And it’s just the first inkling of what’s in store for home sales.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET:
Most of the housing market data that we’re going to see over the next month or two – such as median price indices and sales volume indices — or four-plus months for the Case-Shiller Index – will reflect the era before the Covid-19 fallout. But on Tuesday last week, March 19, the real-estate world changed brutally. The five-county San Francisco Bay Area went into lockdown, followed in some form or other by the states of California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, and many others, each in its own way, more or less stringent.
Today, about one-third of the US population is under some kind of lockdown directive. And even in places where there are no official lockdowns, more and more people have started to practice some sort of “social distancing.”
For many workers, employment has already ended, and for gig workers, the hours have plunged or disappeared, at least temporarily. Commissions and tips have evaporated from one day to the next. There has been such a sudden surge in unemployment applications that state unemployment offices have fallen way behind in processing them; and official data won’t reflect the true numbers until state unemployment offices catch up. Household finances face huge question marks.
Today, a little over one week into the first chapter of the lockdown saga, we got the first inkling of what this may do to the housing market. And this is truly just the first inkling.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home plunged in states where lockdowns went into effect, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported today. And those lockdowns aren’t even fully reflected yet as they went into effect during the last part of that reporting week, ended March 20, or just after the reporting week, and what you see here is the prelude. This is the drop from the prior week, seasonally adjusted:
- California: -23%
- State of New York: -35%
- State of Washington: -17%.
Across the US, purchase mortgage applications dropped 15% in the week ended March 20, from the prior week, the MBA reported. And this is just the first few days into the lockdowns:
During the same week, ended March 20, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.82%, according to the MBA. This was up sharply from the record low two weeks earlier due to the turmoil in the mortgage-backed securities market that caused four mortgage REITs to collapse this week. But it was still much lower than the 5% mortgage rates in late 2018.
Before the coronavirus fallout, low mortgage rates late last year and this year had caused a surge in purchase mortgage applications. From October 2019 through March 13, purchase mortgage applications had soared year-over-year in the 10%-range each week, peaking at a decade high at the end of January. But this reporting week, ended March 20, purchase mortgage applications dropped 11% year-over-year.
Given “the widespread economic disruption and uncertainty over household employment and incomes,” the MBA’s report said, “potential homebuyers might continue to hold off on buying until there is a slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus and more clarity on the economic outlook.”
Mortgage applications to refinance existing mortgages (refis) went through spectacular gyrations. As mortgage rates plunged to historic lows a few weeks ago, refis spiked to the highest level since 2003, having multiplied sixfold from a year earlier.
Then two things happened: Mortgage rates snapped back as all heck broke loose in the MBS market, and the coronavirus threw uncertainty over everything. Refis in the reporting week, ended March 20, plunged 34% from the prior week and 41% from the phenomenal spike two weeks ago:
This data is based on a weekly survey by the MBA that covers over 75% of all US retail residential mortgage applications at nonbanks, banks, and thrifts.
Purchase mortgage applications are not a great indicator of home sales because a portion of buyers, including investors, buy homes without obtaining a mortgage. Large investors pay cash and borrow at the institutional level. Foreign nonresident investors often pay cash as a way to get money out of the country. If foreign buyers borrow, they may do so offshore. Also, some people who’re tired of earning nothing on their money while paying interest on a mortgage are paying cash.
But purchase mortgage applications are a gauge of local demand by regular folks. That demand had been strong, and is now collapsing under the lockdowns.
Over the next few weeks, more states and cities will impose lockdowns. And demand for purchase mortgages will hit horridly low levels: It is difficult to shop for a home in areas under lockdown, and home sellers are reluctant to show homes to people who are potentially infected. There will be some activity, sure, including via online platforms, such as open-house videos. But much of the activity will come to a halt. And mortgage applications will be early data points that document this trend.
In good Financial Crisis manner, stuff blows up despite the Fed’s effort to stem the chaos. Now hoping for taxpayer bailouts. Read... Four Mortgage REITs Collapse After Chaos Hit Markets for Residential & Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities
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Margin loans are great when the collateral price is rising. They are terrible when the trend is down. I knew that. These mortgage REITs execs with their fancy degrees apparently didn’t. More likely, they didn’t care.
Unbridled capitalism using other people’s money has no personal consequences.
I’ve found a flaw in the Fed and Congress assorted emergency measures. All these bailouts need a Bailout Fund in case they go broke. Just to be sure.
Sorry to interrupt but I have to ask WR: are you tempted to short this rally?
I just shorted the OMXS30 at 1438. Of course it rallied after that. Maybe I add at 1500 or so, if it gets there.
I think that Covid-19 cases are going to begin piling up in Sweden from now. It is now 3 weeks after the Eurovision Contest that they Just HAD to Have and even now Everyone is in Åre for 1-2 weeks of skiing – just to mix it up real good!
I think I am betting with the trend: This virus has so far been totally wiping the floor with the special, the smug and the arrogant, there is a rich vein for it here!
For those who are still stay invested (Buy & HOLD?) and for those planning to buy into this mkt, Where is the GROWTH & EARNINGS coming in the Post corona World?
I started going against the Mkt seriously when there was Mkt MANIA towards the end of Jan & the early part of Feb! i use inverse ETf, Bear MFunds and PUTS but with heges against the expected whiplash and periodic spikes expected in any secular bEAR mkt. Been in the mkt since ’82. gone thru more than one bear!
Those who know options trading , BEAR is as opportunistic as the Bull!
There are consequences to unbridled capitalism with other people’s money, the other people tend to stop lending when things go south. The Fed has hampered that mechanism by forcing a scramble for yield, so this is hardly unbridled capitalism.
I cant understand why if we are being honest about everything that has happened with this pandemic .it will not matter at all if the world as americans know it ,our economy,world standing and power is diminished to the point that we are no longer the world economic powerhouse .can we honestly say its worth the risk because i dont want to live in a world that we are not in that position will the world be worth living in as anericans if we are not the answer is easy it no its not.
If we have to spend our way out of this mess we must do it and do it now everything else does not really matter if we dont save our freedom and way of life.
Interestingly enough, I just talked to a re agent today about a house newly listed here in W. Colorado (near Aspen). He said sales aren’t slowing at all, and they’re using more virtual media to show houses. He also said he had a few new listings, but also some that had expired and people weren’t renewing them because they were worried about moving.
He then offered his help if I knew anyone who was afraid to come out and risk the virus. He’s a Rotarian. Maybe a bit of cognitive dissonance, but a really nice guy and I wish him the best, especially since Colorado will go from lockdown to serious lockdown tomorrow. No one is to travel unless essential.
Real estate agents never will admit to a slowdown. It’s bad for business.
I know several and they are transparent about the ups and downs in the market. Their national spokespeople are another matter…
“I just talked to a re agent today …..He said sales aren’t slowing at all…..”
Hahahahhahahahahahahah oh man the friendly real estate agent
“He then offered his help” Hahhhahahahhahahah
Aren’t people wonderful ?
Yeah, every RE agent I know is also trying to use this virus to sell more. “Let me help you find your dream home in this trying time”. Hahaha reeks of desperation. They’ll never admit to a slow down.
I think this is the first time in my life I actually felt sorry for a RE agent. He sounded totally defeated and like a genuinely nice guy.
I am a real estate agent along with some other lines of work. Anyone telling your things are great are lying. I have had two deals get delayed already due to the coronavirus restrictions. Basically a delay on closing by 30 days and it would not surprise me if those deals get completely cancelled.
Traffic to my website which has an MLS feed to my local markets has seen traffic drop by 40-50% within a matter of two weeks. This is when it should normally be going up. I am in Ohio and our lockdown has been going on for a little while now.
A lot of agents are chiming in claiming everything is going fine right now are really only looking at their existing closings. I think anything under contract now should close presuming it is further along in the process rather than early in the process. I have answered calls from two out of state buyers who were asking if they can walk away from their existing contracts before they close.
This is still early in the game but those saying everything is fine are asleep at the switch.
Everyone is too busy cheering their local governments shredding the US and their state bill of rights, turning us into East Germany in 1980 to buy houses, “let’s see your papers”. Don’t worry, soon the people who issued lockdown orders will provide housing for everyone, so you won’t need to work so hard at the real estate business anymore.
I am curious about the impact on real estate prices because of this lock down!
May be, no impact as inventory is already quite low.
I home in my neighborhood I was following, went into escrow 45 days back and then cam e back to market today with 5% increased price.
Looks like this coronavirus lock-down has an impact on real estate prices and it is increasing :-)
That’s a delusional seller that thinks they can still get the resulting price of their bidding war.
I saw this near me, a house went back on market at a price increase. 4 backed out inspections later, sold below the original asking price off season. Sold again a year and a half later for the same price, after one backed out buyer.
