Most Experts Agree: There is No Housing Bubble


There is no doubt that home prices in the vast majority of housing markets across the country are continuing to increase on a month over month basis. The following map (based on data from the latest CoreLogic pricing report) reveals the appreciation level by state:


These increases in value have caused some to be concerned about a new price bubble forming in residential real estate. Here are quotes from many of the most respected voices in the housing industry regarding the issue:

Nick Timiraos, reporter at the Wall Street Journal:
“Predictions of a new national home price bubble look unfounded for now, according to data.”

Michael Fratantoni, Chief Economist, the Mortgage Bankers Association:
“I don’t really see it as a bubble.”

Jack M. Guttentag, Professor of Finance Emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania:
“My view is that we are a long way from another house price bubble.”

Rajeev Dhawan, Director of Economic Forecasting Center at J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University:
“To have a bubble, you need to have construction rates higher than the perceived demand, which is what happened in 2003 to 2007. Right now, however, we have the reverse of that.”

Victor Calanog, Chief Economist, Reis:
“The housing market has yet to show evidence of systematic runaway asset price inflation characterized by home prices rising much faster than household income.”

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones:
“I would describe this as a rebound in home prices, not a bubble and not a reason to be fearful.”

Andrew Nelson, US Chief Economist, Colliers International:
“I don’t think there is a housing bubble.”

George Raitu, Director, Quantitative & Commercial Research, NAR:
“We do not consider the current market conditions to present a bubble.”

Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner, Beacon Economics:
“The housing market is far from overheated.”

So why have prices been increasing?

Today, there is a gap between supply (number of houses on the market) and demand (the number of buyers looking for a new home). In any market, this would cause values to increase. Here are some experts’ comments on this issue:

Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist:
“So does that mean we’re in a bubble? Nope, that’s just what happens when demand increases faster than supply.”

Robert Bach, Director of Research – Americas, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank:
“I don’t think the housing market is overheated based on demand and supply fundamentals.”

Mark Dotzour, Chief Economist, Real Estate Center, Texas A&M University:
“We are not in a housing bubble. We are in a situation where demand for houses is much higher than supply.”

Calvin Schnure, SVP of Research & Economic Analysis, NAREIT:
“Given all the demand and little supply the residential market is FAR from overheated.”

Bottom Line

Currently, there is an imbalance between supply and demand for housing. This has created a natural increase in values not a bubble in prices.

Ranch living – Mid-Century Modern Style Home


The mid-century modern, “ranch” style home is highly desired architecture right now. You only have to look at Palm Springs, California to see the increase in value from these 1950’s to late 1960’s style homes. The old saying that “everything comes around again” is true for these properties.

In Florida, this style of home is prevalent due to our warmer climate and year-round balmy weather. The ranch is really starting to catch on with young buyers.

No longer tear-down properties, the mid-century modern styled home is being renovated and updated with sleek new looks and updated and innovative design details.

There are a few important things to remember:

  • Be prepared to spend some money. Most of these homes do not have adequate insulation, low sloping roofs with small bathrooms and kitchens. This type of home requires renovation and money. Don’t buy into a ranch home if you are not prepared to spend some cash.
  • Like all homes, the kitchens and bathrooms are the most important upgrades in ranch homes. Opening up the kitchen to the rest of the house will create a great spacious floor plan and a visual look that is hard to resist. Updating your home while keeping the character of the house intact is going to not only look gorgeous, but will bring financial rewards when the home is sold. Moving walls to create the open floor plan will make your ranch home a thing of beauty.
  • Remove all wallpaper. While wallpaper is back in vogue, remember that what you like may not be something a future buyer will desire. Wallpaper is what agents call “seller specific” so either be prepared to remove when selling or don’t use on your interior space.
  • Updating a mid century ranch styled home involves upgrading the landscaping. This is very important. Nothing says mid-life crisis for homes like a dated and boring yard. Be prepared to add a splash of color and modern detailing on the exterior.

The mid-century modern house is back to stay and I get so excited to see them renovated and returned to their former glory. The new “ranch” is modernized and appreciated as a unique form of architecture.

In short, these homes are groovy.

