New Tax Laws Make Experts Nervous About State of U.S. Housing Market
Forty-one percent of economists polled are worried about the housing market.

Much of corporate America is celebrating the GOP tax-reform law, but don't count a significant portion of housing experts among them.

About 41% of the more than 100 housing experts and economists that were surveyed by online real estate company Zillow (Z) lowered their long-term expectations for the U.S. housing market following the passage of the new tax law. 

When asked how the new tax law impacted their five-year home value forecast for the U.S., 41% said that they were more pessimistic, 31% were more optimistic and 28% said the new laws didn't change their outlook. 

The fear among those polled is that the American economy is already operating at full capacity and a further stimulus could result in an economic downturn. 

"By expanding the standard deduction, tax reform will put more money into the typical American's pocket in 2018, which will boost spending and could help renters save faster for a down payment," said Aaron Terrazas, Zillow's senior economist. "But the longer-term outlook is less rosy. There is some concern that tax cuts at this point in the business cycle may be throwing fuel on an already raging fire and could lead the economy to overheat. Most economists we surveyed see a stronger outlook for the housing market over the next year or two but a more pessimistic outlook on the longer horizon."

In the nearer-term, the survey suggested that economists expect home values to rise due to limited inventory and high demand. 

"The persistent short supply of entry-level homes for sale has highlighted just how bifurcated the U.S. housing market has become," said Terry Loebs, founder of Pulsenomics. "The experts project that the value of homes in the bottom third of the market will appreciate at 6% this year, double the rate expected for the highest-priced tertile."

Markets seem to have a similar view as the major U.S. homebuilders have had a rough 2018 to date. 

Lennar Corp. (LEN) shares have fallen more than 6%, KB Home (KBH)  has declined nearly 2% so far this year and Beazer Homes USA Inc.  (BZH) has declined more than 11%. 

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