The folks at like to poll their audience, and last month they used a blog post in one of their surveys.  Their readers voted on this question:

Is the increase in real estate value a sustainable trend?  Home prices have increased substantially in the last year compared to the previous seven years.  Is the increase a sustainable trend, or just a miniature housing bubble?!/poll/773

Chris says 55% of respondents believed another crash was going to come, with more Republicans strongly believing in a crash.

Those who voted for another crash may have been influenced by the opposing blog post to mine, which talked about the millenials facing a weak job market, and shrunken workforce in general.

This was his summary paragraph:

With investors fleeing the real estate market because of higher interest rates, with fewer people working and those that are working are earning and saving less, who is going to be able to buy houses in sufficient volumes to keep the real estate “recovery” going? It doesn’t matter how low interest rates are if people don’t have the incomes, savings or credit to buy homes. Rising interest rates can only make a bad situation worse.

My rebuttal, which, like my blog post, pertains to our local market:

  • Investors fleeing?  Supply evidence please, or is that just a guess?  I still get emailed every day by investment groups wanting me to send them deals.  If there are fewer investors buying, it’s because there are fewer deals, which would mean prices are holding up or going higher – too high to make sense for flippers.  Investors are supplying the floor to the market.
  • Unemployment has been terrible, with little or no improvement in the last few years – yet our real estate prices have gone up 20%.  Apparently, the local real estate market is NOT influenced by unemployment.
  • Savings or credit?  You can obtain an FHA loan up to $697,250 with 3.5% down payment and a FICO score as low as 580.  PacTrust Bank will give you a 30-year fixed rate around 5% even if you have had a short sale in the last year.  Most anyone can get a mortgage if they want it bad enough.

Even if it’s not as bad as he says, we keep hearing how ‘demand has been pulled forward’.  If so, it’s a good question – who will be the future buyers?

The future buyers will be the first-timers and others who want to finance their purchase, especially with a lower down payment, who have been shut out by the big-money investors and cash buyers in general.  This future-buyer pool will likely have a limit on their resources, so the appreciation trend will probably moderate, and prices will fluctuate from area to area.

But with a county population of 3.14 million people, we don’t need everyone in the pool – we only sold 3,466 homes in the county last month.  You could exclude 90% of the population from the market and we’d still have enough demand…at least until the baby-boomer liquidation sale starts around 2020.

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