The Collected Works of Author and Blogger Larry Roberts

Archive for October, 2009

The mess in our housing and financial markets are slowly draining the life out of us. The powers-that-be are killing us softly with their endless song and dance. Our government and the Federal Reserve want to engineer the fabled "soft landing." So how would we measure their success? A soft landing for the FED would be a slow and controlled decline of house prices to levels sustainable by local incomes and free-market financing conditions. The reason they will let it drop is to shorten the time they have to support the market. The reason the Federal Reserve does not want to let it crash hard... they do not want their member banks to lose any more money. Wait, perhaps you…[READ MORE]

The median sales prices does not give any indication of what was obtained for the money spent. Median prices may be flat while people are either getting more for their money or settling for less. Also, the median sales price when charted over time occasionally gives false signals when prices appear to be moving on one direction when the prices of individual properties in the market are moving another. To deal with these problems with the median, alternate measures of pricing are used. Cost Per-Square-Foot Many data reporting services measure, record, and report the average sales cost on a per-square-foot basis to address the problem of evaluating what buyers are getting for their money. For instance, in a declining market…[READ MORE]

There is no perfect measure for any broad financial market activity. Markets for stocks, bonds and other securities are the most widely reported and measured financial markets. It is relatively easy to measure activity in these markets because all sales are recorded at a few central exchanges and the “products” are uniform (one share of stock is equal to another). In contrast, real estate markets are much more difficult to evaluate. Real estate transactions are recorded into the public record in thousands of locations across the country. Keeping an organized database of these records is such a daunting task that the title insurance industry has taken this responsibility as part of its business model, and many people are devoted to the…[READ MORE]

The Time-to-Payoff is the amount of time it takes to retire the debt used to acquire the asset (house). It is a handy tool of those who use Accelerated Amortization. When people examine investments, they often look at rates of return to compare between asset classes. Rates of return are a valuable metric. When thinking about retirement finance, rates of return become less important than steady cashflow. We need a new measure of success for reaching your retirement goals: Time to Payoff. Today, I want to look at another feature of cashflow investing: debt retirement. In Real Estate, Cashflow Investment and Retirement I noted, "... you can take the excess rent and put it toward the mortgage paying off the…[READ MORE]

Most people realize their dreams of home ownership when they purchase a house. This is not ownership; it is debt slavery. You don't own the property until the debts are retired. Real home ownership is the reward for those who master paying debts faster. Affordability is a measure of people's ability to raise money to obtain real estate; it is a function of financing. During The Great Housing Bubble, financial innovations dramatically increased the amounts people were able to borrow; unfortunately, Affordability Products Make Prices Unaffordable. The affordability was short lived because the loan programs themselves were unstable. The collapse of these loan programs resulted in a massive credit crunch that removed affordability from the market; prices fell. During The…[READ MORE]

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