Monday, March 30, 2015 06:36am
North Adams, MA now: 30 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Inequality in the Housing Market
By Bill Schmick On: 11:09PM / Thursday May 08, 2014
Important
1
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
1
Ridiculous
1

You, you said that they — What'd you say just a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even thought of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what?! Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken-down that — You know how long it takes a workin' man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?

— George Bailey, "It's a Wonderful Life"

The most expensive home ever sold in America occurred over the weekend in "The Hamptons," Long Island's playground for the one percent. Just a week before that a Greenwich, Conn., estate sold for $120 million. At the same time, the percentage of America's first-time home buyers is at its lowest level since 2008. What does that say about homeownership in the United States?

American income inequality is taking on an even uglier caste as it impacts the real estate market. The recovery in housing over the past two years has been highly unusual. This time around, it has been led largely by institutional investors, hedge funds, private equity firms and wealthy individuals. These astute investors, flush with the cash they had made in the recovery of the financial markets, took advantage of the 35 percent decline in housing prices and the new rental demand of 5 million foreclosed homeowners who were forced to find a new place to live.

These entities spent more than $20 billion to buy up over 200,000 homes which they rented or resold (flipped) as the housing market climbed. All-cash sales have become so prevalent that in the first quarter of 2014 almost 43 percent of all residential property sales were transacted in this way. That's up from 38 percent in the previous quarter.

At this point the big money has been made and the institutions are winding down their purchases. Wealthy individuals, second-home buyers and the occasional owner-occupant buyer, who have the cash, are entering the market. Thanks to the Fed's tapering, mortgage rates have climbed, while stricter credit standards following the crash have shut out the rest of us from any hope of tapping the mortgage market.

As the American middle-class disappears, so too will homeownership at an accelerating pace and what's worse, there is little hope for the future. Consider, for example, those young, first-time homebuyers. Rest assured that "the kids are not OK."

Struggling with high college debt, low-paying jobs (if any) and high monthly rents, the younger generation has little chance of cobbling together the money needed for the 10-20 percent down payment required to purchase a home, even if they could get a bank loan. The reality is that the only borrowers most banks will lend to are those who don't really need to borrow in the first place.

Sure, prices have appreciated and in several locales, mainly along the nation's east and west coasts, sales of $1 million homes have spiked 7.8 percent over the past year. But at the same time, there has been a 7.5 percent drop in overall home buying during that same period.

One wonders who these new, all-cash buyers are going to sell these properties to in the years to come. By definition, there is only one percent of the population that can afford to buy or borrow. How many jumbo loans can banks make before borrowing dries up? Evidently, U.S. lenders are seeing the handwriting on the wall and are cutting jobs in their mortgage lending divisions in advance of further downside.

Clearly, the housing market is stalling and even Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank, worries that "the flattening out in housing activity could prove more protracted than currently expected, rather than resuming its earlier pace of recovery."

As my readers know, almost all of the country's income gains from 2009 to 2012 flowed to the top one percent of earners. It is becoming clear that the same thing has happened in the real estate market. That leaves 99 percent of us who will either remain property-less or who will live in our present abode for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately for America, as housing falls prey to the growing trend of income inequality in this country, the future prospects for all of us continue to dim, especially among our young.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Living With Ghosts: My Time At the Butler Goodrich House
Architects Make Presentation to Mount Greylock Building Committee
Vietnam Veterans Honored at Snowy Pittsfield Ceremony
Williams Women's Tennis Beats No. 1 Emory
Lanesborough School Approves $182K Budget Cut
North County Group Lobbies for Hospital Reopening
Finance Committee, Selectmen See ACRSD Proposed Budget
Former Pittsfield Councilor Pete White Seeking at-Large Seat
Williams College Admits 1,159 Students for Class of 2019
Cheshire Water Protection Bylaws Saved; Bridge Being Closed

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (164)
Independent Investor (221)
Archives:
March 2015 (6)
March 2014 (1)
February 2015 (7)
January 2015 (9)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
Tags:
Oil Currency Deficit Japan Federal Reserve Markets Selloff Fed Stocks Taxes Retirement Pullback Europe Crisis Jobs Bailout Commodities Election Fiscal Cliff Debt Greece Stock Market Rally Debt Ceiling Economy Europe Congress Euro Banks Interest Rates Metals Housing Energy Stimulus Recession
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: The Fed Does It Again
The Independent Investor: Financial Challenges Facing Single Parents
@theMarket: Pay Attention to Diverging Markets
The Independent Investor: Kids & Money
@theMarket: Home on the Range
The Independent Investor: Rise of the Smoothie
@The Market: Full Steam Ahead
The Independent Investor: New Fiduciary Rule Would Benefit All of Us
The Independent Investor: How to Make the Most Out of Social Security
@theMarket: A Race to the Bottom


View All
Spark Event @ Sohn Gallery
Sohn Fine Art in Lenox hosts a Berkshire Creative Spark...
Hoosac Valley Does 'Grease'
The Hoosac Valley High School drama team is producing the...
North Adams Chamber @River...
The North Adams Chamber of Commerce held its monthly mixer...
Birds of Prey
Julie Anne Collier of
Berkshire Chamber Nite @ UP
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce held its monthly...
Pitt House Series at Dottie's
The first in the Pitt House Concert Series was a sold out...
Berkshire Awards 2015
Lila Berle, Churchill Cotton and Mary Rentz were honored on...
BYP Networking at AIER
The Berkshire Young Professionals gathered at the American...
Berkshire Art Fellowship Show
The 12 Berkshire Art Association College Fellows for 2015...
Hoosac Boys Lose to Old...
The Bulldogs scored the next six points and later used a...
Hoosac Girls Drop State Final...
The Hoosac Valley girls basketball team ended its season...
Massachusetts Region I High...
Near 80 students from throughout the region met in the...
Mt. Greylock SEE Fund
Williamstown's community access television station,...
2OT, Sends Hoosac to State...
Jameson Coughlan scored on a baseline inbounds play from...
HV Win State Semi-Final
Last season, with 1 min., 30 sec. to go Bellingham was down...
Hoosac Girls to Western Mass...
On Saturday afternoon, it had a chance to hang one more...
Spark Event @ Sohn Gallery
Sohn Fine Art in Lenox hosts a Berkshire Creative Spark...
Hoosac Valley Does 'Grease'
The Hoosac Valley High School drama team is producing the...
North Adams Chamber @River...
The North Adams Chamber of Commerce held its monthly mixer...
Birds of Prey
Julie Anne Collier of
Berkshire Chamber Nite @ UP
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce held its monthly...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved