Zero Hedge was out Monday with, if not a warning, certainly a note of caution regarding the housing market, particularly at the high end.
One week ago, when we reported that "On Manhattan's "Billionaire's Row", A Death Knell Just Tolled For Luxury Real Estate", we documented the sudden trapdoor that opened beneath the ultra-luxury segment in the Manhattan housing market. Then several days later, we observed that it is not just the luxury NYC market that is in trouble, but the broader market across all of the US, when we noted three "Red Flags" that the broader US housing market was starting to roll over, among which i) a surge in inexperienced, third-party "mom and pop" auction buyers who were arriving just as institutional investors are starting to flee the auction market, ii) a collapse in retail purchases for home goods and furniture - traditionally a coincident or slightly lagging indicator of home purchasing activity, and iii) a plunge in housing buyer traffic according to the Credit Suisse real-estate agent survey.
Then this afternoon, another flashing red flag emerged when we learned that overall sales in the Hamptons plunged by half and home prices fell sharply in the second quarter in the toniest enclaves of the Hamptons, New York's weekend haunt for the wealthy. Reuters blamed this on "stock market jitters earlier in the year" which damped the appetite to buy, however one can also blame the halt of offshore money laundering, a slowing global economy, the collapse of the petrodollar, and the drastic drop in Wall Street bonuses. In short: a sudden loss of confidence that a greater fool may emerge just around the corner, which in turn has frozen buyer interest.
And frozen it has.