Housing Market Horror: Home Equity Loans Making A Big Comeback

…Just in time for the housing market to take a big dump. I’m going to really start hammering on the truth about the housing market. The media propaganda and industry hype is flowing in epic proportions. Lately I’ve been hearing a plethora of ads on the radio for mortgage companies pushing home equity loans similar to what you’d find from reputable companies similar to Aviva equity release. “Time to take advantage of the higher housing prices and use the equity in your home to pay off credit cards or remodel your house.” Vintage 2005. The ad I heard earlier today said that you can close in 10 days and not have to make a payment for 60 days. Lead the sheep to slaughter.

This is just in time for a big price collapse to hit the market. Most of you probably missed this report, but I did not: 30% Of Homes Lost Value Over The Last YearLINK

Almost 30% of all homes lost value in August from a year earlier, according to real estate company Zillow Group Z, -0.81% down from a recent high of 65% in January 2009… real-estate website Trulia’s recent report on the fastest moving housing markets showed a slowdown in how quickly homes are being sold…

This means that in most markets, if you bought a home in the last 9 months and took advantage of the new FNM/FRE 3% down payment program, you’re already way underwater. The article references Denver has a “hot market.” Yes it was white-hot until about June. I would bet, based on all the data that I observe, that the average price is down 10% since June. My email gets peppered every day with notices of price reductions on metro area homes. This is not the kind of sign you see in a market that’s hot:


I recently posted an article from the Denver Post in which an actual realtor was quoted as saying that buyers were drying up and sellers were chasing the market lower with price reductions. This is how it started when the big bubble popped. Denver was one of the hottest markets during the bubble and it was one of the first to explode. Any buyer who bought a home in the last three months with the intent of fixing it up and flipping is now going to be stuck unless they’re willing to eat a big loss.

The reason home equity loan pimps are working overtime is because the banks that fund this paper take the security and throw it into a pooled asset-backed structure and they slice it up into “risk” tranches and wrap derivatives around it and toss it to the institutional pigeons who have loads of cash looking for yield. No one factors in loss of principal in their ROR models. All they care about is that the “juicy” 4% yield.

While the re-emergence of aggressive home equity lending is a signal the top is in and a renewed collapse is starting, this is perhaps the biggest warning flare, just like the first time around 8 years ago: Hamptons Mansions Pile Up on Market as Luxury-Home Sales Dip

As I was discussing with a good friend of mine in NYC yesterday, it’s not the absence of foreign money that’s taken the bid away from the Hamptons, as the Bloomberg article asserts, it’s the bread and butter Wall Street jockey who is looking at a serious cut in bonus compensation and the possible loss of his job. Just wait until the ones who leveraged up with a big fat jumbo mortgage realize that they can no longer afford to maintain their Hamptons retreat and their NYC apartment or their NY/NJ Mcmansion. There will be a lot of homes out on the east end of Long Island from which the owner walks.

The Hamptons indicator precluded the popping of the big bubble. It will also be one of the smoking guns that precedes the re-collapse of the housing market.

9 thoughts on “Housing Market Horror: Home Equity Loans Making A Big Comeback

  1. I seriously can’t wait for the neutron bomb to be dropped on Bay Area real estate. I thought it was going to be over back in 2009. My naivete cost my family a lot of money unfortunately.

    1. No one could have anticipated the degree of intervention and corruption involved in creating this dead-cat bounce in housing. A lot of funds will stuck with massive portfolios of homes that don’t generate enough rent to cover the expenses of the fund. That fact is reflected in the fact that one of the public funds was acquired recently at a valuation that valued the home portfolio at 50 cents on the dollar. Eventually that valuation will transmit into the general housing market.

  2. Another excellent housing article. Starting to see this locally in Utah. One of the only blogs I can find taking a critical view of real estate.

    Please keep writing this stuff.

    Thank you.

  3. What’s to stop the Fed from making a real estate market “plunge protection team”? I kind of thought that was what they were doing with these large hedge funds that were buying up properties under cover of renting them when in reality the Fed was just pumping up assets like they do in the stock market.

    1. Jeff, you gotta sell to book profit. Smart money doesn’t buy and hold whether it’s a dividend stock or a rental property. They weren’t looking for a new class of annuities so it’s a question of timing. The plan from the get go was to sell the assets at the top.

  4. Please keep shining light on these issues. I am watching the market in Denver pretty closely, and I see more and more “for sale” signs everywhere I look. Even worse, as you have said before, apartment buildings are starting to offer a lot of concessions; the most aggressive I have seen was 8 weeks free rent when you sign a year lease. That’s 2 months FREE and this was in central Denver. All you have to do is drive around in Denver and you can smell the desperation with all the “new price!” signs everywhere you look.

    Should be an interesting year or two, for sure.

      1. It was advertised recently at the West End apartment complex right next to I-25 as you’re traveling northbound just before the 38th Ave exit. I believe they finished those only a few months ago.

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