Profile picture for pepe65

When are the prices going to stop declining?

When are we going to see the price curves in Zillow flatten out? Any historical data that can help us forecast when we can expect to reach the bottom?
What are the major factors that continue to push prices down and why does it take so long to reach the bottom? Any comparison with other markets also would be great.

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February 19 2011 - Capitol Hill
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
My crystal ball is broken, but my expectations are they will stabilize when unemployment is <6%.
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February 19 2011
I think the answer is, when consumer confidence returns.  There is no definite way to determine when that will be.  
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February 19 2011

You can all the consumer confidence to spend but still need Job market/Financial means to keep the money circulating.

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February 19 2011
Here's a triplet of links that showed up on the site at the end of last year.  They give a broad perspective on the question.
http://blog.jparsons.net/ ... 2008.html
http://mysite.verizon.net ... ngbubble/
http://www.housepricecras ... cycle.php
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February 19 2011
Profile picture for the_country_hick
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February 19 2011

Real estate is very local. I pulled the info from Northwest Multiple Listing Service and here are the numbers (for Downtown Seattle, Central/East Seattle, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Northeast, Northwest Seattle, Bellevue/West Of, Kirkland and Mercer Island combined).
Condos and homes combined:
In 2006 average sale price $730,367; median sale price $597,727
In 2007 average sale price $676,267; median sale price $559,669
In 2008 average sale price $656,223; median sale price $522,453
In 2009 average sale price $658,965; median sale price $534,943
In 2010 averag sale price $665,131; median sale price $529,465
Home sale prices (average and median)
2006 $1,008,861; $815,574
2007 $962,022; $774,975
2008 $907,621; $709,136
2009 $880,910; $707,742
2010 $905,323; $716,373

In most Seattle neighborhoods prices started moving up in 2010. Even though I don't have a crystal ball I can tell that real estate market in Seattle has bottomed out.

A few parts of the country has been hit harder than the others. Short sales and foreclosures had a huge affect on prices and value along with other economical factors.

I hope this answers at least a couple of your questions.

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February 19 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
At least 2 more years before foreclosure liquidation is under-control; longer if the FED and congress keep intervening.

At least 1 to 2 more years of "bubble decline", across the nation.

Then the required "adjustment" for the present subsidized under-market interest rate; that should add about 4 to 5 more years.  That puts us at about 9 years, but could be as low as 7 years.  If some of these were allowed to occur concurrently, it could be as low as 4 years, but very doubtful as the government doesn't want rapid changes in prices, but wants to make it as gradual as possible.

But then on top of that, we have the "demographics shift" coming.  The Chair of the U.S. Senate Budget committee states a 22% reduction in social security would be required in 2037 if reductions are not taken sooner, just due to the shift to more retirees and less working age.  That means substantially less demand for family housing in 2037, unless of course, either the borders are opened (which the politicians have stated they absolutely won't do), or people start having those babies NOW to create demand for housing in 26 years and a work force to pay for the Social Security for those retiring.

Even after prices stabilize, they will not keep up with the inflation rate, ans each market sector moves at a different rate, and we are now in the phase of letting other market sectors catch-up.

And remember, Congress has also stated they will continue to encourage large U.S. businesses to ship U.S. jobs overseas to make U.S. companies more globally competitive, since if the jobs are local, they not only have labor burden, retirement tax, medical and disability tax, minimum wage, workplace safety regulations, required breaks, and other legally required "benefits".  Thus unemployment will not be resolved anytime in the next decade.  Which means 30 more years of "declining prices".  (10 years minimum).

Of course, the U.S. citizens may have learned something from the Egyptian Revolution, and may be thinking about that "new constitution" opportunity, but George Orwell stated "the Proles will never revolt", and we have at least 25 more years before the masses are ready to try a new political system.
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February 19 2011
My crystal ball has been fairly accurate for the Northwest sector of Washington State and the immediate Seattle -Metropolitan, King County region.
* We follow the patterns of Southern California in most all of the things that go on in our lives by about 6 months. Fashion, Music, Trends, Food and most importantly Real Estate Cycles. Shortsales hit SoCal 6 months before anyone in Seattle even knew what a shortsale was.
* My strategy is to keep a close eye on our California neighbors and when they stop declining...we're 6 months behind them.
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February 20 2011
In some neighborhoods of Seattle, they have already started to go up compared to the same time last year.  (North Capitol Hill went up 6% in January)  As one of the previous posters stated, real estate is very neighborhood specific.  Some neighborhoods will take longer than others to recover.  But, I don't believe we'll see large dips in 2011 in Seattle.  I think market is stabilizing already.  (with the exception of condos: The condo market is still a tough market right now, but inventory is down and most of the new construction buildings are at 50-75% sold, which is good news.)  I've been tracking Ballard and Greenlake over the past month, and move-in ready, well-priced homes are selling very quickly right now.  There is also very little inventory in West Seattle, and I home I sent to a client came on the market and had multiple offers within a day.  The problem with some of the national reporting on Seattle is that it includes the outlining suburbs, as well as Tacoma and Everett.  That kind of data lumping does not provide an accurate picture of Seattle, nor the other cities lumped together.  If a seller is really interested in whether or not now is a good time for them to sell their home, they really need to partner with a competent Realtor who will be truthful about the specific market conditions relevant to their neighborhood. 
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February 20 2011
Profile picture for SteadyState
Ally and Rebecca: [Content deemed a personal attack deleted by Zillow Moderator]. At best your statements are selling points and not the least bit objective in answering the question. Differentiate between sales situations and misleading individuals by giving false answers to the question "when will prices stop declining?"

Seattle:
Y-Y: Down 7.8%
Q-Q: Down 3%
M-M: Down 1.1%
(Read this article also).
Even if prices rise in one neighborhood for one month, this cannot be taken as statistically significant enough to make general statements about the market (not even for the specific neighborhood where prices went up in January.)
Now your response will be challenge Zillow, CoreLogic statistics  and suggest that "it depends on micro-neighborhoods"). Make it easy on yourself - just say I would like buyers to buy as my living depends on buying and selling.
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February 20 2011

Dear pepe65;

Our state market in general and Seattle's market in particular follow closely behind California's markets, according to a regional bank president I just conferred with at a conference.  California's 3 major city's markets (San Fran, LA, and San Diego) have leveled off as far as a rate of decline, and historically we follow 10-12 months behind them.
Hopefully he's right!

Good Luck!

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February 20 2011
SteadyState:
Unlike a few or most people I do not base my opinion on information provided by media (we all know that people are attracted to negative news) or other sources. I provide information about real estate market based on numbers from Northwest MLS (in this case) or NAR. Even though you say I lie (I would stay away from accusing another person of anything unless you really know them and/or have proof of their wrong actions), the numbers do not lie.
Most people do not realize that real estate is indeed very local.
Yes, One can talk about Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, King County or Washington state in general. However what is happening in real estate market in, for example, Laurelhurst neighborhood would be a completely different story from what is happening in Northgate neighborhood.
Also providing stats does not indicate a "sales pitch" for the lack of better words. Without much of the comment I allow numbers to speak for themselves. Information and opinion does not equal selling points.
My response was to pepe65 post and it is up to that person to decide whether the information was useful or not.
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February 20 2011
Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I though that the NY Times article was based on Zillow data.
Why is there a difference between the data that steadystate is presenting and the data that Ally is presenting (and supporting)?
What would the NY times story have been if it had used the data that Ally is presenting?
What if Zillow's modifiers are WRONG?  If the NAR modifiers are questionable, why not Zillow's? 
I'll be very local:  I participate on Zillow.  I updated my Home Facts a couple of years ago and at that time it was well within the range of values that might have represented the value of my home.  The Zestimate was what I considered reasonable.  In the last 6 months I watched the Zestimate move to the absurd.  My geographic area isn't large; it holds about 300 hundred homes and, having lived in this neighborhood for 40 years, I know them all.  I've followed every lisitng and sale in the last 8 years.  The current Zillow data is wrong.
And the best response that I've seen to the issue is to reiterate that no one data source can be relied upon to substantiate the value. You have to question all of them and use all of them.
@pepe65 - the mantra: location, location, location isn't going to change.  Focus on a location and compile your own data.  More importantly, focus on a home that you want and make an offer that you feel is fair.  Or, if you are in the selling mood, solicit an offer and see if you can live with it.  There are lots of other things you can do with money than own a home.
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February 20 2011
Profile picture for Dunes....
From DataQuick.... Seattle Region December Home Sales

