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Ten Reasons It's A Terrible Time To Buy An Expensive House


By Patrick   Follow   Sat, 11 Jul 2015, 12:58pm PDT   23,014 views   22 comments
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  1. Because house prices are in expensive areas still dangerously high compared
    to incomes and rents. Banks say a safe mortgage is a maximum of 3 times
    the buyer's annual income with a 20% downpayment. Landlords say a safe price is
    set by the rental market; annual rent should be at least 9% of the purchase
    price, or else the price is just too high. Yet in affluent areas, both
    those safety rules are still being violated. Buyers are still borrowing 6 times
    their income with tiny downpayments, and gross rents are still only 3% of
    purchase price. Renting is a cash business
    that proves what people can really pay based on their salary, not how much they
    can borrow. Salaries and rents prove that affluent neighborhoods are still in a
    huge housing bubble, and that bubble seems to be getting more dangerous by the day.
  2. On the other hand, in some poor neighborhoods, prices are now so low that gross
    rents may exceed 10% of price. Housing is a bargain for buyers there. Prices there
    could still fall yet more if unemployment rises or interest rates go up, but
    those neighborhoods have no bubble anymore.

  3. Because it's usually still much cheaper to rent than to own the same size
    and quality house, in the same school district. In rich neighborhoods, annual rents are
    typically only 3% of purchase price while mortgage rates are 4% with fees, so it costs more
    to borrow the money as it does to borrow the house
    . Renters win and
    owners lose! Worse, total owner costs including taxes, maintenance, and
    insurance come to about 8% of purchase price, which is more than twice the cost of
    renting and wipes out any income tax benefit.

    The only true sign of a bottom is a price low enough so that you could rent out
    the house and make a profit. Then you'll know it's pretty safe to buy for
    yourself because then rent could cover the mortgage and ownership expenses if
    necessary, eliminating most of your risk. The basic buying safety rule is to
    divide annual rent by the purchase price for the house:

    annual rent / purchase price = 3% means do not buy, prices are too high

    annual rent / purchase price = 6% means borderline

    annual rent / purchase price = 9% means ok to buy, prices are reasonable

    So for example, it's borderline to pay $200,000 for a house that would cost you
    $1,000 per month to rent. That's $12,000 per year in rent. If you buy it with a
    6% mortgage, that's $12,000 per year in interest instead, so it works out about
    the same. Owners can pay interest with pre-tax money, but that benefit gets
    wiped out by the eternal debts of repairs and property tax, equalizing things.
    It is foolish to pay $400,000 for that same house, because renting it would
    cost only half as much per year, and renters are completely safe from falling
    housing prices. Subtract HOA from rent before doing the calculation for condos.

    Although there is no way to be sure that rents won't fall, comparing the local
    employment rate (demand) to the current local supply of available homes for
    rent or sale (supply) should help you figure out whether a big fall in rents
    could happen. Checking these factors minimizizes your risk.

  4. Because it's a terrible time to buy when interest rates are low, like now.
    House prices rose as interest rates fell, and house prices will fall if interest rates rise
    without a strong increase in jobs, because a fixed monthly payment covers a
    smaller mortgage at a higher interest rate. Since interest rates have nowhere to
    go but up, prices have nowhere to go but down. When housing falls, you lose your
    equity, but not your debt.

    The way to win the game is to
    have cash on hand to buy outright at a low price when others cannot
    borrow very much because of high interest rates. Then you get a low price, and
    you get capital appreciation caused by future interest rate declines. To buy an
    expensive house at a time of low interest rates and high prices like now is a mistake.

    It is far better to pay a low price with a high interest rate than a
    high price with a low interest rate, even if the mortgage payment is the same
    either way.

    • A low price lets you pay it all off instead of being a debt-slave for the rest of your life.
    • As interest rates fall, real estate prices generally rise.
    • Your property taxes will be lower with a low purchase price.
    • Paying a high price now may trap you "under water", meaning you'll have a
      mortgage debt larger than the value of the house. Then you will not be able to
      refinance because then you'll have no equity, and will not be able to sell without
      a loss. Even if you get a long-term fixed rate mortgage, when rates
      inevitably go up the value of your property will go down. Paying a low
      price minimizes your damage.
    • You can refinance when you buy at a higher interest rate and rates
      fall, but current buyers will never be able to refinance for a lower interest rate
      in the future. Rates are already as low as they can go.
  5. Because buyers already borrowed too much money and cannot pay it back. They
    spent it on houses that are now worth less than the loans. This means most banks
    are still actually bankrupt. But since the banks have friends in Washington, they get
    special treatment that you do not. The Federal Reserve prints up bales of new
    money to buy worthless mortgages from irresponsible banks, slowing
    down the buyer-friendly deflation in housing prices and socializing bank losses.

