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As a follow-up to my previous article about the housing market and the mainstream media, I thought I’d post this. Just in from
The Wall Street Journal it seems they’re finally confident to announce what we’ve been watching here in Denver for the past six months.

From here on, housing is unlikely to drag the U.S. economy down further. It will instead reflect the strength or weakness of the overall economy: The more jobs, the more confident Americans are about keeping their jobs, the more they are willing to buy houses.

Though one thing in the article is not likely to affect the Denver market.

The biggest threat is a large shadow inventory of unsold homes, homes which owners won’t put on the market because they are underwater, homes that will be foreclosed eventually and homes owned by lenders. They have been trickling onto the market, slowed in part by government efforts to delay foreclosures; a flood could reverse the recent rise in prices.

In Denver, the ‘Shadow’ is but a phantom. We currently have such low inventory, especially in homes priced under $250k, and our pre-foreclosure stats are well below the national average. Combine this with the Colorado’s swift foreclosure process and the fact that we hit the slump ahead of the curve, allowing us to recover sooner, we are not counting on a glut of “Shadow Inventory”.

Well, look who’s coming back around. With all due respect for the “Respected Media”, it looks as if they finally got the memo. Though real estate, like the weather, is hyper-local the mainstream types reporting on the national outlook finally figured out that the housing market is growing again.
Both The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times said this week that “it would appear that housing is making a comeback”. Of course, REAL Trends has reported eight consecutive months of increased housing sales and three months of increasing housing prices, while NAR reports increased unit sales during the same time frame and that prices are firming.
Until Case Shiller said that prices were turning around, neither of these news organizations would report such a thing; perhaps that’s just as well. It took them 12 months to report that housing was headed downward. In fact, they still report the downturn as occurring in the spring/summer of 2006 when in reality the beginning of the slide was in fall 2005. That is when unit sales began to slump on an annual basis. Yes, I’m being picky…
The media may not always be fair or accurate in their reporting on the housing market. Recent years of staff cutbacks across the nation’s newspapers have left researchers and reporters without the time or (perhaps the inclination) to really research any sources that don’t fit their preconceptions.
Overreliance on Case Shiller tend to mask a real turnaround in most housing markets. Thanks to consumers and investors alike, housing is starting the long road back to health. Those of us “on the ground” have witnessed six months of solid grown in the Denver housing market, with homes selling quickly at or above asking price.
Though I’m not ready to start the parade (my calves are still sore from today’s Independence festivities) or predict a huge breakout of double digit appreciation, the evidence is overwhelming that housing is on the way back. Could it be time to strike up the band?