Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nashville Home Prices Declining Again

Nashville Home Prices Declining Again
Nashville Tennessee Housing Market Officially "Double Dipping"

According to this article, Midwest Home Prices Plunged in November, the Nashville Tennessee housing market is currently experiencing a double dip. The article lists the following housing markets as declining:
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Miami, FL
  • Nashville, TN
  • Orlando, FL
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • Richmond, VA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Tampa, FL
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Virginia Beach, VA
Home prices are definitely declining in the Nashville Tennessee market as well as nationwide. While the Washington DC and New York City markets appear to be exceptions to this widespread decline, it is easy to conclude that these markets are doing better almost solely due to massive government spending and bank bailouts, respectively. In Nashville, I expect home prices to decline another 10% to 20% at a minimum. Home prices in Nashville TN are still not cheap from an historical perspective when compared to household incomes. Therefore, it is clear that no "market bottom" can be called on the basis of "homes being cheap" - it simply is not true regardless of how much housing prices have fallen. If the government would just leave the market alone home prices would fall to actual cheap levels and buyers would come back on their own (i.e. without the need for artificial and temporary government stimulus). The problem is that home prices in Nashville need to decline at least another 10% to 20% before they can be declared "cheap" by any historical measure. See my blog post: US Housing Market Facing “Doom”. Given that interest rates were as low as they are ever going to be, and have already risen significantly, it is highly likely that the argument that low interest rates will help push Nashville home prices higher is invalid. The fact remains that over the next several years there are going to be a lot of short sales, distress sales and forecloure sales, which, along with persistent high unemployment and poor income growth (below inflation, or even negative), will push home Nashville and Middle Tennessee home prices lower until they are truly affordable based on the real underlying economic conditions (i.e. absent the phony government housing market propping). In short, over the next several years there will still be a lot of misery for homeowners in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

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