Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Overview Of The Housing/Credit Crisis And Why There Is More Pain To Come...

This is one of the best summaries of the housing market I have seen, it comes from T2 Partners who have produced other good reports in the past. They pick up on many of the points I have been bringing up, such as the fact that there is pent up inventory, not only in REO’s, but also in people who are waiting for an opportunity to sell when “prices recover” which will not happen for years.

An excellent summary, please read the comments on the .pdf slides, there’s a lot of good information (Click on link below):

An Overview Of The Housing/Credit Crisis And Why There Is More Pain To Come...

Below is an summary from Mark Hanson on the housing market taken from this report (pages 62 – 65).

Comments From Mark Hanson - The Field Check Group, May 5, 2009

California housing -- at the low end -- is 'bottoming' mostly because: a) median prices are down 55% from their peak over the past two years, thereby making the low end affordable; b) foreclosures have temporarily been cut by 66% through moratoriums reducing supply; and c) demand is picking up going into the busy season.

But the moratoriums are ending and the number of foreclosures in the pipeline is massive -- they will start showing themselves as REO over the near to mid-term. The Obama plan held the foreclosure wave back, creating a huge backlog and now the servicers are testing hundreds of thousands of defaults against the new loss mitigation initiatives. We presently see the Notice of Defaults at record highs and Notice of Trustee Sales back up to 9 month highs -- there is no reason for a loan to go to the Notice of Trustee Sale stage if indeed it wasn't a foreclosure. However, the new 'batch' are not only from the low end but a wide mix all the way up to several million dollars in present value.

Because the majority of buyers are in ultra low and low-mid prices ranges, the supply-demand imbalance from foreclosures and organic supply will crush the mid-to-upper priced properties in 2009. We already have early seasonal hard data proving this. As the mid-to-upper end go through their respective implosions this year and the volume of sales in these bands increase as prices tumble, the mix shift will raise median and average house prices creating the ultimate in false bottoms. We also have data proving this phenomenon.

After a year or so the real pain will occur when the mid to upper bands are down 40% from where they are now, and the price compression has made the low to low-mid bands much less attractive -- the very same bands that are so hot right now. Rents are tumbling and those that bought these properties for investment will be at risk of default (investors have been buying all the way down). Investors have just started to get taken to the woodshed from all of the supply and this will get much worse. Mid-to-upper end rental supply is also flooding on the market making it much better to rent a beautiful million dollar house than putting $300,000 down and buying.

After investors are punished -- and with move-up buyers gone for years -- it will leave first-time homeowners to fix the housing market on their own. Good luck and good night. Five years from now when things look to be stabilizing, all of these terrible kick-the-can-down-the-road modifications that leave borrowers in 5-year-teaser, ultra-high-leverage, 150% LTV, balloon loans will start adjusting upward and it will be Mortgage Implosion 2.0. These loan mods will turn millions of homeowners into over-levered, underwater, renters and ensure housing is a dead asset class for years to come.

Due to a confluence of events including a national foreclosure moratorium and near-zero sales in the mid to upper end during the off season, the broader housing data show signs of stabilization. Taken in context, it is a blip. There are no silver linings or green shoots in housing whatsoever other than by these first-time homeowners -- former renters -- who now find it cheaper to own than rent. This is a very good thing, but it only applies to a small segment of the population and will not be able to support the market. In addition, the first-time buyers who come out of the rental market put continuous pressure on rents.

Our data shows that the mid-to-upper end housing market is on the precipice of the exact cliff that the market fell off of in 2007, led by new loan defaults. What happens to the economy when you hit the mid-to-upper end earners the same way the low-to-mid end was hit with the subprime implosion? We will find out soon enough. When we look back on housing at the end of 2009, anyone that made positive housing predictions this year will not believe how far off they were.

S&P/Case-Shiller national (not 20-city) index, which implies a 10-15% further decline from where prices where as of the end of 2008. It’s almost certain that prices will reach these levels

• The key question is whether housing prices will go crashing through the trend line and fall well below fair value. Unfortunately, this is very likely. In the long-term, housing prices will likely settle around fair value, but in the short-term prices will be driven both by psychology as well as supply and demand. The trends in both are very unfavorable.

Regarding the former, national home prices have declined for 31 consecutive months since their peak in July 2006 through February 2009 and there’s no end in sight, so this makes buyers reluctant – even when the price appears cheap – and sellers desperate.

Regarding the latter, there is a huge mismatch between supply and demand, due largely to the tsunami of foreclosures. In March 2009, distressed sales accounted for just over 50% of all existing home sales nationwide – and more than 57% in California. In addition, the “shadow” inventory of foreclosed homes already likely exceeds one year and there will be millions more foreclosures over the next few years, creating a large overhang of excess supply that will likely cause prices to overshoot on the downside, as they are already doing in California.

• Therefore, we expect housing prices to decline 45-50% from the peak, bottoming in mid-2010

• We are also quite certain that wherever prices bottom, there will be no quick rebound

• There’s too much inventory to work off quickly, especially in light of the millions of foreclosures over the next few years

• While foreclosure sales are booming in many areas, regular sales by homeowners have plunged, in part because people usually can’t sell when they’re under water on their mortgage and in part due to human psychology: people naturally anchor on the price they paid or what something was worth in the past and are reluctant to sell below this level. We suspect that there are millions of homeowners like this who will emerge as sellers at the first sign of a rebound in home prices

• Finally, we don’t think the economy is likely to provide a tailwind, as we expect it to contract the rest of 2009, stagnate in 2010, and only then grow tepidly for some time thereafter

Mortgage lending standards became progressively worse starting in 2000, but really went off a cliff beginning in early 2005

The worst loans were subprime ones, which generally had two-year teaser rates and are now defaulting at unprecedented rates

Such loans made in Q1 2005 started to default in high numbers upon reset in Q1 2007, which not surprisingly was the beginning of the current crises

The crisis has continued to worsen as even lower quality subprime loans made over the remainder of 2005 reset over the course of 2007, triggering more and more defaults

It takes an average of 15 months from the date of the first missed payment by a homeowner to a liquidation (generally a sale via auction) of the home

Thus, the Q1 2005 subprime loans that defaulted in Q1 2007 led to foreclosures and auctions in early 2008

Given that lending standards got much worse in late 2005 through 2006 and into the first half of 2007, and the many other types of loans that are now with longer reset dates that are now starting to default at catastrophic rates, there are sobering implications for expected defaults, foreclosures and auctions in 2009 and beyond, which promise to drive home prices down further

In summary, today we are only in the middle innings of an enormous wave of defaults, foreclosures and auctions that is hitting the United States. We predicted in early 2008 that it would get so bad that it would require large-scale federal government intervention – which has occurred, and we’re likely not finished yet.