It’s not a flip, it wouldn’t cover costs. Most likely collapsed and seller is upping price a tad for psychological reasons. This example says nothing about market trend, except possibly negative because the buyer either backed out or couldn’t get financing.
Seller will have regrets, bet on it.
Happened to my mother in 1980 Rejected an offer and two years later ended up selling for less as interest rates spiked and the economy fell into recession
Yeah, lock-down… You speak as if that’s all that’s going to happen. Just wait until swamp creature #1 tries to call it all off, but either way the quarantines can’t last for months anyway. This virus will spread to most people and take out plenty of older homeowners. Should be good for supply and those priced out of the market if they still have a job. It would be immoral to sacrifice the elderly for the sake of the economy though, so I’m going to try not to complain about sitting at home for awhile (although I reserve the right to rant about what I think were any pre-virus causes of economic weakness).
A good lock down will last 6 weeks plus a few weeks of minor lock down. See China. You could also do very soft lock down but than it takes months. Or no lock down, but than half the people will decide o do a lock down on their own and it will take a year.
So think about the economy, be forceful with a lock down.
There are alot of people that have multiple Airbnb’s. Now they don’t have any customers but they have mortgage payments ?. They can defer their mortgage payments for a few months?.
Even when the lockdowns are over many people wont have jobs therefore they wont travel and demand for Airbnbs will be lower ?. Many people that do have jobs still won’t travel because they will want to conserve their cash since we will be in a recession ? People that lost thier jobs and have significant mortgage payments will be selling their homes which will put pressure on prices ? Builders that couldn’t complete their homes/condos will want to finish them quickly so they can sell them and get their money back. Therefore, glut of property on the market while demand is contracting ? Perhaps some pent up demand frim people that have been waiting to buy a home but the prices were too high? But will those people have jobs? Those people may wait to see how low can it go and stay on the sidelines longer.??
I could go on but you get the points there will be pluses and minuses. Everything has its season.
Short-term: Minimal to no impact on price change
Medium-term: Lower prices – Lower demand and increased supply
Longer-term: Lower prices – everything is cyclical. We had a good run and home prices are inflated in all major markets. It takes time peoples physcology to changes from +ve to -ve and then back to +ve
My 1$ of opinion.
It is not recession that will be the problem for AirB&B
International travel will not restart for half a year* so forget oversea tourists and vacation is a choice which a lot of people who can afford it will pass for this year. Especially the long weekend renters will be hit because that is often to the more densily packed places.
*) That is for countries that have shown to be able to control C-19 so the US probably not
‘not restart for half a year* ‘
that’s too optimistic!
Based on current immigration laws there is too much housing supply. BNB is a sidebar to the market supply dynamics. Government is already working to provide affordable housing, which will only add to supply. Home building technology lags general advances meaning new and cheaper alternatives to frame style homes on a slab. Cement prices are increasing. Insurance companies will tighten their belts after investment portfolios crash and home prices drop, resetting premiums lower. Cash buyers still need insurance, a constraint on RE speculation. The urban high rise provides the most cost effective solution, smallest carbon footprint, and lowest quality of life. The motorhomeless will be squatting Sec 8 in foreclosed McMansions. Big step up for them. Small step backward for mankind.
‘The urban high rise provides the most cost effective solution’
May be before Corona.
Now practicing ‘social distancing’ is hard at those high rises!
REITs wil large apt complexes went down.
In Toronto, on Zolo, the averages have been showing at the new record 1 Million for a month now, but when I regularly check a property of interest out of curiosity, they show the algorithm-calculated value dropping by up to 100K in the last month (they’re calculated daily) on a property worth somewhat less than a Million.
They’re trying to shut down everything here, with some success.
Reminds me of that old Vietnam (apocryphal?) legend:
We had to destroy the village to save it …
Wolf, your great, understated article has caused me to laugh so much: “horridly low levels” indeed. I figure that the FMV of most real estate, particularly commercial real estate, has plunged down to davy jones locker. We all lost huge amounts of net worth.
Who would now pay 2019 prices for most real estate? Banks’ real estate loans will now be largely uncollectible in full, particularly because states like California do not allow deficiency judgements anymore.
If the Senate majority’s planned $6 trillion bail out of irresponsible, over- leveraged, often fraudulently run companies goes through, will that be the metric ton sack that finally breaks the camel’s back? Will foreign countries continue thereafter just making direct agreements to avoid using US dollars or switch completely to another currency or the IMF’s proposal?
I pray that will not happen. Maybe the pandemic’s explosive expansions in other countries, some with even worse top leaders, will protect the US dollar’s status.
Electrical power is not at risk. Food will remain available for all future time, if we are careful, with less selection.
After the deaths cease, ultimately, the real collapse will be in opportunities. Huge numbers of incompetently run businesses (and related jobs) will ultimately just vanish, no matter any conceivable bailout.
Jobs can be created if we start passing laws requiring purchases only of fully, US made goods. However, they will be much more expensive.
Preppers will not need their guns because the state is organised and experienced in the deployment of deadly force, citizens have zero chance, 400 million guns do not matter.
No expert, tell that to the Afghans, the Vietnamese, the Somalis….
You can kill a shitload of people, but you can not conquer an armed populace.
Pass laws requiring the purchase of only US goods ? Huh That wouldn’t be very good for Boeing would it ? Do you really believe the world can go back to that kind of protectionism I sincerely doubt that’s possible at this point
Buggy whip makers didn’t go out of business because the were incompetently run and the reverse is also true. With C-19 it is more like bad luck and the absence of the right connections (to get money) than incompetence that will lead to closed businesses.
I think it’s too early to see what coronavirus will really do to housing.
I still believe that there is a demographic shock that was scheduled to happen. Boomers are aging. Whether covid-19 hastens that remains to be seen.
Personally, since I have two older sons who may need houses to own, I am looking at prioritizing that over stocks as I tend to believe both will be buying opportunities in the future. All we can do is keep our powder dry and wait.
“…two older sons who may need houses to own…”
That is an interesting statement.
How do you know they “may” need houses to own?
I have the same thooughts. After this, a nice small multi-family will look much more attractive than taking a 30% ore greater hit in 2 weeks. YOu may have management time or expense, and you may hit a vacancy patch and tenant issues, but you have CF and a real asset. In the short term, prices are gonna take a hit unless this is solved quickly.
Multi family = Children can infect their grandparents with C-19
Would not call C-19 a stimulus for multit-generational living
I agree that the demographic effect to housing was inevitable. Like Max Planck said about science, would change one funereal at a time. Yes this will be the buying opportunity for the young. Things moving fast, but still in first inning.
That’s what I’m doing Waiting and waiting and waiting
Lately it does seem like the day is getting close much faster though
Amen as to demographic shock. You hit the nail on the head. Keep in mind that many baby boomers are occupying houses that much of the later generation(s) cannot afford to buy — if a miracle occurs and the 2019 prices return.
Who will buy million dollar homes when health care expenses are going through the roof and they are living day to day on each week’s paycheck– with inflation creeping up sooner or later, because of the continued QE to infinity and beyond. Inflation will occur sooner or later if the money printing continues: read Chinese or Argentine or Weimar Republic history.
‘I think it’s too early to see what coronavirus will really do to housing’
IMHO there is NOTHING ‘good of any kind’ on the way! It is matter of how BAD it is going to be and HOW long?
Look at the millions unemployed, being announced today (3.2M) and every week here after!
Once the lock dow/social distancing passes 2-3 weeks it will leave a permanent SCAR in every one’s psyche in the bottom 90% of the society. attitude towards will change drastically unlike any before!
I think the market freezes for 6 months due to the federal stimulus, another give away to homeowners at the expense of renters. It looks like the new stimulus bailout would allow homeowners to forbear mortgage payments for up to 6 months if they are affected by COVID-19. However, renters are only given an eviction moratorium during the forbearance period, but they are not excused from making their rent payments. Once the forbearance ends, landlords can evict tenants and collect the back rent, then release the property, even though they had up to six months of mortgage holiday. This is basically a gift to landlords and leaves tenants exposed to deferred enforcement.
I am so tired of being responsible and having the government rob me at every opportunity.
I also do not think this was accidental. It was by design as a giveaway to landlord lobbyists.
I’m responding by leaving Denver in a few days, moving to the midwest and saving about 70% of my income.
As a renter: FUCK the US economy. Hopefully, I’ll come down crashing. The system wasn’t working anyway. For it to eventually work, it will have to self-destroy first.
It sounds like you already know where you are going to relocate to, but for general interest…there are an increasing number of apartment rent survey sites (zumper, apartmentlist, etc.) that compile median rent stats for 100+ metros.
Since rent is such a huge chunk of cost of living, the surveys provide a decent estimate of ongoing costs of living from many places in the US.
