Category Archives: Housing Market

Housing Starts Unexpectedly Sink, Multi-Family in Huge 34% Retreat Year-Over-Year

Construction spending for the second quarter is off to a slow start as judged by housing starts. The Econoday consensus was for a 1% rise. Instead, starts declined nearly 5% from the initial June report, now revised lower.

Construction Indicators Slide

Mortgage News Daily reports Construction Indicators Slide, Housing Starts Suffer.

After posting unexpectedly high numbers in June, all three residential construction indicators lost ground in July, and one, housing starts, is now running below its year-ago rate. While the softening is primarily in the multi-family sector, starts have declined in four of the last five months and permits in three of the last four.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said privately owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,155,000 units, a 4.8 percent decline from June’s estimate of 1,213,000, which was revised down from 1,215,000. July starts were down 5.6 percent from the 1,223,000-unit annual rate in July 2016.

Starts failed to meet even the lowest predictions of analysts polled by Econoday. Their estimates ranged from 1.174 million to 1.250 million with a consensus of 1.225 million.

Single family starts were at a rate of 856,000, down 0.5 percent from a month earlier but 10.9 percent higher than the same month in 2016. Multifamily starts plunged 17.1 percent to 287,000 units and are down 35.2 percent year-over-year.

The performance of permits was like that of housing starts, down 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,223,000 units. Permits however held on to an annual increase of 4.1 percent. The June permitting rate was revised higher, from 1,254,000 to 1,275,000.

Analysts had expected permits to decline, with a consensus estimate of 1.246 units. Here again the drop was outside the low end of the range of 1.230 to 1.270 million units.

Authorizations for single-family homes were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 811,000, unchanged from June and 13.0 percent higher on an annual basis. Multi-family permits were 12.1 percent lower than the previous month at 377,000. This was down 11.7 percent year-over-year.

Permits:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/residential-construction-2017-08-19c1.png?w=1249&h=700

Starts:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/residential-construction-2017-08-19b1.png?w=1258&h=700

Units Under Construction:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/residential-construction-2017-08-19a.png?w=1275&h=700

Second-Half Outlook:

Econoday came up with this overall assessment: “Putting all the pieces together: starts are down 5.6 year-on-year in weakness offset by permits which are up 4.1 percent. Permits are the forward looking indication in this report and today’s news, despite July weakness and general volatility in the data, is good. The housing sector, even with starts being soft, looks to be a contributor to the second-half economy.”

While it’s true that it takes a permit to begin construction, a permit does not guarantee construction will start anytime soon. At economic turns, they won’t.

Even assuming those permits turn into starts, the data still does not look to be a contributor to the second-half economy.

The number of permits and starts for multifamily explains what you need to know. 5-unit or more buildings will add more to construction spending numbers than 1-unit buildings. Permits and starts for multifamily structures plunged.

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Serious Credit Card Delinquencies Rise for the Third Straight Quarter: Trend Not Seen Since 2009

Every quarter, the New York Fed publishes a report on Household Debt and Credit.

The report shows serious credit card delinquencies rose for the third consecutive quarter, a trend not seen since 2009.

Let’s take a look at a sampling of report highlights and charts.

Household Debt and Credit Developments in 2017 Q2

  • Aggregate household debt balances increased in the second quarter of 2017, for the 12th consecutive quarter, and are now $164 billion higher than the previous (2008 Q3) peak of $12.68 trillion.
  • As of June 30, 2017, total household indebtedness was $12.84 trillion, a $114 billion (0.9%) increase from the first quarter of 2017. Overall household debt is now 15.1% above the 2013 Q2 trough.
  • The distribution of the credit scores of newly originating mortgage and auto loan borrowers shifted downward somewhat, as the median score for originating borrowers for auto loans dropped 8 points to 698, and the median origination score for mortgages declined to 754.
  • Student loans, auto loans, and mortgages all saw modest increases in their early delinquency flows, while delinquency flows on credit card balances ticked up notably in the second quarter.
  • Outstanding student loan balances were flat, and stood at $1.34 trillion as of June 30, 2017. The second quarter typically witnesses slow or no growth in student loan balances due to the academic cycle.
  • 11.2% of aggregate student loan debt was 90+ days delinquent or in default in 2017 Q2.

