"We have a housing shortage, so home prices will not decline"

cfbfan23

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Interesting that countries like Japan and China aren't included here. Are those tiny concrete boxes in the sky considered to be condominiums and not apartments? And are condominiums considered to be the same as a free standing home? Because while high density housing is certainly more efficient and cheaper, I hated living in dorms and apartments for a reason.
Japan is included there. Do you see the flag?
 

BioHawk

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Japan is included there. Do you see the flag?
Whoops! Missed it. My bad, I stand corrected. Still, no China or India. And someone posted countries with higher rates. I'd still like to know what they consider a home. Is electricity required?
 

BioHawk

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1. House is listed for $250,000
2. Individual bids $252,000 (Monthly payment around $1,700)
3. Hedge fund bids $275,000 (Monthly payment around $1,800)
4. Hedge fund wins bid and now owns the house.
5. Hedge fund now rents out the house for $2,500
6. Hedge fund profits.
7. Rent in the area now goes up for everyone.
Is it really that simple? I feel like they are hiding something and eventually all the taxpayers are going to be stuck with the bill when they need a trillion dollar bailout for being stupid again. Maybe I just don't trust any time these hedge funds look like they are playing a game with their money. But they also know there is no way they will ever be held responsible for their poor decisions. Well, maybe calling them "poor decisions" isn't accurate. Selfish decisions would be a better word I think.
 

cfbfan23

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Whoops! Missed it. My bad, I stand corrected. Still, no China or India. And someone posted countries with higher rates. I'd still like to know what they consider a home. Is electricity required?
China has a super-high rate (89.68). The ratio is owner occupied units over the total residential units.
 
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Mister Hawkeyes

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Is it really that simple? I feel like they are hiding something and eventually all the taxpayers are going to be stuck with the bill when they need a trillion dollar bailout for being stupid again. Maybe I just don't trust any time these hedge funds look like they are playing a game with their money. But they also know there is no way they will ever be held responsible for their poor decisions. Well, maybe calling them "poor decisions" isn't accurate. Selfish decisions would be a better word I think.
That's obviously the "Explain Like I'm Five" explanation and I could be completely off the mark, but I don't think I am. When I see a house go off the market here in Des Moines and then a month later it's listed as a rental, that's concerning.

Of course the taxpayers are going to be stuck with the bill. It has been that way forever. That's why I get frustrated when I see people who would rather side with big corporations and billionaire's. They are the ones who are screwing you over and raising your taxes, yet you'd rather stick it to your American brother or sister because they might look or act a little different than you or have different economic backgrounds than you.
 

onlyTheObvious

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That's obviously the "Explain Like I'm Five" explanation and I could be completely off the mark, but I don't think I am. When I see a house go off the market here in Des Moines and then a month later it's listed as a rental, that's concerning.

Of course the taxpayers are going to be stuck with the bill. It has been that way forever. That's why I get frustrated when I see people who would rather side with big corporations and billionaire's. They are the ones who are screwing you over and raising your taxes, yet you'd rather stick it to your American brother or sister because they might look or act a little different than you or have different economic backgrounds than you.
Paying for individuals needs so they can afford their wants isn’t going to punish the corporations. It will just make the problem worse.

the cheap/free money needs to stop.

people need to buy what they can afford and mortgage companies need to only loan out to people they feel can pay it back. With the knowledge that if they don’t, big brother isn’t going to make it all better. Our problem is this philosophy has been shitted on by politicians for a few decades.
 
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seminole97

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1. House is listed for $250,000
2. Individual bids $252,000 (Monthly payment around $1,700)
3. Hedge fund bids $275,000 (Monthly payment around $1,800)
4. Hedge fund wins bid and now owns the house.
5. Hedge fund now rents out the house for $2,500
6. Hedge fund profits.
7. Rent in the area now goes up for everyone.
If Individual looking for a home is only willing/able to pay $1,700 month, how do you rent him a home at $2,500?
If Hedge fund doesn’t rent the home how much do they lose a month?
 

bhawk24bob

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The confusing aspect of this to me is that we have more than enough affordable housing for first time buyers, particularly those that can wfh. They just all want something they would see on house hunters in Chelsea, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, etc. It's not going to work like that, property is unique
 

golfinghawkeye

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I had my house listed on MLS three days ago at around 1900 local time. By the time I went to bed I had one appointment for a showing. By 1100 the next morning I was up to four showings. By 1700 I had multiple offers and accepted one for $5,000 over list, no contingencies and a 30 day close.
 

