Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lawler on Builder Pricing and Incentives

by Bill McBride on 1/17/2015 06:38:00 PM

On Friday I posted an article from housing economist Tom Lawler: Lawler: “Surprise” Warnings on Margins/Effective Prices Whacks Home Builder Stocks

A few people took this as Lawler being "surprised". Nothing could be further from reality!

First, from the piece from Lawler:

"While most competent housing analysts had expected diminished price increases and increased sales incentives at most home builders in 2014 and 2015 following the surprising sharp price increases in 2013, the majority of housing analysts and investors had no such expectation."
That was Lawler making fun of the people who got it wrong!

Lawler started 2014 warning about incentives and reduced margins - and he warned about them all year.  As an example, Lawler wrote in May:
"it seems highly likely that the “pricing power” builders had in 2013 will not be evident in 2014, and in fact “effective” home prices may ease a bit as builders significantly increase their use of sales incentives from 2013’s unusually low level."
Many people were "surprised" by the builder announcements, but not Lawler!