Total Debt and Composition:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/household-debt-2017-q2a.png?w=768&h=545

Mortgage Origination by Credit Score:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/household-debt-2017-q2b.png?w=988&h=700

Auto Origination by Credit Score:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/household-debt-2017-q2d.png?w=975&h=700

30-Day Delinquency Transition:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/household-debt-2017-q2e.png?w=994&h=700

90-Day Delinquency Transition:

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/household-debt-2017-q2f.png?w=941&h=700

Credit card and auto loan delinquencies are trending up. The trend in mortgage delinquencies at the 30-day level has bottomed. A rise in serious delinquencies my follow.

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Number Of Homebuyers Putting Less Than 10% Down Soars To 7-Year High

A really long, long time ago, well before most of today’s wall street analysts made it through puberty, the entire international financial system almost collapsed courtesy of a mortgage lending bubble that allowed anyone with a pulse to finance over 100% of a home’s purchase price…with pretty much no questions asked.

And while the millennial titans of high finance today may consider a decade-old case study on mortgage finance to be about as useful as a Mark Twain novel when it comes to underwriting mortgage risk, they may want to considered at least taking a look at the ancient finance scrolls from 2009 before gleefully repeating the sins of their forefathers.

Alas, it may be too late.  As Black Knight Financial Services points out, down payments, the very thing that is supposed to deter rampant housing speculation by forcing buyers to have ‘skin in the game’, are once again disappearing from the mortgage market.  In fact, just in the last 12 months, 1.5 million borrowers have purchased a home with less than 10% down, a 7-year high.

Over the past 12 months, 1.5M borrowers have purchased a home by putting down less than 10 percent, which is close to a seven-year high in low down payment purchase volumes

– The increase is primarily a function of the overall growth in purchase lending, but, after nearly four consecutive years of declines, low down payment loans have ticked upwards in market share over the past 18 months

– Looking back historically, we see that half of all low down payment lending (less than 10 percent down) in 2005-2006 involved piggyback second liens rather
than a single high LTV first lien mortgage

– The low down payment market share actually rose through 2010 as the GSEs and portfolio lenders pulled back, the PLS market dried up, and FHA lending buoyed
the purchase market as a whole

– The FHA/VA share of purchase lending rose from less than 10 percent during 2005-2006 to nearly 50 percent in 2010

– As the market normalized and other lenders returned, the share of low-down payment lending declined consistent with a drop in the FHA/VA share of the purchase market

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/08/14/2017.08.14%20-%20Mortgage%20Bubble.JPG

On the bright side, at least Yellen’s interest rate bubble means that today’s housing speculators don’t even have to rely on introductory teaser rates to finance their McMansions...Yellen just artificially set the 30-year fixed rate at the 2007 ARM teaser rate…it’s just much easier this way.

“The increase is primarily a function of the overall growth in purchase lending, but, after nearly four consecutive years of declines, low down payment loans have ticked upward in market share over the past 18 months as well,” said Ben Graboske, executive vice president at Black Knight Data & Analytics, in a recent note. “In fact, they now account for nearly 40 percent of all purchase lending.”

At that time half of all low down payment loans being made involved second loans, commonly known as “piggyback loans,” but today’s mortgages are largely single, first liens, Graboske noted.

The loans of the past were also far riskier – mostly adjustable-rate mortgages, which, according to the Black Knight report, are virtually nonexistent among low down payment mortgages today. Instead, most are fixed rate. Credit scores of borrowers taking out these loans today are also about 50 points higher than those between 2004 and 2007.

Finally, on another bright note, tax payers are just taking all the risk upfront this time around…no sense letting the banks take the risk while pretending that taxpayers aren’t on the hook for their poor decisions…again, it’s just easier this way.

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/08/14/2017.08.14%20-%20Mortgage%20Bubble%202.JPG

Source: ZeroHedge

Existing Home Sales Down 1.8% In June And Why It Matters

Existing Home Sales in June Dive 1.8 Percent: Same Old Problem? Second and Third Quarter Impact?

The wind down to the end of the second quarter is not going very well. Existing home sales in June fell 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.52 million. The Econoday consensus estimate was 5.58 million.

The slip in pending home sales was no false signal as existing home sales fell 1.8 percent in June to a lower-than-expected annualized rate of 5.520 million. Year-on-year, sales are still in the plus column but not by much, at 0.7 percent which is the lowest reading since February.

Compared to sales, prices are rich with the median of $263,800 up 6.5 percent from a year ago. Another negative for sales is supply which fell 0.5 percent in the month to 1.96 million for an on-year decline of 7.1 percent. Relative to sales, supply is at 4.3 months vs 4.2 months in May.

