Monday, April 27, 1992

United States housing bubble

Your continued donations keep Wikipedia running! United States housing bubble
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Home $weet Home: cover of the June 13, 2005 issue of Time Magazine.[1]The United States housing bubble is the actual or hypothesized economic bubble in many parts of the U.S. housing market since 2001, especially in populous areas such as California, Florida, New York, the BosWash megalopolis, and the southwest markets. A real estate bubble is a type of economic bubble that occurs periodically in local or global real estate markets. Based upon the unprecedented rise in house prices since 2001, many economists believe that there is a housing bubble in these and other parts of the U.S. caused by historically low interest rates and a mania for purchasing houses; they argue that this bubble is related to the stock market or dot-com bubble of the 1990s. Other economists argue that recent price increases can be explained by limited supply and increased demand due to immigration and demographic forces.

A housing bubble is characterized by rapid increases in the valuations of real property such as housing until unsustainable levels are reached relative to incomes, price-to-rent ratios, and other economic indicators of affordability. This in turn is followed by decreases in home prices that can result in many owners holding negative equity, a mortgage debt higher than the value of the property.

Bubbles may be definitively identified only in hindsight, after a market correction.[2] The impact of booming home valuations on the U.S. economy since the 2001–2002 recession is an important factor in the recovery because a large component of consumer spending came from the related refinancing boom, which simultaneously allowed people to reduce their monthly mortgage payments with lower interest rates and withdraw equity from their homes as values increased.[3] As the once-booming U.S. housing market peaked in early 2005 and softened in 2006, economists debated whether this is a "soft" or "hard" landing and the impact this slowing will have on consumer confidence and on the overall economy.

Contents [hide]
1 Controversy over the existence of a housing bubble
2 Explanations for the existence of a U.S. housing bubble
2.1 Mania for home ownership
2.1.1 Widespread belief that housing is a risk-free, growth investment
2.1.2 Popularity of home purchasing in the media
2.1.3 Speculative purchases of homes
2.2 Crash of the dot-com bubble
2.3 Historically low interest rates
2.4 Interest-only, adjustable rate, and stated income mortgages
3 Status of a market correction
3.1 The bursting of the 2001–2006/7 US housing bubble
3.2 The Subprime Mortgage Industry Collapse and Senate Hearings
3.3 The Status of Alt-A Mortgages
4 See also
5 References
6 Further reading
7 External links

[edit] Controversy over the existence of a housing bubble

The Economist magazine cover, 16 June 2005, with a prediction about the direction of home prices after the "fall" of 2005.[2]Any type of economic bubble is difficult to identify except in hindsight, after the crash, although many economic and cultural factors have led several economists to argue that a housing bubble exists in the U.S.[2][4][5][6][7][8][9] The Economist magazine said that "the worldwide rise in house prices is the biggest bubble in history,"[10] so any explanation must consider global causes as well as those specific to the United States. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in mid-2005 that "at a minimum, there's a little 'froth' (in the U.S. housing market) … it's hard not to see that there are a lot of local bubbles." President Bush said of the U.S. housing boom in early 2006 "If houses get too expensive, people will stop buying them … Economies should cycle."[11]

Based on markedly declining 2006 market data, including lower sales, rising inventories, falling median prices, and increased foreclosure rates,[12] some economists have concluded that the correction in the U.S. housing market began in 2006.[13][14] A May 2006 Fortune magazine report on the US housing bubble states "The great housing bubble has finally started to deflate … In many once-sizzling markets around the country, accounts of dropping list prices have replaced tales of waiting lists for unbuilt condos and bidding wars over humdrum three-bedroom colonials."[15] The chief economist of Freddie Mac and the director of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) deny the existence of a national housing bubble and express doubt that any significant decline in home prices are ever possible, citing consistently rising prices since the Great Depression, expected increasing demand by the Baby Boom generation, and healthy employment.[16][17][18] Others have questioned the funding that the JCHS receives from the real estate industry.[19] David Lereah, the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, distributed "Anti-Bubble Reports" in August 2005 to "respond to the irresponsible bubble accusations made by your local media and local academics;"[20] among other statements, the reports say that people "should [not] be concerned that home prices are rising faster than family income", that "there is virtually no risk of a national housing price bubble based on the fundamental demand for housing and predictable economic factors", and that "a general slowing in the rate of price growth can be expected, but in many areas inventory shortages will persist and home prices are likely to continue to rise above historic norms."[21] Following reports of rapid sales declines and price depreciation in August 2006,[22][23] Lereah admitted that "he expects home prices to come down 5% nationally, more in some markets, less in others. And a few cities in Florida and California, where home prices soared to nose-bleed heights, could have `hard landings'."[24] National home sales and prices both fell dramatically in March 2007—the steepest plunge since 1989—according to NAR data, with sales down 13% to 482,000 from the peak of 554,00 in March 2006 and the national median price falling nearly 6% to $217,000 from the peak of $230,200 in July 2006.[25]

The US Senate Banking Committee held hearings on the housing bubble and related loan practices in 2006, titled "The Housing Bubble and its Implications for the Economy" and "Calculated Risk: Assessing Non-Traditional Mortgage Products".[26] Following the collapse of the subprime mortgage industry in March 2007, Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Banking Committee held hearings and asked executives from the top five subprime mortgage companies to testify and explain their lending practices; Dodd said, "predatory lending practices" endangered the home ownership for millions of people.[27] Moreover, Democratic senators such as Senator Charles Schumer of New York are already proposing a federal government bailout of subprime borrowers in order to save homeowners from losing their residences.

[edit] Explanations for the existence of a U.S. housing bubble

Robert Shiller's plot of U.S. home prices, population, building costs, and bond yields, from Irrational Exuberance, 2d ed.[4] Shiller shows that inflation adjusted U.S. home prices increased 0.4% per year from 1890–2004, and 0.7% per year from 1940–2004, whereas U.S. census data from 1940–2004 shows that the self-assessed value increased 2% per year.

Inflation-adjusted housing prices in Japan (1980–2005) compared to home price appreciation the United States, Britain, and Australia (1995–2005).
Approximate cost to own mortgaged property vs. renting.
An approximate formula for the monthly cost of owning a home is obtained by computing the monthly mortgage, property tax, and maintenance costs, accounting for the U.S. tax deduction available for mortgage interest payments and property taxes. This formulae does not include the cost of foregoing the standard deduction (required for taking the tax deduction). Assuming a home cost of P dollars, yearly interest rate r fixed over N years, marginal income tax rate rIT, property tax rate rPT (assumed to be ½–2% of P), and yearly maintenance cost rate rM (assumed to be ½–1% of P), the monthly cost of home ownership is approximately

For example, the monthly cost of a $250,000 home at 6% interest fixed over 30 years, with 1% property taxes, 0.75% maintenance costs, and a 30% federal income tax rate is approximately $1361 per month. The rental cost for an equivalent home may be less in many U.S. cities as of 2006. Adding a down payment or home equity to this calculation can significantly reduce the monthly cost of ownership. However, including the monthly cost of forgoing the standard deduction ($10000 for a married couple), the added cost (the reduction in tax savings) of (deduction * tax_rate / 12) would increase the cost to buy a home by $250/mo, to $1611 for a married couple filing jointly in the example above. In a 2007 article comparing these costs of renting to owning a home using a buy vs. rent calculator, the New York Times concluded, "Homeownership, [realtors] argue, is a way to achieve the American dream, save on taxes and earn a solid investment return all at the same time. … [I]t’s now clear that people who chose renting over buying in the last two years made the right move. In much of the country … recent home buyers have faced higher monthly costs than renters and have lost money on their investment in the meantime. It’s almost as if they have thrown money away, an insult once reserved for renters."[28]

Equivalent price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio for homes.
To compute the P/E ratio for the case of a rented house, divide the price of the house by its potential yearly earnings or net income, which is the market rent of the house minus expenses, which include property taxes, maintenance and fees. This formula is:

For the example of the $250,000 home considered above, the P/E ratio would be 24 if this home rents for $1250 per month. Fortune magazine cites a historic range of 11 or 12 for the simpler price-to-rent ratio.[29]

[edit] Mania for home ownership
Americans' love of their homes is widely known and acknowledged;[1] however, many believe that enthusiasm for home ownership is currently high even by American standards.[30][31] Many have commented anecdotally on this phenomenon,[32][33][34] as evidenced by the cover of the June 13, 2005 issue of Time Magazine[1] (seen above). The boom in housing has also created a boom in the real estate profession; for example, California has a record half-million real estate licencees—one for every 52 adults living in the state, up 57% in the last five years.[35]

During the 2004 Presidential election campaign, President George W. Bush boasted that "the overall U.S. homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2004 was at an all time high of 69.2 percent."[36] Bush's 2004 campaign slogan "the ownership society" indicates the strong preference and societal influence of Americans to own the homes they live in, as opposed to renting. However, in many parts of the United States, rent does not cover mortgage costs; the national median mortgage payment is $1,687 per month, nearly twice the median rent payment of $868 per month.[37]

[edit] Widespread belief that housing is a risk-free, growth investment
Among Americans, home ownership is widely accepted as preferable to renting in many cases, especially when the ownership term is expected to be at least five years. This is partly due to the fact that the fraction of a fixed-rate mortgage used to pay down the principal builds equity for the homeowner over time, whereas money spent on either rent or mortgage interest do not. However, when considered as an investment, that is, an asset that is expected to grow in value over time, as opposed to the utility of shelter that home ownership provides, housing is not a risk-free investment. The popular notion that, unlike stocks, homes do not fall in value is believed to have contributed to the mania for purchasing homes. This assertion has been true for the United States as a whole since the Great Depression,[16] and appears to be encouraged by the real estate industry.[9][38] However, housing prices can move both up and down in local markets, as evidenced by the relatively recent price history in locations such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Japan, Vancouver, Sydney, and Hong Kong; large trends of up and down price fluctuations can be seen in many U.S. cities (see graph). Since 2005, the year-over-year median sale prices (inflation-adjusted) of single family homes in Massachusetts fell over 10% in 2006.[39] David Lereah of the NAR said in August 2006 that "he expects home prices to come down 5% nationally, more in some markets, less in others."[24] Commenting in August 2005 on the perceived low risk of housing as an investment vehicle, Alan Greenspan said, "history has not dealt kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums."[40]

