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Beating a Dead Horse

By SQT15   2006 Feb 21, 9:42am   12,444 views   102 comments   watch (0)   quote      

It's pretty clear most of us believe there is a bubble. It's also pretty clear that many believe the peak is behind us and we're now in the midst of what may be a very large, very drawn out decline.

So now what? Is there anything left to debate? Or are we all coming here out of habit?

And why are there still people out there who claim there is no bubble or decline? What's that all about?

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63   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 21, 6:22pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

the loan is backed by a solid collateral (the house).

We will see about that.

If the purpose of life is being in a house, by all means.

Spending so much in a shelter is horribly inefficient to me.

I never understood this fixed 1/3 ratio business.

I never understood this pay 150% more for the same thing business either.

64   StuckInBA     2006 Feb 21, 6:31pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I am saying this based on a very narrow sample - my social circle - mostly Asian immigrants. Except myself everyone "owns" their home. Based on this sample, I think there is more to BA bubble than double income families with more than 200K income.

Immigrant tech workers find this place highly desirable. Weather, job opportunities, immigrant friendly culture and very important - community support from their originating country. Most of these folks came after the last downturn, and when the tech boom was begining. They have not seen RE prices go down. Their friends own homes, and they encourage others to do the same. I cannot even count how many times people have tried to brainwash me into buying. It's a tremendous struggle to not give in to buying a home. Even my wife thinks I made a BIG mistake by not buying 4 years ago. I just couldn't bring myself to take on huge debt to buy a crappy house.

Even today, it's hard to find anyone around me who even entertains the possibility of RE prices going down. I know this is a contrarian indicator. But I have myself gone through many stages of self-doubt. There were times, when I thought I was dumb by not buying. It's only last month that I discovered these blogs, and was kind of relieved to find people with similar thoughts. (But I admit, many folks here have come to the same conclusion by being far more informed than me. I was just scared to take so much debt, have very little knwoeldge of economics).

So what's my point ? I think the bubble in this area would deflate far more slowly than any other area in the country. Most high tech workers are far more financially resourceful, and most high tech immigrants live well within their means. They are resilient and can survive a much bigger downturn than others.

Of course - this is based on the narrow sample of people I know very well.

65   AntiTroll from Oz     2006 Feb 21, 6:48pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

@Peter P

All this stuff about RE is a bit OT ?

Now what about beating that dead Horse ;)

Curious about your thoughts on the Iranian Oil Bourse.

It might not have a big impact as people might think.
Foreign countries will still have to use the US export dollars for something, why not oil?

66   HARM     2006 Feb 21, 6:56pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

@To BA Or Not To BA,

Beware of "It's different here because (fill-in-the-blank)" arguments and people who are convinced RE can *never* go down because they did not experience the last housing bear market (1990-1996), or the one before that. And as you say, you're circle of friends is a "very narrow sample" and one that is probably much above average in terms of income and education.

I could go into myriad reasons why it WON'T be different here (huge % of toxic loans, reflexivity, credit/consumption feedback loop, mean-reversion, price-rent ratios, etc.). I have been there before and frankly don't have the time to re-hash old material. I recommend that you spend some time persuing the archives --as a relative newcomer, you may find many of the answers to your questions there.

67   nomadtoons     2006 Feb 22, 12:12am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

As far as addressing the question at hand, I fervently think that the bubble is over, and the burst is now on. You can tell by the fact that the CL housing forum, long a housinghead flavored forum with few who wanted to admit that things were out of whack has changed it's tune from" there is no bubble" to:" How sticky will prices be on the way down?"
I think that the bubble burst is going to be bittersweet for many of us for years. I say this because frankly, even if those prices came down to say.. the 350k level, that would still be very expensive for those of us who aren't making 6 figure salaries. Me and my wife combined make 85k, which I think by national standards is terrific.But not enough for Ca.
The diffrence in housing prices this time around is that the prices went way out of the affordability bracket thanks in a large part to all that creative financing.In reality, this bubble has been about trying to get the prices back to a level that at least some people can afford, those people being the ones making 6 figure salaries. For the rest of us, we're at least hoping for a chance that if we too start making the money, then perhaps we will be able to afford.
The simple fact is that this boom ripped open a new seam and made it clear to everyone that CA essentially shut the doors on the working and middle classes while making a lot of people at the top very, very wealthy. I can't think of any other state, with exceptions being NY and MA of course, that have done more to erode what we would call the american dream, which is that if you work hard, work smart, and wise with your money, that you too can afford your own small piece of the pie.
So what am I doing? I'm still sticking to plan A, which was to wait for 3 years, hope that a burst would happen( which it luckily already has) and see if prices come down to a level we could afford. If not, then I am paying close attention to the many new areas of the country such as TX, TN, NC, and others that are rapidly developing and still provide what most americans want.

