One of my guilty pleasures lately has been reading a few of the many so-called “housing bubble blogs”. These are web sites dedicated to tracking the carnage — excuse me, I mean “adjustment” — in the real estate market.
Until recently there were only a few of these sites on the Web. Now there are so many that a person can barely keep track of them all. Some are city-specific, like the Irvine Housing Blog. Others are regional or even national. I’m partial to the Irvine site because that’s where I live. The site has even featured a property right next to mine.
One of my favorites is the concisely named Housing Bubble Blog. Unlike the Irvine-based site, which analyzes specific properties within the city, this one consists primarily of quotes taken directly from traditional media throughout the country: financial reports, newspaper articles, periodicals, etc.
So why do I call this a “guilty” pleasure? Because the worse real estate gets, the more I enjoy it. OK, I could do without all the snarky comments left by grumpy renters and those who can’t afford to buy. But overall, I’m enjoying the return of sanity and balance to at least one part of the world.
I’ll admit it’s a bit callous to get a sense of satisfaction out of other people’s misfortune, but why shouldn’t I? I’m no genius, yet I saw the handwriting on the wall before it even started. Here’s something I wrote four years ago. And I’d been harping on it for at least a couple of years prior to that.
The math is simple and hasn’t changed one iota: income growth is 3-4%, so real estate cannot sustain annual gains much beyond that.
Not that anyone asked, but if you want my prognosis for the next few years, I’ll take exception to those expecting a quick recovery and cast my lot with Mr. T.
My prediction: pain.