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December 18, 2008 06:48 PM UTC

Whither now, Economy? (Paging Danny the Red Hair, paging....)

  • 10 Comments
  • by: parsingreality

Not so much a diary here, but a table for discussion about the future of the economy and what we as individuals in our different lives should be doing.  So, here are a few topics to kick things off:

1.  How much more will home prices slide and how low?  Keep in mind some places will recover sooner, some later.  Best article in a long time about the fundamentals of home prices historically that the recent balloon tried to ignore: http://www.usatoday.com/printe…

2.  How would you rate these different programs for jump starting the economy:  Bailing out Wall Street, bailing out the not-so-Big Three, or Obama’s pending spending on infrastructure repairs? (My vote is for the last, by a big margin.)

3.  What will happen to interest rates, short term and longer term?  We cashed out a matured CD yesterday and I asked the CS person what is she seeing.  She said there a lot of new CD’s being set up; we agreed that a lot of that money probably came from stocks that were taking a beating.  Also people look at the current rates and say “I might as well put it under the mattress.”  Danny, I hope you pick up on this diary because I want to review and refresh on your beliefs that rates will only go up. Maybe because they will have to start printing money?

4. Will fire sale interest rates jump start the economy? Real estate agents here (WAY too many) are peeing in their pants with the new, low mortgage rates.  But I ask, if you don’t have a job, so what?  I do see investors here buying up things like ten or twenty houses.  How can that be good for home ownership down the road?

OK, the table is set.  Add your own questions, or better, weigh in on what I’ve asked.  This could be a ten course meal!  

Comments

10 thoughts on “Whither now, Economy? (Paging Danny the Red Hair, paging….)

  1. Since I wrote the diary, I’ve read that the CPI has fallen faster in three months than any time since 1933.  That was a negative 3 percent. Good for fixed incomes, or any steady income, for that matter. Not good for producers and retailers.

    “Experts” are predicting another point or two drop in 2009. Oil can’t go much lower. Obama’s work programs will pump billions into the economy.  As I pointed out to someone yesterday, the people bitching about the low CD rates aren’t bitching about sub$2 gas or milk that’s 50 cents a gallon cheaper than last summer.  

  2. Couple thoughts about 1 and 4, while probably a bad thing near-term, home prices should go down.  Wayyy down.  For people in large markets, it’s almost impossible to own a home.  Overvalued properties also make it difficult for people to rent.  Things just can’t function that way.  Sure, the market is going to value things a certain dollar number…but I’m not a big free marketer.  🙂  If it takes the economy tanking to lower home prices, I personally like that silver-lining.

    On #4, what you’re talking about is exactly what my parents are doing.  Whether that’s good or not, i don’t know.  But the older they get the more they like buying random things…especially in Texas for whatever reason.  At least from their end, they have no intention of selling them, rather renting them to people who all of a sudden find themselves unable to own homes.  

    So, for what it’s worth, a couple quick thoughts…

    1. This guy got me on that wagon: http://patrick.net/housing/cra

      Originally geared to the SF market, his predictions have come to pass nation wide.

      Texas still has very a very low home price market.  Has been for years, not sure of all the reasons.

      If you didn’t read the USA Today link, it delves into the historical indexes and home prices.  These things never change in the long run.  

  3. I’m not sure anyone knows the answer to #1.  Some places had more out-of-proportion home valuation than others, and will fall further.  That’s about all I’m willing to put down on that question.

    On #2, if I had to vote for one of the three, infrastructure repairs would have to be way up there.  I do think propping up companies through the economic recession will make the recession more shallow than it would be otherwise, and hence valuable.

    One #3, rates can’t go down much from here…

    Finally, Investors purchasing multiple homes isn’t necessarily good for home ownership, but like propping up the financial and/or auto sectors, it keeps the economy moving along at a better pace than it would otherwise move.

    Right now, the only thing that might “jump-start” the economy is investing in new jobs.  Anything else is a holding action.  But since this seems to be a “war” on many fronts, some military advice holds: holding actions are useful while you stage an aggressive move elsewhere.

  4. just a word about Danny.  I think by some contractual agreement he can’t blog here anymore – he mentioned this about a week ago. I bet he’s lurking though !

    That being said, 30 year fixed mortgage rates being at a 37 year low is having a positive effect on real estate.  I am in the process of refinancing and reducing my interest rate puts more monthly money in our pocket.

    I guess the Feds purchase of about 600 billion mortgage backed securities has helped push the rates way down.  These are affordable loans for people who have good credit and were responsible during the ga-ga real estate bubble.

    Our loan was at 6.5 % and now we can refi for 5.25% or less with good credit and at least 20 % equity.  I have spoken with a few real estate agents, appraisers, etc. and they are pretty busy right now, (at least in my area) so it seems to be helping to stimulate the market.  Couple this with home prices still falling and this will help stimulate buying.  

    1. Does anyone have an idea of the change in valuation of properties here in Colorado?

      I wouldn’t mind pushing my loan down another 1/2% or more, but with the housing crunch I’m not too confident I still have 20% equity.

      1. From a few years ago. I’m not too sure on the actual numbers, but my dad just sold his house for $330K, and when he had it appraised a few years ago, they told him it was worth over $400K.

    2. Of course, anyone can register again with any name. But of course I respect any agreement that he has made.

      Lower mortgage rates will never hurt.  But refinancing does not help as much as home sales, or best of all, construction.  And the lower rates go, the less impact each percentage point makes.

      Hell, they could go 1% interest and I don’t think it would do much except let current homeowners keep more in their pocket.  Not that that’s bad, but it’s not an economy jump start.  

      1. which includes the stock market, foreclosures, housing starts, jobs, etc. etc.  Maybe this bright spot with mortgage rates will be drowned out by all the other bad news, who knows.

        That being said if I had the money I would buy some South Florida real estate right now, but its’ like catching a falling knife as they say.

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