    The Fed exists to protect big banks from the free market, at your expense.
    Banks get to keep any profits they make, but bank losses just get passed on to
    you as extra cost added on to the price of a house, when the Fed prints up money
    and buys their bad mortgages. If the Fed did not prevent the free market from
    working, you would be able to buy a house much more cheaply.

    As if that were not enough corruption, Congress authorized vast amounts of TARP
    bailout cash taken from taxpayers to be loaned directly to the worst-run
    banks, those that already gambled on mortgages and lost. The Fed and Congress
    are letting the banks "extend and pretend" that their mortgage loans will get
    paid back.

    And of course the banks can simply sell millions of bad loans
    to Fannie and Freddie at full price, putting taxpayers on the hook for
    the banks' gambling losses. Heads they win, tails you lose.

    It is necessary that YOU be forced deeply into debt, and therefore forced into
    slavery, for the banks to make a profit. If you pay a low price for a house and
    manage to avoid debt, the banks lose control over you. Unacceptable to them.
    It's all a filthy battle for control over your labor.

    This is why you will
    never hear the president or anyone else in power say that we need lower house
    prices
    . They always talk about "affordability" but what they always mean is
    debt-slavery.

  6. Because buyers used too much leverage. Leverage means using debt to amplify
    gain. Most people forget that debt amplifies losses as well. If a buyer puts 10%
    down and the house goes down 10%, he has lost 100% of his money on paper. If he
    has to sell due to job loss or a mortgage rate adjustment, he lost 100% in the
    real world.

    The simple fact is that the renter - if willing and able to save his money -
    can buy a house outright in half the time that a conventional buyer can
    pay off a mortgage. Interest generally accounts for more than half of the cost
    of a house. The saver/renter not only pays no interest, he also gets interest
    on his savings, even if just a little. Leveraged housing appreciation, usually
    presented as the "secret" to wealth, cannot be counted on, and can just as
    easily work against the buyer. In fact, that leverage is the danger that got
    current buyers into trouble.

    The higher-end housing market is now set up for a huge crash in prices, since there
    is no more fake paper equity from the sale of a previously overvalued property
    and because the market for securitized jumbo loans is dead. Without that fake
    equity, most people don't have the money needed for a down payment on an
    expensive house. It takes a very long time indeed to save up for a 20%
    downpayment when you're still making mortgage payments on an underwater house.

    It's worse than that. House prices do not even have to fall to cause
    big losses. The cost of selling a house is kept unfairly high because of the RealtorĀ® lobby's
    corruption of US legislators.
    On a $300,000 house, 6% is $18,000 lost even if housing
    prices just stay flat. So a 4% decline in housing prices bankrupts all those
    with 10% equity or less.

  7. Because the housing bubble was not driven by supply and demand. There
    is huge supply because of overbuilding, and there is less demand now that the
    baby boomers are retiring and selling. Prices in the housing market, even now, are
    entirely a function of how much the banks are willing and able to lend. Most
    people will borrow as much as they possibly can, amounts that are completely
    disconnected from their salaries or from the rental value of the property. Banks
    have been willing to accomodate crazy borrowers because banker
    control of the US government
    means that banks do not yet have to acknowledge
    their losses, or can push losses onto taxpayers through government housing
    agencies like the FHA.
  8. Because there is still a massive backlog of latent foreclosures.
    Millions of owners stopped paying their mortgages, and the banks
    are still not forclosing on all of them, letting the owner live in the house for free. If a
    bank forecloses and takes possession of a house, that means the bank is
    responsible for property taxes and maintenance. Banks don't like those costs. If
    a bank then sells the foreclosure at current prices, the bank has to admit a
    loss on the loan. Banks like that cost even less. So there is a tsunami of
    foreclosures on the way that the banks are ignoring, for now. To prevent a
    justified foreclosure is also to prevent a deserving family from buying that
    house at a low price. Right now, those foreclosures will wash over the landscape,
    decimating prices, and benefitting millions of families which will be able to
    buy a house without a suicidal level of debt, and maybe without any debt at
    all!
  9. Because first-time buyers have all been ruthlessly exploited and the
    supply of new victims is very low.
    From The Herald:
    "We were all corrupted by the housing boom, to some extent.
    People talked endlessly about how their houses were earning more than they did,
    never asking where all this free money was coming from. Well the truth is that
    it was being stolen from the next generation. Houses price increases don't
    produce wealth, they merely transfer it from the young to the old - from
    the coming generation of families who have to burden themselves with colossal
    debts if they want to own, to the baby boomers who are about to retire
    and live on the cash they make when they downsize."

