Are Home Prices at the Bottom?

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE...The great opportunity now is for home buyers to get a mortgage at an historically low rate. Freddie Mac reported national average mortgage rates set new record lows last week. But according to most observers, buyers shouldn't expect further rate dips. Lenders are seeing plenty of loan volume, so they don't have to lower pricing to get more activity....refinancing may soon be the word of the past.

Opportunity was also one of the themes in Fannie Mae's August National Housing Survey, where 69% of Americans polled say now is a good time to buy a home. And in spite of all the talk about more price declines, people expect home prices to dip only 0.5% in the next year. This is why some observers feel we're at a price bottom now. A strong 46% of Americans expect rents to go up in the next year, so that should motivate purchases as well.

  • September 13 2011 - Madison
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Answers (27)

Profile picture for sunnyview
Did you write this post? I see an article that is identical here on the PrimeLending blogspot.

Really it doesn't matter if home prices are at a bottom as long as people can find a house with a PITI that is less than rent and buy it at a fixed rate. You don't have to buy at the ultimate bottom, but you do have to look for value when you do decide to buy.

Buyers should look at the market for themselves instead of trusting someone else to make the decision for them. Besides most of those bottom callers have been wrong for several years running now.
  • September 13 2011
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In my opinion, it depends on the specific market segment.  In my area, Southwest Florida, I think the bottom passed as we have shown some recent rise in sales prices.  However, we are still in an under valued market.  Our prices dropped 56 percent in the last 5 years. The bottom may be gone here, but there are still some excellent buying opportunities. 
Truly,

Megan Eister
Broker, Florida WestShore Realty
[hotlink removed by Zillow moderator]
  • September 13 2011
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IMHO, at or near bottom, but little appreciation for a long while...
  • September 13 2011
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Housing has seen more bottoms than a yoga class doing downward facing dog....
  • September 13 2011
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Profile picture for Dunes....
No



1,. "Since 2007, the number of men working full time, year-round with earnings decreased by 6.6 million and the number of corresponding women declined by 2.8 million."

2. "Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recession in 1999"
US Census Report released Sept.13, 2011..LINK

^^^^^
2010 Bankruptcy's...Source: US Courts.gov
.....56,282 Business....1,536,799 Non-Business

Food Stamps Recipients/# of people..
2008----28,222,630
2010----40,301,878 
SNAP Monthly Report...Link

Housing Sales....
"3.65 million units, representing a 9.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up slightly from June's 9.2-month supply."
2010 Worst year in 13 years for # of Sales
Source/NAR

When one also considers the MERS mess and what impact the outcome of that will have on Inventory, then considers Unemployment/Unstable job market, current Debt situation of many People in this country and finally the plethora of RE Agents who daily have called everything wrong, given BAD advice about the Market, called the Bottom hundreds of times since 2006

I think most of the Public has already shown they are ignoring and will continue to ignore the Market "Expertise" of Agents.....Go Figure
  • September 13 2011
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
"where 69% of Americans polled say now is a good time to buy a home."

But 69% of Americans are not buying a house. That means it is not a valid number regarding buyers. It could reflect more that desperate sellers think it is a good time for someone else to buy the house they can not sell..

"people expect home prices to dip only 0.5% in the next year."


People have expected price increases over the past few years when prices actually fell. Expectations and reality often vary.

"A strong 46% of Americans expect rents to go up in the next year, so that should motivate purchases as well."


Just because rents go up does not change peoples ability to qualify for a mortgage. Neither does it push people hard to the point they feel they must buy a house. If my rent goes up $25 a month (an increase as expected) that usually mirrors the increased costs related to taxes and insurance. That would push purchase monthly price up also. It is a wash.
  • September 13 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"A strong 46% of Americans expect rents to go up in the next year, so that should motivate purchases as well." -

So less than half say an increase, so more than half say a decrease?  Or are most suggesting they stay the same or they don't know?

A renter I know was just hit with a $20 per month increase from $950.  That is the fist increase in 4 years.  So, only 0.5% annual increase.  That doesn't even take care of additional maintenance expenses nor additional tax and insurance expenses.

As for buying?  At 4.0% 30 year fixed interest, that is only enough to borrow $203k.  Add to that all the other expenses like taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, upkeep, down payment, mortgage insurance... even less can be afforded.  And there is nothing selling in the $203k price range in this area.  Not even a dilapidated condo in a poor neighborhood.  And if one got a condo, add on those Home Owner Association payments.

