Bouncing on the Bottom

I know this is risky. There are all sorts of possibilities that I’ll be wrong and you will be able to come back to me a year from now with “It’s only gotten worse. You were WRONG.” But I am going to take the risk and put this in writing. I think that the housing market is bouncing on the bottom. If there is downturn yet to do then I think it will be minor. And there is even a chance that there will be upturn.
No, I’m not a Nationally recognized economist. Really, what do I know? What I know is that I am down here in the trenches living in this house market. And I see 2 signficant changes.
First, the cash investors are out buying BIG TIME. I am working with 2 cash buyers right now both wanting entry level houses of $150,000 or less. This is partly due to low house prices as compared to high rent rates making the return on rentals look good. But this is the same formula that will turn renters into home buyers. It’s starting to make sense to buy entry level houses because the rents are now getting as high or higher than a house payment.
Second, when I show property I am now finding that more and more houses are going pending. It’s like Christmas is over, the prices and interest rates are incredibly low, so now is the time. Lockbox activity (meaning the number of times lockboxes are opened by Realtors to access listings)has skyrocketed. It always goes up after the holidays, but not like I’ve seen it in the last two weeks.
I am also seeing more positive economic news in the media, including this short article from the Oregoninan on January 10, 2010:

Home values in Portland are predicted to rebound
Portland-area home values fell 3.5 percent during 2011 but are expected to stabilize and even post an increase in 2012, real estate research firm Clear Capital reports.
The California company forecasts a 1.9 percent increase in home values in the Porltand-Vancouver-Beaverton area.
In the company’s ranking of 50 major metro areas’ home prices, that moves Portland from No. 27 in 2011 to No. 14 in 2012. Exactly half of the markets are expected to post home price increases. The Portland market is also among 20 considered to be stable in 2012 with predicted increase or decrease of less than 2.5 percent.
The company also reported 15.5 percent of homes sales in 2011 were bank-owned forcloseures.
U.S. home prices fell 2.1 percent in 2011 and are expected to gain 0.2 percent in 2012, the firm reports.
The Seattle area was one of the hardest-hit markets in 2011, posting a 15.1 percent decline in prices. Clear Capital predicted the city’s real estate would lose 7.5 percent in 2012.

Certainly time will tell. I understand I might be wrong, wrong, wrong. But there is also a pretty good chance that I am right. We will see…