company, estimates that 5.3 million U.S. households have mortgage balances at least 20% higher than their homes' value, and 2.2 million of those households are at least 50% under water. The problem is concentrated in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada.

    Josh Cotner, who owns an insurance agency, says his mortgage balance is about $100,000 more than the market value of his home in Gilbert, Ariz. Mr. Cotner could rent a bigger home nearby for $600 a month, far below the $1,655 he now pays on his mortgage, home insurance and property tax. He says he recently stopped making mortgage payments because his lender wouldn't help him reduce the principal on his loan under a federal program in which he believes he is qualified to participate. Given the sometimes lengthy legal process of foreclosure, he may be able to stay in the home for at least another nine months without making any payments.

    Banks warn they may get tough with strategic defaulters by pursuing legal claims on a borrower's other assets. "We will try to reduce people's payments if they have a hardship," says Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. "But we have a financial responsibility to get people to pay what they owe if they can afford it."

    Steven Olson, a loan officer and roof installer in Roseville, Minn., defaulted in 2007 on a plot of land in Florida he had bought as an investment. "I thought I could move on with my life," he says. But the lender, RBC Bank, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada, sued him, seeking to make him pay more than $400,000 to the bank to cover its losses on the loan. Mr. Olson has hired a Florida lawyer, Roy Oppenheim, to resist the claim. An RBC spokesman declined to comment.
    [The Burning Questions]

    States where lenders generally can pursue such legal claims include Florida and Nevada but not California and Arizona, where laws generally prohibit lenders from pursuing other assets of mortgage borrowers. A new Nevada law will protect many borrowers from these judgments if they bought a home for their own use after Sept. 30, 2009.

    Another risk for defaulters is that banks could sell the rights to pursue claims to collection agencies or other firms, which could then dun the borrowers for up to 20 years after a foreclosure. Such threats appear to deter some borrowers. A recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond found that under-water borrowers were 20% more likely to default in a state where mortgage lenders can't pursue claims on other assets than in those where they can.
    Journal Community

    Brent White, an associate law professor at the University of Arizona who has written about this issue, says homeowners should make the decision on whether to keep paying based on their own interests, "unclouded by unnecessary guilt or shame." He says borrowers can take a cue from lenders that "ruthlessly seek to maximize profits or minimize losses irrespective of concerns of morality or social responsibility."

    But it isn't just a matter of the borrower's personal interest, says John Courson, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade group. Defaults hurt neighborhoods by lowering property values, he says, adding: "What about the message they will send to their family and their kids and their friends?"
    From the Archives

    In Mesa, another suburb of Phoenix, low prices are helping to draw buyers who may walk away from other homes. Christina Delapp bought a house out of foreclosure in July for $49,000 in cash. She says she will stop paying the mortgage on another home she still owns in Tempe if she can't sell in the next few months for more than the $312,000 that she owes.

    Ms. Delapp, who has been jobless for 18 months, says that the new home is part of her survival strategy. "I feel very fortunate," she says. "Regardless of what happens to my credit, we've managed to put together the best safety plan that I possibly could."

    Mr. Figg says that deciding to default on his loan was "the toughest decision I ever made." He worried that if he ever loses his job he would be marooned in a home that he couldn't sell for enough to pay off his loan, limiting his ability to find work in other parts of the country: "I couldn't move up. I couldn't move down. I couldn't move out of the city. It was a very claustrophobic situation."

    By moving to an apartment, Mr. Figg expects to lower his costs by about $700 a month. He plans to put that into his savings account and says he is willing to rent for the next five years or so.

    Lenders are guilty of having "manipulated" the housing market during the boom by accepting dubious appraisals, Mr. Figg says. "When I weighed everything," he says, "I was able to sleep at night."

    Write to James R. Hagerty at and Nick Timiraos at