Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Postcards from the housing bubble

· According to a new report, existing home prices are rising at a 15% annual clip and existing home sales rose nearly 7% above year-ago levels. With these figures, even Alan Greenspan, chief housing bubble denier, isn’t sounding too confident nowadays.

· In 2002, 5.6 million existing homes changed hands. With the median home price at 156,000 dollars, the value of residential real estate transactions was roughly 880 billion dollars. Given the figures this year, that number will rise to over 1.5 trillion dollars (figures taken from the NAR).

· The membership of the National Association of Realtors grew 37% between 2001 and 2004 and now stands at 1.1 million. During the same period, non-farm payrolls actually dropped.

· If the bubble does pop, Robert Shiller’s proposal to create house price derivates to enable home owner to hedge against falling values will surely get the attention it deserves.