68   nomadtoons     2006 Feb 22, 12:30am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I just read some of the commentary above about the "quiet migration" out of CA, NY, etc and into Fl, NC, TX, NV, etc. First of all, as someone who came from TN, and still has all their family living there, I would call the migration anything but quite. By looking at the license plates from CA and NY last time I was in Nashville, you'd think the entire state of CA had gutted itself and dumped them here.
The news in Nashville is surprisingly upbeat. There are all kinds of groundbreakings on new facilities for manufactoring, research, and education. This is actually being due partially to TN state government,who has flown a number of senators, both present and former to NY, CA and others to talk to specific companies, offer them insane tax incentives, almost free real estate, and savings on things like electricity. They spend millions a year putting together ad campaigns for both companies and residents of their target states to show them " what it is like" to live here. TX is even more aggressive about doing this. I'm amazed that CA isn't really doing anything about it. All other states have to do is walk in, state the facts, which is that CA has the highest taxes in the country, the most expensive real estate, the highest employee cost, the strictest environmental laws, and on and on. TN even gave over 150,000 flashlights to Nissan in 2001 that said" the lights were on in TN" during the energy crisis.
It is stories like this that will continue, and the same reason that business, development, and progress will occur outside the CA border and in previously ignored, scoffed at states like the one I am from that will cause a massive hemoraging from this state.
But is this a good thing? Ask people back home and you'll get a mixed answer. These Californians go to the most expensive parts of the city, buy the biggest houses, and almost insulate themselves from the locals. They think 250k for a big house is cheap, when in fact for the locals these are pretty pricey. I could see such an influx of people adjusted to unusually expensive lifestyles causing the local balance to go out of whack. So who knows.. maybe the buuble will go away in CA, but re appear in these new areas.

69   Unalloyed     2006 Feb 22, 12:36am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I've been through the desert on a dead horse with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain.

70   lunarpark     2006 Feb 22, 12:53am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

"I am saying this based on a very narrow sample - my social circle - mostly Asian immigrants. Based on this sample, I think there is more to BA bubble than double income families with more than 200K income."

Based on my narrow sample of friends, they are highly leveraged, live above their means and are seriously stressed about losing their asses in this housing market. I guess we don't hang out with the same people. :)

71   Randy H     2006 Feb 22, 1:56am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    


I didn't mean to put down Schlitz; after all, what teenager in the MidWest didn't have many of Schlitzfaced nights? I was more likely to be at Wrigley drinking Leinenkugel, though. And as a teenager, Hudepohl was the swill of choice. I can still smell that distinctive skunk aroma just thinking about it now.

72   Randy H     2006 Feb 22, 2:07am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Percentage Population Growth, measured per GSP capita; scaled by US population growth per GDP capita (2000-2005), US Statistical Abstracts:

Nat'l Avg: 5.3%

Above Nat'l Avg. States we tend to discuss
CA: 6.7%
TX: 9.6%

Red Hot States:
NV: 20.8%
AZ: 15.8%
FL: 11.3%

Below Nat'l Avg. States (meaning losing GSP wealth comparatively):
TN: 4.8%
OH: 1.0%
DC: -3.8%
ND: -0.9%
and nearly all of the Midwest, Plains, and South, except GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, all of which are above avg about the same as CA.

73   lunarpark     2006 Feb 22, 2:12am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

“I just bought a place in Sacto and man did I get screwed”!

That would be a great bumper sticker!

74   Garth Farkley     2006 Feb 22, 2:16am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Peter P says,

So they knew when prices were going up. But we never know if prices will come down?

Anyone who bought RE in CA the last 5 yrs had to know that prices were already sky high. Prices here have never been tethered to reality.

No, "they" didn't know prices would go up. They took a risk. Like we all do every time we decide to buy, hold or sell.

