This housing bubble is really amazing. Every time you think you have seen it all, something new and totally absurd pops up. This plea for help is one of those times.

The San Diego Creative Investors Association is now entering a plea to save condo conversions.

PLEASE!!! Help us save condo conversions

As you all know, condominium conversions provide first-time homebuyers an incredible opportunity to buy into the American Dream in San Diego. Condo conversions also provide investors with incredible opportunities for low cost rentals and quick profits.

However, small interest groups and their tenacious lawyers have laid seige to condo conversions in the City of San Diego. By appealing environmental determinations and now filing lawsuits, these groups have frozen over 100 projects because the City Council is afraid to act. Instead they are putting it off until someone can convince these people to go away.

The problem is, these people have nothing to lose; they aren’t going to go away. So, we are circulating an online petition to show City Council just how much support there is for conversions in San Diego. We are relying on level-headed people like you to remind the Council just how much is at stake.

Please, visit the website and sign our petition.

Jobs are at stake, investments are losing value, and the local economy may be hanging on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

Curtis Gabhart
ACI Commercial

Not that ACI commercial has any vested interest in condos, of course.
On the other hand, anyone interested in creating a bigger crash in San Diego just might wish to sign that petition.

Meanwhile National Mortgage News has good news and bad news.

First the good news: it appears the multifamily market could be poised for modest growth in 2006. At a recent forecast press conference, Fannie Mae economist David Berson said that “echo boomers” (the kids of the baby boomers) are now forming new households and will flood the rental market. That’s encouraging news for multifamily, which has been relatively weak in recent years. (The New York rental market doesn’t count, folks.) The other good news is that purchase money lending should be strong in 2006. Now for the bad news: Fannie thinks residential loan production could decline to just $2.1 trillion in the new year, a 30% decline from the $3 trillion or so that National Mortgage News is forecasting. The biggest question mark for the industry is when, oh when, will the Federal Reserve stop hiking rates — and when, oh when, will the yield curve get fixed…

A 30% decline in residential loan production huh? That sounds pretty bad. Can modest growth in multifamily make it up? Somehow I doubt it. As for that yield curve: Stop worrying. Greenspan has said “It’s different this time”. The yield curve no longer means what it used to. It’s just another “soft patch”.

As a “temporary fix” until things are humming again, the Herald Tribune is reporting Builders cut prices to sell homes

As inventory rises, some in Southwest Florida are also offering cheap financing and free furniture.

Count this among the signs that, even in Southwest Florida’s stock of new housing, more than just the weather is cooling: Home builders, big and small, are shaving prices and some are offering free furniture, cash discounts and well-below-market, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

High-powered builders in the region acknowledge the trend, though few are willing to talk openly about it.

To counter the softness, in some segments, prices are being slashed, with 10 percent price cuts appearing regularly in listings.

“The market is taking a breath,” said Candy Swick, a 27-year veteran of the region’s real estate scene.

Since before Thanksgiving, Lennar Homes, the nation’s No. 3 home builder, has been running full-page advertisements in Southwest Florida newspapers offering discounts, cheap financing and even free stuff from Rooms to Go.

It’s partially a seasonal issue, but it also reflects what many see as an inevitable plateau after the record gains of the last few years.

Tangible signs of discounting have emerged, and while most builders and brokers are loath to talk about them, the statistics on existing single-family homes tell the tale.

The number of unsold Sarasota houses listed for sale has more than tripled from a year ago, local Multiple Listing Service data shows.

In November 2004, it stood at 1,025, but by the end of November 2005 the number had ballooned to 3,525.

At an upscale Sarasota development that he declined to identify, “You couldn’t even get onto the waiting list” for the past year, said Re/Max Realtor Jon Whittle.

Today, home builders are calling Whittle with available inventory.

Looks like it’s time to add Sarasota to the “well past peak” list.

Check out this Northern Virginia Realtorspeak.

Inventory of available homes is at a five year high. Inventory is expect to dwindle through February. The buyer’s market continues, however the dwindling inventory will end the buyers opportunity. Buyer’s will have the most negotiating power for the next 6o days before the trend may switch back to a seller’s market.

Uh…. Excuse me. Can someone please tell me exactly why a 5 year high in inventory is expected to “dwindle” in the next 60 days? I would also appreciate it if someone would please tell the Virginia MLS association the difference between “buyers” and “buyer’s”. They seem to be a little confused at the proper syntax.

Regardless of silly spelling errors, one has to laugh at these self serving promotions. Buy now! You only have a 60 day window before it’s a sellers market again. Silly me, I thought that we were now in a “permanently high plateau”, the perfect market for buyers and sellers from now until eternity as wages catch up with prices and jobs come back from India and China. Meanwhile the stock market will double by 2007 making everyone in the US rich. If you believe that, and many do, you may as well believe that Mish is the Easter Beagle.

Mike Shedlock / Mish/