Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tech Bubble Looks Like a Picnic

The Wall Street Journal has this interview with Kenneth Heebner. “To get a lay of the land, we tracked down Kenneth Heebner, who since 1994 has managed the $1.2 billion CGM Realty Fund. It has the best 10-year record of all real-estate-focused mutual funds, according to fund tracker Lipper Inc.”

“WSJ: How is the housing market? Mr. Heebner: A significant decline in prices is coming. A huge buildup of inventories is taking place, and then we’re going to see a major [retrenchment] in hot markets in California, Arizona, Florida and up the East Coast. These markets could fall 50% from their peaks.”

“WSJ: What has you so concerned? Mr. Heebner: I’m worried that more people will default on their mortgages. Risky mortgages..have been widely used in the last two years. Some people got 100% financing for their homes. It made the tech bubble look like a picnic.”

“As housing prices fall more people will be under water, and these people are just going to walk away from their homes. They are going to say, ‘I’m outta here.’ You’re going to see increasing foreclosures over the next several years. As [home] prices come down, it will create a difficult environment for home builders.”

“WSJ: What data have you most worried? Mr. Heebner: We’re seeing a huge increase in inventories of unsold homes. The role of incentives in selling a home is increasing so the weakness doesn’t show up immediately in list prices. Large price declines will follow in inflated markets.”

1 comment:

Marc said...

The trick is predicting the peak. If I'd stayed 3 years longer in Los Angeles I'd have had an additional $300,000 in appreciation. As it went I did quite well so I don't dwell on it.