U.S. home mortgage foreclosure filings in May jumped 90% from the same month last year. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of a U.S. home fell 1.8% in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2006. The hardest-hit regions for the foreclosures were the areas which saw prices rise most during the boom: Florida and California.
I’ve been writing to my readers for the past two years claiming the decline in the U.S. property market would not be the soft landing most analysts were expecting, rather a hard landing. Please remember the jump in foreclosure filings is happening in the best seasonal period of the year for housing. My view remains unchanged.
The U.S. housing bust will cut deeper and harder than most can realize today. Maybe it’s my 20-year on-again-off-again stint of investing in properties. Or maybe its realizing how long real estate booms and busts need to filter through the system. I don’t like the direction the U.S. housing market is headed.
The U.S. 10-year Treasury note yields pushed past 5.25% yesterday as central banks around the globe are expected to continue raising interest rates. The bottom line is that increasing long-term interest rates equal higher mortgage costs for consumers — adding further pressure on the already weak U.S. housing market.
Alan Greenspan was also out yesterday, shooting his mouth about an end to the easy-money environment that investors and consumers have enjoyed over the past few years. Greenspan’s comments were interpreted by the financial markets to mean higher interest rates ahead, and that sent bond yields higher and stock prices falling. Unfortunately, I think Greenspan is right this time in his outlook.
A period of firm to higher interest rates is upon us… bad for housing, bad for bonds and bad stocks… a triple-decker whammy of hard economic times headed our way.