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Bubble Trouble: Making Sense of Today's Real Estate

Bubble Trouble: Making Sense of Today's Real Estate

All of the major newspapers have had housing news in their headlines lately, paired with words that aren't at all positive. The most common word to describe the current housing market has been "grim." But what does that really mean?

The main point the papers have been pushing is that housing prices fell 6.7 percent in October, and that's a big change from the inflated prices we've seen in recent years. What's hurting markets? Basic supply and demand is a big part of it; there are plenty of homes for sale but nobody's buying them. On top of that, a big increase in home foreclosures has added to the supply.

It seems every economist out there has an opinion as to when housing prices will bottom out, and their estimates range anywhere from the middle of 2008 until the end of 2010. The Wall Street Journal explained that "grim" might be necessary right now:

The silver lining behind the latest home-price data is that they signal the market is making what most economists see as a necessary adjustment, dragging home prices back into closer alignment with Americans' ability to pay.

Has the housing news been keeping you up at night?


Join The Conversation
raieven raieven 9 years
We're renting right now so this suits us just fine, we were planning on waiting until I graduate to even think about buying.
squeegee squeegee 9 years
Valley Kate: But it's a fantastic time to take opportunities if you aren't planning to sell in a few years. Buying at super-low rates gives the cash and chance to fix up houses, hold on to them and rent (to pay for that mortgage) while you wait to sell. Looking beyond the low selling prices, if you aren't planning on selling in the next five years, is the best thing you can do. While the market looks scary now, it's actually bottoming itself out- remember it was ridiculously high just a few years ago. And, in New York City the bubble has actually not fallen as low as other places (take note of the properties being built in Brooklyn and you'll see what I mean). I just sold my one-bedroom making a slim profit of $20k- but a profit no less, with barely any work done on the unit. It's no doubt a gamble, but with patience and a lot of research (area, reno laws, mortgage rates, yada yada) there's no time to hesitate. In other words, if you're gunna do it, do it.
Valley-Kate Valley-Kate 9 years
Hello Squeegee: Telling people that now is a great time to buy is beyond irresponsible. The housing bubble has just burst and we are in the fastest downward decline in history (yes, even worse than during the Great Depression). The country's biggest mortgage lender (Countrywide) has plummeting stock prices down from $50 to $5.45 at last count. It will take several years for the housing market to bottom out and even longer for it to recover.
Fab_Kitty Fab_Kitty 9 years
Thanks for the info, fasdy! I was wondering where that picture was taken. It looks lovely.
nopenope nopenope 9 years
Random: the stock photo was taken in Puerto Rico. There's an awesome little café, with outdoor seating on the cobblestone, immediately to the left of where the photo was taken. Ah, memories... My photo of the same street:
sugardoll83 sugardoll83 9 years
I rent, so the housing crash hasn't effected me other than making me question why I'm paying $1050 a month when I could own something for a bit more. I just don't have enough for a down payment right now. It would be nice to find that money before the housing market starts to pick up again.
MuffinGal MuffinGal 9 years
I can not wait for the housing prices to drop more! People are trying to sell fixer-uppers in the outer boroughs of NYC (I don't look at Manhattan real estate) for outrageous amounts!
squeegee squeegee 9 years
To bailaoragaditana: It's actually a great time to buy right now. Though loan interest rates have gone up, if you have good credit and are a first time buyer, not only will it effect you least, but it's a great time to jump on a 0% down mortgage. I have to say the NYC market isn't really in all that much trouble, though. I own an investment property that I put my entire soul and wallet into, and the rise in neighborhood interest has kept it afloat. Buying in a good neighborhood always comes out okay.
cassedy04 cassedy04 9 years
thanks for posting on this, savvysugar! i've been trying to keep up with everything, but everything i read seems to have so much detail that i lose the real meaning of the articles. its nice to have such a high level overview. now lets just hope that i'll be ready to buy right about when the market bottoms out.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
It's such a mess, and I just hope it's resolved by the time I'm looking to buy a house - but at the moment, since I'm in college/living with parents during vacations, it's thankfully not been an issue (the grandparents bought the house in 1953 and paid it off in the 1960s! those were the days!)
bellanatella bellanatella 9 years
Beauty Beauty 9 years
The big pile of mortgage-mess poo is just STARTING. It's gonna get a lot uglier before it gets better, folks. You know it's bad when the WSJ acknowledges that things aren't looking so hot.
heyxu heyxu 9 years
I'm hoping to buy a house this year, before my wedding. So, it's been hard to figure out when to buy, so I try to read up on the news. The housing prices were insanely high these past years!
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
Apparently the market that we recently bought in had adjusted itself to where it should be, so I don't think my home value will decrease...but I hope that it increases enough for us to be able to move in the next year and a half.
Marseeah Marseeah 9 years
My husband and I want very much to buy a place in the UWS or the West Village when our lease is up in 18 months... and so I follow the housing market news constantly! I get excited every time I see a condo in a place that I would like to live that's 2 bedrooms and under $1M. The housing market is insane here!
sarah-lynn sarah-lynn 9 years
As steen stated, I'm not so worried about the housing market at this moment. I will be a potential buyer within the next 3 years (sooo sick of apartment living!) so that means that I will be able to buy a lot of house between my and my bf's salaries, as long as we decide not to go back to lower NY (where we are from). In Buffalo, we get about 3 times as much apartment for the same amount of money than people I know in northern Westchester.
steen steen 9 years
As a potential buyer, I love the market right now. Of course, that will change once I'm actually a homeowner! In Orlando, residential communities are still being built but much more slowly; in my hometown, Fort Myers, building has virtually stopped. It's difficult for many in the industry and I hope things do pick back up!
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
I agree with the sentiment that the market is re-adjusting itself. I am an office manger, as well as a Realtor, with an independent brokerage. We are feeling the pinch of the situation, but we also know that this is great for making real estate more affordable. Helk, right now is a wonderful time to buy...especially for first time buyers. Sellers are even doing well if they price their home correctly and if their house is in great showing condition. The market does look pretty "grim," but the reports out there tend to leave out the positives. Thanks for posting on such an important topic Savvy!
sfmastiffmom sfmastiffmom 9 years
I wouldn't say it's keeping me up at night, but it's definitely distressing. We just bought in 2007, so we won't be looking to sell for quite a while. We can only hope that eventually things head back up over the next 7 years or so. It's frustrating to see houses around us on the market for tens of thousands less that what we paid, but the time was right for us so I try not to let it get to me too much.
princessjaslew princessjaslew 9 years
What can I say except that I'm nowhere near buying a home, so the the real estate prices don't really worry me that much. Except it seems to be affecting the rental prices and that totally blows!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
In my town, the majority of the jobs were either real estate or construction. Once all of the banks started bottoming out, we were seeing lay-offs everywhere. My job actually involves doing various real-estate reports. In 2003, it was crazy busy trying to keep up with all of the sales. Now, it's all reports for foreclosures. It's depressing. Also, my house has been on the market for a long time now and has dropped several tens of thousands of dollars in value and asking price. I'm not so concerned with the housing prices dropping - it is good old supply/demand economics. We know that the skyrocketing real estate prices earlier on would eventually mean a bust. What does concern me is that banks/mortgages are involved in the equation. How is the market going to bounce back if people have such a hard time getting mortgages? I'm sure it can and will, but I remain cautiously optimistic.
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