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Pending Home Sales Plunge At Fastest Pace Since April 2011

Tyler Durden's picture


For the 5th month in a row, pending home sales missed expectations (though a silver lining is a positive print MoM - breaking a 5-month streak). Year-over-year, home sales collapsed at 4% - its worst drop since April 2011, and that even after prior data was revised lower. Still, despite this ongoing plunge, there is always hope - as engendered by NAR's chief economist who states (somewhat unconfidently), "we may have reached a cyclical low." Cylical low indeed - just don't look at the chart.

Sure doesn't look like a cyclical low...


as data misses for the 5th month in a row...


There is always hope... (via NAR)

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market is flattening. “We may have reached a cyclical low because the positive fundamentals of job creation and household formation are likely to foster a fairly stable level of contract activity in 2014,” he said. “Although the final months of 2013 are finishing on a soft note, the year as a whole will end with the best sales total in seven years.”


Total existing-home sales this year are expected to reach 5.1 million, a gain of almost 10 percent over 2012, but should stay at that level in 2014, and then rise to 5.3 million in 2015. The national median existing-home price for all of this year will be close to $197,300, up nearly 12 percent from 2012, but is projected to rise at a more moderate pace of 5 to 5.5 percent in 2014, and grow another 4 percent in 2015.


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Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:13 | Link to Comment HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

Lots of moonscapes being created on the North side of Atlanta. Those savvy builders must know something these charts don't.

Bullish for PVC farms!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:19 | Link to Comment PartysOver
PartysOver's picture

More than a few.  Doesn't look promising for future house pricing.

But then again most builders are building with other peoples money so what the hell.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:26 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture



PartysOver, I like that moniker!  :)

Barron's over the weekend says that housing may go up 5% per year (for the next three years).  Seems very optimistic...

I gave up prediction, but here are Bearing Guy's thoughts:

"Thinking ABout 2014"

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 19:28 | Link to Comment mumbo_jumbo
mumbo_jumbo's picture

so i guess housing getting 5% less affordable for the next 3 years is good......for someone but certainly not me.

BTW haven't we seen this movie before? the script sure seems to be the same verbiage


Mon, 12/30/2013 - 19:33 | Link to Comment mumbo_jumbo
mumbo_jumbo's picture


Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:10 | Link to Comment CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

Those are apartments or townhouse complexes.  Not single family homes.



Mon, 12/30/2013 - 17:12 | Link to Comment CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

Luckily, "house prices never drop."

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:21 | Link to Comment ptoemmes
ptoemmes's picture

HopeDozers and BackHopes.  

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 14:59 | Link to Comment Four chan
Four chan's picture

lol well done alfred

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:16 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Yun, ugh.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:25 | Link to Comment 666
666's picture

Methinks Lawrence Yun's IQ has reached a cyclical low.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:16 | Link to Comment Cursive
Cursive's picture

Congratulations to the all-cash "inwestors" who bought at the top of the market.  There's gonna be a lot more riders on the open borders bandwagon....

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:24 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

Blackstone,  enjoy your Sh#t sandwhich. 

The fun starts when they realize it.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:54 | Link to Comment markar
markar's picture

Watch Blackstone wiggle out of this with a govt sponsored "rent to own" scheme. No money down, subprime mortgages for all. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:53 | Link to Comment Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

Outside of Cali [where foreigners are propping up the market] prices have not recovered in many areas. my friend bought a house for $780k and that whole area is now selling for less then $400k. It's sad esp if he is forced to move to another job across the country or overseas and has to sell...Huge Loss.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:18 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Florida too...especially Miami. Having said that there are limits to cash too. I really don't think a house should be seen as an asset actually. Second lien mortgages should be banned in my view.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:19 | Link to Comment Obchelli
Obchelli's picture

Bullish - reversed Taper is comming

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:16 | Link to Comment NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Now is the best time to buy a home.  Now is the best time to buy a home.  Now is the best time to buy a home.

And just like that.... bing!  We're in Kansas again where everything is OK.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:17 | Link to Comment Rubbish
Rubbish's picture

Walmart jobs for the win.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 15:57 | Link to Comment MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Ye jest, but at some point wouldn't it be a good idea to load up on dollar denominated debt?  Obviously there will be an opportunity cost given there may be other investment vehicles that appreciate more quickly in a dollar devaluation scenario, but isn't the real risk more that there may be a prolonged downturn or even dollar strength for a period longer than one can stand, where debt loads create savings margin compression into a net negative cash flow?