They’re Back – Boomerang Buyers


SEBRING, Fla. – Sept. 9, 2015 – Three years ago, her husband lost his job, and Mary Ford quit two part-time jobs to take care of her mother, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

“We lost our house to foreclosure and had to file bankruptcy,” said Ford. That was her dream house.

But the Fords are back from the brink of the real estate market: they’ve bought a trailer on a half-acre.

Seven years ago, the Great Recession hit Florida especially hard. The Sunshine State led the nation during the housing boom, and it was first in foreclosures when the bubble burst.

Highlands County was right there among them. Clerk of Courts Bob Germaine recorded more than 7,000 foreclosures from 2007 through 2014.

But eight years after the downturn started, buyers damaged by excessive medical bills, balloon mortgages, an upside-down housing market, or a screwball economy are finding their way back into the real estate market.

“Absolutely,” said Chip Boring, a broker with RE/Max Realty Plus in Sebring. “Now that time lapse has taken place.” Real estate agents, banks and mortgage brokers are working with buyers now, Boring said. “They are counseling them – at no cost – on how to make repairs, getting their credit back up to speed.

“The message is: ‘You can buy another house, if you do the right things and seek counsel. There are mortgage brokers out there. There are lenders are out there,” Boring said.

Boomerangs are just a small percentage of today’s buyers, Boring said. “Maybe they are a little bit gun shy. Many have not have repaired their credit yet. Maybe they’re a year down the road from that.”

Pam Marron is one of those next-generation loan originators in Pasco County, north of Tampa.

“I have been working with folks who had a past foreclosure or short sale for the last five years,” said Marron, who has been in the business for 30 years. She has collected binders of profiles and stories of those affected across the U.S., many in Florida.

“Each of them has a story of real hardship that they almost never shared with their Realtor or loan originator,” Marron said. “Many were short sellers where their credit ended up being coded as a foreclosure, which resulted in a seven-year wait to get back into the housing market.”

Some went delinquent on their mortgage because it was the only option their own lender gave them in order to approve a short sale or foreclosure, said Marron, whose own business was drying up because of the housing crash.

“They were told they had to be delinquent in order to get help,” Marron said. More than 7 million homeowners are still underwater. “They’re ashamed, they’re humiliated, they’re wondering why they didn’t see this coming.”

“With no refinance options available for them,” Marron said. “Now, they’re going into short sale or foreclosure. Florida still has the highest number of homeowners in distress.”

Typically, a short seller’s credit is damaged for two years, Marron said. It takes seven years for a foreclosure to drop off a credit report.

“Many have not been given the opportunity to state that they did not go into a short sale or a foreclosure (willingly). Instead, most were labeled as ‘strategic defaulters,” Marron said. “And it has been incredibly hard for them to come forward. There is a website called, where these stories are starting to be housed.”

Marron has invited people to attend a seminar from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in Clearwater. RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist will be the guest speaker. Buyers will be told of programs, timeframes for waiting, how to spot credit report errors, how to buy damaged homes in need of renovation, and how to get downpayment assistance. Fannie Mae has changed its lending criteria.

“They’ll also learn how not to dispute their credit,” Marron said. “When you dispute something, the dispute goes back in, then the bad credit shows up again. You have to work with the credit reporting agencies and have them take off the error.”

Copyright © 2015 the Highlands Today (Sebring, Fla.), Gary Pinnell. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Porch Politics


A true Southerner always longs for a home with a porch. The porch is a beehive of activity and a place where families sit, rock and talk.

Politics, faith, marriages and more are examined and dissected on a Southern porch. Southern porches have a life of their own.

This porch ceiling is painted blue for a playful nod to traditional Southern Haint Blue. A fan keeps the area cool on warm Southern days, and curtains add privacy to the space. The blue ceiling is a custom in the South as it is said that insects won’t build their nests on these ceilings because they think it is the sky. What a lovely thought.

The last few days of summer are upon us as we await the coming of Fall. Fix up your porch and enjoy this time – while you are at it, have a glass of sweet tea.

Photo courtesy of

Knock, knock…

A front door is like lipstick on a lady. It completes a home. When you want a quick change, think about your door. With pretty color or new style – you can instantly update your home’s esthetics and create an inviting look that screams “welcome home!” (Photo courtesy of My French Country Home)