A lender recently told me, 80% of the buyers he is pre-qualifying can not get a loan.
I have a nagging fear that our real estate markets as we have known them throughout the last 70 years will not be restored until the Federation gets back to its foundation. The nation was built on principles of individual liberty, individual responsibility, and free enterprise. As a democracy we elect officials to represent us, uphold the Constitution, and follow the laws, today they appear to be doing few of these things.
The majority of the money currently being loaned as mortgages is government backed, through FHA, HUD, USDA, VA and in the secondary markets of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae. Yes a conventional bank or mortgage broker may take your loan application but virtually all the loans are being sold into these government agencies. The private secondary mortgage market has become nearly non existent at current rates. Fannie and Freddie were not designed to be slush funds for bad decisions or funded long term by tax dollars. In order for the Mortgage companies to continue to lend at current rates the US government may have to EXPLICITLY guarantee these agency (MBS) Mortgage backed securities cash flow investments.
The government regulations have gone from “making homes affordable” think: Bush administration, ACORN, and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, although it goes back much further in history. To today’s consumer protection laws, making it much more difficult to get a loan. When the government exits the mortgage business, rates will go up.
The federal reserve has spent 1.122 trillion of the 1.25 trillion given it to buy (MBS), the program is scheduled to end March 2010, along with the “Home Buyers Tax Credits”. The federal reserve can keep rates low for the banks to make huge profits on short rates but it really has limited control of the ten year and longer end of the bond markets which effect mortgage rates more directly.
2.8 million Foreclosures hit the market in 2009. Fitch ratings have warned that in the next twenty four months another one half trillion dollars in prime, Alt-A, interest only, option arms, and sub prime mortgages will adjust or recast and many of these are middle and upper middle class families. Creating unsustainable payment shock for millions more Americans and millions more foreclosures. Distress in real estate tends to lead to more distress, and finding a bottom may involve unemployment numbers.
RealtyTrac says “No End in Sight”.
This is ALL about unsustainable debt, consumer debt, state level debt, federal level debt, and out of control spending.
Back to the start, the Federation is governed by laws; states are required to balance budgets, consumers are required to make mortgage payments or suffer the consequences. Our elected officials can not save home values, they can not keep people living in more home than they can afford, they can not put people in more home than they can afford and expect them to make it, and they can not modify people into a home they could never afford in the first place. They are throwing our good money after trillions in bad money. They, the elected officials, must be held accountable for bringing our children’s nation to the brink of bankruptcy.
When the dust finally settles and the unrealized losses are all on the books, the wealth effect in dollars lost will be staggering beyond any numbers currently being discussed, the effects will last generations. These losses will show up in places like pension funds of all kinds, 401k plans, other retirement accounts, sovereign wealth funds, and many of the world’s governments. States with budget deficits and falling tax revenues will be asked to cover more and more of the federal debt burden.
None of this is good for the current home price market today or tomorrow. The median price home sold in Mesquite during the forth quarter 2009 dropped to $192,063 or $118 per square foot. The median priced condo sold for $75,000 or $70 per square foot, and the median priced town home sold for $108,000 or $78 per square foot.
Ego, greed and monetary policy have taken us down the wrong path. Government intervention and efforts to manipulate the market created the environment for the crisis to occur; now it threatens to prolong and deepen the damage. We as a country must quit spending money we do not have, buying homes we can not afford, and curb government spending programs. And until we as a nation get back to a free and open market, principles of individual liberty, individual responsibility, and free enterprise, I believe recovery is unlikely.
Real recovery can only begin with honesty at every level, at home, in business, and most importantly at the government level. In my humble opinion we have little chance of any real sustainable financial recovery until we accept these facts and principles and then, act on them.
Expect real estate values to continue to drop more in 2010 due to the massive amount of distressed inventory of properties sitting out there and coming to the market.
Chris W. Miller has 33 years in the real estate industry, was trained and worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and currently specializes in Irrigated Nevada land with water rights with ERA Brokers Consolidated in Mesquite Nevada. He can be reached at 702-346-7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org