Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're Nowhere Near a Bottom in Housing

From Bloomberg:

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities declined at the fastest rate on record, depressed by mounting foreclosures and slumping sales.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index declined 18 percent in the 12 months to October, more than forecast, after dropping 17.4 percent in September. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007, and year-over-year records began in 2001.

The financial market meltdown that’s reverberated around the globe has prompted banks to curb lending, signaling the housing slump will persist for a fourth year in 2009. Falling property values have eroded household wealth, causing consumers to pare spending and deepening what is projected to be the longest recession in the postwar period.

“As 2008 comes to an end, the housing market is left in a weaker state than at the beginning of the year,” Michelle Meyer, an economist at Barclays Capital Inc. in New York, said before the report. “Uncertainty remains high given the unprecedented nature of the recession.”

The central issue with the housing market now is price. As long as we see these massive drops in home prices we can say supply and demand are way out of sync.