I’m starting to sense something of a theme in some recent news pieces about the housing market. Consider the following quotes from two recent articles (emphasis mine).
Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said.
Are new appraisal rules holding back the nation’s real estate markets?
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, sure seems to think so.
“Lenders are using appraisers who may not be familiar with a neighborhood, or who compare traditional homes with distressed and discounted sales,” Yun said. “In the past month, stories of appraisal problems have been snowballing from across the country with many contracts falling through at the last moment. There is danger of a delayed housing market recovery and a further rise in foreclosures if the appraisal problems are not quickly corrected.”
What do you suppose folks like Laurence Yun mean when they use the phrase “housing market recovery”? Given the types of things they are objecting to, I’m inclined to conclude that what they really mean by “housing market recovery” is a return to the days of double-digit appreciation, frenzied buyers engaging in bidding wars and waiving inspections, and flippers snatching up pre-sales to turn a huge profit once construction completes.
Newsflash folks: It ain’t gonna happen.
You can cry all you want about the new tighter standards that are slowly but surely coming online in lending, appraisals, and other aspects of the home-buying process that were allowed to get wildly out of control during the bubble, but even without these new standards, we’re not likely to see a return of a real estate bubble in our lifetimes.
Too many people have been burned—and continue to be burned—by the rampant dangerous excesses of the housing bubble for things to just ramp right back up into an out-of-control mania again after just a few years of contraction.
Tighter regulation is just one of the necessary consequences of the housing bubble. Real estate professionals need to spend less time complaining and more time finding ways for their businesses to thrive within the framework of a housing market in which people buy reasonable homes, for a reasonable amount of money, as a place to live not a super-leveraged jackpot mega-investment.