Housing Bottom Is Not In
If we have any significant numbers of foreclosures in the coming one to two years, every one of them removes another potential home purchaser. Not only do foreclosures add supply, they simultaneously diminish demand.
Also, demographics are not helping demand. As baby boomers enter retirement with diminished retirement assets, the likelihood of moving to a new home in retirement is less than it was before the crash.
New household formation, which has been on the order of 1.2 million to 1.4 million per year (net), is probably going to continue. But not many new households have rushed out to buy a home in the past, and the number will be depressed even further by economic conditions. That will probably not have a significant effect on demand.
Location, Location, LocationConditions will vary from market to market, so supply may be shorter and demand greater in some markets than others. The following table ranks housing markets based on two measurements.
There are four markets that appear in the top half of both lists: Washington, Cleveland, Chicago, and San Francisco, indicating these may be the strongest markets right now. Weakest are the four markets that appear in the bottom half of both lists: Charlotte, Tampa, Los Angeles and New York.
SummaryHousing-sales volumes have risen dramatically since the beginning of the year in many markets. We may not see a repeat of the extreme low volumes. Prices remain within 3.6% of the lows and, heading into seasonal weakness, the national average price lows of April have a good chance of being taken out. Supply and demand challenges add to the probability that the price lows are not yet established.
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