Compounding the popular expectation that home prices do not fall, it is also widely believed that home values will yield average or better-than-average returns as investments. The investment motive for purchasing homes should not be conflated with the necessity of shelter that housing provides; an economic comparison of the relative costs of owning versus renting the equivalent utility of shelter can be made separately (see boxed text). Over the holding periods of decades, inflation-adjusted house prices have increased less than 1% per year.[4][41] Robert Shiller shows[4] that over long periods, inflation adjusted U.S. home prices increased 0.4% per year from 1890–2004, and 0.7% per year from 1940–2004. Shiller also showed comparable results for housing prices on a single street in Amsterdam (the site of the fabled tulip mania, and where the housing supply is notably limited) over a 350 year period. Such meager returns are dwarfed by investments in the stock and bond markets. If historic trends hold, it is reasonable to expect home prices to only slightly beat inflation over the long term. Furthermore, one way to assess the quality of any investment is to compute its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which for houses can be defined as the price of the house divided by the potential annual rental income, minus expenses including property taxes, maintenance, insurance, and condominium fees. For many locations, this computation yields a P/E ratio of about 30–40, which is considered by economists to be high for both the housing and the stock markets;[4] historical price-to-rent ratios are 11–12.[29] For comparison, just before the dot-com crash the P/E ratio of the S&P 500 was 45. In a 2007 article comparing the cost and risks of renting to buying using a buy vs. rent calculator, the New York Times concluded, "Homeownership, [realtors] argue, is a way to achieve the American dream, save on taxes and earn a solid investment return all at the same time. … [I]t’s now clear that people who chose renting over buying in the last two years made the right move. In much of the country … recent home buyers have faced higher monthly costs than renters and have lost money on their investment in the meantime. It’s almost as if they have thrown money away, an insult once reserved for renters."[28]

NAR chief economist David Lereah's book[42] in February 2005.
NAR chief economist David Lereah's book[43] in February 2006.

Plot of inflation-adjusted home price appreciation in several U.S. cities, 1990–2005.test
[edit] Popularity of home purchasing in the media
In late 2005 and into 2006, there are an abundance of television programs promoting real estate investment and flipping.[44][45] In addition to the numerous television shows, book stores in cities throughout the United States could be seen showing large displays of books touting real-estate investment, such as NAR chief economist David Lereah's book Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?: Why Home Values and Other Real Estate Investments Will Climb Through The End of The Decade—And How to Profit From Them[42] published in February 2005. One year later in February 2006, Lereah retitled his book Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust—And How You Can Profit from It.[43]

However, following Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's comments on the "downturn of the housing market" in August 2006,[46] Lereah said in an NBC interview that "we've had a boom marketplace: you've got to correct because booms cannot sustain itself forever [sic]."[47] Commenting on the phenomenon of shifting NAR accounts of the national housing market (see David Lereah's comments[47][48][49]), the Motley Fool reported, "There's nothing funnier or more satisfying … than watching the National Association of Realtors (NAR) change its tune these days. … the NAR is full of it and will spin the numbers any way it can to keep up the pleasant fiction that all is well."[38]

[edit] Speculative purchases of homes
As median home prices began to rise dramatically in 2000–2001 following the fall in interest rates, speculative purchases of homes also increased.[50] Fortune magazine's article on housing speculation in 2005 said, "America was awash in a stark, raving frenzy that looked every bit as crazy as dot-com stocks."[51] In a 2006 interview in BusinessWeek magazine, Yale economist Robert Shiller said of the impact of speculators on long term valuations, "I worry about a big fall because prices today are being supported by a speculative fever,"[52] and NAR chief economist David Lereah said in 2005 that "[t]here's a speculative element in home buying now."[48] Speculation in some local markets has been greater than others, and any correction in valuations is expected to be strongly related to the percentage amount of speculative purchases.[49][53][3] In the same BusinessWeek interview, Angelo Mozilo, CEO of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, said in March 2006, "in areas where you have had heavy speculation, you could have 30% [home price declines]. … A year or a year and half from now, you will have seen a slow deterioration of home values and a substantial deterioration in those areas where there has been speculative excess.”[54] The chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, David Seiders, said that California, Las Vegas, Florida and the Washington, D.C., area “have the largest potential for a price slowdown” because the rising prices in those markets were fed by speculators who bought homes intending to “flip” or sell them for a quick profit.[55] Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher said in 2006 that the Fed held its target rate at 1 percent "longer than it should have been" and unintentionally prompted speculation in the housing market.[56][57]

[edit] Crash of the dot-com bubble
Several economists have argued that the stock market crash, especially in the dot-com and technology sectors, in 2000 and the subsequent 70% (or so) drop of the NASDAQ composite index resulted in many people taking their money out of the stock market and purchasing real estate, which many believed to be a more reliable investment.[41][58][59] Yale economist Robert Shiller argued further that "irrational exuberance" was displaced from the fallen stock market to housing: "Once stocks fell, real estate became the primary outlet for the speculative frenzy that the stock market had unleashed."[60]

[edit] Historically low interest rates
Differential relationship between interest rates and affordability.
An approximate formula can be obtained that provides the relationship between changes in interest rates and changes in home affordability. The computation proceeds by designating affordability (the monthly mortgage payment) constant, and differentiating the equation for monthly payments

with respect to the interest rate r, then solving for the change in Principal. Using the approximation (K → ∞, and e = 2.718… is the base of the natural logarithm) for continuously compounded interest, this results in the approximate equation

(fixed-rate loans). For interest-only mortgages, the change in principal yielding the same monthly payment is

(interest-only loans). This calculation shows that a 1 percentage point change in interest rates would theoretically affect home prices by about 10% (given 2005 rates) on fixed-rate mortgages, and about 16% for interest-only mortgages. Robert Shiller does compare interest rates and overall U.S. home prices over the period 1890–2004 and concludes that interest rates do not explain historic trends for the country.[4]

Another important consequence of the dot-com crash and the subsequent 2001–2002 recession was that the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to historically low levels, from about 6.5% to just 1%. The Federal Reserve acknowledges the connection between lower interest rates, higher home values, and the increased liquidity the higher home values bring to the overall economy.[61] A Federal Reserve report reads,

"Like other asset prices, house prices are influenced by interest rates, and in some countries, the housing market is a key channel of monetary policy transmission."[62]
For this reason some have criticized then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan for "engineering" the housing bubble,[63][64][65][66][67][68] saying, e.g., "It was the Federal Reserve-engineered decline in rates that inflated the housing bubble."[69] The interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell 2 percentage points (from about 7.5% to about 5.5%). The interest rate on one-year adjustable rate mortgages (1/1 ARMs) fell 3 percentage points (from about 7% to about 4%). Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, said in 2006 that the Fed's low interest-rate policies unintentionally prompted speculation in the housing market, and that the subsequent "substantial correction [is] inflicting real costs to millions of homeowners."[56][57]

A drop in mortgage interest rates reduces the cost of borrowing and should logically result in an increase in prices in a market where most people borrow money to purchase a home (for instance, in the United States). If one assumes that the housing market is efficient, the expected change in housing prices (relative to interest rates) can be computed mathematically. The calculation in the sidebox shows that a 1 percentage point change in interest rates would theoretically affect home prices by about 10% (given 2005 rates on fixed-rate mortgages). This represents a 10-to-1 multiplier between percentage-point changes in interest rates and percentage change in home prices. For interest-only mortgages (at 2005 rates), this yields about a 16% change in principal for a 1% change in interest rates at current rates. Therefore, the 2% drop in long-term interest rates can account for about a 10 × 2% = 20% rise in home prices if every buyer is using a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), or about 16 × 3% ≈ 50% if every buyer is using an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) whose interest rates dropped 3%. Robert Shiller shows that the inflation adjusted U.S. home price increase has been about 45% during this period,[4] an increase in valuations that is approximately consistent with most buyers financing their purchases using ARMs. In areas of the United States believed to have a housing bubble, price increases have far exceeded the 50% that might be explained by the cost of borrowing using ARMs. When interest rates rise, a reasonable question is how much house prices will fall, and what effect this will have on those holding negative equity, as well as on the U.S. economy in general. The salient question is whether interest rates are a determining factor in specific markets where there is high sensitivity to housing affordability.

Between 2004 and 2006, the Fed raised interest rates 17 times, increasing them from 1% to 5.25%, before pausing.[70] The Fed paused raising interest rates because of the concern that an accelerating downturn in the housing market could undermine the overall economy, just as the crash of the dot-com bubble in 2000 contributed to the subsequent recession. However, New York University economist Nouriel Roubini asserted that "The Fed should have tightened earlier to avoid a festering of the housing bubble early on."[71]

[edit] Interest-only, adjustable rate, and stated income mortgages
The recent use of adjustable rate mortgages, interest-only mortgages, and "stated income" loans (also known as "liar loans") to finance home purchases described above have raised concerns about the quality of these loans should interest rates rise again or the borrower is unable to pay the mortgage.[4][72][73][74] Harper's Magazine warned of the danger of rising interest rates for recent homebuyers holding such mortgages, as well as the U.S. economy as a whole: "The problem [is] that prices are falling even as the buyers' total mortgage remains the same or even increases. … Rising debt-service payments will further divert income from new consumer spending. Taken together, these factors will further shrink the “real” economy, drive down those already declining real wages, and push our debt-ridden economy into Japan-style stagnation or worse."[5] Factors that could contribute to rising rates are the U.S. national debt, inflationary pressure caused by such factors as increased fuel and housing costs, and changes in foreign investments in the U.S. economy. The Fed raised rates 17 times, increasing them from 1% to 5.25%, between 2004 and 2006.[70] BusinessWeek magazine called the option ARM "the riskiest and most complicated home loan product ever created" and warned that over one million borrowers took out $466 billion in option ARMs in 2004 through the second quarter of 2006, citing concerns that these financial products could hurt individual borrowers the most and "worsen the [housing] bust."[75] To address the problems arising from "liar loans", the Internal Revenue Service updated an income verification tool used by lenders to make confirmation of borrower's claimed income to be faster and easier.[73]

[edit] Status of a market correction

The Washington DC "bubble bench" made famous by the Washington Post;[76] the 49 lockboxes hold keys to unsold units of a 200 unit condominium complex in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Inventory of houses for sale in Phoenix, AZ from July 2005 through March 2006. As of March 10, 2006, well over 14,000 (nearly half) of these for-sale homes are vacant.[77] (Source: Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.)

