2. Credit conditions: The availability of mortgage credit and the level of interest rates are also important ingredients to the health of housing. A further rise in interest rates could grind purchase and refinancing applications to a crawl (as housing demand has been pushed forward), even though mortgage rates are low by historic standards. 3. The propensity for home ownership: The desire to own vs. rent is cyclical. The pendulum has swung from the speculation of the last cycle, in which homes were daytraded, to a more conservative view of home ownership (likely to be with us for several more years). These three categories are not setting up to provide steady growth in the U.S. housing market over the near term -- there are numerous question marks.