While both the media and stock investors believe that housing has bottomed, they are unaware of the massive supply of homes that are already in the foreclosure process that will certainly drive home prices down even further when they are sold. We have been projecting a “W” shaped recovery for some time, and we are becoming even more convinced that we are right. The shape of the second leg down is almost completely dependent on the level of government intervention that will take place.
For a number of reasons, banks have not been aggressively taking title to homes and selling them, which has resulted in very few distressed sales in comparison to the actual level of distress in the market. This delay in REO sales, along with historically low mortgage rates and an $8,000 tax credit, has helped to stabilize the housing market – temporarily.
It is very clear that price stabilization is temporary unless something is done. Here are some facts to help project what housing will be like in 2010:
- 13.54% of the 44.7 million mortgages tracked by the Mortgage Bankers Association are delinquent.
- Applying the same percentage to the 11.2 million mortgages not tracked by the MBA (55.9 million total mortgages in the U.S.), 7.57 million homeowners are delinquent. That means that 10% of all homeowners in the country are delinquent.
- Based on historical trend analysis by Amherst Securities, 6.94 million homes that are already delinquent will be liquidated, which is more than a one year supply of distressed sales poised to hit the market sometime in 2010 and 2011. During Q1 2005, that figure was only 1.27 million.
- Defaults continue to grow at the rate of approximately 300,000 per month, assuring that the number of distressed sales will grow and will continue through 2012.
2009 Government Intervention
Government intervention to date has been helpful in preventing an even more dramatic decline in home prices. As shown in the chart above, housing demand has only fallen to “normal” levels and stabilized there. Without historically low mortgage rates, support for Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and FHA, and an $8,000 tax credit, how far would sales have fallen this year and what would that decline in demand have done to pricing?
Demand needs to continue to be stimulated to bring down supply, particularly while the country continues to lose jobs. Without continued government intervention, home prices will plummet, banks and the GSEs will continue to lose money, and the economy has virtually no chance of increasing overall employment in 2010.
What are your thoughts?