C19 will disrupt the data for awhile…but these tools are a very helpful newish development.
There are many lower cost alternatives to the rather insanely priced metros…and if we are going to be working remotely more in the future, that work can be done from anywhere, not just some 3k NYC studio petri dish.
That’s great as long as you can make the same money where you are going to Makes total sense in that case
As someone who knows landlords, I can guarantee you that in most of the country “it varies by state”, you as a landlord would be owed the money and could win in court, but you ain’t getting that lost rent money.
It’s not a good time to be a landlord.
A landlord has to worry about the mortgage,
utility payments “some types are owed by tenant, but depending on state, if the tenant doesn’t pay the landlord can be stuck with some of the payments”,
property taxes, and maintenance.
A better option “though more expensive” would be to cancel all mortgage payments, utility bills, property taxes, and rent payments until lockdown ends “they wouldn’t ever by made up”, but that would be very expensive. The government would have to foot part of utilities, not get that property taxes, and then the banks would have to miss out on mortgage payments “tenants still responsible for damages”. Overall though, this could be the least expensive option in long-term, especially as recession is starting and taking this step could lessen effects of recession so that people don’t get behind “and greatly aggravating recession”.
Forbearance has to be paid back. IMO, you will see at least a few people lose their jobs, fall behind, then list their house to try to get out of it all.
Good point. Forbearance not equal to Forgiven.
This will be a very hard reset. Hope you’re not a lender or a landlord anywhere worldwide.
The richer you are the more the state will protect you.
Lol it’s not free mortgage it gets tacked on to the end of the mortgage
Wake up the banks still get paid
“So tired of being responsible & having the gov rob me”.
Quote of the year.
I am a renter, I have kids & good job, I save, I conservatively invest (even in low paying CD’s, because I was scared of the ~$30k Dow Jones)… I am not willing to bury myself in debt for 30 years to buy a house that has doubled in price in just 5 years, despite low wage increases.
“Being robbed at every opportunity”
Gov allowing: Residential prop turned into commercial via AirBNB, super low int rates causing the everything bubble, Chinese capital flight, NIMBY HOA’s blocking new construction & density for “neighborhood character.
Every time the “free market” is about to function like one….the gov steps in.
This was a strong post…sometimes they get overlooked here in the crush of volume. To the extent you are an apt renter or otherwise flexible, the apt cost tools I pointed to above (and many others) can help find the most sensible rents, within as well as across metros.
That said, a tool like RentJungle illustrates just how much rents have gone up in the last 5 yrs…the new construction mkt has not been functioning well despite decades of ZIRP.
(Time For) “Cool Change” or (Hang On) “Help Is On The Way”?
The places with high housing will get hit the hardest, especially West Coast (Seattle, Portland, SF, LA) + Boise, Denver, Austin, pretty much all the hyped cities. High unemployment, fewer buyers, etc.
Midwest is somewhat better as home prices are not in La La land and mote tied to income.
The true picture will be somewhere in November as data is retrospective.
I wonder about the future job markets at those locations after covid-19.
We’ve having the game changer of the century.
Talked to agent friends in CA and WA who say things have slowed since unable to show property, but prices are not coming down, yet. I remain optimistic that RE will resume and/or bounce back after the virus runs its course.
the sticky nature of home prices means it always takes time to show up in the data. The game-changer is employment and what happens to those who own a home and will go into default when they lose their job.
As more houses come on the market for the summer season there are going to be those “distressed” sellers that will lower prices to move the home.
politicians will pull out all the stops in an attempt to avoid foreclosures but you can’t go on forever in a down economy.
As it is said, “Real estate isn’t distressed, but the owner sure is!”
re: “We’ve having the game changer of the century.”
A bit premature, perhaps? We’ve got 80 years to go, it could get worse (a LOT worse).
“We’ve got 80 years to go, it could get worse (a LOT worse).”
It has only been a couple weeks and parts of WS already sound like Thunderdome.
Of course, they also sounded that way *before* C19…
Just kidding…my guess is that Wolf has to put in a ton of work weeding out the most abusive posts, in order to keep the site semi focused on the basic topics at hand.
Give it a couple months and we’ll be arguing over the financials for the upcoming Soylent Green IPO, spun out from Softbank.
Dudu – You are correct from my 3 weeks of data as a Turn Key Rental prop Seller in Kansas City MO. I have gotten busier in the past 3 weeks and have not dropped my prices. I have paying tenants in my properties when I sell and they cash flow at 20%+ annually with my Seller-Financing. I have a feeling there may be a temporary flight to rental props like mine for the balance of the year while the DJIA continues to plummet.
My brother owns three rentals in the Austin area. He is afraid the renters will not pay rent and he will have to make the mortgage payments for a few months. Utilities are letting people not pay for a few months and some areas are putting a moratorium on evictions. Hope my brother has enough liquidity to last 3-6 months!!
home about a year or two, no vaccine, no back to normal
A relative just backed out of a condo purchase, not yet completed, in Austin, and bought a much better one for $60k less.
Pdxmtb He probably should have waited awhile longer and would most likely have “ saved” even more
3 weeks of data? Didn’t the financial crisis begin 3 weeks ago, intensifying 10 days ago? Even a rental can’t cancel in a week.
Check back with 3 months of data.
You are well-situated.
KC, huh… are you George Gammon?
Guess time will tell if this translate into 20-30% correction in the housing market especially in big boom cities like LA, SD, NY and SF. As much as I am a fundamental kind of guy and think and hope this will happen, I am also aware of the religion of house humpers and their gospel of property value will remain strong even after a crisis like this. Not to mention, once things are starting to clam down, private equity and hedge funds will swoop right in and buy up foreclosed or fire sale properties, especially with the FED practically begging them to take the money and run with it.
Of course I would love to be right so I can wipe the smirk off these house humpers and serve them a dose of that bitter reality pill. Also, would be good to finally be able to purchase a decent home without paying through the nose for a crapshack.
Private equity and hedge funds should not be allowed to buy residential housing. Housing is for families, not snakes.
They (Corp ownerships) have many more tax advantages as a “business” as compared to Ma & Pa small timer on tax form Schedule E.
Every game in the house is rigged.
And home owners get a lot more tax breaks than renters.
The effects of Coronavirus are temporary and things will bounce back in the next several months. The Spring housing market may be deflated but we will see renewed interest from buyers and more listings by end of year. I don’t expect to see much change in the Bay Area where many people are working remotely vs losing their jobs. If anything, the lower end of the market will be affected the most, with $1.5M+ largely stable. As someone who’s been looking to purchase for a while now, I’d love to be proven wrong.
I live in China, and things are almost back to normal. The real estate offices opened almost two weeks ago. I see the sales people walking around with buyers all the time. In a densely populated area, it’s all done on foot. Prices did not drop, although a small correction is overdue.. Everybody is still wearing masks, but everything except the schools are back to business as usual. The Gloom & Doom crowd loves to see every temporary downturn as Armageddon.
Roddy, the big difference is back in February, at the height of the healthcare crisis, the Chinese government was already planning for normalization and loudly advertising it. Good or bad, it gave people hope or at least something to do while locked up at home. That was a display of good strong leadership.
Here in Europe our leaders are at best running around with their hair on fire and at worst contemplating mailing us all mandatory cyanide capsules. Nobody is planning for the “new normal”.
Take Italy: new cases have been declining all week long. The worst affected areas are starting to breath. It’s the time not merely to plan for normalization but to loudly advertise it, just to give people hope and make them feel their sacrifices have not been in vain. Instead we get threats of more stringent lockdowns… have these people gone mad and want to take everybody down with them like Camus’ Caligula?
The Glood and Doom crowd may be wrong about the epidemic, as catastrophic as it is, but they aren’t wrong about the effects too long of a complete lockdown will have not just on the economy, but on society itself. I don’t even want to type the things I have heard from family and business contacts over the past few days: the longer all these people will be left at home with no hope, the more explosive the situation will become.
I just read somewhere that cases in Italy had ticked up again after falling for a few days I will have to contact my relative in Arezzo for the true lowdown
Italy is more leveling than tipping down much https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/
Frederick, while nationwide the peak was on Saturday locally the situation may be different or even very different. You can use the official data from the Ministry of Health to see the situation by Province and Region.
Since business has slowed to a merest trickle (and bar a miracle from the government I’ll probably shut down tomorrow because my vendors have long shut down and we are running low on supplies and spare parts) I have dusted off my statistics, unused since the Uni. Pretty interesting stuff.
I forgot to mention I live in one of the two most affected provinces in Italy so I am basically in my trench holding my Adrian helmet… and crunching numbers to keep occupied.