Massachusetts Single Family Home Year-Over-Year Inflation Adjusted Price Changes, 2004–2006, from publically available U.S. government and Massachusetts Association of Realtors data. Note that: (1) the inflation-adjusted year-over-year price is decreasing; (2) the rate of price decrease is accelerating; (3) the overall shape of this curve is consistent with a market that peaked in summer 2005, with a critical point at mid-August, and is falling. (Source:

Condominium Price Appreciation (percentages) in the south and west United States, 2002–2006. (Source: NAR.)

Median Single Family Home Price Appreciation for Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 2003–2006. (Source: Housing Doom.)
NAR chief economist David Lereah's Explanation of "What Happened" from the 2006 NAR Leadership Conference[78]

Boom ended August 2005
Mortgage rates rose almost one point
Affordability conditions deteriorated
Speculative investors pulled out
Homebuyer confidence plunged
Resort buyers went to sidelines
Trade-up buyers to sidelines
First-time buyers priced out of market

Based on the historic trends in valuations of U.S. housing,[4][79] many economists and business writers have predicted a market correction, ranging from a few percentage points, to 50% or more from peak values in some markets,[80][81][82][83][84] and, in spite of the fact that this cooling has not affected all areas of the U.S., some have warned that it could and that the correction would be "nasty" and "severe".[85][86] Chief economist Mark Zandi of the investor service Moody's predicted a "crash" of double-digit depreciation in some U.S. cities by 2007–2009.[87][88]

[edit] The bursting of the 2001–2006/7 US housing bubble
The booming housing market appears to have halted abruptly for many parts of the U.S. in late summer of 2005, and as of summer 2006, several markets are facing the issues of ballooning inventories, falling prices, and sharply reduced sales volumes. In August 2006, Barron's magazine warned, "a housing crisis approaches", and noted that the median price of new homes has dropped almost 3% since January 2006, that new-home inventories hit a record in April and remain near all-time highs, that existing-home inventories are 39% higher than they were just one year ago, and that sales are down more than 10%, and predicts that "the national median price of housing will probably fall by close to 30% in the next three years … simple reversion to the mean."[83] Fortune magazine labelled many previously strong housing markets as "Dead Zones;"[15] other areas are classified as "Danger Zones" and "Safe Havens." 'Fortune also dispelled "four myths about the future of home prices."[22] In Boston, year-over-year prices are dropping,[89] sales are falling, inventory is increasing, foreclosures are up,[72][12] and the correction in Massachusetts has been called a "hard landing".[90] The previously booming housing markets in Washington DC, San Diego CA, Phoenix AZ, and other cities have stalled as well.[91][92] Searching the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) shows that in summer 2006, the for-sale housing inventory in Phoenix has grown to over 50,000 homes, of which nearly half are vacant (see graphic).[77] Several home builders have revised their forecasts sharply downward during summer 2006, e.g., D.R. Horton cut its yearly earnings forecast by one-third in July 2006,[93] the value of luxury home builder Toll Brothers' stock fell 50% between August 2005 and August 2006,[94] and the Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index was down over 40% as of mid-August 2006.[95] CEO Robert Toll of Toll Brothers explained, "builders that built speculative homes are trying to move them by offering large incentives and discounts; and some anxious buyers are canceling contracts for homes already being built."[96] Homebuilder Kara Homes, known for their construction of "McMansions", announced on 13 September 2006 the "two most profitable quarters in the history of our company", yet filed for bankruptcy protection less than one month later on 6 October.[97] Six months later on 10 April 2007, Kara Homes sold unfinished developments, causing prospective buyers from the previous year to lose deposits, some of whom put down more than $100,000.[98]

As the housing market began to soften in winter 2005 through summer 2006,[99][100] NAR chief economist David Lereah predicted a "soft landing" for the market.[101] However, based on unprecedented rises in inventory and a sharply slowing market throughout 2006, Leslie Appleton-Young, the chief economist of the California Association of Realtors, said that she is not comfortable with the mild term "soft landing" to describe what is actually happening in California's real estate market.[102] The Financial Times warned of the impact on the U.S. economy of the "hard edge" in the "soft landing" scenario, saying "A slowdown in these red-hot markets is inevitable. It may be gentle, but it is impossible to rule out a collapse of sentiment and of prices. … If housing wealth stops rising … the effect on the world's economy could be depressing indeed."[103] "It would be difficult to characterize the position of home builders as other than in a hard landing", said Robert Toll, CEO of Toll Brothers.[104] Angelo Mozilo, CEO of Countrywide Financial, said "I've never seen a soft-landing in 53 years, so we have a ways to go before this levels out. I have to prepare the company for the worst that can happen."[105] Following these reports, Lereah admitted that "he expects home prices to come down 5% nationally", and said that some cities in Florida and California could have "hard landings."[24] National home sales and prices both fell dramatically again in March 2007 according to NAR data, with sales down 13% to 482,000 from the peak of 554,00 in March 2006 and the national median price falling nearly 6% to $217,000 from the peak of $230,200 in July 2006. The plunge in existing-home sales is the steepest since 1989.[25]

Based on slumping sales and prices in August 2006, economist Nouriel Roubini warned that the housing sector is in "free fall" and will derail the rest of the economy, causing a recession in 2007.[13] Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2001, agreed, saying that the U.S. may enter a recession as house prices decline.[106] The extent to which the economic slowdown, or possible recession, will last depends in large part on the resiliency of the U.S. consumer spending, which now makes up approximately 70% of the US$13.7 trillion economy. The evaporation of the wealth effect amid the current housing downturn could negatively affect the consumer confidence and provide further headwind for the U.S. economy and that of the rest of the world. The World Bank recently lowered the global economic growth rate due to a housing slowdown in the United States, but it does not believe that the U.S. housing malaise will further spread to the rest of the world. The Fed chairman Benjamin Bernanke said in October 2006 that there is currently a "substantial correction" going on in the housing market and that the decline of residential housing construction is one of the "major drags that is causing the economy to slow"; he predicted that the correcting market will decrease U.S. economic growth by about one percent in the second half of 2006 and remain a drag on expansion into 2007.[107]

Others speculate on the negative impact of the retirement of the Baby Boom generation and the relative cost to rent on the declining housing market.[108][109] In many parts of the United States, it is significantly cheaper to rent the same property than to purchase it; the national median mortgage payment is $1,687 per month, nearly twice the median rent payment of $868 per month.[37]

[edit] The Subprime Mortgage Industry Collapse and Senate Hearings
In March 2007, the United States' subprime mortgage industry collapsed due to higher-than-expected home foreclosure rates, with more than 25 subprime lenders declaring bankruptcy, announcing significant losses, or putting themselves up for sale.[110] The stock of the country's largest subprime lender, New Century Financial, plunged 84% amid Justice Department investigations, before ultimately filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 2 April 2007 with liabilities exceeding $100 million.[111] Financial analysts predict that the subprime mortgage collapse predicts that the subprime meltdown will result in earnings reductions for large Wall Street investment banks trading in mortgage backed securities, especially Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley.[110] The head of the mortgage industry consulting firm Wakefield Co. warned, "This is going to be a meltdown of unparalleled proportions. Billions will be lost." In the wake of the mortgage industry meltdown, Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Banking Committee held hearings in March 2007 and asked executives from the top five subprime mortgage companies to testify and explain their lending practices; Dodd said, "predatory lending practices" endangered the home ownership for millions of people.[27] Moreover, Democratic senators such as Senator Charles Schumer of New York are already proposing a federal government bailout of subprime borrowers in order to save homeowners from losing their residences. Opponents of such proposal assert that government bailout of subprime borrowers is not in the best interests of the U.S. economy because it will simply set a bad precedent, create a moral hazard, and worsen the speculation problem in the housing market. Lou Ranieri of Salomon Brothers, inventor the mortgage backed securities market in the 1970s, warned of the future impact of mortgage defaults: "This is the leading edge of the storm. … If you think this is bad, imagine what it's going to be like in the middle of the crisis." In his opinion, more than $100 billion of home loans are likely to default when the problems in the subprime industry appear in the prime mortgage markets.[112] Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan praised the rise of the subprime mortgage industry and the tools with which it uses to assess credit-worthiness in an April 2005 speech:

"Innovation has brought about a multitude of new products, such as subprime loans and niche credit programs for immigrants. Such developments are representative of the market responses that have driven the financial services industry throughout the history of our country … With these advances in technology, lenders have taken advantage of credit-scoring models and other techniques for efficiently extending credit to a broader spectrum of consumers. … Where once more-marginal applicants would simply have been denied credit, lenders are now able to quite efficiently judge the risk posed by individual applicants and to price that risk appropriately. These improvements have led to rapid growth in subprime mortgage lending; indeed, today subprime mortgages account for roughly 10 percent of the number of all mortgages outstanding, up from just 1 or 2 percent in the early 1990s."[113]
Because of these remarks, along with his encouragement for the use of adjustable-rate mortgages, Greenspan has been criticized for his role in the rise of the housing bubble and the subsequent problems in the mortgage industry.[114][115]

[edit] The Status of Alt-A Mortgages
Subprime and Alt-A (including "stated income" or "liar's loans" which are basically loans made to home buyers without the verification of borrowers' incomes; home buyers tend to overstate their incomes in order to get the loan amounts they desire to purchase their dream homes, thus called the "liar's loans") loans account for about 21 percent of loans outstanding and 39 percent of mortgages made in 2006.[116] In April 2007, financial problems similar to the subprime mortgages began to appear with Alt-A loans made to homeowners who were thought to be less risky.[116] American Home Mortgage said that it would earn less and pay out a smaller dividend to its shareholders because it was being asked to buy back and write down the value of Alt-A loans made to borrowers with decent credit; causing company stocks to tumble 15.2 percent. The delinquency rate for Alt-A mortgages has been rising in 2007.[116]

