Most Popular
1. Banking Crisis is Stocks Bull Market Buying Opportunity - Nadeem_Walayat
2.The Crypto Signal for the Precious Metals Market - P_Radomski_CFA
3. One Possible Outcome to a New World Order - Raymond_Matison
4.Nvidia Blow Off Top - Flying High like the Phoenix too Close to the Sun - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Apple AAPL Stock Trend and Earnings Analysis - Nadeem_Walayat
6.AI, Stocks, and Gold Stocks – Connected After All - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Stock Market CHEAT SHEET - - Nadeem_Walayat
8.US Debt Ceiling Crisis Smoke and Mirrors Circus - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Silver Price May Explode - Avi_Gilburt
10.More US Banks Could Collapse -- A Lot More- EWI
Last 7 days
US Interest Rates - When WIll the Fed Pivot - 1st Mar 2024
S&P Stock Market Real Earnings Yield - 29th Feb 2024
US Unemployment is a Fake Statistic - 29th Feb 2024
U.S. financial market’s “Weimar phase” impact to your fiat and digital assets - 29th Feb 2024
What a Breakdown in Silver Mining Stocks! What an Opportunity! - 29th Feb 2024
Why AI will Soon become SA - Synthetic Intelligence - The Machine Learning Megatrend - 29th Feb 2024
Keep Calm and Carry on Buying Quantum AI Tech Stocks - 19th Feb 24
How to Profit from the Global Warming ClImate Change Mega Death Trend - Part1 - 17th Feb 24
Why Rising Shipping Costs Won't Cause Inflation - 17th Feb 24
Intensive 6 Week Stock Market Elliott Wave Training Course - 17th Feb 24
INFLATION and the Stock Market Trend - 17th Feb 24
GameStop (GME): 88% Shellacking Yet No Lesson Learned - 17th Feb 24
Nick Millican Explains Real Estate Investment in a Changing World - 17th Feb 24
US Stock Market Addicted to Deficit Spending - 7th Feb 24
Stocks Bull Market Commands It All For Now - 7th Feb 24
Financial Markets Narrative Nonsense - 7th Feb 24
Gold Price Long-Term Outlook Could Not Look Better - 7th Feb 24
Stock Market QE4EVER - 7th Feb 24
Learn How to Accumulate and Distribute (Trim) Stock Positions to Maximise Profits - Investing 101 - 5th Feb 24
US Exponential Budget Deficit - 5th Feb 24
Gold Tipping Points That Investors Shouldn’t Miss - 5th Feb 24
Banking Crisis Quietly Brewing - 5th Feb 24
Stock Market Major Market lows by Calendar Month - 4th Feb 24
Gold Price’s Rally is Normal, but Is It Really Bullish? - 4th Feb 24
More Problems in US Regional Banking System: Where There's Fire There's Smoke - 4th Feb 24
New Hints of US Election Year Market Interventions & Turmoil - 4th Feb 24
Watch Consumer Spending to Know When the Fed Will Cut Interest Rates - 4th Feb 24
STOCK MARKET DISCOUNTING EVENTS BIG PICTURE - 31st Jan 24
Blue Skies Ahead As Stock Market Is Expected To Continue Much Higher - 31st Jan 24
What the Stock Market "Fear Index" VIX May Be Signaling - 31st Jan 24
Stock Market Trend Forecast Review - 31st Jan 24

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Five U.S. Housing Market Warning Signs Point to Real Estate Market Downturn

Housing-Market / US Housing Oct 23, 2014 - 10:58 AM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Housing-Market

By Tony Sagami

Investing is about piecing together different bits of information into an illustrative picture—sort of a Wall Street version of the connect-the-dots game we played in kindergarten.

That’s why the headline below from Bloomberg made my investment antennae stand up and motivated me to look for either confirmation that the real estate market was indeed slowing down or contrary evidence to explain if the weak summer sales numbers were just a temporary aberration.


What that Bloomberg article showed was that home prices in 20 US cities increased at the slowest pace in almost two years ending in July, rising at an uninspiring annualized pace of 0.5%. Those are, by the way, the worst numbers since November 2011.

That’s a change from the healthy real estate gains that we’ve seen for two years, and there are lots of other reasons to think that real estate is headed for a rough patch, if not downright trouble.

Warning Sign #1: Worrywart Homebuilders

You know who knows more about real estate than the Gucci-wearing loafers on Wall Street? The people swinging the hammers and putting their own capital on the line with every real estate project they start.

The National Association of Home Builders index of builder confidence dropped by five points from 59 in September to 54 in October.

Each of the index’s three components were sharply lower in October: the current sales conditions index fell 6 points to 57, expectations for future sales fell 3 points to 64, and traffic of prospective buyers dropped 6 points to 41.

Warning Sign #2: Widespread Use of Sales Carrots

Surveys are useful but far from perfect. A better gauge of builder sentiment is how many incentives—such as upgraded cabinets, wood floors, and high-end appliances—they’ll include to close a deal.

Make no mistake: builders don’t give away incentives unless they have to and builders are giving away tens of thousands of dollars in incentives to goose slumping sales.

“Incentives have increased because builders aren’t selling as well as they would like. … Rather than reducing prices (outright), they use incentives,” said John Burns of real estate research firm John Burns Real Estate Consulting Inc.

A Wells Fargo survey of 150 homebuilders reported that that percentage of builders using incentives rose to 26% from 17% in August of 2013 and 21% in July of 2014.

Homebuilder Lennar admitted that it gave away incentives worth $20,400 per house last quarter. Moreover, that $20,400 amounted to 5.8% of the sales price. That’s a heavy hit on profits!

Warning Sign #3: Sales Slowdown

In a recent report, Toll Brothers warned Wall Street that its sales are slowing. Its sales contracts dropped by 4% in the last quarter and it now expects to sell 5,300 to 5,500 homes this year, down from its previous high-end forecast of 5,850 homes.

Moreover, as the above chart shows, home appreciation is now nonexistent and is threatening to turn negative.

Warning Sign #4: Profit Plunge Next?

Slumping sales and stagnant real estate prices are the precursor to profit disappointment. “Construction of single-family homes has been weak,” said CBRE Global Chief Economist Richard Barkham.

The first homebuilder profit warning was just delivered by KB Home, who is selling fewer and fewer homes. KB Home delivered 1,793 homes last quarter, down from 1,825 delivered in the same period a year ago.

That translated into weaker profits. KB Home reported earnings per share (EPS) of $0.28 on $589.2 million of revenue; however, Wall Street was expecting $0.40 EPS and $646.76 million of sales.

Warning Sign #5: Watch the Real Estate Food Chain

There is a lot more to the real estate industry than just homebuilders—the furniture industry, for example.

Stanley Furniture just reported its quarterly results and delivered a loss of $2.3 million and 5.0% drop in sales.

“The demand for upscale wood residential furniture in the industry’s traditional channels of distribution remains relatively weak,” warned CEO Glenn Prillaman.

My vegetable farmer father was one of those people that thought real estate prices would never go down. The 2008 financial crisis and accompanying real estate crash proved that wasn’t the case and the growing number of worrisome data points are warning me that stocks in all the parts of the real estate food chain could be headed for trouble.


Tony Sagami

The article Connecting the Dots: 5 Warning Signs Point to Real Estate Market Downturn was originally published at mauldineconomics.com.
John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2022 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in