“It’s the time not merely to plan for normalization but to loudly advertise it, just to give people hope and make them feel their sacrifices have not been in vain. Instead we get threats of more stringent lockdowns… have these people gone mad and want to take everybody down with them like Camus’ Caligula?”
In general, the quality of “crisis communications” has been pretty poor at all levels of gvt…considering that is a big chunk of what a political job involves…well, nobody was thinking our politicians were great shakes before this…
A lot of it has to do with the lack of rational balance in information communicated…pointing out the good and bad developments in order to put gvt decision making in context, and highlight what might be ahead in the near term future…and why.
By stepping through the known facts systematically, people are reassured and are more likely to get aboard.
Of course, Trump is the worst at this, being Capt. McWingIt OffTheCuff…but the public has seen the schtick long enough to be used to it and adjust accordingly…understanding that Trump rarely really means anything literally…that any snippet is intended directionally/attitudinally.
Until now, as no one ever said anywhere, “Where are those communications consultants…we sure could use their expertise”
99% of the case deaths in Italy were among the aged, with up to 3 serious preconditions.
A forecaster in the UK predicted 500,000 deaths there, no wait, 20,000, or maybe half of those would be dying anyway because they’re so seriously ill, so let’s make that 10,000 … and that’s still just a projection, by someone who wants to instill terror into the population.
Every once in a while, the world needs a mania-panic, and this just happens to be it, sufficient to shut down the economic activity of the world for no particular reason.
Fortunately, even some of the media are starting to recognize this is BS, just political opportunism, and media scare mongering.
This will end up as one of the greatest manias of history.
I understand that you want to make the crises look small but using clearly made up statistics doesn’t help.
@char look at the Italy data here that Robt is referring to.
It shows over 97% are elderly and had comorbidities:
How long will that normal last in China with no one in Europe and US buying Chinese goods?
There has been talk about how China needed to “flip the switch” and service domestic demand rather than export led demand…for years and years…now may be the time they do it.
Too much too quickly would not be good for rest of world – shrinking goods supplies meeting soaring money supplies.
They can always export to Sudan if they are lend the money to buy the stuff. Sudan can’t repay but that is a small problem. Just Nullify the debt.
China denied the problem existed.
Then tried to cover it up.
Then “disappeared” those who tried to expose the problem.
Yet the CCP is the shining example of how this has been handled?
Soviet handling of Chernobyl was more admirable.
You are a true friend of the CCP.
Playbook straight from Chernobyl.
Some things to keep in mind: 1.) tech isn’t immune to layoffs, and 2.) if people aren’t traveling, there are *thousands* of Airbnbs that will need to be rented, sold, etc. if their owners can’t make the mortgage payments.
There have been a fair number of layoffs in high end tech jobs. Many of them provide services to affected industries. One example is the big 4 consulting firms implementing hiring freezes and spending cuts. A lot of unprofitable startups are seeing PE funding dry up. Many down payments vaporized in the stock market.
I know at least one person in each of these examples who are now out of the hunt for a house for the foreseeable future.
Have to disagree Ellen This is not only about CV us rather a huge bubble in nearly every asset class due to cheap money from the FED This is much bigger than CV and will not end well worldwide I believe but especially in the West ( developed world)
Have you ever been in the Boston area during a major snowstorm? Listings and sales crash big while people navigate the storm. A few years ago, Boston had so much snow that kept falling week after week, the housing market was slow for months. After the snow thaw, sales took off and made up the drop. This virus episode is nothing different than one long snow storm, except the central banks and govt is doing too much. After the virus panic is over, get ready for a massive economic jump that will retrace the entire drop.
To include buying out the grocery stores of eggs, milk, bread and TP!
Most realty price appreciation is a function of dollar depreciation. Whatever happens in the short run, if QE infinity continues dollars are going to depreciate against stocks, commodities, and yes, real estate. That can mean rising nominal prices even if real values fall.
“if QE infinity continues dollars are going to depreciate against stocks, commodities, and yes, real estate. That can mean rising nominal prices even if real values fall.”
Maybe, but to the extent that various asset categories inflate regardless of their fundamentals, their volatility is going to increase too…since they are not anchored to incoming cashflow (just the depreciated dollar/gutted interest rates).
Gutting the dollar just results in a temporary sugar high, followed by cross asset class booms tied to nothing but their own momentum.
The root of the problem has little to do with a “viral snowstorm”. The virus is simply the catalyst that pricks the absurdly fake leveraged everything bubble.
There is no China to leverage itself to absurd levels to save the world economy like it did last time this debt monster should have been slain.
Massive deflation is straight ahead.
Or, I could be completely wrong and everything is going to be totally awesome.
Even after the GDP snapback, inflation will hide some of the damage. It will take quite some time for the damage to unwind. A lot of restaurants will struggle for an extended period.
It’s not just restaurants. Anything BEACH-related will struggle for the foreseeable future.
Many of the businesses in these categories won’t just struggle; they will never return.
Struggle as not open aka closed.
I agree with you about deflation. We may already be in a government induced recession to be followed by a depression. 3 million lost jobs already and this will provide the excuse for many other jobs that won’t be coming back.
And if there is no money for consumers then there cannot be inflation. Sure prices can rise short term but that old supply/demand is driven by consumer money that is long gone. How long is that government bailout check gonna last? Pffft.
That’s an interesting parallel. Two differences from the snowstorm though…
1. Foreign buyers may be reluctant to enter for much longer due to re-infection fears or lingering travel restrictions
2. It’s very possible that many of the jobs being shut down won’t come back right away.
I’m as curious as anyone how this will affect things, but I’d imagine real estate goes down – the question is down a little or down a lot.
On the positive side where Boston is concerned, they have a large B2B tech sector which is probably doing fantastic.
Don’t be so confident about the B2B tech sector. A number of my friends in the industry are nervous about losing their jobs. Many of these companies are seeing reduced revenue and tightening spending. Nothing is booming from this except small, small pockets of medical research (few employees).
Zoom and MS Teams are all most need to work from home, and maybe a crappy outsourced help desk.
2. Or at all. Uber closed Pool with the excuse of Corona, seriously doubt it will come back. And there are many other examples.
The Bay Area housing market was already losing ground last year. Also last year, the start-up bubble started to deflate with companies shutting down and laying off people because they ran out of funding. Now the startup bubble has totally imploded. There is no telling what will be left after the economy starts to function again. Chinese RE and tech investors started evaporating last year and even before. They’re now completely gone. There are lots of vacant units that are owned by investors. And lots of new units coming on the market. The problem is they’re all high-end units. There are not enough buyers at that end – and fewer now than before. Everything has changed. This isn’t a simple snow storm.
And startup folks that do cash out have been moving to low tax states like Nevada or Texas immediately.
Not really. They just have been dying. Low tax states, please. Give me a break. Neither those states have the infrastructure of liquidity to drive those projects.
This business cycle was dying.
The way this works — and even the Gov. complained about it — is that startup folks move to low-tax states BEFORE they cash out. They may still spend the maximum time allowed in CA, because they don’t really want to move, but they have a residence and DL somewhere else and save a bunch in taxes, and their business may still be in CA.
Wolf’s correct about that phenom: Been happening between NY,etc., and FL for a long time, with the home in low tax FL and the biz still in NY, or at least some/most of it; many companies have a ”branch” in some pleasant area of FL where the boss/owner must go to review that branch, sometimes every weekend!
Friend told me of playing golf in the flight path of the Naples airport and seeing the private jets Friday morning lined up for miles and landing as fast as the airport could handle, especially in the season,,, apparently a bit distracting from the golf.
TX, FL, and TN are booming and have been for years at the expense of high tax states. CA has been an anomaly because if the start up bubble but if you think people aren’t moving from CA and NY and NJ and IL to low tax states you clearly haven’t been reading.
When it comes to our pal SoCal, I thin the aphorism “a man’s view of the [economic] future very much depends on how much debt he’s in” is probably very applicable.
After all, I’m sure there were plenty of Japanese in 1990 who were utterly convinced that their miracle economy would soon recover and their RE investments and stock portfolios would soon be roaring ahead again.
Also amongst many Americans there appears to be the tendency to believe that just because the country has been prosperous and powerful during their short post-WWII lifetimes, that this is the ‘natural order’ of things and that therefore those times will:
a) soon be returning
b) be eternal.
They don’t seem to understand that this prosperity was based upon industrial production that has largely now gone from their shores, to be replaced by the fake, transient ersatz wealth provided by cheap credit.
The Greeks invented a word for this “it’s our birthright and the natural order” mindset: hubris. And look where they are now.
Then perhaps those high end units will move to a lower end price.
