More on the Housing Market (around here at least)…

While the claims of economic doom in the housing market have so far failed to materialize, things have definitely changed for the worse from the salad days of 2000-2005.   Home sales in the Twin cities market are slowing, and prices are falling.   In my development of around 100 houses, there are at least 10-12 houses for sale, and none of them are moving.   Some homeowners are still sticking to the fantasy that they can get 2005 prices for their houses now, whereas others are cutting prices fast.  A few houses have dropped their prices by upwards of 10% already with no takers.   Not a good sign for any of the families that are trying to move around here.

While the housing market is fairly morbid around here (in the burbs at least, there are neighborhoods and price niches that continue to do quite well), the bottom hasn’t fallen out yet.   According to a story in the StarTribune today, that may be changing though.   As the article notes, more and more ARM’s are starting to reset, and those people who played financial games  with ARMs, negative-amortization loans and the like are starting to feel the heat.

On a related note, I wonder if the falling house prices will do anything to the tax assessments for all of the houses around here.   Local governments could more or less raise taxes at will by assessing homes higher and higher, which people would take when it seemed like their equity would keep on rising fast forever.  Now that prices are leveling off or falling, it’ll be interesting to see how county governments and citizens react.   If my assessed value was more than I knew I could sell my house for I’d be complaining at the annual tax meeting and I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone.  Governments have gotten somewhat lax in their spending due to ever-increasing property tax income and it may be hard for them to tighten their belts like the rest of us are.


3 Responses to More on the Housing Market (around here at least)…

  1. Jared says:

    Indeed. I’ve noticed – on the 5 minutes of biking – between my friend’s house and my own there are 5 houses that popped up for sale, all within the last 2 months. In my neighborhood alone, 4 more popped up within this last month. Everywhere I go now, I’m noticing how many ads there are for townhomes, as well as the suburban homes.

  2. Jim says:

    Houses seem to be moving in my neighborhood, but not like they did a couple years ago. After buying our house in 2002, we were a little surprised to see similar houses in our neighborhood selling for 30-40K more than we paid just a year or two later. This summer, we’re neighborhood real estate spectators again, and it seems that asking prices are back to where they were in 2002. the difference is that they’re sitting longer and multiple bid-ups seem to be rare.

  3. Bart says:

    I’m a real-estate spectator as well. I cruise realtor websties ever-so-often to see how prices are doing in my neighborhood. I could probably sell my house right now if I had to, but the selling price would probably wipe out most if not all of the equity we’ve got in it right now. We’ll see what a few more years bring once things shake out and stabilize.

    If the Fed raises interest rates soon, increased mortgage rates will drive down prices even further. The situation isn’t pretty in my neighborhood, but it’s not catastrophic. If we get a summer that features rising gas prices and rising interest rates I think we’ll see the housing market crash in the exurbs first and then start rolling in towards the core cities. I’m still only 15 minutes or so from downtown St. Paul, so I’m not too far away from things. Folks living in places like Andover, Farmington and Western Wisconsin that have to commute in will be in much worse shape IMO.

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