John Rubino: In his book The Postcatastrophe Economy, iTulip’s Eric Janszen notes that financial bubbles don’t repeat. That is, yesterday’s bubble is never tomorrow’s because hot money likes to chase the next big thing, not the last big thing. Which explains how US equities, government bonds, fine art, and trophy properties like London penthouses can all be sizzling while US houses, the epicenter of the previous decade’s financial orgy, just sit there.
Some charts from the National Association of Realtors illustrate just how boring the US housing market has become:
To summarize the first three charts, overall sales have declined year-over-year for ten straight months, prices are barely up from a year ago, and near-term trends imply more of the same. The fourth chart explains why: All the positive action is in high-end properties while the entry level part of the market is imploding.
There are several reasons for this:
1) Today’s college students are graduating with so much debt that many can’t even conceive of buying a house. Instead, their choice is between a cheap apartment or a bedroom in their parents’ home.