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The four states that sank the world economy

By Brian | May 28, 2009 | Share on Facebook

A commenter over at Asymmetrical Information pointed me to some mind-blowing facts over at Scrivener.net:

From March, 2009:

  • The national foreclosure rate rocketed up 81% in 2008, to 1.8% (from 0.99% in 2007).
  • Only nine states had foreclosure rates above the average — and just four had rates seriously above the average: Nevada at 7.4%, Arizona and Florida at 4.5%, and California at 4%
  • Fully 41 states had below-average rates.
  • Subtract those four states and the median foreclosure rate in 2008 was only 0.90%.

Also:

  • Home prices increased in 28 states during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the federal OFHEO State House Price Indexes (click on “State HPI Summary”).
  • In most other states price declines were modest.
  • Prices declined in Arizona by 2.91%, in Nevada by 2.66%, in California 2.61%, and in Florida by 5.47% — annual rates of decline from over-10% to over-20%.

Another Scrivener post has some other illuminating data which compares these four states (along with Michigan, which is almost as bad, but not quite as bad as these four) to New York (which is doing comparatively well) and the national mean.

With all the discussion of housing bubbles and credit crises, I’m amazed that I’ve never heard how localized the problem was. I also wonder if our federal government’s response would have been different if the general public knew that mortgages & housing prices in 45-46 of the states were actually doing fairly well.

Topics: Money Talk | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “The four states that sank the world economy”

  1. Jeff Porten says at June 6th, 2009 at 2:04 am :
    Hmmm. You’re right that those facts are mind-blowing, and I suspect it has something to do with the “factiness” of those facts. There’s any number of ways you can slice-and-dice that kind of data, and frequently you can make wild assertions by misuse of means, medians, and modes when you’re talking about “averages” across a wide data set. I’m also less than impressed by arguments when the blogger in question posts absolutely no biographical details.

    That said, if this is true, then I think you’re providing a lot of ammo to the “line the bankers up against the wall and shoot” faction, because this is an awfully thin starting point on which to make the kinds of risks which blew up.

  2. Brian says at June 6th, 2009 at 12:18 pm :
    I think you’re providing a lot of ammo to the “line the bankers up against the wall and shoot” faction, because this is an awfully thin starting point on which to make the kinds of risks which blew up

    And I think you’re looking for ammo for the “line the bankers up against the wall and shoot” faction, because this has nothing to do with the bankers.

    Banks have increasingly become national in scope (one might even say “country-wide,” if one were to have a penchant for financially-themed puns, but of course, I’m not one of those people…). Arizona, Nevada, California and Florida have one important thing in common – secondary residences – retirement communities, condos, beach-front apartment complexes, etc..

    These things exploded in the early 2000′s, as the tech bubble burst and lots of young, upper-middle class investors went looking for somewhere to put their money. They either bought these things as vacation homes, or bought them during construction and sought to “flip” them to others who wanted vacation homes of their own.

    If you look back at real estate articles from 5-7 years ago, you’ll read about the fastest growing cities in America – Las Vegas, Miami/South Beach, the Arizona “red rock” suburbs, etc., etc.. These things hit the skids so hard because they took the highest, longest ride on the sub-prime, inflated LTV ratio roller coaster.

    My point wasn’t to suggest that we have a bigger problem than we thought we had – all of the statistics above are part & parcel of the statistics we’ve been reading about for nine months now. My point was that 92% of the states are enduring the crisis quite well, even though they don’t represent nearly 92% of the homes in the country.

    It bodes well for the recovery, not to help explain the crisis or assign blame.

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