Have family/friends in commercial construction (more than 40 years) in Santa Clara V…….scrambling now to lay-off good paying jobs because almost all future contracts are being cancelled. Almost all office staff already working from home if possible. These are not small jobs……..I believe Tesla already closed down with most employees getting two weeks pay…..multi-thousands of fairly decently paid…..the Valley is going to take a big hit here……despite businesses like Wal-Mart; grocery stores etc. hiring now there is gonna be a world of hurt in the wake of this mess.
Thanks for the info on the construction business. I didn’t realize that.
Hello Wolf, If you’re planning to look at revenue impacts to local governments, and likely or possible adjustments by local governments both short and longer-term, that would be welcome. Commentary on impacts to the dog chasing it’s tail phenomenon of endless high-end industry economic development incentives in already hyper-inflated housing price and low housing availability areas of the country would also be welcome. Your Bay Area “Black Swan” piece appears to have been prophetic. Thank you!
SoCal Jim wrote:
> Have you ever been in the Boston
> area during a major snowstorm ?
If you’re (obscenely) rich, and
close to the printing presses,
then you’re “comfortably numb”.
If you’re (trendy) poor,
the shit hit the fan 2 years ago,
when the Fed tried to raise rates.
“Hoovervilles” ( tent cities )
are spreading like wildfires.
Society just wants these
“deadbeats” to die, go away;
they fill our emergency rooms.
Heroin is a pain reliever,
religion is a pain reliever;
likewise, negative interest rates
and negative risk premiums.
The Fed is giving us our fix,
not fixing things.
The last two lines really capture it.
What is going to be like in the Boston area when the stock market has the steepest crash since 1929, 91 years ago?
Sorry, but these ‘time of year’ anecdotes about RE are like from 1958, before the finalization of housing. I’ve been a realtor in the manic buying phase and the crash phase. We are about to enter the latter.
When the RE market is hot people will line up around the block in a snow storm.
When its 2008-09 when McCaffee (the
anti- virus software guy) sold an estate for 10 cents on the dollar he’d invested, they won’t drop in no matter how nice it is outside.
Yeah Nick, so many people in real estate and finance cannot even imagine the potential of a no-bid market. During 1990-1994 there were epic buys. I remember in mida980s that San Jose was a s–though market. So many vacant buildings, you could see right through them.
I remember the early nineties situation in New England Too bad I didn’t have more cash as they were literally giving away great properties up in the Mt Washington Valley NH area
I bought 17 acres in Sag harbor, NY ( Hamptons) at a bankruptcy auction in 92 for 310k dollars unbelieveable bargains are likely again soon I believe if your liquid and solvent
Now is NOT the I’ve to buy real estate Not yet anyway
What did you do with the 17 acres? Would love to hear.
As I said earlier, I would like to do something similar with my dry powder. I’m on the other side of Long Island sound in Connecticut.
Iamafan Subdivided and rezoned from Ag to Residential and sold the lots I also built out four of the lots It was great since the process took over ten years and in the meantime the values in the area exploded And then my wife decided to take most of it along with the lawyers Damn
The lawyers handling the auction were from lower Manhattan and let’s just say less than scrupulous Luckily my partner was a 75 year old lawyer and he knew the game pretty well
1992 my purchases in San Francisco 3 unit Hayes Valley 129,000. 4 unit Hayes Valley 149,000. 4 bdr SF Western Addition 290,000.
Montana ranch land $65 per acre.
My Mistake in 2006 Bernal SF 917,000. But sold it for 1.6 Million in 2013
As jobs are lost properties will come on the market. Those buyers who were fortunate enough to buy for cash won’t be able to pay the high property tax bills assessed on their homes and need to sell. 1989, 2000, 2008 seen them all. Made money and lost money. This one will be worse
Most snow storms don’t cause an economic recession with millions of unemployment claims, shuttered businesses and -24% GDP. And therefore, all of the impacts to personal finances that go along with it.
I was in Boston for the major snow season of 2015, bought a property then and it was a great decision, value was up 15% by end of year. I was also here at the trough of the last recession, it was not that special, nothing was moving just like the rest of the country.
Jim you are back !!! Welcome….and as Johnny Carson use to say to Ed McMahon …” you are wrong real estate breath” …. the FED will throw everything at this, but the reality is that this bubble was just searching for a pin and the virus turned out to be that pin. Or, as I posted back in the fall, and asked who will be Toto the dog that pulls the curtain and exposes the fraudulent Fed as the fake wizard pulling the special financial effects levers. …turns out the virus was Toto. This is a mean and angry BEAR, and will be worse than the 1929 BEAR, I feel it in my bones, but I do hope I’m wrong. Again, welcome back!!!
Timing and location.
My next door neighbors put their house on the market six days ago in the mid 250k range, and it sold in two days for over asking price. That’s good timing as Minnesota is going on ‘Stay Home’ mode now.
Location: Between MSP and downtown Minneapolis that’s close to a light rail station. Like most of the homes in the ‘hood, it’s 100 years old and Craftsman style.
Update us when it closes. Unless it was an all cash deal it still takes 1-2 weeks to close and the new buyer takes ownership. If financed it takes 30 days before new owner can take ownership.
“Zillow confirmed its home inventory balance was 1,860 homes as of March 19….”
How long can they carry that inventory before puking?
1,860 houses x ~$200k/ea. = ~ $400 million
Good question. If money is free, they can hold them for a while :-]
But it still costs money that they don’t have.
Wow. As if anyone could have ANY idea of what’s ahead.
We are one week into lockdown, a lockdown that might continue for months or even up to a year. And you want to guess the future based on snowstorms.
If things go the way they very well might – and no politician wants to talk about this, especially a President who wants the country back to normal by Easter – there is going to be such a collapse of business, employment and personal wealth that the Feds can’t do a thing no matter how much money they print. If housing prices go up, it will be on the back of hyperinflation. The underlying truth is the US and the World are going to be poorer for a while, perhaps a decade, perhaps longer. That almost certainly can’t be avoided. So I wouldn’t expect any data from the first week – or month – or four months – to have any relevancy for our new future. This is all just beginning, folks, and no one knows where this will take us.
But subway & cheese-factory today both said they can’t pay their rent.
Seriously WOLF is this how corporate America really going to play the game going forward? “We’re just renters, can’t pay the rent”
So what, why is this even news?
So what’s Trump going to do pass a ‘fast food bailout bill’??
Subway does not pay rent. Its franchise takers do and this is just cheap support. Bet they still want their money
Mort gage = <OF, a 'dead pledge' ….
Frankly, I hope the NAR, PE, the Banksters et. al. Get SCREWED.
THEY deserve it ! In SPADES !
Parasites .. the whole f#ckin lot of em ! Will THEY get their Tarp 2.0 cover, along with the rest of the corpserate teeth-nashing Ferengi .. whilst the mopes drift aimlessly,unemployed .. scrounging for whatever CONgressional crumbs be thrown their way ??
I am SO steamed !
Quote of the day:
“Very few people would choose work over unemployment benefits that provided moderately more money.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham
But given the chance most people would choose to be in congress for its front running and insider trading benefits.
Lindsey may have once had a good mind. Lost and gone forever now.
I think he lost it completely after his “ buddy” John McCain died of brain cancer
When they were in Ukraine together filling their pockets with bribes.
Another topic that the virus killed off, apparently.
What a dirt bag to begrudge working people a few extra dollars. People who have footed the bill for all the criminality coming out of congress. SC please vote him out, find somebody else to run for the seat.
until the working folk see the benefit of a general strike that saps congress of the tax on their labor, i am dubious that we will see any elected officials that give the proverbial flying f*@# about working people.
Actually, most rational people would choose unemployment benefits that provided LESS money. No commute (extra hour or two of time recovered), no work clothes/suits, less wear/tear on vehicle, and just plain less stress and mental anguish, etc., etc., etc.
Polecat: The Ferengi accepted only gold pressed latnium for payment . The fed fiat funny money would not be accepted. The Fed and the Ferengi do follow the same Rule of Acquisition , which states there are no rules for acquisition . Like the Ferengi they are making this shit up as they go.
They sure are and they WILL fail
So our esteemed senators managed to allot 25 million from this coronavirus ‘relief’ package, towards the JFK Center for the Performing Arts ..
How much relief would that bring to many who are screwed as a result of these lockdowns of indeterminate length ?? Not some lobbyist, Not some Socialite on a whim, Not some Corporate donor .. but the lowly joe & jane mope !
These senators are just fucking with us, openly .. and with transparent deceit, whilst tossing few too crumbs to the plebs to have any meaningful and lasting effect.
I hate them all !
DC core is flooded with a lot “decently”priced inventory over the last 2 week. I haven’t seen this much inventory since 2015 when I moved here. Looks like speculators are attempting to exit right about now. I still can’t afford 700k 2bed unit, but maybe in a year will be a 500k unit ;)
It seems that few of your posters have heard of the negative wealth effect
Second in incomes in SF, NYC La, Boston are going to take a major hit. I know that some in the real estate industry think that home buyers can pay over well over % 50 of their incomes for rent/ housing , but that is not the case for many.