High prices appear to be keeping first-time buyers out of the market with the group representing 32 percent of sales vs 33 percent in May and 35 percent for all of last year.

Rising prices and thin supply, not to mention low wages, are offsetting favorable mortgage rates and holding down sales. Housing data have been up and down and unable to find convincing traction so far this year. Watch for new home sales on Wednesday where general strength is the expectation.

Existing Homes Sales Month-Over-Month and Year-Over-Year

Same Old Problem?

Mortgage News Daily says Existing Home Sales Weakness Blamed on Same Old Problem.

Existing home sales slipped in June, with the blame again placed on low levels of inventory. The decline in sales, announced on Monday by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), was anticipated, as pending home sales have decreased in each of the previous three months, ticking down 0.8 percent in May.

NAR said sales of existing single-family houses, townhouses, condos and cooperative apartments were down 1.8 percent in June, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.52 million units, the second slowest performance of the year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the pullback in existing home sales in June reflected the lull in contract activity in March, April, and May. “Closings were down in most of the country last month because interested buyers are being tripped up by supply that remains stuck at a meager level and price growth that’s straining their budget,” he said. “The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession. Listings in the affordable price range continue to be scooped up rapidly, but the severe housing shortages inflicting many markets are keeping a large segment of would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in June was $263,800, up 6.5 percent from June 2016 ($247,600). This is a new peak price, surpassing the record set in May. June marked the 64th straight month of year-over-year gains.

The median existing single-family home price was $266,200 in June and the median existing condo price was $245,900. Those prices reflected annual increases of 6.6 percent and 6.5 percent respectively.

The tight supply of homes continues to be reflected in short marketing period. Properties typically stayed on the market for 28 days in June, one day more than in May, but six days fewer than in June 2016. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 102 days in June, while foreclosures sold in 57 days and non-distressed homes took 27 days. Fifty-four percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

“Prospective buyers who postponed their home search this spring because of limited inventory may have better luck as the summer winds down,” said NAR President William E. Brown. “The pool of buyers this time of year typically begins to shrink as households with children have likely closed on a home before school starts. Inventory remains extremely tight, but patience may pay off in coming months for those looking to buy.”

First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of existing home sales in June, down from 33 percent the previous month and a year earlier, while individual investors purchased 13 percent, unchanged from a year ago.

Convoluted Logic

Supposedly buyers may have better luck because the pool of buyers is shrinking as summer winds down. Really? By that logic, if there was only one person looking there would be a 100% success rate.

Yun says “The demand for buying a home is as strong as it has been since before the Great Recession.”

Really? By what measure?

Attitudes and Price

This is not a case of inventory or strong unmet demand. Here are the real factors.

  1. The Fed re-blew the housing bubble and wages did not keep up. People cannot afford the going prices. Thus, the number of first-time buyers keeps shrinking.
  2. Millenials do not have the same attitudes towards debt, housing, and family formations as their parents.
  3. Millenials are unwilling to spend money they do not have, for a place that will keep them tied down. They would rather be mobile.

Second and Third Quarter Impact

The decline in existing home purchases portends weakness in consumer spending.

There will be fewer people painting, buying furniture, updating appliances, remodeling kitchens, adding landscaping etc. The pass through effect will be greatest in the third quarter unless there is a rebound.

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Small Town Suburbia Faces Dire Financial Crisis As Companies, Millennials Flee To Big Cities

College graduates and other young Americans are increasingly clustering in urban centers like New York City, Chicago and Boston. And now, American companies are starting to follow them. Companies looking to appeal to, and be near, young professionals versed in the world of e-commerce, software analytics, digital engineering, marketing and finance are flocking to cities. But in many cases, they’re leaving their former suburban homes to face significant financial difficulties, according to the Washington Post.

Earlier this summer, health-insurer Aetna said it would move its executives, plus most of technology-focused employees to New York City from Hartford, Conn., the city where the company was founded, and where it prospered for more than 150 years. GE said last year it would leave its Fairfield, Conn., campus for a new global headquarters in Boston. Marriott International is moving from an emptying Maryland office park into the center of Bethesda.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/2017.07.18mcdonalds_0.JPG

Meanwhile, Caterpillar is moving many of its executives and non-manufacturing employees to Deerfield, Ill. from Peoria, Ill., the manufacturing hub that CAT has long called home. And McDonald’s is leaving its longtime home in Oak Brook, Ill. for a new corporate campus in Chicago.