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:22 | Link to Comment Richard Chesler
Richard Chesler's picture

Die fucker die.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:20 | Link to Comment MFLTucson
MFLTucson's picture

Should be positive for stocks!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:20 | Link to Comment cnmcdee
cnmcdee's picture

We may have reached a cyclical low because the positive fundamentals of job creation and household formation are likely to foster a fairly stable level of contract activity in 2014,”

What a lying quote.  Newspeak for f*ck y*u all your base are belong to us.


My co-wrker's friend is a utility worker in Calgary.  She is apparently unhooking 1000's of meters of vacant and empty houses.  Canada never even came close to experiencing the pricing contraction in housing that the United States did.  Now is a good time to SELL before the dam cracks.  Anyways under Canadian law - the banks that are sitting on this glut of housing inventory have no requirement to tell anyone that it is a repossession sale. In otherwords the fact that this shadow inventory is not public is the only reason that housing pricing does not collapse in regions in Canada.


And to the federal reserve's plan to give money to the banks via bond's and T-Bill purchases and the banks are making money by simply parking it and not even investing it into the economy - they are committing a criminal fraud against the public.


Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:45 | Link to Comment gdogus erectus
gdogus erectus's picture

Is it possible that the plan is to never put these homes back on the market to turn us into a country of renters? Drive the prices higher to keep people from affording homes? Kinda like every other market in this system: Rigged. Until it isn't.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:02 | Link to Comment W74
W74's picture

Neo-Feudalism and you can't call it anything else.  The only difference is that you work somewhere off the plantation and instead of pitching over 10% of your crops you get to fork over 30-40% of your take home pay to your neo feudal landlord, aka Lord o'er zee Land!


Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:18 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Not a very good plan if it is. Sell the houses for a dollar...and tax the property on the basis of that valuation. At least you can still call it an asset.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:56 | Link to Comment PT
PT's picture

gdogus erectus:  Your land is being stolen from you.  Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:30 | Link to Comment Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Old Yeller better start cranking up the presses right away and suppress those rates.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:25 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

I think that's exactly what she's going to do and she will do it by not only winding down all of QE but "globbing off" various parts of the three trillion on the Fed's three trillion balance sheet through reverse repo's. In effect "now it's your turn to go long the market and win." This is in fact happening...and if this continues there is nothing DC can do about it. Ironically his will SUPPORT DC's tax base. In that sense it is a "workable solution."

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:21 | Link to Comment papaswamp
papaswamp's picture

What reports of increasing household formation is this guy reading. Household formation is declining because employment opportunities are declining. Someone bitch slap this guy...

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:22 | Link to Comment Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

With a 2x4!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:40 | Link to Comment the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

with nails sticking out

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:01 | Link to Comment W74
W74's picture

My household de-formed as income and opportunities decreased.  I should've remained one of the Empire's stormtroopers dodging IEDs on behalf of Israel.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:21 | Link to Comment Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Now is the BEST time to buy.  Real Estate may cool a bit but values should rise - Bernanke.

/sarc while choking down my vomit.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:25 | Link to Comment bozzy
bozzy's picture

Just makin' some wiggle room under cover of the festivities for future adjustables.....

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:24 | Link to Comment Yancey Ward
Yancey Ward's picture

We need the Fed to engineer lower interest rates.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:24 | Link to Comment NEOSERF
NEOSERF's picture

Heard 10 of the nation's top 50 housing markets have surpassed 2007 highs....uhmmm, I'm not good at math but that is to guess where the other 80% is going, heading into higher mortgages?

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:29 | Link to Comment katchum
katchum's picture

Pending home sales will get worse as mortgage rates go up, mortgage applications go down.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:51 | Link to Comment Lewshine
Lewshine's picture

"Pending home sales will get worse as mortgage rates go up, mortgage applications go down."


Truth is what they make it:  CNBC and The Fed, along with NAR can bullshit their way out of ANY negative data...Remember, for the last 10 years it's not about what it is - It's about what they say it is as Ben adds liquidity - PROBLEM SOLVED!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:30 | Link to Comment Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Who cares if he is wrong, when there are no consequences for ever being wrong. 