[edit] See also
Subprime lending
Subprime Mortgage Meltdown
Mortgage loan
Real estate bubble
British property bubble
Chinese property bubble
Indian property bubble
Irish property bubble
Japanese asset price bubble
New Zealand property bubble
Russian property bubble
South Korean property bubble
Spanish property bubble
Economic bubble
dot-com bubble
Real estate pricing
Real estate appraisal
Real estate economics
Real estate trends
Creative Real Estate Investing
Deed in lieu of foreclosure
Foreclosure consultant

[edit] References
^ a b c "Home $weet Home", Time, 13 June 2005.
^ a b c A prediction of a correction in the housing market, possibly after the "fall" of 2005, is implied by The Economist magazine's cover story for the article "After the fall", which illustrates a brick falling, with the label "House Prices": Image:Economist-06-15-2005.jpg. "After the fall: Soaring house prices have given a huge boost to the world economy. What happens when they drop?", The Economist, 16 June 2005.
^ a b "The crux of the debate is house prices.
Distribution of U.S. Median Home ValuesIf the inflated prices are justified by economic fundamentals and sustainable, then the 82 percent increase in mortgage debt since 2000 will probably turn out to be innocuous and the risks to the economy minimal. If, on the other hand, prices are out of whack, painful adjustments lie ahead. Unfortunately, the weight of the evidence strongly suggests a bubble. The price of the median home is up an inflation-adjusted 50 percent during the last five years, an unprecedented national increase. … Just as cheerleaders of the high-tech bubble of the late 1990s developed ever more creative explanations for why traditional metrics of valuing stocks no longer applied, the same has been true during the housing bubble. Housing bulls point to immigration, building restrictions, Baby Boomer demand for second homes, and other seemingly plausible justifications for skyrocketing home prices. But examining the value of housing using time-tested and common-sense metrics such as price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios suggest the gains in the bubble areas can't be explained by economic fundamentals. … People are buying in the face of sky-high prices because they've seen so many of their friends or relatives make a fortune in real estate; besides (they tell themselves), everyone knows real estate prices never fall. As with the stock market during the tech bubble, many are basing purchasing decisions not on underlying economic value, but on what they think they can sell a property for in the future—the very definition of a speculative bubble. … Even flat home prices would therefore slow economic growth unless other parts of the economy rapidly accelerate. But a hard landing—meaning a recession—is a real risk. If home prices fall modestly, millions of homeowners will see their equity wiped out. Many of those with the least amount of equity, as we've already shown, are going to face significant increases in their monthly payments. So what has been a virtuous but unsustainable cycle for the economy—higher home prices, more borrowing against home equity, higher spending, increased job creation, even higher home prices—could easily reverse and become a vicious cycle—higher monthly payments, declining home prices, less spending, job losses, foreclosures, even lower home prices." "Housing Bubble Trouble: Have we been living beyond our means?", The Weekly Standard, 10 April 2006.
^ a b c d e f g h i "People in much of the world are still overconfident that the stock market, and in many places the housing market, will do extremely well, and this overconfidence can lead to instability. Significant further rises in these markets could lead, eventually, to even more significant declines. The bad outcome could be that eventual declines would result in a substantial increase in the rate of personal bankruptcies, which could lead to a secondary string of bankruptcies of financial institutions as well. Another long-run consequence could be a decline in consumer and business confidence, and another, possibly worldwide, recession. This extreme outcome—like the situation in Japan since 1990 writ large—is not inevitable, but it is a much more serious risk than is widely acknowledged." Shiller, Robert (2005). Irrational Exuberance (2d ed.). Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12335-7.
^ a b "[A]lthough home ownership may be a wise choice for many people, this particular real estate bubble has been carefully engineered to lure home buyers into circumstances detrimental to their own best interests. The bait is easy money. The trap is a modern equivalent to peonage, a lifetime spent working to pay off debt on an asset of rapidly dwindling value. Most everyone involved in the real estate bubble thus far has made at least a few dollars. But that is about to change. The bubble will burst, and when it does, the people who thought they would be living the easy life of a landlord will soon find that what they really signed up for was the hard servitude of debt serfdom. … America holds record mortgage debt in a declining housing market. Even that at first might seem okay—we can just weather the storm in our nice new houses. And in fact things will be okay for homeowners who bought long ago and have seen the price of their homes double and then double again. But for more recent homebuyers, who bought at the top and who now face decades of payments on houses that soon will be worth less than they paid for them, serious trouble is brewing. And they are not an insignificant bunch. The problem for recent homebuyers is not just that prices are falling; it's that prices are falling even as the buyers' total mortgage remains the same or even increases. Eventually the price of the house will fall below what homeowners owe, a state that economists call negative equity. They can't sell—the declining market price won't cover what they owe the bank—but they still have to make those (often growing) monthly payments. Their only “choice” is to cut back spending in other areas or lose the house—and everything they paid for it—in foreclosure. Free markets are based on choice. But more and more homeowners are discovering that what they got for their money is fewer and fewer choices. A real estate boom that began with the promise of “economic freedom” will almost certainly end with a growing number of workers locked into a lifetime of debt servitude that absorbs every spare penny. … Rising debt-service payments will further divert income from new consumer spending. Taken together, these factors will further shrink the “real” economy, drive down those already declining real wages, and push our debt-ridden economy into Japan-style stagnation or worse. Then only the debt itself will remain, a bitter monument to our love of easy freedom." Hudson, Michael. "The New Road to Serfdom: An Illustrated Guide to the Coming Real Estate Collapse", Harper's, May 2006, pp. 39–46.
^ "This soft-landing scenario is a fantasy. … Anything housing-related is going to feel like a recession, almost like a depression." Leamer, Ed. "Is economy headed to a soft landing?", USA Today, 23 August 2006.
^ "No question about it, the housing downturn is here now, and it's big." Hamilton, Jim. "New home sales continue to fall", Econbrowser, 25 August 2006.
^ Shiller, Robert. "Bloomberg Interview of Robert Shiller", Bloomberg, 20 August 2006.
^ a b "A lot of spin is being furiously spinned around–often from folks close to real estate interests–to minimize the importance of this housing bust, it is worth to point out a number of flawed arguments and misperception that are being peddled around. You will hear many of these arguments over and over again in the financial pages of the media, in sell-side research reports and in innumerous TV programs. So, be prepared to understand this misinformation, myths and spins." Roubini, Nouriel. "Eight Market Spins About Housing by Perma-Bull Spin-Doctors … And the Reality of the Coming Ugliest Housing Bust Ever …", RGE Monitor, 26 August 2006.
^ "The worldwide rise in house prices is the biggest bubble in history. Prepare for the economic pain when it pops." "In come the waves: The worldwide rise in house prices is the biggest bubble in history. Prepare for the economic pain when it pops.", The Economist, 16 June 2005.
^ President George W. Bush was asked about the housing boom's impact on the ability of the questioner's children to purchase a home. The President answered "… If houses get too expensive, people will stop buying them, which will cause people to adjust their spending habits. … Let the market function properly. I guarantee that your kind of question has been asked throughout the history of homebuilding—you know, prices for my homes are getting bid up so high that I'm afraid I'm not going to have any consumers—or my kid—and yet, things cycle. That's just the way it works. Economies should cycle." Bush, George W.. "President Highlights Importance of Small Business in Economic Growth", The White House, 19 January 2006.
^ a b "The number of Bay State homeowners falling into foreclosure has shot up 56 percent—and more than doubled in parts of Eastern Massachusetts. … Things are even worse in much of Greater Boston. said filings rose 102.4 percent in Plymouth County, 72 percent in Bristol County, 65.2 percent in Worcester County and 63.1 percent in Suffolk County. Statewide, foreclosures have risen more than 50 percent from year-earlier levels for three straight months. President Jeremy Shapiro attributed the increases to a combination of “soaring energy costs … our slumping housing market and tightening economy—with no end in sight.” He particularly noted that Massachusetts home sales have cooled at a time when mortgage rates have risen. That means homeowners in jams—say, someone whose adjustable—rate mortgage’s interest rate has shot up—are often unable to either refinance or sell." "Mass. home foreclosures rise quickly", Boston Herald, 29 August 2006.
^ a b "This is the biggest housing slump in the last four or five decades: every housing indicator is in free fall, including now housing prices." Roubini, Nouriel. "Recession will be nasty and deep, economist says: Housing is in a free fall and is pulling the economy down with it, Roubini says", Dow Jones, 23 August 2006.
^ "We have enough data at this point (lower sales, rising inventories, falling median prices) that I feel confident in saying that the crash has begun. We don't yet know the speed of the decline or the full repercussions in terms of the financial havoc or the extent of the economic downturn. Of course, the housing crash, like the stock crash, was entirely predictable. Housing prices had never risen like this in the past and NO ONE has identified anything that made the period after 1996 different from the period prior to 1996. The press can be given a bit of a pass on this one—as with the stock bubble, most of the blame lies with my profession. In both cases, economists were more worried about the possibility that we might have to raise Social Security taxes in 50 years or tariffs on imported shirts, than trillions of dollars of paper wealth disappearing with the collapse of a financial bubble. … [F]inancial bubbles can have an enormous impact on the economy, as Japan has demonstrated over the last 15 years. Most economists like to pretend bubbles don't exist. The fact is that they do exist, and any economist who can't recognize a multi-trillion dollar bubble staring them in the face does not deserve to be taken seriously. One final point: the crash of the housing bubble will not be pretty. Millions of people stand to lose their home and/or their life savings. However, it was inevitable. The bubble created a fantasy world that could not continue. At the peak of the bubble, 160,000 people a week were buying a home, most at bubble inflated prices. The longer the bubble persists, the larger the group of people who paid way too much for their home. While it is not good that so many dreams had to be ruined, the number will be even larger if the bubble deflates slowly. So I make no apologies about hoping for the hasty demise of the housing bubble." Baker, Dean. "The Slow Motion Train Wreck", The American Prospect, 2 August 2006.
^ a b "Welcome to the dead zone: The great housing bubble has finally started to deflate, and the fall will be harder in some markets than others." This article classified several U.S. real-estate regions as "Dead Zones", "Danger Zones", and "Safe Havens." Fortune magazine Housing Bubble "Dead Zones" "Dead Zones" "Danger Zones" "Safe Havens"
Boston Chicago Cleveland
Las Vegas Los Angeles Columbus
Miami New York Dallas
Washington D.C. / Northern Virginia San Francisco / Oakland Houston
Phoenix Seattle Kansas City
Sacramento Omaha
San Diego Pittsburgh
"Welcome to the Dead Zone", Fortune, 4 May 2006.
^ a b "Housing Bubble—or Bunk? Are home prices soaring unsustainably and due for plunge? A group of experts takes a look—and come to very different conclusions", Business Week, 22 June 2005.
^ "By 2005, nominal house prices were rising at their fastest pace since 1978. Inflation-adjusted prices were up 9.4 percent, the largest increase in more than 40 years of recordkeeping. It is no surprise, then, that media reports of a housing bubble reached a fever pitch last year. … [W]hen and if house prices do fall, the so-called bubble is more likely to deflate slowly rather than burst suddenly. History suggests that appreciation eases for a year or two before prices come down in nominal terms. While dips of a few percentage points are common, nominal house prices rarely drop by 10 percent or more. Still, over the past 30 years, nominal house prices have in fact fallen by five percent or more at least once in about half of the nation’s 75 largest metros. In most cases, it takes significant job losses—or a combination of overbuilding, modest job losses and population outflows—to drive house prices down substantially. In terms of magnitude, price declines associated with episodes of major job losses alone average 4.5 percent, while those occurring in and around periods of overbuilding alone average 8.3 percent (Figure 11). While low interest rates certainly helped, house prices probably continued to appreciate throughout the last recession simply because these two conditions were absent." "The State of the Nation's Housing 2006", Harvard University, Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2006.
^ "The headline hints of catastrophe: a dot-com repeat, a bubble bursting, an economic apocalypse. Cassandra, though, can stop wailing: the expected price corrections mark a slowing in the rate of increase - not a precipitous decline. This will not spark a chain reaction that will devastate homeowners, builders and communities. Contradicting another gloomy seer, Chicken Little, the sky is not falling." Retsinas, Nicolas. "The housing wail", Scripps Howard News Service, 26 September 2006.
^ a b "Why would [Retsinas and the Harvard JCHS] pump out to the press a defense of the bubble without a single, salient data point to back it up? What's the motive? I think the answer might be found in the cozy relationship between Harvard's JCHS and the home-building, -selling, and -supply industry. Take a look at the "policy advisory board" at the JCHS. It just happens to be made up of a few dozen companies with an enormous financial stake in the continuation of the housing bubble, like Centex (NYSE: CTX), scandal-plagued Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) and Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM), and UBS (NYSE: UBS). Oh please. Don't be shocked. You knew something like this was coming, didn't you? Well, it gets even better: These companies are also cutting checks to the JCHS. … I've got a message into Harvard to find out just how much dough is changing hands here. If it's much more than a pittance, I consider that an interesting—and by interesting, I mean scandalous—conflict of interest." "Harvard Hypes Housing, but Why?", Motley Fool, 29 September 2006.
^ Lereah, David. "Anti-Bubble Reports", National Association of Realtors, August 2005.
^ "Housing Bubble Prospects Q&A", National Association of Realtors, 2005.
^ a b Tully, Shawn. "Getting real about the real estate bubble: Fortune's Shawn Tully dispels four myths about the future of home prices", Fortune, 25 August 2005.
^ a b "Housing market may be on ice, but the blame market is red hot", Chicago Tribune, 10 September 2006.
^ a b c Lereah, David. "Existing home sales drop 4.1% in July, median prices drop in most regions", USA Today, 24 August 2005.
^ a b "Existing Home Sales See Highest Monthly Drop Since 1989", Washington Post, 24 April 2007.
^ a b "Lawmakers to probe housing "bubble", mortgages", Reuters, 12 September 2006. Streaming video is available at the "Paper-Money" blog for both the hearings of "The Housing Bubble and its Implications for the Economy" and "Calculated Risk: Assessing Non-Traditional Mortgage Products."
^ a b "Top five US subprime lenders asked to testify -Dodd", Reuters, 19 March 2007.
^ a b "A Word of Advice During a Housing Slump: Rent", New York Times, 11 April 2007.
^ a b "Economists reckon that the rental value of a house closely follows the trends for apartment rents in the same area. Both are tied to the underlying economics. If a region creates a slew of jobs and companies boost wages, rents climb. Ditto house prices. One way to look at the economics of your home is to use what we'll call a price-to-annual-rent ratio (or P/R), the rough equivalent of a price/earnings ratio for a stock. Like stock P/Es, they hew toward long-term averages. But also like P/Es, P/Rs can defy gravity and reason. Prices sometimes jump far faster than underlying rents, driving P/R multiples to extremely high levels. Danger looms when future rents look as if they can't grow fast enough to satisfy the market's Brobdingnagian expectations. That's precisely what has happened. The P/R multiple is extremely high both by historical standards and compared with ratios for apartment buildings. Over the years P/Rs for both single-family dwellings and larger rental structures have averaged between 11 and 12. Since the beginning of the boom in '98, however, when both stood near 11, P/Rs for houses have blown ahead of those for apartment buildings. Rental P/Rs rose sharply with the strong economy, then fell with the recession. As rents dropped or leveled off, apartment prices cooled but kept the gains they'd registered from 1998 to 2001. Their multiples rose from 11 to around 13 in most markets. By contrast, houses totally broke loose from the pull of falling rents. Prices just kept skyrocketing. Since 1998, P/Rs in the 20 hottest markets, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, and New York City, have jumped, on average, from 11 to 20—an incredible 82%." Tully, Shawn. "The New Home Economics: With heavier mortgage and tax rates looming, your one can't-miss investment—your house—may soon be worth less than you're counting on", Fortune, 22 December 2003.
^ "At a minimum, there's a little froth [in the U.S. housing market] … It's hard not to see that there are a lot of local bubbles." Greenspan, Alan. "Greenspan Calls Home-Price Speculation Unsustainable", Bloomberg, 20 May 2005.
^ "[T]he American housing boom is now the mother of all bubbles—in sheer volume, if not in degrees of speculative madness." "No mercy now, no bail-out later", The Telegraph (UK), 23 March 2006.
^ "Certainly at the high end of the real estate market in some areas, you've seen extraordinary movement. … People go crazy in economics periodically, in all kinds of ways … when you get prices increasing faster than the underlying costs, sometimes there can be pretty serious consequences." Buffett, Warren. "The oracle speaks: Warren Buffett and Charles Munger warn of real estate 'bubble,' the risk of terrorist nukes.", CNN, 2 May 2005.
^ "Soros said he believed the U.S. housing bubble, a major factor behind strong U.S. consumption, had reached its peak and was in the process of being deflated." Soros, George. "The oracle speaks: Warren Buffett and Charles Munger warn of real estate 'bubble,' the risk of terrorist nukes.", Reuters, 9 January 2006.
^ "Lately, I have been asked if we are in a real estate bubble. My answer is, ‘Duh!’ In my opinion, this is the biggest real estate bubble I have ever lived through. Next, I am asked, ‘Will the bubble burst?’ Again, my answer is, ‘Duh!’" Kiosaki, Robert. "All Booms Bust", Robert Kiyosaki, 2005.
^ "To accommodate the demand for real estate licenses, the DRE conducted numerous "mega-exams" in which thousands of applicants took the real estate license examination. … “The level of interest in real estate licensure is unprecedented”" "New record: Nearly a half-million real estate licenses", Sacramento Business Journal, 23 May 2006.
^ "Fact Sheet: America's Ownership Society: Expanding Opportunities", The White House, August 2004.
^ a b "The financial reasons for renting instead of buying are the strongest they've been in 25 years. … What's alarming this time is that interest rates are still historically low. That means rents need to go up, and home prices to come down in some areas, for the balance to be regained. And that may be a painful process that takes between a year to 18 months. The market was thrown out of kilter during the five-year real estate boom. Renters stampeded at the sight of an "open house" sign, trying to buy anything they could afford. Prices soared by 40%, and by even more along the coasts and in such places as Las Vegas and Phoenix. Landlords couldn't raise rents as fast, so many apartment owners simply gave up and converted their buildings into condos for sale. … The national median mortgage payment is $1,687 a month, nearly twice the median rent payment of $868 a month. The financial gap is even larger in cities where home prices recently rose to sky-scraping heights, such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington. … Add rising interest rates, and it's easy to see why many would-be home buyers are sitting on the sidelines and why even some homeowners are cashing out. By renting, they gain the flexibility of a lease and freedom from home repairs. They can also invest more money in stocks, bonds and other assets that could appreciate faster than real estate over the next couple of years. “For someone debating whether to rent or buy in a market that's experienced recent and substantial house-price run-up, it may be better to delay the home purchase and see what the market looks like a year or two down the road.”" "For some, renting makes more sense", USA Today, 10 August 2006.
^ a b "There's nothing funnier or more satisfying (for me, at least) than watching the National Association of Realtors (NAR) change its tune these days. The latest news release from this sunny-Jim industry group finally fesses up to its past fiction, but even when it admits the bubble's going to pop, it can't muster the courage to just come out and say it. … the NAR is full of it and will spin the numbers any way it can to keep up the pleasant fiction that all is well. … [T]he cracks began to show in subsequent remarks from NAR 'Chief Economist' David Lereah. The head outfit that ridiculed the idea of a housing bubble for years is now crying for Ben Bernanke to bring it back. … The real problem here isn’t the NAR, of course. You have to expect these people to spin the facts for their industry. No, the real problem here is the uncritical press out there, which is all too happy to pepper every contrary indicator or bearish remark with an NAR official’s informed-sounding bubble denial. Never mind if what the NAR folks are saying doesn't seem to make sense (or contradicts what they said just a few months back). … It should have been completely obvious to anyone with a loan calculator and a glance at wage increases that those months of industry bubble denials were just wishful thinking.""I want my bubble back", Motley Fool, 9 June 2006.
^ Image:Ma sfh compare years.20060925.png, plot of Massachusetts Single Family Home Inflation Adjusted Median Prices, 2003–2006, from publically available U.S. government and Massachusetts Association of Realtors data. (Source:
^ Greenspan, Alan. "Remarks by Chairman Alan Greenspan: Reflections on central banking, At a symposium sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Jackson Hole, Wyoming", Federal Reserve Board, 26 August 2005.
^ a b "The home-price bubble feels like the stock-market mania in the fall of 1999, just before the stock bubble burst in early 2000, with all the hype, herd investing and absolute confidence in the inevitability of continuing price appreciation. My blood ran slightly cold at a cocktail party the other night when a recent Yale Medical School graduate told me that she was buying a condo to live in Boston during her year-long internship, so that she could flip it for a profit next year. Tulipmania reigns." Shiller, Robert. "The Bubble's New Home", Barron's, 20 June 2005.
^ a b Lereah, David (2005). Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?: Why Home Values and Other Real Estate Investments Will Climb Through The End of The Decade—And How to Profit From Them. Currency.
^ a b Lereah, David (2006). Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust—And How You Can Profit from It. Currency.
^ "TV's Hot Properties: Real Estate Reality Shows", Washington Post, 28 December 2005.
^ These include:
HGTV's "House Hunters"
HGTV's "What You Get for the Money"
HGTV's "Designed to Sell"
BBC America's "Location, Location, Location"
HGTV's "Buy Me"
Discovery Home Channel's "Double Agents"
Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing: Hollywood", "a six-episode original series chronicling the high-stakes, cutthroat world of real estate in a thriving market."
Fine Living to release a show in 2006 on home architecture
Fine Living to release a show in 2006 on "the anatomy of the real-estate deal".
The Learning Channel's "The Adam Carolla Project" in which the host of Comedy Central's "Too Late With Adam Carolla" (a former carpenter) "guts his childhood home with the goal of flipping it for more than $1 million."
TLC's "Property Ladder"
A&E's "Sell This House"
A&E's "Flip This House"
TLC's "Flip That House" (not to be confused with A&E's "Flip This House")
^ "For Whom the Housing Bell Tolls", Barron's, 10 August 2006.
^ a b Lereah, David. "Bubble Trouble: End of the Real Estate Boom", NBC News.
^ a b "There's a speculative element in home buying now." Lereah, David. "Average price of home tops $200,000 amid sales frenzy", Reuters, 24 May 2005.
^ a b Some builders will get caught with their pants down, because they built too much. … Prices got a 'little' too high, we got ahead of ourselves. … We need to catch our breath. … It happened in the stock market. How many people purchased Qualcomm, Lucent, I doubled down on Lucent. We became irrational during the stock market craze. … There were lotteries to get into [real estate] deals. I got into one! … Go to Miami to see the excess. … 40% of all loans in 2006 were interest only … Prices went higher because of the artificial energy in the real estate market … that’s what took the punch bowl out of the party. … We made a mistake. It’s going to hurt. You are going to have a double digit drop. Expect it." "Public remarks from NAR chief economist David Lereah", 27 April 2006.
^ "There's clearly speculative excess going on", said Joshua Shapiro, the chief United States economist at MFR Inc., an economic research group in New York. "A lot of people view real estate as a can't lose." "Steep Rise in Prices for Homes Adds to Worry About a Bubble", The New York Times, 25 May 2005.
^ "America was awash in a stark, raving frenzy that looked every bit as crazy as dot-com stocks." "Lowering the Boom? Speculators Gone Mild", Fortune, 15 March 2006.
^ "I worry about a big fall because prices today are being supported by a speculative fever." Shiller, Robert. "Jitters On The Home Front", Business Week, 6 March 2006.
^ "No one who makes a living in real estate really wants to see the end of this immensely profitable boom. For that matter, neither do most homeowners, who have been treating their homes like ATM machines and relying on price boosts to fund everything from retirement to vacations in Aruba. … But please don't shoot the messenger. My job is to report facts and expert opinions, even if the news is unwelcome. And every forecast I've heard from economists and other experts has projected a cooling of the U.S. housing market this year (though how quickly and by how much remain matters of debate), fueled by such factors as rising interest rates and lack of affordability. Even real-estate trade associations are predicting the boom's demise. … Across the country, real-estate agents tell me, the number of days houses sit on the market is creeping up, and inventory levels are on the rise. Both are early warning signs that prices are poised to fall. And according to the latest statistics from, which offers a database of U.S. foreclosure, preforeclosure, government-owned, and bankruptcy properties available to private individuals and tracks the number of these properties, new foreclosures were up 9% in February [2006] over the year before. If this trend holds, the company says, new foreclosures will reach higher levels this year than they have in previous years, especially in places like California and Nevada, where speculators are currently pulling out of overheated markets. … It will take some time—perhaps a few months—for homeowners to come to grips with the fact that their vinyl-clad nest eggs aren't expanding anymore, or, in some overheated markets, may even be shrinking. But once they do, they'll be more likely to guard them, and less likely to tap into them for everyday expenses. According to Freddie Mac, the nation's second-biggest buyer of mortgages, the amount of cash home buyers took out of their homes, which reached an estimated $243 billion last year, will fall by more than half in 2006, to about $117 billion. … Your success in good markets and bad teaches us a valuable lesson in how to weather the changes ahead: Do your homework, and don't get greedy." [italics added] "Is There Still Profit to Be Made From Buying Fixer-Upper Homes?", The Wall Street Journal, 17 March 2006.
^ "in areas where you have had heavy speculation, you could have 30% [home price declines]. … A year or a year and half from now, you will have seen a slow deterioration of home values and a substantial deterioration in those areas where there has been speculative excess.” Mozilo, Angelo. "Jitters On The Home Front", Business Week, 6 March 2006.
^ Seiders, David. "Housing cooling off: Could chill economy", San Diego Union Tribune, 6 March 2006.
^ a b "In retrospect, the real Fed funds rate turned out to be lower than what was deemed appropriate at the time and was held lower longer than it should have been … In this case, poor data led to a policy action that amplified speculative activity in the housing and other markets. … Today … the housing market is undergoing a substantial correction and inflicting real costs to millions of homeowners across the country. It is complicating the [Fed's] task of achieving … sustainable noninflationary growth." "Official Says Bad Data Fueled Rate Cuts, Housing Speculation", Wall Street Journal, 6 November 2006.
^ a b "Fed's Bies, Fisher See Inflation Rate Beginning to Come Down", Bloomberg, 3 November 2006.
^ "The overheating is greatest in markets such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington, New York, and Boston. The takeoff in coastal real estate started around 2000—suggesting that the speculative fever of the late 1990s did not die but instead jumped from stocks to real estate. From 2000 through the first quarter of 2004, single-family home prices are up at an annual rate of 8.2% in the Pacific region, 8% in New England, and 7% in the Middle Atlantic region, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Prices rose 18% in Los Angeles, 14% in Miami, and 13% in Washington in the year through the first quarter, says the agency. … Today's housing prices are predicated on an impossible combination: the strong growth in income and asset values of a strong economy, plus the ultra-low rates of a weak economy. Either the economy's long-term prospects will get worse or rates will rise. In either scenario, housing will weaken." "Is A Housing Bubble About To Burst? As rising rates send mortgage payments higher, demand may cool", BusinessWeek, 19 July 2004.
^ "The generalized bubble in housing prices is comparable to the bubble in stock prices in the late 1990s. The eventual collapse of the housing bubble will have an even larger impact than the collapse of the stock bubble, since housing wealth is far more evenly distributed than stock wealth." Baker, Dean. "The Housing Bubble Fact Sheet", Center for Economic and Policy Research, July 2005.
^ "Once stocks fell, real estate became the primary outlet for the speculative frenzy that the stock market had unleashed. Where else could plungers apply their newly acquired trading talents? The materialistic display of the big house also has become a salve to bruised egos of disappointed stock investors. These days, the only thing that comes close to real estate as a national obsession is poker." Shiller, Robert. "The Bubble's New Home", Barron's, 20 June 2005.
^ "Froth in housing markets may be spilling over into mortgage markets." Greenspan, Alan. "Housing Bubble Bursts in the Market for U.S. Mortgage Bonds", Bloomberg, 6 December 2005.
^ "Like other asset prices, house prices are influenced by interest rates, and in some countries, the housing market is a key channel of monetary policy transmission." Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "International Finance Discussion Papers, Number 841, House Prices and Monetary Policy: A Cross-Country Study", Federal Reserve Board, September 2005.
^ "The Fed, in effect, has become a serial bubble blower." Roach, Stephen. "The American economy: A phoney recovery, Drug addicts get only a temporary high. America's economy, addicted to asset appreciation and debt, is no different", The Economist, 26 February 2004.
^ "Let's assume for a moment that enough people get fooled, and the refinancing boom gets extended for another year. Then what? The real problem hits. Because if you think Greenspan's being cagey on refinancing, the truth he's really avoiding talking about is that we're in the midst of a huge housing bubble, on a scale only seen once before since the Depression. Worse, the inflated housing market is now in an historically unique position, as the motor of the rest of the economy. Within the next year or two, that bubble is likely to burst, and when it does, it very well may take the American economy down with it." Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. "There Goes the Neighborhood: Why home prices are about to plummet—and take the recovery with them.", Washington Monthly, April 2004.
^ "[T]he asset-based spending model has given rise to many of the distortions and imbalances evident in the US today. That’s especially true of low saving rates, the housing bubble, high debt loads, and a runaway current account deficit. … To the extent that equity extraction from ever-rising property appreciation was viewed as a substitute for organic sources of labor income generation, hard-pressed consumers went deeply into debt to monetize the windfall. As a result, household sector indebtedness surged to nearly 90% of US GDP—an all-time record … Secure in the asset-driven spending posture that resulted, consumers saw no need to save the old-fashioned way out of earned labor income. That’s why the personal saving rate has collapsed and currently stands near zero. … Federal Reserve policy makers have taken the lead role as proselytizers of a new macro spin that condones the saving, debt, property bubble, and current-account excesses of the Asset Economy. The examples are far too numerous to mention, but consider the following highlights:
"Chairman Greenspan has made light of traditional measures of household indebtedness—even going so far as to urge consumers to move from fixed to floating rate obligations (see his February 23, 2004, speech, Understanding Household Debt Obligations. Note: All references are to speeches available on the Fed’s website at
"Fed governors have also borrowed a page from the Roaring 1990s in denying the possibility of a housing bubble …
