Thursday, June 19, 2008

Recession: A "Wild Card" for Housing

by Bill McBride on 6/19/2008 03:24:00 PM

From John Spence at MarketWatch: Builder execs nervous about jobs and the economy

Home-builder executives said at an industry conference Thursday that they're making progress clearing out excess inventory, but warned that a recession and spiking unemployment could stop that advance in its tracks.

"No one who's unemployed ever bought a house," said Lawrence Angelilli, senior vice president of finance at Centex Corp. "That's the wild card that everybody is waiting to see is if we get a true economic recession."
Yes, the homebuilders are finally building fewer homes than they are selling - so new home inventory is declining. But the huge overhang of existing homes on the market - especially distressed inventory - will keep housing under pressure for some time.

Also, I think a few unemployed people did buy homes during the boom. NINJA loans were one of the big jokes: No Income, No Job, No Assets.