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:30 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

More layoffs, retirements and downsizing on the way.

It's about demographics. The Fed's plan eventually blows up in their face.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:35 | Link to Comment swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

Over the long run, the housing market doesn't work unless the median house costs around 2.5x - 3x the median income.  In the past we used wages from a job, but now we've devalued wages so much we have to use household income, but the equation still more or less works.  At historic interest rates, with a 30-year conventional mortgage, you can afford to buy a house that costs about 3x your annual income, and no more.

So what's the median household income in the US?  About $49,000?  So the median house price should be between $122,500 - $147,000.  A brief Google search shows the NAR trumpeting a national median sale price in August of about $200,000.  So around 4x median income.  And that's a national average, which means it doesn't take into account regional differences, which make all the difference.

The point is, house prices have to fall between 30% - 40% before most people can make the payments on a conventional loan to buy them.  The only reason prices are as high as they are is that institutional investors are buying them, subsidized by the government in a number of ways, and people have been getting phony mortgages they're never going to pay off.

How much of a "wealth effect" do people feel when their house is worth 40% less?  There goes all the meaningful "wealth" most Americans have.  If you bought your house in the past 14 years, odds are you're really underwater, whether you know it or not.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:44 | Link to Comment Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

I thought I saw a ZH article that Bernanke has pushed the ratio to 6.x, which was even higher than Greedscam did.  Either way, I agree that house values need to drop by close to half.  Which I patiently await...

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:45 | Link to Comment j0nx
j0nx's picture

Try living in the DC area. You have two choices here. Both parents either work and make at least $80k each so they can buy a house in a decent neighborhood with good schools or you buy a nicer house for cheaper in Prince William and live with the section 8 losers and illegal aliens and all the problems that come along with that. It has now become impossible for anyone making less than $150k a year to buy a somewhat nice SFH in Fairfax County and I'm not talking about anything special either. A 2000 SQ ft 30 year old home that needs substantial work and has 1/8-1/4 acre will run you at least $550k in the good parts of Fairfax County. And the price goes up quickly from there. Who the fuck can afford that shit? Especially if you have kids. Salaries here do not justify these prices any longer. Not even close.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:58 | Link to Comment Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Having spent 15 years in that whole area, I can attest to this truth.  I left 10 years ago and would never return to the shithole which is known as the District of Crime metro area.

But the 1%'er which are the politicans and their Psychophants (sic), are doing just fine being paid with your money or corporate largess.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:08 | Link to Comment Richard Chesler
Richard Chesler's picture

I thought only crooks and flaming homosexuals lived in the DC area?

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:32 | Link to Comment Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Often one in the same.  The flamingest one just retired a short while ago.  Barney Fluff I think was his name.  Fluffer for the banks now I believe and a MSM contributor.

EDIT:  FYI I left the area since I didn't fit into either category. ;)  You chucklehead!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:51 | Link to Comment W74
W74's picture

Parts of Southeast DC look little different than Kinshasa.  Same population too, with now-crumbling infrastructure left abandoned by a previous, more productive civilization.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:27 | Link to Comment jsgibson
jsgibson's picture

I hear you.  But remember the $550K SF homes in Fairfax were under $300K just over a decade ago.  Get a TH for roughly half the cost - doable even with younger kids and the wife can stay at home.  Wait a few years and I think you'll get a better deal on a SF.  Bernanke can't keep this bubble inflated much longer.  If we simply refuse to take on ridiculous debt the fiat ponzi scheme will collapse.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:18 | Link to Comment j0nx
j0nx's picture

I will never EVER buy another attached home again. The neighborhood is always 3 or 4 section 8 rentals away from overcrowding, roaches, out of control kids, etc. It was frightening how quickly my old townhome development got taken over by illegals and section 8 renters. Lesson learned on that ordeal. Only a SFH for us or we remain renters until we can.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:48 | Link to Comment W74
W74's picture

Maryland guy here.  I know exactly what you're talking about.  Are you familiar with the differences between Montgomery County and our Prince George's over this side of the river?  It's staggering.  Family income needed in MoCo is around 200k, but houses in PG are going for 70-150k total (versus 600-900k in MoCo) but then no sane White person would ever consider PG county outside of Bowie or that small strip of farmland in the southeast corner and even Bowie is iffy.

