Sonoma Housing Bubble

Pulling the cork out of Sonoma's bubbly housing foolishness

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Housing Market Kaput?

"Steeply deteriorating." "Hard landing." "Kaput." These are some of the terms used by analysts to describe the slowing of the U.S. housing market. And with the glory days of home-price appreciation now over, some homeowners are declaring, "Downsize Me!"

Americans are carrying a lot of excess weight and desperately want to slim down. No, not their waistlines -- in the size of their homes.

A huge gap between the supply of homes for sale and demand for housing means prices are leveling off -- and could tumble. David Horwitz and his wife, Diane, are the type of homeowners looking to streamline their expenses and unload their roomy homes for more humbler abodes.

The Horwitzes, both semi-retired, just moved into a 1,200 square-foot apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after living in a 2,200 square-foot home in Scarsdale, New York.

"Our property taxes went down by 1,000 percent, the ConEd (bill) was cut by two-thirds and the cost of home maintenance was reduced by at least 50 percent," said David Horwitz. "No gardener, no roofer cleaning gutters, no tree spraying, no snow removal, no exterior painting every six or seven years."

Diane Ramirez, president of Halstead Property, has seen downsizing pick up steam in recent months, especially among suburbanites in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

"Homeowners are probably sensing now may be the right time to get the best price before the market cools further," Ramirez said. "Some of these homebuyers are empty-nesters now finding their homes are larger than what they need and more than they can handle."
The Horwitzes, who have no mortgage, plan to reside in the apartment for a while, so even if prices fall it is of little significance to them.


At 8/13/2006 08:30:00 PM , Anonymous tom stone said...

passed a HUGE billboard by the oakland coliseum today "profit from the coming real estate shakeout" and for the last few days i have started to hear ads on the radio "home prices are falling,refi now to pay off credit cards or get out of bk while rates are still low and before your equity disappears"

At 8/14/2006 06:42:00 AM , Blogger Bubbletracker said...

Don’t you love how writers are actually using the term hard landing now? What happened to gradual cooling, soft landing, and controlled deceleration?

Maybe you can keep a running list of headlines (or buzzwords), so that after the bubble has completely burst, you can document it from the overly-optimistic headlines of a few years ago, to the wishful soft landing stories of a few months ago, to the upcoming crash related titles of a few months from now..

At 8/14/2006 10:58:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know some bigger fools in sonoma county selling their houses and using the equity to "trade up" to a "Fixer with good bones". their equity will slowly dwindle over the next five years and they will be left with bones.

At 8/15/2006 11:54:00 AM , Blogger marin_explorer said...

"Americans are carrying a lot of excess weight and desperately want to slim down. No, not their waistlines -- in the size of their homes."

Is public sentiment changing towards those once-lauded "McMansions", as they eat away any remaining discretionary income? That 4000+sqft home might have felt chic when you bought it, but heating/cooling and long-term upkeep could be a shocker. Overbuilt and undermaintained, these homes will be the future creepy dumps for children to spin ghost stories around.


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