US Real Estate: The Housing Market is Shrinking - CNBC
The granular, organic, whatever you want to call it…non-distressed market is withering away. Sellers are afraid to put their homes on the market for fear of losing too much equity, which means there are fewer potential move-up buyers. First time buyers are choosing to rent in droves, as unemployment and the wider economy recover far more slowly than expected.
One third of home sales in the second quarter of this year were foreclosures and short sales. But the bigger problem, says real estate writer Diana Olick, is that the number of non-distressed sales fell.
People keep talking about "when the housing market comes back," but it seems more likely that we have entered a new era in housing in this country. The old days are not coming back at all. The home ownership rate may go down permanently with young people renting instead of aspiring to ownership. The days of your home being your main investment may be over. Housing prices may never climb dependably again. And if gasoline costs ten bucks a gallon (which I think we will see within 5 to 10 years) suburban and exurban housing as we know it won't work for most people. We have far too many houses and condo units already. There are millions of foreclosures yet to be done. And the entire institution of common interest housing rests on the over-estimated abilities of the average middle-class homeowner to fund and operate a homeowner or condominium association in perpetuity.