Visitors to the McDonald’s wooded corporate campus enter on a driveway named for the late chief executive Ray Kroc, then turn onto Ronald Lane before reaching Hamburger University, where more than 80,000 people have been trained as fast-food managers.

Surrounded by quiet neighborhoods and easy highway connections, this 86-acre suburban compound adorned with walking paths and duck ponds was for four decades considered the ideal place to attract top executives as the company rose to global dominance.

Now its leafy environs are considered a liability. Locked in a battle with companies of all stripes to woo top tech workers and young professionals, McDonald’s executives announced last year that they were putting the property up for sale and moving to the West Loop of Chicago where “L” trains arrive every few minutes and construction cranes dot the skyline.”

The migration to urban centers, according to WaPo, threatens the prosperity outlying suburbs have long enjoyed, bringing a dose of pain felt by rural communities and exacerbating stark gaps in earnings and wealth that Donald Trump capitalized on in winning the presidency.

Many of these itinerant companies aren’t really moving – or at least not entirely. Some, like Caterpillar, are only moving executives, along with workers involved in technology and marketing work, while other employees remain behind.

Machinery giant Caterpillar said this year that it was moving its headquarters from Peoria to Deerfield, which is closer to Chicago. It said it would keep about 12,000 manufacturing, engineering and research jobs in its original home town. But top-paying office jobs — the type that Caterpillar’s higher-ups enjoy — are being lost, and the company is canceling plans for a 3,200-person headquarters aimed at revitalizing Peoria’s downtown.”

Big corporate moves can be seriously disruptive for a cohort of smaller enterprises that feed on their proximity to big companies, from restaurants and janitorial operations to other subcontractors who located nearby. Plus, the cancellation of the new headquarters was a serious blow. Not to mention the rollback in public investment.

“It was really hard. I mean, you know that $800 million headquarters translated into hundreds and hundreds of good construction jobs over a number of years,” Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis (R) said.

For the village of Oak Brook, being the home of McDonald’s has always been a point of pride. Over the year’s the town’s brand has become closely intertwined with the company’s. But as McDonald’s came under pressure to update its offerings for the Internet age, it opened an office in San Francisco and a year later moved additional digital operations to downtown Chicago, strategically near tech incubators as well as digital outposts of companies that included Yelp and eBay. That precipitated the much larger move it is now planning to make.

“The village of Oak Brook and McDonald’s sort of grew up together. So, when the news came, it was a jolt from the blue — we were really not expecting it,” said Gopal G. Lalmalani, a cardiologist who also serves as the village president.

Lalmalani is no stranger to the desire of young professionals to live in cities: His adult daughters, a lawyer and an actress, live in Chicago. When McDonald’s arrived in Oak Brook, in 1971, many Americans were migrating in the opposite direction, away from the city. In the years since, the tiny village’s identity became closely linked with the fast-food chain as McDonald’s forged a brand that spread across postwar suburbia one Happy Meal at a time.

“It was fun to be traveling and tell someone you’re from Oak Brook and have them say, ‘Well, I never heard of that,’ and then tell them, ‘Yes, you have. Look at the back of the ketchup package from McDonald’s,’ ” said former village president Karen Bushy. Her son held his wedding reception at the hotel on campus, sometimes called McLodge.

The village showed its gratitude — there is no property tax — and McDonald’s reciprocated with donations such as $100,000 annually for the Fourth of July fireworks display and with an outsize status for a town of fewer than 8,000 people.”

Robert Gibbs, the former White House press secretary who is now a McDonald’s executive vice president, said the company had decided that it needed to be closer not just to workers who build e-commerce tools but also to the customers who use them.

 “The decision is really grounded in getting closer to our customers,” Gibbs said.

Some in Oak Brook have begun to invent conspiracy theories about why McDonald’s is moving, including one theory that the company is trying to shake off its lifetime employees in Oak Brook in favor of hiring cheaper and younger urban workers.

The site of the new headquarters, being built in place of the studio where Oprah Winfrey’s show was filmed, is in Fulton Market, a bustling neighborhood filled with new apartments and some of the city’s most highly rated new restaurants.

Bushy and others in Oak Brook wondered aloud if part of the reasoning for the relocation was to effectively get rid of the employees who have built lives around commuting to Oak Brook and may not follow the company downtown. Gibbs said that was not the intention.

‘Our assumption is not that some amount [of our staff] will not come. Some may not. In some ways that’s probably some personal decision. I think we’ve got a workforce that’s actually quite excited with the move,’ he said.”

