The death of house price cycles?

The housing market is highly cyclical, and the current price boom marks the fifth episode since 1970 where real house price growth has exceeded 5% y/y. But there are good reasons to think this will mark the last house price boom for next 30 years. Interest rates are already at record lows, and we expect they will rise gradually over the next 30 years. New regulations mean credit conditions have not loosened even as house prices have boomed, and that argues against a repeat of the mid-2000s boom. Overall, once the current cycle has passed, we expect house prices will grow more-or-less in line with earnings, leaving real house price growth at around 1.5% y/y from 2030 to 2050.
Matthew Pointon Senior Property Economist
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US Housing Market Chart Book

Rising mortgage rates will help cool booming prices

Mortgage rates are on the rise and we expect they will see further gains to end the year at around 3.5%. That, alongside relatively tight credit conditions, will help cool rampant house price inflation. From close to 20% y/y in July, we expect a slowdown to 15% y/y by end-2021 and 3% by end-2022. Stretched affordability will also weigh on home sales, although the drop in first-time buyers has at least arrested the fall in inventory. After four months of consecutive falls single-family building permits were unchanged in August. But with lumber prices rising again and shortages of other materials and labour, we don’t expect a strong rise over the remainder of the year. The lack of homes for sale and the reopening of cities have been positives for the rental sector. Vacancy rates are falling and rental growth is picking up, driving strong investor demand and pushing yields to record lows. We expect yields will stay low for the next year at least.

15 October 2021

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.

7 October 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Mortgage Applications (Sep.)

Home purchase applications rose for the first time in six months in September, even as mortgage rates increased to a 14-week high by the end of the month. But we expect a further rise in mortgage rates to around 3.5% by the end of this year and, combined with soaring house prices and tight credit conditions, that will weigh on home purchase mortgage demand. We therefore expect home purchase applications will drift lower over the remainder of the year.

6 October 2021

More from Matthew Pointon

US Housing Market Chart Book

Home sales and house prices to moderate

The share of households seeing now as a good time to buy a home has fallen to 39-years lows, as booming house prices, tight credit conditions and record low inventory have weighed on sentiment. But the share actually planning to buy has not seen such a large dip, so we expect existing home sales will moderate rather than crash. That easing in demand, and a gradual rise in mortgage rates, will help cool house price growth from record highs to around 10% y/y by the end of the year. In contrast to homebuying demand, rental demand has recovered strongly. Rental vacancy rates in some cities are now falling back, and timelier measures of rents are picking up. Given low risk-free interest rates that will boost apartment capital values and push total returns to 10.8% in 2021.

11 August 2021

US Housing Market Update

Conditions tighten in homeowner and rental markets

The second quarter Housing Vacancies and Homeownership survey showed market conditions tightening in both the homeowner and rental markets, with vacancy rates at 56-year and 37-year lows respectively. In the homeowner market that will act to constrain sales and support house prices. While in the rental market the lack of supply will help rental growth to recover quickly from its COVID-related dip.

28 July 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Case-Shiller/FHFA House Prices (May)

House prices showed no signs of slowing in May, with annual growth setting new records on both the Case-Shiller and FHFA measures. But with housing demand falling back since the start of the year, and lenders not set to ease credit conditions, we expect annual growth will soon peak. From 16.6% y/y in May, we expect it to slow to 10% y/y by end-2021, and 3% y/y by end-2022.

27 July 2021
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