If The Housing Bubble Bursts It Will Take The Economy With It
By Michael Snyder/Economic Collapse BlogJuly 17, 2023
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We never seem to learn. Over a decade ago, our leaders created the biggest housing bubble of all time, and when it finally burst the entire globe experienced great financial pain.
So did they learn from their mistakes and fix the system? No, instead they just created an even bigger housing bubble.
Now that housing bubble is beginning to burst, and that is going to have very serious implications for all of us.
One thing that we learned during the Great Recession is that home values really matter.
When home values get low enough, many borrowers simply decide to walk away from their mortgages, and so the fact that U.S. home values have plummeted by 108.4 billion dollars should deeply alarm all of us...
Homeowners are sitting on a negative equity timebomb after losing $108.4 billion on their property values this year, experts say.
The average borrower saw their home equity plummet by $5,400 in the first quarter of 2023 compared to last year - with households in Washington, California and Utah worst affected.
The west coast is being hit particularly hard. For example, home values in Washington state have dropped by an average of more than $74,000 over the past year...
The cooling housing market is stripping more equity from homeowners in Washington than in any other state in the country.
On average over the last year, Washington homeowners lost about $74,300 in equity, a measure of the difference between how much a home is worth and how much the owner owes on the mortgage, according to the real estate data company CoreLogic.
That 18% decline marked the largest drop in the country from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of 2023.
Some homeowners in Washington state that bought their homes at the peak of the market now have mortgages that are underwater.
And according to an expert that was interviewed by the Daily Mail, this is starting to happen in certain areas all over the nation...
Zackary Smigel, founder of Real Estate License Wizard, told DailyMail.com: 'The decline in property values across the US is posing significant challenges to homeowners - and it's becoming a bigger issue in the real estate sector.
'We are indeed witnessing some worrying signs of negative equity, especially in certain regions.'
The good news is that this is not happening everywhere.
So many people have been relocating to Florida that home prices have actually gone up substantially in that state.
If you want to get an idea of what has been happening where you live, you can check out this map.
Moving forward, I think that home prices will not move uniformly.
In major cities and in blue states, I believe that home prices will tend to fall.
In rural areas and in red states, I believe that home prices will be more stable.
Meanwhile, many commercial real estate loans all over the U.S. are already deeply underwater, and we are starting to see delinquency rates rise at a startling pace.
If you doubt this, just check out these numbers which come from Wolf Richter...
After blowing through the pandemic with no more than a squiggle, the delinquency rate of Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) backed by office properties jumped to 4.5% by loan balance in June, up from 1.6% just six months ago in December 2022, according to Trepp, which tracks and analyses CMBS.
Office mortgages that had been packaged into CMBS went through a horrendous default cycle following the Financial Crisis, with the delinquency rate topping out at over 10% in 2012/2013.
But this current six-month 2.9-percentage-point spike from 1.6% to 4.5% is the fastest six-month spike in Trepp's data going back to 2000.
We are still in the early chapters of this crisis, but it is definitely eerily similar to what we witnessed in 2008.
Corporate bankruptcies are also surging.
In fact, it is being reported that they were up 93 percent during the first six months of this year compared to the same time period of time in 2022...
In the first six months of 2023, there were 340 corporate bankruptcies, topping every other comparable span in 13 years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. This is up 93 percent from the same time a year ago and higher than in 2020, when there was a spike during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
When we keep getting numbers like this, I honestly don't know how anyone can claim that the U.S. economy is moving in the right direction.
There are so many signs of trouble all around us. For example, the number of searches for "pawn shop near me" just soared to an all-time record high...
Cash-strapped Americans are panic-searching "pawn shop near me." The search trend spiked to a record high at the start of July and is an ominous sign the consumer might be pawning items or selling things that were possibly bought during the Covid boom to raise quick money amid the worst inflation storm in a generation.
Needless to say, people don't pawn their possessions when they are doing well.
Searches for the phrase "is dumpster diving illegal" also just reached an all-time record high.
All over the nation, people are literally rummaging through dumpsters behind grocery stores because food has become so oppressively expensive.
But don't worry.
Joe Biden says that everything is going to be okay.
If you have been following my articles on a regular basis, nothing that I have shared in this piece should come as a surprise to you.
It was clear way in advance that the economy was heading into enormous trouble, and the long-term outlook is exceedingly bleak.
But that doesn't mean that you should crawl into a corner and cry like a baby because things are going to get so bad.
It is when times are the darkest that the greatest courage is needed.
You were born for such a time as this, and you can make a difference even in the midst of all the chaos that is starting to erupt all around us.