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Friday, April 18, 2008

The Pew report – housing market stinks!

I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Anytime one sees a Pew report and the news stinks, one has to go for the cheap shot pun.

One in every 33 homeowners is likely to be in foreclosure sometime in the next two years, according to a study released today by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

"Stronger standards from federal policy makers could have helped avert this crisis," said Shelley A. Hearne, managing director of Pew's Health and Human Services Program. "Future legislation must consider ways to strengthen standards to prevent more troubling loans from being made.”

Homeowners won’t be the only ones affected, the study predicts. It found that an additional 40 million neighboring residents will see their property values decline, while municipal tax bases drop by as much as $356 billion nationwide over the next two years.

Pew's research analyzes two principal data sets: the Mortgage Bankers Association 4th Quarter National Delinquency Survey and the Center for Responsible Lending's foreclosure projections and Subprime Spillover data.

So, OK; aside from the fun one can have with the name, there is nothing funny about this report. In fact it makes one want to head for the pew and pray for relief. Oh, stop me, before I go further with this whole pew thing. Next we’ll be seeing reports like “Housing market sucks," says economist for Hoover Vacuums or “Stop the bleeding in housing market," says representative of Band-Aid.”

Maybe we could do man-on-the-street interviews to see what John Q. Public says about the housing market and then publish that. Let’s see if we can summarize things – It’s bad and it may get worse. I can see the headline - Joe Blow's Woes!

Now that we have that out of the way, let me report to you that things have picked up locally. There is more buyer activity. Some of that is because the weather turned better and some because things have stabilized a bit and there is lots of pent-up demand. Plus, people who want to sell a home have come to realize that they can’t wait this out and that they will get a good deal elsewhere is they are also buying another place to live. So, people are listing homes, too. It is what it is. (Insert your own cliche here). Life goes on – get on with it! Phew! Or should I say, pew?

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