Driven plenty through Fairfax, Tyson's corner, Alexandria etc. so I can discern the differences and will verify the accuracy and validity of your post.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:05 | Link to Comment overexposed
overexposed's picture

Been in the area for 30 years, it's truly amazing to see what's happened to the housing market around here.  Homes that sold for $200,000 fourteen years ago are north of $800,000 today.  Made possible solely by ZIRP and our endless Federalization of our economy.  Central planners and all.  Remind me - How'd this form of economy work out for all the wealthy Moscovites under the Soviet system again?

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 19:17 | Link to Comment StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Get out yer pom-poms!  C'mon Visigoths!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 15:10 | Link to Comment I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

Sounds pretty close to Los Angeles prices, only some mid-city areas that are old and congested with marginal homes have actually skyrocketed over the past five years.  Basically the lot is worth $1m and any old house is thrown in for free. 

I can't quite figure who buys these things either, what holds up the market to that level.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:57 | Link to Comment Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

I went to a local sales office of a Big Builder. She said there are only 2 buyers basically right now: 1) foreigners with cash mostly; 2) Gubmint workers who have actually been getting 3-4% annual salary increases. Very very few Middle Class private sector buyers she said.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:38 | Link to Comment IREN Colorado
IREN Colorado's picture

Which market would you like to crash with?

One reason so much cash is flowing into the real estate market is because even when the rivets pop, the wings crumple, and airframe collapses, you are still left holding a deed in your hands to a physical asset. In the upcoming Stock Market collpase, you are going to be holding worthless paper and hope they let you in to the TBTF club. 

Unfortunately, the way this has worked since 2008 is extremely corrupt. FOOs* get first shot at all assets on the basis of their political connections. They are buying assets that failed, were backed by our Gub'ment (via Fannie and Freeddie) and allocated into the investment market based upon political cronnyism. These properties aren't going to folks who are working hard to get ahead and are buying their first home or trying to buy a nicer place than the one they own now. The fascist FOOs* get first crack at the best properties or property portfolios. 

Elections matter. Pray for the Republic.



*Note: FOO = Friend Of Obama


Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:39 | Link to Comment lunaticfringe
lunaticfringe's picture

This housing collapse is exceedingly bullish. It has no impact on markets because markets no longer rely on fundamentals. The taper will be tapered off. By Mar. Take it to the bank.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:49 | Link to Comment rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

What's wrong did all the investors betting on $1200 monthly rents from people working at Walmart suddenly have a energy-effiecient light bulb go off in their heads?

Next they will go to work on City regulations where 20 families can live in 1 house with no running water.

It's all downhill shitville from here.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 11:49 | Link to Comment monopoly
monopoly's picture

Uh huh. Right. Sales will keep moving up. Sure thing, what a crock of shit.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:26 | Link to Comment vincent
vincent's picture

Plenty of talk about the residential market, but I'll be watching for a spike in commercial defaults mid year.

There's no reason to believe small/medium biz hiring will increase, nor will there be incentive for budding entepreneurs to lease/purchase B&M space. The purchase price or seemingly reasonable lease rate will be little incentive to those who are considering customer traffic, and ability of the consumer to spend what little disposable income they may have.

Many have been able to hold on for the last few years by closing locations, and paring back payroll and inventory. Little left to cut at this juncture. The "engine of growth" will lose horsepower at an accelerated rate throughout 2014, which, in turn, will affect the consumers' ability to spend. The smart investor/ entepreneur is hoarding cash, which will not allow for much purchasing, hiring, or tax revenue. The emphasis on economic indicators relative to large cities (growth or stability?) is nearly irrelevant if one considers whats happening to the thousands of smaller/medium sized economies across the US.

Meredith Whitney was quite early on her call. I'm not hoping, but math is math.........

Regional strength will not solve National problems. The myth perpetuated in the media of consumer confidence, employment opportunity, and market strenght will succeed until it does'nt. Everywhere I turn I see folks in haze or slumber.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:42 | Link to Comment realWhiteNight123129
realWhiteNight123129's picture

The question is:

Is there are secular lack of home ownership in the US or a rural exodus to cities (like in China)? No.

