National Prices Not Rebounding

Hat tip to MG for sending this along, from HW:

Home prices double-dipped in April, dropping 0.7% below the previous low in March 2009, according to analytics firm Clear Capital.

Prices first reached a new low in California in March. But in April national prices fell 5% below levels measured one year ago and decreased 4.9% from the previous three months. National home prices sank 11.5% over the previous nine-month period, a decline not seen since 2008, Clear Capital said.

“Markets have entered uncharted territory,” Clear Capital said.

Every major metropolitan statistical area showed a drop from the previous three months. While spring brings hope of a traditional turnaround, this will be the first homebuying season spent without the homebuyer tax credit since 2008.

The major hurdle is the amount of distressed property on the market. REO sales account for 34.5% of overall activity nationwide after declining to nearly 20% in the middle of 2010, according to Clear Capital. This same pattern surfaced in 2008, when REO saturation grew from 20% to 32% by the end of the year.

“The latest data through April shows a continued increase in the proportion of distressed sales that are taking hold in markets nationwide,” said Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “With more than one-third of national home sales being REO, market prices are being weighed down as many markets have not regained enough footing to withstand the strain of the high proportion of REO sales.”

Clear Capital looked at the home prices trends in 2008 and found similar patterns in 2011. But the stimulus quickly reversed the movement in 2008. Home prices, as of April, are down 25% since the 2008 period. Unlike the last downward push, this one heads into the buying season, which could push prices higher, Clear Capital said. And the market faces many challenges that can only be solved through more sales.

“In light of the compounding effects of winter’s seasonal slowdown and increased distressed sale activity, the market now faces the true test of whether prices can rebound in the historically active spring season,” Villacorta said.

from Clear Capital’s website, through March, 2011:

Foreclosure Endurance

From Diana at cnbc.com:

For the first time in years, a guy who quantifies the foreclosure crisis got to report some good news.  Kyle Lundstedt’s colleagues at LPS Applied Analytics call him Dr. Doom, as he calculates all the numbers for the monthly Mortgage Monitor Report.

But this month he got to report a drop in mortgage delinquencies, down more than 11 percent month-over month, to the lowest level since 2008.

“We’re starting to see that there are a lot of folks who are still hanging in there,” says Lundstedt. “The population is a better credit quality population.”

The subprimes, Alt-A’s, the bad lending of the housing boom, have largely moved through the system already, not to mention that big banks and servicers are getting far more aggressive with loan modifications. One quarter of the loans that were more than 90 days delinquent last year are now current. That’s not to say they will all stay current, but that’s a good sign.

Unfortunately, that’s all Dr. Doom could muster on the bright side: “It’s progress; it’s not game-changing.”  That’s because the foreclosure pipeline, that is loans 90+ days delinquent or in the foreclosure process, is enormous.

Foreclosure inventory is at a new all-time high. There are so many loans still waiting to go into foreclosure…in fact the total number of loans 90+ delinquent is 45 times the size of the current monthly foreclosure sale number. 45 times!

Change in Psychology?

From the U-T:

Larry Summers, one-time director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, believes the economy is recovering, albeit not as fast in some areas as desired, but enough to forestall a double dip.

“There is no longer any talk of a depression,” he told journalists at a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy seminar in Cambridge, Mass., over the weekend. “Now, there’s very little talk of a double dip.”

He pointed out that the economy has grown for seven straight quarters and the unemployment rate has fallen.

“The stock market has had the best two-year run since the beginning of the 20th century,” he said.  He also said corporate profits are best in any two-year period since World War II.

But he acknowledged things are not improving fast enough.

“To be sure, we have a huge concern that the recovery is not nearly as rapid as we would like,” he said. “The housing sector remains extraordinarily weak. The nation’s long-term debt situation is not where it should be. There have been major steps in financial regulation but we can’t be certain we will avoid another financial crisis.

“But the catastrophe that could have been averted has been averted , and I think it has been averted with a combination of the right diagnosis, determined effort to act on that diagnosis, a good deal of luck and an important change in psychology.”

Summers, who served in the administration from 2009 until early this year, returned to Harvard as president emeritus. He was Treasury secretary under former President Bill Clinton and chief economist of the World Bank.

San Diego Underwaters

From sddt.com (SDCo. homes that have no mortgage = 20%):

Nearly one in three mortgage holders in San Diego owe more than the value of their home, according to a CoreLogic report.

Of residential properties with a mortgage in San Diego County, 29.2 percent, or 173,139, were in negative equity at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, the report said.

Negative equity in the county fell from 29.5 percent at the end of the third quarter.  An additional 5 percent, or 29,450 homes, were in near-negative equity, defined as 5 percent equity or less.

Together, mortgages with 5 percent equity or less accounted for 34.5 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the county.

While the percent of San Diego mortgages in negative equity declined on a quarter-to-quarter basis, the percent of homes in near-negative equity increased from 4.8 percent to 5 percent during the same period.

This suggests that the decrease in negative equity came from the foreclosure of underwater mortgages, rather than price increases pushing borrowers above water.

Nationally, negative equity increased in the fourth quarter to 11.1 million, or 23.1 percent of all homes with a mortgage, from 22.5 percent in the third quarter.

Prices declined in the last quarter of the year, leading to lower home values and an increase in the rate of negative equity.

An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than 5 percent equity nationwide, bringing the total of negative equity and near-negative equity mortgages across the country to 27.9 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage.

“Negative equity holds millions of borrowers captive in their homes, unable to move or sell their properties,” said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic chief economist. “Until the high level of negative equity begins to recede, the housing and mortgage finance markets will remain very sluggish.”