"When consumers hear from a Fed chairman that it makes little sense to take on fixed rate debt, they rush to floating rate instruments; not by coincidence, the adjustable rate portion of newly originated mortgage debt shot up in the immediate aftermath of Chairman Greenspan’s comments on consumer indebtedness. And should asset-dependent, saving-short, overly indebted American consumers feel at risk if the Fed assures them that there is no housing bubble—that the asset-based underpinnings of their decision making are well grounded? A record consumption share in the U.S. economy—71% of GDP since 2002 versus a 67% norm over the 1975 to 2000 period—speaks for itself." Roach, Stephen. "Morgan Stanley Global Economic Forum: Original Sin", Morgan Stanley, 2005. See also James Wolcott's comments.
^ "Over the last 25 years, I have warned frequently of these political, economic and historical (but not religious) precedents. The concentration of wealth that developed in the United States in the bull market of 1982 to 2000 was also typical of the zeniths of previous world economic powers as their elites pursued surfeit in Mediterranean villas or in the country-house splendor of Edwardian England. In a nation's early years, debt is a vital and creative collaborator in economic expansion; in late stages, it becomes what Mr. Hyde was to Dr. Jekyll: an increasingly dominant mood and facial distortion. The United States of the early 21st century is well into this debt-driven climax, with some analysts arguing—all too plausibly—that an unsustainable credit bubble has replaced the stock bubble that burst in 2000." Phillips, Kevin (2006). American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century. Viking.
^ “Signs of a deflating housing bubble began appearing a year ago, but for a while it was possible to argue that eliminating a bit of "froth" in the housing market wouldn't do the overall economy much harm. Now, for the first time, problems in the housing market are starting to seriously reduce economic growth: the latest G.D.P. data show real residential investment falling at an accelerating pace. The latest job numbers show falling employment in home construction, and retail employment has fallen over the past year, suggesting that consumer spending is running out of steam. … A snarky but accurate description of monetary policy over the past five years is that the Federal Reserve successfully replaced the technology bubble with a housing bubble. But where will the Fed find another bubble?” Krugman, Paul. "Intimations of a Recession", The New York Times, 7 August 2006.
^ "Alan Greenspan managed to make folks' lives ultimately even worse, in attempting to bail out his equity bubble with a real-estate bubble. Let's never forget who the un-indicted architect of this mess was: Alan Greenspan and the other merry pranksters at the Fed. Of course, those folks who didn't learn anything from the equity mania, and who will turn out to have gotten themselves trapped in the housing mania, really have only themselves to blame. As I have been warning for at least a couple of years now, all of this was going to be wonderful until it wasn't. That moment in time is upon us." Fleckenstein, Bill. "Face it: The housing bust is here", MSN, 21 August 2006.
^ "Is A Housing Bubble About To Burst?", BusinessWeek, 19 July 2004.
^ a b "Fed holds rates for first time in two years", Financial Times, 8 August 2006.
^ "The Fed should have tightened earlier to avoid a festering of the housing bubble early on. The Fed is facing a nightmare now: the recession will come and easing will not prevent it." Roubini, Nouriel. "Fed Holds Interest Rates Steady As Slowdown Outweighs Inflation", Wall Street Journal, 9 August 2006.
^ a b "Adjustable-rate loans come home to roost: Some squeezed as interest rises, home values sag", The Boston Globe, 11 January 2006.
^ a b "Lenders Will Be Spotting Income Fibs Much Faster", Hartford Courant, 1 October 2006.
^ a b "So, have you heard the one about the 24-year-old "real estate investor" who's $2 million in debt and still hasn't gone back to his day job? No? … Last week, a Californian named Casey Serin started a blog called "", detailing how he got himself half a dozen sinking properties and $2 million in debt. … After taking some courses in real estate investing, this eager kid lied his way into a slew of loans he, admittedly, didn't deserve, and now that he's bleeding to the tune of $20,000 a month, and the housing market is crashing around his ears, he thought taking his story to the Web might somehow help." "24 Years Old, $2 Million in the Hole", Motley Fool, 25 September 2006.
^ "The option adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) might be the riskiest and most complicated home loan product ever created. With its temptingly low minimum payments, the option ARM brought a whole new group of buyers into the housing market, extending the boom longer than it could have otherwise lasted, especially in the hottest markets. Suddenly, almost anyone could afford a home—or so they thought. The option ARM's low payments are only temporary. And the less a borrower chooses to pay now, the more is tacked onto the balance. The bill is coming due. Many of the option ARMs taken out in 2004 and 2005 are resetting at much higher payment schedules—often to the astonishment of people who thought the low installments were fixed for at least five years. And because home prices have leveled off, borrowers can't count on rising equity to bail them out. What's more, steep penalties prevent them from refinancing. The most diligent home buyers asked enough questions to know that option ARMs can be fraught with risk. But others, caught up in real estate mania, ignored or failed to appreciate the risk. There was plenty more going on behind the scenes they didn't know about, either: that their broker was paid more to sell option ARMs than other mortgages; that their lender is allowed to claim the full monthly payment as revenue on its books even when borrowers choose to pay much less; that the loan's interest rates and up-front fees might not have been set by their bank but rather by a hedge fund; and that they'll soon be confronted with the choice of coughing up higher payments or coughing up their home. The option ARM is "like the neutron bomb", says George McCarthy, a housing economist at New York's Ford Foundation. “It's going to kill all the people but leave the houses standing.”" Der Hovanesian, Mara. "Nightmare Mortgages: They promise the American Dream: A home of your own—with ultra-low rates and payments anyone can afford. Now, the trap has sprung", BusinessWeek, 1 September 2006.
^ a b "Doors Close for Real Estate Speculators: After Pushing Up Prices, Investors Are Left Holding Too Many Homes", Washington Post, 22 April 2006.
^ a b "Over 14,000 Phoenix For-Sale Homes Vacant".
^ Lereah, David. "Real Estate Reality Check (Powerpoint talk)", National Association of Realtors Leadership Summit, 17 August 2006.
^ "There has never been a run up in home prices like this." Baker, Dean. "The bubble question: How will rising interest rates affect housing prices?", CNN, 27 July 2004.
^ "Alan Greenspan, the United States’ central banker, warned American homebuyers that they risk a crash if they continue to drive property prices higher. … On traditional tests, about a third of U.S. local homes markets are now markedly overpriced." "US heading for house price crash, Greenspan tells buyers", Times Online (UK), 27 August 2005.
^ "Once a price history develops, and people hear that their neighbor made a lot of money on something, that impulse takes over, and we're seeing that in commodities and housing … Orgies tend to be wildest toward the end. It's like being Cinderella at the ball. You know that at midnight everything's going to turn back to pumpkins & mice. But you look around and say, 'one more dance,' and so does everyone else. The party does get to be more fun—and besides, there are no clocks on the wall. And then suddenly the clock strikes 12, and everything turns back to pumpkins and mice." "Buffett: Real estate slowdown ahead; The Oracle of Omaha expects the housing market to see "significant downward adjustments", and warns on mortgage financing.", CNN, 8 May 2006.
^ "A significant decline in prices is coming. A huge buildup of inventories is taking place, and then we're going to see a major [retrenchment] in hot markets in California, Arizona, Florida and up the East Coast. These markets could fall 50% from their peaks." "Surviving a Real-Estate Slowdown: A 'Loud Pop' Is Coming, But Mr. Heebner Sees Harm Limited to Inflated Regions", The Wall Street Journal, 5 July 2006.
^ a b "The No-Money-Down Disaster", Barron's, 21 August 2006.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Bubble Blog: A popular blogger explains how he predicted the cooling of the real estate market and what the mainstream business press can learn from sites like his.", Newsweek, 8 August 2006.
^ "[T]he overall market value of housing has lost touch with economic reality. And there's a nasty correction ahead." Krugman, Paul. "No bubble trouble?", The New York Times, 2 January 2006.
^ "Housing bubble correction could be severe", US News and World Report, 13 June 2006.
^ "Study sees '07 `crash' in some housing", Chicago Tribune, 5 October 2006.
^ "Moody's predicts big drop in Washington housing prices", Washington Business Journal, 2 October 2006.
^ "Housing slowdown deepens in Mass.: Single-family prices, sales slip in March", Boston Globe, 26 April 2006.
^ "Sellers chop asking prices as housing market slows: Cuts of up to 20% are now common as analysts see signs of a 'hard landing'.", Boston Globe, 9 December 2005.
^ "Bubble, Bubble—Then Trouble: Is the chill in once-red-hot Loudoun County, Va., a portent of what's ahead?", Business Week, 19 December 2005.
^ "San Diego Home Prices Drop", NBC, 13 July 2006.
^ "D.R. Horton warning weighs on builders: Largest home builder cuts 2006 outlook on difficult housing market", Dow Jones, 14 July 2006.
^ "Toll Brothers, Inc. (NYSE:TOL)", MarketWatch.
^ "U.S. Home Construction Index (DJ_3728)", Dow Jones.
^ "Toll Brothers lowers outlook: Luxury home builder says buyers still waiting on sidelines", MarketWatch, 22 August 2006.
^ "BANKRUPTCY CONSIDERED: Kara Homes lays off staff; talk of filing for Chapter 11 makes local clients anxious", Asbury Park Press, 6 October 2006.
^ "Kara Homes buyers may lose deposits", Asbury Park Press, 10 April 2007.
^ "Reports of falling sales and investors stuck with properties they can't sell are just the beginning. Property owners should worry; so should their lenders." Fleckenstein, Bill. "The housing bubble has popped", MSNBC, 24 April 2006.
^ “A variety of experts now say, the housing industry appears to be moving from a boom to something that is starting to look a lot like a bust.” "Sales Slow for Homes New and Old", The New York Times, 26 July 2006.
^ Lereah, David. "Realtors' Lereah: Housing To Make 'Soft Landing'", Forbes, 1 January 2006.
^ “Leslie Appleton-Young is at a loss for words. The chief economist of the California Assn. of Realtors has stopped using the term ’soft landing’ to describe the state’s real estate market, saying she no longer feels comfortable with that mild label. … ‘Maybe we need something new. That’s all I’m prepared to say,’ Appleton-Young said Thursday. … The Realtors association last month lowered its 2006 sales prediction. That was when Appleton-Young first told the San Diego Union-Tribune that she didn’t feel comfortable any longer using ’soft landing.’ ‘I’m sorry I ever made that comment,’ she said Thursday. … For real estate optimists, the phrase ’soft landing’ conveyed the soothing notion that the run-up in values over the last few years would be permanent.” Appleton-Young, Leslie. "Housing Expert: 'Soft Landing' Off Mark", Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2006.
^ "Hard edge of a soft landing for housing", Financial Times, 19 August 2006.
^ Toll, Robert. "Housing Slump Proves Painful For Some Owners and Builders: 'Hard Landing' on the Coasts Jolts Those Who Must Sell; Ms. Guth Tries an Auction; 'We're Preparing for the Worst'", Wall Street Journal, 23 August 2006.
^ Mozilo, Angelo. "Countrywide Financial putting on the brakes", Wall Street Journal, 9 August 2006.
^ Stiglitz, Jospeh. "Stiglitz Says U.S. May Have Recession as House Prices Decline", Bloomberg, 8 September 2006.
^ "Bernanke Says `Substantial' Housing Downturn Is Slowing Growth", Bloomberg, 4 October 2006.
^ "The golden age of McMansions may be coming to an end. These oversized homes—characterized by sprawling layouts on small lots, and built in cookie-cutter style by big developers—fueled much of the housing boom. But thanks to rising energy and mortgage costs, shrinking families and a growing number of retirement-age baby boomers set on downsizing, there are signs of an emerging glut. … Some boomers in their late 50s are counting on selling their huge houses to help fund retirement. Yet a number of factors are weighing down demand. With the rise in home heating and cooling costs, McMansions are increasingly expensive to maintain. … The overall slump in the housing market also is crimping big-home sales. … Meantime, the jump in interest rates has put the cost of a big house out of more people's reach." Fletcher, June. "Slowing Sales, Baby Boomers Spur a Glut of McMansions", The Wall Street Journal, 19 July 2006.
^ "With economic signals flashing that the housing boom is over, speculation has now turned to how deep the slump will be and how long it will last … conventional wisdom holds that as long as you don’t plan to sell your house any time soon … you can cash in later. Or can you? The downturn in housing is overlapping with the retirement of the baby boom generation, which starts officially in 2008 … Most of them are homeowners, and many of them will presumably want to sell their homes, extracting some cash for retirement in the process. Theoretically, that implies a glut of houses for sale, which would surely mitigate an upturn in prices, and could drive them ever lower. … The house party is over, but we don’t yet know how bad the hangover is going to be." "It Was Fun While It Lasted", New York Times, 5 September 2006.
^ a b "The Mortgage Mess Spreads: The subprime lending industry is getting hammered, and hedge funds and investment banks are feeling the pain", BusinessWeek, 7 March 2007.
^ "New Century Financial files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy", MarketWatch, 2 April 2007.
^ "Next: The real estate market freeze", MSN Money, 12 March 2007.
^ "Innovation has brought about a multitude of new products, such as subprime loans and niche credit programs for immigrants. Such developments are representative of the market responses that have driven the financial services industry throughout the history of our country …
With these advances in technology, lenders have taken advantage of credit-scoring models and other techniques for efficiently extending credit to a broader spectrum of consumers. The widespread adoption of these models has reduced the costs of evaluating the creditworthiness of borrowers, and in competitive markets cost reductions tend to be passed through to borrowers. Where once more-marginal applicants would simply have been denied credit, lenders are now able to quite efficiently judge the risk posed by individual applicants and to price that risk appropriately. These improvements have led to rapid growth in subprime mortgage lending; indeed, today subprime mortgages account for roughly 10 percent of the number of all mortgages outstanding, up from just 1 or 2 percent in the early 1990s." Alan Greenspan. "Remarks by Chairman Alan Greenspan, Consumer Finance At the Federal Reserve System’s Fourth Annual Community Affairs Research Conference, Washington, D.C.", Federal Reserve Board, 4 April 2005.
^ "In early 2004, he urged homeowners to shift from fixed to floating rate mortgages, and in early 2005, he extolled the virtues of sub-prime borrowing—the extension of credit to unworthy borrowers. Far from the heartless central banker that is supposed to “take the punchbowl away just when the party is getting good,” Alan Greenspan turned into an unabashed cheerleader for the excesses of an increasingly asset-dependent U.S. economy. I fear history will not judge the Maestro's legacy kindly." Stephen Roach. "The Great Unraveling", Morgan Stanley, 16 March 2007.
^ "Greenspan allowed the tech bubble to fester by first warning about irrational exuberance and then doing nothing about via either monetary policy or, better, proper regulation of the financial system while at the same time becoming the “cheerleader of the new economy”. And Greenspan/Bernanke allowed the housing bubble to develop in three ways of increasing importance: first, easy Fed Funds policy (but this was a minor role); second, being asleep at the wheel (together with all the banking regulators) in regulating housing lending; third, by becoming the cheerleaders of the monstrosities that were going under the name of “financial innovations” of housing finance. Specifically, Greenspan explicitly supported in public speeches the development and growth of the risky option ARMs and other exotic mortgage innovations that allowed the subprime and near-prime toxic waste to mushroom." Nouriel Roubini. "Who is to Blame for the Mortgage Carnage and Coming Financial Disaster? Unregulated Free Market Fundamentalism Zealotry", RGE Monitor, 19 March 2007.
^ a b c "Defaults Rise in Next Level of Mortgages", New York Times, 10 April 2007.
^ "Chicken Little's revenge", Salon, 19 August 2006.
^ a b c d e Lloyd, Carol. "As bubble sags, market critics are busting out", San Francisco Chronicle, 5 November 2006.
^ a b "Renters gloat over housing slump: Some who missed the boom are feeling vindicated now; resisting 'nesting instincts'", Wall Street Journal, 26 December 2006.
^ "My turn: The renter who blogs on real estate", The Times of Trenton, 2 November 2006.
^ "Chicken Little's revenge", Salon, 19 August 2006.
^ Coy, Peter. "Oh, the Humanity!", BusinessWeek, 28 October 2006.
^ "Blog if you love real estate: Bloggers are changing the equation when it comes to buying a house or condo", CNN, 19 January 2006.
^ "Blogs from the Financial Front, 5 not to miss", CNN, 19 March 2006.
^ "When Bubbles Attack!", Motley Fool, 19 September 2006.

