Here is my synopsis of the real estate market based on the information above and other information.
- The most financially responsible borrowers (prime mortgagors) are hurting. Even large down payments are not enough to counter the huge price declines. More homeowners underwater = more foreclosures.
- Foreclosures are increasing in general. This will cause more price declines.
- While the "Fab 4" (California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada) are still the kingdoms of foreclosure and prices will surely continue to fall in those markets, the decrease in % of total foreclosures nationwide from 46% to 44% while overall foreclosures increased means that foreclosures in other states increased at a higher pace that the "Fab 4" states. This means prices will decline nearly everywhere.
- More distressed homeowners will cause more people to try to rent out their homes. Until prices decline to a point where monthly rents exceed total monthly housing payments prices will continue to decline. Rampant foreclosures will make sure prices actually head below this normal equilibrium.
- Government meddling (expanded FHA mortgages, tax credits, etc.) has not and will not work to save the real estate market. The market is correcting itself to sustainable levels. FHA mortgages are now failing at alarming rates. Tax payers will once again have to foot the bill for regulatory incompetence. It seems that very few people are stating the truth about the real estate market. That is that high housing prices are bad for people (especially lower income people) and high commercial real estate prices are bad for business, which is in turn bad for job growth. Also, real estate has never (until the last few years) been the driver of the economic bus. It has been the passenger, meaning that economic growth (and the resultant business, job and income growth) caused housing prices to increase and new construction to increase. Not the other way around. Any attempt to work in reverse logic = insanity.