    House price inflation has been very unfair to new families, especially those with
    children. It is foolish for them to buy at current high prices, yet government
    leaders never talk about how lower house prices are good for American
    families, instead preferring to sacrifice the young and poor to benefit the old
    and rich
    , and to make sure bankers have plenty of debt to earn interest on.
    Your debt is their wealth. Every "affordability" program drives prices
    higher by pushing buyers deeper into debt. Increased debt is not affordability,
    it's just pushing the reckoning into the future. To really help Americans,
    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the FHA should be completely eliminated. Even
    more important is eliminating the mortgage-interest deduction, which costs the
    government $400 billion per year in tax revenue. The mortgage interest
    deduction directly harms all buyers
    by keeping prices higher than they
    would otherwise be, costing buyers more in extra purchase cost than they save
    on taxes. The $8,000 buyer tax credit cost each buyer in Massachusetts an extra
    $39,000
    in purchase price. Subsidies just make the subsidized item more
    expensive. Buyers should be
    rioting in the streets, demanding an end to all mortgage subsidies. Canada and Australia
    have no mortgage-interest deduction for owner-occupied housing. It can be done.

    The government pretends to be interested in affordable housing, but now that
    housing is becoming truly affordable via falling prices, they want to stop it?
    Their actions speak louder than their words.

  10. Because boomers are retiring. There are 70 million Americans born between
    1945-1960. One-third have zero retirement savings. The oldest are 66. The
    only money they have is equity in a house, so they must sell. This will add yet
    another flood of houses to the market, driving prices down even more.
  11. Because there is a huge glut of empty new houses. Builders are being forced
    to drop prices even faster than owners, because builders must sell to keep
    their business going. They need the money now. Builders have huge excess
    inventory that they cannot sell at current prices, and more houses are
    completed each day, making the housing slump worse.

Next Page: Eight groups who lie about the housing market




The Housing Trap


You're being set up to spend your life paying off a debt you don't need to take
on, for a house that costs far more than it should. The conspirators are all
around you, smiling to lure you in, carefully choosing their words and watching
your reactions as they push your buttons, anxiously waiting for the moment when
you sign the papers that will trap you and guarantee their payoff. Don't be
just another victim of the housing market. Use this book to defend your freedom
and defeat their schemes. You can win the game, but first you have to learn how
to play it.

115 pages, $12.50

Kindle version available

Discuss the book

Comments 1-22 of 22     Last »

Patrick   Sat, 11 Jul 2015, 1:29pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 1

The post that made this site famous is now a regular forum post, not a separate html page.

HEY YOU   Sat, 11 Jul 2015, 10:04pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 2

Those that can't afford an expensive house could always overpay for a POS & think they have joined the elite snobs.

LikeAMachine   Tue, 14 Jul 2015, 12:09pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 3

This is probably the best article I've ever read on this topic. Thanks

KgK one   Tue, 14 Jul 2015, 1:48pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 4

Bought triplex each with 2 br/1 bath / kit/liv. 2400 sq ft for 220,000. rent is 2700 /month. Since its 30 yrs old, expecting some repairs. Good deal, any suggestion on good site for landlord. ? Mentally I feel elite now that I am land lord LOL. Eventhought i still have less $$ for now.

K2   Wed, 15 Jul 2015, 10:35pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 5

Excellent point about how you can lose your down payment when there is a deline in housing prices. Good information. I saved this one to refer back to again. Some articles are useless. Lots of useful information.

Buster69   Thu, 23 Jul 2015, 12:33am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 6

I think people just need to learn to be patient and watch these overpriced homes loose their equity go down the toilet. People are selling their home at overpriced value so they can get out of their underwater mortgage. And basically they need to find someone else to take there place in order to get out. So, by you paying that much overpriced just because you think houses will never go down again, well guest what! You are the sucker for paying that much for a house. Just save your money and buy when you are comfortable with you monthly payment. Stop buying overpriced home that will force you to eat left over cause you could barely afford your mortgage.

