San Diego Real Estate 2010 Forecast – The Year of the Strategic Mortgage Default

By Bob Schwartz

San Diego’s real estate market will most likely have another down-turn in the year 2010, and there are many reasons why. Remember, many of the adjustable home loans were designed with five and seven year interest adjustments. Many home loans are set to re-set next year since the San Diego real estate market boomed in the summer of 2005. The saving grace is that interest rates are near all-time lows and interest rate shock will not be a major factor. The downbeat with these mortgage adjustments will be the ‘reality check’ factor. How many homeowners will suddenly wake up to the fact that their home is now worth tens of thousands of dollars less than their mortgage balance? Only the naive will believe that their San Diego home’s value will snap back soon.

The Northwestern University of Chicago has found that as many as one in four defaults may have been strategic. Driving this phenomenon is the rising number of households that are deeply “under water,” owing much more than the current value of their homes. First American CoreLogic, a real-estate information company, estimates that 5.3 million U.S. households have mortgage balances at least 20% higher than their homes’ value, and 2.2 million of those households are at least 50% under water. The problem is worst in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Nevada.

So, whether or not you think the San Diego real estate market has bottomed, the reality is, it will take numerous years to recoup equity losses many have endured. 2010 may go down as the year of the strategic mortgage default because of this homeowner awakening.

Talking-heads who claim the U.S. housing market has “bottomed,” or even that it will “bottom” in 2010, don’t have the slightest grasp of fundamental economics. Government and the vast majority of media are using the old tactic of trying to talk us out of this downturn. Any bit of positive new is over-emphasized while the terrible, realistic conditions are hardly noted.

The government has spent trillions of dollars and has not made ca significant impact on the problem. Government saved Wall Street banks, at least for now. Will government platitudes actually turn around our economy? The administration thinks so. They are closing their eyes and wishing really, really hard that it does. They also should remember to click their ruby-red heels three times to insure success.

The best parallel to our current situation continues to be the Great Depression. In 1930, we had a 50% stock rally and abundant “green shoots” before the market turned down in a relentless decline. This time the government intervention is much larger, but so too, is the credit bubble.

Many agree the real unemployment rate is 17.5%. How can the housing market improve until unemployment dramatically improves?

Property values only go up if there is an increase in demand. That is NOT happening. The birth rate of the US is just enough to sustain our population, nothing more, and it would be negative without immigration.

Another major factor affecting San Diego real estate demand, is that the severity of our current home value decline seems to have broken the back of the myth that you could not lose money purchasing residential property in San Diego or California. Until the devastation to San Diego home values, fades from the collective consciousness, demand for housing will be a fraction of what it was.

Those who invest in real estate and expect values to appreciate need to face the fact that by mid-2010 there is a high probability we will be in a rising interest rate environment, which will boost costs on mortgage loans substantially. We all know it is now much more difficult to qualify for a mortgage even with some of the lowest interest rates in history. What will happen when interest rates move up? Will the government again step in with some type of subsidized interest rate/qualifying program (much like the sub-prime debacle)?

My idea to stabilize the real estate market is for the government to grant investors who buy and hold homes for at least three years, but no more than seven years, 100% exemption on any capital gain they may realize. I published this idea back on 10-1-08, but, perhaps because this was a low cost idea involving ‘investors’ it never gained any traction. I still believe it would be a sure-fire fix to our housing doldrums.

Here in California the largest state tax rate just passed; there is talk of additional state tax increases. That, coupled with our already high electric, water and gasoline taxes, portends California homeowners’ disposal income is headed for oblivion! Further combination with the administration’s new health care costs and Cap & Trade’s dramatic impact on utility costs, only the hope & change commissars will be able to afford California detached homes. The California masses will be, out of necessity, forced to live in huge apartment complexes. The California standard of living will take a huge hit, but look on the bright side… mass apartment complexes will reduce commuting, contain urban sprawl and cut down on carbon emissions! Perhaps, most importantly, the extra taxes will insure the California public workers pension plans will continue to provide lottery-sized benefits into the foreseeable future.

Higher rates to support currencies will intensify deflation. Intensifying levels of bankruptcy and foreclosure due to salary decreases and job loss will intensify deflation. A century of inflation is coming unwound in a decade.

Read more of Bob’s ‘tell it like it is’ real estate opinions & subscribe to his free RSS feed at: San Diego housing. Also visit San Diego homes & San Diego real estate agents.

Bob Schwartz is a San Diego California real estate broker, Certified Residential Specialist w/30 Years of real estate experience and an all around good guy.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bob_Schwartz



Comments are closed.