This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

How Rising Home Prices May Actually Stall the Recovery




By Diana Olick, CNBC Correspondent

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- Home prices have been rising steadily for the past several months, but some fear the rapid increase could actually start hurting the housing recovery.

The reason is that the rise in prices is mainly due to investors, mostly large hedge funds, that have been swooping into the most distressed markets and inhaling properties as fast as their plentiful cash will allow. They are turning those properties into rentals, and getting anywhere from 8 to 12 percent returns on their investments, thanks to still hot demand. The trouble is, as home prices rise, those returns shrink.

"The worry with investment demand is that the very recovery in prices that it is driving will eventually reduce rental yields and undermine the investment case," warns Paul Diggle of Capital Economics.

Today's housing recovery, much like the recent crash, is like no other. While home prices fell nationally for the first time in history, they are recovering locally at drastically different paces. Some markets are still in the red, while others are surging forward with double-digit gains. Those that are seeing the biggest jumps are largely the markets that saw the deepest losses. Witness Phoenix home prices up over 20% from a year ago on the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. The huge influx of investors there shrunk inventories and created bidding wars, hence the price gains.

More from CNBC
New Home Sales Disappoint - Could It Be 'Cliff Concerns?'
Real Estate: Rising Home Prices
Why Congress Might Abandon the Debt Ceiling

But even outside those hot markets, this national housing recovery is dependent on investors, who are largely all-cash buyers. The mortgage market is still too restrictive to support the kind of bulk-buying that needs to occur, and many potential buyers either lack the credit scores or the confidence to jump in. Another 14 million borrowers still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, according to Zillow, and are therefore unable to move.

Five million properties are either in the foreclosure process or their owners are delinquent on their mortgages. That means foreclosures will remain elevated for the foreseeable future, and investors will be necessary to absorb them. Another concern is that home prices are rising faster than income, which could push potential owner-occupants away just as they were starting to dip their toes in again.

The risk of sales dropping as investors leave is obviously higher in the markets that saw the biggest drop in home prices during the crash, again, like Phoenix. Other markets, such as Chicago, Atlanta, and even parts of Florida, where prices are still weak and distress is still a large share of the market, are still seeing improved sales, as investors shift their sights and cash to more yield-worthy ground.



--Written by Diana Olick at CNBC

CNBC is a world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage and business information.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,195.42 +221.11 1.30%
S&P 500 0.00 -2.75 -0.14%
NASDAQ 4,566.1380 +16.9120 0.37%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs