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When Will Housing Recover? How About in 2011

By John S. Tobey

Ask someone when housing will return to normal and you will likely hear forecasts ranging from a few years to never. Why? The usual litany of conditions – especially weak employment. And now mortgage rates are over 5%! So, what about this proposition: That 2011’s housing market could be better than expected – even... »

Will Friday’s Employment Report Make This a Perfect Week?

By John S. Tobey

The US economy has gotten standing ovations this week. All five major reports for January have been better than expected – some significantly so (see table below). Just one report is left: Employment. (more) This article is posted on SeekingAlpha.com »

Foreclosure ‘Mess’ Negatives Are Exaggerated and Positives Are Ignored

By John S. Tobey

Typical of this year’s one-sided analyses, the foreclosure slowdown is being dressed up as a terrible blow to both the real estate market and the banks. Not only are the adverse effects overstated, but also there is little mention of the beneficial effects. Looking at what’s happening without the hype shows a much less... »

Home Sales Analysis Misses the Mark, Providing Buying Opportunities

By John S. Tobey

Lower home sales articles were everywhere this week and were universally loud and dire. On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal linked almost every market problem to home sales, starting with its front page article proclaiming, “Plunge in Home Sales Stokes Economy Fears” (By Sudeep Reddy and Nick Timiraos, August 25, page A-1). Here’s what... »

Housing’s Health? Good Enough To Consider Buying Homebuilders

By John S. Tobey

Early this year, I speculated that housing could show improvement this year – “A Robust Housing Market – 2010’s Biggest Surprise?” (January 7). While some might argue with the adjective, “robust,” housing has moved ahead due to the factors listed in the article as well as the government’s incentive plan. »

Home Sales Down but Prices Up – What Gives?

By John S. Tobey

The latest housing reports show sales have slipped (particularly for new homes) since the April 30 expiration of the US government homebuyer incentive. Yet, the latest S&P/Case-Shiller data has house prices continuing to rise. Well, that’s not supposed to be how supply/demand works. Demand has clearly tapered off, and we know there continues to... »

The New Housing Subsidy: Affordability

By John S. Tobey

You would think today’s mortgage rates of near 4.5% would bring happiness. Instead, some see the low rates as a sign of housing’s weakness, a measure of buyers’ difficulty in getting mortgage loans and/or an indicator of coming deflation. The rate decline does offer good news as we move into the summer home selling... »

The Wall Street Journal Gets House Price Trend Wrong – Interprets Case-Shiller Data Incorrectly

By John S. Tobey

It happens. Reporters, because they cannot be financial experts in all fields, take a press release and misinterpret the data. However, the problem this time is serious because: House prices are an important, sensitive indicator to investors The data misuse gives an exact opposite conclusion to what is actually happening There is no excuse... »

Housing Data and Builders’ Optimism Improving – Signs of Good Post-Stimulus Market?

By John S. Tobey

Last Friday, I commented about the turn up in homebuilders’ land purchases amid home price stability and improvement (“Homebuilders Buying Land Again – House Price Patterns Support the New Activity”).  The current government stimulus program is scheduled to end on April 30. Will the indicators turn down again, or will we see a good... »

Homebuilders Buying Land Again – House Price Patterns Support the New Activity

By John S. Tobey

In The Wall Street Journal, there was a surprise article describing homebuilders beginning to compete for property: “Land Prices Jump as Home Builders Move In” (By Dawn Wotapka, April 21, page A-5). We have been seeing improvements in many areas of the housing markets (I have covered these indicators in Housing and Homebuilding articles). ... »

Housing Indicators Show Stability and Improvement Ahead of 2010 Selling Season

By John S. Tobey

Housing is a hot button for many investors. They do not see how the housing market could improve this year, and a number believe prices could fall further. Today’s write-up expands on yesterday’s article (“Housing Problems Are Dissipating and Fragmenting – Think About Buying“) by taking a look at housing’s indicators. »

Housing Problems Are Dissipating and Fragmenting – Think About Buying

By John S. Tobey

I just saw an article saying the stock market’s run-up is ignoring housing’s problems. That supposition is wrong on many counts. »

These Three Economic Gauges Read “OK”

By John S. Tobey

Investors, analysts and pundits can look at the same economic measures and come away with opposing views as to the economy’s health and future. The economy’s “trees” can range from vibrant to blighted, allowing differing economic “forest” diagnoses. As a result, we see predictions of economic normalcy and growth side-by-side with reversal and collapse.... »

Want To Buy A Sector Fund? Ignore the Label; Examine the Contents

By John S. Tobey

After reading yesterday’s write-up (Homebuilder Stock Articles Raise Questions – And Exclamations), you understood why a 9% year-to-date return for homebuilder stocks was more appropriate than 21%. Still, 9% in less than two months is pretty good. So, you checked the performance of your homebuilder fund and… WHOA! What happened? The performance is so... »

Homebuilder Stock Articles Raise Questions – And Exclamations

By John S. Tobey

On Monday, Bloomberg reported, “Homebuilding Stocks Seen Rising Too Far, Too Fast.”  The reporter included a graph that shows homebuilders far outperforming the stock market year-to-date. Other publications, including The Wall Street Journal, picked up the theme, helping the stocks to sell off more sharply than the market on Tuesday. The problem is that... »

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