A lot of bloggers are waiting for real estate to fall flat, and I think that there is going to be a long wait for them. Not that it won’t happen, it’s almost a certainty that it will. But by the time it does come to fruition, it will be a moot point.
Here is a concept, let's call it the "Funnel Effect." Individual items drop into the funnel and combine with others. As they drop through the funnel as a group they become more concentrated.
The easiest way to view the funnel effect is from bad housing loans and Visa and Master Card accounts. If you are a credit card company or a real estate lender, these problems are quite apparent; they could have hundreds if not thousands of people in a distressed state. This funneling effect of each individual, demonstrates what happens higher up in the retail/wholesale chain. We have consumers all over the world that purchase goods and carry on with their lives. When the economy starts to go bad, we have a situation where many people cannot manage to live in their accustomed manner and cut back on consumption in some form or manner.
Using a Starbucks Coffee Shop or Home Depot, the funnel effect (lack of consumption) would be reflected as a drop in sales. Individuals decide to spend less or not pay for an item like real estate taxes. Notice, that these choices of not to consume or pay a bill, converge into a group category. Housing funnels into lenders who made the loan. Bankruptcy’s funnel into credit card losses for the card issuer. The real estate tax base funnels into County Governments and School Districts.
Each home owner facing foreclosure will fight hard to survive and keep his house. What will happen, will be the Funneling effect of their lack of consumption. They may go into foreclosure, but the lender's pain is far more evident earlier on, than the individual homeowner.
The thing that is not realized until it’s too late is that government expected receipts are projected out several years. In a declining market, this optimistic view of the future can lead to severe cutbacks in government spending. It's kind of like hitting a brick wall at 20 miles an hour. The wall wasn't there a minute ago.
The government is the ultimate “Canary in the Coal Mine.”
The City of San Diego is a deer in the headlights!