The real question is, "what happens next?" The answer is one word: "you never know."

75   Randy H     2006 Feb 22, 2:21am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Aren't MACROs supposed to debut soon? We could use this forum to speculate on RE downside. This could be a nice way to pass the time during the long slide.

76   lunarpark     2006 Feb 22, 3:09am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

"Now I am stuck like you all"

Don't think of yourself as stuck. People with toxic mortgages are stuck. You are not.

77   inquiring mind     2006 Feb 22, 3:13am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

"Now I am stuck like you all, coming here daily reading the stats, checking out the charts…wasting an hour a day to go through all the links and posts and hoping for the prices to come down…"

Well, it's not like we all held a gun to your head and demanded that you not buy ;-) You obviously were compelled by what you saw here.

78   HARM     2006 Feb 22, 3:14am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    


Now I am stuck like you all, coming here daily reading the stats, checking out the charts…wasting an hour a day to go through all the links and posts and hoping for the prices to come down…

79   HARM     2006 Feb 22, 3:15am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    


(Don't know why the rest of this failed to post, but here's the rest:)

You make it sound like you're trapped or something. Shit, most of us who aren't already owners are pi$$ed that the Bubble has distorted the market beyond all reason, but I don't feel trapped or anything. The people who are TRAPPED are the ones who took on a $0-down option-ARM in summer 2005. Or the ones who re-fied out all their paper equity and blew the wad on a H2, European vacation, pergraniteel, etc. Those people are f@cked any way you look at it.

Heck, if you really want a 3 bed 2 bath 1600 sq feet in South San Jose (don't know what's so great about San Hosebag, but that's your preference), then why not RENT one? I'm sure you'll have no shortgae of f@cked flippers ready to let you move in for a song. That what all of us JBRs are doing --and loving it!

MoneySaver (aka HARM)

80   Randy H     2006 Feb 22, 3:31am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    


Are you or were you at PIMCO?

81   surfer-x     2006 Feb 22, 3:43am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    


Peter, I didn’t say there is no bubble. The point I am making is that the current average household income in the silicon valley can hold the bubble for much longer than what is being preached on this board.

Given your streets are paved with gold theory, why is the published median household income

82   surfer-x     2006 Feb 22, 3:44am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

is less than 70K? Could you put your considerable talent to use for me and examine why the state and federal goverments would publish numbers so vastly different from yours? I mean when I drive through the BA all the trash on the freeway not withstanding, to me it just looks like everyone is walking with tons of bling and driving low riding Escalades due to all the gold in the back.

83   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 4:05am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

“I am saying this based on a very narrow sample - my social circle - mostly Asian immigrants. Based on this sample, I think there is more to BA bubble than double income families with more than 200K income.”

Then why have there been more housing bubbles - and busts - in Asia?

Hong Kong, Japan, you name it.

In front of greed, there is no such thing as national origin.

84   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 4:05am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Dr.Strangelove, in that case greed is more universal than I thought.

85   HARM     2006 Feb 22, 4:05am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    


At least the chimps don't have to keep paying interest on the bananas after they're gone. ;-)

86   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 4:06am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

that its too irresistible to not come here every hour and read some posts.

Every hour? My F5 (Refresh) key needs replacement soon. ;)

87   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 4:09am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

You are right that 1M is affordable for $300K/year income. The question is whether that is wise? With that high an income, by saving and investing prudently, one can expect to get rid of the leash on one’s neck a lot sooner than others.

H.Z., Face Reality was claiming that a 300K couple can easily afford a 1.75M mortgage!

88   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 4:13am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

One observation is that people recognize the appeal of real estates but they fail to understand that the market have discounted information long ago.

89   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 4:14am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I’d much rather replace my F5 key than have dried, cracked hands from using paint thinner to clean them of the spray paint from PRICE REDUCED signs!

LOL :lol:

90   HARM     2006 Feb 22, 4:40am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Hey, DinOR,

Have you noticed all the PRICE REDUCED signs around lately? No particular reason, Just curious... ;-)

91   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 5:09am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

But if one has enough vanity to move into a rich neighborhood stretched thin, the kids may not have that great a time

You have misunderestimated Face Reality. I bet he really meant that shitboxes in crappy neigborhoods will be priced at 1M - 1.75M because these high-income people have no choice. After all, they rather pay 7K mortgage than 1200 rent because they WANT to buy.

