Yesterday's post was a bit feeble, but what I meant to express, was that things are unhinged in all sectors. There are massive amounts of money-cum-credit floating around, and it is hard to tell the difference. I think that it tends more to be credit, and that is what I was getting at about "selling ourselves". I heard (or read) some time ago that credit is now the most dominant market and would continue to expand. As long as central banks keep propping up the sickness that pervades, that is easy to understand. Mutual funds, hedge funds etc. have been knee deep in extending credit, and trillions of dollars in bad loans got wiped out of peoples' portfolios. Who are the winners?
On another note, I wandered into charles hugh smith's - Two Irresistible Reasons Housing Will Retrace to 1997 Prices and ripped off what is below. I don't know just how he arrived at his conclusions, but the Japan graph is striking.
The one thing that is not often taken into account is world population. In 1950 there were about 2.5 billion people on earth, now we are heading for 7 billion. While billions of those are living in abject poverty, many are enjoying previously unknown prosperity. So, is it possible that historical ratios just don't apply any more? Is it really different this time? (Wikipedia suggests that in 1999 North America had 5.1% of the world population, and that will fall to 4.4% by 2050 - when the world population is projected to be 8.9B)
Nah. I don't think so. I don't reasonably expect 1997 prices before I buy (2017?), I want to watch trees grow, and I am not that cheap. I'll settle for 2003 prices.
Here's an excerpt of what chs has to say. Read the whole article at the link above. It's interesting.
Speculative bubbles in the stock market tend to shoot up and then plummet in relatively short time spans. Here we see that the dot-com era bubble in NASDAQ took a mere 3 years to reach euphoric heights in which risk was banished, and a roughly similar length of time to give up all the bubble's gains, and then some.
Real estate trends stretch out over much longer time spans, and as a result we can foresee a lengthy, painfully drawn-out decline in housing values over the coming decade.
Just as stocks break free of fundamental metrics of value in speculative manias, so too do houses. But just as stocks retrace to historical levels of price-earnings ratios, so too will housing retrace to historical levels of income-to-value ratios. Historically, this is about 3-to-1: long-term, houses cost about 3 times household income. Since the median household income in the U.S. is about $46,000, U.S. incomes would support house values of about $125,000 - $140,000.
As I have noted before, my parents/step-parents each bought houses in highly desirable locales in the early 70s (Honolulu and Pasadena) at 2:1 (twice annual income) and 4:1 (four times a schoolteacher's annual income to buy in highly desirable Manoa Valley in Honolulu.)
As recently as 1997, friends were purchasing small homes in very desirable S.F. Bay Area communities for $160,000 - $175,000--four times a modest (for this area) household income of $40,000.
In other words, to return to a normal trend line, one that was in place a mere decade ago, even the most desirable areas will command no more than 4 times median income. That would put house prices in Honolulu, the S.F. Bay Area, West L.A., Connecticut, Northern Virgina, etc. at about $180,000 - $200,000 -- not $600,000.
Thanks to cheap realty for the link to chs.