Sure, there was a time to buy, and will be again, and I already bought and paid for mine, and I do all my own maintenance and construction as well as pull my own construction permits.
  • September 13 2011
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Again, it also depends on what market you are reviewing. Real Estate is local in nature. While national trends strongly influence the market, local trends are an important influence, too. (Local employment, industry, inventory, etc....)If you are asking about the housing sector as a whole, some "experts" believe bottom is yet to be found.

If you are searching for the bottom of a particular market, it doesn't hurt to ask a Real Estate agent in that locality to produce factual information, to help you reach your own opinion.

  • September 13 2011
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Remember to always use quotes and give credit to the author =)
  • September 13 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"If you are searching for the bottom of a particular market, it doesn't hurt to ask a Real Estate agent in that locality to produce factual information, to help you reach your own opinion." -

It also doesn't hurt to use the "local info" tab at the top of this page, and download all the trend data available for your area of interest, and to superimpose an inflation curve on it, so that you have a better idea of the market, and can have an "unbiased" opinion rather than one handed to you by someone that may have a vested interest in a particular outcome.
  • September 13 2011
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Thanks to sites like Zillow and other sources of information available to the public via the internet, most Buyers today are educated on the market conditions.  Sometimes I am asked my opinion on market conditions, but usually my Buyers are already informed.  My Buyers are mostly looking for me to find them the perfect property. 

  • September 15 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Asking an agent their opinion of whether the market has bottomed is not very useful. Most agents have not been very good an analyzing their local markets for several years. Buyers need to look to historical values, the fair market rent vs the PITI for similar houses and the trend of values in their local market.

I have yet to see a perfect house or property. Anyone who looks at their housing purchase through rose colored glasses is asking for trouble in my opinion. Make sure the numbers work first, then you can fall in love for the long term if you want.
  • September 15 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
I've never seen a "perfect house" either.  Most decisions are balancing a set of trade-offs and compromises.

It someone tells me they can find something "perfect" for me, that person is probably not the person I would want representing me.

Even if I could get a $300 million mansion for $25 cash, there still are the maintenance and operational issues.

If there was such a thing as a "perfect" house, that is how every house would be built.  But instead, most houses are reasonably unique to help balance the trade-offs for various needs and desires.

Besides, if there was a "perfect house", would that also mean there is a "perfect color"?  How could there possibly be a perfect color?  It is just a set of pigment numbers and a spectrum of light refraction distribution.  Sure, some colors have advantages for some applications, but again, we are back to the trade-offs.  If someone told a painter they could only paint with their one "perfect" color, what kind of painting can one possibly have?
Without diversity, there is no art.
  • September 15 2011
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In the Cape Coral/Fort Myers market, experts are saying the Lee County market has hit bottom.  The article is titled "Experts say Lee County housing market has hit bottom."  The article can be read in full at news-press.com and was published September 14, 2011.  Also this week, Forbes.com published an article that Cape Coral area was one of top cities (behind San Antonio) for employment. 

I agree, "perfect" is an ideal.  It is a term that is used frequently.  I don't take it literally when one says "it's perfect".   Also, when I say "perfect" I don't mean it literally.  I am sure the good Lord made many perfect creations in the world and if I time to ponder on the word, I am sure I could name a few. 

  • September 17 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
No, the Bible is clear; there is none perfect except God...
It says God called them "good" (or "very good"), not "perfect".

And as for using the word good, Jesus said, "why do you call me 'good'?  there is none good but God".  Mt 19.17, Mk 10.18, Lk 18.19

And there are plenty that disagree with your so called "experts".  Most Real Estate "experts" have been calling it wrong since 2004.  And considering that those experts were telling people to buy at inflated prices during a bubble so that they could go into foreclosure and bankruptcy, and then later claim they didn't know because they didn't have a crystal ball, why should anyone accept their "predictions"?

There were plenty of people calling it correctly.  Why not pay attention to those sources instead?
  • September 17 2011
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I do pay attention, as I always have to other sources.  Have a Perfect day!

  • September 17 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
"I don't take it literally when one says "it's perfect"." -

I don't take it literally when someone says the "market is at the bottom", or that someone is an expert either...

If fact, I take it the exact opposite ----> someone has wishful thinking and is desperate for some buyers so that they can have some commission.
  • September 17 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile


Well, it is a good sign that the prices are back where they were 10 years ago, without even accounting for inflation.

