Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Done for now

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone that read the blog over the years. Obviously I have totally lost interest in the market. The IE market is completely stupid now, no inventory, inside deals, and a multitude of other silliness has made looking for even rental property a complete waste of time. I have pretty well disabled the comments due to the useless spam that was being posted. I will leave the blog up as a record of the bursting of the bubble and the stupidity that followed.

If you really want some giggles go back and read the posts from 2007 and 2008. Some of that stuff is priceless.

Regards
X

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

asking prices up, inventory down

Here we go again. The drop in inventory is causing a surge in asking prices.

From Housing Tracker.

Asking Prices and Inventory for Homes in Riverside California

As of July 09 2012 there were about 20,724 single family and condo homes listed for sale in Riverside California. The median asking price of these homes was approximately $255,000. Since this time last year, the inventory of homes for sale has decreased by 32.3% and the median price has increased by 10.9%.

July 09, 2012 Month/Month Year/Year
Median Asking Price $255,000 +2.0% +10.9%
Home Listings/Inventory 20,724 -5.2% -32.3%

Recent Asking Price and Inventory History for Riverside

Date Single Family & Condo
Inventory
25th Percentile
Asking Price
Median
Asking Price
75th Percentile
Asking Price
07/09/2012          20,724 $159,000 $255,000 $444,900
07/02/2012          21,216 $159,000 $250,000 $439,000
06/25/2012          21,498 $158,100 $250,000 $439,000
06/18/2012          21,738 $155,000 $249,900 $434,000
06/11/2012          21,859 $155,000 $249,900 $429,000

Monday, June 18, 2012

Listing data, been a while

It's been a long time since I posted any listing data from housingtracker.com.  You can see the lack of inventory is having an effect on median listing prices.  Not surprising, but what is surprising is the drop in inventory. The inventory levels are very low which is causing the "pearls" to go quick. Nice homes are selling like it was 2005 again (well except for the price).  Who knows what will happen to these numbers but right now it's not a good time to be a buyer!

Asking Prices and Inventory for Homes in Riverside California

As of June 18 2012 there were about 21,738 single family and condo homes listed for sale in Riverside California. The median asking price of these homes was approximately $249,900. Since this time last year, the inventory of homes for sale has decreased by 30.6% and the median price has increased by 8.7%.

June 18, 2012 Month/Month Year/Year
Median Asking Price $249,900 +2.0% +8.7%
Home Listings/Inventory 21,738 -3.6% -30.6%

Recent Asking Price and Inventory History for Riverside

Date Single Family & Condo
Inventory
25th Percentile
Asking Price
Median
Asking Price
75th Percentile
Asking Price
06/18/2012 21,738 $155,000 $249,900 $434,000
06/11/2012 21,859 $155,000 $249,900 $429,000
06/04/2012 22,014 $154,900 $249,000 $425,000
05/28/2012 22,342 $152,000 $245,900 $419,000
05/21/2012 22,541 $152,000 $245,000 $419,000

Friday, June 15, 2012

More bounce, May numbers

Sales are up and so are prices.  Median prices crept up a few thou in the IE and sales numbers were up quite a bit.  With the low inventory numbers it's hard to imagine sales going too much higher but it could certainly affect prices. I know around here I am seeing listing prices creep up. Good homes are selling very fast and the dogs are being left to rot. The inventory is around 22K for riverside making for about a 6 month supply. However about a third of those have no hope of selling (priced too high, next to the railroad tracks, total dumps etc). So the actual sell-able inventory is probably about a 4 month supply. That's pretty low and under normal circumstances would tend do drive up prices. Not holding my breath for that to happen. Certainly not in a big way. Hopefully we are seeing a return to a more normal, stable market.

The DQnews report.

