Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trouble Ahead

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Signs of more trouble ahead for housing market

To be sure, an end to the precipitous collapse that triggered a foreclosure avalanche and wiped out more than $6 trillion of home equity nationwide, not to mention setting off a worldwide economic collapse, would be something to celebrate. And several recent market barometers - diminishing inventory, increasing buyer competition, slowing price depreciation, rising builder confidence - lend credence to the idea that real estate could soon rebound.

A healthy housing market has a decent balance between supply and demand. While at a quick glance those components appear to be stabilizing, on closer look there are numerous factors that are likely to weaken demand and deluge the market with supply in coming months.

On the demand side, the surge in joblessness, still-high home prices, the credit crunch and a dearth of move-up buyers cut into the pool of potential home buyers.

On the supply side, an assortment of factors seems poised to trigger new waves of foreclosures that will continue to bloat inventory. They include the expiration of foreclosure moratoriums, more underwater "walk-away" homeowners, pending recasts of option ARM loans, rising delinquencies in prime and Alt-A loans, and soft sales of high-end homes.

Carolyn Said goes on to detail problems that “could continue to undercut the real estate market”