Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rates of Sink

Utah home sales have plunged, and apartment rents are rising as demand goes up. But the Pollyannas continue to find rays of sunshine. The latest "good news" is that Utah isn't sinking as fast as the rest of the country. I have some news: If the bow is under water, the mere fact that the stern is in the air doesn't mean you're poised for an America's Cup victory.

Gus Faucher of Moody's Economy.com opines that foreclosure rates aren't bad here and that Utah will avoid the recession. Remember that Moody's is one of those rating houses that kept telling us that all those bogus investments were just fine. I consider Mr. Faucher's analysis to be just as reliable. First, it depends on the cherished myth that Utah is still its own economic island, which it is not, not by a long shot. What happens with mortgages elsewhere will reach here. Second, it ignores the peculiarities about Utah's social and financial structures that do exist and that allow a substantial number of distressed properties, particularly in south Salt Lake County and north Utah County, to mask that distress (not to mention the alarming number of houses that aren't being foreclosed on because they're locked up in civil and criminal fraud investigations, but I digress).

Sorry folks, there isn't anything so "special" about Utah that market cycles skip over us, and the mere fact that we aren't as bad as Michigan or Florida can't be considered terribly good news. Unless you redefine "cold drizzle" as "sunshine."


Post a Comment

<< Home