cfbfan23

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I had my house listed on MLS three days ago at around 1900 local time. By the time I went to bed I had one appointment for a showing. By 1100 the next morning I was up to four showings. By 1700 I had multiple offers and accepted one for $5,000 over list, no contingencies and a 30 day close.

giphy.gif
 

StormHawk42

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The confusing aspect of this to me is that we have more than enough affordable housing for first time buyers, particularly those that can wfh. They just all want something they would see on house hunters in Chelsea, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, etc. It's not going to work like that, property is unique
I’m just not sure I buy that. I just looked and in Des Moines proper, there are 115 single family homes for less than $180K, which is already pretty low.

Now figure in that most of those are two bed, one bath or 1/1. So you’ve almost certainly eliminated families with two or more children.

Then figure in those houses are very old so large expenses like a new HVAC or new roof are on the horizon.

Then figure in that the types of buyers in this price range likely don’t have $20-$30k in savings to produce a 20% down payment, so they’ll have to get PMI.

Of course there are first time buyers that would feel they’re not going to bother with a starter home in that range (I was one of them). But there’s also plenty of low or middle class buyers that I’m sure would love to get out of the rent cycle but simply can’t afford it for the reasons I just stated.
 
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kc78

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This can't be compared to the prior slump and crash because it's a completely different set of scenarios. Loans are much harder to aquire now. The runup is due to two things.

1. Hedge Funds getting into the housing market. (This is bad, really bad)
2. There was a slowdown in building during Covid and so builders haven't caught up.

The difference is that you don't have tons of people with no real investment experience buying houses on interest only loans that they could never afford otherwise who were just hoping to flip them in 6 months and repeat the process. Tons of people bought into property they had no way to afford, and banks didn't care to see if they really could afford it as they were just selling off the loans as well. The new regulations really do make it impossible to do this now. If you've bought a house recently, it's a big pain and you have to justify every dollar you're using to pay for it.

The real issue however is going to be what happens when people can no longer afford the rent/mortgages. Will these hedge funds start to sell off their massive property and move on to something else then flooding the market with cheaper properties or will they just keep rates high pushing people into housing shortages and potential homelessness?
 
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bhawk24bob

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I’m just not sure I buy that. I just looked and in Des Moines proper, there are 115 single family homes for less than $180K, which is already pretty low.

Now figure in that most of those are two bed, one bath or 1/1. So you’ve almost certainly eliminated families with two or more children.

Then figure in those houses are very old so large expenses like a new HVAC or new roof are on the horizon.

Then figure in that the types of buyers in this price range likely don’t have $20-$30k in savings to produce a 20% down payment, so they’ll have to get PMI.

Of course there are first time buyers that would feel they’re not going to bother with a starter home in that range (I was one of them). But there’s also plenty of low or middle class buyers that I’m sure would love to get out of the rent cycle but simply can’t afford it for the reasons I just stated.

I'm not trying to be flippant about this but there are prices that go with home ownership like maintenance, and you really shouldn't be buying a home that will incur maintenance if you can't put together $20-30 for a downpayment. You don't get to pick when the hot water tank fails, the a/c needs to be replaced, or when the furnace craps out.

However you want to scale it, home ownership is expensive when you have to maintain the 4 walls surrounding it....but I keep reading about everybody that can't buy a home, which is indicative that they probably couldn't afford to maintain the home.
 

StormHawk42

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I'm not trying to be flippant about this but there are prices that go with home ownership like maintenance, and you really shouldn't be buying a home that will incur maintenance if you can't put together $20-30 for a downpayment. You don't get to pick when the hot water tank fails, the a/c needs to be replaced, or when the furnace craps out.

However you want to scale it, home ownership is expensive when you have to maintain the 4 walls surrounding it....but I keep reading about everybody that can't buy a home, which is indicative that they probably couldn't afford to maintain the home.
Fair enough. I guess my point is the “damn millennials and Gen Zers want the world” argument is too simplistic for an issue like this.
 

Old_wrestling_fan

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I know this is typical sentiment and there is definitely some of that going on but I think it’s overblown. Houses that cost $150k a few years ago are well over $225k by now. Hell, townhomes in Des Moines are going for $250k+.

Our home was our first and we paid $220k for it and it would sell over $300k right now.