[edit] Further reading
The Economist, 8 December 2005, "Hear that hissing sound?."
The Economist, 16 June 2005, "After the fall."
The Economist, 16 June 2005, "In come the waves."
The Economist, 20 April 2005, "Will the walls come falling down?"
The Economist, 3 May 2005, "Still want to buy?"
The Economist, 26 February 2004, "The American economy: A phoney recovery."
The Economist, 29 May 2003, "House of cards."
The Economist, 28 May 2002, "Going through the roof."
The New York Times, 25 December 2005, Take It From Japan: Bubbles Hurt.
The Wall Street Journal, 10 February 2006, Is the Party Really Over For the Housing Boom?, by June Fletcher.
Dean Baker, July 2005, "The Housing Bubble Fact Sheet" PDF file, Center for Economic and Policy Research.
June Fletcher (2005), House Poor: Pumped Up Prices, Rising Rates, and Mortgages on Steroids—How to Survive the Coming Housing Crisis (ISBN 0-06-087322-1), New York: Collins.
Fred E. Foldvary, "The Business Cycle: A Georgist-Austrian Synthesis." American Journal of Economics and Sociology 56(4):521–41, October 1997.
Paul Krugman, 25 August 2006, "Housing Gets Ugly", The New York Times.
N. Gregory Mankiw and David N. Weil (1989). "The baby boom, the baby bust, and the housing market, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Volume 19, Issue 2, May 1989, Pages 235-258.
John R. Talbott (2006). Sell Now!: The End of the Housing Bubble (ISBN 0-312-35788-5), New York: St. Martin's Griffin.
John R. Talbott (2003). The Coming Crash in the Housing Market (ISBN 0-07-142220-X), New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi (2003). The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke (ISBN 0-465-09082-6), New York: Basic Books.
Robert J. Samuelson, October 11 2006, "Home Is Where the Worry Is", The Washington Post.