Of those mortgages in near-negative equity or negative equity nationwide, nearly 10 percent had negative equity of 25 percent or more; California had the third largest share of these severe negative-equity mortgages, with nearly 20 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage.

CoreLogic used public record data to calculate its mortgage debt outstanding, which includes first mortgage liens and junior mortgage liens and is adjusted for amortization and home equity utilization.

The Santa Ana-based company estimated the current value of homes using its proprietary automated valuation models.

SD Case-Shiller, November

The Case-Shiller November index showed more negativity overall, to the delight of the mainstream media.  Calls for the double dip will escalate, and soon the government will think they need to intervene.  Hopefully they’ll keep their hands in their pockets, and not ours. 

From the C-S press release:

“With these numbers more analysts will be calling for a double-dip in home prices. Let’s take a moment to define a double-dip as seeing the 10- and 20-City Composites set new post-peak lows. The series are now only 4.8% and 3.3% above their April 2009 lows, suggesting that a double-dip could be confirmed before Spring. Certainly eight cities setting new lows, and with the only positive news concentrated in southern California and Washington DC, the data point to weakness in home prices,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “With an annual growth rate of +3.5% in November, Washington DC was the strongest market, but still well below the +7.7% annual rate of growth seen in May 2010. The only city with a gain in November was San Diego, up a scant 0.1%. While San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco are still ahead from November 2009, their annual rates are shrinking in recent months.

Here is the San Diego Case-Shiller Index history:


The idea of lower pricing will cause more people to consider looking to buy a home, but what will they think when they see over-priced turkeys (OPTs) everywhere they go?  What will home-lookers do when they realize the disconnect between media reports, and the reality on the street?  Commit to spending inordinate amounts of time and energy searching for the needle in the haystack, or give up?

When they can buying anything else they need within minutes, it’s hard to imagine them devoting the time to dig for the deals.  But will they just pay the price?


December Distressed Sales

There is more hub-bub at cnbc about December being full of distressed sales.

NAR had reported that 36% of December sales nationally were REOs and short sales, and the new report from Campbell Surveys said 47%.

How about North San Diego County Coastal?

December Detached Sales and Price-per-SF:

Type 2009 2010
REO 25/$295 18/$320
SS 17/$267 19/$315
Reg. 197/$428 167/$400
Totals 239/$403 204/$385

No change year-over-year in NSDCC – an identical 18% of December sales were distressed.

Overall, the YOY sales were down 15%, and pricing down 4%, but when you look around, or talk to some of these listing agents, you’d think it was 2005 all over again!

December Detached Sales ’08-’10

Cramer got fired up about the national spike in December sales, but locally the sales were slightly cooler last month than in 2009. Let’s note than in 2009 there was a tax credit in play, but for the higher-end communities I don’t think it had much impact.

Most of Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Bernardo, RP, Carmel Valley, and Scripps Ranch’s numbers look fairly steady, and Rancho Santa Fe was the most interesting. Check the 3-year December trend for your area below:

December Detached Sales/Price-Per-SF

Town Zip Dec ’08 Dec ’09 Dec ’10
Cardiff 92007 2/$288 9/$498 5/$498
Carlsbad NW 92008 10/$300 12/$327 13/$270
Carlsbad SE 92009 28/$260 43/$245 34/$254
Carlsbad NE 92010 4/$231 10/$228 15/$240
Carlsbad SW 92011 16/$298 18/$299 17/$296
Del Mar 92014 3/$558 16/$873 9/$740
Encinitas 92024 17/$365 31/$406 27/$444
La Jolla 92037 14/$684 29/$618 24/$563
W. O-side 92054 18/$254 26/$278 19/$260
Poway 92064 29/$290 18/$293 38/$252
RSF 67+91 11/$664 12/$374 20/$422
Solana Bch 92075 7/$534 12/$446 8/$497
S. San Mrcs 92078 28/$201 39/$201 37/$193
West RB 92127 38/$265 40/$264 31/$271
East RB 92128 18/$254 45/$278 37/$270
RP 92129 19/$265 36/$275 33/$265
Carmel Vly 92130 20/$346 47/$331 32/$337
Scripps Rch 92131 12/$270 32/$277 32/$268
Total All Above 294/$317 475/$333 431/$316
Total All SD Co. 1,859/$219 2,082/$245 1,873/$240

San Diego 4Q Foreclosures

“There has been an effective moratorium on foreclosure,” said Roubini.

Around here it looks like the servicers got back on their horse pretty quick:

San Diego County Trustee-Sale Results, Weekly

“The shadow inventory of not-yet-foreclosed homes—due to the moratorium—will surge in the next year,” Roubini says.

Don’t they say that every year? I think the servicers will keep dripping them out little by little. There is no pressure on them to hurry up, and nobody thinks that adding more supply would help the situation. Well, almost nobody.

NSDCC Sales and Pricing

The detached sales in North San Diego County Coastal have been holding up pretty well in 4Q10.

The 4Q09 sales were somewhat enhanced by the tax credit, yet the last two months aren’t too far behind.  This quarter should only end up about 10% lower than the 4Q09 total of 642 sales.

In the peak 2005-2007 era, the pricing for most months was range-bound between $450 to $500/sf, so we’re about 20-25% lower now.  It looks pretty steady too –  we would need a surge of well-priced inventory to create frenzy, and push pricing higher:

I tacked on 10% to December, 2010’s total to adjust for tomorrow’s closings, and late-reporters.  Currently there are 1,261 active listings whose list prices are averaging $619/sf, and have been on the market for an average of 131 days.

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