The Collected Works of Author and Blogger Larry Roberts

Archive for May, 2012

I have enjoyed being a renter over the last five years. I moved several times being a renter, and I never felt anchored or chained to any housing situation.  I rarely stressed about paying my rent, and I never once fretted about the decline in the value of my property. Further, I never worried about my prosperity being hindered by some bank refusing to extend me a Ponzi loan. Being a renter has caused me to pass many of my peers on the basis of my net worth -- though small, mine is still positive. Renting is the future of housing. Potential buyers will be sidelined for several more years while they repair their credit and accumulate enough savings to…[READ MORE]

Timing the housing market is important. Pundits make predictions all the time, and mostly they are wrong. It's rare to find an analyst who has the foresight to see a change in the market and the courage to act on their insights. Mark R. Kiesel, a Pimco fund manager, is one such analyst. Back in 2006, he posted For Sale and Still Renting on Pimco's site (no longer there), a detailed analysis of the housing bubble and the reason for his choice to sell his home and rent. He later chose not to buy in the fake bottom of 2009, again due to his own analysis of the housing market. Now, Mr. Kiesel is putting his money where his mouth…[READ MORE]

Last week I profiled the Stonegate community of Santa Maria. This week we take a look at the photos, floorplans, and costs of the Stonegate community of Santa Clara.   Stonegate is an Irvine Company Village located northeast of Woodbury bounded by Sand Canyon Avenue, Portola Parkway, Jeffrey Road, and Irvine Boulevard. Stonegate has easy access to Highway 133 which provides speedy access to I-5 and I-405. The entire Village is far enough from the major freeways to be very quiet, particularly locations distal from the bounding arterial streets. The only problems with traffic or noise comes from the steady stream to garbage trucks driving up Sand Canyon and down Portola heading to the Bee Canyon landfill. The landfill itself…[READ MORE]

One of the more esoteric debates on the fundamental value of houses centers on whether or not houses appreciate faster than the overall rate of inflation. Nobody who isn't kool aid intoxicated believes house prices rise much more than the level of inflation because intelligent people understand trees cannot grow to the sky. If house prices consistently went up in value faster than price or wage inflation, over time, people would lose their ability to afford to buy houses because debt-to-income ratios would have to rise to accommodate the higher prices. No, this debate is whether or not prices rise slightly above inflation or not at all. The reason this debate is important is because if you project forward off…[READ MORE]

Economists particularly enjoy calling the inflection points in the market. Much fanfare surrounded Calculated Risk's calling the bottom back in March. He may or may not be proven correct. The data on falling inventory certainly suggested a bottom was in the making, and even if he is later proven wrong, I doubt the real bottom will much farther down. Further with the delays in reporting on Case-Shiller, it won't be known until more than a year from now when the decline from this fall and winter's drop is tallied. He will be correct for at least a year. One way or another Calculated Risk's bottom call will be right enough to suffice even if it isn't perfect. Kudos to him…[READ MORE]

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