Despite Chicago’s rapidly rising murder rate and one would think its reputation as an indebted, crime-ridden metropolis would repel companies looking for a new location for their headquarters. But crime and violence rarely penetrate Chicago’s tony neighborhoods like the Loop, where most corporate office space is located.

“Chicago’s arrival as a magnet for corporations belies statistics that would normally give corporate movers pause. High homicide rates and concerns about the police department have eroded Emanuel’s popularity locally, but those issues seem confined to other parts of the city as young professionals crowd into the Loop, Chicago’s lively central business district.

Chicago has been ranked the No. 1 city in the United States for corporate investment for the past four years by Site Selection Magazine, a real estate trade publication.

Emanuel said crime is not something executives scouting new offices routinely express concerns about. Rather, he touts data points such as 140,000 — the number of new graduates local colleges produce every year.

“Corporations tell me the number one concern that t: Zerohey have — workforce,” he said.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the old model, where executives chose locations near where they wanted to live has been upturned by the growing influence of technology in nearly every industry. Years ago, IT operations were an afterthought. Now, people with such expertise are driving top-level corporate decisions, and many of them prefer to live in cities.

“It used to be the IT division was in a back office somewhere,” Emanuel said. “The IT division and software, computer and data mining, et cetera, is now next to the CEO. Otherwise, that company is gone.”

Source: ZeroHedge

Record Apartment Building-Boom Meets Reality: First CRE Decline Since The Great Recession

Even the Fed put commercial real estate on its financial-stability worry list.

No, the crane counters were not wrong. In 2017, the ongoing apartment building-boom in the US will set a new record: 346,000 new rental apartments in buildings with 50+ units are expected to hit the market.

How superlative is this? Deliveries in 2017 will be 21% above the prior record set in 2016, based on data going back to 1997, by Yardi Matrix, via Rent Café. And even 2015 had set a record. Between 1997 and 2006, so pre-Financial-Crisis, annual completions averaged 212,740 units; 2017 will be 63% higher!

These numbers do not include condos, though many condos are purchased by investors and show up on the rental market. And they do not include apartments in buildings with fewer than 50 units. This chart shows just how phenomenal the building boom of large apartment developments has been over the past few years:

https://i1.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/US-Apartment-construction.png

The largest metros are experiencing the largest additions to the rental stock. The chart below shows the number of rental apartments to be delivered in those metros in 2017. But caution in over-interpreting the chart – the population sizes of the metros differ enormously.

The New York City metro includes Northern New Jersey, Central New Jersey, and White Plains and is by far the largest metro in the US. So the nearly 27,000 apartments it is adding this year cannot be compared to the 5,400 apartments for San Francisco (near the bottom of the list). The city of San Francisco is small (about 1/10th the size of New York City itself), and is relatively small even when part of the Bay Area is included.

Other metros on this list are vast, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth metro which includes the surrounding cities such as Plano. Driving through the area on I-35 East gives you a feel for just how vast the metro is. However, I walk across San Francisco in less than two hours:

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/US-Apartment-construction-by-city-metro-2017_0.png

Special note: Chicago is adding 7,800 apartments even though the population has begun to shrink. So this isn’t necessarily going to work out.

This building boom of large apartment buildings is starting to have an impact on rents. In nearly all of the 12 most expensive rental markets, median asking rents have fallen from their peaks, and in several markets by the double digits, including Chicago (-19%!), Honolulu, San Francisco, and New York City.

And it has an impact on the prices of these buildings. Apartments are a big part of commercial real estate. They’re highly leveraged. Government Sponsored Enterprises such as Fanny Mae guarantee commercial mortgages on apartment buildings and package them in Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities. So taxpayers are on the hook. Banks are on the hook too.

This is big business. And it is now doing something it hasn’t done since the Great Recession. The Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) by Green Street, which tracks the “prices at which commercial real estate transactions are currently being negotiated and contracted,” plateaued briefly in December through February and then started to decline. By June, it was below where it had been in June 2016 – the first year-over-year decline since the Great Recession:

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/07/20/US-Commercial-Property-Index-GreenStreet-2017-06_0.png

Some segments in the CPPI were up, notably industrial, which rose 9% year over year, benefiting from the shift to ecommerce, which entails a massive need for warehouses by Amazon [Is Amazon Eating UPS’s Lunch?] and other companies delivering goods to consumers.

But prices of mall properties fell 5%, prices of strip retail fell 4%, and prices of apartment buildings fell 3% year-over-year.