[edit] External links
The New York Times's Buy vs. Rent Calculator
Center for Economic and Policy Research — CEPR regularly releases reports on the U.S. Housing Bubble
Housing bubble weblogs, cited in Newsweek magazine,[84] BusinessWeek magazine, and elsewhere — Ben Jones's comprehensive, news-oriented weblog, as featured in Newsweek magazine,[84] Salon,[117] and the San Francisco Chronicle[118] — Housing Panic, opinionated and irreverent bubble blog as mentioned in Newsweek magazine,[84] the Motley Fool,[19] and the San Francisco Chronicle;[118] broke the "liar loan" blog story of Casey Serin[74] — Bubble Meter, as mentioned in the Washington Post[76] and Newsweek magazine[84] — Calculated Risk, as mentioned in Newsweek magazine[84] — Bubble Track, as mentioned in Newsweek magazine[84] —, as mentioned in Newsweek magazine,[84] the San Francisco Chronicle,[118] and the Wall Street Journal[119] — Professor Piggington, as mentioned in Newsweek magazine[84] and the San Francisco Chronicle[118] — New Jersey Real Estate Report, as mentioned in Newsweek magazine[84] — House Bubble, as mentioned in Newsweek magazine[84] and featured in The Times of Trenton, New Jersey[120] — Monitoring the varying pronouncements from the NAR's chief economist, as mentioned in the Chicago Tribune,[23] Salon,[121] BusinessWeek,[122] the San Francisco Chronicle,[118] and the Wall Street Journal[119] — Matrix: Interpreting the real estate economy, as mentioned in CNN CNN/Money[123] — Another Borrower, Casualty of the Housing Bubble, as mentioned in CNN CNN/Money[124] — Paper-Money: A US Real Estate Bubble Blog, as mentioned in the Motley Fool,[125] also providing streaming video of the Senate Banking Committee's housing bubble hearings,[26] and the producer of "BNN" (the Bubble News Network) and "The Bubble Times"
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Real estate | Economic bubbles | Economy of the United States | Economic history of the United States | Financial economics | Interest rates | Mortgage

This page was last modified 22:43, 24 April 2007. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.)
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a US-registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.
Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers