Thursday, September 27, 2007

What are we doing here? Looking at the housing landscape...

This morning, the NAR kindly sent me this little update through the Real Estate Insights eNewsletter. It explains, quite well, the steps that we will need to move through before the market stabilizes, both locally and nationally. And then, this afternoon, in my REALTOR(R) Magazine Daily Online, I got this story.

Both have something underlying that I think is very important. Congress needs to stay out of the mortgage meltdown issue. While there might be a need for revision of the jumbo loan limits for some high priced markets, anything beyond that will have unintended consequences that would be bad for the housing market. (BTW, unintended consequences seems to be my comment theme of the day) In the second story, there is a mention of Barney Frank calling for more regulation of the mortgage market. He feels it would increase confidence... and it may. But, it would also increase compliance costs, and slow funding. And, as we know from the myriad of regulations that abound for everything the government want to protect, those that mean to be unethical will still be unethical. Those that are hell-bent on buying something they can't afford, will... and they'll still default. But, there will be those on the margin that won't be able to buy their dream home because there is another point of interest, since the regulation means more costs for the lender.

And, as well highlighted in the first linked article, the correction is underway. Before Congress could even think of acting, the market started to fix itself. Is it going to hurt people? Absolutely. Will it hurt people that were responsible in selecting appropriately priced homes and financing products? Not so much. Mostly, the people that will be hurt are those that used products that they didn't understand to buy houses they really couldn't afford. Some did it in ignorance, but many just didn't care or didn't think through the logical conclusion of their actions.

Am I mean to say so? Maybe. But, that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

The good news is that the needed steps are happening (without Congress critters, thank you very much) and the housing market is correcting. Deals are staring smart buyers right in the face, and those deals are selling. As we look in the rear-view mirror of market reports, we can see that the worst is over in many places... and other places still may have some correcting to do.

I like to hang it out on my market reports. For Gwinnett County, I'm calling the bottom of this cycle to be in the next six months. Of course, I might not really see it for a month or two after it passes. And, if something wild happens, all bets are off.

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