In a lapse of judgement, poor writing or an irrational need to be contrarian, the normally solid publication Barrons (I subscribe) drops the ball on their cover story:

Bottom’s Up: This Real-Estate Rout May Be Short-Lived

If IndyMac, Fannie and Freddie didn’t steal the headlines over the weekend, I wonder if this article would ever made it to print.

The article suggests housing is moving toward recovery based on a review of recent data:

  1. NAR exisitng homes have a 10.8 month supply in May versus a 11.2 month supply in April (ahem: Seasonality occurs in rising and falling market. Home sales rise in the spring.)

  2. Case Shiller showed prices rose in 8 of 20 housing markets in April, and the pace of decline is slowing in many of the cities surveyed. (see no. 1)

  3. Treasury Secretary Paulson recently said: “”we are well into the adjustment process.” (This is a political move to allay investors – other than that, what does this statement actually mean?)

  4. David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Index Committee indicated the media was only interested in the “…bad year-over-year number.” (blame the media observation – see no. 1.)

  5. Pending Congressional bailout. FHA will reposition $300M in subprime mortgages. (For perspective, Fannie and Freddie have 5 trillion in outstanding mortgages, how does this save the market? It’s a drop in the bucket).

  6. Fannie and Freddie may be taken over by the government is a good thing. (no it’s not)

  7. A million unit drop in housing starts has signified the end of the last 3 housing corrections. (none of those period saw anything close to the speculation and poor lending practices seen the recent boom – no lessons learned by history here).

  8. Affordability (via price/income) has improved with price declines. (The rationalization for increased affordability is pretty silly since underwriting standards are much tighter. In other words, if your credit score and salary didn’t change from last year, and your home dropped in value, your buying power is probably much lower. In other words, affordability did not increase despite the mechanical calculations to the contrary).

  9. NAR reports 2% increase in co-op. condo and townhouses from April to May. (See no. 1)

  10. NAR economist Lawrence Yun is actually relied on in this article. (He called the credit crunch temporary last August and the housing market would return to normal in the fall.)

  11. Mortgage market weakness is front end loaded with foreclosures and defaults. (In theory the bad is behind us – for the life of me, I can’t understand the rationale. How does this mean housing is poised for a turn if the scope of the credit crunch is unprecedented?)

Good grief.

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2 Responses to “[Smoking Gun Crack] Signs Of Housing Recovery”

  1. Jed Lane says:

    (ahem: Seasonality occurs in rising and falling market. Home sales rise in the spring.) Seeing a drop in supply in this market says that buyers are buying faster than product is added. This is not a normal seasonality. It is a market that is showing that the pricing has reached a level where buyers are seeing value.

    (blame the media observation – see no. 1.) See above for no.1 All the focus of the media is in reporting how dire everything is and he’s pointing that out. When the Case Schiller report is released in my market San Francisco metro, and San Francisco specifcally, the media and the chuckleheads on the blogosphere all chime in crowiing about how bad it is and aren’t they smart to have sat out the buying of property. They consitantly advise against buying now and those of us in the know have to parse the report to show that buying in SF is not reflected in the report. Here an article appears that parses the numbers and shows a story that is positive. The media would rather report on the supposition that the GSE’s might need to do something if a new accounting rule is applied to them. So a might/if statement is enough to get the herd running.

  2. Jonathan J. Miller says:

    I think the media conspiracy argument is a bit dated. Clearly the media speaks in terms of aggregate, but sales rise in the spring. The article you cited doesn’t demonstrate your point at all.