|Home||About Us||Resources||Archive||Free Reports||Market Window|
Thursday, January 19, 2012
"Something's up down here," my brother told me over the weekend.
"Right now, I'm unable to buy a distressed property," he said. He's been trying to buy quality properties where he can get a good price – properties like bank-owned real estate, foreclosures, short sales, and such – in Central Florida.
But lately, he simply can't do it.
"It seems like the realtors and the big investors are tied up with each other," he explained.
"These properties are disappearing from the market before they're even on the market. And for the ones that DO make it to the market, the bids I've made on Day One – even above asking price – haven't been accepted."
Somehow, my brother didn't even come away with Grandma's house (as I wrote about here).
I think this is interesting...
It's anecdotal evidence of what I believe is happening right now. I believe the signals are telling us the housing market is finding its "clearing price" right now...
This is it. This is the bottom. There are plenty of buyers at this moment to match the sellers. The latest stories from my brother – combined with the most recent data and the "leading indicators" – tell me the bottom should be in... or very close.
As a leading indicator, something I find interesting is the dramatic rise in home-improvement stocks, like Home Depot and Lowes. Home Depot is now at 10-year highs. When a stock is hitting 10-year highs, whatever was troubling it before is over...
Stock-price activity often leads economic activity... So is the dramatic risk in home-improvement and homebuilding stocks wishful thinking from stock traders? Or is the rise in these shares leading economic activity in housing?
I think this is legit... The latest data backs that up...
Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported, "Confidence Among U.S. Homebuilders Climbs to Highest Since 2007."
Bloomberg said, "Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose in January to the highest level in more than four years as sales and buyer traffic improved... Record-low borrowing costs, a growing population, and reduced prices may drive demand for homes this year..."
Another simple piece of data where you can see some improvement is in building permits issued for single-family homes. And it's not rocket science... If you're going to have a recovery in housing, you need a recovery in building permits. It's the first step to building a new house.
Building permits bottomed out three years ago. But they've been recovering:
The recovery in permits is not huge. But we are still off the lows of three years ago. It's a move in the right direction.
I could go on... The general picture is that consumer confidence is rebounding. Things are getting less bad.
The official statistics of home prices might not show the recovery yet... because they are always MONTHS old. But I strongly believe the bottom is in, right now. Today.
"With prices this low, you need to consider buying a house," Steve writes. "If you can buy and hang on for a couple years, it could be the lowest-risk, highest-reward investment you ever make..." Find more evidence the housing market has bottomed here: Those Fools... The Housing Bust is OVER.
If you're still not convinced real estate is one of the best values out there right now, listen to the proof. Steve shares two incredible real estate deals… These deals are real, and they're happening right now.
WE'RE CHECKING IN ON THE GREAT DEBATE OF 2012
Consider the global economy in "goosed" mode right now. Copper just "broke out" to its highest level in more than three months...
One of the great investment debates of 2012 revolves around the global economy. On one side, you have folks who believe governments in the U.S., Europe, and China will be able to "goose" their economies with easy credit and low interest rates. This would support stock, bond, and commodity prices. On the other side, you have folks who believe a huge recession is in the cards... no matter what governments do to prevent it. This would send stock, bond, and commodity prices lower.
We say consider both sides of the argument and form your own opinion... but always mind the market. The market is the judge, jury, and executioner of any idea. And in this debate, the market is starting to side with the optimists.
The market in this case is the price of copper. Copper is a vital building material that is in nearly everything around you... from plumbing and electronics, to automobiles and appliances. This "in everything" aspect makes the metal rise and fall with global economic activity. Like most every asset, copper sold off hard in late 2011. But it's since found a bottom in the low $3 per pound area... and worked its way up to reach its highest level since August. This bit of positive price action is no reason to go dancing in the streets, but it's a small vote in favor of the optimists' view.
In The Daily Crux