Confused99   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 4:57am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 7

I need help. I believe what you say and feel this way but everyone is telling me to buy. Here's the thing though, I will never be able to save enough cash to buy a decent home all cash. I'm okay with coming out even or even moderate risk I just don't want to be a complete wash-over. Here's the numbers $430,000 house, $3.5% (15,000) about $2800 a month but that's with property taxes and FHA loan ins so maybe I'm only paying in less to the home. What would have to be my annual income to afford this?

marco   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 5:36am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike     Comment 8

Do housing prices go down when no water comes out of the taps ?

zzyzzx   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 6:44am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 9

marco says

Do housing prices go down when no water comes out of the taps ?

They go down when there are riots in your city. Yes I do live in Baltimore.

Strategist   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 6:50am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 10

zzyzzx says

marco says

Do housing prices go down when no water comes out of the taps ?

They go down when there are riots in your city. Yes I do live in Baltimore.

If they burnt down more homes, there would be a shortage, and prices would go up.
You guys just don't understand the benefits of rioting.

Call it Crazy   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 7:06am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 11

Strategist says

They go down when there are riots in your city. Yes I do live in Baltimore.

If they burnt down more homes, there would be a shortage, and prices would go up.

You guys just don't understand the benefits of rioting.

Exactly, just look at Detroit... It's a beaming light of housing capitalism!!!

Strategist   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 7:21am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 12

Call it Crazy says

If they burnt down more homes, there would be a shortage, and prices would go up.


You guys just don't understand the benefits of rioting.

Exactly, just look at Detroit... It's a beaming light of housing capitalism!!!

Unions, Call Crazy, unions. Where you have unions, you don't need rioters.

debyne   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 7:23am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (2)     Comment 13

marco says

Do housing prices go down when no water comes out of the taps ?

Housing goes down when people are having anal sex. I've seen it happen in my neighborhood.

zzyzzx   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 10:58am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 14

Strategist says

If they burnt down more homes, there would be a shortage, and prices would go up.

You guys just don't understand the benefits of rioting.

They were more interested in stealing drugs and toilet paper.

Vicente   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 11:02am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 15

It's crazy here in Davis right now.

DUMPS selling for north of $500K because some friend heard they were selling it, never even reaching the listings.

A Chinese friend told me, that 50% of the sales are to Chinese parents who are willing to pay cash. They buy the house, their kids lives in it and goes to school, renting out the other rooms. When the kid graduates, they sell or keep running it as remote slumlords I guess.

Maddening as we are looking for a house. We see a nice house, a few days later it's gone.

jvolstad   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 12:32pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 16

But you are not a "Real Estate Professional." Talk to a Realtor. I'm sure the Realtor will tell you the truth.

bgamall4   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 3:25pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 17

My kid bought a fixer upper in a beach town in soCal. He said if you don't buy a tear down you will be screwed. My question, Patrick, is he screwed? Can't tell you the exact location, but tear downs are going for $1000 per square foot and they are the rage.

ChapulinColorado   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 8:45pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 18

Finally the reason why l liked this site to begin with, housing.

mell   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 9:08pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 19

Vicente says

It's crazy here in Davis right now.

DUMPS selling for north of $500K because some friend heard they wermay raise re selling it, never even reaching the listings.

A Chinese friend told me, that 50% of the sales are to Chinese parents who are willing to pay cash. They buy the house, their kids lives in it and goes to school, renting out the other rooms. When the kid graduates, they sell or keep running it as remote slumlords I guess.

Maddening as we are looking for a house. We see a nice house, a few days later it's gone.

Housing looks pretty toppy here, the short ETFs are showing a 6-month uptrend. Fed may finally raise rates and price acceleration is slowing significantly. If the market does not well the next months, prices may stagnate or reverse. Especially in a market where stocks in general retreat but the market is sustained by a few big outliers.

bgamall4   Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 10:15pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 20

Last time the stock market crashed, the money from the big insiders poured into the real estate market. That is what Jamie Dimon wants, another bubble. An easy money bubble.

jingz317   Sun, 26 Jul 2015, 10:04am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 21

interest rate is high at inflation and housing price is high. interest rate is low at deflation and housing price is low. so her point 3 is wrong.

AG   Mon, 27 Jul 2015, 5:59am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 22

why are you mixing housing with xx ? we can't recommend your site if we can't be sure of the topic.

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