But it is also important to check the foreclosure saturation level, and for some reason, the statistics for that are missing for that area.
  • September 17 2011
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Amazing!  Someone that says they don't take the word "perfect" literally just wished me a "perfect day"?  Since they state that perfect doesn't even mean "good", I guess she just wished that I would be hit by a truck?

An intentional sarcastic pretend "blessing"?
  • September 17 2011
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Profile picture for SteadyState
The explanation to understanding the mystery of the NAR is seen in the use of "perfect" by Ms. Eister:
She says: "Also, when I say "perfect" I don't mean it literally"

Now when I  (i.e., Ms. Eister) say:
This is the best time to buy: We don't mean this literally - this is just an idea.
Housing affordability is the best in 30 years: Once again take what we say with a grain (in this case the Ocean's net content)  of salt.
...

What else do you say that is not conventional in interpretation? Buyer agents are "free" to the buyer? REAs represent your interest? Please teach us how we can make sense of what you say so we can understand what you are really saying.
  • September 17 2011
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Profile picture for Mevin Barnes
I was wrong about the market bottoming out in 2009 and 2010. 2011 Baby!  3rd time is a charm =).  Hey, if I keep throwing #s out there I got to get it right sometime!
  • September 17 2011
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When I said have a "perfect" day, I certainly didn't imply that I wish for your death or injury.  

I meant for you to have a "good", "wonderful", "without flaw", or "excellent" day.  I used the word, because I was agreeing with you that the word perfect was subjective and open to individual interpretation.  In real world situations, the literal definition of a word is not always used in conversations.

The original question was "are home prices at the bottom".  I gave my opinion as that is the purpose of this forum.  I didn't realize that I would be personally attacked.  So far it has been implied that I would say anything for a commission, which is completely false and disrespectful. Do you not see the "Be a good neighbor" disclaimer next to the submit button?  Lastly, I was misquoted by Steady State.  I never said "This is the Best time to buy".  My quote or misquote (whatever)  of the word "perfect" was also used to represent the mystery of NAR?  What a complete joke.  By a complete joke, I mean "How silly and ridiculous". 

For the record, the word "perfect or perfection" is used in the Bible SEVERAL times.  

As for Melvin, I thought what you wrote was funny.  I LOL'd.  For those of you who need further explanation that means LAUGH OUT LOUD.  




  • September 18 2011
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Megan:

Pasa is just Pasa... perfectly crazy! sometimes full of great information, sometimes... well 40 pages of analysis on the word perfect... just skip ahead!

As to your original reply, I wouldn't put too much stock in the 'local experts.' The local experts spent 2006 saying there was no bubble, 2007 saying prices would have a soft landing, 2008,2009, 2010 calling a bottom. 

If you want to examine your own market, use real raw data: price/rent ratios, rental trends, vacancy rates, job trends, supply/demand etc. 

I am now in contract to buy my 5th home this year in the Phoenix area for me... I'm not sure if it is a bottom, but if prices drop further I'll just buy more, as I'm buying rental income, and not for appreciation anyways. 
  • September 18 2011
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Roberto,

I am happy that you are buying homes and renting them out, successfully.   I also agree with Pasa that the foreclosure or shadow inventory is a huge factor in making judgements on any market. 

I believe we will see the average sale prices drop in my area for August and September.  Even though our prices softened over the summer, they are still higher than what "experts" point to as the bottom of the market. Will the downward trend continue? I do not know.  I hope not!  Good luck with your ventures in Phoenix.  I read somewhere that 3 million more folks will become renters in the next 3 years.  
Best wishes.
  • September 18 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I think that people have to ask for the information they need to make an informed decision. Any professional that tells you that the market has bottomed needs to be asked if they also called the top.

Real estate is about finding value in the market. You do not have to buy at the very bottom or sell at the very top to do well. You do have to be able to determine a properties value and have a plan.
  • September 18 2011
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 nobody knows. all you can do is make a educated guess. look for a home that has come do in asking price significantly over the past few years and trying to make a good deal with the seller. don't listen to a realtor who tells you where the market is heading. there only job is to determine if a home is appropriately priced in today's market, not to tell you where prices will be next year.
  • December 03 2011
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they seem to be creeping back up in our part of the mid west...
  • December 12 2011
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