The chief executive of Toll Brothers Inc., the nation's largest luxury-home builder, said Wednesday the housing industry is in a "depression" and any recovery could be two or three years away.And Minyanville has a statement from Pulte's CEO:
In candid remarks at the JPMorgan Basics & Industrials Conference a day after reporting a second-quarter loss, Robert Toll said he's not ready to call a bottom yet since the housing market could still get worse.
"Can the market go down another ten or twenty percent? Sure," said Toll, whose Horsham-based company will sit on cash unless a bargain land deal comes along.
He said the current housing crisis is the worst he's seen since the mid-1970s, but back then the decline was relatively short-lived. The current downturn started in late 2005.
"Maybe '74 and '75 was just as bad, but it was so short," Toll said.
Buyers' lack of confidence that home prices will stop sliding is what's keeping them out of the market, rather than lack of access to credit, he said.
Richard Dugas, [Pulte Home] CEO, said he believes it is a mistake to believe the new housing market can correct without the resale market also correcting. This is an important point of distinction. New homes are now selling at a 10% to 15% discount to resale in most areas of the country. Historically, that ratio has been reversed.
"We clearly need resale pricing to correct, and correct dramatically,' Dugas said. He cited the most recent data from the S&P/Case-Shiller index showing a 14% decline in prices year-over-year, by far the largest on record, but noted that even that kind of decline is not enough.
"We view that [price decline] as a good thing," Dugas said, "and frankly we think resale pricing needs to continue to move down, because existing buyers are telling us they would like to buy our homes, but need to sell their existing homes, but they've obviously got to get realistic about price before they have a chance to sell those homes."