So yes some new buyers have unrealistic expectations but the market hasn’t cooperated either and corporations and REITs buying up starter homes to drive the price up is keeping some good buyers out of the market.
Well, I think multiple things are true in the current housing situation. But one of them IMO is that many younger people are in way bigger and nicer houses sooner in their lives than were my parents, than were people of my generation, etc.

I get that builders make more by building bigger houses, etc, and all that, but there are A LOT of nice, big houses out there these days relative to 30+ years ago.

If there are some stats as per how many sq ft of housing there is per person nowadays, I would be shocked if it isn't double what was true 30+ years ago.
 

ANYCHawk

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If Individual looking for a home is only willing/able to pay $1,700 month, how do you rent him a home at $2,500?
If Hedge fund doesn’t rent the home how much do they lose a month?
Cause everybody needs a home. People will just have to pay more or live in a box. That be the crux of the problem.

Not surprised you don't get that idea as most things go over your head.
 

seminole97

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Well, I think multiple things are true in the current housing situation. But one of them IMO is that many younger people are in way bigger and nicer houses sooner in their lives than were my parents, than were people of my generation, etc.

I get that builders make more by building bigger houses, etc, and all that, but there are A LOT of nice, big houses out there these days relative to 30+ years ago.

If there are some stats as per how many sq ft of housing there is per person nowadays, I would be shocked if it isn't double what was true 30+ years ago.
houses1.jpg
 

HawkMachine

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My wife hates our house. It's the first and only house we've bought which was back in 2000.

It's a small simple ranch which needs updating like windows and siding.

With our income we could easily buy something 3x as nice but I'm just not ready to pull the trigger.

Don't want to buy something else but don't want to dump 30k into it either.

UGH.
 
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ConvenientParking

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The real problem though is hedge funds and REITs are buying up housing like crazy. It is distorting the market tremendously and there probably needs to be something to put in place to control that a bit. We don't need hedge funds owning housing this way

We could (IMO should) ban all non-human entities from owning residential real estate and ban nonresident foreign nationals from owning residential real estate here. If you want to be a slumlord, gotta use your own name and money. The innovators and job creators can find something else to do with their extra cash laying around.
 

srams21

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Well, I think multiple things are true in the current housing situation. But one of them IMO is that many younger people are in way bigger and nicer houses sooner in their lives than were my parents, than were people of my generation, etc.

I get that builders make more by building bigger houses, etc, and all that, but there are A LOT of nice, big houses out there these days relative to 30+ years ago.

If there are some stats as per how many sq ft of housing there is per person nowadays, I would be shocked if it isn't double what was true 30+ years ago.
You are right BUT they rarely make true starter homes anymore.

I've been saying we need to start making a lot more 1200 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath starter homes again.
 
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Three disclaimers:

1. I do not have a graduate degree, only an undergrad.
2. I am not an economist
3. Real Estate trends are geographic, and do not hit all 50 states equally

With that said I read this morning that in the month of May, mortgage applications across the U.S. were the lowest in 22 years. So in addition to the lowest demand for mortgages in over two decades, we have the following:

  • Housing prices have risen continually since 2010, and have skyrocketed the last 2+ years. Anecdotally, my home (which is in a hot market) is currently worth more than double what we paid for it not even 6 years ago.
  • Interest rates are rising (albeit from historic lows)
  • Housing prices, and average monthly housing costs, have risen substantially higher than wages, making homeownership affordable for an even smaller portion of the population.
  • We have broad inflation challenges
  • Stock markets are down considerably YTD (Dow around 12-15%, NASDAQ 20%, S&P 15-17%)
  • Revolving credit is at record highs
  • Depending upon which poll you read, a vast majority of Americans are pessimistic about the economy

At the same time, a number of people (primarily those who work in real estate) continually claim that housing prices will not materially decline because we have "such a shortage of homes."

My simpleton point of view, informed by the bullet points above, is as follows:

  • The cost of housing has risen substantially faster than wages and therefore, many people who would like to buy a home will be unable to do so until prices decline.
  • While there may be a housing shortage, people who want to buy houses are not living on the street, they are renting.
  • Unless homes continue to be purchased by institutional investors, demand is going to continue to plummet to the point where prices will have to drop

Can somebody please explain why this "housing supply shortage" will supersede all of the universally agreed-upon bullet points above, and continue to keep housing prices high?
I can tell you that the housing market in southern Maine doesn't seem to be slowing down. We bought our house here just south of Portland in 2012 for $385,000. Sold it 2 months ago for $927,500. We are in the process of building a new house just north of Portland. We locked into a new development in February. There are a few houses left and they are listing for $250,000 to $350,000 over what we paid. They might have a 100 more square feet and some come with finished basements. It is nuts here. Where people are getting the money I have no clue. They must all be HROT members.
 
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onlyTheObvious

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You are right BUT they rarely make true starter homes anymore.

I've been saying we need to start making a lot more 1200 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath starter homes again.
I think it would be cool to live in a tiny house community. Slap enough rules and covenants it would be a cool environment to live in for a couple years when you are young and no kids.

surprised nobody has tried developing one.

Marion Iowa about 30 years ago had a trailer park where everything looked super nice. Guess they regulated the shit out of it, I would have had zero issues living there for several years.
 

bhawk24bob

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You are right BUT they rarely make true starter homes anymore.

I've been saying we need to start making a lot more 1200 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath starter homes again.

They exist, it's just going to require making a concession on preferred location. Builders are going to build what the most efficient use of the land calls for, you can't expect them to stick a home with those specs in a nice suburb
 

Old_wrestling_fan

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You are right BUT they rarely make true starter homes anymore.

I've been saying we need to start making a lot more 1200 sq ft. 3 bed 2 bath starter homes again.
I agree. I too think that there are very few homes being built that fit that profile. Yet...back in the day...whole neighborhoods were built to about those specs.

Both of my sons purchased exactly those type of houses for their "first" and both were in neighborhoods with dozens of houses of similar size around them. But you just don't see those getting built now.

Yet...there are many developments being built with what are comparatively mansions. :)
 

Old_wrestling_fan

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I think it would be cool to live in a tiny house community. Slap enough rules and covenants it would be a cool environment to live in for a couple years when you are young and no kids.

surprised nobody has tried developing one.

Marion Iowa about 30 years ago had a trailer park where everything looked super nice. Guess they regulated the shit out of it, I would have had zero issues living there for several years.
I could be wrong, but isn't there a neighborhood over near West High that fits this profile? Built about 15'ish years ago or so. Probably not "tiny house" stature, but the houses were visibly smaller than average as I recall. Most seemed "narrow" to look at.

I knew a couple of people that lived in the area back then.
 

jasonrann

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Nothing is slowing down in KC. Anything that isn't a shack has a minimum of 5-10 offers same day of showing. Let the bidding begin!

I went through the paces with my wife two years ago. She thought we needed a 4th bedroom as we prepared for our second child. After seeing about 15 houses, she realized we would have to make a same day bid at 10-15% over asking and move another 15-30 minutes further west or south. I’m glad she caught on because the house we bought six years ago was a same day bid at list price. That was $275k at the time and we could sell it for $450k tomorrow. I told her we needed to get rid of shit instead of adding more space to store crap we don't use. Now I didn’t plan to move across the street from a guy that “allegedly” snuffed his wife, but I’ll live with it. Great success.
 

joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!
People will have to move further out until they can afford rent. This isn’t something new.

people may also have to settle for less house, I know that daddy’s princess that needs the new 3000 square foot home with a suburban in the garage and a boat in the third stall of the garage 48 hours after graduating college might be pissed but so be it.

free money from the government isn’t coming.

also builder might want to consider building small homes.
Will people wanna buy them? THAT it seems to me, is the question that needs to be answered.
I find it amazing that a 35 year old feels it necessary to buy "their dream home"....What the hell do you do with 3500 sq. ft., a 3-4 car garage, granite counter tops, 5 bedrooms and 4 baths and a huge phuquin' mortgage?
But, its not my life to live and certainly NOT my choice.
 
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Tfxchawk

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One of my insights gained from 40 years on Wall Street was that if you had something that everyone thought was hot but had run out of traditional or prospective buyers (Junk bonds, mortgage-backed bonds are the best example.), you securitized it, by buying it in size, putting it into a pool or portfolio, and selling interests in this to the world in small denominations. The buyers were told that this was a first-time opportunity, when in reality, they were destined to be the ultimate bag holders.

Just how "Institutional" are these investors. My hunch is that there is a newly organized company in each case as opposed to say the "state of Iowa employees' pension fund" doing the buying. This newly formed company will have been organized by one of the big hedge funds or investment banks.

So, if your broker calls you with a first-time opportunity to buy in on the ground floor of a new age, new idea on how to profit from the hot real estate market and offers you pass-through ownership in newly constructed real estate, be cautious.

..................................

Edit:

Such attempts to game a "hot market" are what brought down both Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, and made Merrill Lynch susceptible to a (government imposed) takeover by B of A.

Each of these companies got caught with huge inventories of mortgage bonds after the bond purchase phase and prior to the securitization, marketing, and sales phases. When this stuff was marked to market when the buyers failed to materialize, they did not meet minimum capitalization requitements.
They also fraudulently portray these investments on the risk curve. It may be all junk but because they have securitized it they magically offer it as a lower risk investment. People should be in jail for doing it but they aren't.
 
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Tfxchawk

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We could (IMO should) ban all non-human entities from owning residential real estate and ban nonresident foreign nationals from owning residential real estate here. If you want to be a slumlord, gotta use your own name and money. The innovators and job creators can find something else to do with their extra cash laying around.
I would be fine with that. Multifamily investment is different than single family so perhaps some accomodations should be made for investors in those spaces. Not sure how you regulate a company holding real estate but what is happening is not a good thing for the average person.

Also would be happy to see outsized taxes on second or vacation homes.
 
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joelbc1

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you can’t always get what you want!

Nothing is slowing down in KC. Anything that isn't a shack has a minimum of 5-10 offers same day of showing. Let the bidding begin!

I went through the paces with my wife two years ago. She thought we needed a 4th bedroom as we prepared for our second child. After seeing about 15 houses, she realized we would have to make a same day bid at 10-15% over asking and move another 15-30 minutes further west or south. I’m glad she caught on because the house we bought six years ago was a same day bid at list price. That was $275k at the time and we could sell it for $450k tomorrow. I told her we needed to get rid of shit instead of adding more space to store crap we don't use. Now I didn’t plan to move across the street from a guy that “allegedly” snuffed his wife, but I’ll live with it. Great success.
jason.....Not to get judgmental here, but did she have it coming?
 
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seminole97

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I can tell you that the housing market in southern Maine doesn't seem to be slowing down. We bought our house here just south of Portland in 2012 for $385,000. Sold it 2 months ago for $927,500. We are in the process of building a new house just north of Portland. We locked into a new development in February. There are a few houses left and they are listing for $250,000 to $350,000 over what we paid. They might have a 100 more square feet and some come with finished basements. It is nuts here. Where people are getting the money I have no clue. They must all be HROT members.

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Builders, who last year had so much power that people would wait in line overnight for homes they would meter out, are now contending with both falling demand and high material and labor costs. And with the Fed signaling more big rate hikes in coming months, they’re eager to get contracts signed before house hunters pull back even more.

In Sarasota, Florida, would-be buyers are hesitating because homes are taking so long to build, and it’s impossible to know where borrowing costs will land by the time they’re completed, said Donnette Herring, a Realtor with Keller Williams.

“Inflation makes them nervous,” Herring said.

The signs of a shift are still early. Conditions vary from region to region and even between subdivisions, including many where demand still far outpaces supply. And rather than cutting prices, many builders are offering incentives such as free upgrades, money toward closing costs and subsidized mortgage rates. But the market is changing fast, said Ali Wolf, chief economist at Zonda. Her company, which tracks new construction, began hearing of price cuts toward the end of May and into June.

“The builders that are cutting prices are also those that raised prices the most over the past six to 12 months,” she said.

Many of those are in areas that were favored destinations for pandemic migrants who have been moving from pricey regions in search of cheaper homes and more space. In the Phoenix metropolitan area, 22% of new-home listings had price cuts from May 9 through June 5, up from 7% a year earlier, according to data from Redfin. In Tampa, the share jumped to 21% from 9% a year earlier, and in Austin, it climbed to 13% from just 3%.

The cuts have come from both small private builders and big public ones, including D.R. Horton, Meritage Homes and Lennar according to listings in Florida, Texas and Arizona publicly available on sites such as Redfin and Realtor.com. A PulteGroup website shows 146 finished homes in Arizona, mostly with price reductions. Jim Zeumer, vice president of investor relations, said those appeared to be typical incentives used to sell spec houses - those built without a buyer in place - that are complete or will be finished soon.146 finished homes in Arizona, mostly with price reductions. Jim Zeumer, vice president of investor relations, said those appeared to be typical incentives used to sell spec houses - those built without a buyer in place - that are complete or will be finished soon.

“We will typically have one or two finished specs in a community but use incentives to manage inventory levels over the life of a community,” Zeumer said.
In the Houston region, it’s the fast-growing areas further from the city, such as Conroe to the north and Alvin to the south, that are cooling the most, said Freer, the local agent. Builders who were only selling homes that were almost done now are telling her that they’ll take orders for “dirt.”

Of her roughly 120 listings for builders, about 70% now have cuts, she said.
 

Titus Andronicus

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It looks as if under Yeltsin, or along in there, people were simply given deeds to whatever space they were occupying. This would I guess, have been similar to the manner in which the folks in industry were given control of their companies.

................................................................................

Excerpted From Elana's Models website: Elana is in the business of arranging marriages with exceedingly cute Russian models ... but she addresses this point and her explanation makes sense:



During the times of the Soviet Union and shortly thereafter, people were able to get an apartment (flat) for their residence and a small block of land for the purpose of the countryside entertainment. One family was entitled to both.

This practice still exists in Russia, only on a much smaller scale and often misused by the government officials to obtain apartments without paying for them. Some groups of people who are entitled by law to get a unit for free often have to wait for decades to no avail, while high-level bureaucrats are scoring the best locations and apartments in the city.

It is due to the fact that during the 70 years of the Soviet Union people were given homes for free that the level of home ownership in Russia remains very high.

It is still possible to get land for free in Russia. For instance, people are offered 1 Ha of land per family member in the Far East of Russia (Vladivostok area), under the condition the plot will be developed within a certain period of time.
 

Titus Andronicus

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Home ownership in China and Cuba piqued my interest. Do people actually own those homes, or are they just allowed to live there by the government?
Relating to China:

From a Mr. Joseph Wang who posted the following on Quora -


If all real property in China is owned by the government, do building owners pay rent to the government?


No. One thing that you have to understand is that things just work differently in different places.
Mainland Chinese classify things differently than English/American law. English/American law makes a distinction between real property and personal property. In Mainland China (and oddly enough Hong Kong), the legal distinction is between land and other property. The government owns all land, but you own the building completely. Owning a building is like owning a car or a television, and the laws involving transfers of buildings aren’t a separate body of law.

You can’t own land, but you can own a land use right. Again, things work differently. Once you have a land use right, you can sell it on the open market to whoever wants it, and the land use right is good for 70 years. No one is quite sure what happens once the land use right expires. Also, once you have a land use right, there are no additional payments to the government. This is a problem since most places have no property taxes, which means that the government just gets one lump sum from the LUR sale.

One thing about LUR’s which explains “ghost cities” is that one way you can lose a LUR is if you don’t use it. If you get a land use right from the government, you must build a building on that land within two years, and if you don’t the right returns to the government. This is why there are ghost cities and ghost malls. If you think that the land is going to be valuable someday, it’s in your interest to build an empty building on top of it.

Hong Kong has a messy land system. As with the mainland the government owns all land (except for one church), but there is a patchwork of rights, and in some situations, you do have to pay ground rent to the government.
 
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Menace Sockeyes

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The real problem though is hedge funds and REITs are buying up housing like crazy. It is distorting the market tremendously and there probably needs to be something to put in place to control that a bit. We don't need hedge funds owning housing this way

Watched a report on the NBC nightly national news the other night that 33% of homes purchased in the month (can’t remember which month) were purchased by investors/corporations. They’re buying these homes at higher prices out from under individuals then charging them rent higher than what the mortgage would be if the individual had purchased the house. It’s not a good thing.

Yeah, this is… 😬 :

 

Tenacious E

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Well, I think multiple things are true in the current housing situation. But one of them IMO is that many younger people are in way bigger and nicer houses sooner in their lives than were my parents, than were people of my generation, etc.

I get that builders make more by building bigger houses, etc, and all that, but there are A LOT of nice, big houses out there these days relative to 30+ years ago.

If there are some stats as per how many sq ft of housing there is per person nowadays, I would be shocked if it isn't double what was true 30+ years ago.
There is a lot of truth in this. My parents were always what I would call upper middle class or lower upper class. We lived in houses similar to what my friends lived in. For reference this was Bettendorf and in wisconsin. These same houses today show they each have a 360k value on Zillow, and I believe they would have a similar value the DSM metro. A nice house but nothing really nice. Seems to me that is more of the flavor of house that young people want now, rather than a true starter home in the 100s or low to mid 200s.
 
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