Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Housing Market Story Gets TV-MA Rating

by Broderick Perkins
© 2007 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom – This story is specifically designed for mature adults only. It may not be suitable for children under 17 and those masquerading as adults. This story contains all of the following: graphic reports of realty volatility (V); statistics of doom (S); and really gloomy language (L).

Make sure the kids are safely tucked away in bed.

And wait for the film clip after the credits roll.

Like the TV-ratings before a late night horror movie, headlines have begun to blare with horror, the kind of horror that gives you no quarter to flee or to fight, allowing only the denial of hope.

"The Roof Is Caving In On the Housing Market;" "Think Housing's Bad? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet;" and now "Housing Market Story Gets TV-MA Rating."

Apparently, the housing market is in the can and all that's left is to slam on the lid.

The latest plot of housing market doom and gloom is written with recent housing futures statistics that indicate home prices in many major markets will rerun price plunges from now until beyond the start of the next decade.

That'd be 2011.

This outlook for home prices is based on early returns from housing futures contracts sold on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). Available since May, the contracts and trading of housing futures are based on movement in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, a measure of median home price data for major cities in the country.

CME offers futures contracts for 10 of the 20 cities in the S&P/Case-Shiller index and a composite index of the 10 cities over various months from November 2007 to November 2011.

So, there's your graphic volatility.

From November 2007 to November 2010, the futures outlook for homes prices is an 8 percent drop in the composite number, but real crashing prices in many cities.

The biggest drops for the same period are forecast for Las Vegas, Miami and San Diego which are expected to get clobbered as home prices drop 24 percent in each town; followed by, Denver, down 22 percent; San Francisco, by 20 percent; Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, both off by 19 percent; New York metro, 13 percent; Boston, 12.4 percent; and Chicago, down only 10 percent during the period.

Statistical doom served up right on cue.

"It gets worse in 2011," says SeekingAlpha.com contributor, Matt Hougan, editor of IndexUniverse.com, which covers product and market developments related to index funds, exchange-traded funds, futures, options and the like, as well as investment strategies using such tools.

You were warned about gloomy language.

Hougan's "The Roof Is Caving In On the Housing Market" goes on, "For all of you who think a 15 to 25 percent pullback in the real estate market can't happen, I suggest you take a look at the CME pricing Web site (free membership required)".

More volatility horror.

"The housing picture is not pretty going forward," according to a Bespoke Investment Group (BIG) examination of the futures numbers in another SeekingAlpha piece, "Think Housing's Bad? You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet".

Bespoke charts the housing futures on the back of the S&P/Case-Shiller short-term gloomy out look and finds, looking forward to 2011, "Miami home prices are expected to fall 28 percent from current price levels. San Francisco is second worst at minus 26 percent and San Diego (showing some recovery from 2010) is third at minus 19 percent. Investors are predicting the composite index to fall 14 percent before coming back slightly by 2011."

Pure statistical doom.

Bottom line?

Housings in the dumps for the rest of the decade -- at least that's what the even money on the Mercantile Exchange says.

According to Bespoke, "So while some are hoping home prices have already bottomed, investors actually putting their money to work are betting on much more significant declines."

Now, here comes that post-credits film clip everyone will miss because they were so annoyed by the potentially rotten outcome they turned off the tube and headed for bed.

There could be some respite from the horrific story line.

Trading in the new housing futures is light, less than two dozen contracts a day. That means, as an indicator, housing futures are little more than a trendy guesstimate rather than a solid predictor of housing's future.

© 2007 DeadlineNews.Com

Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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