The Southland housing market continued its long, step-by-tiny-step trek back toward normalcy in May, when the median sale price rose year-over-year for the second consecutive month, reaching a 20-month high. Home sales increased across the region but the gains were highest in coastal areas, where move-up markets have picked up steam, a real estate information service reported.
The median price paid for a home in the six-county Southland rose last month to $295,000, up 1.7 percent from $290,000 in April and up 5.4 percent from $280,000 in May 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
Last month’s median was the highest since the median was $295,500 in September 2010. The year-over-year gain in the May median followed a 3.6 percent annual increase in April. Before then, the median had fallen year-over-year for 13 straight months.
The rise in the median price is the result of higher demand and two other trends. First, there’s been a significant drop in the share of transactions that are foreclosed properties, which tend to sell at a discount and be concentrated in lower-cost areas. Second, a greater portion of sales are occurring in the higher-cost coastal markets. Last month, for example, sales in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties represented about 70 percent of all activity, up from 67.6 percent a year ago.
Last month’s total Southland sales rose nearly 21 percent compared with a year ago, and activity increased across the home-price spectrum. But the gains were strongest above $300,000. The volume of transactions in lower-cost markets has been restrained by, among other things, the dwindling inventories of homes for sale, especially foreclosures.
The typical monthly mortgage payment Southland buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,100, compared with $1,096 the month before and $1,154 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s typical payment was 53.6 percent below the typical payment in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 62.0 percent below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007. 



Sales Volume Median Price
All homes May-11 May-12 %Chng May-11 May-12 %Chng
Los Angeles    5,983 7,496 25.30% $320k $315k -1.60%
Orange         2,664 3,279 23.10% $425k $435k 2.40%
Riverside      3,644 3,972 9.00% $197k $205k 4.10%
San Bernardino 2,323 2,702 16.30% $150k $158k 5.70%
San Diego      3,087 3,750 21.50% $324k $335k 3.20%
Ventura        693 993 43.30% $360k $360k -0.10%
SoCal          18,394 22,192 20.60% $280k $295k 5.40%

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Here comes the Spring Bounce

It's a bit late but the spring bounce in prices seems to finally be upon us. Riverside median price stayed the same as last month and was up slightly from last year. San Berdu had a decent month to month rise..

Here's what DQnews has to say...

Southern California’s median sale price rose year-over-year in April for the first time in 16 months, reflecting stronger, affordability-driven demand and a slimmer inventory of homes for sale – especially low-cost foreclosures. Last month’s sales were modestly higher than a year ago, thanks to significant gains in the coastal counties, but remained well below average, a real estate information service reported.
The median price paid for a Southland home last month was $290,000, up 3.6 percent from $280,000 in both March this year as well as April 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
Last month’s median was the highest since the median was also $290,000 in December 2010. The year-over-year gain in the April median was also the first since December 2010, when the median rose a scant 0.3 percent.
Although price pressures have no doubt formed in some areas, the year-over-year increase in the April median price also reflects two other trends: the decline in the share of sales that are foreclosed properties, which tend to sell at a discount and be concentrated in lower-cost areas, and a shift toward a greater portion of sales this April in the higher-cost coastal markets. In April last year, for example, sales in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties represented 68.0 percent of the region’s sales, compared with 71.5 percent last month.
April’s $290,000 Southland median was 17.4 percent above the low point for the current real estate cycle – $247,000 in April 2009 – and 42.6 percent below the $505,000 peak in mid 2007. The peak-to-trough drop was due to a decline in home values as well as a shift in sales toward lower-cost homes, especially inland foreclosures.
The number of homes that sold for less than $200,000 in April fell 4.7 percent from a year earlier, while the number that sold for between $200,000 and $400,000 rose 5.5 percent. Sales between $300,000 and $800,000 – a range that would include many move-up buyers – increased 3.5 percent year-over-year. The number of sales above $800,000 fell 3.0 percent from a year ago.

Distressed sales – the combination of foreclosure resales and “short” sales – made up about 47 percent of last month’s resale market. That was the lowest level since the figure was 45.1 percent in April 2008.
Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – accounted for 28.6 percent of the resale market last month, down from 31.5 percent in March and down from 33.8 percent a year earlier. Last month’s figure was the lowest since foreclosure resales were also 28.6 percent of the resale market in January 2008. In the current cycle, the figure hit a high of 56.7 percent in February 2009.
Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 18.4 percent of Southland resales last month. That compares with 18.9 percent the month before and 17.3 percent a year earlier.



Sales Volume Median Price
All homes Apr-11 Apr-12 %Chng Apr-11 Apr-12 %Chng
Los Angeles    6,025 6,510 8.00% $320,000 $310,000 -3.10%
Orange         2,485 2,920 17.50% $430,000 $420,000 -2.30%
Riverside      3,470 3,199 -7.80% $190,000 $200,000 5.30%
San Bernardino 2,403 2,292 -4.60% $147,500 $156,250 5.90%
San Diego      3,277 3,559 8.60% $321,750 $329,500 2.40%
Ventura        684 804 17.50% $357,500 $360,000 0.70%
SoCal          18,344 19,284 5.10% $280,000 $290,000 3.60%

Friday, May 4, 2012

Better off letting it go

Cruising the web I ran accross this article that mirrors what I have been telling people for the last 5 years.  GET OUT!  All the mod programs are not designed to help the home owner. Put your emotions aside and look at the numbers. The people that have let the homes go are the ones that will come out ahead in the long run.

Here's the article (sorry it's a bit long)

I am trying to get your attention. I hope my headline is successful.
Struggling Homeowners, Professionals & HUD Counselors PLEASE READ THIS;

I’VE BEEN BEGGING YOU TO STOP MODIFYING PEOPLE WHO CAN’T AFFORD THEIR HOMES SINCE 09. WHY? BECAUSE YOUR HELP IS BURYING THEM IN DEBT & THEY’RE LOSING THEIR HOMES REGARDLESS.
The Board of the Housing Opportunity Collaboration of the Inland Empire (HOCIE) and many others around the country, including the infamous NACA (Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America) have a heart of gold, but are seemingly unwilling to listen to sound underwriting advice. Instead, it was full steam ahead with a; “save the dream” and “save homeownership at all cost” agenda that the banks LOVED and so they continued to fund their activities while lobbying lawmakers to make private sector professional assistance illegal. It’s worked beautifully.
LPS (Lender Processing Services) REPORTS 47% OF NEW FORECLOSURES WERE PREVIOUS FORECLOSURES. *See page 13 of the most recent Mortgage Monitor report*

The Make Home Affordable Program reports monthly what the average over all debt percentage is for a borrower AFTER they receive a modification. Currentlyit’s 60%! It has been around 63% over the last year. *See page 5 of the most recent Make Home Affordable report* Historically, banks/underwriters knew a back end ratio greater than the low 40’s was simply not sustainable. And yet, under the guise of helping to retain homeownership, banks, with the help of HUD counselors are putting people into modifications that based on statistical data, ARE HIGHLY LIKELY TO FAIL. Why would they do that? Read on…
The banks analysts are in my opinion, smart. They know many will not be able to sustain their payments unless there is a dramatic increase in household income. For most, this is not likely. Most HAMP modifications, as well as the look-a-likes, have an interest rate that will rise beginning on year 5, if the borrowers income does not go up commensurate with the payment increases, they only postponed the inevitable.
On a $250,000 loan, with a 2% interest rate fixed for five years with a 30 year amortization, a typical modification will see this rate rise to 3% on year 6, 4% on year 7 and 4.75% on year 8 today. Once it reaches the 4.75% it will remain fixed for the remainder of the term. The principle and interest payment in this example would go from $924 to $1,304, THAT’S A 141% PAYMENT INCREASE FROM YEARS 5 TO 8. IF THE AVERAGE BACK END IS ALREADY AT 60% JUST HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU BELIEVE THEY’LL BE ABLE TO HANDLE THE PAYMENT INCREASE? In many cases they won’t and are not and the banks know this in my humble opinion. So why are the banks doing this?

If the banks can stagger the losses and keep the cash flows going, the investors continue to keep a favorable rate of return, the banks don’t have to foreclose and have more unsold inventory, or more homes to care for. They can take the properties back, or encourage a short sale later when the market is better. This is nothing more than managing a large portfolio of high risk loan pools.

I don’t blame the banks. It’s just good business to do this. I blame those who are taking money from them and have the public trust and burying people in debt that they’ll eventually have to get out from under anyway. Worse, the longer they wait, the less chance they’ll be able to participate in homeownership at these favorable rates and prices.

The National Home Builders reported that for every 1% increase in future interest rates, we’ll lose approximately 4-5 million American buyers, the majority of which are minorities. As they make less, on average, they’ll be the first ones cut out of the housing market as rates rise. Again, under the guise of helping, we are putting minorities in a position that will financially set them back for decades and in many cases permanently harm them to a degree that they’ll never recover from.

