Friday Update August 6, 2021

657 existing single family homes for sale today in El Paso County.  Slightly up from last week which kind of makes sense as all the procrastinators finally get their houses on the market.  Most likely we will see a bit of an increase in inventory until like October when it will likely drop back down for winter.  Kids are going back to school, vacations are coming to an end and the frenzy of the summer shopping season should start to taper off over the next few weeks and following that sellers will elect to wait till spring to sell.  Most likely.

Our local MLS put together final stats for sales figures for July and our median price actually remained flat over June at $450,000 with 1,844 total sales closed out for the month.  That's the second highest volume for July on record, second only to last year's.  Tip your servers and bartenders and check in on your Realtors, they may not be ok after this work volume.

Long story short still very much a seller's market, maybe a bit of a slowdown going into fall but nothing that would suggest that buyers are gaining any advantage.

Rant time.  I'm going to start by talking about eviction moratoriums, then go to forbearances, and then we're going to talk about Covid 19 and it's lasting impact on the real estate market and the economy as a whole.  I'm going to tell you up front that if you are of the opinion that Covid is the "big one" and that it is a reason for the whole world to go to shit, you're not going to like my logic a whole lot.

The Federal eviction moratorium was supposed to expire on Saturday.  It seemed like it was going to.  And then poof, it didn't.  The CDC who has absolutely no business dictating any rules regarding housing went ahead and extended the moratorium for another 60 days.  The can has been getting kicked down the road for over a year now with no real plan on how to stop.  Now if you watch the news or have access to other humans or the internet you may think to yourself that this eviction moratorium is somehow helping people.  You may think that once it lapses there will be a "wave of evictions" leaving "millions homeless" across the United States.  That is the biggest load of horse shit. 

Here is why.  According to the National Multifamily Housing Council 95.6% of tenants paid their June rent this year, compared with 96% before the pandemic.  April's rent numbers saw the highest disparity with 95% of tenants paying their rent as opposed to 97.7% pre pandemic.  So yea for sure there is a trend that less people are paying their rent on time now versus before the pandemic.  But do you think that is because they are unable to or because there is no consequence to not paying it?  I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell you that at least, at a bare minimum and being extremely humanist and generous here, at least 2% of America's people are terrible, shitty, awful human beings.  Folks that have sucked long before the pandemic and will continue to suck until their death who just won the scumbag lottery courtesy of the Federal government.  You guys can jump in here and tell me what an asshole I am, tell me about the single mom juggling three jobs and how this eviction moratorium is helping her, and I'll agree with you because certainly there are people in desperate positions that can use help.  But then I'll tell you the story of the dude collecting BAH for the last 3 years, not making a single payment on his mortgage and living for free in a house that has been repossessed by the VA since 2019 all thanks to the moratorium on evictions.  That is the homie has been collecting your tax dollars for housing and living rent free for over 3 years now.  Hopefully he bought some cool shit with the money he was supposed to pay his bills with.

Now back to the single mom and anyone that just really needs a break.  And how does it tie into forbearances.  You see the eviction moratorium makes it so that landlords who are not receiving rent are unable to evict people for non payment.  But their lenders don't really give a shit about their problems and expect to get their money.  The best that the lenders are willing to offer to the landlords is forbearance.  That means they will allow you to skip some number of payments without significant penalty and without foreclosing, but in most cases whenever that forbearance expires the landlords are expected to catch up the entire amount that they owe to make the loan current.  As in lets say the landlord has a $1,000 monthly mortgage payment and misses 6 payments, when the forbearance is up that landlord will have to pay that entire $6,000 plus whatever fees the bank assesses on top of it.  That puts us in a position where the struggling single mom will ultimately still get evicted, will have an eviction on her record ruining her chances for housing later, and the landlord will have to scramble to figure out a way to catch up their loan.  If they are unable to do so and are forced to sell the property then one rental unit potentially leaves the market which doesn't help tenants at all.  

I don't like getting into politics in general because I don't like stepping in shit but I have to mention this.  Our new President Dude is something else.  This week he literally came out in front of the country to tell us that he is aware of the fact that this eviction ban is unconstitutional, the fact that “the bulk of the constitutional scholars say it’s not likely to pass constitutional muster.”  But then he said that since the Court is basically slow this will give the Feds enough time to "help the most vulnerable" before ultimately the Supreme Court shuts this whole thing down.  Maybe I'm stupid but I thought the President took an oath to uphold the nation's laws.  And also with close to 15 months of "help" under our belts now could we please stop pretending to know what we're doing?  All we're doing is delaying the inevitable while cranking an inflation rate that will punish those of the lowest income the most.  Not.  Helping.

Solution time.  Instead of dishing out child tax credits (tax credits not gifts) and "enhanced" unemployment benefits the Feds could pay the rent directly to the landlord.  This solves the problem of having to evict tenants as their rent would be paid, this solves the problem of forbearances as the loans would be current, and perhaps most importantly it's non inflationary as the money goes towards cancelling outstanding loan balances instead of making it's way into the grocery store.

Or you know we can keep giving people money without expecting them to make any widgets and then get together and bitch about how expensive widgets have gotten.  And why the people on unemployment now can't even afford one widget when back in the day they could get three.

Covid.  One time Homer Simpson said that "alcohol is the cause and the solution to all of life's problems."  Covid is kind of like that for the Federal Government.  It can be blamed as the cause of all the problems that existed long before the virus, and the new necessity fosters in all these terrific solutions like massive deficit spending.  Never let a good crisis go to waste is a mantra that our government clearly holds close to heart.  Apparently the Delta variant isn't scary enough so Fauci came out this week to tell us all about bigger, deadlier and more bad ass varieties of Covid that are right around the corner.  And while I think that most of us are going to make it through this just fine I do believe that the statistics on the virus will be manipulated for whatever political plays need to be justified.  I'm just curious to see how many years they can squeeze out of this crisis before having to create another.

If you're thinking about buying OR selling today is the day.  Text me don't leave voicemails.  Thanks!  

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