Seattle Area Home Sale Activity Data is for the fourth quarter 2010..Reporting resale single family residences and condos as well as new homes * % Change is from the same period last year

There are reports/Sales Activity from a number of Markets you may find interesting...
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February 20 2011
Data Quick is representing the point that Rebecca made.  It is including data from King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties and lumping it together.  Let's compare a the market in Bellevue to the market in Orting?  that's about as far apart as (I don't know, you imagine your own disparate markets).  Are we saying that this is the data that Humphries is using to base his erroneous statements on the other week?
Data Quick is also suggesting, in the first paragraph, that their sourse is: "a real estate information service reported." Are we back to Humphries?  Is he right, or wrong?
The second link makes more sense because it provides the information by zip codes.  We get the same format from out Title Company and that data showed a 1% appreciation in the Seattle zip codes last year.
When I go blue-water sailing, I'm going to take the best GPS system that I can afford.  I'm also going to take a sextant, and I know how to use one.  I think that Zillow's batterries have failed and they don't even know it.
Don't even get me started on why the new home sales are so low; there aren't any to sell!  And that is a factor of lending practices, not pricing.  I participated in one last month that was listed at $859 K and sold for $975.  Build a good home and it will sell.
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February 20 2011
LOL My crystal ball broke as well, i hope soon this market is painful for some of us
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February 20 2011
Oh, someone finally asked the million dollar question!   The most highly respected economists of our time didn't predict the extent of this downturn and none of them will be able to predict a bottom - real estate values are based on facts but the real estate business overall is not as clear cut as some believe it to be.  
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February 20 2011
The post boom bust years are offering record low prices with interest rates at historic lows! Your shot at a home is as good as it's been in nearly a decade.
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February 20 2011
Profile picture for Dunes....
"It is including data from King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties and lumping it together."

I'm guessing that's why they titled it..."Seattle Region December Home Sales" and why I included the zip code breakdown link

I agree with this..
"And the best response that I've seen to the issue is to reiterate that no one data source can be relied upon to substantiate the value. You have to question all of them and use all of them."


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February 20 2011

Ultimately supply vs demand of homes must stabilize.   Foreclosures and high unemployment are the main issues holding us back nationally.   Once this stabilizes, we will eventually see the supply of homes dwindle based on today's limited new construction (basically, new construction has dropped while foreclosures have risen dramatically).

Looking to the future, great rates will help stimulate activity especially if jobs return while they are still low.  Rates are expected to remain low in the near future (2011 and possibly beyond).   There also seems to be a slight overcorrection on credit criteria, DTI and down payments.    Perhaps, this will loosen up just a bit later and be a good catalyst in the future.   Also pay attention to jobs leaving or coming to your area.   This would help stabilize things quickly if the ratio of jobs added is decent/high vs the population.   Jobs leaving your area would be bad for stability/growth.

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February 20 2011
Consumer confidence needs to improve and that is tied to employment. As long as the foreclosures continue to come on the market prices probably will not increase. Even though interest rates are low financing is more difficult to obtain. I specialize in the listing and sale of large acreage parcels of land and I have not found financing anything larger than 10 acres in southern Arizona. The large inventory is also a factor.
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February 20 2011
Raw land is really tough right now.  I feel your pain Jacqueline. 
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February 20 2011
Profile picture for hpvanc
When we have when housing values reach historic parity with income combined with rising wages, falling unemployment, and general core inflation all at the same time. 

The current cycle looks a lot like what Japan has been experiencing for the past 20 odd years, their real estate values have been falling since 1989.  The US experienced a similar deflationary cycle lasting nearly 30 years at the end of the 19th century, unfortunately I have been unable to find reliable real estate value information from that period to know just how real estate performed during the "Great Deflation"/"Great Sag".  
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February 20 2011
Pepe65,

To really answer your question, "When are prices going to stop declining?"
You should ask " How much more will Gas go up" or "When will the interest rate rise higher than the current 5%?"