I have been warning that the stock market was pricing in negative returns for the next decade. I would make the same statement for real estate
Many people in these cities/states that I know personally are also now home trying to take care of children with disabilities with school out who aren’t receiving services for the blind, deaf, autistic etc. and will have to quit their jobs of this keeps going on. The Congress passed this with sneaky language hurting IDEA. Truly sick and disgusting bailouts for the wrong people. Maybe people will be so outraged at SOME point we will actually get people who care about Americans in office.
Just think about closing the schools; all those educators who had to depend on paying for all day child care for their little ones…..no more cash jobs for so many mostly individual empty nest mothers working out of their homes. There will be tons of those kinds of jobs that will be closed off. “Secondary” income jobs.
Maybe, but RE was the secondarily driven effect. More like tech bubble 2. Compared to 2008, I am not impressed with the RE wealth effect. The loss of tech will be a bigger stumble, but will produce some positive deflation.
We have family on Long Island, NY, both are in auto industry. Husband is dealership service manger, now only working part time. Wife got a raise two weeks ago, laid off a week later. They own a home, probably paid off but their RE tax bill is over $20K. Their 401K has taken a hit again, same as in 2008.
I bring them up because they are or were among the most well off people we know. Right now their employment prospects are terrible, their retirement is in jeopardy, and their home value is definitely not rising. The longer their situation lasts the more their savings will also take a hit.
If anybody thinks this is anything but deflationary, they are not paying attention. Hyperinflation requires money, which right now, people have a lot less of.
Petunia Property taxes on LI are insane My two houses had PT of 8k for a 1500 sf cape on quarter acre and 22k for a 3k sf Victorian on half an acre And it didn’t include garbage pickup or snow plowing of the roads because they were private roads I’m glad to be done with that
Back is the old days 10 years ago Mish used to talk more about economics. Going by memory, his definition of inflation was the increase of money supply + credit (debt) x velocity of money, provided that credit is marked to market.
No velocity with shut downs, the way I see it, but I’m not an expert.
Petunia, we have a shrine to St. Howard on our mantle.
(Jarvis), author of California’s Proposition 13, along with Paul Gann. Our taxes can only go up 2% a year.
Leads to community stability and rewards communal coherence as well as keeping nuclear families together under one roof.
“Proposition 13 was upheld as constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Nordlinger v. Hahn, 505 U.S. 1 (1992). Proposition 13 is embodied in Article XIII A of the Constitution of the State of California.
The most significant portion of the act is the first paragraph, which limits the tax rate for real estate:
Section 1. (a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed one percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property.
The proposition decreased property taxes by assessing values at their 1976 value and restricted annual increases of assessed value of real property to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2 percent per year. It prohibits reassessment of a new base year value except in cases of (a) change in ownership, or (b) completion of new construction. These rules apply equally to all real estate, residential and commercial—whether owned by individuals or corporations.
We sold our house on 2/1 and moved in with my mother in-law thinking we’d buy a new house within six months. Then this unfolded. Last week we rented an apartment for 12 months. We’re waiting to see what happens. A house we were looking at in the 7 figures went pending yesterday. Who on earth with that budget would buy weeks before what could turn out to be the next Great Depression? I’m not saying that it will be, only that it could be. The scariest part is no one knows where this virus/economy is going and in the immediate term USD is the most valuable asset on earth, at least until the fed printer works its way through the system, but I hope to deploy our cash one way or the other in advance of that. Watching with baited breath!
Smart move You will most likely be very pleased with your decision within the next couple years Only other advice I would give you is to put any spare cash you have around into Gold and silver in your possession
Waste of a rock. People who hold the food, medicine and armory hold the real power.
It’s a metal not a “rock” by the way and it hasn’t been a waste for me Bought at 1200 and now it’s 1600 three years later so it’s protected my wealth pretty darn well I just wish I had dumped ALL my fiat back then to be honest I believe there will be great opportunities in real estate going forward Just not yet
Give me a break fred. It a rock. Fiat???? Give me a break. You don’t own crap. Ownership without the bourgeoisie states collectively powered enforcement is tribal by nature. Keep on thinking you got your little kingdom. It’s always been a debt based con.
Hey I’m old and grow most of my own food so what the heck All I want is a nice little boat to go out sailing in the Med once in awhile and I’ll be happy They control it all and I say good luck to them Enjoy it while you can bro
Wampum. High quality wampum has consistently increased in value every year. Better than tobacco or pelts.
There are a lot of people oblivious to the economic impacts that are coming from this. Some people are still living in the bubble that the lockdowns will blow over and everything will be back to normal.
My friends that still are in Bay-Area are all getting early retirement in the coming months.
All will sell at any price to get out. The common thread is that they don’t want to be near people who fight over toilet paper at the stores.
Given the ‘golden parachute’ and early retirement package, and a lot of this cash will come from Trump’s “Bonus Bailout Fallout”, IMHO the company’s will provide ton’s of cash to get rid of employees’s ASAP. Who will not care about selling their homes at a loss, because the cash will defer the loss on home. The most important goal now is to get out to run.
The real question is where? They used to talk about Vegas, but no more. As we all know, its pretty much the same everywhere, except rural Utah. They’re not fighting over toilet paper in Utah.
Once retired, no reason to stay in CALIF at any price, the homes either become rentals, go on market at 1/2 off, or just become ‘jingle-mail’ ( return keys by post to bank ). LIfe is short, too short to stay in bay-area if your not working
And people who bought decades ago are so equity rich, they’re less sensitive to selling 15-25 percent below the peak.
Fortunately, West Virginia “suffers” from a negative stereotype. Otherwise, Utah wouldn’t be the only consideration and the tranquil, far from population centered Eastern Mountains would be in play and we would be hearing some of the local complaints re California escapees, now appearing in the media.
Yeah what’s up with that I’ve never been to your beautiful state but it does get a lot of bad press up in Yankeeland
My neighbor who is the local undertaker in Sag Harbor and very wealthy has a place up in WV He seems to love it so it can’t be so bad as they say
Stereotypes are so general and specifics are, well, so specific.
We have micro-climates here in the mountains. My bottom land has hay on it during droughts while the uplands are brown as toast. The growing season down in my hollows is several weeks shorter than up top.
Everything about the geography and life itself is different as night and day between the Southwest coal counties and Monroe, Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties.
Apartment buildings might feel the heat as tenants don’t pay rent , can’t be evicted and the landlord still has to make the mortgage payments.
Single residential houses will not come down so much as banks will take years to foreclose if at all, they know the trick with the last financial crisis not to dump foreclosures all at once.
Unless we find a vaccine, this is not going away.
We might have to come up with an instant testing and test and trace 100% of the population, and maintain control on all ports of entry, doable but it will take time.
I see apartment buildings and commercial real estate taking a big hit, single residential not so much.
Any bone-head can look up their home on Zillow. I do. It has probably peaked most everywhere and is heading south.
Regarding realestate, we’re heading into a period of quiet desperation.
Unlike the 2000’s, cash was the biggest mover this cycle. The 10-15% of nominal price contraction would probably do little and would help some people. The wealth effect wasn’t particularly impressive this to around.
Here in sequim houses are still going for premium. A house sold in four days for 1.2 million. Granted on the bay with a dock. There has been a flurry of pendings the last two weeks. I get the feeling they are flee buys. Safer out here in the boonies
Bet has a good point, flee buyers.
I read all the above comments and would like to add that one thing is missing in the boosterism POV. You are not taking into account that this will change people’s mindset and attitude, forever. What, you think in 6-8 months folks will peek out and say, “All clear, let’s go on a frenzy buy to get back to the way it was”? No, no, and no. Tentative steps will be taken, by those who actually have any money left. Do you think people will go and dine out 3 nights a week? Buy the 70K car? Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see it happening.
There was a bit of a crap house for sale about .5km from where I live. I went through it about 5 years ago and had a look and wouldn’t buy it, period. Ever. (I’m a carpenter). But, there is about an acre of usable land with a few outbuildings. I didn’t think it would ever sell as a mortgage would not be possible to obtain due to foundation issues. Someone from Victoria came up and paid cash. They are moving in sometime this April. Flee buyer.
Two weeks ago I was down island picking up greenhouse supplies. The vendor told me his wife and he had been looking at where I live online, for some property. I just looked at him and he said, “I’ll bet that ship sailed already, didn’t it”? (yup, about 10 years ago). In the last 6 months 3 decent properties sold to flee buyers. They paid too much, but they got out of the city.
