Is a total meltdown a soft landing?

I’m just back from the Inman Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco.

On stage, all of the observers were talking about a “soft landing” for the housing market.

Offstage one very knowledgeable observer was giving me his prediction: a sudden and explosive meltdown in urban condo markets.

His take is premised on what he’s been told is pervasive fraud in mortgage financing for investor purchases of condos. He is also predicting a wave of de-conversions: condo buildings turning rental in a complete market collapse.

We’ve watched the condo boom scenario play out several times before in Chicago. When momentum buyers drop out of the city market, the market does have a tendency to crash. Add in any significant amount of fraud, and the condo market could be a witches’ brew. We’ll know more by year-end.

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