I give up… How can the National Association of Realtors’ Lawrence Yun be so out of touch? How is it humanly possible that he still has a job, or thinks people still listen to him?
On February 25, Yun tried to argue that the housing market is "scratching the bottom", a horrible reminder of Hank Paulson’s 2008 "at or near bottom" theory.
What Yun fails to understand is that because sales were down 0.4% from December 2007, it doesn’t mean we’re bottoming anywhere. Inventories are now at a 10.3 month supply glut. That’s 50% higher year over year. Oh, and prices are still sinking.
Yun aside, housing is headed lower. The only question now is "just how much lower can they go?" Moody’s, for example, is using a 20% drop in median existing home prices from the 2005 peak, according to a U.S. News & World Report article.
Better, "Our weaker scenario…is a 25 percent decline in prices," says Celia Chen, Moody’s director of housing economics. "That would be in the case of a housing and credit crash and still a moderate recession." There are new worst-case whispers as well. "You want the darkest? Forty percent," she says. "There’s your apocalypse."
Where Yun sees a bottom is any one’s best guess.
Industry insiders don’t see one. They’re on the sidelines until the housing glut unwinds, and until buyers become confident that their homes won’t lose money as soon as they buy.
Even Robert Toll of Toll Brothers thinks, "Current market conditions stink" as does KB Home’s Jeffrey Mezger who predicts a "continuing tough market in 2008. Until prices stabilize and consumer confidence returns, we will continue to see inventory levels that are out of balance with demand," according to a MarketWatch.com article.