You’ve Lost the Bidding War On Your Dream Home
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You’ve Lost the Bidding War On Your Dream Home

Enter the five stages of grief.

By Kris Frieswick
Tue, May 18, 2021 11:08amGrey Clock 3 min

If you are trying to buy a house right now, you’re in the middle of a real-life Hunger Games. You finally find that perfect little house that you can’t live without, and there will be 13 other people who feel the same way.

That means you’ll be sucked into the worst possible outcome in any house-hunting scenario—a bidding war. Those other house hunters, like you, will do whatever is required and use all the weapons at their disposal to land the place. And when you lose, which you most likely will, you will watch your dreams—of backyard cookouts, of being able to get out of bed on both sides, of room to turn around in the bathroom without bumping your butt on the sink, of a kitchen in which your pots and pans don’t all have to live in the oven—evaporate. You will be gutted. You will grieve mightily, just like when [your childhood pet’s name here] got hit by a car.

The good news is that you will get over it, eventually. But first, you’ll have to go through the five stages of grief that accompany the loss of any bidding war. The stages start right after you stop swearing. Here’s what each stage looks like, plus some suggested coping mechanisms to get through them:

Stage One: Denial

You didn’t really want that stupid house. It’s a stupid house. Forget that house.

You should: Keep saying this to yourself until this stage wears off. It’s the best you’re going to feel for awhile.

Stage Two: Anger

That house wasn’t stupid! It was awesome and you lost it. Why do you keep on LOSING?? Why can’t you ever WIN anything? It’s just like the high school state basketball championship that you LOST. And all those times you lost the lottery. Oh great! Now there’s a hole in the wall above the TV from you throwing your laptop in loser rage. Loo. Zer.

You should: Stop with the throwing. You’re going to be in your house awhile. But don’t repair the hole. That’s just conceding that you are never moving out. Go buy a painting to cover it up. It will take your mind off all the losing.

Stage Three: Bargaining

You are brilliant! Why didn’t you think of this before? You tell your broker to offer 5% above the winning offer, no matter what it was. Your broker tells you it was all cash, 30% over asking, included a new Range Rover, the buyers are closing on the property in eight hours, and their moving truck is already idling outside the house. “Face it,” your broker says. “You lost.” “NO!” you think really loudly to yourself. “You lost, broker person. YOU lost.”

You should: Drink and cry. But whatever you do, don’t watch HGTV. All those clueless, insanely picky, delusional, yet somehow winning house hunters will make you throw things at the TV, which you can’t replace because you need your savings for a downpayment. Theoretically.

Stage Four: Depression

You will never find a house. Just quit looking. It’s pointless. Why even bother? You’re going to be stuck in this dumb, ugly house for the rest of your life, looking at that terrible painting you just bought to put over the hole. You hate that painting. What is that even a painting of? An angry bee stinging a… a walrus of some sort? Is it even hung the right way up? It looks like a five-year-old drew it. It’s a stupid painting.

You should: Stop drinking and go to bed. Leave the picture alone. It’s hung properly. You maybe should have paid for a nicer one, or bought some fine art photography of the Eiffel Tower or a foggy Brooklyn Bridge. Deal with that tomorrow. If you have dreams about blowing up that house that someone else won, that’s a normal part of the grieving process.

Stage Five: Acceptance

Wait. That’s not a bee and walrus. It’s a flower in a garden. Now that the morning sunlight is hitting it, it’s not that bad of a painting. The colours go with the comfy chair. Like you planned it that way. You sort of like it now. You’re gonna sit in that comfy chair and admire your new painting, have a cup of coffee and take a quick scroll through the listings sites to see if anything came on the market overnight. You’ll use your phone, since your laptop is in pieces.

You should: Love the one you’re with. Maybe go ahead and fill in that hole. Keep the faith. Your house is out there. It might take you a year to find it. You might need to look at 100 houses or more. Maybe you’ll have to wait until this insane market crush has calmed down a bit. But you’ll find it. In the meantime, remember to be thankful that you’ve got a roof over your head, be that as it may.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 13, 2021



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Home prices declined at a faster pace in May in major cities, while other data show a mixed picture for the world’s second-largest economy

By REBECCA FENG
Tue, Jun 18, 2024 3 min

China’s broken housing market isn’t responding to some of the country’s boldest stimulus measures to date—at least not yet.

