Tilson: Housing "Recovery" Is Still The Mother Of All Head Fakes

Whitney Tilson still thinks the housing “recovery” is still a head fake. 

House prices will resume their fall this fall, he says, and they could drop another 10% from here.


Aaron Task, TechTicker:

Recent data suggests the dismal housing market is making a turnaround. 

  • U.S. home prices are up nearly 4% from their low point in April.
  • The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Index has risen for three consecutive months.
  • New home sales are up 58% on an annualized basis since January.

Even Robert Shiller admits, “the suddenness of this shift surprised me.”

Whitney Tilson, founder of T2 Partners agrees. “The rebound has been stronger than we’ve anticipated,” he says. Still, the author of More Mortgage Meltdown remains “confident this is the mother of all head fakes.”

Tilson points to the following reasons for the sudden upturn in housing.

  • Low Interest rates
  • First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit
  • Falling Prices
  • Seasonality

But Tilson says there’s still supply and demand issues that will hamper the recovery. The National Association of Realtors reports housing inventories — the overhang of unsold homes — are at an 8.5 month supply, well below its recent peak.  But “the total inventory is triple what’s actually being reported,” Tilson says, estimating there’s twice as many homes in foreclosure or near foreclosure that aren’t for sale yet.

Tilson doesn’t forecast “another calamity to come,” but thinks housing is won’t bottom until those homes are off the market, forecasting at least another 10% decline in prices and no true bottom for another year, at the earliest. 

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