House price expectations turn negative

Consumers now expect house prices to fall 2% over the next 12-months, the first negative reading since 2011. That will cut the amount buyers are willing to pay and, alongside a drop in rents, supports our below-consensus call for annual house price growth to bottom-out at around -4% by early next year.
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 Update

House prices will avoid a dangerous bubble

House price expectations have taken off since the start of the year, and that raises the risk of a self-reinforcing bubble forming. However, there are no signs that lenders are rapidly loosening credit conditions on the back of higher house prices, and that argues against a repeat of a mid-2000s credit cycle. Rather, rising mortgage interest rates, a stabilisation in down payments and stretched affordability mean that house price gains will slow over the second half of the year.

1 June 2021

US Housing Market Update

Will expensive home sales keep booming?

Sales of expensive homes have done particularly well over the past year, with the share of existing homes sold for over $500,000 surging from 15% a year ago to a record high 26% in April. An extreme shortage of cheaper homes for sale, coupled with a jump in purchasing power thanks to larger down payments and lower mortgage rates, helps explain that shift. Inventory shortages will continue to drive buyers toward expensive homes, but purchasing power is set to ease. Overall, we expect the share of new and existing homes sold for more than $500,000 to edge back to around 20% to 22% over the next couple of years.

26 May 2021

US Housing Market Data Response

Case-Shiller/FHFA & New Home Sales (Mar./Apr.)

House price growth accelerated in March, reaching a record high of 13.9% y/y on the FHFA measure. But there are signs that the boom in prices is now weighing on housing demand and activity. New home sales dropped 5.9% m/m in April, and a steady decline in mortgage applications for home purchase points to a further moderation in sales over the next couple of months. That will help take some of the heat out of the market and bring house price growth back down to earth by the end of the year.

25 May 2021
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