Pandemic will not be the death of cities

The pandemic – and the associated increase in working from home – may cause a fundamental shift in the way that cities function in future. But this shift will not necessarily trigger a more fundamental economic decline in the world’s largest urban centres.
Neil Shearing Group Chief Economist
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More from US Housing

US Housing Market Chart Book

Housing activity surges even as mortgage rates rise

Housing market activity has surprised on the upside over the past month and home sales look set for a strong end to the year. Even as mortgage rates increased to an eight-month high, home purchase mortgage applications have surged, pending home sales are trending up, and a rise in buyer traffic points to a resurgence in new home sales. The arrival of the Omicron variant has also brought interest rates down, which may give activity an added boost over the next month or so. However, stretched affordability and a lack of inventory means the resurgence in existing home sales is likely to prove short-lived. Indeed, house price growth is slowing, and we expect it will fall from around 20% y/y now to 3% by end-2022. The rental market is also booming, with vacancy rates falling back even faster than we expected as cities have reopened.

7 December 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Mortgage Applications (Nov.)

A rise in mortgage rates to an eight-month high of 3.31% by the end of November failed to dampen home purchase demand, which surged to a nine-month high. The drop in 10-year Treasury yields from the arrival of the Omicron variant implies mortgage rates will fall back over the next couple of weeks, which may provide some further support to demand. But with affordability stretched we doubt the current level of home purchase applications can be sustained beyond the next few weeks.

1 December 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Case-Shiller/FHFA House Prices (Sep.)

Annual house price growth fell for the first time in 16-months in September, and stretched affordability means it should continue to slow. It is too soon to say what impact the arrival of the Omicron variant will have on the housing market. But one immediate effect has been a fall in interest rates, which if sustained may give prices some support over the remainder of the year.

30 November 2021

More from Neil Shearing

Long Run Update

Scar free? The implications of a full economic recovery

While the consensus has become more optimistic about the near-term recovery, most analysts – and the majority of central banks – still believe that the pandemic will leave a legacy of lower global output over the long term. We disagree. And if we’re right, there will be profound consequences for everything from the future path of GDP to the outlook for inflation and the public finances.

21 May 2021

Global Economics Update

Four questions (answers) on r/Wallstreetbets

The volatility caused by retail investors co-ordinated on the r/Wallstreetbets forum does not pose a direct threat to the global economy, but it does illustrate some of the financial vulnerabilities that can stem from ultra-loose monetary and fiscal policies. In this Update we answer four important questions about the events of the past week.

1 February 2021

Global Economics Update

Surge in shipping costs adds to near-term price pressure

The surge in global shipping costs over the past six months is likely to be short-lived and several factors will dampen the full pass-through to consumer prices. Even so, it adds to a growing list of developments that point to a rise in inflation over the first half of this year.

19 January 2021
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