Tag Archives: flip homes

The Big Short 2.0: The NAR Whiffed Badly This Month

Based on the National Association of Realtor’s “Seasonally Adjusted” Annualized Rate (SAAR) metric, home sales were said to have ticked up 0.7% in September from August. On a SAAR basis they declined 1.5% from September 2016.  In his customary effort to glaze the pig’s lips with lipstick, NAR chief “economist” and salesman, Larry Yun, asserted that sales would have been stronger but for the hurricanes that hit Florida and Texas.

This guy should do some better vetting of the data before he tries to spin a story. The Houston Association of Realtors was out a week earlier stating that Houston home sales were up 14% in September from August and up 4.2% from September 2016. Yun’s fairytale is a stunning contrast to what is being reported from Houston. But it illustrates the fact that the data on housing the NAR reports is highly suspect.

As I’ve been detailing for years, the NAR’s existing home sales report is highly manipulated and flawed.  It works well for the industry and the media in rising markets, but the real estate market has rolled over and is preparing to head south.  Likely rather quickly.  As it turns out, the September existing home sales report released Friday reinforces my view that the market is starting to topple over.  I go over the details in the next issue of the Short Seller’s Journal, with a couple examples which foreshadow a collapse in the over $1,000,000 price segment of the market.  This in turn will affect the entire market.  I always suspected that the “Big Short 2.0” would start at the high-end.  An example outside of Colorado can found here:  Greenwich Sales Plunge.

Four weeks ago I presented a housing-related stock as a short good idea.  The stock is down nearly 10% in four weeks.   How can this be?  Isn’t the housing market hot?  It will be going much lower.  This week I’ll be featuring a housing industry supplier stock that went parabolic and will soon go “cliff dive.”  If you want to find out more about this subscription service, click here:  Short Seller’s Journal info.

I love your Short Seller’s Journal. Keep up the great work – recent new subscriber

June Existing Home Sales Report: More NAR Promtional Propaganda

It’s happening here too, NE Florida. Lots of inventory in higher priced areas (around $400k), lesser expensive areas are selling but at much reduced frequency. Lots of for sale signs out there and they’ve not come down. I see price reductions now, and still no traffic for sales. It looks exactly what I witnessed 7 years ago!  – reader comment – note:  a colleague of mine who lives on west coast of FLA said the same thing about his area
While the NAR was pleased to report a gain in May over April for its statistically brewed annualized home sales rate for May, it also revised lower its original “guesstimate” for April sales.  In other words, existing home sales are occurring at a slower rate than originally reported.  I would bet that in July when June’s number is reported that the NAR will revise lower May’s report.

The data is distorted due to the “seasonally adjusted annualized rate” calculation.  In theory, existing home sales should be higher than May last year because, with lower interest rates (manipulated by the Fed) and easier access to Government subsidized mortgages (FNM, FRE, FHA, VHA, USDA), the monetary and fiscal policy implementors running the U.S. have made it as easy for someone to buy a home now as it was during the big bubble.  I would argue that the “increase” in reported home sales is fully attributable to “seasonal adjustments”  which become exaggerated when the number is converted into an annualized rate.

Interestingly, the first-time buyer segment of the market took big dip from April.  I have suspected based on my observations of the Denver market that the largest component of homebuyers are investor/flippers.  The data confirm this.  First time buyers were said to be 30% of the buyers in May, down from 32% in April.  Historically, first-time buyers are typically 40-50% of the buying.
Also interestingly, the inventory of homes increased. I would suggest, based in inferences from the data, this is flippers/investors listing their homes.  I have noticed recently signs posted on busy boulevards around Denver that say “Wholesale fix-up homes available.”  This suggests to me that “investors” are scooping up homes ahead of flippers and looking to flip them into flippers.  This is how the peak of the bubble in 2006-2008 looked.
Finally, and perhaps most disconcerting, is the fact that the NAR is now pushing policy proposals which would make it easier for student loan borrowers to take down a Government-sponsored mortgage to buy a home. Nothing like piling more Taxpayer funded mortgage debt on top of an unmanageable amount of taxpayer funded student loan debt in order to let newly minted college-degree’d bartenders and waitresses buy a home…