Lawrence Yun’s Greenwich Real Estate Outlook
By Scott Elwell - 7.27.11 - 3 Comments »
[pdf issuu_pdf_id=”110727215037-6dfe742ce554458a929935866b8cbd4e”]These are the slides from a presentation that Lawrence Yun did at the Belle Haven Club to Greenwich Realtors about the state of the housing market. Lawrence Yun is the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. Here’s a quick write-up of his presentation :http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Realtor-association-economist-in-Greenwich-1446568.phpI thought he did a great job at the presentation. It would take me more time than I have tonight to draft up all of my notes. If you are very interested feel free to comment here and I will respond. Here are some of the notes that I think are pertinent:-The monthly existing home sales slide that shows the “Tax Credit Impact” does not have a direct effect on Greenwich real estate, since the tax credit is fairly nominal in even our lower price brackets. That being said, it did have an affect on the national real estate market and the national mood, which in turn helps all real estate.-If you fast forward to the “New Home Price vs. Existing Home Price” slide you’ll see the spread between new and existing homes. I’m a big believer that this isn’t as wide here in Greenwich when such a high percentage of the value of one’s home is in the land.-“Weekly Fresh Unemployment Claims…” – Yun is a big believer that the 400,000 level in unemployment will signal a true break in recovery. We came right down to that number in the beginning of 2011, but didn’t break through it. Yun feels that we won’t have a true recovery until we break 400,000 and therefor we should watch that closely.-“Home Price vs Rent” – I’m considering basing my next monthly mailing on this slide/theme. (If you want to get my monthly mailing you can sign up on the right side bar or you can email me at email@example.com) There is so much to talk about here. Without getting into specifics (I’m happy to give you my long winded explanation if you want to buy me coffee), I’m a big believer that the separation in pricing between rent and purchase was a huge signal that we were going into a bubble. As you can see, we are witnessing a contraction and offset right now. Hopefully the two markets will converge soon and we can get back on track. Please don’t look at this graph and think it’s a great time to purchase a rental in Greenwich. I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just saying that there is so much more to the local story than a national graph can explain.-“Smart Money Buying?” – I have a big problem with anyone that uses the term “Smart Money” since it means that not everyone is smart. The entire market today is extremely well informed and we can’t place such labels on groups of people.-“Average Credit Score for Loan Origination” – Yun is basically saying her that “if” underwriting loosens up a bit and we come down to 720/720/660 we should see 15% to 20% higher sales numbers. He’s basically pushing for lower underwriting standards. I’m not sure I agree that this is the problem. I’m a big believer that the banks don’t necessarily need to change their standards, but they should change their process. I’ve seen so many qualified buyers end up going crazy trying to satisfy the loan requirements. They all have received loans at the end of the day – the process is just too hard. There has to be a simpler way to underwrite to the same standards without driving your customers crazy. Looking at the next slide I disagree. The process is too hard, not the rules being too strict.Yun then starts to attack (or argue) about the policians. He doesn’t seem to have a bias (rep/dem) and argues that both sides are causing problems. He does though continue to include optimistic insights as to what could happen going forward if we help to support consumer confidence. This, to me, is the name of the game in Greenwich. Consumer Confidence is a number/area I pay very close attention to as so much of a house’s value in Greenwich is discretionary. I’m not a huge fan of the unemployment number (see his slides) as I don’t think they are that accurate. Some argue that the number is too low as not everyone is collecting unemployment. Some argue that it is too high as people find ways to live off unemployment when they could find work. Add in the fact that many people today are living lives that they consider unemployed while working jobs they are overqualified for just to get work, even if the pay doesn’t fully support their family and you can see why I’m not a fan of this number.At the end of the day I think Professor Yun did a great job. He has a long term positive outlook, which I share. Please feel free to post questions/comments here (or email me) and I will try to address them in a timely manner.