The Collected Works of Author and Blogger Larry Roberts

Orange County housing market report: March 2017 The new and improved USA Housing News reports launches soon! Now with complete national coverage! The housing market reports are back! It’s a long story, but the bottom line is that I now have control over my housing market reports again. I am working on a website to sell subscriptions to these reports as the USA Housing News. I will talk more about this as I get closer to launch. I found a new data source the allows me to provide national coverage. In fact, I now cover all 50 states, 443 metros, 1045 counties, 9,525 cities, 5,619 neighborhoods, and 11,325 zip codes. That’s a lot of data. I can create custom reports…[READ MORE]

Americans increasingly accumulate the wrong kinds of debt Americans borrow more money for consumption rather than the acquisition of assets. Not all debt is created equal. I borrowed large sums to buy cashflow properties in Las Vegas, debt backed by a cashflow-producing asset. The income stream repays the debt with interest, and if for some reason I am unwilling to pay back the loan, the lender can auction the property and either receive their money back or obtain cashflow equal to or greater than the payment on the debt. That is asset-backed debt. Lenders provide asset-backed debt for the purchase of property, plant, and equipment. When lenders evaluate these loans, they consider the useful life, the recovery and resale value, and…[READ MORE]

Homeowners and lenders may ignite another housing mania requiring a taxpayer bailout As house prices rise and more homeowners possess equity again, some are withdrawing this money at low rates and spending it, stimulating the economy. During the housing mania, people bought homes because house prices rose rapidly, and lenders gave equity to homeowners at 100%+ of the value set by recent comps. Under such circumstances, houses were very desirable, and unlimited access to home equity fueled the housing mania and funded millions of personal Ponzi schemes. Homeowners like mortgage equity withdrawal because it provides them instant access to the free money bestowed upon them by the magic appreciation fairy. Even better, they didn’t have to sell the golden goose: they…[READ MORE]

Solving the foreclosure crisis created the problems with lack of MLS inventory today The foreclosure crisis stopped when lenders quit foreclosing and forced homeowners to wait until they had equity to sell the property. Many homeowners are still waiting, so MLS inventory is quite low. I’ve stated many times my contention that the housing recovery is built on a foundation of market manipulation; distressed inventory dried up because lenders opted to modify loans rather than foreclose and purge the bad debt from the economy. Unfortunately for lenders, today’s loan modifications are tomorrow’s distressed property sales, and in my opinion, the mortgage mess is not resolved, the outcome has merely been delayed by loan modifications. Lenders designed loan modifications to maximize…[READ MORE]

Millennial's first home will likely be high-density condo A cap on loans and increased builder costs forces builders to increase density to meet the burgeoning demand of Millennial buyers. Millennials find very little available for sale on the MLS in their price range because the previous generation, Generation X, is still trapped in their starter homes, lacking the equity to make a move-up trade. Nearly 6 million people remain trapped in their entry-level homes they purchased a decade ago. Perhaps they enjoy their gilded cage, but since they may not leave without severe financial consequences, their homes resemble a debtor’s prison. People also remain in their homes longer because even with the newfound equity from reflating the old housing bubble,…[READ MORE]

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