Marc Hanson: "Houses Have Never Been More Expensive To Buyers Who Need A Mortgage"

From Marc Hanson of M Hanson Advisors

Houses have NEVER BEEN MORE EXPENSIVE to end-user, mortgage-needing shelter buyers. The recent rate surge crushed what little affordability remained in US housing. It now it requires 45% more income to buy the average-priced house than just four years ago, as incomes have not kept pace it goes without saying.

The spike in rates has taken "UNAFFORDABILITY" to such extremes that prices, rates, and/or credit are now radically out of scope.

At these interest rate levels house prices are simply not sustainable even in the lower-end price bands, which were far more stable than the middle-to-higher end bands (have been under significant pressure since spring).

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The Data (note, for simplicity my models assume best-case 20% down and A-grade credit, which is the "minority" of lower-to-middle end buyers).

1) The average $361k builder house requires nearly $65k in income assuming a 4.5% rate, 20% down, and A-grade credit. Problem is, 20% + A-credit are hard to come by. For buyers with less down or worse credit, far more than $65k is needed.

For the past 30-YEARS income required to buy the average priced house has remained relatively consistent, as mortgage rate credit manipulation made houses cheaper.

Bottom line: Reversion to the mean will occur through house price declines, credit easing, a mortgage rate plunge to the high 2%'s, or a combination of all three. However, because rates are still historically low and mortgage guidelines historically easy, the path of least resistance is lower house prices.

 

2) The average $274k builder house requires nearly $53k in income assuming a 4.5% rate, 20% down, and A-grade credit. Problem is, 20% + A-credit are hard to come by. For buyers with less down or worse credit, far more than $53k is needed.

For the past 30-YEARS income required to buy the average priced house has remained relatively consistent, as mortgage rate credit manipulation made houses cheaper.

Bottom line: Reversion to the mean will occur through house price declines, credit easing, a mortgage rate plunge to the high 2%s, or a combination of all three. However, because rates are still historically low and mortgage guidelines historically easy, the path of least resistance is lower house prices.

 

3) Bonus Chart ... Case-Shiller Coast-to-Coast Bubbles

Bottom line: IT'S NEVER DIFFERENT THIS TIME. Easy/cheap/deep credit & liquidity has found its way to real estate yet again. Bubbles are bubbles are bubbles. And as these core housing markets hit a wall they will take the rest of the nation with them; bubbles and busts don't happen in "isolation."

Case-Shiller's most Bubblicious Regions

  • Ask Yourself: If 2005-07 was the peak of the largest housing bubble in history with "affordability" never better vis a' vis exotic loans; easy availability of credit; unemployment in the 4%'s; the total workforce at record highs; and growing wages, then what do you call "now" with house prices at or above 2006 levels; high unaffordability; tighter credit; higher unemployment; a weak total workforce; and shrinking (at best) wages?
  • Logical Answer: Whatever you call it, it's a greater thing than the Bubble 1.0 peak.

The mind-numbing Case-Shiller regional charts below are presented without too much comment. The visual says it all.

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