Homeownership for most Americans is the greatest chance at financial independence, but not when the home has gone down by 50% and must go up 100% just to break even, especially when the borrower, based on proven metrics, can’t afford the debt.

I teach HELP Professionals WE MUST NOT stand idly by and do nothing. Realtors, Realtist, agents & others must knock on doors and somehow reach more homeowners and get people to listen. Sitting in a home you can’t afford and are going to lose eventually is only hurting YOU, no one else. A loan mod that puts a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound is silly.

The National Home Builders reported that Whites score 20 points above Blacks & Hispanics on the affordability index due to making more on average. Further, the Bipartisan Policy Center reports that homeownership rates among African Americans & Hispanics fell more sharply in 2010 than among white non-Hispanics, with a 44.3% homeownership rate among black households in 2010 compared to 45.2% in 1990. The center’s latest report found that there is now a 28% point gap in homeownership between white & black households, wider than the divide in 1990. A separate study from the Pew Center found that between 2005 & 2009, Latinos lost two-thirds of their median household wealth while blacks lost more than 50%.

The greatest opportunity to reverse the trend is to get some of these folks who are not making a payment to short sell, short sell and then lease back and begin the healing process so they may buy while the prices and rates are artificially low. Otherwise, many will NEVER be a homeowner in their lifetime as rising interest rates will lock them out.

This is an opportunity to make a difference. If you’re a HUD counselor, or other professional who cares deeply, please call me. Have me come to your office and go over the numbers with you. Unwittingly for years, you’ve been only helping the banks and the investors. The banks, with the help of the Feds in a; “throw the baby out with the bath water “ action, made it virtually illegal for anyone in the private sector who is honest to help homeowners with sound advice.

I applaud the love and kindness shown to those in need. However, the lack of understanding of the manipulation that is occurring is hurting those you wish to help the most.

*Chris Sorensen’s opinion only. I am not speaking on behalf of HELP’s Board of Directors* I offer my strong opinion here due to my concern that the disparity between the haves and the have nots cannot and must not continue to grow at is current trajectory.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

March report from DQ

The report looks decent. Prices are up slightly in the IE (normal spring bounce). Sales are slightly down from last year. Don't know why, with the low rates sales should be up. The only factor holding them back might be the lack of inventory. Especially inventory that can be sold quickly. Most of it still seems to be short sale inventory which just clogs up the pipline.

Dqnews

Southern California home sales shot up last month from February amid the usual surge in late-winter shopping, but the gain over a year earlier was modest. Sales of $500,000-plus homes, though a bit lower than last year, jumped 36 percent from February, helping to lift the region’s overall median sale price to a six-month high – and to about where it was in March 2011, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 19,953 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 28.1 percent from 15,573 in February, and up 2.8 percent from 19,412 in March 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.

It’s normal for sales to jump between February and March. On average, they've risen 37.0 percent between those two months since 1988, when DataQuick’s statistics begin. On a year-over-year basis, Southland sales have increased for three consecutive months, and for seven out of the last eight months. However, last month’s Southland sales total was still 18.6 percent below the average for all the months of March since 1988.

As in recent months, March’s year-over-year gain in sales wasn't seen across the price spectrum. Last month the number of transactions below $300,000 rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier, while the number sold between $200,000 and $400,000 rose 4.2 percent. Sales between $300,000 and $800,000 fell 0.6 percent year-over-year, and sales above $800,000 dipped 5.6 percent.

March sales of newly built homes rose almost 9 percent from a year earlier, marking the second consecutive month with a year-over-year gain. But March’s new-home tally was still the second-lowest for that month in DataQuick’s records back to 1988. Last month’s sales of existing (not new) single-family detached houses were the highest for a March since 2010, while resale condo sales were the lowest for that month since 2009.

“The year is young and lots could still change, but the results from the first big sales month of 2012 suggest the market is stuck in low gear. This remains a very gradual – not to mention fragile – recovery. Last month's big gain in sales from February was seasonal. A lot more people get out and shop after the holidays and as spring approaches. More telling was the relatively small gain in sales activity compared with a year ago. It's a reminder that, for many potential buyers, lower prices and amazingly low mortgage rates still aren’t enough to get them over their hurdles: tight credit, home values below what they owe on their mortgages, and uncertainties over the economy and home prices,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

The median price paid for a Southland home last month was $280,000, up 5.8 percent from $264,750 in February but down 0.2 percent from $280,500 in March 2011. The March median was the highest since the median was also $280,000 last September. The year-over-year decline in the March median was the smallest since February 2011, when the $275,000 median was unchanged compared with a year earlier.