92   HARM     2006 Feb 22, 5:12am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I was inspired by the cultural/emotional subtext of the posts here. New thread:

The Psychology of “Ownership”

93   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 5:51am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Let's ask this question: how much premium over renting would you pay in order to own?

94   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 6:12am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I know that from a financial standpoint, my family is not alone - there are others like this. Unless there is some catastrophic event that clearly causes prices to fall, it is very difficult to convince these folks that it is not a good time to trade-up.

Trading up is not necessarily a bad thing now, because of extreme price compression. The key is whether one can afford the new house conservatively.

95   HARM     2006 Feb 22, 6:19am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I am beginning to feel that a crash may not exactly be imminent because these fools will rush in to support a gradually declining market until things pick up again.

PS, let's look at it this way: If there are enough cash-rich "greater fools" out there to indefinitely support current housing prices, then there's really no bubble. By definition, prices would be reflecting fundamental demand, not irrational exuberance/easy credit.

OTH, there are usually a few "dead cat" bounces on the way down after an asset peak has been reached. This is to be expected, and in now way should be misconstrued as a "buying opportunity". At least not until fundamental price support levels have been reached.

96   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 6:19am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

I am beginning to feel that a crash may not exactly be imminent because these fools will rush in to support a gradually declining market until things pick up again.

I believe the lower-end is feeling the chill from rising interest rate, especially on the subprime side.

The Silly Valley is full of silly people who think they are smart, we will see.

97   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 6:55am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

PS, I understand and agree with you.

98   OO     2006 Feb 22, 8:10am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    


same boat here. I am eyeing some really nice acreage properties, and I am sure they will fall much harder than my place. Save up more money in the meantime, and upgrade, debt free in 5 years. In fact, ALL the acreage stuff I am targeting have already gone through one round of reduction with no takers, some reduced by 10-15%.

The higher end will fall real hard if we don't upgrade. When the market falls, at least I can rely on some cash-rich first time buyers to take over my place, these high end places have far fewer people in the line waiting.

99   Michael Holliday     2006 Feb 22, 8:30am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

SFWoman Says:

"I see people in the city doing this all the time. They make $250,000-$500,000 a year..."

I can't friggen' believe those salaries. Simply unimaginable to me.

Even a $125,000k salary seems beyond my dreams.

Just amazing.

Must be doctors or high-paid lawyers.

Maybe it's just that I'm so used to making sh-t...

100   Peter P   78/78 = 100% civil   2006 Feb 22, 11:21am  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Even Larry Ellison seems to have Bill Gates envy (and his accountant wants him on a budget!).

Poor him. He is not buying a private Mars colony with Option ARM, is he?

101   FormerAptBroker     2006 Feb 22, 2:59pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

DeoVindice Says:

"I’ve come to one conclusion. I’m just going to focus on making a lot of money. Seriously, if there is one lesson of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, it’s that being wealthy is a decision."

When I was in High School one of my first bosses told me that you need to "be your own boss if you want to make a lot of money" but it wasn't until years later when I heard rapper Ice Cube say "in life you are either a pimp or a whore" that it became clear that most people working for a boss are not much different than a whores working for a pimp...

102   FormerAptBroker     2006 Feb 22, 3:54pm  ↑ like   ↓ dislike   quote    

Owneroccupier Says:

"I am not saying people are not making that kind of salary, I have plenty of friends with 250K+ household income, but they are all people armed with ivy league degrees, JD/MBA, 5-8 years of working experience"

Then SFWoman Says:

“I see people in the city doing this all the time. They make $250,000-$500,000 a year…”

Most people tend to socialize with those who have a similar education and income level. As an apartment owner I talk to a wide variety of people from tenants to vendors on a regular basis. It is always interesting to come home to San Francisco and hear a friend's wife (who's idea of a wide variety of people is the mom's in both the KDB and Town School PTAs) talk about buying three pair of $500 shoes when I just made a deal with a hard working new tenant to pay his $500 security deposit over five months. A while back a friend (that makes about $250K a year) commented on an article that said less than 1% of American "households" (not individuals) have an annual income of over $225K. He said that is sad that even though he is in the "top 1%" he would not be able to live in SF and send his kids to private school without help from his parents...

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