No, most industry experts do not think the market will crash. Housing economists point to five main reasons that the market will not crash anytime soon: 1) low inventory, 2) lack of new- construction housing, 3) large amounts of new buyers, 4) strict lending standards and 5) fewer foreclosures. Here more details on each 5 points.
I.- Inventories are still very low: The National Association of Realtors says there was a 3.3-month supply of homes for sale in July. Back in early 2022, that figure was a tiny 1.7- month supply. This ongoing lack of inventory explains why many buyers still little choice have but to bid up prices. And it also indicates that the supply-and-demand equation simply won’t allow a price crash in the near future.
II.- Builders didn’t build quickly enough to meet demand: Homebuilders pulled way back after the last crash, and they never fully ramped up to pre-2007 levels. Now, there’s no way for them to buy land and win regulatory approvals quickly enough to quench demand. While they are building as much as they can, a repeat of the overbuilding of 15 years ago looks unlikely. “The fundamental reason for the run-up in price is heightened demand and a lack of supply,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst. “As builders bring more available homes to market, more homeowners decide to sell and prospective buyers get priced out of the market, supply and demand can come back into balance. It won’t happen overnight.”
III.-Demographic trends are creating new buyers: There’s strong demand for homes on many fronts. Many Americans who already owned homes decided during the pandemic that they needed bigger places, especially with the rise of working from home. Millennials are a huge group and in their prime buying years. And Hispanics are a growing demographic also keen on homeownership.
IV.- Lending standards remain strict: In 2007, “liar loans,” in which borrowers didn’t need to document their income, were common. Lenders offered mortgages to just about anyone, regardless of credit history or down payment size. Today, lenders impose tough standards on borrowers — and those who are getting a mortgage overwhelmingly have excellent credit. The median credit score for mortgage borrowers in the the second quarter of 2023 was a high 769, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says. “If lending standards loosen and we go back to the wild, wild west days of 2004-2006, then that is a whole different animal,” says McBride. “If we start to see prices being bid up by the artificial buying power of loose lending standards, that’s when we worry about a crash.”
V.- Foreclosure activity is muted: In the years after the housing crash, millions of foreclosures flooded the housing market, depressing prices. That’s not the case now. Most homeowners have a comfortable equity cushion in their homes. Lenders weren’t filing default notices during the height of the pandemic, pushing foreclosures to record lows in 2020. And while there has been an uptick in foreclosures since then, it’s nothing like it was.
All of that adds up to a consensus: Yes, home prices are still pushing the bounds of affordability. But no, this boom shouldn’t end in bust.
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