Last month’s median was 13.4 percent above the low point for the current real estate cycle – $247,000 in April 2009 – and 44.6 percent below the $505,000 peak in mid 2007. The peak-to-trough drop was due to a decline in home values as well as a shift in sales toward lower-cost homes, especially inland foreclosures.

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $1,063 last month, compared with $998 in February. Last month’s figure was down from $1,185 for the same month last year. Adjusted for inflation, current payments were 54.8 percent below typical payments in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. They were 63.0 percent below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.



Sales Volume Median Price
All homes 11-Mar 12-Mar %Chng 11-Mar 12-Mar %Chng
Los Angeles 6,590 6,772 2.80% $320,000 $306,000 -4.40%
Orange 2,615 2,856 9.20% $430,000 $400,000 -7.00%
Riverside 3,843 3,756 -2.30% $198,000 $200,000 1.00%
San Bernardino 2,544 2,512 -1.30% $150,000 $150,000 0.00%
San Diego 3,063 3,237 5.70% $325,000 $320,500 -1.40%
Ventura 757 820 8.30% $349,000 $350,000 0.30%
SoCal 19,412 19,953 2.80% $280,500 $280,000 -0.20%

Monday, April 16, 2012

Another bank gets screwed?

Without knowing the details this transaction looks suspiciously like a case of an inside deal. The bank gets screwed and the investor makes $100k (maybe).

17789 Scottsdale rd in Riverside was a foreclosure. It went back to the bank in August 2011 when they found no takers at the asking price of $391k. It does not seem to list until Dec 28th and then there is a record of the sale posted on Dec 30th? Even all cash deals don't happen in 2 days. So this property may have never been listed, listed out of area or who knows. But regardless it sells for $326k, which is well below comps for this area. Now looking at the pics I don't see any indication the property was thrashed. It's obviously the original kitchen because no flipper would put in that kitchen. The floor tile is horrific too. The only thing that might have been done is new carpet and paint. It's now listed for $420k after a couple of price reductions. That's a tidy profit of $95K if they can find a buyer. It's probably still $30k too high given the lack of landscaping and the low quality finished inside. I've seen much nicer homes nearby sell for $400k so he may still need to come down a bit. The only thing that might help him is the lack of inventory.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Flat line

I thought I would throw up a few charts to show the price trends in the IE. Basically the prices have been flat since late 08. There are of course minor fluctuations due to the season. Sale prices fall in the winter and rise in the summer. There was a small bump in mid 2010 when the homebuyer tax credit caused the prices (and sales numbers) climb a bit. But overall the prices seem to be bouncing along "the bottom". Price to income ratios are back in line where they should be. Price to rental ratios are far, far in favor of buying. It's WAY cheaper to buy versus renting similar properties. The only "gotcha" is that you need to be sure you are going to stay put. You cannot rely on appreciation to cover selling costs if there is a need to sell. So if you need to sell within say 5 years of buying you may not come out ahead versus renting.

Looking at inflation adjusted prices, the IE is about the same level it was in the late 80's. However, the crazy low interest rates make payments actually less, even when not adjusted for inflation. For example I own a rental that sold new in 1988 for $110k. Payments on that home back in 1988 were $1200/mo (PITI). Today that home is worth approx $150k. Buying that home today would result in a payment (PITI) of approx $900/mo. Adjusted for inflation today's payment is MUCH lower than the 1988 payment for the same home.

Obviously there are still loads of distressed properties. This will hold prices low for until those are worked through the system. But can prices go lower? It's hard to imagine that will happen. With the rental values and the home prices at these levels, investors can make more money buying and renting properties than they can in the markets or the banks. This alone should keep the prices from falling. I now have two rentals and would pick up a few more if I had the cash. I'm under no illusion of making money on appreciation of these properties but the rental income is a welcome addition to the monthly bottom line.