My folks grew up in the Great Depression. They did well in their lives, but there was a pretty good reason why we ate ‘day old’ bread in our house, and rarely, if ever, had supper in a restaurant. I went through hard times in the ’80s recession. That is the reason why I have never taken on debt. My 36 year old son is very thoughtful these days as he returns to work from days off. Very thoughtful. My daughter told me last night, “Boy, I’m sure glad our mortgage is small”. She’s 40 and both her and husband are employed and won’t lose any work.
When this generation finally realises how tenuous this debt based economy really is, and how fleeting life can be, their regroup won’t be about buying more ‘stuff’, imho. 30 year mortgages? Look what changed in 1 month!! 30 years? Don’t think so.
Paulo Right you are sir I’m almost 66 and have developed kidney problems , arthritis and terrible peripheral neuropathy in my hands and feet so fleeting is the right word They say I look 10 years younger and I’ve got a younger wife to look after but let me tell you all it takes is a few bad breaks and you’re looking at things a lot differently pretty darn fast Enjoy your health while you got it brother but somehow I think you already do that
Agreed, people do learn.
And the internet Era helps them learn more.
Example – Housing Boom 2.0 was a pale shadow of 1.0 despite ZIRP being applied more vigorously and for much longer. CA boom 2 home sales volume was 60% to 70% of boom 1.
The median sales values can mislead if you don’t also look at the volumes.
Lower and lower percentages of people will keep touching hot stoves.
Eventually the builder/supply side will have to concede that the glory days are over and relearn how to build affordable product that makes sense with or with ZIRP.
Paulo, you make some excellent points. The changes from this are real and more severe than most believe.
Normalcy Bias is strong. Few folks want to take the red pill.
This is going to be our 1930’s as debt orgies eventually come to an end. Deflation first most likely, followed by inflation. Got to “hand it to the FED” as they kept this one going longer that I ever thought possible. Just glad I listened and followed the example of my parents (savings, no debt and leave beneath your means), who lived through the depression it Italy and WW2 and came to this country in the late 1950’s when I was a baby of 16 months. What a liberating feeling it is to live in that “old fashioned manner”. Even more important when we begin to see and realize what will bubble up to the surface in the next year….or when the tide recedes, so many “swimmers” will be naked and scrambling for cover.
Liquidity mismatch between the underlying asset and the instrument itself = huge liquidation risk. I like Sam Zell quite a bit but his ‘invention’ of the REIT as it is used today is inherently flawed. The liquidity mismatch plus the requirement to distribute all profits leads to a very fragile set up.
Some second homes used by northerners as winter homes in my Florida community have been put on the market. Unsold inventory increases. Canadians drove back to Canada early this year as the virus spread to Florida and Canada closed its borders to foreigners. Layoffs ripple through this tourist economy. The governor closed restaurants and gyms last week. My community Facebook page included a complaint New Yorkers are visiting increasing risk of infections. A Canadian reported about the drive back to Ontario. On one highway all the rest areas are closed.
Canadian dollar being in the tank sure doesn’t help
How would one Prove to a Pharmacy, when you require Medication, that your ‘Gold’ is real ? Gold/silver is then indeed comparable to a ROCK …
Canadian dollar in the tank is why I hear the road building blast every aft at 3:00 pm, and why the logging trucks are back hauling.
The price for lumber is still pretty high, and must fall a lot lower before the layoffs begin. It happened in the 80s, but we were at par or higher, then. Now, it is kept low on purpose.
Anecdotal: we drove from SW FL to the NC mountains last week, and almost every license plate we saw was Quebec, Ontario, or NY/NJ. Florida is about to be out of businesses the invaders leave two months early.
that’s “business as” because I can’t type as fast as I think I can.
1) The prime dealers avoid the annoying small business.
2) The Fed will open corner stores across America that will lend
directly to small business.
3) The Fed 90 days Real Good Bills to small business to pay
their employees. Real Goods Bills to keep America running during the emergency period..
4) There was very low risk during the tranquility period. Prime dealers accepted junk as collateral for repo loans. Junk was normal.
5) Since late Feb 2020 junk is junk.
6) The prime dealers reject junk and accept only high quality US 3M.
7) There is high demand for 3M and a dwindling supply.
8) When congress will approve $10T for you and me, US treasury will flood the repo market a new fresh supply.
9) Lubricating the liquidity system is more important than Corona
10) If congress will fail, they will ignite a global financial crisis.
1) The young, beautiful med student is a waitress with sharp elbows.
2) Her main jog is selling alcohol drinks to her happy customers.
3) Now both the restaurant and school are closed.
4) The young student deliver food to the elderly and leave the package
outside the door, for social distancing.
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is going to enable early graduation to let their students help during the pandemic. Many other medical schools will follow suit.
It sounds like the real demand is going to be for ventilator monitors (24/7) and I wonder how much training that basically requires for the 95% of the time when nothing exceptional is occurring with the patient.
I think normal times ICU staffing is one nurse per two patients and one respiratory tech per patient on ventilator.
My guess is that those ratios are going to have to be loosened in hard hit areas…especially with regard to fully trained respiratory techs. The monitoring burden is simply too enduring and hopefully can be mostly handled by very narrowly trained techs, very quickly educated.
More advanced skills may be needed much less continuously and therefore can hopefully be spread across a greater number of patients.
Thank you for keeping up the pace of writing during the crisis. Much appreciated.
On a related note to m-REITs and housing, when will Fed rev reflect the healthscare reality? Do you predict a drop off similar to 2001 and 2008?
Federal government current tax receipts (NA000327Q)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
Federal tax receipts will take a very large hit because individuals have lost jobs and gigs, capital gains taxes are taking a hit, and companies will be reporting losses to a larger extent than before. Today’s unemployment claims give you an idea where federal tax receipts are going.
The second wave is the one to worry about, if the virus mutates into something more deadly like the Spanish ( Kansas) flu did in 1918-1919 it’s “Katy, bar the door”. It will show up in November.
As to Real Estate, we’re beginnig to see more long term rentals here in Sonoma County as those who bought homes at a premium to use as vacation rentals are doing what they can to get some income.
At best we’re going to see a LOT of new inventory over the next year and substantially lower rents and home prices.
Tourism is 10% (Officially) of Sonoma County’s GDP, it’s gone for the forseeable future.
401K’s are turning into 101K’s and we’re seeing a lot of people who had good incomes facing job losses or reduced incomes.
How far will prices drop over the next year and how long will the depression last?
At best, a lot and a long time.
Good luck to all.
Tom , you think there will be a “second wave” in November that is worse? That’s a scary thought indeed Hope you’re wrong
No reason we can’t have another new deadly but different virus at the same time. It’s all RNA/DNA odds and statistics.
Hopefully, the virus imitates theater like The Andromeda Strain and not life like Spanish-Kansas flu…and mutates into a completely harmless organism.
Variations on your theme have been, are now, and will be possible.
Avoidance is imperfect, but the only reasonable personal solution.
Live in a low-populated area.
Where I live old folks down the street take note of who drives down the road. Seriously. I had a Christmas tree cut on our property about 10 years ago and I knew about it before the guy got home. (family friend cut the tree). Anyway, neighbour phoned with the heads up as the truck drove away.
With houses where I live equipped with long bolt steel doors, double pane windows, and security cameras to see who is coming up the driveway, it gives the homeowner plenty of time to lock, load, and aim at the active point of entry. The instructions will be to fire, then yell “stop or I’ll shoot”. Then repeat over and over “I was afraid for my life”. Any questions?
Michigan will suffer economically as it’s chief job sector are auto’s, tourism and government. Autos and tourism are discretionary purchases that are expected to take a big hit.
Where I live in Northern Michigan, the security problem is less intense than the urban centers. Two days ago I had to chase a big bear off my property when I returned from a walk. He was chewing on a plastic downspout extension on the back of the house. Let it be know on community website that I have a furry friend that is hungry.
Dunno about the housing market, but it’s not bothering the equities market as of right now. We just got record new unemployment claims, response is the market immediately jumps, 3rd day going up. That means that more are willing to buy at today’s prices than were selling at yesterday’s (well I think that’s what it means).
If that’s a bouncing animal, the thing is made outta time-traveling superelastic, covered in fiscal flesh.
More unemployed more money for Wall St, the ratio is about 3 or 4 to 1 right now. Corruption so ripe you can smell it. This trillion goes down a rat hole, stocks bounce, the insiders sell, and the rats wait around for the second trillion. This is bigger than the Iraq war,2003. (Bernanke loaded pallets of $100 bills onto C1s). By 2008 a lot of money had gone missing, he printed more. Pentagon claimed at the time hundreds of billions. Monetary base took a moonshot. No inflation because none of it entered the economy. MV will go negative. Money will leave the economy as fast as it is created. The last act is pretty much a given.