So for renters, there is some relief on the horizon, or already at hand – depending on the market. There’s nothing like an apartment glut to bring down rents. See what the oil glut in the US has done to the price of oil.

Investors in apartment buildings, lenders, and taxpayers (via Fannie Mae et al. that guarantee commercial mortgage-backed securities), however, face a treacherous road. Commercial real estate goes in cycles as the above chart shows. Those cycles are not benign. Plateaus don’t last long. And declines can be just as sharp, or sharper, than the surges, and the surges were breath-taking.

Even the Fed has put commercial real estate on its financial-stability worry list and has been tightening monetary policy in part to tamp down on the multi-year price surge. The Fed is worried about the banks, particularly the smaller banks that are heavily exposed to CRE loans and dropping collateral values.

But the new supply of apartment units hitting the market in 2018 and 2019 will even be larger. In Seattle, for example, there are 67,507 new apartment units in the pipeline.

Source: ZeroHedge

 

Angelinos Spend Nearly 50% On Their Rent

The rental apocalypse continues in Los Angeles.  It is interesting to see how far some house humpers will go trying to justify prices.  Some are arguing future weed sales are going to create another boom which is somewhat ironic since the benefits are actually to mellow you out, not turn you into a Taco Tuesday baby boomer that becomes a cubicle stressed slave just to purchase a home.  And many times people plan on having a family shortly after which means higher childcare costs which they tend to forget.  However, Los Angeles once again continues to be the worst place to rent in terms of affordability (and own for that matter). Zillow put out some interesting research and of course as you would expect, those spending nearly half of their income on rent are simply not saving for retirement.

L.A. is the Whole Foods of rental markets

I liken the L.A. housing market to Whole Foods.  Great and healthy items that usually break the bank.  L.A. has a large number of young and healthy hipsters and Millennials but most can’t buy a home.  Heck, most Uber and Lyft drivers have nicer cars than most of us.  So we live in this market where the perception is that everyone is well off and healthy when in reality many homeowners are stuck in a ridiculous commute for a crap shack and that is bad for your health.

Of course this isn’t some made up figure.  Just take a look at how much income is dumped on rent in various markets:

https://i0.wp.com/www.doctorhousingbubble.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/la-rents-768x577.png

Los Angeles by far is the worst market for renters surpassing even New York and San Francisco.  I’ve made this argument multiple times and that has to do with incomes being far lower in this area compared to San Francisco and New York.  Of course to house humpers they only see coastal Santa Monica and somehow use this as the reference for every other hood in the area where most of the plebs live.  They forget that L.A. County has 10,000,000 people with most not living on the coast.

So it is also telling that L.A. is largely a renting household dominated county.  You have millions of Millennials across the state living at home with their parents because rents are too expensive.  There is also this romantic idea that many people are stashing millions of dollars away by doing this but the stats show a different story.  Some are, but most are not.

What you have is Taco Tuesday baby boomers now stuck in granite countertop HGTV upgraded sarcophagi that they can’t leave for a variety of reasons including locked in Prop 13 tax assessments and adult children back in their nursery rooms.  You also have the issue of low inventory that is plaguing the country:

https://i2.wp.com/www.doctorhousingbubble.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/inventory-768x582.png

The low inventory dilemma is not only a SoCal phenomenon but has also impacted most urban metro markets.  This is why housing as an entire asset class has soared with the stock market since 2009.  Unlike the stock market however, scarcity has been a large factor driving prices up in real estate.

The issue of rents is problematic however.  As the percentage of households that rent grows, you are going to get those in the middle being squeezed.  What do renter households care if taxes get increased on property if they don’t own?  Back in 1978 when Prop 13 passed you had a much larger percentage of California homeowners.  Today that is clearly not the case.  “Well we’ll just increase the rent and pass it on!”  Do you think people think like this?  Of course not!  Just take a look at New York City where only 31 percent of households own.  And look at how they tax people there.  That is the future.  Where only the uber elite will be comfortable in their homes.  Grandfathered in Taco Tuesday baby boomer homeowners will live in million dollar crap shacks and shop at the 99 Cents Store.

The idea that broke Millennials were going to buy in mass in Los Angeles never made sense.  Many would rather eat out, work out, and live a more Spartan life (many by necessity).  Ironically more are healthier than those pot belly cubicle dwellers that are stuck in obscene traffic everyday having to make that massive 30-year mortgage commitment.  But hey, we do live in the Whole Foods of housing markets.

By Dr.HousingBubble