Here's a few of those charts


This one is the median sales price for Riverside. As you can see it's been relatively flat for a few years now.

The price per square ft char is also pretty flat since late 08



And finally the long term chart with the inflation adjusted prices.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mortage mod madness

Mortgage mods are touted by both the government and the so called "help" organizations. But are these mods really helping anyone. I think if you've read this blog for any length of time you know how I feel about this mod business. Mods are helping banks and that's it! All mods do is keep people paying for a an asset that is worth less than they owe on it. They become trapped by this debt.

Here is a perfect example of why loan mods suck for most people. I have one friend that did a short sale in 2008 to get out from under his upside down house. He is now free, happy and his credit score has fully recovered. He could easily buy any house he wanted (and could afford). I have another one that did a mod in 2009. He did the loan mod for a couple of reasons. He liked his house and had spend a fair amount of money upgrading (although he did use a heloc to do these upgrades). He also foolishly believed that prices would rebound enough to where he could sell if he needed to. Over 2 years later he still owes way more than his house is worth. Although he can afford the payments he now needs to sell and move due to an impending divorce. Unfortunately for him this means either a short sale or just letting the house go. The loan mod probably added a year or two to his marriage but it also trapped him in that house. So who is better off? Had he let the house go two years ago he would probably be single and free of debt, possibly able to buy another home already.

To anyone considering a loan mod I would encourage them to consider the possibility that they may want or need to move in a few years. If there is even a remote chance of that then don't do a loan mod. No matter how much you love the house, get the hell out of it. You can rent for a couple of years and then if you desire you can purchase another home that you will not be a thousand feet under water on.

The whole mortgage mod thing is absurd when you stand back and look objectively at it. Someone has sold you something at an inflated price, but because they are willing to change the loan terms slightly you agree to keep paying on that inflated price. That might be reasonable if you bought a TV (although even on TVs most retailers will give you a refund if you find that TV cheaper) but I digress we are talking houses here. We are talking about tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on how long you pay the note for. It's not an insignificant amount of money, yet most people only look at that monthly payment and that's about as far ahead as they look too. No thought is given to next year or 5 years from now.

Mortage mods will only serve to extend this fiasco of a market!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Will 2012 be the "real" year of the short sale?


If you have an underwater house you are thinking about dumping you might want to get off your duff and list the thing. You see normally when you sell a house for less than you owe on it you get a nasty little surprise from Uncle Sam, a tax bill for the difference. During the bust legislation was passed to put this tax on hold to make it easier for people to short sell. However that legislation expires at the end of 2012. Both the Federal government and the California State gov passed these acts so currently there are no tax consequences from a short sale.

Of course the debt forgivness act could be extended. But what if it isn't? This would probably mean fewer short sales and a lot more foreclosures. There are no tax consequences from foreclosure because in Cali most of those loans are non-recourse (but I'm no tax expert so don't listen to me).

The unfortunate thing is that most people have no idea about this tax thing and may not feel the need to hurry up and get out while the gettin's good.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Oz is in denial


Just got back from my vacation to NZ and OZ, and of course I couldn't help but check out the prices of real estate over there. In fact during many of the tours the guides would continually point out how "well" there market was doing. It was incredible, it was like being here in 2006. Nearly all the people I spoke with, if the topic of home prices came up just seemed to say all the stuff we heard 5 years ago. "it's different here", "price might level off, but I doubt they will fall" etc. NZ was by far the worst. The prices of everything over there is unbelievable. I dunno how they live. But the prices of housing was off the charts as compared to incomes.
Median incomes are comparable to the US, yet the cost of nearly everything was higher. Australia was not nearly as bad as NZ in that respect but in the two cities we visited things were quite a bit higher than here. Of course the cost of living in most large cities is higher than living in the burbs but I was not able to really check the costs out in the burbs. We did manage to get out into the burbs in Melbourne and the tour guide would point out housing tracts give us approximate costs. If those were correct they their prices are comparable to ours at the peak of our bubble. We saw shacks in the city that he indicated were well north of a million (and I do mean shacks!), in the burbs we saw small average looking tract homes that were $500k to $800k.

NZ and OZ are beautiful places and well worth a visit. But save your pennies cuz int aint a cheap vacation. Oh, and driving on the opposite side of the road is interesting too!