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Home Prices To Increase 20%, Investor Predicts

"My best guess is that California will have significant price inflation. Prices could escalate so strongly that we will think we are in 2004 instead of 2013."

Median home prices in California will be up by 20 percent this time next year, a Riverside-based real estate investor said today.

Bruce Norris, founder of the Norris Group, said tight inventory, government money and temptingly low interest rates will all combine to invigorate the Golden State's housing market in 2013.

"My best guess is that California will have significant price inflation," Norris said. "Prices could escalate so strongly that we will think we are in 2004 instead of 2013."

Norris is slated to share his prediction and the reasons behind it during an appearance tomorrow before the San Diego Creative Investors Association.

According to the property speculator, his forecast follows accurate predictions made in 1997 -- for a sizzling residential real estate market -- and 2006, when he foresaw a precipitous decline in home prices, warning clients to cover their interests.

Norris said that in many locations, there is a one-month supply of residential properties for sale, with investor-owners keeping most of their stock as lease-only. That affords "normal sellers with equity" the opportunity to ratchet up prices in response to demand, according to Norris.

He said further upward pressure on prices will start to come from delinquent borrowers who lost homes in the 2008-09 crash. Because new Federal Housing Administration regulations permit owners who lost properties to foreclosure to apply for taxpayer-backed loans after only three years, would-be mortgagors with questionable credit can get back into the market.

"Fast forward to 2012, and you now have those same people ready and capable of buying a home again," Norris said. "Buyers have realized that their house payment would be less than their rent, and that's fueling demand and pushing up home prices."

According to Norris, rock-bottom interest rates will add to the home financing frenzy.

In its "2012 Annual Housing Market Survey," the California Association of Realtors noted that the low number of available homes had created "fierce market conditions," where multiple offers and bidding wars were becoming the norm.

In a presentation to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors in May, a trio of economists predicted slow but steady home price appreciation in the inland region over the next two years, in contrast to Norris' forecast.

LBV Collins December 11, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Not only have investors snapped up inventory, but underwater homeowners (who can afford their mortgage) aren't selling... because they're underwater. Both of those factors are pushing up prices. While it's true that new FHA regulations permit foreclosed owners to apply for taxpayer-backed loans after only three years, that's only half the equation. The other half is the lenders. (FHA doesn't lend money... it only guarantees the loans.) I have heard that some lenders won't lend until 5, 6, or even 7 years after a foreclosure. (@Markus: You look familiar...)
Constant Comment December 12, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Yeah Markus, not very original. }~)
LBV Collins December 12, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Exactly, CC!
Constant Comment December 12, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Looks like he changed it.... alls well that ends well......}~)
LBV Collins December 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM
LOL! That's too funny! (Hope I didn't embarrass Markus and guilt him into changing his profile pic. That wasn't my intention.)

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