The Chinese government has been stepping up support for housing and other industries in recent months as it tries to revitalize an economy that has  continued to disappoint  since the early days of the pandemic.

But fresh data for May showed that businesses and consumers remain cautious. Home prices continue to fall at an accelerating rate, and fixed-asset investment and industrial production, while growing, lost some momentum.

“China’s May economic data suggest that policymakers have a lot to do to sustain the fragile recovery,” Yao Wei, chief China economist at Société Générale, wrote in a client note on Monday.

The worst pain is in the property sector, which has been struggling to deal with oversupply and weak buyer sentiment since 2021, when a multiyear  housing boom ended . The market still doesn’t appear to have found a floor, even after Beijing rolled out its most aggressive stimulus measures so far  in mid-May  in hopes of restoring confidence.

In major cities, new-home prices fell 4.3% in May compared with a year earlier, worse than a   3.5% decline in April, according to data released Monday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Prices in China’s secondhand home market tumbled 7.5%, compared with a 6.8% drop in April.

Home sales by value tumbled 30.5% in the first five months of this year compared with the same months last year.

“This data was certainly on the disappointing side and may ring some alarm bells, as May’s policy support package has not yet translated to a slower decline of housing prices, let alone a stabilisation,” said Lynn Song, chief China economist at ING.

Economists had also been hoping to see a wider recovery this month after Beijing started  rolling out  a planned issuance of 1 trillion yuan, the equivalent of $138 billion, in ultra-long sovereign bonds in May. The funds are designed to help pay for infrastructure and property projects backed by the authorities. Investors  gobbled up  the first batch of these bonds.

Monday’s bundle of economic data, however, underlined how the country still isn’t firing on all cylinders.

Retail sales, a key metric of consumer spending, rose 3.7% in May from a year earlier, compared with 2.3% in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. While the trend is heading in the right direction, it is still a relatively subdued level of growth, and below what most economists believe is needed to kick-start a major revival in consumer spending.

The expansion in industrial production—5.6% in May compared with a year earlier—was down from April’s 6.7% increase. Fixed-asset investment growth, of which 40% came from property and infrastructure sectors, also decelerated, to 3.5% year-over-year growth in May from 3.6% in April.

Key to the sluggish economic activity data in May—and China’s outlook going forward—is the crisis in the property market, which has proven hard for policymakers to address.

The property rescue package in May included letting local governments buy up unsold homes, removing minimum interest rates on mortgages, and reducing payments for potential home buyers. It also included as its centerpiece a $41 billion so-called re-lending program launched by the People’s Bank of China, which would provide funding to Chinese banks to support home purchases by state-owned firms.

The hope was that by stepping in as a buyer of last resort for millions of properties, the government would manage to mop up unsold housing inventory and persuade wary home buyers to re-enter the market. In turn, Chinese consumers, who have  most of their wealth  tied up in real estate, would feel more confident about spending again, thereby lifting the overall economy.

But the size of the re-lending program wasn’t big enough to convince home buyers, said Larry Hu , chief China economist at Macquarie Group. “Meanwhile, their income outlook also stays weak given the current economic condition,” he said.

For the property market to bottom out and reach a new equilibrium, mortgage rates, which stand at around 3-4% in China, need to be as low as rental yields, which are currently below 2% in major cities, said Zhaopeng Xing, a senior China strategist at ANZ. He said that a large mortgage rate cut will need to happen eventually.

The other key part of China’s push to revive growth revolves around the manufacturing sector, with leaders  funnelling more investment  into factories to boost output and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign suppliers of key technologies.

The result has been a surge in production. But with domestic consumption not strong enough to absorb all those goods, many factories have been forced to cut prices and seek out more overseas buyers.

Data released earlier this month showed that  Chinese exports rose  faster in May than the month before.

However, the export push is  butting into resistance  as governments around the world worry about the impact of cheap Chinese competition on domestic jobs and industries. The European Union last week said it would  impose new import tariffs  on Chinese electric vehicles, describing China’s auto industry as heavily subsidised by the government, to the point where other countries’ automakers can’t fairly compete.

The U.S.  has also hit  Chinese cars and some other products with hefty duties, while countries including Brazil, India and Turkey have opened antidumping investigations into Chinese steel, chemicals and other goods.

Beijing says such moves are protectionist and that its industries compete fairly with global rivals.