Category Archives: Tom’s Corner

“Flip This House”: Investor Speculation and the Housing Bubble – Liberty Street Economics

I found this article interesting in that it quantified what I have said before relative to how much of an impact residential investors had on the market. I suggest that you read the article on the site to see all the charts.


The charts reveal some astonishing facts. At the peak of the boom in 2006, over a third of all U.S. home purchase lending was made to people who already owned at least one house. In the four states with the most pronounced housing cycles, the investor share was nearly half—45 percent. Investor shares roughly doubled between 2000 and 2006. While some of these loans went to borrowers with “just” two homes, the increase in percentage terms is largest among those owning three or more properties. In 2006, Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada investors owning three or more properties were responsible for nearly 20 percent of originations, almost triple their share in 2000.

via “Flip This House”: Investor Speculation and the Housing Bubble – Liberty Street Economics.

AIG and Inequality : The Frontal Cortex

I don’t often time republish stuff but this was too good, and I wanted my regular readers to have a look at it!

Click the link for the whole paper, it is worth it.

AIG and Inequality Posted on: March 18, 2009 1:51 PM, by Jonah Lehrer

I know, I know: everybody is sick of hearing about those AIG bonuses. But bear with me for one more blog post, because I think the swell of populist anger can actually illuminate something interesting about the human response to inequality.

Consider the ultimatum game, that simple economic task where one person (the proposer) is given ten dollars and told to share it with another person (the responder). The proposer can divide the money however they like, but if the responder rejects the offer then both players end up with nothing.

via AIG and Inequality : The Frontal Cortex.


A quick note to express my thanks to all who read and contribute here. I appreciate the feedback, and of course the kind press coverage. I continue to refine and I hope improve our product.

In today’s difficult times it is all to easy to forget the blessings we share, family, home, country God. Even when there are large looming fears, as many are experiencing now, we need to be especially mindful of those things that are good.

May the blessing of Thanksgiving be with you and your families.

Best, Tom

Birmingham-area home sales off sharply for October -Birmingham News

I was pleased to provide data and commentary for the Birmingham News today. I wish the data was better, I hate reporting dismal numbers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


News staff writer

A plunging stock market and waning consumer confidence dragged Birmingham-area home sales down in October, a real estate expert says.

Tom Brander, who compiles a monthly statistical report on Birmingham residential real estate, noted in his blog that the value of area homes sold last month dropped by more than a third. He said the figure was surprising and the steepest his data has shown since he began tracking sales in 1999.

via Birmingham-area home sales off sharply for October –

Rough Real Estate Sales Results for October 2008 in Alabama

As a reminder we publish two free newsletters. You may subscribe to the Alabama newsletter here, which has our exclusive content. You may subscribe to our selected national news on real Estate here, which has selected articles having a strong bearing on the Real Estate Market from various sources, selected be me.

This month in all three markets we cover, Birmingham, North Alabama, and the Alabama coast, was as bad as anything we have yet seen. Against the backdrop of wall street meltdown, buyers have really gone into hibernation with dollar sales down on a month to month basis by 20-36% in all markets.

As always there are bright spots, a new resort with excellent sales down in Orange Beach. Reduced inventory levels in most markets.

New home inventories in the Huntsville area continue to have more months of supply than existing home inventories. The higher priced homes seem to be building supply in that market.

New homes in the Birmingham market in the $100,000-$200,000 and the $300,000-$400,000 ranges are at 6.8 and 6.6 months of supply, reasonable, except that the used home supply in those price ranges is quite large and comptetitive. The economy does not look like it is going to help out anytime soon.

Read our market by market summaries below, and of course if you’d like subscription information please leave a comment with contact information.

The Jefferson County Sewer Amendment passed!!!

Thank you all who helped to remedy this injustice! Link to

Subscribe to our newsletter Here. (no spam, you must click on the confirmation message that you will get which sometimes gets stuck in the spam filter!)

Local Amendment – Jefferson Sewer Bills – Ballot Issue
November 05, 2008 – 10:39AM ET
Alabama – 378 of 378 Precincts Reporting – 100%
Name Votes Vote %
Yes 158,661 63%
No 93,090 37%

Please vote on this Jefferson County amendment!!!

Please vote yes on the amendment to require the sewer board to collect only from tenants who have water service. This message was sent out by the Birmingham MLS board:

Please look for the Jefferson County amendment on the back of your ballot (last item) and vote YES.  Please talk about this amendment with your friends, family and neighbors to help increase awareness on this issue.

For over six years, the Birmingham Association of REALTORS has been attempting to solve the problem of Jefferson County extending credit to tenants and later expecting property owners/landlords to make good on services not paid for by the tenant.  Legislation passed several years ago on this issue was fought by the county and overturned due to earlier acts relating to sewer bonds which have been paid off for years.

The current county policy does not require a credit check, and tenants may run up thousands of dollars in sewer fees.  Tenants may even move away before the property owner is made aware of the debt.  The county seeks liens against the property owner for the credit the county extended to tenants.  The county then expects the property owner to bail out the tenant who would not pay.  There is no policy in place to keep the same tenant from moving to the next property and repeating the same “flush and skip” routine.

Look for the amendment on the back of your ballot.  Thank you for your support!

Your yes vote will end a very unfair policy, now being followed by the Jefferson County Sewer Board. The policy is probably illegal anyway. (just when you hoped they could not do anything else!)