Yup, I guess resume the melt up at all cause. 3 days straight double and almost triple digit gain with 3+ M unemployment claim filed and multiple companies either withdrew forecast or warn bigger revenue hit soon. I swear if the stock market is a person, it would be the most severe bipolar disorder sufferer with complete disregard to reality.
3.3 million file for unemployment benefits. Just staggering. Do we even understand the implications? Wonder what the modern age soup kitchen will look like with the corona virus.
Fan, clearly most folks don’t have a clue about this first cohort of 3.3MM unemployed that have actually been officially filed.
When the official unemployment was announced in 09, I just had to laugh, as it was clear to me that 15% was close to the folks still employed, at least in the construction industry; everyone I knew was off work, and it was hundreds of mostly top folks with solid resumes.
1. This number is only reflecting as of 20 March, the berry berry beginning.
2. This number is only reflecting the ”official” count, those folks with wage work where the employer has actually been paying their side of the deductions, not putting that into their own pocket. In other words, not the many many millions being paid ”cash under the table,” or ”gig” work, etc., etc.
Adding both of those, or more likely, multiplying them in some degree will likely end with aprox. 7-15MM official unemployment, soon; and at least double that in reality.
And re RE, in summer 06 I saw a brochure for a small house for sale, on a canal with ”sailboat” water to the gulf for $1MM or so,,, a year later it was on auction for $225K.
Imafan : Better hope those modern soup kitchens have WiFi and USB plugins. ;) ;)
On a more serious note, those unheard of UI filing numbers don’t seem to have impacted the stock market : DOW up almost 1100 as I write this.
I guess the financial vampires have awakened and like what they see.
Stay well all.
Because the stock market has no correlation to the real economy. The same reason Tesla can be $900 a share.
“Wonder what the modern age soup kitchen will look like with the corona virus.”
“Long handled serving spoons” (At least 6ft)
In the last two days. reverse repo was larger than repo.
(in billions USD)
Wednesday: Repo 10.9+2.255=13.155; Reverse Repo 97.411
Tuesday: Repo 17.85+13.5=31.35; Reverse Repo 41.516
Monday: Repo 3+30.5+4=37.5; Reverse Repo 73,829
Time to just shut it down. Irrelevant program.
How much would it surprise you to discover that the shit has not yet hit the fan?
How much do you suppose it would surprise Wall St.?
I am playing the inflation bounce, in energy, interest rates, just not sure about RE. Lots of moving parts. Property taxes, zoning laws change, you can own a beautiful view lot one day and vacant property without legal access, or utilities, the next. Insurance companies stop coverage. Climate change based forbearance, will I be underwater in ten years, or have no water in ten years? Rock and sagebrush mountain tops in Riverside Co have HOAs? I would like my own rock where I can thumb my nose at the world, does my rock come with a keyed access gate?
Been there. Have a 1/2 acre unimproved lot that had a county plot showing a county road to be built. Instead the county bought all the property to the north to add to a forest preserve. Lot now has no access. Taxed as if it is a vacant lot on a road and buildable.
Understanding the Inevitable
We all know by now that the Fed is doing QE4++ at a tune of about $75 billion per day.
I hope we all know what this means.
First, the Fed is buying Treasuries from the OPEN Market; from primary-dealers, exactly.
Second, the primary dealers create a selling market for Treasury holders whoever they are. After the dealers buy, they turn around and sell to the Fed.
Third, the Fed pays the dealers by increasing their reserve balances at the Fed (this creates money out of thin air).
Fourth, the dealers (which are owned by big banks) use these reserves (a) primarily to buy more Treasuries (with much lower coupons) at the auctions (the primary market) so the Treasury department can fund the government deficits, (b) for payments between banks, (c) to get cash currency (think ATMs) from the Fed. Whether the banks can use reserves substantially for something else remains to be seen.
Fifth, and probably most disturbing, the Fed is buying Long Term Treasuries out there that have HIGH coupons (compared to today’s <1 interest). The holders of these higher coupons longer term notes and bonds are your Pension and Retirement Funds. When these high coupon bonds are given up (to the Fed) 2 important things happen:
(a) your funds have lost future SECURED income steams. They will likely use the money they got selling these goverment bonds for more risky higher yielding sheety securities or 'investments'.
(b) the high coupons which the Treasury is supposed to be paying your funds, now go to the Fed instead (since they bought the bond). Since the Fed gives the Treasury back most of its earnings, the Treasury actually saves money and lowers the interest payments it has to make in the future (since the interest now is close to zero).
It is no wonder the people at high places are not sweating it. This is actually doing just great for them.
You are the loser.
They are grabbing while the grabbing is good, because they know it won’t be for very long.
The subject of monetizing is important, they aren’t simply monetizing USG spending, they monetize bank trading desks, they monetize EM US bond issuers, like Turkey and Arg. They also may monetize Congressional spending. The scope of their operations suggests panic. They hope something works, they need everything to work. Right now all the arrows are pointing down, but we only need one catalyst to break this market, either the EM, or government spending, or corporate debt. They haven’t a chance. The virus took away the service economy. Fed is a monetizing agent, disconnected from economic policy. They expanded their role to that of providing liquidity to all parties, and they can’t do it. Taxpayers should realize this, and cut the cord, to minimize further damage.
That is 75 billion in assets, in a bond market that is 40+ trillion. Your not getting it.
I’am done voting.
We are in a debt crisis.
Social Security is at risk.
So what do they do.
Create unemployment that pays double the wage for the unemployed. An incentive to sit home even when things clear.
Pay out bonuses to government employees that have not been damaged and are on vacation.
Pay out funds to replace the funds used to buy back stocks and pay huge bonuses. Funds that should be on company balance sheets as reserves for a crisis. They kept all the incompetent managers and ownership.
Pay out funds for such idiotic causes as the Kennedy center in the middle of a pandemic.
No more. I regret ever wearing a US Army uniform in my youth. Screw this pack of morons.
Totally agree on the 25 million to spruce up their cabaret joint was just giving the rest of us the middle finger. And here we sit, taking it.
600 month is 30/day. Don’t worry, the overwhelming vast majority of folks will go back to work as soon as possible. Americans generally like to work.
Can someone point me to an explanation of how much money is in the senate bill? I read Mnunchin has a 3.5 trillion fund to administer as he pleases. I read the entire bill was 2 trillion, sometimes 2.2 trillion, which 0.2 trillion is a lot money still in my book.
I am confused and that is what the powers that be want. Can someone unconfuse me on this one issue. Thanks if so.
There seems to be a lot of concern, worry/fear about $.
I have not been in the market for 10 yrs SINCE I bought PM futures on the Comex before I realized it was a rigged mkt.
VERY DANGEROUS GAME.
So I used fiat to buy PM and after 8 yrs of waiting for gold to go to a $5k-$10k/oz…..(which I think will still happen…maybe)
I decided to be a “Cowboy,” & jump into equities 7 days ago.
Trading OXY,XOM,COP ….buying usually 1,000 shares in the morning & selling in 1-2 hrs…..knocking down an average NET of $1,000/day, only dumping $1,400 one day out of 7.
Not bragging, just making a point that $ is a mindset and if you want or need more then do something different…dust off old skills, learn new & don’t worry and mope around!
There has been a lot of easy money made on both sides these days. I wish markets will always like this. Like you I choose to trade the market I have and make money vs waiting for the market I think should be here
I do the same, but use 3X leveraged ETF e.g. SOXL, SOXS, n others.
My wife and I missed our chance to buy a vacation home in Naples (FL) 6 or 7 years ago, it’d be nice if housing cratered and gave us a second chance.
I think your patience would be rewarded. Why Naples FL ? Just curious
We lived there for a while (renters) and it is one of the most beautiful places to live in the USA, if you like beaches and oceans and flowers, nature, etc. Great winters, and at least years ago still had a “small town” feel to it. It is a city with a lot of money, really good infrastructure, palm trees planted in the medians, nice city zoo and city parks on the ocean with beach volleyball pits and BBQ areas, sidewalks and bike paths all over the place. It is just a great place to live. Low crime, high quality of life. All the water sports you want (just watch out for the snakes and ‘gators), all the sunshine you want, plenty of things for the kids to do, fruit and citrus trees in your yard…anyway, I think you can tell we really liked it down there.
Thanks Nick for taking time to answer.
I am in southern CA and I like hot weather better.
Let’s see how does this event impact housing.
Fed is trying its best to keep the bubble inflated.
Will the last person leaving New York State turn out the lights?
Greater Toronto area Canada sales for the month of March are up 23 percent with prices up 14 percent year over year. Prices will move up parabolic once the Covid19 scare is over with yearly increases of 25 to 30 percent. Mortgage rates will plummet soon once the liquidity crunch is over. The Greater Toronto area is the next California.