US Housing

US Housing Market Update

US Housing Market Update

Why are pending and existing home sales diverging?

An increase in the quality of mortgage borrowers, and record low inventory, are boosting the mortgage closing rate and leading to an increase in the share of pending home sales converted into existing home sales. Those factors are not set to go into reverse anytime soon, so we don’t think existing sales will snap back to match the pending sales index over the next few months.

29 November 2021

US Housing Market Update

MBS taper won’t widen mortgage spreads

The announcement that the Fed will start to taper its purchases of MBS this month is not set to widen mortgage spreads. The cut in demand will be gradual and offset by a moderation in the supply of MBS as home sales decline. With the cost of the prepayment option set to remain low, we expect the spread between the 30-year mortgage rate and 10-year Treasury yield to stay close to its current level of 170bps over the next few years.

18 November 2021

US Housing Market Update

Outlook good for mortgage delinquencies

Low mortgage rates, strong earnings growth, plenty of cash savings and a surge in home equity have pushed the early mortgage delinquency rate to a record low this year. Most of those factors will continue to support borrowers over the next couple of years, keeping early delinquency rates low. However, the serious delinquency rate is still elevated, and that points to a small bump in foreclosures next year as lenders work through the backlog built up during the foreclosure ban.

15 November 2021
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US Housing Market Update

Booming home sales fail to raise homeownership rate

Despite the exodus from cities and booming home sales last year, the homeownership rate in the third quarter was virtually unchanged from its level prior to the arrival of COVID-19. And with soaring house prices and tight credit conditions shutting out first-time buyers, we doubt it will rise much over the next couple of years. But there was a substantial increase in number of rental households in the third quarter, and we expect a further rise as cities reopen. That will keep the rental vacancy rate close to record lows, with the supply of larger single-family rental homes and multifamily units set to remain particularly tight.

US Housing Market Update

Are too many homes being built?

Increased demand for larger homes to accommodate working from home and continued migration to the sunbelt will support housing demand even as population growth slows. We therefore don’t think the recent surge in housing starts, and rise in the number of homes authorised but not started, pose a risk to the housing market.

US Housing Market Update

Will sales of condos continue to outperform?

Sales of condos have been on tear in recent months, with their share in total existing home sales reaching a 14-year high in June. The reopening of cities helps explain that development, and condo sales have also benefitted from comparatively favourable inventory and pricing. With house prices not set to decline and mortgage rates on the rise, demand for relatively affordable condos is set remain high.

US Housing Market Update

Fall in first-time buyers will help boost inventory

Soaring house prices and tight credit conditions have pushed the first-time buyer share to a joint six-year low which, alongside strong housing starts, has arrested the decline in the for-sale home inventory. With foreclosures also resuming, we expect inventory will see further gains. That will help cool house price growth, but the improvement will be slow and the chance of an outright decline in prices is slim.

US Housing Market Update

Is the rise in house prices becoming a concern?

It is an under-statement to say that house prices have weathered the pandemic well; housing markets are positively booming. Yet the drivers of this rise in prices are rather different to those of the pre-2007 housing boom, meaning that we do not seem to be heading for a repeat of the housing-driven financial crisis of 2007/08. Nonetheless, there are pockets of concern, and we would get more worried if it looked like interest rates were about to rise sharply.

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