The other question is:

Why is that the US has lost its manufacturing edge which was the top of the top post world war II?

Attempting to revive the market which was misallocated and ending a secular suburbia and home ownership is not the solution. What should be done is like in Germany creat vocational training and other programs to defend manufacturing through skills and technical training.

Home is a consumption item. The US needs more production and more income, not more consumption, it is so plainly obvious and yet people try to cling to old model even after it had reached its limits.



Mon, 12/30/2013 - 12:53 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

"The US needs more production and more income, not more consumption"

Not in the Fed's Ponzi monetization model. Debase until the US dollar free-falls.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:10 | Link to Comment No-Debt
No-Debt's picture

Let's not forget about the 300-400 Billion in HELOC's (2nd mortgages) that will be adjusting over the next 2014-2015, this will create another wave of foreclosures to suppress values.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:42 | Link to Comment vincent
vincent's picture


...and how many of these debtors who 'qualified' in 2005 or 06 have the equity (laugh), resources or credit to satisfy, restructure or roll these obligations.

Creditors will hire a 500.00 attorney to file the paperwork, not necessarily to lien the property, but perhaps the property owner's assets? The banks have undoubtly been planning the next shearing, fully aware that this day would come. Nothing would suprise me. Wage garnishment, tax returns, 401/mutual fund seizure, inheritance, vehicles, farm equipment.....

Desperate people will be at the mercy of these creditors. I expect the creditors will get quite creative.


Mon, 12/30/2013 - 16:16 | Link to Comment MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The trick is to fight the foreclosure, if you have a legal basis...  Most folks just default (never file a responsive pleading) and are eventually met by a sheriff telling them they have 24 hours to vacate, so get their shit out asap.  This is why there is often "injustice" in the court room.

A mortgage is just a lien on the land...  if a creditor wants to take any other property, then they'll need to get a judgment against the debtor for a deficiency (aka a deficiency judgment; the difference between what the house brings at auction and the loan balance).  Some states prohibit this practice.  Once a judgment is filed, it creates a lien on all real property in the county of filing (so if they have other property that isn't covered by the mortgage, then it's gonna have a lien on it).  The debtor will be required to disclose all assets, accounts, etc. within a certain period following judgment, so the creditor can collect. 

Most of the time, debtors are turnips and everyone knows it...  sometimes, it pays to be a turnip as the creditor just takes the house and runs away from wasting more money on chasing you.  However, if you have any equity in your house, you'll be booted asap and promptly parted with it. 

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 13:44 | Link to Comment Breezy47
Breezy47's picture

Current Market Watch headline:
Pending home sales rise for first time in six months


Mon, 12/30/2013 - 14:14 | Link to Comment Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Funny money sprouts many "It doesn't make any sense at all" moments.....

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 14:47 | Link to Comment tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

listened to CNBC today discuss this release.  

meme repeated at least 3 times in 3 minutes :  interest rates are definitely going up.   cheap rates are about to become history.    interest rates are most definitely going up...and soon...

subtext : better buy now before interest rates go up further.

simple economics question : if a large portion of the decline in sales was due to interest rates going up, wouldn't that continued decline in sales volume eventually lead into a median price decline if interest rates continue to go up?

meme rebuttal : Japan says otherwise...

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 14:59 | Link to Comment Legolas
Legolas's picture

Get off the acid, Lawrence!

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 15:09 | Link to Comment yogibear
yogibear's picture

 NAR needs to find better Flim-Flam men.

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 16:50 | Link to Comment tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

not sure if anyone caught this yet, but check out the candle on the 30yr  from 12/23: 

fat finger or a nod and a wink to someone?

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 16:58 | Link to Comment nwowatcher911
nwowatcher911's picture

Everything in the Los Angeles area seems to be inflated in price by a good 30% for Single Family Residences.

We are waiting for the new liar loan fed finance guy, Mel Watt, to get in. He has already stated he will not be passing fees along to sub prime borrowers, and that the new lending guidelines are to be postponed, indefinately.

So it seems now, we wait until April when people say "oh shit, tax season + obamacare" and then also the fed pumping, so we will see which facet bends first huh?

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