A. $225,000 3BR/1 BA home built in 1959 at 1060 SQFT at 6% = $1350/m

B. $250,000 4BR/2.5BA New construction at 2090 SQFT at 5% = $1342/m

It doesn't matter how low the house bottoms out but more importantly how low you get on your interest rate of your loan, unless of course if you pay all cash!
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February 20 2011
Speaking of gas, let me pour some gasoline on this thread...

Sonny, you've identified a major contributing factor to why we are in this mess in the first place.  Everyone is focused on payment without realizing the fact that every dollar they borrow will eventually have to be paid back some day.
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February 21 2011
Profile picture for Pasadenan
"What if Zillow's modifiers are WRONG?  If the NAR modifiers are questionable, why not Zillow's?" -

Zillow doesn't use such "modifiers".  They do multiple linear regression on what sells; they then take any that sold whose sold values are not close to the resulting curve fit and remove them from the sold data and calculate new coefficients.  Then, using the resulting curve-fit equation, they calculate estimated values for the ownership units in the vicinity.

Then, these "estimates" are used in each neighborhood, zip code, city, county, metropolitan statistical area, State, and for the entire nation to calculate a median, and a median of the upper-tier (highest 1/3 valued ownership housing units) and median of lower-tier (lowest 1/3 valued ownership housing units) and for condos and Single family residences separately, and those medians (called the "index") are calculated each month to form the trend lines.

Though still not perfect due to some counties not providing "sold" price data in the "public records", and areas where nothing is selling thus making any curve fit impractical, Zillow's method is not burdened by the problems that NAR has with their defective sampling method.

Core Logic data is good, but doesn't go far enough with extrapolation to units not on the market.  Case-Shiller's method is excellent, but is only available in major selected metropolitan areas.  Where Case-Shiller does provide trend data, Zillow's index has a very high correlation to Case-Shiller even though Case-Shiller uses an entirely different method.

(Case-Shiller only uses housing units that re-sold, and uses the sold prices for the same unit; thus taking out the error of different selection of units on the market).

(In other words, don't call a Realtor® at all as NAR has a vested interest in presenting distorted inaccurate information, but these other 3 data sources have a vested interest in tracking the market as close as they possibly can).
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February 21 2011
still too many short sales and REO properties. Depends on the market, but if you have these, the prices will likely continue to drop.
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February 21 2011
I think a big help will be the news media.  They have to stop concentrating on the negative and report on some of the positives in the housing market.  I have been hearing more of that lately so i am hopeful that is a positive sign.  The St. Louis area seems to be stabilizing a little.  I can tell you I am busier with Buyers this year at this time then I was last year at this time so that feels and seems like consumer confidence to me. I am having more people who have been sitting on the fence for the past 5-6 years calling me and saying they are ready to move finally.  I think we are really geting close 
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February 21 2011
Prices are likely to decline more.  The amount of homes for sale as compared to the number sold gives us an absorption ratio.  Today it is as much as 10 years.  In a strong market, it may be 30 days.  Like others have said, it is consumer confidence, unemployment, and foreclosures.

Prices will drop more, but believe it or not, it is a great time to buy.  Why?  Because rates will eventually go up.  The payment you get on a higher mortgage amount will be lower then reducing the price (if you hit bottom) with higher rates.  Even if the home you buy is worth less, the financing you get today will be of value in years to come. 
The market will come back, and you will have equity.  But remember equity is always just a perception, until the day you actually sell.
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February 21 2011
You have a good question, but the answer is not an easy one.  First of all, it would depend on where you are in the country.  Some large metropolitan cities are losing major employers while others are gaining them. the loss of jobs has a direct affect on the foreclosure inventories.  I live in a small artist village that borders a large lake.  Our growth is dependent on the second home or retirement buyer, and not particularly tied to the job market.  What controls home values is tied strongly to inventory.  Right now, we are all inundated in distressed properties either through short sales or foreclosed homes.  When this inventory has been reduced, then we will see home values increase and stabilize.  the name of the game, my friend, is holding power.  The market will come back.  
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February 21 2011
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