Open Bidding/Transparency Live!

Welcome! My friends at Business Insider publicized the open bidding event today:

We listed this 1,541 sf house on November 2nd for $399,000, based on these model-match sales:

$360,000 – July, 2012

$350,000 – August, 2012

$380,000 – September, 2012

$390,000 – September, 2012

$399,000 – October, 2012 (short sale in progress)

We had five bidders, and ran the sales price up to $411,500 using this open-bidding process.

For those new to bubbleinfo, here is the full video:

The 2,007sf house right next door closed for $350,000 a month ago, on a fraudulent short sale. The buyers of that home strategically defaulted on their old home three years ago, and now got back in the game, thanks to FHA. But I got our appraisal to come in at $411,500!

Container Condo

The first U.S. multi-family condo built of used shipping containers is slated to break ground in Detroit early next year.

Strong, durable and portable, shipping containers stack easily and link together like Legos. About 25 million of these 20-by-40 feet multicolored boxes move through U.S. container ports a year, hauling children’s toys, flat-screen TVs, computers, car parts, sneakers and sweaters.

But so much travel takes its toll, and eventually the containers wear out and are retired. That’s when architects and designers, especially those with a “green” bent, step in to turn these cast-off boxes into student housing in Amsterdam, artists’ studios, emergency shelters, health clinics, office buildings.

Despite an oft-reported glut of unused cargo containers lying idle around U.S. ports and ship yards – estimates have ranged from 700,000 to 2 million – the Intermodal Steel Building Units and Container Homes Association puts the number closer to 12,000, including what’s sold on Craigslist and eBay.

Joel Egan, co-founder of HyBrid Architecture in Seattle, which has built cottages and office buildings from shipping containers for close to a decade and coined the term “cargotecture” to describe this method of construction, warns that although containers can be bought for as little as $2,500, they shouldn’t be seen as a low-cost housing solution.

See more examples here:–abc-news-topstories.html

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this along!

More Optimism

During a roundtable discussion with Bloomberg’s Mark Crumpton, housing market analysts, chief executive officer David Stevens of the Mortgage Bankers Association, CEO Jerry Howard of the National Association of Home Builders, CEO Michael Feder of Radar Logic and senior U.S. economist Michelle Meyer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch weighed in with their thoughts on how the housing market and the improvements made during its recovery.

While the majority of analysts were optimistic given the latest drop in refinances, increase of home purchases and composite price peaks, Feder quick to point out that the devil is in the details.

In the Bloomberg clip, particularly at 3:58, Crumpton ask Feder if it’s a matter of where the housing market has come from compared to where it still needs to go.

The economy could end up in a “sawtooth kind of year,” answered Feder.

He added, “Any significant improvement in prices brings out more of the pent up inventory for sale and that inventory has a dampening effect on those prices. Any significant weakness in prices brings in the REO and [single-family rental] investors, the hedge funds and private capital that are buying houses for conversion and that puts a little bit of a floor. But that may lead into a little bit of a band, which essentially doesn’t go up very much and doesn’t go down very much.”

So in layman’s terms what does Feder’s answer mean?

While the housing industry reflects for the first time in a very long time that improvements are being made and 2013 is shaping out to be the year for the market, there are loads of risks still in play.

The fiscal cliff and the housing market seem to go hand-in-hand. So when Crumpton asked the panel what effects a ‘potential recession’ would have on the market, the analysts reached a similar consensus.

Take a look at the clip during 7:05.

As long as there’s no ‘unusual shocks’ to the system then the housing market will continue to thrive.

But the elephant in the room remains, can the economy truly expect the system to run smoothly? Only time will tell.

Flood of New Listings?

What could slow down rising prices?

It depends on the inventory.  We’ve been seeing a late-season surge in sales over the last couple of months, but has that caused more sellers to jump in?  Nope, new listings have remained throttled. 

Here is how this year’s combined October/November period compares with recent history.  There are fewer new listings coming on the market, yet sales are soaring – 33% more than last year, and we still have a couple of days left:

The most obvious thing that could slow down pricing is a tsunami of new listings hitting the market early next year, which would cause buyers to pause.  And it would take a huge flood, because the current frenzied conditions would be able to handle a surge, especially if they were well-priced.

But won’t sellers get greedy and try to milk it for an extra 10% or so? Most definitely.

If sellers are motivated enough, we’ll find a gradual sorting out of pricing as buyers grab the higher-quality buys first.  It will be an orderly marketplace, with the OPTs coming to their senses as the spring selling season transpires.

The market will handle over-priced listings as needed – and we’ll see if buyers blink first.  If so, prices will be on the run.  If buyers are cautious, it just means sales will be delayed until sellers lower their price.

For the pricing momentum to slow, it will take a flood of new listings, and that isn’t happening yet.  We have averaged 903 new 4Q listings for the last three years, and we’re only at 62% of that so far this year heading into December.

Banks are done foreclosing, short-sellers are tempted to wait, and those with equity look to be fairly comfortable.  Pricexs haven’t gone up enough for most sellers to change their mind yet, so it appears that we’re in for more of the same in 2013 – tight inventory, and frustrated buyers.

New on SM Hilltop

Everybody is pushing it.

Not only are these guys selling new 3,700sf houses with ocean views in the low-$900,000s in SEH, bnt the seller of the contiguous parcel (that this builder hopes to purchase) has raised his price too!

Short-Sale Babble

Realtors fawning all over themselves – from the dt:

Short sales remain the better choice over foreclosures for both banks and homeowners, and local real estate experts believe the number will continue to increase, unless the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is not extended.

“I think the government truly understands that there’s a need to have people in short sales rather than foreclose,” said Sean Mayer, principal at Legacy Real Estate Ventures. “The impending onslaught of properties coming onto the market — I don’t think that’s going to happen. They’ve just worked much, much, much too hard to stabilize housing prices to flood it once again. That’s why I think short sales are really going to be a huge proponent for the future.”

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released new guidelines that help to streamline the short-sale process and allow homeowners with a mortgage through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to sell their homes through a short sale even if they are current on their mortgage, according to FHFA guidelines, which went into effect on Nov. 1.


Peak Pricing Coming to CV

There have already been a smattering of CV sales at or above peak pricing, and I said today that within two years the 92130 detached-home sales will be at or above 2006 prices:

Sept 2006: 32 sales, $370/sf.

Sept 2012: 43 sales, $326/sf.

Statistically, we’re only 13% apart in the numbers above, and we could make that up by the end of next summer. When the inferior homes are gaining steam that it really becomes apparently that prices are on the move.  True, the house featured in today’s video hasn’t sold yet, but with only 22 resales listed under $1,000,000, it stands a decent chance of selling.

Shiller’s Ivory-Tower View: Risky

Here’s Shiller being his normal conservative self, saying that we will see a lot more underwater homeowners defaulting, and those foreclosures leading to additional inventory of unsold homes. But did say that his futures index is expecting a 3% annual price increase nationally for each of the next four years:

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